University of Massachusetts Amherst

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MIE Ph.D. Student Hagedorn Wins ASME Best Dissertation Award

Thomas Hagedorn

Thomas Hagedorn

The Computers and Information in Engineering Division (CIE) of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has selected post-doctoral researcher Thomas Hagedorn of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department as the recipient for this year’s CIE Best Dissertation Award. Hagedorn’s dissertation, directed by MIE Professors Sundar Krishnamurty and Ian Grosse, presents a knowledge-based approach to addressing the existing and emerging challenges of medical device design.

ASME will present Hagedorn with the prestigious award at its conference in Quebec City from August 26 to 29. The CIE Best Dissertation Award was established to recognize a promising young investigator who authored the best Ph.D. thesis of the year in the area of computers and information in engineering.

Hagedorn completed a Bachelors in Biomedical Engineering in 2010 at Boston University and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 2018 at UMass Amherst. His research interests include applications of ontologies and semantic web tools to support engineering design, innovative design, design verification, and manufacturability assessment. His Ph.D. specifically focused on applications designing for additive manufacturing technologies and knowledge-based tools aiding medical device design. More recent work includes ontology and semantic web-tool development to support interoperability of engineering analysis tools and related decision making in systems engineering applications.

The title of Hagedorn’s dissertation is “Supporting engineering design of additively manufactured medical devices with knowledge management through ontologies.”

As Hagedorn’s abstract explains, “Medical environments pose a substantial challenge for engineering designers. They combine significant knowledge demands with large investment for new product development and severe consequences in the case of design failure. Engineering designers must contend with an often-chaotic environment to which they have limited access and familiarity, a user base that is difficult to engage and highly diverse in many attributes, and a market structure that often pits stakeholders against one another.”

Hagedorn adds that, as medical care in general moves towards personalized models and surgical tools towards less-invasive options, emerging manufacturing technologies in additive manufacturing offer significant potential for the design of highly innovative medical devices. At the same time, however, these same technologies also introduce yet more challenges to the design process.

Hagedorn says that his knowledge-based approach to addressing the existing and emerging challenges of medical device design aims to address these challenges by using knowledge captured in a suite of modular ontologies modeling knowledge domains that must be considered in medical device design.
“These include ontologies for understanding clinical context, human factors, regulation, enterprise, and manufacturability,” says Hagedorn. “Together these ontologies support design ideation, knowledge capture, and design verification. These ontologies are subsequently used to formulate a comprehensive knowledge framework for medical device design, and to enable an innovative design process. Case studies analyzing the design of surgical tools in several medical specialties are used to assess the capabilities of this approach.”

More than 1,000 engineers from university, government, and industry will gather in Québec City for the ASME conference. ASME is a non-profit organization with more than 130,000 members who organize more than 40 conferences and conventions per year. (August 2018)