The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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MIE Welcomes Two Talented New Faculty Members

Gina Olson and Muge Capan

The Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department has the honor of welcoming two new faculty members this September. The accomplished new members are Assistant Professor Muge Capan and Assistant Professor Gina Olson.

Capan has been serving as an associate clinical professor of Decision Sciences and Management Information Systems at LeBow College of Business at Drexel University. She has received her Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering with a minor in Operations Research from North Carolina State University. She has expertise in data science, industrial engineering, and predictive analytics applied in health care systems to support better informed decision making.

Capan’s current research projects include development and implementation of analytical models for clinical risk stratification, smart and connected clinical decision support systems, algorithms for phenotyping and personalization of diagnosis and treatment, and network models in care delivery. Capan has served as the principal investigator on a National Science Foundation grant and as a co-investigator on a National Institutes of Health grant based on the above research expertise. She has also published over 25 peer-reviewed studies in leading journals, written one book chapter, and participated in over 40 conference proceedings, as well as oral and poster presentations.

Olson arrives at the MIE department to take over as a core faculty member in the interdepartmental robotics cluster. Her current research interests are the soft and compliant structures within soft robots.

As Olson explains, “Soft robots use geometric and material deformation to absorb impacts, mimic natural motions, mechanically adapt to motion or unevenness, and to store and reuse energy. Soft robots, by virtue of these traits, offer potential to grasp robustly, adapt to unstructured environments, and work safely alongside, or are even worn by, humans.”

Previously, Olson was a postdoctoral research scientist working with Professor Carmel Majidi’s Soft Machines Lab at Carnegie Mellon University. She earned her doctorate in Robotics and Mechanical Engineering at Oregon State University, where she was advised by Doctor Yiğit Mengüç and Professor Julie A. Adams. She previously worked as a technical lead engineer at Meggitt Polymers and Composites, where she developed fire seals for aircraft engines.

In addition to the two full-time faculty mentioned above, the department also welcomes part-time lecturers Jacob Lindeman and  Nehal Patel. Lindeman comes to the MIE department as managing director of Jacobi Vibes, LLC., a company that builds Extended Reality products for the betterment of the human experience. He is an entrepreneur, inventor, and educator. Patel has more than 18 years of experience with strengthening customer relationships to turn around underperforming programs, strategically executing change management to support organizations, and bridging gaps between business and technology to manage complex programs. Patel was  the senior program manager for multiple U.S. Navy Programs, directing program teams to execute various U.S. Navy and international imaging systems.

(September 2022)