University of Massachusetts Amherst

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An article appearing in the Washington PostIdaho Statesman, and Charlotte Observer, among other publications, recently sang the praises of Distractology 101, the life-saving program developed by engineers at UMass Amherst and the Arbella Insurance Foundation. Distractology 101, a program designed to teach novice drivers the dangers of distracted driving, was developed under the leadership of Emeritus Professor Donald Fisher, the retired department head of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department (MIE), in MIE’s Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation Human Performance Laboratory.

A group of 54 brilliant undergraduate researchers, working on cutting-edge summer projects, will present a joint poster session of their Research Experience for Undergraduates on Friday, August 5, from 10:00 a.m. until noon in the Campus Center Auditorium at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The four REU programs that will participate in the poster session are all funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Assistant Professor Juan Jiménez of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department has received an Innovation and Career Development Award from the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), awarded to early career professionals to promote career development in the field of biomedical engineering. Dr. Jiménez was awarded the honor due to his impressive body of work related to biomedical engineering.

Principal Investigator Maureen Lynch and Co-Principal Investigator Yahya Modarres-Sadeghi of our Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department have received a three-year, $425,000 National Science Foundation award for a project entitled “Mechano-regulation of bone metastatic cancer: linking cell strain to cell function.” Their research is aimed at relieving one of the most deadly problems related to the epidemic of cancer in modern society: cancers metastasizing into the bones. See NSF description of grant.

Professor Jae-Hwang Lee of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department has received a $125,000 grant from the University of Massachusetts President’s Office to support his project on “Bio-mechanics for Disease Diagnosis and Cell Engineering.” Lee is leading the project with UMass Professor Alfred Crosby, Polymer Science and Engineering Department, to create an interdisciplinary research program at UMass Amherst, Lowell, and Worcester and establish a world-class research center that unites the biomechanical characterization capabilities on all three campuses.

Three engineering majors in UMass Amherst’s Integrated Concentration in Science (iCons) program are now working at paid internships with Massachusetts-based life science and energy technology firms for the summer. Olivia Czubarow, a chemical engineering senior from Wellesley, is working this summer at Anika Therapeutics of Bedford. Theo Smith, a mechanical engineering senior from Concord, and chemical engineering major Anwesh Yerneni from Mansfield are both working at Boston-Power, Inc. of Westborough.

At the 37th annual Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Supermileage Competition on June 9 and 10, the UMass team finished a very credible 9th place, out of 20 teams, by hitting 463 miles per gallon on the 9.6-mile course at the Eaton Proving Grounds in Marshall, Michigan. See competition website.

From June 14 to 16, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department alums Scot Chisholm ’04 and Pat Walsh ’03 hosted a biennial three-day conference called “The Collaborative” for nonprofits and businesses doing world-changing socially innovative work. Chisholm and Walsh are the co-founders of Classy, a San Diego company that provides online fundraising technology to nonprofits and other “social enterprises.” The event was held at Cruiseport in the Boston Seaport district. See Boston Globe article.

Engineering is undoubtedly one of the most demanding majors at any university. Engineering students wouldn’t want it any other way. But that engineering degree of difficulty didn’t stop a passel of hard-pressed engineering students from standing out as intercollegiate competitors, sports stars, and Renaissance students this past year.

Brian Mullen, who earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at UMass Amherst, has been named one of The 2016 MedTech Boston 40 Under 40 Healthcare Innovators. Mullen is the co-founder and CEO of Therapeutic Systems and is the Innovation Strategy Manager at Brigham Innovation Hub.