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They call it the “White Coat Syndrome.” Many people get stressed out when they visit their doctors, which makes their blood pressure readings go sky-high. The White Coat Syndrome is only one factor contributing to why the care for diabetics with high blood pressure is described as “woefully inadequate” – especially since two-thirds of diabetics suffer from high blood pressure, and their medication is based on intermittent office visits. To address this dangerous problem, industrial engineer Jenna Marquard is a key researcher in an almost $2-million project.

Mechanical engineer Matthew Lackner is working on the cutting edge of floating wind turbines, a technology that, according to MIT’s prestigious Technology Review, “could hold the key to exploiting” the powerful offshore winds blowing steadily off the Northeastern coast. In order to turn that “key,” Lackner has been working on clever, innovative devices such as “smart rotors” and “tuned vibration absorbers,” which reduce the severe stress placed on working parts of floating turbines and could go a long way toward making them economically feasible.

A crucial step for establishing a national climate change policy, one of the biggest policy decisions facing this country and the world, is deciding which developing energy technologies will best maintain that policy once it’s in place. The next step is calculating exactly how much money to invest in R&D for each of those chosen technologies. These critical steps, in fact, describe the ongoing research of Dr. Erin Baker of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department.

UMass Amherst alums Scot Chisholm ’04 and Pat Walsh ’03 were just “a couple of average guys” when they met as undergraduates in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, but ever since they staged a “StayClassy Pubcrawl” in 2005 to raise money for cancer research, they’ve found themselves as revolutionaries in fundraising for nonprofit organizations. The original San Diego-based event, which attracted 200 pub crawlers and derived its name from the popular Will Ferrell movie, Anchorman, mushroomed into a free online platform and social fundraising service for nonprofits.

Seven years ago, Ciriaco "Cid" da Silva, a 1982 mechanical engineering alumnus, and his wife, Corinne da Silva, left the virtual world of the computer industry for the very real and earthy world of avocado farming. The outgrowth of this major career move is Bella Vado (Avocado Oil), the first U.S. manufacturer of avocado oil. Now Bella Vado is a very real Southern California treasure. In 2003, Cid resigned from his job as a software architect, while Corinne gave up her job as managing director of an Internet marketing firm, so they could purchase a 40-acre avocado grove near Valley Center in Southern California.

When a pike is attacked, the fish escapes by performing a lightning-fast jackknife, which generates a remarkable 25 Gs of acceleration for a tenth of a second – more than three times the acceleration of an Apollo launch. In order to study this amazing reflex action, Dr. Yahya Modarres-Sadeghi of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department has spent the past two years working on two generations of robotic fish, which mimic the escape mechanism of a pike.

VISTAGY, Inc., a leading global provider of industry-specific engineering software and services, has partnered with the UMass College of Engineering through the donation of 10 software licenses for the company’s FiberSIM® software. The licenses represent very sophisticated and specific software for computer aided design used to model carbon-fiber analysis. VISTAGY also donated one license of its FiberSIM® software to the college last year.

Among the media that covered the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly named Arbella Insurance Group Human Performance Laboratory on December 10 were the Springfield Republican, TV stations WSHM-TV 3 and WWLP-TV 22, and radio stations WFCR and WAMC. The laboratory’s new name celebrates a recent $150,000 gift from the Arbella Insurance Foundation, the philanthropic branch of the Arbella Insurance Group (CEO John Donohue pictured).

Anyone on dialysis knows the ravages of uncontrolled anemia: severe fatigue, hospitalization, and, in extreme cases, death. Now a team from the University of Massachusetts Amherst is collaborating with a leading kidney specialist at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., to design more effective protocols for dosing a key drug used for controlling anemia in dialysis patients. In dialysis patients the amount of the hormone erythropoietin, or EPO, produced by kidneys to manage the production of red blood cells and control anemia is significantly lower than in healthy persons, resulting in the diminished red blood cell production that characterizes anemia.

On Friday, December 10, the College of Engineering hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly named Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation Human Performance Laboratory, a driving research facility. The human performance laboratory’s new name celebrates a recent $150,000 gift from the Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic branch of the Arbella Insurance Group.

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