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Professor Erin Baker of our Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and her doctoral student Moijue Kaikai have secured a $160,000 grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to fund a sustainable-energy project carried out collaboratively by UMass Amherst and the Springfield High School of Science and Technology (HSST). The grant will support the establishment of a so-called Learn and Earn Program while generating interest in the renewable energy field. The funded program will not only install a solar panel and wind turbine on the HSST campus but will also create an engineering and sustainability class for 25 high-school students and an eight-week, summertime, paid internship in hands-on clean energy for those students.

The number of persons newly infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the U.S. is about 50,000 each year and has not decreased since the late 1990s. To address this critical problem, the first National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) was developed in 2010, with a goal to reduce incidence by 25 percent by 2015; but, since that goal was never met, it was delayed until 2020. Now Professor Chaitra Gopalappa of our Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department is receiving a grant of $1,567,348 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to answer several critical questions posed by the NHAS and to develop a new model and methods necessary for analyses of these crucial problems.

Jae-Hwang Lee, the head of the Nano-Engineering Laboratory in the UMass Amherst Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, is a member of a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary team of researchers who co-authored a fundamental materials research article on cold spray additive manufacturing published in the prestigious journal Nature Scientific Report. Cold spray is a materials consolidation process that utilizes micron-sized particles and accelerates them at supersonic velocities through a de Laval rocket nozzle. The impacting particles undergo extreme plastic deformation and then consolidate, thus forming a dense coating with a near net-shaped quality.

Neural tube defects are among the most common birth defects and affect more than 500,000 infants worldwide each year, resulting in severe health problems, including paralysis of legs, brain damage, and even death. Now Professor Yubing Sun of our Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department has received a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a series of engineered tools to enable the investigation of the poorly understood mechanism that causes neural tube defects.

At the 38th annual Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Supermileage Competition on June 8 and 9, the UMass team scored an impressive fourth place out of 20 collegiate teams by hitting 775 miles per gallon on the 9.6-mile course at the Eaton Proving Grounds in Marshall, Michigan. See competition website. Though this fourth-place finish was equal to the best ever done by the UMass Supermileage Vehicle (SMV) in recent years, the effort was marred by a fuel leak that cost our team some crucial miles per gallon.

Professor Erin Baker of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been approved by the university system’s Board of Trustees to receive the Armstrong Professional Development Professorship. The Armstrong Professorship was established in 2001 with an endowment of $850,000 by John and Elizabeth Armstrong of Amherst and a $650,000 matching grant from the University of Massachusetts President’s Distinguished Professorship Initiative. It is awarded for a three-year period “to a faculty member who is at the beginning of his/her career and has demonstrated substantial achievement and great promise in his/her area of teaching and research.”

Professor Erin Baker of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department recently published an article discussing ways to focus clean energy funding that will produce the greatest energy and environmental benefits within the constraints of a tight federal budget. Baker’s article, posted May 22 on the website of The Conversation, was also picked up by the Albany Times Union, San Francisco Chronicle, Pantagraph.com, and others. The headline of Baker’s article was “With a tight federal budget, here’s where to focus clean energy research funding.” Read Baker’s entire article in The Conversation.

Rune Percy and Alexander Smith, a student team from the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department at UMass Amherst, took second place in the recent elevator-pitch competition at the Awards Ceremony & Banquet for the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Initiative. Percy and Smith received a second-place prize of $750, based on their business-concept pitch for ARBioDesign, which aims to save tens of thousands of patients every year by personalizing dialysis treatment using rapid and inexpensive microfluidic blood-diagnostic tests.

Assistant Professor Juan Jiménez of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department is a co-principal investigator with Dr. Kristian Valen-Sendstad from the Simula Research Laboratory of Oslo, Norway, on a $937,848 grant from the Research Council of Norway to study a critical question: “Are Computer Simulations Misleading Us About the Pathobiology of Cerebrovascular Diseases?”

Ian Grosse, a researcher for the NSF Center for eDesign and a professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, is a member on one of the two research teams that recently received awards from UMass Amherst’s Armstrong Fund for Science. The team of Duncan Irschick of the Biology Department, Grosse, and Brian Umberger of the Kinesiology Department is involved in a project called “Creation of a 3D motion freezer to understand human and animal locomotion.” The Armstrong Fund will grant $30,000 to the project over the next two years to encourage transformative research on campus that introduces new ways of thinking about pressing scientific or technical challenges.

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