Four mechanical engineering faculty have recently won National Science Foundation (NSF) awards for research that includes biological and biochemical sensing, vaporized nano-emulsions in ultrasound, and control of dynamic and autonomous systems.
Associate Professor Xin Zhang was awarded two NSF grants: the Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) Award; and the Biosensing Award.
Zhang’s GOALI-supported research aims to develop a mass-producible gas micro-detector capable of competing with the performance of laboratory instrumentation, which has applications in chemical analysis in both energy and health care systems. She will use the Biosensing/CBET Award to pursue research in biological/biochemical sensing at cellular and sub-cellular levels by converting a biological response to an electrical signal using micro/nanosystems. The objective of this research is to design and test a multidisciplinary micro/nanosystem for positioning individual cells into an analyzing matrix for real-time monitoring cell viability and response.
Assistant Professors Sean Andersson and Calin Belta were awarded a three-year grant for their collaboration on “DynSyst_Special_Topics: A formal approach to the control of stochastic dynamic systems.”
The research aims to establish theoretical and computational frameworks for the analysis and control of stochastic systems, particularly in mobile robotics. The proposed research will lead to a framework in which an autonomous vehicle, in a loud, noise-fill environment that could potentially disrupt the vehicle’s sensors, is successfully deployed and can complete a highly-specific task.
Assistant Professor Tyrone Porter received the Broadening Participation Research Initiation Grants in Engineering (BRIGE) Award in support of his project, “The Role of Vaporized Perfluorocarbon Nanoemulsions in Enhanced Ultrasound Induced Lesion Formation for Cancer Therapy.”
Porter’s research centers on focused ultrasound (FUS), a non-invasive medical procedure for the treatment of localized solid tumors. While FUS therapy can destroy solid tumors with millimeter precision, the treatment of most clinically relevant solid tumors requires placement of multiple lesions, which can take hours to achieve. Porter hopes to develop a phase-shift nanoemulsion (PSNE), which would reduce the time and acoustic energy required for treatment.