Faculty Highlights – Spring 2014

From the desk of…

Mark Byrne, Daniel F. and Josephine Breeden associate professor of chemical engineering, has been awarded a $400,000 grant from the National Institute of Health to study and develop extended-wear contact lenses that treat glaucoma by slowly releasing a controlled dose of medication to the eye over an extended period of time. Byrne is the principal investigator (PI), and is joined by veterinary ophthalmologist and co-PI Meredith Voyles, doctoral student Liana Wuchte, chemical engineering undergraduates Andrew Hightaian and Carter Lloyd, project veterinarian Bettina Schemera Toro Guzman, and veterinary ophthalmologist Eva Abarca Piedrafita.

Edward Davis, lecturer of polymer and fiber engineering, Virginia Davis, associate professor of chemical engineering, and Mark Liles, associate professor of biological sciences, have been awarded a multiyear grant to study the synergistic properties of nanotube/antibiotic films. The objective of the work is to develop biologically relevant protocols for assessing the antimicrobial activity of nanomaterial films and evaluate potential synergistic effects for two model nanomaterial-antimicrobial systems.

Jeffrey Fergus, professor of materials engineering, traveled to New Delhi, India, in March for India’s National Board of Accreditation 2nd World Summit on Accreditation. Fergus was selected as one of 36 keynote speakers. His presentation on the assembly and preparation of accreditation teams was heard by professors, scholars, policy makers and administrators from around the world.

Sean Gallagher, associate professor of industrial and systems engineering, has been recognized as an American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Fellow. This distinction is awarded to individuals who have been AIHA members in good standing for a minimum of 15 years and have made significant contributions to industrial hygiene or related disciplines through research, leadership, publication, education or related professional service.

Joseph Majdalani, department chair of aerospace engineering, along with graduate student Josef Fleischmann, won first place in the research paper portion of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Southeastern Regional Conference. The award-winning paper was titled “Complex Lamellar Helical Solution for Cyclonically Driven Hybrid Rocket Engines.” At the graduate level, this marks the fifth consecutive year Majdalani’s team has earned top honors.

Hari Narayanan, the John H. and Gail Watson professor of computer science and software engineering, has been invited to serve on a panel of artificial intelligence experts to make research funding decisions for the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation’s Distinguished Investigator program. The competitive grant program supports high-risk, high-reward research that is otherwise unlikely to receive funding through traditional sources.

Anton Schindler, associate department chair and professor of civil engineering, has been selected as a Fellow of the American Concrete Institute. The designation of fellow is a highly respected and recognized title in the industry. Schindler is honored for his contributions to concrete materials research and education.

Alice Smith, W. Allen and Martha Reed professor of industrial and systems engineering, has been selected to give a keynote address at the 2014 International Conference on Quality, Reliability, Risk, Maintenance, and Safety Engineering, in Dalian, Liaoning, China. Smith, also recently elected as a senior vice president of the Institute of Industrial Engineers, will be among seven individuals presenting at the conference in July. She will speak on multi-objective genetic algorithms for optimization of reliable systems, based on the paper she co-authored for the journal “Reliability Engineering & System Safety,” which has been reported as the second most cited of the more than 3,000 papers included in the journal.

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