Category Archives: Departments

Koomson awarded NSF early-concept grant

Valencia Joyner Koomson, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, has received a National Science Foundation early-concept grant for exploratory research (EAGER) to develop a 3D optical imaging device to report data on the real-time electrical activity of multi-cellular systems.

The research, conducted in collaboration with postdoctoral scholar Nurdan Ozkucur, will have broader applications for disease pathways, drug development, and bioengineering.

Tufts in Talloires: First week outside of “home”

This summer, two students from the Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST) program will blog their experiences from Tufts in Talloires, a six-week summer program that offers students a dynamic group of courses taught by Tufts faculty. Students enrolled in this program choose two courses from a selection of undergraduate offerings. In addition to coursework, a wide variety of optional outdoor activities, weekly hikes into the Alps, field trips, and organized events offer each student the opportunity to explore the unique Haute-Savoie region of France. 

The view from Hernan's host's flat, alongside Lake Annecy in Talloires, France.

The view from Hernan’s host’s flat, alongside Lake Annecy in Talloires, France.

By Hernan Gallegos

I had various amounts of emotions, both good and bad, rushing through my mind. I am not surprised since this was my first time traveling outside the country – overseas, to be exact. As an aspiring engineer, first-generation college student, and, most importantly, a young person of color, I was not aware of how I should have felt. Honestly, I was not expecting to be able to travel as far from my home city of Atlanta, Georgia, but this opportunity came to me. Thus, I began to travel outside the U.S. straight to my first destination, Turkey.

My first stop was amazing. My entire time there, I felt a different cultural atmosphere compared to Boston or Atlanta. This exposure was something that I did not know how to react to, so I just went along with this feeling of uncertainty. From walking along the stone streets of Turkey to taking the tram in Leipzig, Germany, I started to feel more at home. Which is a funny term to use since I was not native to neither of these locations. Once I reached Talloires, France, I felt like I returned “home.”

My first view of Talloires was Lake Annecy. Everyone who traveled here with me was in awe of its blue beauty and the nature surrounding it. By the time I start walking around, I met up with old and surprisingly new friends. I have had a snippet of what my courses will be like, my host’s way of living, and what France has to offer (so much cheese!!!). I am walking into a new, unknown world. As an aspiring, first-generation, person of color, engineer, I am ready to see what the next six weeks have in store for me.

Hernan Gallegos is a rising sophomore from Atlanta, Georgia, majoring in mechanical engineering.

Tufts in Talloires: To new perspectives

This summer, two students from the Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST) program will blog their experiences from Tufts in Talloires, a six-week summer program that offers students a dynamic group of courses taught by Tufts faculty in Talloires, France. Students enrolled in this program choose two courses from a selection of undergraduate offerings. In addition to coursework, a wide variety of optional outdoor activities, weekly hikes into the Alps, field trips, and organized events offer each student the opportunity to explore the unique Haute-Savoie region of France. 

Michelle 1 -  postBy Michelle Chan

“Je ne parle pas français.” Following the robot voice of Google Translate, I tried to learn a sentence, preparing to meet my host family who spoke no English. Even if I could pronounce anything correctly, nothing could have prevented the overwhelming first day at the dinner table in which I did not understand a single word of French.

I chose to study abroad through the Tufts in Talloires program precisely to experience this growth-promoting unfamiliarity. One advantage of studying abroad is that my peers are also adjusting to the new environment, so being bad at something suddenly becomes a little less embarrassing than usual. The old adage of “Everybody has to start somewhere” starts to feel realistically applicable. I glance around the dinner table at my French major roommate, my host parents, and the carton of grapefruit juice, feeling brave enough to give it a try, to say, “Pamplemousse.” Grapefruit. The official first word I learned in French.

My hopes for these six weeks extends past learning a language, but also includes gaining an understanding for French culture and taking unique classes contributing invaluable breadth to my engineering education.

One class I am particularly excited about is Global Health Crises, which the professor designed to be interdisciplinary in a way that causes students with a science background to complain about having too much policy, and those with a social science background to complain about having too much science. As a computer engineering major, which is frankly neither science nor policy, I find importance in learning these subjects to foster an understanding of the real world before tackling its problems.

Now is a good time to take a step back from technical work to develop new perspectives.

Michelle Chan is a rising sophomore from Eugene, Oregon, majoring in computer engineering.

Souvaine appointed to NSF leadership role

Professor of Computer Science Diane Souvaine has been elected vice chair of the National Science Board (NSB), the governing body of the National Science Foundation. It’s the first time in NSF history that women hold the three top leadership positions: director, chair and vice chair.

The 24-member NSB serves as an independent advisor to both the president and Congress on policies related to science and engineering, and education in those disciplines. President Barack Obama first appointed Souvaine to the NSB in 2008 and reappointed her to a second six-year term in 2014.

Aeron wins NSF CAREER award

Shuchin Aeron, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, has received a five-year $530,000 NSF early career award for his work advancing multidimensional data science via new algebraic models and algorithms. The outcome of this research will re-invigorate interest from the applied mathematics and signal processing communities in using tools from linear and multilinear algebra that are not currently exploited.

The research involves collaboration with Tufts Department of Mathematics, Tufts Department of Neuroscience and Tufts Interactive Learning and Collaboration Environment (InterLACE) program, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and AT&T research.

Tufts Silk Lab inspires a silk poem

Professor of biomedical engineering Fiorenzo Omenetto in his lab at the Tufts Science and Technology Center. (Joanie Tobin/Tufts University)

Professor of biomedical engineering Fiorenzo Omenetto in his lab at the Tufts Science and Technology Center. (Joanie Tobin/Tufts University)

The Huffington Post covers the story of a poet and artist who, inspired by the work of Professors David Kaplan and Fiorenzo Omenetto, nano-printed a poem on a silk sensor that can be placed under a person’s skin. The Silk Lab fabricated the film from liquified silk, with the poem written in a six-character chain that corresponds to the silkworm’s filament drawing method.

Artist Jen Bervin’s “Silk Poems” will go on view as part of the group exhibition “Explode Every Day: An Inquiry into the Phenomena of Wonder,” opening on May 28 at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

Zenyuk researches hydrogen fuel cells

Widespread use of electric vehicles could offer relief from pollution, says Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Iryna Zenyuk, and hydrogen fuel cells present the option for a cleaner, more efficient power source. However, the water byproduct created inside a hydrogen fuel cell compromises the cell’s efficiency.

Tufts Now covers the work being done by Zenyuk and colleagues as they develop new ways to see how water droplets form inside a fuel cell’s tiny cathode layer.

Flytzani-Stephanopoulos receives IPMI award

Professor Maria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos has received the International Precious Metals Institute’s (IPMI) Carol Tyler Award for 2016, in recognition of her contributions to the research of precious metals.

The IPMI Carol Tyler Award recognizes the achievements of a distinguished woman in the field, spanning both industry and academia. The award will be presented at IPMI’s 40th Annual Conference in June 2016.

Marcet wins Geosyntec student paper contest

Congratulations to Civil and Environmental Engineering doctoral candidate Tyler Marcet, who won Geosyntec’s seventh annual student paper contest for 2016. The contest is open to graduate students attending select universities in North America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Denmark, and it “recognizes and rewards students performing cutting-edge research related to the assessment and treatment of chemical contaminants in soil and groundwater.”

Marcet’s winning paper was titled “Impacts of Low Temperature Thermal Treatment on the Activity of PCE-to-ethane Dechlorinating Consortium.”

Tufts biomedical engineers preserve fruit with silk

Strawberry - slideA team of Tufts researchers, including professors David Kaplan and Fiorenzo Omenetto, have demonstrated a promising alternative for food preservation, using an ultra-thin coating of biocompatible silk to keep fruit fresh without refrigeration.

Their research has been published in Scientific Reports. In addition to Kaplan and Omenetto, authors include first author Benedetto Marelli, Ph.D., formerly a post-doctoral associate in the Omenetto laboratory and now at MIT; and Mark A. Brenckle, Ph.D., former research assistant in the Omenetto Laboratory, now at Columbia University.