Tuesday, 7 of July of 2015

Category » Students

Tufts Names 2015 Summer Scholars

Tufts Summer Scholars program announced the 2015 Summer Scholars.

The Tufts Summer Scholars Program is funded by the Office of the Provost and by generous gifts from: Mr. Andrew Bendetson in honor of Laura and Martin Bendetson; Steven J. Eliopoulos A89 and Joyce J. Eliopoulos; Mr. George and Ms. Susan Kokulis; Mr. John L. Kokulis; Ms. Ashleigh Nelson; and the Board of Trustees in honor of former Chairman, Mr. Nathan Gantcher.

The Program is also supported by the Schwartz-Paddock Family Fellowships in the Visual and Performing Arts, the Helen and Werner Lob Student Research Fund in Economics, the Hopkins Summer Scholar Fund, and the Christopher Columbus Discovery Summer Scholarships for research spanning disciplinary boundaries. Summer Scholars is administered by the Office of Undergraduate Education.

Congratulations to all our engineering summer scholars!

Biomedical Engineering

Elim Na will work with Professor David Kaplan on his project on the “Evaluation of Silk Fibroin Stabilization of Doxorubicin and Vincristine.”

Chemical and Biological Engineering

Sylvia Lustig will work with Professor Maria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos on her project on the “The Selectivity and Efficiency of Various Single Atom Metal Alloys as Catalysts for the Dehydrogenation of Methanol.”

Mechanical Engineering

Kevin Ligonde will work with Associate Professor Robert White on a project to “Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasound Transducers for Mars Anemometry.”

Computer Science

Avita Sharma will work with Professor Soha Hassoun on a project on “Who is Doing What? Functional Matching between Metabolites and Genomics for Bacterial Pathways.”

Caleb Helbling will work with Professor Kathleen Fisher on a project to “Resequence: A Global Fine Grained Software Repository.”

Collins Sirmah will work with Assistant Professor Ben Shapiro on his project to “Peer Based Learning in Distributed and Parallel Computing Among High School Students.”

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Pengxiang (Jerry) Hu will work with Associate Professor Sameer Sonkusale on a project to “Study and Build Instrumentation for Saliva Diagnostics.” Peter Wu will work with Professor Jeffrey Hopwood on his project to “Improve Vintage Synthesizers for Increased Temperature Based Pitch Stability.”

Engineering Physics

Matthew Eakle will work with Professor Peggy Cebe on a project to “Understanding the Interactions Between Liquid Crystals and Carbon Nanotubes.”

 


Miller and Saibaba Featured on Cover of Inverse Problems

Eric Miller

Eric Miller

The research of Professor and Chair Eric Miller (ECE) and postdoc Arvind Saibaba is featured on the cover of the January issue of the journal Inverse Problems. The work, in collaboration with Professor Peter Kitanidis at Stanford University, develops computationally efficient methods for estimating the state of large-scale, noisy, and dynamical systems, opening up possibilities for real-time monitoring and control of processes in fields ranging from medicine and biology to subsurface remediation, carbon sequestration, and numerical weather prediction.

 

doi:10.1088/0266-5611/31/1/015009

Fig. 8 Variance of the computed solution at time 30 h after injection computed on the grid of size.


Tufts Softball One Win from NCAA Finals

Allyson Fournier, ChBE 15

Senior CF Michelle Cooprider went 4 for 4 with four runs scored and two rbis as the top-ranked Tufts Softball team earned an 8-0 five-inning victory over WPI in game one of the NCAA Championship Super Regionals Thursday at Spicer Field.

Softball Championship ChBE Senior Allyson Fournier pitched a three-hit shutout for the Jumbos, who are now one win away from making their fourth straight trip to the NCAA Finals.

Fournier improved to 29-0 with the win, striking out 11 along the way. The Jumbos extended their NCAA Division III record winning streak to 47 games while improving to 45-0 this season. WPI dropped to 34-10.


Engineers Win Big at Tufts $100K New Ventures Competition

Engineering students won big at this year’s $100K New Ventures Competition held, April 7-8, 2015.

Computer Science seniors Karan Singhal and Jaime Sanchez were part of the winning team for the high-tech track. SpotLight Parking is an on-demand service that brings valet parking to the user’s fingertips through a mobile app that enables a customer to drive directly to a destination and be met by a SpotLight-enabled valet able to accept pre-registered credit cards. SpotLight Parking received the Stephen and Geraldine Ricci Interdisciplinary Prize, awarded to a project that bests demonstrate interdisciplinary engineering design and entrepreneurial spirit, and the Audience Choice Award, given to the highest-potential project as voted by event attendees.

Dylan Wilks, who graduates this year with his masters of science in engineering management from Tufts Gordon Institute, also tied for first place in the $100K. Dylan developed a low-cost, portable chemical analysis platform with marketability in the cosmetics, petroleum, and tobacco industries, among others.

Doctoral recipient Chirag Sthalekar and his advisor Valencia Koomson took third place in the $100K life sciences track for the development of low-cost and lightweight silicon microchip technology that accurately monitors cerebral blood flow to prevent brain damage in premature babies.

Read more about the Spring 2015 Finalists.

 

Tufts $100K Spotlight Parking

Members of the Spotlight Parking team receive their check.


Engineering Week 2015

Organized entirely by the Tufts Engineering Mentors and student chapters of the professional engineering societies, this year’s Engineering Week (held February 22 – 28) lived up to the hype. The week brought together the different engineering departments and offered friendly competition between them. The Launch Event featured a welcome from Dean Linda M. Abriola, President Anthony P. Monaco, and a keynote from Assistant Professor Ben Hescott of Computer Science.  The week concluded with Discover Engineering, a community day that hosted more than 100 elementary school students from the surrounding area.

Check out a slide show from the kickoff event on Sunday, February 22!


Tufts University Alumni Association 2014 Senior Award Honorees

Each year, the Tufts University Alumni Association (TUAA) recognizes members of the senior class for academic achievement, participation in campus and community activities, and leadership. Twelve students are chosen from a pool of nominees for the TUAA Senior Award. This year’s cohort of Senior Award Honorees includes two engineering students: Briana Bouchard and Laura Burns.

Briana BouchardBriana Bouchard will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. Bouchard served as Corporate Relations Chair and Publicity Chair for Tufts Society for Women Engineers, Tufts Admissions Tour Guide and Engineering Panelist, Senior Representative and Academic Chair for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Residential Assistant for Tufts University Office of Residential Life. As a researcher, she designed a medical device to assist in the insertion of IV catheters in babies and children, was part of a team that designed an award winning audio speaker, and has researched the use of silk for breast implants for women who have had mastectomies.


Laura BurnsLaura Burns will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical engineering. At Tufts, Burns was a Stern Family Scholar, was on the Dean’s List all semesters, a member of Tau Beta Pi (Engineering National Honor Society), President and Board Member of the Tufts University Engineering Student Council, Secretary and Board Member for Tufts University Society for Women Engineers, Captain of the Varsity Swim Team, and a volunteer at Tufts University Admissions Office. Burns was a research assistant in Assistant Professor Lauren Black’s Lab, where she worked with tissue engineering of cardiac tissue and design of an optical device to measure the thickness of delicate tissues.


Proof of Concept Robotic Programming Lends A Stress-Free Hand

Summer Scholar Chris Shinn, E15, hopes to reduce musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace through human-robot interaction.

The intended application is in diagnostic laboratories to reduce repetitive motion injuries. Currently lab techs must open and close hundreds of jars every day. Every year thousands of man-hours are lost due to such injuries, and costing employers and employees alike millions of dollars. While there’s plenty of room for improving the speed, Shinn’s work demonstrates a proof of concept for human-friendly robots such as Baxter to use tools to extend their utility and to integrate them into the work flow of laboratories and similar workplaces.

This video from Chris Shinn in the Human Factors program in the Department of Mechanical Engineering shows ongoing research with the Baxter robot. Located in the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO), Baxter opens and closes a specimen jar using a tool to overcome positioning uncertainty in its “hands.” Another special adapter on the other hand is employed to operate a pipette.


Entrepreneurial Engineers Design Water-Saving, Color-Changing Shower head

Engineers Brett Andler, E13, Joo Kang, A13, Sam Woolf, E13, and Tyler Wilson, E13, designed a water-saving, color-changing showerhead.

The recent graduates worked on their project, Uji, as part of their senior capstone thesis with Senior Lecturer Gary Leisk. The Uji team members were winners in the 2013 $100K business plan competition hosted by Tufts Gordon Institute.

The shower turns from green to red after seven minutes of use. In initial reports submitted to the School of Engineering, the team determined that, on average the Uji showerhead, will shorten shower times by over 10 percent. This estimate is now being reported as a 12 percent decrease.

The team and the technology was featured on National Public Radio’s weekly innovation blog  “All Tech Considered”  and was subsequently featured by FastCompany, and USA Today.

The team is now piloting the technology on university campuses. The Uji website claims that Uji showerheads count as low flow showerheads enabling universities to earn LEED green credits toward certification.

Follow Uji on Twitter (@UjiShower) to keep up with the team.


Tooth Tattoo

Gold, silk and graphite may not be the first materials that come to mind when you think of cutting-edge technology. Put them together, though, and you’ve got the basic components of a new ultra-thin, flexible oral sensor that can measure bacteria levels in the mouth. The device, attached temporarily to a tooth, could one day help dentists fine-tune treatments for patients with chronic periodontitis, for example, or even provide a window on a patient’s overall health.

The sensor, dubbed a “tooth tattoo,” was developed by the Princeton nanoscientist Michael McAlpine and Tufts bioengineers Fiorenzo Omenetto, David Kaplan and Hu Tao. The team first published their research last spring in the journal Nature Communications.

The sensor (A), attached to a tooth (B) and activated by radio signals (C), binds with certain bacteria (D). Illustration: Manu Mannoor/Nature Communications

Before the tooth tattoos can undergo clinical testing, however, researchers will have to overcome some limitations. In order for the sensor to detect specific strains of bacteria, McAlpine says, his team will need to create new peptides or similar molecules that bond with only one particular strain. Constructing those won’t be easy. McAlpine notes that he’ll need to work with biologists to build them from the ground up, a process that could require the development of entirely new methods for assembling organic molecules in the lab.

The sensor’s physical size is also a consideration: the prototype is a bit too large for use in humans (the team tested it on a cow tooth), so making the whole package smaller will be another challenge. And, Kugel notes, thickness is a factor, too. It’ll be important to determine if patients will accept having a foreign object, no matter how thin, attached to their teeth.

“People are very sensitive,” Kugel says. “They can feel objects in the mouth that are 50 or 60 microns across”—about the thickness of a sheet of paper. “If it’s at all irritating to a patient, he or she will complain about it. You’d need to make sure it’s actually comfortable enough to leave in place for long periods of time.”

[David Levin is a freelance science writer based in Boston. This story was first published on TuftsNow, Nov. 1, 2012.]


Breaking Point

They’ve got limited resources: a fixed amount of basswood, Elmer’s glue and an X-Acto knife. The goal: span an 18-inch gap with a bridge that holds as much weight as possible. That’s the plan at least, as teams of engineering students in Masoud Sanayei’s structural analysis course prepare for an annual competition, where they will learn real-life lessons.

“These are junior structural engineers with limited knowledge of applied mechanics and structural engineering in bridge design,” says Sanayei, a professor of civil and environmental engineering.

The teams put their designs to the test in a public contest of strength and skill, with bridges rated on aesthetics, load carried and efficiency (the ratio of bridge load to weight).

This year’s entries included colorful bridges that twisted, bent and snapped under loads ranging from less than 20 pounds to nearly 200 pounds. In a previous competition, one bridge withstood 376 pounds, still the record.

The “spaghetti” bridge from an earlier competition, a spectacular failure. Photo: Courtesy of Masoud Sanayei

The “spaghetti” bridge from an earlier competition, a spectacular failure. Photo: Courtesy of Masoud Sanayei

“They see there are so many ways for a structure to fail,” observes Sanayei. And it is failure that describes Sanayei’s most prized possession—a photograph of what he calls the “spaghetti” bridge—a warped and buckled span that was terribly designed and thus collapsed spectacularly during one competition.

“Understanding structural failures is crucial to the learning process,” says Sanayei, who requires the students to write a detailed analysis of where and why their bridges failed—and how they would go about preventing such failures.

“This is a real learning experience for structural engineers who, in the future, are going to design our highway bridges for safety, efficiency and durability,” says Sanayei.