Category Archives: Tufts Gordon Institute

News and Updates from Tufts Gordon Institute. For more news and information about the department, please visit:

Alumna Zimmerman Wins Top Prize in Health and Life Sciences Track

04/07/2016 - Medford/Somerville, Mass. -  Award presentation:  Lauren Linton, deputy director of Tufts Institute for Innovation and BrainSpec. The 2016 $100K New Ventures Competition at Breed Memorial Hall in Tufts University, Thursday, April 7, 2016. (Chitose Suzuki for Tufts University)

Alexandra Zimmerman of team BrainSpec poses with Lauren Linton, deputy director of Tufts Institute for Innovation.

In the recent $100k New Ventures Competition organized by the Gordon Institute, mechanical engineering alumna Alexandra Zimmerman, E09, was on the BrainSpec team, which won first place in the Health and Life Sciences track. BrainSpec is a software platform that enables the accurate and non-invasive diagnosis of brain disorders, using magnetic resonance spectroscopy. It can help diagnose neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury, and brain tumor progression.

Hujambo Receives Ricci Prize for Interdisciplinary Engineering Design

04/07/2016 - Medford/Somerville, Mass. - Award presentation: Inge Milde, director of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies (ELS) program & senior lecturer and Team Hujambo The 2016 $100K New Ventures Competition at Breed Memorial Hall in Tufts University, Thursday, April 7, 2016. (Chitose Suzuki for Tufts University)

Team Hujambo poses after winning the Ricci Prize.

In the Tufts Gordon Institute’s 2016 $100k New Ventures Competition, biomedical engineer Shehryar Malik, E19, and Daniel McCormack, A19, represented team Hujambo, which received the Stephen and Geraldine Ricci Interdisciplinary Prize. The Ricci Prize is awarded to the project that best demonstrates interdisciplinary engineering design and entrepreneurial spirit.

Hujambo designed a low-cost smartphone and operating system. In their words: “We make smartphones for everyone. Our goal is to connect the entire world to the Internet, by providing low-cost but high-tech devices to enable consumers to navigate the 21st century. Our smartphone costs $10, and provides cellular service, messaging capability, data access, and access to every app. By creating our own operating system, which perfectly integrates with the hardware, we are able to provide a cheaper product with more features than even the best devices on the market.”

Learn more on Hujambo Group’s website.

Computer Scientists and Electrical Engineers Take First Place in High-Tech Track

Mimir Insights, a Tufts student startup team, pose for a photo after winning first place in the High-Tech / General category.

Mimir Insights, a Tufts student startup team, pose for a photo after winning first place in the High-Tech / General category.

Computer science juniors Jon Arbaugh, Ian Leaman, Ian Luo and Abdisalan Mohamud, computer science sophomore Gabriella Bova, and electrical engineering junior Arlo Clarke were part of the team that won first place in the $100k New Ventures Competition’s High-Tech / General track. Their winning company was Mimir Insights, which helps companies selling equipment and services to scientists find the best customers for their products, grow their existing customer base, and build lasting relationships.

Tufts Venture Lab Named one of the Coolest Boston Startup Workspaces named Tufts Venture Lab among the coolest new startup accelerator spaces in Boston.

Lesser known than other schools’ startup spaces – and I have no idea why because the space looks awesome – is the Venture Lab at Tufts. And now that I’ve seen pictures of this place, I’m eager to stop by and see it in person.

“Tufts University’s Venture Lab, part of the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center, provides dedicated space in the university’s brand new Collaborative Learning and Innovation Complex to Tufts start-ups,” Patrick Collins, deputy director of PR at Tufts, noted.

“The complex houses interdisciplinary research and teaching labs, office and lounge space, and informal learning and meeting spaces with whiteboards, video conferencing, storage space, office supplies and a steady supply of mentorship,” Collins continued. “At any given time, there are 16 start-ups (from freshmen to faculty) using the Venture Lab and countless more using the shared collaborative spaces available to all students.”

Winston Receives IEEE-USA Highest Honor

Arthur Winston

Arthur Winston, director emeritus of the Tufts University Gordon Institute, will receive the Robert S. Walleigh Distinguished Contributions to Engineering Professionalism Award, IEEE-USA’s highest honor. Winston is being recognized “for leadership through innovation, mentoring and promoting engineering management and entrepreneurial practices, as well as the creation of new policies of national interest.”

Winston served as IEEE president in 2004 as well the IEEE Educational Activities Board (EAB) vice president. In this role, he extended EAB interests to include pre-university education and played a key role in the development of the engineering career resources Website, He is credited for bringing together for the first time deans of education and deans of engineering. In 2010, he received the EAB Meritorious Service Citation.

The Walleigh Award

The Robert S. Walleigh Distinguished Contributions to Engineering Professionalism Award is designed “to honor members of the engineering profession for long-term dedicated effort and outstanding accomplishments in advancing the aims of IEEE professional activities in the United States.”

Robert S. Walleigh was an electrical engineer and IEEE member who worked for the National Bureau of Standards – now the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) – for more than 35 years. He supervised the building of NIST headquarters in Gaithersburg, Md., and retired as a senior adviser for international affairs in 1979. For the next 18 years he worked as an IEEE-USA senior specialist.

Interview with Tufts Gordon Institute Executive Director Mark Ranalli

Associate Dean & TGI Executive Director Mark Ranalli

Associate Dean & TGI Executive Director Mark Ranalli

Tufts Gordon Institute was pleased to welcome Mark Ranalli this September as the new associate dean and executive director of Tufts Gordon Institute. The founder of several innovative businesses, Ranalli joins Tufts with over 24 years of experience as a business executive and entrepreneur. We recently sat down to ask Mark a few questions including what made him interested in transitioning to higher education, how he sees TGI playing a role in developing leaders and points of advice he would share with aspiring entrepreneurs.

Tufts Gordon Institute: After spending 25 years in industry as a business executive, what made you interested in making the transition to higher education?

Ranalli: As with most journeys, my path to academia started many years ago when I was student. I was fortunate to be able to attend Stanford University, where I earned a BS in Electrical Engineering, and later and Dartmouth, where I completed my MBA. Both experiences provided me with a tremendous appreciation for the value of higher education.

Education enriches peoples’ lives – their ability to be creative, to pursue intellectual interests and to seize opportunities. I see higher education as a massive industry that is at a crossroads and in need of transformation. The cost continues to outpace inflation and real wage increases; student debt level exceeds $1 trillion; and student loan defaults are skyrocketing, yet the higher education industry continues on with status quo – isolated from and ignoring the coming tsunami. By joining the ranks of higher education, I hope my entrepreneurial skills and corporate experience can become an asset to the University, while I simultaneously have the opportunity to learn and gain insight into the workings of this vital sector.

Read more of the interview with Mark Ranalli.

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.

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.