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Hajim memo 1217


Donna Strickland and Gerard Mourou receive their Nobel Prizes in Stockholm. (Getty Images)

December 17, 2018

Dear members of the Hajim School community,

Last week we continued to celebrate Donna Strickland ’89 PhD and Gerard Mourou, who were in Stockholm to officially receive Nobel Prizes for their work in developing chirped pulse amplification. The excitement and pride this has created on campus is reflected in the heartfelt congratulations expressed by faculty and students, many from the The Institute of Optics, in videos prepared by our University Communications office. Click here to see the videos, the presentation of prizes, and to read more about the importance of the work that Donna and Gerard did at the University of Rochester.

Congratulations as well to:

  • Jim Zavislan, our associate dean and associate professor of optics, who has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Jim is the third Hajim faculty member in as many years to receive this honor. Read more here about the wide range of applications of Jim’s inventions, such as protecting the integrity of the ballot box, preserving great works of art, and allowing surgeons to determine on the spot if they’ve successfully removed a skin cancer.
  • Jiebo Luo, professor of computer science, who has been named a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence in honor of his influential research and his service to the AI field. As we reported last week, Jiebo has also just been named a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).
  • Five of our students who have received Hajim School International Experience Scholarships to help them study abroad next semester. Rahul Gupta ’20 of electrical and computer engineering and Danny Ayele ’20 and Michael Tufano ’20, both of mechanical engineering, will study in Spain as part of the IES Madrid program. Tatjana Orquera ’19 of engineering science will study in Arezzo, Italy. And Stephaun Ward ’19 of mechanical engineering will be in Guinea as part of West Africa Study Abroad.

When targeted drugs try to make their way toward a malignant tumor in the pancreas, they encounter a “mosh pit” of stiffened tissues that surround and protect the tumor. Marvin Doyley, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering, is collaborating with David Linehan, director of clinical operations at the Wilmot Cancer Institute, on using elastography, which is similar to ultrasound technology, to accurately display this tissue stiffness on an ultrasound screen. This could help oncologists better guide drug delivery. Edward Brown, an associate professor of biomedical engineering, is also contributing his expertise on the collagen-rich fibers near tumors that contribute to tissue stiffness and cancer metastasis. This is a great example of the exciting collaborations made possible by the proximity of a world-class medical center to our River Campus. Read more here.

Here’s a great opportunity for Hajim students interested in qualifying as Grand Challenges Scholars. A regional meeting will bring together students participating in the program from our University, RIT, and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, January 26, in the Barbara J. Burger iZone at Rush Rhees Library. Participation in this event will fulfill the Entrepreneurship competency of the Grand Challenges Scholars Program. The agenda will include:

  • Design Thinking workshop
  • Project Management 101workshop
  • Hands on project with a community partner
  • Brainstorming and collaborating with other students about projects

Students who participate also will get a certificate in Design Thinking. Students not yet enrolled in the Grand Challenges Scholar Program, but interested in doing so, are welcome to participate if space allows. All majors welcome. Interested? RSVP to emma.derisi@rochester.edu.

Several Hajim School faculty members have benefited from University Research Awards (formerly known as Provost’s Multidisciplinary Awards). The awards provide seed funding to jump start a promising, high risk project and gather the preliminary data needed to leverage external funding. The pot has been doubled for this funding, so I urge our faculty members to take advantage. The deadline to submit applications for the next round of funding is February 4. Read more here.

The next issue of Hajim Highlights will be January 7.

In the meantime, have a great week and a wonderful holiday season!

Your dean,
Wendi Heinzelman