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Hajim Highlights 0812

August 12, 2019

Dear members of the Hajim School community,

Congratulations to several of our faculty and students for a variety of achievements:

Hussein Aluie, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is one of 73 scientists nationwide to receive an Early Career Research award this year from the Department of Energy. These prestigious awards, which provide faculty members $150,000 a year for five years, are designed to bolster the nation’s scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work. Hussein will use a new method his group has been developing to advance numerical modeling of the incredibly complex fluid instabilities that hinder achieving controlled nuclear fusion in the lab — for example, during inertial confinement fusion experiments at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics. Well done, Hussein! Read more here.

Two more of our faculty members — Mark Buckley, associate professor of biomedical engineering, and Douglas Kelley, associate professor of mechanical engineering — have been honored with David T. Kearns Faculty Mentoring and Teaching awards, joining Laurel Carney and Roman Sobolewski in the first cohort to receive these awards. Mark and Doug are being recognized for their outstanding work with Rochester City School District high school students who participate in the Kearns Center’s Upward Bound program. Doug was the first Hajim faculty member to teach an Upward Bound summer course, and has been a staunch champion of the program. Mark was the first faculty member to host a high school “STEMtern.” Both have also been mentors for the center’s summer research programs for undergraduates. Read more here.

Faculty members Jannick Rolland and Nick Vamivakas and senior research engineer Aaron Bauer – all of the Institute of Optics — and Alex Kitt, a product manager at Buffalo Manufacturing Works, have received a US patent for a Freeform Nanostructured Surface for Virtual and Augmented Reality Near Eye Display. This is further evidence of the progress that is being made in advancing near eye displays. This technology is different than previously disclosed near eye displays in that it incorporates what are called “nanostructured surfaces” (NSS) together with freeform optics.  “Essentially what this technology allows us to do is control the phase of a beam of light by either shaping the surface using freeform optics or patterning the surface with nano tokens (a NSS) or a combination of the two,” Aaron says. The technology allows the optical elements to be oriented in a way that works well from both an aesthetic and mechanical standpoint. And importantly, the NSS allows the designers to redirect the light to go where they actually want it to go, such as into the user’s eye for a near eye display.  Jannick, the Brian J. Thompson Professor of Optical Engineering, is director and Aaron is part of the research team at the Center for Freeform Optics. Nick, a professor of quantum optics and quantum physics and dean of graduate education and postdoctoral affairs, leads the NSS component.  As Jannick notes, “this project exemplifies how broadly diverse expertise can be combined strategically to solve a problem.”

James McGrath, professor of biomedical engineering, has received a $249,000 NSF grant to develop flow-through sensors that detect bladder cancer biomarkers on extracellular vesicles (EVs) in urine. This is Jim’s third award through the NSF’s Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) program, which helps scientists and engineers increase the impact of their discoveries by developing their technology into a prototype or proof-of-concept. The emphasis is on projects that will transition the technology out of the lab and into the market for societal benefit. Read more here.

Taylan Sen and Kurtis Haut, PhD students in Ehsan Hoque’s Computer Augmented Social Engagement lab, took first place and a $45,000 prize in the Credibility Assessment Standardized Evaluation (CASE) Prize Challenge, sponsored by IARPA, the research arm for the U.S. director of national intelligence. The challenge was to come up with novel methods to measure the performance of credibility assessment techniques and technologies used to evaluate how credible a source of information is and/or the credibility of specific information or claims. Taylan and Kurtis won with SPIDER² — Scalable Protocol for Interview-based Deception-technology Evaluation with Realism and Repeatability.

Olivia Canavan ’20 of audio and music engineering, has been awarded the Mary Lea Simpson Memorial Scholarship by the Audio Engineering Society (AES). The award is given once a year to a student in an audio engineering or recording arts program and provides tuition support for the final year of the recipient’s study. Olivia, who is president of the AES student chapter here and a Patrick P. Lee Foundation Scholar, is a “huge advocate” for women in the audio industry. She has invited female guest lecturers and advocated for the hiring of female audio and music engineering faculty. Olivia has been a peer advisor for transfer students and tutors Rochester City School District elementary students as part of the LEAP project. Last summer she did research on ambisonic audio as a Xerox Engineering Research Fellow. Well done, Olivia. It appears you are preparing yourself well to achieve your career goal of “bettering the world of music technology by developing equipment that is lighter and more accessible to diverse groups of people.”

Institute of Optics PhD students Di Xu of Jannick Rolland’s lab and Carlo Villegas Burgos of Jaime Cardenas’ lab, will receive 2019-2020 Corning Office of STEM Graduate Research Scholarships. The year-long fellowship awards provide a $30,000 stipend, a 2020 summer internship, and support for tuition and fees.

It is any wonder I can’t wait to open up my email each day?

Have a great week!

Your dean,
Wendi Heinzelman


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