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Posted by: mus41 on Feb 29, 2016
Melik C. Demirel, professor of engineering science and mechanics at Penn State, was recently awarded $150,000 through the University City Science Center’s QED Proof-of-Concept Program for his Thermoplastic Biodegradable Protein Swabs for DNA Capture and Release project.

The QED Program is a multi-institutional program that provides business development support for academic researchers developing early-stage life science and healthcare IT technologies with high commercial potential. During the implementation of funded projects, primary investigators are provided resources and guidance in four main areas: business advice, bridge funding, market drivers and guidance to exit.

Demirel will use his funding and team of business advisers to explore the commercialization of using structural proteins as a coating for biomedical swabs to replace traditional materials such as cotton, nylon, polyester and silk, and increase the capture and release rate of DNA.

“DNA swabs used in market today, although effective, cannot capture one hundred percent of the cells from bodily fluids, and generally, only release twenty to fifty percent of the small sample size collected,” said Demirel. “By using our approach, which has special affinity to DNA, we may capture more than ninety-five percent of the DNA sample and release over ninety percent of it.”

DNA swabs have various commercial uses in both biological and non-biological areas including forensic DNA testing, clinical genotyping, commercial diagnostic and paternity testing, with samples collection methods ranging from buccal, teeth and fingernails to other biological fluids. The use of protein swabs and its significant improvement in the release rate of DNA will allow for more effective gene analysis from even the tiniest amounts of biological samples taken.

Demirel was one of four researchers awarded a grant from the QED program, now in it’s eighth year. Awardees were selected from a pool of 62 applicants and 12 universities in the Greater Philadelphia region by a team of representatives of the regional industry and investment communities, supported by scientific reviewers. Half of the $150,000 awarded will be contributed by the Science Center and half by Penn State. Demirel and his team of researchers will have 12 months to provide proof of concept of his technology.

Read about this year's awardees here.
Posted by: mus41 on Feb 26, 2016
ESM Assistant Professor Patrick Drew’s paper titled “Effects of Voluntary Locomotion and Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide on the Dynamics of Single Dural Vessels in Awake Mice” was recently published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

The vasculature of the dura has been implicated in the pathophysiology of headaches, but how individual dural vessels respond during behavior, both under normal conditions and after treatment with the headache-inducing peptide CGRP, is poorly understood. Drew’s research explores how exercise and headache producing stimuli affect the blood vessels in the dura, and provides new insight into the origin of migraines and headaches.

View the paper here.
Posted by: mus41 on Feb 25, 2016
ESM Professor Melik Demirel’s work with self-healing polymers was featured in Popular Science’s article titled “This Plastic Can Repair Itself.” Read the full article here.
Posted by: mus41 on Feb 25, 2016
Dr. Dinesh Agarwal, ESM Professor and Director of the Penn State Microwave Processing and Engineering Center recently presented a series of talks hosted by the Amrita Center for International Programs. The full story can be found here.
Category: ESM News
Posted by: mus41 on Feb 24, 2016
Join us this Saturday, February 27 for the 2016 ESM Today Program. This annual symposium showcases research by Engineering Science and Mechanics Graduate Students.

The keynote address will be given by Dr. A. Michael Erdman, ESM alumnus and Director of the Engineering Leadership Development Program.

The full program is linked below.
Posted by: mus41 on Feb 24, 2016
Reuben Kraft
Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, PSU

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 3:35pm - 4:25pm
114 EES Building

Diffusion weighted imaging provides a non-invasive tool that helps to elucidate the
structural architecture of the brain and provides great utility for medical treatment
and surgical planning. Computer models that include this level of detail could
contribute to our quest to understand the brain and aid in the design of future
neurotechnologies. However, from a computational point of view, it is challenging to
devise numerical methods that can take advantage of all the information that
diffusion weighted imaging and its corresponding tractography provides.
For example, diffusion tractography provides information about the anisotropic
nature of brain tissue, which is important when modeling axonal injury. As the
resolution of diffusion-weighted imaging continues to improve, thus, providing
more densely populated axonal fiber tracts, the numerical challenge increases.
Therefore, new multiscale and multiphysics computational methods are needed to
overcome this challenge.
This talk will present recent efforts to model the axonal fiber tracts. The technique
employs the embedded finite element method that enables each fiber tract to be
explicitly represented in a brain tissue matrix. Since each fiber tract consists of a
finite element mesh, the technique enables the solution of various physics-based
theories, such as diffusion, electromagnetics or structural mechanics along the fiber
tracts. An application of the method for modeling axonal injury will be discussed.

Reuben Kraft joined the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear
Engineering in 2013. He earned his PhD from The Johns
Hopkins University in 2008 and then worked for four years at
the U.S. Army Research Laboratory followed by one year at The
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory before
obtaining an appointment at Penn State. His areas of expertise
and interest include computational biomechanics,
the relationship between brain structure and function during
and after neurotrauma, high-strain-rate behavior of materials,
high performance computing, injury, dynamic failure mechanisms, shock physics,
soft tissue physics, and numerical methods for multiphysics coupling.
Posted by: mus41 on Feb 17, 2016
Albert E. Segall
Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, PSU

Wednesday, March 2, 2016 3:35pm - 4:25pm
114 EES Building

During a Reaction Initiated (RIA) or Loss of Coolant (LOCA) type accident, passive
external cooling of the reactor lower head is a viable approach for the in-vessel retention
of Corium; while this concept can certainly be applied to new constructions, it may also
be viable for operational systems with existing cavities below the reactor. However, a
boiling crisis will inevitably develop on the reactor lower head owing to the occurrence
of Critical Heat Flux or CHF that could reduce the decay heat removal capability as the
vapor phase impedes continuous boiling. Fortunately, this effect can be minimized for
both new and existing reactors through the use of a Cold-Spray delivered, micro-porous
coating that facilitates the formation of vapor micro-jets from the reactor surface. The
micro-porous coatings were created by first spraying a binary mixture with the sacrificial
material then removed via etching. Subsequent quenching experiments on uncoated and
coated hemispherical surfaces showed that local CHF values for the coated vessel were
consistently higher relative to the bare surface. Moreover, it was observed for both coated
and uncoated surfaces that the local rate of boiling and local CHF limit varied
appreciably along the outer surface. Nevertheless, the results of this intriguing study
clearly show that the use of Cold Spray coatings could enhance the local CHF limit for
downward facing boiling by more than 90%. Moreover, the Cold-Spray process is
amenable to coating the lower heads of operating reactors.

Albert E. Segall received his Ph.D. in Engineering Science and Mechanics from the
Pennsylvania State University in 1992. Dr. Segall remained at Penn State and served as
the Associate Director of the Center for Advanced Materials and a Senior Research
Associate at the Applied Research Laboratory. In 1999, he joined the Washington State
University Vancouver faculty and the Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Department where he eventually became the Director of Engineering Programs. In the
2002, Dr. Segall returned to Penn State and the Engineering Science and Mechanics
Department and has served as the interim Chair of the Intercollege Program in Materials
Science and Engineering (2004-2007). He is a Fellow of ASME and STLE.
Posted by: mus41 on Feb 10, 2016
Bingqing Wei
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Delaware

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 3:35pm - 4:25pm
114 EES Building

Sustainable and renewable energy sources from hydropower, solar energy, and wind
power are expected to release the heavy burdens on the current energy infrastructure
and the environmental concerns. As these renewable energy sources such as solar
energy and wind power are intermittent in nature, reliable electrochemical energy
storage systems, mainly including rechargeable batteries and electrochemical
capacitors, are purposely explored to promote efficient utilization of these energy
sources and are a growing challenge. The development of high energy storage devices
has been one of the most important research areas in recent years and relies mostly on
the successful engineering of electrode materials. Nanostructured carbon such as
carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and graphene have been full of surprises since their
emergence and are intensively investigated for use as electrode materials in energy
storage devices. Utilizing CNTs, graphene, and their composites for various energy
storage applications such as lithium ion batteries and super-capacitors are under close
scrutiny because of their improved electrochemical activity, cost effectiveness,
environmental benign nature, and promising electrochemical performance. In this
presentation, I will discuss our research strategies and efforts to employ
nanostructured carbon for different energy storage applications.

Dr. Bingqing Wei (B. Q. Wei) received his Bachelor (1987), M.S (1989), and Ph.D.
(1992) degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.
He is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of
Delaware (UD). Before joining UD, he was an Assistant Professor in the Department
of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Center for Computation & Technology at
Louisiana State University from 2003 to 2007. He had worked as a Post-doctorate
Research Associate at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Materials
Science and Engineering and Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center from 2000 to 2003.
Dr. Wei was a visiting scientist for Max-Planck Institut für Metallforschung, Stuttgart,
Germany in 1998 and 1999. He was a faculty member at Tsinghua University in
Beijing from 1992 to 2001. Dr. Wei’s research interests lie in nanomaterials and their
energy applications. He has published more than 230 scientific papers in refereed
international journals and delivered 150 plus invited talks and seminars in academia
and industry worldwide. His research work has been intensively cited more than
12000 times by peer scientists with the h-index of 56 and has also been highlighted
many times in scientific journals, web journals, and public media. His research has
also been recognized with many awards, including the most recent Advanced
Materials Medal for Year 2015.
Posted by: mus41 on Feb 5, 2016
Dr. Judith Todd, P.B. Breneman Chair and Department Head for Engineering Science and Mechanics was highlighted as a new member of Penn State's MD/PhD Steering Committee in the most recent newsletter for the program. The full newsletter can be found here.
Posted by: mus41 on Feb 3, 2016
Congratulations to Lucas Passmore, assistant professor of engineering science and mechanics, on being ranked #7 on College Magazine’s list of Top 10 Penn State Instructors! See the complete list here.
Posted by: mus41 on Feb 3, 2016
Venkat Gopalan
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, PSU

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 3:35pm - 4:25pm
114 EES Building

Abstract. Distortions are ubiquitous in nature, ranging from molecular and crystal lattice
vibrations, mechanical deformations, phase transitions, protein reconfigurations and others.
Representation theory is extensively used to study distortions and symmetry of distortions in
materials. In this talk, I propose a new antisymmetry operation called distortion-reversal symmetry,
1*, that reverses a distortion field. With this additional symmetry, we find that we can formulate
distortion space groups and point groups (similar to magnetic groups), and ascribe them to a
whole range of distortion phenomena such as the vibration modes of a water molecule, the α to
β transition of quartz, oxygen diffusion on graphene, and phase transitions and domain wall
motion in a ferroelectric or a ferromagnetic system. If a material exhibits distortions as well as
magnetic phenomena, then both 1* and 1' are relevant, and we can describe the structure
using double antisymmetry space groups (DASG’s). The 17,803 DASG’s were recently listed by
the VanLeeuwen, Huang, Litvin, and Gopalan.

Bio. Gopalan is a professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and a courtesy faculty in the
Engineering Science and Mechanics at Penn State. He received his doctoral degree from
Cornell University in 1995, followed by postdoctoral scholarship at Los Alamos National
Laboratory from 1996-1998. Gopalan group’s research focus is on electronic and photonic
materials, including complex oxides and semiconductor metamaterials, and characterization
using nonlinear optics, synchrotron xray diffraction, and scanning probe microscopy. He is the
associate director of the Center for Nanoscale Materials, an NSF-MRSEC Center at Penn State.
He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, and the associate editor of the Annual Reviews
of Materials Research.