Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Department News

Dr. Quinn Receives Faculty Distinguished Research Award

Congratulations to Roger Quinn, Arthur P. Armington Professor of Engineering in the 
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Case School of Engineering!

Over more than three decades at Case Western Reserve University, Roger Quinn has become an international leader in robotics, making seminal contributions to the fascinating and rapidly emerging field of bio-robotics.

Quinn has also guided graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and research associates in developing new designs and control theories based on biological principles for improving robot performance.

His work in a “very thorough and elegant way, combines solutions from engineering for the control of walking robots with findings from biology, in particular neurobiology,” one of his colleagues wrote in a nominating letter. That work has also been crucial in helping to achieve better understanding of the kinematic and dynamical mechanisms underlying the motion of animal systems.

In fact, Quinn’s body of work now stands as a “fix(ed) hallmark in the field of motor control research, bridging neurosciences and engineering,” another colleague wrote. Quinn has secured eight patents as a result of those advancements.

He has graduated 34 doctoral and 77 master’s students; published more than 80 papers in international scientific journals; given more than 150 scientific lectures at national and international conferences; and won 11 Best Paper or Best Video Awards from leading international conferences in the fields of robotics, automation and artificial intelligence.

Quinn’s students have won three first-place and two third-place finishes out of the five competitions in which they have participated at the Institute of Navigation Robotic Lawn Mower Competition. He also has had more than 150 refereed conference contributions and more than 70 refereed contributions to robotics conferences.

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ION Autonomous Snowplow Competition 2019

A Case student team advised by Frank Merat (EECS) and Roger Quinn (EMAE) wins the 2019 Autonomous Snowplow Competition in Toronto.

In late January, 2019, eight driverless vehicles faced off in a tournament in Toronto, Ontario. These weren't just another group of self-driving cars, however; they were autonomous snowplows.

The purpose of this competition is to challenge university and college students to design, build, and operate a fully autonomous snowplow to remove snow from a designated path, while avoiding obstacles. The objectives of this competition include encouraging students to utilize the state of the art in navigation and control technologies to rapidly, accurately, and safely clear a path of snow.



Robert Gao Honored by Society of Manufacturing Engineers

Robert Gao, chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Cady Staley Professor, has received the Eli Whitney Productivity Award from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME).

Part of the society’s International Honors Awards, it is given in recognition of distinguished accomplishments in improving capability within the broad concept of orderly production. 
Dr. Gao will officially accept the award at a gala in May.







Professor Kiju Lee Received a New Grant

Professor Kiju Lee is the PI of a new grant from the CWRU Technology Validation & Start-Up Fund Program, entitled “Interactive e-Cube games for Routine Cognitive Assessment of Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease”. The total project budget is $86K, with direct funding of $43K and the rest through a 1:1 cost match provided by the TTO Investment Funds ($16K), the Coulter Pilot Award ($25K awarded before), and other sources, for the period of 1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019.

The project will conduct a market research and develop a business model for a novel game technology, called “e-Cube”, for automated routine cognitive assessment of older adults with mild cognitive impairment and early Alzheimer’s disease.

Professor Kathryn Daltorio Receives Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award

Kathryn Daltorio, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, has received a 2019 Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research. Daltorio was recognized among 25 recipients who will share $16.5 million in funding to conduct naval-relevant scientific research with direct benefits for sailors and marines.Daltorio will use the funding to advance crab-like robots for amphibious terrain.

Professor Umut Gurkan Received Multiple New Grants from Various Agencies

During Fall 2018, Prof. Gurkan has received a number of new grants from federal agencies and private foundations to support his research and students training activities in the area of biosensing and biomechanics.  The total amount of funding received is $2.3M, with approximately $951K allocated to his group.

  • NIH/NHLBI (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute), R44, $600K, Nov. 2018 – Mar. 2021
    Affordable, quantitative microchip-electrophoresis for sickle cell disease screening
  • NIH/NIDDK (National Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Institute), R41, $113K, Sep. 2018 – Aug. 2019 
  • Quantitative microchip electrophoresis for hemoglobin A1C testing
  • Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership Award, R41, $20K, Sep. 2018 – Jul. 2019
  • Magneto-Optical Diagnosis of Early Stage Lyme Disease in Blood Samples
  • Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership Award, R41, $110K, Sep. 2018 – Jul. 2019 
  • Sickle Cell Disease Biochip Test for Anti-Adhesive Therapies
  • NSF$55K, Jan. 2019 – Jun. 2019
  • Non-Academic Research Internships for Graduate Students (INTERN) Supplemental Funding
  • American Heart Association$53K, Jan. 2019 – Dec. 2020
  • Elucidating abnormal cellular adhesion in pathologic pulmonary vascular shunts

Professor Fumiaki Takahashi Received a New NSF Grant

Professor Takahashi is the PI of a new grant from NSF, entitled “Study on Effects of Flame Retardants on Chemically-Inhibited Diffusion Flames”.

This project aims to obtain a better understanding of flame extinguishment and retardation mechanisms by investigating, experimentally and computationally, the structure of methane and propane diffusion flames with halogenated and halogen-free (phosphorus) inhibitors added to the air or fuel.

The resulting knowledge will help develop proper screening and testing methods for characterizing flame retardants.  Ultimately, this project will benefit society by promoting fire safety and reducing fire losses.

The project, funded at $210K, is scheduled for January 1, 2019 - December 31, 2020.  

Professor Ozan Akkus Received Two New Grants

The first grant, entitled “Immunoregenerative treatment of Stress Urinary Incontinence by Autologous Macrophage Therapy”, an R21 project, is funded by NIH’s Child Health and Human Development program (NICHD). The total of funding is $440K, for the period of November 2018 - October 2020.

The project aims to develop the next generation biomaterial for treatment of urinary incontinence that affects particularly the women. The approach will unify a novel computer controlled filament winding method with cells extracted from blood to expedite the speed and efficacy of repair.

The second grant, entitled “Treatment of Tracheal Stenosis by Drug Eluting, Bioabsorbable Stent”, is funded by Veterans Administration at $200K, for December 2018 – November 2020.

Tracheal stenosis is a condition where the airway is constricted by inflammation. The present non-resorbably silicon or metal stents are associated with complications. This project will develop a multifunctional, multimaterial and bioresorbable polymeric stent that is fabricated by the novel rotational spraying technology. The stent will promote the formation of epithelial cell layer, will release steroids to mitigate the inflammation while encompassing a self-deployment capability.

As a Co-PI of both projects, Prof. Akkus will collaborate with colleagues from the medical school on developing new bio-materials and bio-devices for advancing the state of science and engineering for health care.