Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Departmental News


Umut Gurkan, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, selected to receive "Rising Star" Award at the 2016 Biomedical Engineering Society 

Assistant Professor Dr. Umut Gurkan has been selected to receive the "Rising Star" Award at the 2016 Biomedical Engineering Society - Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering (CMBE) and Advanced Biomanufacturing (ABioM) Joint Conference, which will be held January 6-10, in New Orleans, Louisiana. The "Rising Star" award designates exceptional junior principal investigators and the awardees are invited to give a podium presentation in a special session at the conference. Dr. Gurkan is one of six awardees selected internationally.


Congratulations to Professor Roger Quinn!

It is our pleasure to inform you that ASME has elected Professor Roger Quinn as an ASME Fellow. Please join us in congratulating Dr. Quinn on this well-deserved honor!

What is a Fellow?

Dr. Quinn has the privilege of being one of only 3,437 Fellows out of 123,857 ASME members.

Being a Fellow is truly a distinction among ASME members.

By continuing to honor its members by elevating them to the grade of Fellow, ASME ensures its commitment to its vision to “be an essential resource for mechanical engineers and other technical professionals throughout the world for solutions that benefit humankind.”


Visit ASME



James T'ien, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, honored by American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

James T’ien, the Leonard Case Jr. Professor of Engineering in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, has received the 2015 Space Processing Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

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Congratulations to Biologically Inspireed Robotics Team!

A CWRU team of neuroscientists and engineers from Biology and Biorobotics, led by
Professor Roger Quinn and Professor Hillel Chiel, presented posters on their research at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting in Chicago.There were more than 28,000 registrants at the meeting.    

A news article was written on the team’s worm robot:

The Earthworm's Surprising Superpowers Inspired This Biomimetic Worm-Bot

Congratulations to the Biologically Inspired Robotics team!



EMAE’s Umut Gurkan and Team Receive Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership Award

A research team led by Umut Gurkan, assistant professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, received Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership award to validate and field test HemeChip technology for point-of-care diagnosis of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) in newborns in resource-limited countries.

With this award, the team will validate the HemeChip technology by screening up to 5,000 babies over the next year in collaboration with Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, in Accra, Ghana.

Scientific illustration credit: Grace Gongaware,
Cleveland Institute of Art Student

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CWRU, NASA and Fire Departments Team to Protect Firefighters

Dr. Fumiaki Takahashi: who has recently joined EMAE department, has been awarded a $1.5 million Assistance to Firefighters/Fire Prevention and Safety grant by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  His research team will build prototype sensors to alert structural and wildland firefighters of hazards in the air.  Dr. Takahashi has already conducted a FEMA-supported one-year preliminary study of the subject.    

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Congratulations to Victoria Webster on Winning Best Poster Award!

Several members of the Mechanical Engineering Department presented at the Living Machines 2015 conference in Barcelona, Spain July 28-31. 
Victoria Webster won the Jaques de Vaucanson Best Poster Award for her interdisciplinary work with
Emma Hawley from Biomedical Engineering, ProfessorsOzan Akkus and Roger Quinn from Mechanical Engineering, and Professor Hillel Chiel from Biology on the ‘Fabrication of Electrocompacted Aligned Collagen Morphs for Cardiomyocyte Powered Living Machines.’

Living Machines 2015 Awards

Read more about the conference


Congratulations to Mustafa Unal For Receiving Baxter Young Investigator Award!

Third year MAE doctoral candidate Mustafa Unal from Prof. Ozan Akkus Lab has been selected as a Baxter Young Investigator for his research entitled “Assessment of Bone Quality by Novel Spectroscopic Biomarkers” in the category of “Instrumental & Analytical Sciences”

The Baxter Young Investigator Award is highly competitive annual award program for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the US. Baxter International Inc. annually recognizes the high caliber of students’ academic and research efforts and congratulates them on their valuable contributions to healthcare science, as they are selected as a Baxter Young Investigator.

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Robotics Club Takes Part in NASA's Mining Competition

Case Western Reserve University’s Robotics Club competed atNASA’s Annual Robotic Mining Competition at NASA Kennedy Space Center in May for the third year in a row. The competition consists of designing and building a rover capable of mining regolith, artificial Martian soil, on a simulated extraterrestrial environment. It attracts 50 teams from around the nation and and pits them to compete in categories from rover design, field performance, systems engineering report, outreach projects, and team spirit. A total of twelve members attended the competition, composed of undergraduate students in electrical, mechanical, aerospace, biomedical engineering and computer science.


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Baja Team Places at the Top in Maryland

Baja SAE is an intercollegiate competition, sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers, where students design, build, test, and race an off-road vehicle.  National competitions are held every summer, where teams from every state and countries around the world put their vehicles through rigorous events. The goal of the competition is to give real world experience in design, manufacturing and marketing through the production of an off-road vehicle.  

At the second Baja SAE event of the 2015 season, CWRU Baja had their best performance yet.  

The car lasted for the entire 4-hour Endurance Race, and placed 5th out of 100.  The team also performed well in many other dynamic events, adding up to a 14th place overall.

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EMAE members supervised by Umut Gurkan selected as finalist for the Student Technology Prize for Primary Health Care

EMAE student team has been chosen as one of the 10 finalists for the Student Technology Prize for Primary Health Care, a national and highly selective competition seeking innovations that have a substantial potential to support the improved delivery of care at the frontlines of medicine.

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CWRU student entrepreneur to be recognized at White House event May 11

Felipe Gomez del Campo V, a junior double majoring in mechanical and aerospace engineering at Case Western Reserve University, will be among a group of emerging entrepreneurs recognized by President Obama at a White House event on Monday, May 11.

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Umut Gurkan, Assistant Professor in EMAE, has been awarded the Glennan Fellowship by The University Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education (UCITE). 

Prof. Gurkan’s Glennan Fellowship Project is titled: “Teaching Critical Reading and Writing in Emerging Science and Technology Fields”. The aims of this project are: (1) to develop an instructional methodology in critical scientific reading and writing in graduate level, (2) to make the methodology available to other interested course instructors on CWRU campus, and (3) to establish a collaboration with Cleveland Institute of Art to create a platform that integrates science and engineering education with visual arts pedagogy. This new program aims to teach engineering students new visual communication skills to better express their scientific and technical ideas and designs for a broader audience, ranging from the experts in the field to the general public. Named after T. Keith Glennan, former President of Case Institute of Technology (1947-1965), the Glennan Fellowship program facilitates faculty growth. Glennan Fellowship is awarded based on promise for a balanced career in both teaching and scholarship.


Congratulations to Dr. Paul Barnhart For Receiving The J. Bruce Jackson, MD, Award
For Excellence In Undergraduate Mentoring!

The Jackson Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring recognizes the positive impact Case Western Reserve University faculty and staff have on the lives of students. It was  established by J. Bruce Jackson, Adelbert '52, in honor of Dean Carl F. Wittke, who served as an advisor, mentor, and friend to Dr. Jackson when he was an undergraduate student at Western Reserve University.

Read more about the award



Best Poster Award for Mustafa Unal from Prof. Ozan Akkus Lab

MAE graduate student Mustafa Unal's poster entitled “A Novel Method to Assess Bone Quality” was selected as one of the best posters in Northeast Ohio Musculoskeletal Research Retreat on Saturday, April 25, 2015 organized by CWRU Department of Orthopaedic. His poster was among top 3 posters in PhD level competition.


Dr. Jaikrishnan Kadambi Wins ASME Fluids Engineering Division Award

Dr. Jaikrishnan Kadambi, Professor and Associate Chair of mechanical and aerospace engineering, is the recipient of theASME Fluids Engineering Division’s
“2015 Sankaraiyer Gopalakrishnan-Flowserve Pump
Technology Award”. 

In keeping with Dr. Gopalkrishnan's dedication to the education of the next generation of expert pump engineers, the Sankaraiyer Gopalakrishnan-Flowserve Pump Technology Award, conferred biannually, recognizes an individual with the potential of being the next generation's expert pump engineer, who has at least 5 to 10 years of experience in the pump field as documented through publications and testimonials of peers and co-workers.

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A National Recognition for Mousa Younesi from Prof. Ozan Akkus Lab

MAE graduate student Mousa Younesi’s, paper entitled “Mesenchymal Stem Cell Pellet Delivery Platform for Functional Repair of Cartilage” was designated as an outstanding contribution to the Society For Biomaterials’ 2015 Annual Meeting. 

The Education and Professional Development Committee of the Society has awarded Mousa with a STAR (Student Travel Achievement Recognition).

His work was among 25 submissions selected out of 300 students.

This recognition will be announced during the opening ceremony in Charlotte, NC,
on Wednesday, April 15. 

Congratulations on receiving this honor!

STAR Awards


Locomotion Challenges

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering graduate student, Lauren Smith, assembles one of her tri-wheel mechanisms in NASA Glenn’s Innovations Lab. Smith is working at Glenn to solve locomotion challenges on search and rescue vehicles. Her unique gearing system also has applications for extraterrestrial robots.

Smith was recently named to Aviation Week magazine’s Tomorrow’s Engineering Leaders: the Twenty20s list, which recognizes the next generation of aerospace talent. 

NASA Glenn recently featured Lauren Smith with her research project with Dr. Quinn on their Instagram account.


Congratulations to MAE Professor Kiju Lee

Dr. Kiju Lee is the recipient of the January 2015 Garverick Innovation Incentive Program 
at the Advanced Platform Technology (APT) Center.

Dr. Lee’s project titled “Development and Preliminary Evaluation of Wearable Bio-Social Sensors for Older Veterans Living in a Community Living Center” proposes to develop a unique bio-social sensor system that can facilitate the assessment of biological, behavioral, social, and physical environmental data and the examination of their interactive roles and relative importance.

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Biorobotics Team, Led by Dr. Roger Quinn, featured in CNN News Article about Autonomous Snowplow Competition

Sick and tired of plowing your driveway during these Cleveland winters? Well, so are we! And the Case Autonomous Snowplow Team led by Dr. Roger Quinn is here to make sure that humans plowing snow becomes a thing of the past! Ten students, ranging from 1st year to PhD, as well as an adviser from our corporate sponsor, MTD, will be making the trek up to St. Paul from the 22nd to the 25th of January to compete in the 5th annual ION Autonomous Snowplow Competition. This national competition brings in teams from all over Midwest to compete for a prize pool of $15,000. Robot performance, as well a professional report and presentation on all aspects of the robot, will be used to determine a winner. Please join us in supporting the team! And, check back soon for the results.

CNN Article


Sickle cell research using biochip technology advances at University Hospitals, CWRU

A new study that recently began enrolling patients at University Hospitals Case Medical Center is using biochip technology that one day may help physicians better manage the treatment of patients with sickle cell disease. The biochip technology determines the "stickiness" of red blood cells – a quality that physicians think can indicate something about disease activity. One of the big benefits of the biochip technology – developed by a team led by Umut Gurkan, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Case Western Reserve University – is that it provides important information with just a few drops of blood from patients, and without drastically changing the blood's composition. In December 2014, at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology, the UH and CWRU researchers presented results of an earlier study launched in late 2013. Based on the promising findings, researchers have begun obtaining consent from child and adult sickle cell patients to use their blood samples for the new study. While previous research has been done in a small number of patients, the biochip technology makes it possible to analyze blood samples from hundreds of patients.

(Based on an article by Angela Townsend, The Plain Dealer)

Learn more about this research


Meet Philos, a Robot Caregiver

Professor Kiju Lee's research group is developing a social robot, called Philos, that can interact with people while monitoring their bio-behavioral data."Philos" means "Friend" in Greek. The current version of Philos can track and recognize human faces, generate simple facial expressions and gestures, and make penguin-like sound. More entertaining features, such as online speech recognition and generation and music play, are being added. Philos has been recently featured on a local television show, WVIZ/PBS Ideastream. 

The video clip can be found on the following link:

Learn more about Philos


Student Research Fund

Mustafa Unal, EMAE graduate student and Ph.D. candidate in Orthopaedic Bioengineering Laboratory led by DrOzan Akkus, has received the student research fund from
The George W. Codrington Charitable Foundation by means of think[box] at CWRU for his ongoing research. His research includes developing a novel diagnostic technique to assess bone quality through Raman Spectroscopy; the novel technique would potentially help to improve the current diagnostic technique for those who may be at risk of bone fracture due to the bone diseases (e.g., osteoporosis). By 2025, the annual fractures due the osteoporosis are estimated
to surpass 3 million for the United States with the medical costs of $25 billion.

The raman system

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