Innovation has a new home at Sears think[box]

Mohan Sankaran's influential mentoring approach earns him Jackson Award

When an incoming first-year student asked to become involved in research, R. Mohan Sankaran, associate professor of chemical engineering, delivered.

The student, Megan Witzke, will graduate this month as a published researcher. She’ll enter a PhD program this fall as one of fewer than 100 chemical engineering students nationwide to receive a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Based heavily on Witzke’s success and recommendation, Sankaran, a Case Western Reserve University faculty member since 2005, won a J. Bruce Jackson Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring. J. Bruce Jackson (ADL ’52) established the award in 2003 in honor of the late Dean Carl F. Wittke, Jackson’s mentor during his undergraduate years.

CWRU students add Jell-O to engineering lesson plans

A team of Case Western Reserve University students is pushing Jell-O as brain food—to teach middle schoolers about engineering.
For their efforts, the team won the Biomaterials Education Challenge and $2,500 prize at the Society of Biomaterials’ national meeting in April.
Jell-O may be the nation’s best-known biomaterial. The food is classified as a hydrogel, and collagen, a protein found in the body, gives it the shakable structure.
Plastic surgeons use collagen to puff up movie stars’ lips. But, as photos of aging actors’ sagging smiles attest, collagen doesn’t hold up forever. And that’s part of what makes it a good material to teach young students, said team member Julia Samorezov, a PhD candidate in biomedical engineering.

Alexis Abramson appointed faculty director of the Great Lakes Energy Institute

Associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering Alexis Abramson has been appointed the new faculty director of the Great Lakes Energy Institute.
Abramson has been with the Case School of Engineering since 2003, where she has focused her research on novel techniques for thermal characterization of nanostructures; the design and synthesis of unique nanomaterials for use in alternative energy applications; and strategies to accelerate technology commercialization at universities and research institutions.

Engineering student-led startup takes home honors at major competitions


The Disease Diagnostic Group team (from left): John Lewandowski, Mark Lewandowski and Brian Grimberg

A Case Western Reserve University student-led startup aimed at saving lives through faster, better and cheaper malaria diagnosis won the 2013 LaunchTown Entrepreneurship Business Idea Competition at the University of Akron in April.

Disease Diagnostic Group LLC’s win comes on the heels of its ninth-place finish—out of 1,200 entries—at the Rice Business Plan Competition, the world’s richest and largest business plan competition, four days earlier.

Chemical Engineering's Robert Savinell Named ISE Fellow

Robert Savinell, the George S. Dively Professor of Engineering, has been elected as a fellow of the International Society of Electrochemistry. As an ISE fellow, he joins an elite group that numbers just 60 researchers around the world.
Savinell is a recognized authority on electrochemical energy storage and conversion. He has authored more than 100 publications and holds seven patents in the electrochemical field. He recently won a grant from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy to continue his work developing a low-cost, all-iron flow battery.