Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Department News

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.  

Professor Robert Gao Received a New NSF Grant

A team of four faculty members from Case Western Reserve University, Missouri University of Science and Technology, and University of Florida, have received a $1.5 million collaborative grant from NSF’s National Robotics Initiative. The project, funded for the period of September 15, 2018 – August 31, 2022, is entitled “Manufacturing USA: Intelligent Human-Robot Collaboration for Smart Factory”. 
The project is motivated by the recognition that a strong manufacturing industry is of foundational importance to the nation’s economic prosperity, and investments in manufacturing have a strong multiplying effect on the broader economy.

The four faculty members of the project, together with an Italian robot automation company in Michigan and a research institute of the National Research Council of Italy, will work on several fundamental problems related to human-robot collaboration in a manufacturing environment.

As the PI for CWRU and funded at $453K, Prof. Gao and his students will develop stochastic modeling and machine learning techniques for reliable recognition and prediction of human actions and motions in different manufacturing settings to enable multi-scale human-robot coordination.

Professor Ya-Ting Liao Received a New NSF Grant

Professor Ya-Ting Liao received a new grant from NSF’s Combustion and Fire Systems program, entitled "Ignition Propensity of Structural Materials Exposed to Firebrand in Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) Fires". The project, funded at $300K, is for the period September 1, 2018 - August 31, 2021.

This project will characterize the ignition process of materials caused by firebrand attacks, a key mechanism of wildfire spread into Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) communities.

Firebrands are small burning pieces lofted by flame plumes and transported by ambient winds. Although they are small, firebrands can travel in large groups for long distances from the fire front. These firebrands can shower unto structures in WUI communities far from the wildfire itself and therefore pose serious threats to human lives and properties. In this project, lab-scale experiments and computational modeling will be used to systematically study such phenomena. By providing a better understanding of firebrand attacks, this project will promote the development of new testing standards for building codes and materials. This work will contribute to the effort in increasing the safety of structures at the wildland-urban interface, such as optimal geometry of structure for mitigating fire risks.



PhD Student Receives AHA Fellowship

Erdem Kucukal, a PhD student in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, received a predoctoral fellowship award from the American Heart Association.
Erdem is exploring abnormal cellular adhesion in pumonary vascular shunts.

The award will support his project “Elucidating the role of abnormal cellular adhesion in pathologic pulmonary vascular shunts."

Erdem is astudent in the lab of Umut Gurkan, the Warrant E. Rupp Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.