Innovation has a new home at Sears think[box]
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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.
 

New material system permits 3-D patterning to regulate stem cell behavior

Stem cells can be coaxed to grow into new bone or new cartilage better and faster when given the right molecular cues and room inside a water-loving gel, researchers at Case Western Reserve University show.
 
By creating a three-dimensional checkerboard—one with alternating highly connected and less connected spaces within the hydrogel—the team found adjusting the size of the micropattern could affect stem cell behaviors, such as proliferation and differentiation.
 
Inducing how and where stem cells grow—and into the right kind of cell in three dimensions—has proven a challenge to creating useful stem cell therapies. This technique holds promise for studying how physical, chemical and other influences affect cell behavior in three dimensions, and, ultimately, as a method to grow tissues for regenerative medicine applications.
 

Engineering student Alan Filer wins Fulbright scholarship to South Korea

Fourth-year engineering student Alan Filer has won a Fulbright scholarship to travel to South Korea in the fall. There, he’ll explore ways to make cheaper and cleaner alternatives to costly and toxic materials used in solar panels.
 
Filer, who will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering in May, is focused on replacing rare earth metals and heavy metals with two highly proclaimed materials: graphene and quantum dots.
 
He’s challenged with developing manufacturing techniques that make the replacements equal to or better than the materials used now, and ensuring what works in the lab works in the real world.
 
The project is something he’s been working toward since arriving at Case Western Reserve University from his home in Colorado Springs.