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  5. Researchers seek to understand the brain, boost batteries, improve patient care, and produce advanced biofuels

Researchers seek to understand the brain, boost batteries, improve patient care, and produce advanced biofuels

Four research proposals have received funding in the first round of the College of Engineering Research Innovation Committee competition. Interdisciplinary in nature, the projects include efforts to understand the brain, develop a multidirectional battery research center, enhance patient-centered care, and to prepare a proposal for an NSF advanced biofuels center.

Early-stage funded projects include:

Multi-modal neuro imaging—Researchers aim to develop a holistic understanding of the entire brain. Their efforts will incorporate vascular structure, cell phenotypes, electrophysiology, anatomy, multiple spatial-temporal scales, and chemical dimensions. Measurement, data analysis and prototyping expertise unique to engineering will enable the research.

The team includes several electrical and computer engineers: Associate Professors Nam Sung Kim and Rebecca Willett, Professor Mikko Lipasti, Lynn H. Matthias Professor Barry Van Veen and McFarland-Bascom Professor Rob Nowak. In addition, it includes Biomedical Engineering and Medical Physics Professor Beth Meyerand, BME Professor Justin Williams, and Industrial and Systems Engineering and Computer Sciences Professor Stephen Wright.

Battery manufacturing, service and management systems—In this proposal, researchers will develop a concept for a center on battery manufacturing, service and management systems. This center will focus on integrated research in three tightly coupled areas, including battery manufacturing systems for high productivity and quality; battery service systems for diagnosis, maintenance and recycling; and battery management systems to control and optimize battery operations. 

The researchers include Industrial and Systems Engineering Associate Professor Jingshan Li and Professor Shiyu Zhou, and Electrical and Computer Engineering Assistant Professor Yehui Han

Proposal development projects funded include:

Engineering Research Center for Healthcare Engineering Across the Patient Process—This center aims to transform healthcare into an engineered system that provides patient-centered, ubiquitous, distributed and resilient care. Professionals and researchers from healthcare, engineering, health informatics, computer science, psychology and education will engage in research, education and innovation transfer to enhance patient-centered coordinated care across time, space and organization throughout patients’ lives.  

The team includes several industrial and systems engineers: Procter & Gamble Bascom Professor in Total Quality Pascale Carayon, Robert Ratner Professor Raj Veeramani, Professor Shiyu Zhou; and Associate Professors Oguz Alagoz, Jingshan Li and Doug Wiegmann. In addition, it includes Geriatrics and Adult Development and Nursing Assistant Professor Amy Kind, Biostatistics and Medical Informatics Associate Professor Eneida Mendonca, Medicine Associate Professor Tosha Wetterneck, and Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement Associate Scientist Ann Schoofs Hundt.

NSF Engineering Research Center for Integrated Design of Advanced Biofuels—The research team submitted a pre-proposal to the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center program—which supports large, transformative interdisciplinary projects—for a center focused on advanced biofuels. The team plans to use its funding to prepare a full center proposal and plan for a site visit.

The researchers include several chemical and biological engineers, including Professors George Huber and Manos Mavrikakis, Steenbock Professor and Michel Boudart Professor James Dumesic, and Associate Professor Christos Maravelias. The team also includes Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor David Rothamer and Biochemistry Professor John Ralph. 

Renee Meiller