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Cover of the Winter 2009 issue


VOL. 35, NO. 2






College notes

Several COE engineers named society fellows

  • The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has named Electrical and Computer Engineering Professors Susan Hagness and Parmesh Ramanathan fellows, the highest grade of membership in IEEE. Hagness’s research interests span computational and experimental applied electromagnetics; specifically, IEEE cited her contributions to time-domain computational electromagnetics and microwave medical imaging. Ramanathan’s interests include computer networks, mobile computing, fault-tolerant computing, communication in distributed systems and more. He received the honor for his contributions to real-time systems and networks.

  • The American Society for Materials (ASM) named Engineering Physics Distinguished Research Professor Kumar Sridharan a fellow. The honor recognizes Sridharan’s contributions in materials science and engineering and develops a broad-based forum for technical and professional leaders to serve as advisors to the society. Founded in 1969, ASM is a premier society for materials science and engineering with a worldwide membership of about 34,000 and 98 regional chapters. Sridharan received his award in October.

  • The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) named Mechanical Engineering Professor Lih-Sheng Turng a fellow. A co-director of the Polymer Engineering Center, Turng is known for his research in polymer injection molding, including pioneering work in microcellular injection molding. His research encompasses novel processes as well as new materials.

Dumesic to lead UW role in new NSF center

Steenbock Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering James Dumesic will lead the UW-Madison collaborators in the recently established National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC) at Iowa State University. The $18.5 million grant supports collaborative research at six universities, three international institutions, and nine industry partners aimed at transforming the petrochemical-based chemical industry to one based on renewable materials.

CHESS awarded more than $10 million in grants

The National Cancer Institute has awarded a five-year, $8.6 million grant to the Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies (CHESS). The grant establishes the Center of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research II, through which a multidisciplinary team of scientists will conduct three studies that focus on interactive cancer communication systems. They also have received a five-year, $2.8 million grant from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to study ways to reduce relapses. The team will develop and test a mobile phone-based relapse-prevention system that offers support to alcohol-dependent people whenever it is needed. Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Professor and CHESS Director David Gustafson is the principal investigator on both grants.

Brain-computer interface research funded with more than $7 million

Biomedical Engineering Assistant Professor Justin Williams is part of two projects that will enable him and his collaborators to develop technology that could help people with conditions such as ALS, high spinal-cord injuries or brain-stem strokes to regain their ability to communicate—and ultimately, to move. With a $2 million grant over four years from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Williams and co-PI Dan Moran (Washington University, St. Louis) will develop thin-film electrode technology for chronically recording neural activity from the brain surface. Williams also is part of a team, led by New York-based Wadsworth Center researchers Gerwin Scharlk and Jonathan Wolpaw, that received a five-year, $5.4 million NIH grant to develop a general-purpose brain-computer interface system for use in human patients for treatment of a variety of neurological disorders.

Trace Center receives $4.75 million for rehabilitation engineering research

Researchers in the Trace Research and Development Center have received a $4.75 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research to establish a Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center. The funding will help Trace researchers continue to improve the accessibility of technologies that enable people with disabilities to participate in work, education, travel and the community. Industrial and Systems Engineering and Biomedical Engineering Professor Gregg Vanderheiden directs the Trace Center. In addition, Trace researchers played a significant role in developing a standard, announced in December, that helps developers and designers create websites that better meet the needs of elderly users and those with disabilities.

Lillesand to receive top remote sensing society honor

In 2009, Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Emeritus Thomas M. Lillesand will become the next honorary member of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS). The honor is the highest award an ASPRS member can receive: There are only 25 living honorary members at any time. Lillesand has directed the Environmental Remote Sensing Center, chaired the Environmental Monitoring Graduate Program, taught many courses, advised 76 graduate students, and authored more than 200 professional publications. His interdisciplinary research has spanned from statewide and regional land cover classification and change detection to applications of remote sensing in forestry, agriculture, civil engineering, long-term ecosystem science, climate change, and water resources management.

National academies cites Robinson and Fonck for service

The Council of the National Academy of Sciences has named Industrial and Systems Engineering Professor Emeritus Stephen Robinson and Steenbock Professor of Engineering Physics Ray Fonck national associates of the National Research Council of the National Academies. Robinson was a member of the National Research Council Board on Mathematical Sciences and Their Applications, and the National Research Council Committee on Modeling and Simulation for Defense Transformation. He currently is a member of the National Research Council Committee on Experimentation and Rapid Prototyping in Support of Counterterrorism. Fonck was a five-year member of the National Research Council Board on Physics and Astronomy, co-chair of the National Research Council Burning Plasma Assessment Committee, and a member of the National Research Council Fusion Science Assessment Committee.

Farrell receives honorary degree

City University in London awarded an honorary Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, to Mechanical Engineering Professor Patrick Farrell in a January 26 ceremony. Farrell helped to establish research connections between UW-Madison and City University, managed by the Division of International Studies.

Engineers Without Borders professional chapter forms

Engineers and professionals of all backgrounds are invited to join the newly formed professional chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB)-USA in Madison. EWB-USA, a member of the Engineers Without Borders-International network, is a nonprofit organization that partners with developing communities in countries around the world to implement sustainable engineering projects that will improve the quality of life in those communities.

A wide range of projects, typically managed by the student chapters, provides an outstanding opportunity for involving and training internationally responsible engineering students. Projects include energy, sanitation, water resources, health, agriculture and more. With a primary objective of assisting the UW-Madison student chapter, the Madison Area Professionals Chapter (MAPC) will provide mentoring and technical expertise in support of ongoing international projects in Rwanda, Haiti, El Salvador and Kenya, as well as a domestic project in northern Wisconsin. Chapter meetings are held on the second Wednesday of every month on the UW-Madison engineering campus. To learn more about MAPC, contact Dave Hoerr,

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