Fridays at 3:30 PM (ET), 12:30 PM (PT)
Join the webinar: http://bit.ly/FrontiersMES
Join by phone: +1-415-655-0001 US TOLL | Access code: 172 453 9606

The Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering and Sciences Multi-University Webinar Series consists of weekly presentations by pre-tenure faculty from nine different universities who share their research on a range of topics. The virtual lectures will take place online, every Friday at 3:30 pm Eastern Time, with two consecutive presenters followed by an opportunity for colleagues and collaborators to mingle virtually. Speakers will be grouped thematically, from robotics to design to energy systems.

This seminar is designed to highlight new and exciting research, build connections across participating institutions, and connect early-career faculty with potential collaborators across the country.

The intended audience for this seminar series includes graduate students, postdocs, and faculty at all stages of their careers who are interested in hearing from some of the emerging stars in their fields. Participating schools include:

  • Georgia Tech

  • Penn State

  • Purdue University

  • Texas A&M University

  • University of California-Los Angeles

  • University of Maryland

  • University of Michigan

  • University of Minnesota

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison


Week 7- Friday, October 23
Theme: Biorobotics

Assistant Professor
University of Minnesota

"Robotics tools for sensing and perturbing single cells in intact tissue"

Abstract: Computations in the brain that mediate behavior occur at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Information is integrated in the brain within single cells, which are interconnected in dense local circuits, which are in turn, incorporated in larger networks spanning many brain regions. A critical challenge for modern neuroscience is to study the brain across these multiple spatial scales. Traditionally, the modalities used to observe or perturb activities at the level of single cells do not scale to the circuit or whole brain level without loss of signal fidelity or information. In this presentation, I am going describe technologies we have been developing to bridge some of these experimental scales. First, I am going to talk about robotic tools we have developed that enable us automatically perform patch clamping, a high-fidelity neuronal recording technique that enables comprehensive electrophysiological and morphological characterization of single cells in awake and anesthetized animals. Building upon this basic technology, we have now extended the automation algorithms to scale up the number of electrodes to perform patch clamp recordings from intact circuits in vivo, and have also incorporated computer vision algorithms to target specific genetically tagged populations of cells within them. Moreover, these robots can be programmed to deliver femto-liter payloads via microinjection for cellular resolution genetic manipulation in intact tissue.

Bio: Dr. Kodandaramaiah obtained a Bachelor in Engineering degree in mechanical engineering from Visveswaraya Technological University in India. He obtained a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and PhD from Georgia Institute of Technology, also in Mechanical Engineering. He then completed post-doctoral training in Dr. Edward Boyden’s laboratory in the Media Lab and McGovern Institute for Brain Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research is at the intersection of robotics, precision engineering and neuroscience. During his graduate studies and post-doctoral training, Dr. Kodandaramaiah developed robotic tools for observing and analyzing neuronal circuit computations in intact living brains. In 2010, the work was awarded the R. V. Jones Memorial Award by the American Society for Precision Engineering. In 2012, Dr. Kodandaramaiah was recognized by Forbes magazine's 30 under 30 list of rising researchers in science and healthcare.

Assistant Professor
Penn State University


"Reverse Engineering Biological Control of Locomotion"

Abstract: According to the National Academy of Engineering, one the Grand Challenges for Engineering for the 21st century is to reverse engineer brain function. In this talk, I will present a framework to quantify how the brain controls movement by integrating experimental and theoretical approaches at the interface of biomechanics, neuroscience and control theory. Emphasizing the senses of touch and vision, I will draw on control tasks in running and flying insects and describe how animals implement feedback control. I will discuss novel tools that my lab is developing to study animal behavior in virtual reality and techniques that permit unprecedented access to brain circuits. Throughout, I will highlight the interdisciplinary nature of my research program that is inspiring the development of more agile insect-scale robots. By applying principles from biology, these robots can permit tasks such as industrial monitoring in confined spaces, exploration on complex terrain, and search and rescue missions in disaster areas.

Bio: Jean-Michel Mongeau is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Penn State University. He directs the Bio-Motion Systems lab which studies the neuro-mechanics and control of aerial and terrestrial locomotion in animals and machines. He is the recipient of the 2019 AFOSR Young Investigator Program (YIP) award. Dr. Mongeau received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 2013 in Biophysics and his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University in 2007. Dr. Mongeau was a NSF IGERT and NSF Graduate Research fellow. Prior to joining Penn State, he was a post-doctoral scholar at UCLA funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Army Research Office. Dr. Mongeau and his research have been featured in several popular media outlets including The New York Times, Discover Magazine, NPR, and The Economist.

Professor and Chair, William E. Boeing Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics

University of Washington


Bio: Professor Kristi A. Morgansen received a BS and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University, respectively in 1993 and 1994, an S.M. in Applied Mathematics in 1996 from Harvard University and a PhD in Engineering Sciences in 1999 from Harvard University. She is currently Professor and Chair of the William E. Boeing Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics. Her research interests focus on nonlinear systems where sensing and actuation are integrated, stability in switched systems with delay, and incorporation of operational constraints such as communication delays in control of multi-vehicle systems. Applications include both traditional autonomous vehicle systems such as fixed-wing aircraft and underwater gliders as well as novel systems such as bio-inspired underwater propulsion, bio-inspired agile flight, human decision making, and neural engineering.

Week 6- Friday, October 16
Theme: Combustion

Speaker 1: Chris Goldenstein

Assistant Professor
Purdue University

"Advancements in high-bandwidth laser-absorption diagnostics for combustion of energetic materials"

Abstract: Understanding the complex combustion physics governing post-detonation fireballs of energetic materials is paramount to national security. The ability to predict the thermochemical evolution of such fireballs is key to not only understanding their efficacy at neutralizing threats (e.g., biological weapons of mass destruction), but also to predicting their radiative signature for remote detection technologies. This quest for accurate, predictive fireball models has motivated the development of a variety of laser diagnostics capable of quantifying temperature and chemical species in harsh combustion environments. Recently, our lab has developed several laser-absorption-spectroscopy diagnostics for temperature and species measurements on extremely short timescales (picoseconds to microseconds) and with improved sensitivity. This talk will compare and contrast two such diagnostics. The first utilizes telecommunication-grade diode lasers with a novel near-GHz wavelength-modulation-spectroscopy technique to provide sensitive measurements of temperature, H2O, and atomic iodine at up to 1 MHz via a field-deployable sensor package. The second utilizes broadband, ultrashort pulses of mid-infrared radiation to provide simultaneous measurements of temperature, CO, NO, and H2O with picosecond time resolution. The application of these diagnostics to characterizing aluminized fireballs of HMX is also presented.

Bio: Dr. Goldenstein is currently an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University and an editorial board member for IOP’s Measurement Science and Technology. He received his BSE from the University of Michigan in 2009 and his PhD from Stanford University in 2014. He was a Postdoctoral Scholar in Stanford University’s High Temperature Gasdynamics Laboratory from 2014 to 2016 where he studied laser spectroscopy, nonequilibrium gases, and propulsion. Since joining Purdue in 2016, Dr. Goldenstein has received Young Investigator Awards from DTRA and AFOSR, the NSF CAREER Award, and a NASA Early Career Faculty Award. His research group focuses on the development and application of laser diagnostics for studying combustion, nonequilibrium gases, and propulsion and defense systems.

Speaker 2: Mitchell Spearrin

Assistant Professor
UCLA

"Quantitative thermochemical imaging of combustion flows: rockets to wildfires"


Abstract: The conversion of chemical to thermal energy often involves a spatially-heterogenous domain governed by competing physics of fluid dynamics, heat transfer, and chemical kinetics. To improve understanding and predictive capability of complex combustion flow fields, quantitative imaging techniques for temperature and species are needed. This talk examines the potential for laser absorption spectroscopy to be used as a quantitative thermochemical imaging diagnostic with application to multi-physical experiments relevant to hybrid rocket propulsion, gas turbines, and toxicant formation in fires at the wildland-urban interface. Application-oriented case studies highlight the benefits and shortcomings of using tomographic methods to discern optical pathlength non-uniformity and motivate further advancement. The latter part of the talk presents a novel mid-infrared laser absorption imaging (LAI) technique and the prospects for deep learning methods in enabling quantitative, high-resolution 3D imaging of thermochemical flow structure with limited optical access.

Bio: Dr. Spearrin is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), where he directs the Laser Spectroscopy and Gas Dynamics Laboratory as well as the Mojave Propulsion Test Facility. His research spans fundamental spectroscopic studies of collisional and radiative processes, optical diagnostic methods development, and experimental investigations of non-equilibrium flow physics and advanced propulsion technology. Dr. Spearrin has received early-career awards from the National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, American Chemical Society, and NASA. Dr. Spearrin completed his Ph.D. in 2015 at Stanford University, working in the High Temperature Gas Dynamics Laboratory. Prior to his academic career, Dr. Spearrin worked for Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne as a combustion devices development engineer.

Moderator: Tim Lieuwen

Regents Professor and David S. Lewis Jr. Chair
Georgia Tech

Bio: Dr. Tim Lieuwen holds the David S. Lewis, Jr. Chair and is the executive director of the Strategic Energy Institute at Georgia Tech. His interests lie in the areas of acoustics, fluid mechanics, and combustion. He works closely with industry and government, particularly focusing on fundamental problems that arise out of development of clean combustion systems or utilization of alternative fuels. If you like making fire, making noise, and saving the planet all at the same time, these are all great problems to work on.

A 2018 inductee into the National Academy of Engineering, Dr. Lieuwen has authored or edited four combustion books, including the textbook Unsteady Combustor Physics. He has also received five patents, and authored eight book chapters, 110 journal articles, and more than 200 other papers. He is a member of the National Petroleum Counsel and is editor-in-chief of an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics book series. He has served on the board of the ASME International Gas Turbine Institute, and is past chair of the Combustion, Fuels, and Emissions technical committee of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He is also an associate editor of the Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, and has served as associate editor for the AIAA Journal of Propulsion and Power, and Combustion Science and Technology. Prof. Lieuwen is a Fellow of the ASME and AIAA, and has been a recipient of the AIAA Lawrence Sperry Award and the ASME Westinghouse Silver Medal.

Week 6- Friday, October 16
Theme: Combustion

Speaker 1: Chris Goldenstein

Assistant Professor
Purdue University

"Advancements in high-bandwidth laser-absorption diagnostics for combustion of energetic materials"

Abstract: Understanding the complex combustion physics governing post-detonation fireballs of energetic materials is paramount to national security. The ability to predict the thermochemical evolution of such fireballs is key to not only understanding their efficacy at neutralizing threats (e.g., biological weapons of mass destruction), but also to predicting their radiative signature for remote detection technologies. This quest for accurate, predictive fireball models has motivated the development of a variety of laser diagnostics capable of quantifying temperature and chemical species in harsh combustion environments. Recently, our lab has developed several laser-absorption-spectroscopy diagnostics for temperature and species measurements on extremely short timescales (picoseconds to microseconds) and with improved sensitivity. This talk will compare and contrast two such diagnostics. The first utilizes telecommunication-grade diode lasers with a novel near-GHz wavelength-modulation-spectroscopy technique to provide sensitive measurements of temperature, H2O, and atomic iodine at up to 1 MHz via a field-deployable sensor package. The second utilizes broadband, ultrashort pulses of mid-infrared radiation to provide simultaneous measurements of temperature, CO, NO, and H2O with picosecond time resolution. The application of these diagnostics to characterizing aluminized fireballs of HMX is also presented.

Bio: Dr. Goldenstein is currently an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University and an editorial board member for IOP’s Measurement Science and Technology. He received his BSE from the University of Michigan in 2009 and his PhD from Stanford University in 2014. He was a Postdoctoral Scholar in Stanford University’s High Temperature Gasdynamics Laboratory from 2014 to 2016 where he studied laser spectroscopy, nonequilibrium gases, and propulsion. Since joining Purdue in 2016, Dr. Goldenstein has received Young Investigator Awards from DTRA and AFOSR, the NSF CAREER Award, and a NASA Early Career Faculty Award. His research group focuses on the development and application of laser diagnostics for studying combustion, nonequilibrium gases, and propulsion and defense systems.

Speaker 2: Mitchell Spearrin

Assistant Professor
UCLA

"Quantitative thermochemical imaging of combustion flows: rockets to wildfires"


Abstract: The conversion of chemical to thermal energy often involves a spatially-heterogenous domain governed by competing physics of fluid dynamics, heat transfer, and chemical kinetics. To improve understanding and predictive capability of complex combustion flow fields, quantitative imaging techniques for temperature and species are needed. This talk examines the potential for laser absorption spectroscopy to be used as a quantitative thermochemical imaging diagnostic with application to multi-physical experiments relevant to hybrid rocket propulsion, gas turbines, and toxicant formation in fires at the wildland-urban interface. Application-oriented case studies highlight the benefits and shortcomings of using tomographic methods to discern optical pathlength non-uniformity and motivate further advancement. The latter part of the talk presents a novel mid-infrared laser absorption imaging (LAI) technique and the prospects for deep learning methods in enabling quantitative, high-resolution 3D imaging of thermochemical flow structure with limited optical access.

Bio: Dr. Spearrin is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), where he directs the Laser Spectroscopy and Gas Dynamics Laboratory as well as the Mojave Propulsion Test Facility. His research spans fundamental spectroscopic studies of collisional and radiative processes, optical diagnostic methods development, and experimental investigations of non-equilibrium flow physics and advanced propulsion technology. Dr. Spearrin has received early-career awards from the National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, American Chemical Society, and NASA. Dr. Spearrin completed his Ph.D. in 2015 at Stanford University, working in the High Temperature Gas Dynamics Laboratory. Prior to his academic career, Dr. Spearrin worked for Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne as a combustion devices development engineer.

Moderator: Tim Lieuwen

Regents Professor and David S. Lewis Jr. Chair
Georgia Tech

Bio: Dr. Tim Lieuwen holds the David S. Lewis, Jr. Chair and is the executive director of the Strategic Energy Institute at Georgia Tech. His interests lie in the areas of acoustics, fluid mechanics, and combustion. He works closely with industry and government, particularly focusing on fundamental problems that arise out of development of clean combustion systems or utilization of alternative fuels. If you like making fire, making noise, and saving the planet all at the same time, these are all great problems to work on.

A 2018 inductee into the National Academy of Engineering, Dr. Lieuwen has authored or edited four combustion books, including the textbook Unsteady Combustor Physics. He has also received five patents, and authored eight book chapters, 110 journal articles, and more than 200 other papers. He is a member of the National Petroleum Counsel and is editor-in-chief of an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics book series. He has served on the board of the ASME International Gas Turbine Institute, and is past chair of the Combustion, Fuels, and Emissions technical committee of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He is also an associate editor of the Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, and has served as associate editor for the AIAA Journal of Propulsion and Power, and Combustion Science and Technology. Prof. Lieuwen is a Fellow of the ASME and AIAA, and has been a recipient of the AIAA Lawrence Sperry Award and the ASME Westinghouse Silver Medal.

Week 5- Friday, October 9
Theme: Data-Driven Modeling

Speaker 1: Mark Fuge

Assistant Professor
University of Maryland

"Lost in Space: Design Manifolds Can Accelerate Design and Optimization Iterations Several Fold"

Abstract: When designing complex geometry like the surface of a turbine blade, engineers face a choice. They can use many surface control points (equivalently, design variables) to achieve subtle changes that can lead to potentially important performance improvements — at the risk of themselves (or their optimizers) getting lost in the (often exponentially) larger design space that results. Or they can play it safe, using a lower-dimensional, standard design representation that they can tractably explore and optimize — at the risk of settling with lower performance designs. In this talk, I advocate for a different path; one that seemingly gets the best of both worlds. I propose learning a Design Manifold — a non-linear, low-dimensional subspace via Machine Learned Generative Models — that captures the key ways in which a design space varies by leveraging past examples of successful designs. I will describe this idea and then demonstrate how it aids gradient-free optimization via an example of airfoil design, where using Design Manifolds reduces the required design iteration time by 10x compared to traditional representations and 2-3x compared to State of the Art techniques. Importantly, these approaches do not require access to performance gradients (e.g., via adjoint solvers) and thus apply to any simulation code and assemblies with multiple parts.

Bio: Mark Fuge is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he is also an affiliate faculty in the Institute for Systems Research and a member of the Maryland Robotics Center and Human-Computer Interaction Lab. His staff and students study fundamental scientific and mathematical questions behind how humans and computers can work together to design better complex engineered systems, from the molecular scale all the way to systems as large as aircraft and ships using tools from Applied Mathematics (such as graph theory, category theory, and statistics) and Computer Science (such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, complexity theory, and submodular optimization). He received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and has received an NSF CAREER Award, a DARPA Young Faculty Award, and a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship. He gratefully acknowledges prior and current support from NSF, DARPA, ARPA-E, NIH, ONR, and Lockheed Martin, as well as the tireless efforts of his current and former graduate students and postdocs, upon whose coattails he has been graciously riding since 2015. You can learn more about his research at his lab’s website: http://ideal.umd.edu.

Speaker 2: Khalid Jawed

Assistant Professor
UCLA

"A Discrete Geometric Approach to Simulation of Soft Robots"

Abstract: Soft limbed robots are primarily composed of soft and deformable materials that can allow for navigating through unstructured terrain and confined spaces. However, their design and control require a painstaking trial and error process owing to the absence of an accurate and efficient modeling tool. Here, we present a discrete differential geometry based numerical algorithm for predicting soft robot locomotion and employ this tool to study two different soft robots. First, to validate the simulation, we use a shape memory alloy driven soft robot that can cyclically change shape through electrical Joule heating and passive cooling. Our experiments and simulations show reasonable quantitative agreement and indicate the potential role of this discrete geometric approach as a computational framework in predictive simulations for soft robot design and control. Next, wee then employ this simulation tool to understand the locomotion of bacteria and bio-inspired soft robots in low Reynolds fluid. We consider locomotion by a flexible helical flagellum that is attached to a spherical head. When the angular velocity of the flexible flagellum exceeds a threshold value, the hydrodynamic force by the fluid can cause buckling, characterized by a dramatic change in shape. Using the simulation tool, we demonstrate that the flagellated system can follow a prescribed path in three-dimensional space by exploiting buckling of the flagellum. The control scheme involves only a single scalar input - the angular velocity of the flagellum. Our study underscores the potential role of buckling in the locomotion of natural bacteria.

Bio: M. Khalid Jawed is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He directs the Structures-Computer Interaction Lab. His group’s research lies at the intersection of mechanics, robotics, and computer graphics. Ongoing projects include real-time simulation of soft robots, physics-based methods for robotic manipulation of flexible objects, soft deployable structures, and robotics for precision agriculture. Prior to joining UCLA in 2017, he served as a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his PhD and Master’s degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2016 and 2014, respectively. He attained his undergraduate degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Physics from the University of Michigan in 2012. His research is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Moderator: Curt A. Bronkhorst

Professor of Applied Mechanics
University of Wisconsin- Madison

Bio: Dr. Bronkhorst has been involved for nearly 30 years in the micromechanical study of metallic and fibrous composite materials with positions in industry (Weyerhaeuser Co.), national laboratory (Los Alamos), and academic institutions. Most recently in capacity as Professor of Applied Mechanics at University of Wisconsin – Madison. He contributed to the development of the Crystal Plasticity Finite Element Method which has now become a commonly used numerical technique for the computational evaluation of microstructural evolution of metallic materials. He has been actively involved in the development of single crystal theory for the dynamic deformation response of metals, including structural evolution and phase transformation. He has for many years actively pursued strongly balanced studies combining theory development, computational advancement, together with creative experiments. He has also been involved with many studies of the formation of damage and failure in several metallic materials including as PI for a series of classified dynamic damage experiments on a Pu alloy in the underground U1a complex at the Nevada Test Site. He served as project leader of the Material Modeling effort for the NNSA ASC Program for six years and as the project leader for the Computational Mechanics of Materials project within the DoD/DOE Joint Munitions Program. During his tenure at LANL he was awarded two LANL distinguished performance awards, three Defense Program Award of Excellence, and one DoE Office of Science Outstanding Mentor Award.

The Theoretical and Computational Mechanics of Materials research group of Dr. Bronkhorst is focused upon developing advanced computational techniques for predicting porosity and shear band ductile damage, structural phase transformation, dynamic recrystallization, an broad representing large deformation dislocation and twin mediated plasticity from sub-granular to macroscopic length scales in broad classes of metallic materials.

He is Associate Editor of the International Journal of Plasticity and the ASME Journal of Engineering Materials and Technology. He is Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Week 4- Friday, October 2
Theme: Mechanics/Materials

Speaker 1:
Julianna Abel

Assistant Professor
University of Minnesota

"Materials, Mechanics, and Manufacturing of Multifunctional Yarns and Textiles"

Abstract: Multifunctional yarns and textiles incorporate active material fibers in their structures to create fabrics capable of actuation, sensing, energy harvesting, or communication. These fabrics have the potential to revolutionize medical devices, rehabilitation equipment, and wearable technologies to provide life-saving and life-enhancing interventions. Shape memory alloys are a particularly promising material system for multifunctional fabrics because they directly afford actuation through the shape memory effect and energy absorption through the superelastic effect. The integration of this unique material into yarn and textile structures creates multifunctional fabrics that produce large forces and deformations with complex, distributed, three-dimensional behaviors. In this talk, I will highlight recent advancements in the mechanics, manufacturing, and design of yarns and textiles fabricated from shape memory alloys. The integration of smart material fibers directly into yarns and textiles during manufacturing is an essential step toward creating truly multifunctional fabrics that enable advancements in current applications and open the door to applications not yet imagined.

Bio: Dr. Julianna Abel is a Benjamin Mayhugh Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Abel earned her Ph.D. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and her B.S. from the University of Cincinnati. She is a NSF CAREER Award recipient, Toyota Programmable Systems Innovation Fellow, Glenn Research Center Faculty Fellow, and recently earned the 2020 ASME Ephrahim Garcia Best Paper Award. Her research combines innovative design processes and advanced manufacturing techniques with material and structural modeling to lay the scientific foundation necessary for the design of multifunctional yarns and textiles.

Speaker 2:
Ramathasan Thevamaran

Assistant Professor
University of Wisconsin-Madison

"Microballistics: Dynamic creation of nanostructures in Metals to Engineering Energy Dissipation in Nanostructured Materials"

Abstract: Impact and shock compression have long been used to modify the mechanical properties of metals, for example, in shot peening and laser shock peening processes. We demonstrate using defect-free single-crystal silver microcubes as a model system and by using an advanced laser-induced projectile impact testing (LIPIT) technique that an extreme gradient-nano-grained structure with favourable martensitic phase transformation can be created in metals via high speed (400 m/s) impacts. The gradient-nano-grained structure with favourable phase transformations show promising pathways to developing ultra-strong metals that are also tough enough to resist failure.

Creating lightweight materials with superior specific properties is critical for protective applications in extreme environments. Using LIPIT, we study the distinct deformation mechanisms that emerge in polymer thin films when they are subjected to high speed (100 m/s to 1 km/s) microprojectile impacts. We demonstrate that these polymers exhibit superior specific energy dissipation characteristics because of the geometric-confinement-induced morphological changes when their thickness is reduced to nanoscale. Understanding and exploiting the fundamental dynamic deformation mechanisms in nanostructured materials will enable the development of next generation protective systems.

Bio: Ramathasan Thevamaran is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Physics of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He obtained his B.Sc.Eng.(Hons.) in Civil Engineering from the University of Peradeniya (Sri Lanka) in 2008, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology (USA) in 2010 and 2015. Before joining the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA) as an Assistant Professor in 2017, he has been a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Department of Materials Science and Nanoengineering of Rice University (USA). His research focuses on the process-structure-property relations of structured materials such as carbon nanotube foams, gradient-nano-grained metals, polymer nanocomposites, and non-Hermitian metamaterials.

Moderator: J.N. Reddy

Professor, Mechanical Engineering
University Distinguished Professor
Regents Professor
Texas A&M University

Bio: Dr. J. N. Reddy is known worldwide for his significant contributions to the field of applied mechanics through his pioneering works on the development of shear deformation theories (that bear his name in the literature as the Reddy third-order plate theory and the Reddy layerwise theory) and the authorship of widely used textbooks on the linear and nonlinear finite element analysis, variational methods, composite materials and structures, applied functional analysis, and continuum mechanics. His writings have had a major impact on engineering education and technological advances around the world.

Dr. Reddy’s research over the years has involved the development of dual-complementary variational principles in theoretical mechanics, mathematical theory of finite elements (especially mixed finite element formulations), refined mathematical models of laminated composite plates and shells, penalty formulations of the flows of viscous incompressible fluids, least-squares formulations of solid and fluid continua, and extensions and applications of the finite element method to a broad range problems, including: composite structures, numerical heat transfer, computational fluid dynamics, and biology and medicine. His shear deformation plate and shell theories and their finite element models and the penalty finite element models of non-Newtonian fluids have been implemented into commercial finite element computer programs like ABAQUS, NISA, and HyperXtrude.

The current research of Dr. Reddy and his group deals with 7- and 12-parameter shell theories and non-local and non-classical mechanics theories using the ideas of Eringen, Mindlin, Koiter, and others. Dr. Reddy and Dr. Srinivasa have conceived a transformative non-parametric network based methodology (called GraFEA) to study damage and fracture in elastic and viscoelastic solids, including composite structures.

Among many other honors, Reddy is a member of the NAE, and a foreign fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering, Canadian Academy of Engineering, and Brazilian Academy of Engineering.

Week 3- Friday, September 25
Theme: Design

Assistant Professor
Texas A&M University

"Partitive solid geometry and other adventures in digital design ideation"

Abstract: The synthesis of new ideas is fundamental to the product design process, particularly in its early phase. Early design ideation helps designers understand the design problem and the design space. This exploratory nature of ideation demands an uninhibited flow between what a designer is thinking and how the designer is communicating the thought. The challenge in enabling computer-supported ideation is to create a digital environment that augments one’s cognitive capability to search, organize, and synthesize ideas. In this talk, I will share three short stories each of which attempts to address this challenge in a different manner. First, I will describe how a simple discovery about the shapes of animal skin cells led to the development of a new geometric modeling paradigm that I call Partitive Solid Geometry. Following this, I will present a broad overview of my on-going work that explores how the tacit human understanding of real-world interactions can be embedded within spatial interactions for 3D shape modeling and design. Finally, I will give a brief demonstration of humans-computer collaboration in open-ended tasks through a simple digital mind-mapping game. We will discuss how vast online knowledge graphs could be instrumental in enabling cognitive support for design ideation.

Bio: Vinayak Krishnamurthy is an Assistant Professor in the J. Mike Walker’66 Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University. His works at the intersection of four fields of research, namely, geometric modeling, human computer interactions (HCI), product design, and artificial intelligence. He directs the Mixed-initiative Design Lab to create and investigate advanced tools, methodologies, and theories for engineering, industrial, and architectural design. He studies the role of spatial user interfaces in creative design ideation, new workflows for humans-computer collaboration for information-based ideation, and new geometric modeling techniques for generative design of shapes. Dr. Krishnamurthy’s dissertation research led to the commercial deployment of zPots, a virtual pottery app using Leap Motion controller. Through the NSF-AIR program, we collaborated with zeroUI, a startup located in California. The technology was showcased at TechCrunch Disrupt, San Fransisco (2012) and MakerFaire - Bay Area (2013).

Speaker 2: Jessica Menold

Assistant Professor
Penn State

"Opening the blackbox: Towards a deeper understanding of design cognition"

Abstract: Research within prototyping and engineering design treats the designer as a black box. It is not known how the cognitive effort invested by the designer mediates the relationship between prototyping efforts and design outcomes. This is problematic, because without this information it is impossible to understand the cognitive factors that support or hinder design success during complex design tasks, such as prototyping. Further, recent technologies within engineering design are shifting the way designers and design researchers work. This talk will present findings from a variety of studies aimed at investigating the relationship between prototypes, designers, and technology. Dr. Menold’s long-term research goal is to improve engineering design by building fundamental knowledge about for whom and under what conditions design methods are most effective.

Bio: Jessica Menold is an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering Design and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. She is the director of the Technology and Human Research in Engineering Design lab and conducts research at the intersection of engineering design, manufacturing, and new product development. Her current work focuses on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of new product development processes, integrating design thinking into engineering education, and Design for Inspection in advanced manufacturing environments. Her work is dedicated to improving the design of engineered products and systems through evidence-based design methods, rapid prototyping, and performance analysis. Dr. Menold is also the inaugural Associate Director for Outreach and Inclusion at the Bernard M. Gordon Learning Factory, Penn State’s Makerspace.

Moderator: Kristin L. Wood

Senior Associate Design for Innovation and Engagement
Executive Director Comcast Media and Technology Center
Interim Director CU Denver | AMC Inworks
Professor, College of Engineering, Design & Computing (EDC)
University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver)

Bio: Dr. Kristin L. Wood is currently the Senior Associate Design of Innovation and Engagement, College of Engineering, Design, & Computing (CEDC), Executive Director of the Comcast Media and Technology Center, and Director of Inworks, University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus (CU Denver | AMC). Dr. Wood completed his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). He also served as an endowed professor and distinguished teaching professor at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as the Associate Provost for Graduate Studies, Founding Head of Pillar, and Director of the SUTD-MIT International Design Center, Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). Dr. Wood has published more than 550 refereed articles and books (~20,000 citations; h-Index – 64); has received more than 110 awards in design, research, and education; consulted with more than 100 companies (MNCs and SMEs) worldwide; led or mentored over 25 startup companies; and is currently a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Week 2- Friday, September 18
Theme: Wearable Robotics

Speaker 1: Elliott Rouse

Assistant Professor
University of Michigan

"Reverse engineering the human neuromotor system: the role of joint dynamics and user-preference in the design and control of wearable robot "

Abstract: To date, wearable robotic systems have not yet realized their full potential, and their impact on the lives of people with disabilities has been more limited than we had hoped. One potential cause for these challenges is that the blueprint used to guide development of these technologies is flawed. Technologies today are based on replication of the kinetics and kinematics of human gait—however, this approach does not account for two important factors, namely, joint impedance that underlies the mechanics of human locomotion, and the implications of user-preference in the development of assistive technologies that people want to use. In this talk, I will introduce our techniques and results for quantifying joint impedance during locomotion, and how this information has led to the development of our novel variable-stiffness ankle-foot prosthesis. Subsequently, we build on this insight to develop new, user-preference based methods for design and control of wearable robots. Finally, I will briefly highlight our open source robotic leg system developed to foster the study of novel control strategies, which is currently being used by eight institutions around the world.

Bio: Elliott Rouse is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and a Core Faculty Member in the Robotics Institute at the University of Michigan. He directs the Neurobionics Lab, whose vision is to reverse engineer how the nervous system regulates the mechanics of locomotion, and use this information to develop transformative wearable robotic technologies. He is the recipient of the 2018 NSF CAREER award, and is a member of the IEEE EMBS Technical Committee on Biorobotics. In addition, he is on the Editorial Boards for IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, as well as IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering. Elliott received the BS degree in mechanical engineering from The Ohio State University and the PhD degree in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University. Subsequently, he joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the MIT Media Lab. In 2019 – 2020, Elliott was a visiting faculty member at (Google) X in California. Elliott and his research have been featured at TED, on the Discovery Channel, CNN, National Public Radio, Wired Magazine UK, and Business Insider.

Speaker 2: Aaron Young

Assistant Professor
Georgia Tech

“Personalizing control of robotic prostheses and exoskeletons through new advances to intent recognition systems ”

Abstract: New advanced robotic prostheses and orthoses are helping to restore function to individuals with lower limb disability by reducing the metabolic cost of walking and restoring normal biomechanics. These devices can aid community mobility by providing powered assistance for a number of tasks such as standing up, walking, climbing stairs, and traversing sloped or uneven terrain. An important function of these devices is to timely and accurately recognize user intent and optimize the control to provide biomechanically appropriate assistance across task paradigms. Our research has focused on developing intuitive and smart intent recognition systems for these devices to predict user intent to provide timely power assistance to users. This talk will examine approaches for both optimizing intent recognition systems as well as new methods for applying such systems to wearable devices and strategies to personalize the system to individual users.

Bio: Dr. Aaron Young is an Assistant Professor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech and has directed the Exoskeleton and Prosthetic Intelligent Controls (EPIC) lab since 2016. Dr. Young received his MS and PhD degrees in Biomedical Engineering with a focus on neural and rehabilitation engineering from Northwestern University in 2011 and 2014 respectively. He received a BS degree in Biomedical Engineering from Purdue University in 2009. He also completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan in the Human Neuromechanics Lab working with lower limb exoskeletons and powered orthoses to augment human performance. His research area is in advanced control systems for robotic prosthetic and exoskeleton systems for humans with movement impairment. He combines machine learning, robotics, human biomechanics, and control systems to design wearable robots to improve the community mobility of individuals with walking disability. He has recently received an NIH New Investigator award and IEEE New Faces of Engineering award, and his EPIC lab group recently won the International VIP Consortium Innovation Competition.

Moderator: Marcia O'Malley

Thomas Michael Panos Family Professor in Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, and Electrical and Computer Engineering, Rice University

Bio: Marcia O’Malley is the Thomas Michael Panos Family Professor in Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University. She received her BS in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University, and her MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University. Her research is in the areas of haptics and robotic rehabilitation, with a focus on the design and control of wearable robotic devices for training and rehabilitation. She is a Fellow of both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Her editorial roles include senior associate editor for both the ACM Transactions on Human Robot Interaction and the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, co-Editor in Chief for the IEEE Transactions on Haptics, and Program Chair for the 2020 IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS).

Week 1- Friday, September 11
Theme: Fluid Mechanics
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Assistant Professor

University of Michigan

"Simulation and modeling of turbulent particle-laden flows: COVID19 and Mars2020"

Abstract: A challenging aspect in modeling particle-laden flows is their ability to give rise to complex phenomena with significant interaction between scales. In this talk, we will examine two contemporary examples: (i) transmission of infectious aerosols related to COVID19 and (ii) fluidization of regolith from a rocket exhaust plume during planetary/lunar landing, which share similar flow physics. We will examine the fundamental processes of turbulent particle-laden flows, including state-of-the-art phenomenology from experimental observations, existing theories, and simulation techniques. New numerical methods uniquely designed to address this class of flows will be presented, in addition to high-resolution simulations that allow us to probe turbulence from the sub-particle scale to scales that encompass millions of particles.

Speaker 2: Ivan C. Christov

Assistant Professor

Purdue University

“Multiphysics problems at low Reynolds number: From deformable channels to spinning droplets”

Abstract: I will discuss two research directions on theory and computation of low Reynolds number flow phenomena being pursued by my research group, the Transport: Modeling, Numerics & Theory Laboratory (TMNT-Lab) at Purdue. The first problem involves fluid--structure interaction between viscous internal flow and a compliant conduit. A common example is channels in PDMS-based microfluidic devices. The second problem involves the multiphysics interaction between an imposed magnetic field and a confined viscous ferrofluid droplet. We show that applying the external field in a specific manner leads to flow within the droplet and the formation of coherent periodic interfacial waves. This work is supported by the NSF under grants CBET-1705637 and CMMI-2029540.

Dean Emeritus, NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Bio: Katepalli Sreenivasan was the Dean of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering from 2013–2018, past President of the Brooklyn Polytechnic and the former director of the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy. At NYU he is a University Professor and holds professorships in the Department of Physics and at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. Prof. Sreenivasan is an international leader on the nature of turbulent flows, including experiment, theory, and simulations; his expertise crosses the boundaries of physics, engineering, and mathematics. Sreenivasan is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.