News

On December 30, the daily Greenfield Recorder ran a feature story on the fascinating research of Shelly Peyton, a chemical engineer at UMass Amherst. In the article, Peyton says her research on breast-cancer metastasis using artificial tissues is beginning to yield significant results, showing, for example, that the most aggressive cancer cells tend to move toward and settle on bone tissue. Work in her laboratory also suggests that some current cancer treatments speed up the movement of cancer cells in the body and could be dangerous to some patients. Peyton also explains that she will now be expanding the work in her laboratory thanks to a five-year, $2.4-million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

A long feature story in the Daily Hampshire Gazette looked at Ryan Wade, a five-year-old Northampton boy who has a new mechanical arm he uses to feed himself because a genetic abnormality prevents him from full use of his arms and elbows. Students from Professor Frank Sup’s MIE 415 Senior Capstone Design course in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department invented the device. The students are Brian Cormier, Andrew Friedlieb, Catherine Paquin, and Kyle Morrell. Nursing student Emily Gardner was also involved in the project. The team of students also recently won the capstone course’s end-of-semester poster contest, describing their invention to improve the quality of life for children with Pediatric Multiple Synostosis Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder characterized by multiple bone fusions involving the face, limbs, and middle ear.  

According to a UMass Amherst press release and a related article in the Springfield Republican, our Northeast Climate Science Center (NECSC) will award over $800,000 to universities and other partners for research to guide managers of parks, refuges, and other cultural and natural resources in planning how to help species and ecosystems adapt to climate change in the region. Three of the funded studies will directly involve UMass Amherst scientists, who will receive approximately $200,000 over the next two years for collaborative work with others. Richard Palmer, head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, is the university director of the NECSC and a member of two of the funded research teams. Read UMass press release: http://www.umass.edu/newsoffice/article/new-wildlife-and-climate-studies-launch.

In December, Vietnamese-born College of Engineering student Johnny Huynh and his brother George were profiled in the Boston Globe and on NBC Nightly News as a follow-up to a 2011 Globe feature series (12/18/2011: Brothers seek a way up and out) about their difficult upbringing in Dorchester. The catalyst for this week’s story was word from George Huynh that he was following his older brother Johnny into higher education with his official acceptance by Yale University. The following is the new Globe story, written by Billy Baker, in its entirety: Just after 5 p.m. Monday, the text message popped up on my phone. “I got in.” I was sitting at my desk in the Globe newsroom, and I started crying. For me, it was the culmination of the most incredible story, one that began two years ago when I worked on a series about the Number 19 MBTA bus.

Dr. Marshall Jones, an alumnus of the UMass Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and an engineer at GE Global Research, was a recipient of the 2013 UMass Amherst “Salute to Service” award in Boston (read articles in Digital Journal and Dealbreaker.com). Since joining General Electric Global Research Center in 1974, Jones has received 54 U.S. patents and 32 foreign patents; authored or co­authored over 45 publications; and presented numerous talks at national and international technical conferences. He received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1965 and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from UMass Amherst in 1972 and 1974, respectively. See UMass Salute to Service Awards: http://umassalumni.com/salutetoservice/award_recipients.html

Joseph Bardin of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has received a five-year grant of approximately $400,000 from the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program. Bardin’s research will greatly improve the cryogenic electronics used in scientific instruments, thereby enabling new and more powerful experimental tools for scientific researchers.

Casey Brown, of our Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, received international media coverage when he commented on water quality issues in Rio de Janeiro, which are likely to be difficult for officials in Brazil to fix prior to the 2016 Olympics. In an Associated Press story on the issue, he said, “The high concentrations of untreated human waste mean there are pathogens and disease-causing organisms in the water. If I were going to take part, I would make sure all my shots were up to date.” The AP story appeared in Newsday, ABC News, Fox Sports, ABC 5 [Des Moines], the Connecticut Post, the Modesto Bee, the New Zealand Herald, The Telegraph [Australia], Sports Illustrated, Fox News Latino, and ESPN.com.

It’s time for College of Engineering students to apply for scholarships that will be distributed for the 2014-2015 academic year. The College of Engineering is beginning the process of selecting undergraduate students to receive engineering scholarships for the 2014/15 academic year. The awards come from a variety of sources within the college and vary in amount, number, and criteria. Students apply to the College of Engineering Scholarship Program, not to individual scholarships. The selections are made by a Faculty Scholarship Committee over the summer. All CURRENT undergraduate College of Engineering students who intend to return to UMass Amherst for the 2014-2015 academic year are encouraged to apply! The deadline is February 21, 2014. Please note that these engineering scholarships are independent of financial aid and are not meant as a replacement. Additional information and the online scholarship application are available here: http://www.engineering.umass.edu/scholarships.

The research team of Andrew Robert Teixeira, Chun-Chih Chang, Timothy Coogan, Ross Kendall, Wei Fan, and Paul Dauenhauer of the UMass Amherst Chemical Engineering Department published a paper entitled “Dominance of Surface Barriers in Molecular Transport through Silicalite-1” in the Journal of Physical Chemistry (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jp4089595). Read the entire article: PDF [3053 KB]. As the article’s abstract explained: “Development of microporous materials with hierarchical structures of both micro/mesopores leads to molecular transport at nanometer length scales. For novel microporous materials including three dimensionally ordered mesoporous imprinted (3DOm-i) zeolites and zeolite nanosheets, particle dimensions are below 35 nm resulting in surface-dominated structures."

On Oct 18th at TedxSpringfield, alumnus Brian Mullen (B.S.M.E ’04, M.S.M.E. ’07, Ph.D. ’09) delivered a TEDx talk in which he shared his journey as an engineer entering the field of mental health and brain disorders to develop products to improve quality of life and enhance the quality of care for a variety of sufferers. Mullen’s TEDx talk has now been posted on You Tube: http://youtu.be/m4Zrc2Wny-Y. TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation under the slogan "ideas worth spreading." TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that brings people together to share a TED-like experience. Mullen earned his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in our Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department.