Friday, February 19, 2010

Prof. Webster and Erik Taylor's implant research highlighted

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Almost 1 million people go under the knife every year for a knee, hip or shoulder replacement. Surgeons say those metal implants can become playgrounds for bacteria, leading to potentially deadly infections like MRSA. It happens to nearly 20,000 people every year. One scientist has developed a tiny solution that could kill the infection without removing the implant.

Dr. Webster is creating a nano-sized solution to fight implant infections. He manufactured iron-oxide nanoparticles -- tiny warriors that zero in on the implant, penetrate the bacterial shield, and kill the bacteria. In lab tests, an injection of the specially-designed nanoparticles eliminated 74 percent of the bacteria on an implant in 48 hours. When repeated three times over six days, the nanoparticles killed 100  percent of the bacteria.

Entire article and a TV clip airing across the country summarizing some of Professor Webster's and graduate student Erik Taylor's research (make sure to click play in the first image):

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

NSF Career Awards to Dworak and Reda

Two young faculty members in the Division join the ranks of our faculty that have been awarded the NSF CAREER Awards, Jennifer Dworak and Sherief Reda. The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization.

Enhancing Quality through Probabilistic On-Chip Test
Jennifer Dworak
Future integrated circuits will contain tens, hundreds, or possibly even a thousand cores per chip. However, the scaling techniques that will make this possible also make the underlying circuit fabric less reliable—leading to increased wearout and defects that cannot be detected at manufacturing. In response, the PI proposes fundamental research for generating new test sets on-chip to identify failing cores. The tests will be created “on-the-fly” and dynamically targeted to the most critical areas of a core. Some key portions of the proposed research involve the creation and verification of hardware monitors for determining which faults are most important for the user’s applications, the diagnostic use of online error detection hardware to pinpoint locations that caused previous failures, and the analysis and development of protocols to efficiently create and transport tests in a network-on-chip environment.

The great performance advantages of future multi-core devices will remain unrealized if the reliability of those devices cannot be trusted. The proposed research investigates critical tools for promoting that reliability. The integrated education plan provides research opportunities for students at multiple levels—from high school to graduate school—including students from underrepresented groups. In addition to recruiting undergraduates from Brown, the PI plans to work with the CRA-W DREU (Distributed Research Experiences for Undergraduates) program to host visiting female undergraduates for summer research. The PI will also recruit high school students from the Providence Public Schools, many of whom are members of underrepresented groups, for summer research through the Brown GK-12 program.


Transcending the Thermal Management Challenges of Tera-Scale Computing
Sherief Reda
Elevated temperature is a major problem for the reliability, performance, power consumption, and packaging costs of integrated electronic devices.
Temperature is a main physical barrier limiting the performance benefits of future technologies that promise tera-scale integration. To meet the thermal management challenges of future many-core processors, this research program envisions a new class of intelligent dynamic thermal management systems that explore the vast search space of possible control parameter settings and decide the optimal temperature and performance targets. This research program also investigates new cooling system designs that enable the thermal management system to target directly hot spots at the micro scale. Directly targeting hot spots alleviates the thermal constraints on performance.

The proposed research program will lead to transformative solutions and tools that address the fundamental thermal management challenges of computing systems and ensure their scalability. The proposed program will lead to the training of a diverse workforce of undergraduate and graduate students to be well prepared to deal with tomorrow’s thermal management challenges. The educational component of this program includes (1) research experiences for undergraduates; (2) integrated approach to entrepreneurship education with research; (3) hands-on training through the development of educational laboratories based on a state-of-the-art infrared camera; and (4) continuous education through the development of high-quality educational materials and an interactive technical Web site.

Clyde Briant elected to the National Academy of Engineering

Congratulations to Clyde Briant on his election to the National Academy of Engineering.

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature," and to the "pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

CLYDE LEONARD BRIANT, Otis E. Randall University Professor and vice president for research, Brown University, Providence, R.I. For elucidation of microstructural effects on high-temperature mechanical performance of metals.

See NAE Press Release.

Monday, February 8, 2010

2010 Collaborative Research Awards program awards two engineering projects

The Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC) last week announced the awardees of the 2010 Collaborative Research Awards program. This year, out of the 38 projects submitted for review, six projects that featured multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional research with follow-on funding promise were chosen.

Here are two projects which feature Brown Engineering:

Project 3: Development of Durable Silicon Thin-Film Anodes and New Electrolytes for Lithium Batteries
This team proposes to develop new and highly durable anode architecture for lithium batteries complemented by the development of new electrolytes that will form a stable solid-electrolyte interphase (SEI) layer. This STAC grant will help RI align with the Department of Energy’s Energy Strategic Goal and contribute to cutting-edge advances in lithium battery technology.

Pradeep Guduru, Ph.D, Brown University
Christopher Bull, Ph.D, Brown University
Brett Lucht, Ph.D, University of Rhode Island

Project 4: Early Cancer Detection and Treatment Using Advanced Three-Dimensional Surface Texture Visualization and Modeling
This project aims to develop 3D imaging technology to address limitations in visualization of the current minimally invasive surgical procedures that are rapidly replacing open surgeries. The team will focus primarily on the problem of identifying early-state bladder cancer, the third-most prevalent cancer that ranks fourth in incidence.

Gabriel Taubin, Ph.D, Brown University
George E. Haleblian, M.D, Rhode Island Hospital
Jason D. Harry, Ph.D, Lucidux Corporation, LLC
Gyan Pareek, M.D; Rhode Island Hospital

For more information, visit the RI Science and Technology Advisory Council.