Washburn to speak at Henkel

BME’s Newell Washburn was invited to speak on materials formulation AI at the annual Scientific Advisory Board meeting of Henkel, a leading manufacturer of adhesives and consumer products.


Morgan discusses Earth’s climate health with ABC News
ABC News

ECE/EPP’s Granger Morgan discusses Earth’s climate health with ABC News. A new study came out saying that Earth is exceeding its “safe operating space for humanity,” showing how imperative it is that we find solutions to reverse the damage being done to our planet. “Experts don’t agree on exactly where the limits are, or how much the planet’s different systems may interact, but we are getting dangerously close,” he says.

Whitefoot comments on gas-powered green vehicles

MechE/EPP’s Kate Whitefoot comments on gas-powered green vehicles in Newsweek. Researchers from the University of Minnesota and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratories collaborated to create a spark plug replacement prototype that will allow fuel to burn more cleanly and efficiently. “Moving heavy vehicles like school buses, construction equipment, and big trucks to electrification will definitely be slower. That’s where improving the efficiency of internal combustion engines will be important,” Whitefoot says.

Koopman Receives ISSS Educator of the Year Award
The International System Safety Society

ECE’s Phil Koopman is the 2023 recipient of the International System Safety Society Educator of the Year Award for his achievement in, and contribution to, system safety education and the advancement of the state of knowledge in system safety.

Rounce on new NASA-funded climate study

CEE’s David Rounce responds to a NASA study that found half of glaciers vanish with 1.5 degrees of warming. “To go to the same place and to see the lake expand and see how the glacier was thinning rapidly was quite eye-opening to say the least,” Rounce said.

Koopman responds to Cruise CEO claims
The Washington Post

ECE’s Phil Koopman responds to Cruise CEO’s claims regarding driverless cars in a recent Washington Post article. “These companies are using public roads and putting all the road users at risk with immature tech,” Koopman said. “We’ve gotten to the point where we can live with the way human drivers are, and we have no way to know whether [the driverless cars] will be safer than humans. So why wouldn’t we scrutinize?”

Fischhoff publishes op-ed in STAT News on prescription information

EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff published an op-ed in STAT News regarding prescription information and the FDA’s involvement. “This new FDA requirement is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to support patients and physicians in making better informed health decisions,” the piece reads.

Sekar on how cyberattacks could affect smart cars
The Atlantic

CyLab/ECE’s Vyas Sekar explains how smart cars may be at risk of cyberattacks. “If the attacker finds a weakness,” Sekar said, “they can compromise a large number of connected cars simultaneously without much cost or effort.”

Koopman on autonomous trucking’s impact on driverless cars

ECE’s Phil Koopman comments how an industry shift to driverless trucking could affect self-driving cars. “It depends who you ask,” Koopman said. “For a while, the claim was that software could be shared between the two.”

Tilton to receive American Chemical Society Award
Chemical Engineering

ChemE’s Bob Tilton will receive the 2024 American Chemical Society Award in Colloid Chemistry. Tilton will receive the award to recognize outstanding scientific contributions to colloid chemistry, and, specifically, “for advancing fundamental understanding of colloidal and interfacial phenomena involving compositional and structural complexity, especially multicomponent fluids and nanoscale polymer brushes with controlled architectures.”

Majidi explains importance of soft robotics
Communications of the ACM

MechE’s Carmel Majidi explains the impact soft robotics, such as exoskeletons, artificial skins, and flexible electronics, will have on society. “By mimicking the mechanical compliance and multi-functionality of soft-bodied natural organisms, soft robots can be useful for a wide array of tasks and purposes,” Majidi said.

Zhang delivers IMACS keynote
IMACS World Congress

MechE’s Jessica Zhang delivered a virtual keynote at the 21st International Association for Mathematics and Computers in Simulation (IMACS) World Congress conference, which was held in Rome, Italy on September 11-15, 2023. She talked about using isogeometric analysis and physics-informed graph neural networks to model neuron traffic jam and growth.

Donahue comments on climate, environmental safety
ABC News

ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue commented on a study that found Earth exceeds its “safe operating space for humanity” in six out of nine categories. However, Donahue said there are things that can be done to fix the problem.

Majidi wins 2023 Inno Fire Award from Pittsburgh Business Times
Pittsburgh Business Times

MechE’s Carmel Majidi has been awarded the 2023 Inno Fire Award for Trailblazing Innovators from the Pittsburgh Business Times. Majidi was acknowledged for his leadership in the Soft Machines Lab at Carnegie Mellon University and his product “Thubber,” which can be used in the thermal management of semiconductors.

Grossmann serves as Fulbright Specialist in Spain
Chemical Engineering

ChemE’s Ignacio Grossmann is visiting the University of Cantabria in Santander, Spain until the beginning of October with support from the Fulbright Specialist program. Grossmann said he enjoys the opportunity to teach courses to students from other countries and said the Fulbright program is a very enriching experience. “I am very honored to be a Fulbright Specialist as it has allowed me to collaborate with researchers from other parts of the world, like in this case with researchers at the University of Cantabria in Spain, who are engaged in very interesting projects related to sustainability,” he said.

Wang receives ASCE Civil Engineering Education New Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award

CEE’s Jerry Wang received the ASCE Civil Engineering Education New Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award for his dedication to his students and their education. Wang creates a stimulating and inclusive learning environment for the next generation of civil engineers and inspires them to be active members in their respective fields.

Donahue comments on “climate havens”
The Hill

ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue comments on “climate havens” with The Hill. Cities around the U.S. are marketing themselves as safe places from extreme climate changes; however, experts believe that no place will be immune. “It’s an absurd concept with a grain of truth,” Donahue says.

Pistorius comments on U.S. Steel sale
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

MSE’s Chris Pistorius told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he hopes the new owners of U.S. Steel will continue to support the region’s universities. “If a takeover were to change the relationship with the university, that would not be something we’d be keen on,” Pistorius said.

Pileggi honored with 2023 Phil Kaufman Award
Electronic Engineering Journal

ECE Head Larry Pileggi will be honored with the 2023 Phil Kaufman Award for his pioneering contributions to circuit simulation and optimization that have enabled the industry to address the challenge of interconnect delay dominated designs, and for his innovations in electrical and computer engineering education. The Phil Kaufman Award is presented annually by the Electronic System Design Alliance (ESD Alliance), a SEMI technology community, and the Council on Electronic Design Automation (CEDA) of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).


Zhang speaks at biometrics workshop
Biomechanics Workshop of Program Uncertainty Quantification and Stochastic Modeling of Materials on Mathematical Mechanical Biology

MechE’s Jessica Zhang was invited to speak at Biomechanics Workshop of Program Uncertainty Quantification and Stochastic Modeling of Materials on Mathematical Mechanical Biology: Old School and New School, Methods and Applications, which was held in Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge, UK on July 31 - August 4. She talked about her latest research on modeling traffic jam and growth process of neurons using isogeometric analysis and physics-informed neural network.

Koopman talks safety vs. profit for self-driving cars
The Washington Post

ECE’s Phil Koopman talks safety vs. profit for self-driving cars with The Washington Post. In California, self-driving car companies are testing products on the road with high pressure from shareholders to make a profit, but Koopman is concerned this will sacrifice consumer safety. “Ultimately this industry is going to be about trust,” he says. “These car companies are using public resources to get free testing platforms.”

Kumar shares his thoughts on phone calls on planes
USA Today

ECE’s Swarun Kumar shares his thoughts on phone calls on planes with USA Today. While many people are against voice calling because of disturbances to the surrounding passengers, Kumar says, “Using data when airborne is technically not a violation, and, of course, plenty of travelers use in-flight Wi-Fi.”

Brumley discusses CMU’s victory in DEF CON competition
AP News

CyLab/ECE’s David Brumley discusses the CMU hacking team’s victory in the DEF CON Capture-the-Flag competition with AP News. This three-day event brings together professionals, researchers, and students from around the world to show off their skills in cybersecurity and hacking. “It’s hard to understate the impact our students have in cybersecurity,” he says. “Aside from DEF CON, CMU students were the first to hack a Tesla and the iPhone, have founded multiple successful companies like Theori, ForAllSecure, and Comma, and have become professors at top universities. Graduates of CMU’s cybersecurity programs are simply among the best in the field, and DEF CON is just one very specific way that proves it.”

Kitchin to receive the Award for Innovation in Chemical Engineering Education
Chemical Engineering

ChemE’s John Kitchin will receive the Award for Innovation in Chemical Engineering Education from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers for his contributions of open-source Python libraries, social media, and scientific publishing tools.

Grossmann ranked on ScholarGPS

ChemE’s Ignacio Grossmann ranked #10 in Chemical Engineering on ScholarGPS. Highly Ranked Scholars™ are identified by productivity levels (number of publications), as well as the quality and impact of their work.

Brumley discusses cyber policy
The Washington Post

CyLab/ECE’s David Brumley talks cyber policy with The Washington Post. Cybersecurity experts claim that U.S. cyber regulators are not doing enough as far as regulations go. “I can’t think of a cyber policy that encourages proactively improving security. Everything is focused around disclosure and knowing the ingredients, not if the ingredients are spoiled,” Brumley says.

Fischhoff comments on nuclear scenarios and decision making
The New York Times

EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff comments on nuclear scenarios and decision making in The New York Times. A study done by neuroscientist Moran Cerf found that when people were asked to stake money on climate issues, they became more supportive of action. While Cerf believes this thought process can be applied to nuclear risks, Fischhoff disagrees. “To go from there to giving advice on the fate of the world—I don’t think so,” he says.

Fischhoff comments on country’s response to natural disasters
NBC News

EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff says the Maui fires have revealed the country’s ability to handle extreme weather events. “We’ve been moored in resilience systems that just aren’t working anymore,” Fischhoff said. “Systems that sort of worked in the past are just stretched beyond their limits.”

Michalek provides insight on nuances of fast-charging EV batteries
The Sacramento Bee

EPP/MechE’s Jeremy Michalek explains how feasible fast-charging batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) are. “Some battery chemistries are very robust to fast charging while others degrade very quickly,” Michalek said. “So it does depend what kind of battery the electric vehicle has in it, how sensitive it will be to fast charging.”

Koopman calls for transparency on robotaxis
The Verge

ECE’s Phil Koopman calls for more transparency and improvement on issues the public cares about in the wake of robotaxi backlash. “This technology will not succeed without trust, and it is much easier to lose trust with a single bad event than it is to regain it afterwards,” Koopman said.

Shinn-Cunningham comments on music study using BCIs

BME’s Barbara Shinn-Cunningham adds her expert point of view to findings from a University of California, Berkeley, study where researchers reconstructed snippets of a Pink Floyd song from a person’s thoughts using brain-controlled interface (BCI) technology. “It’s a beautiful case study of how to reveal these [neural] building blocks, look at how the different pieces of music are encoded in the brain, and show that there really are specializations for music,” says Shinn-Cunningham. She projects these findings will lend to a more productive back-and-forth interaction between the brain and the software tasked with interpreting its electrical signals; for example, enabling a better understanding of how music influences speech.

Donahue discusses effects of chemicals from East Palestine train derailment
AP News

ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue discusses the effects of vinyl chloride and dioxins from the East Palestine train derailment with AP News. “Vinyl chloride is bad, dioxins are worse as carcinogens and that comes from burning,” he says. Recent testing indicates a low chance of dioxins being released, but environmentalists and Ohio residents are still pushing for the banning of vinyl chloride.

Three faculty to work on AFRL projects

The Data-driven Discovery of Optimized Multifunctional Material Systems has announced two new projects made possible with support from the Air Force Research Laboratory. Both will focus on how machine learning can contribute to the development of functional soft materials. CEE’s Kaushik Dayal and MechE’s Carmel Majidi will collaborate on one of the projects, while ChemE’s Gabe Gomes will work on the other. 

Whitefoot talks increasing electric vehicle popularity

MechE/EPP’s Kate Whitefoot spoke to Nautilus about what’s behind the latest uptick in consumer interest in electric vehicles. Breaking down several factors, including environmental impact and the influence of Tesla, Whitefoot said, “It’s really about the performance characteristics of electric vehicles–how much they’ve improved in the recent past and how much they’re expected to improve in the future.” Whitefoot also shared her thoughts on a timeline for electric vehicles to become the standard mode of transportation. “We would expect to see around 50 percent of new vehicles be all electric by 2030, assuming some trends hold.”

Whitefoot talks cost of EVs, policy incentives
GO Banking Rates

MechE/EPP’s Kate Whitefoot said there are many policy incentives available to lower the cost of purchasing electric vehicles (EVs). “Not everyone is aware that many of these are available for used EVs as well, which may be attractive to Gen Z and millennials. The federal government offers a tax credit and many states offer additional rebates for purchasing used EVs as well as new EVs,” she said.

Weber emphasizes importance of sensory feedback for prosthetic limbs

MechE’s Doug Weber discusses the future of bionic limbs and their ability to receive sensory feedback in a story with Wired. “It’s not only important to be able to make things move but to feel the consequences of those actions as well,” Weber said.

Michalek speaks on EV charger availability

EPP/MechE’s Jeremy Michalek commented on plans to increase the availability of electric vehicle (EV) chargers next year. “It’s going to be a challenge to deploy enough public charging infrastructure to avoid long queues on peak travel days, and if we do build enough for peak travel days a lot of it will sit unused much of the rest of the year,” Michalek said.


Smith named co-director of CMU-Pitt neuroscience partnership
Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition

BME’s Matt Smith has been named co-director of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC), a long-standing research and education partnership between CMU and the University of Pittsburgh. The center links faculty and students from the two universities through graduate training, undergraduate research opportunities, and joint publications and grant submissions. Smith’s 20-year involvement as a postdoc and faculty member at both Pitt and CMU positions him well for this new assignment. 

Samaras hired by White House to serve as chief adviser for energy policy
Bloomberg Law

CEE’s Costa Samaras was hired by the White House to serve as principal assistant director for energy and chief adviser for energy policy. Samaras has directed CMU’s Power Sector Carbon Index and led a report highlighting cryptocurrency mining's effect on power grid emissions. “Nearly every agency is, to some degree, an energy and climate agency,” said Samaras.

Jayan elected to IMPI Board
International Microwave Power Institute

MechE’s Reeja Jayan has been elected to the Board of International Microwave Power Institute, the leading scientific organization dedicated to the international microwave energy community. Jayan will chair their 58th Annual Microwave Power Symposium in the spring.

Bergés named Amazon Scholar
Civil and Environmental Engineering

CEE’s Mario Bergés joins Amazon Scholars, a program that allows Amazon to collaborate with a “world-class group of academics from various disciplines who hold positions at leading research institutions.” Bergés will be working part-time with Amazon’s Devices and Services Organization.

Presto collaborates on Ohio train derailment research
NBC News

MechE’s Albert Presto collaborated on new research regarding chemicals released during the Ohio train derailment, finding high levels of acrolein, a chemical known to cause lung damnage and abnormal lesions after long-term exposure. Presto calls this find “a little bit surprising” and noted the difficulty to link any one chemical to specifical health concerns.

Engineering faculty engage in industrial decarbonization research partnership
Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation News

MSE’s Chris Pistorius and EPP’s Valerie Karplus and Paulina Jaramillo, along with Heinz College’s Edson Severnini, joined collaborators in Germany to begin an international research partnership. “Prior to the start of the partnership, the academic collaborators and industry partners had been working in parallel towards the shared goal of finding viable decarbonization pathways,” said Karplus. “The meeting was filled with ‘aha!’ moments as we explored common interests and new research opportunities.”

Koopman discusses autonomous vehicle safety
The Washington Post

ECE’s Phil Koopman, who has been studying autonomous vehicle safety for 25 years, commented on Tesla’s automated driving methods and the availability of illegal “wheel weights,” which allow for hands-free self-driving. “Elon Musk’s saying it’s supposed to drive itself. That’s what they’re going to hear,” Koopman says. “How do you think they’re going to behave?”

Donahue talks smoke, air quality in Pittsburgh
The Hill

ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue acknowledges Pittsburgh’s historic reputation as the “Smoky City” while discussing current air quality issues. Donahue compares recent Pittsburgh air quality levels to be “as bad as it was every now and then in 2000, and practically every day in 1974.”

McComb weighs in on AI capabilities
ABC News

MechE’s Chris McComb was interviewed about AI and its capabilities in a story by ABC News. “The seeds have been there for a while,” he says.

Donahue explains Pittsburgh summer temperatures
The Hill

ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue explains Pittsburgh’s cooler summer temperatures in an interview with The Hill. “We are close enough to the Atlantic and the Gulf Stream to get some of the moderation associated with being more coastal,” Donahue says. “We are not all that far north of the Mason-Dixon line, but we are definitely not South.”

YKK AP’s new research lab works to advance job site safety, productivity, and quality
USGlass News Network

The opening celebration of YKK AP’s research lab at Mill 19 included demonstrations by MechE’s Kenji Shimada’s research team, which is developing technology to solve key issues in the architectural products industry.

Presto discusses health concerns of Canadian wildfires with KDKA CBS News Pittsburgh
CBS News KDKA Pittsburgh

MechE’s Albert Presto discusses the health concerns associated with the Canadian wildfires with KDKA CBS News Pittsburgh. The fires have only exacerbated the effects of the normal city air quality, including eye and lung irritation. “All the activities that contribute to that baseline that we already have are still happening. We’re still burning fossil fuels. We’re getting this wildfire smoke on top of our normal load,” he says.

Donahue talks Canada wildfire smoke with The Hill
The Hill

ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue talks with The Hill about the Canada wildfire smoke and his predictions of when it will dissipate. The incoming rainfall will help flush out the particles in the air, allowing the smoke to disperse in “probably another day or two, according to the forecast,” he says.

Rajkumar comments on Tesla’s Cybertruck design in WIRED

ECE’s Raj Rajkumar comments on Tesla’s Cybertruck design in WIRED. The Cybertruck’s impractical styling poses many issues in terms of manufacturing and repairing. Additionally, because of the stainless steel alloy composition, “It looks as if it’s the output of a student in an in-class ‘Pop Quiz Number 1’ for the course ‘Intro to Car Design,’” Rajkumar says.

McHenry breaks down superconductors
Built In

MSE’s Michael McHenry was quoted in Built In about the unique properties of superconductors, which are capable of conducting electricity without losing energy. McHenry said, in part, that paired electrons “cooperate with a material’s vibrating atoms” to boost conductivity and avoid resistance.

ESPN Austin welcomes Chase as on-air guest
ESPN Radio 102.7

BME’s Steve Chase was interviewed on ESPN Radio’s “The Night Talker with Trey Elling” on July 5. Joined by his longtime University of Pittsburgh collaborator, Aaron Batista, the pair shared new developments in their ongoing research related to choking under pressure and its application to the world of sports.

Koopman interviewed on risks of Tesla’s Autopilot
The Washington Post

In an article about the casualties of self-driving vehicles, such as Tesla’s Autopilot, ECE’s Philip Koopman said the prevalence of Teslas in the data raises questions. “A significantly higher number certainly is a cause for concern,” Koopman said. “We need to understand if it’s due to actually worse crashes or if there’s some other factor such as a dramatically larger number of miles being driven with Autopilot on.”

Donahue comments on air pollution challenges

ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue was quoted by Vox in a story about recent air pollution challenges. “Obviously wildfires occur in nature, but their frequency and their severity and everything else is affected by us, by human activity,” Donahue said.

Presto discusses mask efficacy for wildfire smoke and smog

MechE’s Albert Presto explains that cloth or disposable face masks may help to block some particulate matter, but it’s most likely not enough as protection for your lungs. Presto encourages people to think of masks as a “ranked order,” noting options like neck gaiters are not effective in providing protection from smoke.

Koopman discusses California robotaxis
CBS Bay Area

ECE’s Phil Koopman commented on California’s used of self-driving cars and the now-postponed vote to allow robotaxi companies to expand onto San Francisco streets. “These companies deployed without a driver to see how it worked out, and we found out that it’s disrupting. So in response, they should do something to stop that disruption,” Koopman said.

Three alumni-founded startups join 2023 VentureBridge cohort
Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship

Three alumni-founded startups have joined the 2023 VentureBridge program, a part of the Swartz Center for Entreprenurship that has invested in 13 total startups across the nation. 

  • Leaficient is developing a hardware-software IoT system that uses computer vision and advanced lighting to give farmers control of light to grow crops more efficiently, resulting in the savings of nearly 1.84M tons of CO2 emissions per year. The organization is founded by Brian Stancil (MS ECE ’07) and Andy Rape (Ph.D. BME ’12).
  • Addy AI, co-founded by Michael Vandi (MS ECE ’23), is an AI-driven platform that allows businesses to connect their data and train proprietary Large Language Models (LLMs) to automatically handle emails from their customers 24/7.
  • Co-founded by Ishaan Jaffer (BS ECE ’21), Berri can be used if you are building Large Language Model (LLM)-based applications to add error (hallucinations/refusal to answer) monitoring to your LLM application.

Dickey uses novel methods to analyze ferroelectric materials
Physics World

MSE Head Elizabeth Dickey and her team of researchers are collaborating with groups at Penn State University to study ferroelectric materials. Together, the groups are combining their skills to analyze the structure of alloyed aluminum nitride films using transmission electron microscopy.

Jen discusses poor air quality’s impact on health on WPXI Channel 11 News
WPXI Channel 11 News

ChemE’s Coty Jen discusses the poor air quality resulting from the Canadian wildfires and how prolonged exposure can have a serious impact on people’s health on WPXI Channel 11 News. “Basically, anything you breathe in will travel into your bloodstream. So, long-term impacts can be on anything inside your body,” Jen says.

Krause and Wang named Wimmer Faculty Fellows

CEE’s Jerry Wang and MSE’s Mandie Krause have been named Wimmer Faculty Fellows at the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation. This program is designed for junior faculty members interested in enhancing their teaching through concentrated work with an Eberly consultant.


Wolf featured in Pittsburgh Business Times
Pittsburgh Business Times

MFI/Next Manufacturing’s Sandra DeVincent Wolf encourages local manufacturers to reach out to organizations and universities like Carnegie Mellon to learn how to adopt new technologies. She was featured as one of 20 People to Know in Manufacturing in the recent issue of the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Zhang elected IAMBE fellow

MechE’s Jessica Zhang has been elected to the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineers (IAMBE), class of 2023. IAMBE is made up of fellows who are recognized for their outstanding contributions to the profession of medical and biological engineering. IAMBE is affiliated with the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE), responsible to the IFMBE General Assembly and its Administrative Council. IAMBE operates under the auspices of the IFMBE Constitution and Bylaws.

Chemical Engineering faculty featured at PASI 2023
PASA 2023

ChemE’s Larry Biegler, Ignacio Grossmann, Carl Laird, and Ana Torres served as instructors and speakers during a four-day intensive course hosted by the Pan-American Advanced Studies Institute on Optimization and Data Science for Net-Zero Carbon and Sustainability (PASI) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Donahue talks to Delaware Valley Journal about new carbon sequestration bill
Delaware Valley Journal

ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue talks to the Delaware Valley Journal about Pennsylvania’s new bill that focuses on carbon sequestration and storage as a solution for reducing carbon emissions. CO2 gas would be compressed, then stored, in underground rock formations which “have held the gas and oil (and CO2) for millions of years. So shoving new CO2 into them probably would work,” Donahue says.

Donahue discusses air pollution and health risks

ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue was interviewed by Healthline on the health risks of increased particulate matter in the atmosphere due to air pollution. According to Donahue, about 100,000 deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to air pollution each year. Donahue pointed out a particular particle, PM2.5 that he says “causes more than 10% of all deaths around the world.”

Donahue quoted on wildfire emissions

ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue was quoted in Vox on wildfires and air pollution in the context of climate change. Donahue said that wildfires are a source of natural emissions, but they can be influenced by humans. “Obviously wildfires occur in nature, but their frequency and their severity and everything else is affected by us, by human activity,” Donahue said.

Muller wins BNY Mellon Foundation grant for Tepper sustainability students

EPP’s Nicholas Muller was awarded a BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania grant that will allow students to pursue an interdisciplinary approach to sustainability and business. The students Muller works with will expand upon the novel environmental, social, and governance (ESG) index Muller developed in 2022 with the hopes to foster responsible decision making in investors and citizens.

Laird wins Best Oral presentation award at the ESCAPE 33 meeting in Athens

ChemE’s Carl Laird was awarded Best Oral presentation at the 33rd European Symposium on Computer-Aided Process Engineering (ESCAPE 33) in Athens, Greece. His presentation was titled “Optimization of Process Families for Deployment of Carbon Capture Processes using Machine Learning Surrogates.”

Grossmann speaks at World Congress of Chemical Engineering
11th World Congress of Chemical Engineering

ChemE’s Ignacio Grossmann was an invited plenary speaker at the 11th World Congress of Chemical Engineering, which gathered in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the start of June. Grossmann gave a presentation called “Optimal Synthesis and Planning of Sustainable Chemical Process and Energy Systems.”

Kwasa receives Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award
CMU News

The Neuroscience Institute’s Jasmine Kwasa has recieved a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award to support her research in Kenya. Kwasa works with ECE’s Pulkit Grover and BME’s Barbara Shinn-Cunningham. Kwasa’s research tests and designs devices used to help EEG machines work on people with afro-textured hair. As a Fulbright Scholar, Kwasa will work with the Brain and Mind Institute in Aga Khan University in Nariobi, Kenya to continue her research.

CMU research team featured in Pittsburgh Business Times
Pittsburgh Business Times

A team led by CMU and including United States Steel Corp. and Nucor, will receive $3.1 million for a process designed to decarbonize the steel industry.

Tang researches water treatment infrastructure using digital twins
CEE News

CEE’s Pingbo Tang and CEE alumnus and Ethos Collaborative Principal Damon Weiss are using digital twins to study water treatment infastructure in a virtual environment and address aging technology. Digital twins—virtual facilities in 3D environments—will perform and react identically to their physical counterparts. Digital twins will allow for safe scenario testing, as well as providing efficent data to lead to an overall improvment and reduced maintence in operation strategies of water treament plants.

CEE/EPP student, faculty analyze bridge construction inequities
CEE News

CEE/EPP’s Cari Gandy, EPP’s Daniel Armanios, and CEE’s Costa Samaras explored how neighborhood demographic data interacts with bridge maintence data. Gandy found that historically Black or African American communities were associated with a greater likelihood of having bridges in worse condition.

Three CMU energy projects receive Scott Institute Seed Grants
Scott Institute

Three CMU-led projects have been awarded seed funding from the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation as a part of the Seed Grants for Energy Research program.

  • EPP’s Paulina Jarmillo will collaborate with ChemE’s Hamish Gordon, CEE’s David Rounce, and EPP Head Peter Adams on their project Climate risk assessment for electricity transmission assets in the U.S.
  • MechE’s Rahul Panat and Burak Ozdoganlar will work alongside ChemE’s Grigorios Panagakos to demonstrate scalable and low-cost manufacture of porous metal-oxide-frameworks for CO2 capture.
  • Additionally, MSE’s Mohadeseh Taheri-Mousavi, Chris Pistorius, and Marc De Graef will enhance understanding of localized plasticity in pure alloys by studying H-embrittlement of high-strength structural alloys.

Tucker discusses AI
Middle East Broadcasting Network

MechE’s Conrad Tucker spoke about AI on the Middle East Broadcasting Network.

Rohrer quoted on steel vulnerabilities after overpass collapse
The Philadelphia Inquirer

MSE’s Greg Rohrer spoke to the Philadelphia Inquirer about the properties of steel in light of the recent overpass collapse on I-95 in Philadelphia that occurred after a tanker truck caught fire. Rohrer noted that heat not only makes steel girders weaker, but it also causes them to expand.

Chase comments on approval for Neuralink human trials
Scripps News

In an interview with Scripps News, BME’s Steve Chase lent his insight about brain-controlled interfaces (BCIs) to a segment discussing the recent FDA approval for Neuralink to conduct its first round of human trials. Chase uses BCIs to study motor learning and skill acquisition.

Shinn-Cunningham named president-elect of Acoustical Society of America
Acoustical Society of America

BME/ECE’s Barbara Shinn-Cunningham has been named president-elect of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), which promotes the knowledge and practical application of the field of acoustics, for the 2023-24 term. Known for her work in auditory attention, Shinn-Cunningham has been involved with ASA for most of her career, and previously served as ASA’s vice president and a member of its executive council.

Faculty, alumna receive “Test of Time” awards

ECE’s Lujo Bauer, EPP/ECE’s Nicolas Christin, and EPP/ECE’s Lorrie Cranor accepted the “Test of Time” award during the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 44th Symposium on Security and Privacy, in addition to ECE alumna Michelle Mazurek. The award recognizes published papers that have had a lasting impact on research and practice in computer security and privacy. The group’s paper commented on password strength and composition policies. Additionally, ECE’s Bryan Parno accepted the “Test of Time” award for his work on Pinocchio, a system that efficiently verifies general computations while relying on cryptographic assumptions. Parno says receiving the award is a reminder his work has significant academic and real-world impact.

Muller speaks on corporate climate requirements
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, EPP’s Nick Muller spoke on climate requirements for companies. Muller says that when firms are required to disclose their processes, they will often change.

Michalek quoted in MIT Technology Review
MIT Technology Review

EPP/MechE’s Jeremy Michalek spoke with MIT Technology Review on batteries for electric vehicles. Startups such as Ample have demonstrated a new battery-swapping system for EVs where users can exchange a depleted battery for a fresh one without spending time charging up. However, Michalek says battery swapping isn’t likely to be the primary technique for powering EVs.


Barati Farimani to work on self-charging power sources
Tech Explorist

MechE’s Amir Barati Farimani was mentioned in Tech Explorist as a contributor for new research on self-charging power sources for space applications. The research, funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, will focus on developing self-charging power sources for low-Earth orbit missions, such as satellites, using hydrogel or soft polymer-based materials. Barati Farimani will focus on simulation and material synthesis.

Presto quoted on Allegheny County air pollution
Pittsburgh City Paper

MechE’s Albert Presto was quoted in the Pittsburgh City Paper on the impact of industrial pollution in Allegheny County in the context of regional topography. Presto said his research doesn’t always yield expected results, but the bigger picture is still clear. “Air pollution is a huge environmental injustice, right, systematically at like the national level and a local level,” Presto said.

Majidi talks soft robotics research and findings

MechE’s Carmel Majidi spoke with NextPittsburgh about CMU’s Soft Machines Lab and its research in soft robotics, including the invention of a thermally conductive rubber material called Thubber and a small robot that can change between a solid and a liquid. Majidi said that the lab takes inspirations from physical characteristics observed in animals. “That’s a lot of what soft robotics is about—not to compete with or replace more advanced systems that already exist, but to broaden the scope of what we think of as robotics and what we think of as materials and building blocks of robotic systems,” Majidi said.

Chase talks neuroscience behind choking under pressure

As NBA and NHL playoffs heat up, BME’s Steve Chase and Adam Smoulder spoke with theScore about their ongoing, collaborative research that explores why people choke under pressure. Some players, Chase said, seem to be able “to outwit the system—to think of strategies or ways to approach those high-pressure events that allow them to be calmer and succeed.”

Yu weighs in on the benefits of brain computer interfaces

BME/ECE’s Byron Yu weighs in on the benefits of brain computer interfaces (BCI) in a BuiltIn explainer piece. “If I give you a tennis racket and you practice with it, you will get better at playing tennis. Similarly, if I give you a brain-computer interface and you practice with it, you will get better at using the brain-computer interface,” he said. “We can then study what changes in the brain while you are learning to use the device. Our findings will eventually lead to methods to help people learn everyday skills more quickly and to a higher level of proficiency.”

Allen recognized by Pittsburgh Business Times, Onyx Women
Pittsburgh Business Times

The Engineering Offices’ Alaine Allen received a 2023 Women of Influence Award from the Pittsburgh Business Times, as well as the Onyx Leadership Award from Onyx Women. Both awards celebrate local businesswomen who excel as leaders and innovators in their field. Allen accepted the Onyx Leadership Award May 19 at an awards banquet hosted at the Energy Innovation Center, and the Women of Influence Award May 23 at an awards presentation held at the Acrisure Stadium - UPMC Club.

Michalek quoted on electric vehicle tax credit

EPP/MechE’s Jeremy Michalek was quoted in PolitiFact about a recently announced tax credit for electric vehicle purchases. Certain stipulations have to be met to receive the $7,500, including that the cars must be assembled in North America. Michalek said these conditions are a means of encouraging greater EV production in the US and its trading partners.

Koopman talks safety with driverless cars
The Washington Post

ECE’s Phil Koopman spoke to the Washington Post about things to consider when interacting with self-driving cars on the road. Koopman noted that it could be dangerous to cross in front of a self-driving car that doesn’t have a person who could take the wheel. “You couldn’t give me enough money to walk in front of these things,” Koopman said. He added that it’s still being determined whether driverless cars will be a safer option compared with standard vehicles.

Moura awarded the IEEE Jack S. Kilby Signal Processing Medal
Electrical and Computer Engineering

ECE’s José Moura has received the prestigious IEEE Jack S. Kilby Signal Processing Medal for contributions to theory and practice of statistical, graph, and distributed signal processing. Each year the IEEE Awards Board recommends a select group of recipients to receive IEEE’s most prestigious honors. These are individuals whose exceptional achievements and outstanding contributions have made a lasting impact on technology, society, and the engineering profession.

Fischhoff contributes to book on COVID response
USA Today

EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff, as part of a coalition of interdisciplinary experts known as the COVID Crisis Group, has released a book analyzing the US pandemic response and making recommendations to be better prepared for the future. The book was featured by USA Today.

Fischhoff publishes an article on randomized control trial efficacy in Stat News
Stat News

Fischhoff recently co-authored an article that was published in Stat News on randomized control trial (RCT) efficacy and the test’s implications during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fischhoff and his colleagues found that RCTs are not the best way to yield answers to questions such as “do masks actually work?” Fischhoff says, “One strong lesson from the current pandemic is to invest in carefully designed field trials of behavioral interventions that, combined with other evidence, can produce clear enough policy signals to move the field forward, especially during a crisis.”

Majidi comments on new material for “soft robotics” in Scientific American
Scientific American

MechE’s Carmel Majidi talks about a new low-density gel material that is able to conduct electricity to power a motor in Scientific American. In his recent study published in Nature Electronics, he used this material to power two basic machines, a toy car and a snail-like soft robot. “There are so many possibilities that arise when you take machines and robots out of the hard case and engineer them out of materials that are soft and squishy,” Majidi says.

Viswanathan speaks on Zero podcast about electric aviation
Zero Podcast

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan spoke on Zero podcast about electric aviation. During the episode, he and host Akshat Rathi talk about the batteries required to power these aircrafts, as well as the environmental impact they will have. “We need hundreds and thousands of people working on this problem. That’s the scale of the transformation that happened in electric cars. If we can enable a similar transformation in electric aviation, I think there is actually a straight shot, from a technology perspective, to get to the future that The Jetsons imagined,” Viswanathan says.

MFI Faculty Director talks digital twins, supply chain issues
Supply Chain Dive

ECE’s Gary Fedder spoke to Supply Chain Dive about the promise of digital twins and their potential to address supply chain issues. “One can do basically virtual experiments to understand: How do you make the factory more efficient?” Fedder said. “The reason that’s super important is that usually translates into a lot of money.”

Fischhoff talks to The Christian Science Monitor about lessons learned from COVID-19
The Christian Monitor

EPP’s Baruch Fischhoff talks to The Christian Science Monitor about COVID-19 and the lessons we learned about the way the pandemic was handled. Being an expert in risk communication, he discusses how officials need a level of candor when disseminating information and how failing to do so can lead to distrust. “One needs an independent office whose job is just to gather, analyze, and communicate the facts in tested formats. If that function were fulfilled, it would be much easier to do the persuasive communication,” Fischhoff says.

Bockstaller discusses his self-healing plastic research with CBS News Pittsburgh
CBS News Pittsburgh

MSE’s Michael Bockstaller discusses his self-healing plastic research with CBS News Pittsburgh. Typically, plastic’s short lifespan results in substantial waste production, and creating new plastic is much cheaper than recycling it. “The idea is that by creating polymers that would feature self-healing properties, we might be able to prolong the lifetime of these systems and reduce waste formation,” Bockstaller says.

Michalek quoted on electric vehicle charging needs

EPP/MechE’s Jeremy Michalek was quoted in PolitiFact about potential charging accommodations for when more electric vehicles are on the road. Currently, charging stations in the United States are relatively few and far between. “We’re going to need a lot more high-speed chargers on highway corridors that are underutilized most of the year if we want to avoid long queues as people wait to charge on peak travel days,” Michalek said.

Abbott quoted on 3D printed meat

BME’s Rosalyn Abbott spoke to BuiltIn about developments in the cellular agriculture industry and the viability of 3D printed meat. “Currently, the majority of livestock are reared in concentrated animal feeding operations causing environmental, public health and food security concerns,” said Abbott, who co-leads a project team researching the feasibility of 3D-printing high-end cuts of cultured meat. “Three-dimensionally printed meat will reduce agricultural land use, water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency.”

Rajkumar quoted on Tesla ruling

ECE’s Raj Rajkumar spoke with Reuters about where Tesla stands in light of a recent verdict that found the automaker wasn’t liable for a crash that had occurred while using Autopilot, its driver-assistant system. “While Tesla won the battle, they may end up losing the war,” Rajkumar told the outlet, because the car designs are “far from becoming fully autonomous.”

Majidi, Yao quoted on softbotics
World Economic Forum

MechE’s Carmel Majidi spoke to the World Economic Forum about the potential of softbotics, which includes designing them to move adaptably in response to their environment as animals do. “There are many interesting and exciting scenarios where energy-efficient and versatile robots like this could be useful,” Yao said. Their recent design allows the robot to transition from walking to swimming.

Nock discusses decarbonization policy development
Pittsburgh Business Times

CEE/EPP’s Destenie Nock was quoted in the Pittsburgh Business Times about promoting decarbonization across industrial development during a panel conversation at CMU Energy Week. In addition to expressing the importance of a national strategy, Nock said, “I do think having more community leaders at the table when these policies are made is so important.”

Gordon comments on release of benzene into the air

ChemE’s Hamish Gordon spoke with WTAE about a recent accidental release of benzene into the air from the Shell ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, PA. While benzene is a toxic volatile organic compound, Gordon thinks acute or immediate health effects from this release are unlikely.


Three Engineering faculty named University Professors
Carnegie Mellon University

Three College of Engineering faculty members have been elevated to the rank of University Professor, the highest distinction a faculty member can receive at Carnegie Mellon: CEE Head Burcu Akinci, CyLab Director Lorrie Faith Cranor, and CEE’s Greg Lowry. University Professors are distinguished by international recognition and for their contributions to education, artistic creativity, and/or research. These individuals exemplify this high level of achievement and commitment to the university and the broader academic communities.

Feinberg lab joins international heart disease research collaboration
Government of Canada’s New Frontiers in Research Fund

BME/MSE’s Adam Feinberg and his international colleagues have been awarded $23.6 million by the Government of Canada’s New Frontiers in Research Fund Transformation program to develop cutting-edge regenerative therapies for heart disease. Feinberg’s contribution focuses on 3D-bioprinting a functional heart, and in total, 22 leading laboratories will be involved in the effort across 10 research institutions in four countries (Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel).

Ferreira ranked #17 worldwide for papers published from 2020-2022

The Association for Information Systems recently released their researcher productivity ranking for papers published in the top two research journals in the field. EPP’s Pedro Ferreira ranked #17 worldwide for his work featured in Information System Research and in Management of Information Systems Quarterly between 2020 and 2022.

Donahue quoted on toxic residue from Indiana plastics fire
Associated Press

ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue was quoted by the Associated Press after asbestos was discovered in debris from a fire at a scrap plastics business in Indiana. Donahue explained that any significant disturbance, such as a structural failure, can release microscopic asbestos fibers, which can then be lifted and dispersed by a fire plume.

Rollett showcases research at US DOE summit
CMU News

MSE’s Anthony Rollett presented research at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) Energy Innovation Summit. His research is one of 18 high-termperature material projects that are part of the High Intensity Themeral Exchange through Materials and Manufacturing Processes (HITEMMP) program. He also schowcased work with Prabuhu Energy on a project titled.

Jayan talks about representation and her unconventional career path
Utah Public Radio

MechE’s Reeja Jayan talks to Utah Public Radio about her nonlinear path toward becoming a professor in engineering. She is the author of a chapter in the recently published book Women in Mechanical Engineering.

Majidi speaks on Science Friday about self-healing softbotics material
Science Friday

MechE’s Carmel Majidi talks with Science Friday about his research in softbotics, a transformative field of robotics where materials are more flexible and elastic as opposed to hard materials. He talks about a breakthrough in the field: a new material that is able to heal itself. “The key difference is the fact that it’s self-healing. The material binds itself together through hydrogen bonds. And these are actually the same hydrogen bonds that produce forces between water molecules. So these materials have a very high density of these hydrogen bonds. And when those bonds break, they can readily form themselves back together upon contact,” he says.

Sullivan comments about the unique chemical bonds found in PFAS-containing firefighting foams in the Military Times
Military Times

ChemE’s Ryan Sullivan makes a comment about the unique chemical bonds found in PFAS-containing firefighting foams in Military Times. “[Fluorine is] the strongest bond you can make to carbon, and so that makes the molecules very persistent,” Sullivan says.

Rollett talks to NASA about 3D printed metal parts for spaceflight

MSE’s Tony Rollett, principal investigator of NASA’s new additive manufacturing institute, talks about 3D printed metal parts that will be used for NASA’s spaceflight endeavors in climate research. “The internal structure of this type of part is much different than what’s produced by any other method. The institute will focus on creating the models NASA and others in industry would need to use these parts on a daily basis,” Rollett says.

Thornburg discusses Grid Fruit refrigeration tools
Vermont Business Magazine

CMU-Africa’s Jesse Thornburg, cofounder of Grid Fruit, talked with Vermont Business Magazine about his efforts to bring data-driven intelligence to food retail operations. He has been building and employing commercial refrigeration tools that make recommendations to optimize energy use while also helping grocers stay responsive to alerts from utilities about the load on the grid. “The total effect is reduced demand during peak times which is good for global warming and, because it reduces expensive spikes in energy use, good for the business owner as well,” Thornburg said. “The two work hand in hand.”

Zhang elected to AIMBE College of Fellow chair-elect

MechE’s Jessica Zhang has been elected chair-elect of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)’s College of Fellows. This is a one-year term followed by another one-year term as chair of the College of Fellows. It is a high honor to be elected to such a significant position for a national organization. As chair-elect, Zhang will oversee the nomination, review, and election of new Fellows. It is the practice of AIMBE tha the Chair-Elect is an ex-official member of the Board of Directors. Next year, as chair, she will be responsible for managing the development and organization of the annual event, and be a voting member of the board.

Five Engineering faculty receive professorships

Five faculty recently received professorships in Engineering for their outstanding scholarly achievements. The faculty included:

  • Yuejie Chi (ECE) - Sense of Wonder Group Endowed Professorship of Electrical and Computer Engineering in AI Systems
  • Marc De Graef (MSE) - John and Claire Bertucci Distinguished Professorship in Engineering
  • Swarun Kumar (ECE) - Sathaye Family Foundation Career Development Professorship
  • Brandon Lucia (ECE) - Kavčić-Moura Professorship in Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Rebecca (Bex) Taylor (MechE) - Inaugural ANSYS Career Development Chair in Engineering


Whitehead highlighted for packaging mRNA for the pancreas
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering

Research by ChemE/BME’s Kathryn Whitehead was featured as a Science Highlight by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Whitehead's lab developed lipid nanoparticles that are designed to carry mRNA specifically to the pancreas. Their study could pave the way for novel therapies for diabetes, cancer, and other pancreatic diseases.

Zhang named SIAM Fellow

MechE’s Jessica Zhang has been selected as a Class of 2023 Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Fellow for exemplary research and outsanding service to the community.

Gomes organizes symposium at ACS Spring 2023 meeting

ChemE’s Gabe Gomes was co-organizer and co-presider of the Machine Learning and AI for Organic Chemistry symposium at the American Chemical Society (ACS) Spring 2023 meeting. The symposium focused on the application of machine learning techniques to the understanding and prediction of chemical reactivity.

Donahue comments about chemicals transported by rail

ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue spoke with WTAE for their Chronicle episode “Trouble on the Tracks.” Donahue commented on some of the hazardous chemicals transported by train. He advocated for the government to hold the rail industry to higher safety standards and shared his concerns about the unintended formation of dioxins after derailments release chemicals.

Gomes talks chemistry, computers, and humans on podcast
Bringing Chemistry to Life

ChemE’s Gabe Gomes was interviewed for the Bringing Chemistry to Life podcast. Gomes talked about his early opportunities in science, augmenting chemistry with machine learning, and how the Gomes Group is using new tools for research he wouldn’t have thought possible a year ago.

Bergbreiter talks insect-inspired robotics design
Popular Science

MechE’s Sarah Bergbreiter spoke to Popular Science about how jumping insects inspired the mechanics of her team’s recent design, a bouncing robot that can control energy transfers between surface and device using the launch mechanism. “It’s really fascinating that the latch—something that we already need in our robots—can be used to control outputs that we couldn't have controlled before.” The design takes its cues from grasshoppers and other insects that use delicate energy transfers to land securely on different surfaces.

Presto talks about the chemical effects of the East Palestine train derailment
NBC News

MechE’s Albert Presto talks to Fortune and NBC News about the after effects of the East Palestine train derailment and the chemicals’ effects on the town’s residents.“We didn’t see any hot spots, places with high concentrations,” Presto says about contaminants such as benzene, toluene, xylenes, and vinyl chloride. However, he acknowledges the high levels of acrolein in the environment which could cause some long-term health concerns.

Majidi discusses breakthroughs in softbotics
Associated Press

MechE’s Carmel Majidi and his research team engineered the first self-healing soft material with electrical conductivity, low stiffness, and high stretchability—a breakthrough in the world of softbotics and beyond. “Softbotics is about seamlessly integrating robotics into everyday life, putting humans at the center,” explains Majidi. “Instead of being wired up with biomonitoring electrodes connecting patients to bio measurement hardware mounted on a cart, our gel can be used as a bioelectrode that directly interfaces with body-mounted electronics that can collect information and transmit it wirelessly.” This work was also covered in New Atlas.

Shinn-Cunningham comments on future of hearing health technology
Fierce Healthcare

BME’s Barbara Shinn-Cunningham weighs in on the continued relevance of hearing aids, even as hearing health technology begins to shift in a digital direction. While the devices have improved considerably in the last 15 years, they still fail in helping wearers easily differentiate sounds. But Shinn-Cunningham says the next generation of hearing aids being developed can use machine learning to separate ambient sounds from voices.

Four Engineering alumni celebrated in the most recent Tartans on the Rise class

In the most recent class of Tartans on the Rise, four Engineering alumni will be recognized for their substantial contributions in their fields and their communities. These included Rohyt Belani (2002), Emmanuel Chebukati (2018), Michelle O’Malley (2004), and Hooman Radfar (2004).

Zhang delivered plenary lecture at SIAM International Meshing Roundtable Workshop

MechE’s Jessica Zhang was an invited plenary speaker at the SIAM International Meshing Roundtable Workshop on March 6 - 9, 2023 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She presented her latest research on modeling traffic jam and growth process of neurons using isogeometric analysis and physics-informed neural network.

Sullivan talks to The Washington Post about the danger of air fresheners
The Washington Post

MechE’s Ryan Sullivan talks with The Washington Post about how air fresheners can actually have serious adverse effects on consumers. “To a chemist ‘really clean’ would actually be no scent because the scent is caused by a chemical. Truly clean means very low levels of chemicals,” Sullivan says. He expresses concern toward the chemicals potentially causing hormone disruption and even cancer. Instead, he recommends naturally sourced essential oils as a way to combat household odors.

Shen discusses his new copper-based material that can increase electronics’ lifetime
Mining Dot Com

MechE’s Sheng Shen explains how his new flexible, copper-based material can elongate the lifetime of electronics through a “sandwich” method. A graphene-coated copper nanowire array is placed between two thin copper films which helps prevent overheating and burning out. “We believe that a wide variety of electronic systems can benefit from it by allowing them to operate at a lower temperature with higher performance,” Shen says.

Presto comments on the Ohio train derailment in CNN

MechE’s Albert Presto talks to CNN about the Ohio train derailment and the environmental effects the accident has caused. “It’s not elevated to the point where it’s necessarily like an immediate ‘evacuate the building’ health concern, but, you know, we don’t know necessarily what the long-term risk is or how long that concentration that causes that risk will persist,” he says. This uncertainty has also resulted in the residents of East Palestine becoming frustrated, which Presto hopes will decrease with better monitoring and communication.

Weber discusses tech that restores movement for stroke patients
The New York Times

MechE’s Douglas Weber was mentioned in The New York Times for the research he and other researchers are working on that looks at restoring mobility in stroke patients. The method they are investigating involves surgically-implanted electrodes that are then stimulated to help produce movement. Weber says that implantation is preferred to letting the electrodes rest on the skin because it’s “much more specific” and can better “target the muscles that control the wrist and the hand.” This work was also featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Cranor discusses Twitter’s two-factor authentication changes
Ars Technica

CyLab Director Lorrie Cranor discusses Twitter changing its two-factor authentication (2FA) policy: starting March 20, only Twitter Blue members (paid subscribers) will be able to use the phone-based 2FA whereas regular users will have the option to use an authenticator app or physical security key. “I don't think we really know whether this will nudge people to go ahead and get an authenticator app or whether a lot of people will just give up on 2FA,” Cranor says. “In general, two-factor authentication is not widely adopted by users unless they are forced to use it. I think a lot of other companies will be watching to see whether disallowing text-message 2FA is a good idea or not.”

Michalek talks reality of owning an electric vehicle with The Atlantic
The Atlantic

EPP/MechE’s Jeremy Michalek talks to The Atlantic about the reality of owning an electric vehicle. For many consumers, buying an EV is not so simple; they have plenty of considerations to think about before purchasing. “Even if they have charging infrastructure this year, renters tend to move, and they don’t know whether they’ll have that access next year. Even a lot of homeowners don’t have off-street parking, and relying entirely on public charging infrastructure is a whole different ball game,” Michalek says.

Lightman quoted on smart cities

Metro21’s Karen Lightman spoke to Politifact about what makes a smart city amid inaccurate information on the topic being spread on social media. “Some think it’s all about the tech, some think it’s all about the people,” Lightman said. “I like to look at it more holistically—it’s about the community and people and addressing their challenges and problems through collaborative applications of technology, while ensuring that there are policies in place to protect privacy and security—with the overall goal of improving quality of life, equitably and inclusively.”

Donahue fact checks claim about vinyl chloride ban
USA Today

ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue was interviewed by USA Today about the claim circulating on social media that vinyl chloride was banned in 1974. The use of vinyl chloride in aerosols was banned in 1974, shortly after it was established that vinyl chloride was carcinogenic. Donahue noted that vinyl chloride is still used in other ways, most commonly PVC piping.

Morgan discusses power grid security concerns

EPP’s Granger Morgan discusses the challenges of securing power facilities as physical attacks by domestic extremists increase. Given that high-voltage power lines and facilities are often nestled in remote locations, Morgan warns of the need to better protect the grid and make it more resilient to attacks. “It’s inherently very difficult to harden or protect it all,” he explains. “It may not take all that high tech an approach to cause physical disruption that could have very large consequences.”

Majidi discusses the future of shape-shifting robotics
Daily Mail

MechE’s Carmel Majidi and a team of researchers have created a shape-shifting robot that can hold objects 30 times its own mass. The team tested the robot through a series of obstacles, including jumping over moats and removing foreign objects from a model stomach. “What we’re showing are just one-off demonstrations, proofs of concept,” Majidi says. “Future work should further explore how these robots could be used within a biomedical context.”

Rounce quoted on new glacial melt insights

CEE’s David Rounce comments on recent research about Thwaites Glacier, nicknamed the “Doomsday Glacier.” Roughly the size of Florida, this glacier is largely held in place by an ice shelf, and the new study exemplifies how its collapse could drive catastrophic sea level rise. Rounce offers that the findings provide “novel insights into how rapidly the bottom of the ice shelf is melting and the mechanisms by which it’s melting, which are very important for improving our understanding and ability to model how Thwaites will change in the future.”

Rounce’s research on global glacier loss referenced by CNN

Research by CEE’s David Rounce on global glacier loss was referenced in a CNN article. Rounce also praised a new study that examined the potential negative impact glacial lake outbursts could have on many communities. “This is a really nice first pass to understand where we have invested a lot of our time and our research efforts and where we can improve,” Rounce says. He adds that the authors’ methods could be applied to future projections “to understand where that exposure might change in the future, or where that hazard might change.”

Rajkumar comments on Tesla’s stainless steel Cybertruck
The New York Times

ECE’s Raj Rajkumar comments on Tesla’s newest invention: a stainless steel Cybertruck. With an angular and heavy body, this truck has experts questioning its feasibility and future success given that the only other car company to mass-produce a stainless steel car went bankrupt after building less than 10,000 models. “Tesla thinks they can solve any problem and don’t have to learn from anyone else,” Rajkumar argues. “And then they get stuck in a corner.”

Koopman quoted on Tesla recalls
Los Angeles Times

ECE’s Phil Koopman spoke to the Los Angeles Times about a recent recall of Tesla’s autonomous vehicles due to issues with obeying traffic signals and speed limits. Addressing the timeline of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's investigation into the matter, Koopman told the outlet, “NHTSA would be motivated to get this thing fixed in a way that involves the least trauma and gets it done faster.” Koopman was also quoted in Newsmax about remedying the software issues.

Rajkumar talks Tesla recalls, autonomous vehicle safety

ECE’s Raj Rajkumar spoke with Time about possible safety concerns with self-driving vehicles amid a recall of over 300,000 such Tesla models. The autonomous cars in question reportedly didn't obey traffic signals and speed limits, prompting the automaker to announce a software update. “These are not straightfoward issues to fix,” Rajkumar said. “If they could have fixed it, they would have fixed it a long time back.”

Koopman talks improving functionality in self-driving cars
The New York Times

ECE’s Phil Koopman spoke to the New York Times about improving the safety and functionality of autonomous vehicles amid concerns about the cars holding up traffic and having trouble navigating situations in city environments. “Sometimes these cars just need a human to help them out of a tough spot,” Koopman said.


Pistorius helps create industrial decarbonzation partnership with a $1.5 million NSF grant
Scott Institute

MSE’s Chris Pistorius and colleagues have been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation Partnerships for International Research and Education. With this money, they created the Industrial Decarbonization Analysis, Benchmarking, and Action (INDABA) partnership which aims to accelerate industrial decarbonization on both a regional and global scale.

Feinberg quoted on lab-grown skin technology

BME/MSE’s Adam Feinberg was quoted in a WIRED article about “edgeless” engineered tissue that Columbia University Medical Center researchers are working on and, recently, successfully transplanted. Feinberg commented on the importance of vascular quality in tissues, and a path for making these technologies more available.

Ren and Yerneni honored with BMES-CMBE Awards

The Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) recently announced its 2023 Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering (CMBE) award winners, and two Carnegie Mellon engineers were named recipients. BME’s Charlie Ren, was selected for the CMBE Rising Star Award, which recognizes junior faculty members who have made an outstanding impact on the field of cellular and molecular bioengineering. Sai Yerneni, a former biomedical engineering Ph.D. student who is continuing his research as a chemical engineering postdoc, received the CMBE Graduate Student Travel Award. This recognition funds a graduate student researcher to attend the 2023 BMES Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Conference to present their outstanding research in the field of cellular and molecular bioengineering.

James Barr von Oehsen Named Director of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center
Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

James Barr von Oehsen has been selected as the director of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC), a joint research center of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. Von Oehsen is a leader in the fields of cyberinfrastructure, research computing, advanced networking, data science and information technology. Von Oehsen will hold additional appointments on the research faculty of Carnegie Mellon’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Pitt’s Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Biomedical Informatics starting May 1.

Zhang paper recognized as top-cited article
Clarivate Analytics

According to Citation data from Clarivate Analytics, Mech’s Jessica Zhang’s paper “Tuned Hybrid Nonuniform Subdivision Surfaces with Optimal Convergence Rates” is recognized as one of the top cited articles published in an issue of International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering between January 1, 2021 through December 15, 2022.

Finalist Wang shares her 3MT Challenge competition strategies
Carnegie Mellon University

MSE’s Yingqiao Wang is set to compete in CMU’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Championship, a competition that challenges doctoral students to translate their complex research to a broad audience—all in three minutes. Wang was featured in a story on CMU’s website. She noted that after studying past performances, she realized that most of the past participants spent nearly half their time explaining the problem their research was grounded in. “This is a key point to help the audience understand the research and connect it to real life,” Wang says. Three additional Collee of Engineering students will also compete in the 3MT: Amaranth Karra (MSE), Sofia Cardoso Martins (ECE), and Durva Naik (MSE). The competition is set to take place on Tuesday, February 28, at 6:00 p.m., in the College of Fine Arts Building’s Kresge Theatre.

Donahue quoted in article fact-checking toxic clouds after Ohio train derailment

ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue was quoted by Snopes about the viral video allegedly showing toxic clouds after the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. He thinks the clouds in the video were there regardless of the accident and chemical burn. The black smoke plume seen rising from the tanker fire, however, could well be called a toxic cloud, according to Donahue.

Gueye quoted on increase in fraudulent activities
Business Day

CMU-Africa’s Assane Gueye discussed the importance of staying mindful online as recent reports document sharp increases in money lost due to fraudulent activities. As Africa becomes more digitally connected, growing cybersecurity threats could hinder financial inclusion online. “We should be more intentional that these technologies will bring more good and not harm,” said Gueye.

Viswanathan’s research on battery-power aircraft referenced in The Guardian
The Guardian

Research by MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan on the future of battery-powered aircraft was referenced in an article from The Guardian about Australia, a country heavily reliant on aviation. Viswanathan’s research detailed the opportunities and challenges of electric aircraft, concluding that significant gains for battery-powered flight are possible by 2030 given sufficient investment in aeronautical applications.

Whitacre comments on his cathode materials company emerging from stealth
Business Wire

MSE’s Jay Whitacre comments on his cathode materials company, Stratus Materials, coming out of stealth-mode in Business Wire. “Our innovative processes and materials are designed to provide the lithium-ion battery industry with cathode offerings that outperform best-in-class NMC cathode formulations on virtually every dimension, without relying on cobalt and with significantly less nickel and lithium per kilowatt-hour,” Whitacre says. His company proudly markets low-cost, highly effective, and safe materials for the lithium-ion battery industry, which he believes will help them engage with more partners and customers.

Rajkumar shares his thoughts on the future of transportation with The Verge
The Verge

ECE’s Raj Rajkumar was quoted in The Verge on the future of transportation with his primary focus being on autonomous vehicles. “There will be an ongoing retrenchment of the AV industry. Expect more layoffs in the large AV companies and at least one more high-profile flameout like Argo AI,” Rajkumar predicts. He warns readers about the financial realities these AV companies face, which, oftentimes, cause them to fail. However, he does not fully reject the idea that companies will continue to pursue technology that compensates for human driver errors.

Rajkumar talks about the future of Tesla with The Daily Beast
The Daily Best

ECE’s Raj Rajkumar speaks with The Daily Beast about the current status of Tesla and its potential downfall. “I give Elon Musk a lot of credit. He almost single-handedly made electric vehicles glamorous and sexy,” Rajkumar says. “People associated them with the person who was transforming the automotive industry and doing the right thing for the planet.” He goes on to say that economic factors including inflation, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the popping up of new EV competitors, are causing the company to struggle. While Tesla itself may not survive, Rajkumar believes that the innovations they championed will continue to live on.

Vernon appointed member of IEEE RAS Women in Engineering’s new committee

CMU-Africa’s David Vernon has been appointed member of IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Women in Engineering’s new committee: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility. The IDEA committee aims to provide travel support to disadvantaged groups for RAS’ flagship conferences such as ICRA, CASE, or IROS.

Savvides talks potential of facial recognition research to predict market trends
The Washington Post

ECE/CyLab’s Marios Savvides spoke to the Washington Post about leading an upcoming research project that will use facial recognition technology to analyze traders’ expressions and make determinations about the state of the stock market. “The market is driven by human emotions,” Savvides says. “What came to us is, can we abstract things like expression or movements as early indications of volatility? Everyone is getting excited, or everyone is shrugging their shoulders or scratching their head or leaning forward....Did everyone have a reaction within a five-second timeframe?” Data collection will begin in late 2023 and the study will take about a year to complete.

Morgan quoted on US power grid security
CBS News

EPP’s Granger Morgan was quoted on the status of the US power grid in the wake of attacks on two of its substations in North Carolina in December 2022. “We’ve known the power system is very vulnerbale to physical attack, and we’ve known this for decades,” Morgan told CBS News. “We’ve made a bit of progress, but the system is still quite vulnerable.” Morgan was also quoted on power grid security by USA Today.

Donahue quoted on toxic gases from Ohio train derailment
Associated Press

ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue spoke with the Associated Press about the toxic chemicals released and burned after a train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. Donahue explained that dioxins could have formed from the burning of vinyl chloride, a gas used to make hard plastic resin in products like PVC piping. “Vinyl chloride is bad, dioxins are worse as carcinogens and that comes from burning,” Donahue said.

YKK AP to research feasibility of virtual factory at Mill 19
USGlass News Network

YKK AP Technologies Lab, who has partnered with MechE’s Kenji Shimada since 2020, has signed a five-year lease for space at Mill 19. They hope to develop a “virtual factory” that simulates engineering and supply chains in a virtual space for construction, glass, and fenestrations industries.

Jaramillo quoted on hydropower research
Yale Climate Connections

EPP’s Paulina Jaramillo spoke to Yale Climate Connections about her research on hydropower as a potential energy source for Sub-Saharan Africa. The advantages of hydropower include its renewable properties and its ability to function when solar power cannot. “Africa has a lot of solar power potential,” Jaramillo says. “Solar is not available at night, but hydro could be.”


CMU College of Engineering staff award winners announced

Last week, the College of Engineering held their annual staff awards where six outstanding CMU staff were recognized for their contributions to the school. The winners included:

  • Rookie Award - Yanika Reid (MechE)
  • Burritt Award - Melissa Brown (MechE)
  • Innovation Award - Beth Hockenberry (CEE)
  • Leadership Award - Rachel Amos (INI)
  • Excellence Award - Brittany Frost (CyLab)
  • Spirit Award - Jamie Scanlon (CyLab)

Congratulations to these staff members and a big thank you to them for all of their hard work!

Rounce’s study predicts massive glacier loss due to climate change
AP News

CEE’s David Rounce spoke to AP News about his recent study, which used satellite images to estimate that a majority of the world's glaciers could disappear by 2100 due to the effects of climate change, leading to rising sea levels. “No matter what, we're going to lose a lot of the glaciers,” Rounce says. “But we have the ability to make a difference by limiting how many glaciers we lose.” The study, published in the journal Science, was also covered by outlets like Axios and CNN.

Ozdoglanar and LeDuc speak to Additive Manufacturing Media
Additive Manufacturing Media

The video of a new 3D ice printing method developed by Carnegie Mellon engineers is magical according to Additive Manufacturing Media. MechE’s Burak Ozdoganlar, Philip LeDuc, and Akash Garg are printing sacrificial structures that are as small as blood vessels.

Open call for CBI Fellowships Program

Applications are invited for the first cohort of Carnegie Bosch postdoctoral fellows for the fall semester of 2023 in the areas of artificial intelligence and cybersecurity/privacy. Carnegie Bosch fellowships are two-year awards supporting outstanding postdoctoral researchers conducting high-potential research within the excellence-driven environment of CMU. The deadline for applications is February 28, 2023.

Fuchs talks plans to assess America’s critical technologies
The New York Times

EPP’s Erica Fuchs speaks with The New York Times about the grant she and 22 other researchers from different universities were awarded to complete a one-year pilot project on assessing America’s critical technologies. The proposed National Network for Critical Technology Assessment is meant to help the U.S. understand our current strengths and weaknesses in technology so that we can focus our time and money in the places lacking development. “Until we can define what the actual problem is, it makes it very hard to spend our money wisely,” Fuchs reflects.

Donahue quoted on the potential to control lightning with lasers

ChemE/EPP’s Neil Donahue spoke with Inverse about the mysteries in the physics of how lightning emerges. A new study details the first successful attempt to divert lightning with lasers, more than 270 years after Benjamin Franklin’s lightning rod. Donahue believes the simple design of the lightning rod will be used for many more years. “Lightning rods are passive. They just sit there, they point, and they work,” he said.

He named to the National Academy of Inventors
National Academy of Inventors

The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) has elected BME’s Bin He to its 2022 cohort of fellows. He has made significant research and education contributions to the field of neuroengineering and biomedical imaging, including functional biomedical imaging, noninvasive brain-computer interface (BCI), and noninvasive neuromodulation. He will be inducted at the 12th Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Inventors on June 27, 2023, in Washington, D.C.

Luhanga receives OWSD Early Career Fellowship Award

CMU-Africa’s Edith Luhanga recently won an Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) Early Career Fellowship. This prestigious fellowship will provide Luhanga with financial support to develop her research program as well as valuable professional and networking opportunities.