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Showing posts from 2021

OU Scientist Says State's Investment in People Transforming Landscape

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There’s no doubt that the Sooner State’s investment in the next generation of innovative technology inspires University of Oklahoma scientist Thirumalai “Venky” Venkatesan. As OU’s director for the Center for Quantum Research and Technology, he praises Oklahoma for making a commitment to new technology that advances the state’s competitiveness. “Oklahoma has developed a completely new frontier in terms of economic growth. We are investing in people who can transform both our technology and economic landscape,” he said. The investment includes state funding for new faculty in the OU Gallogly College of Engineering. Venkatesan is one of 20 faculty hired in 2021, with plans to hire an additional 48 in the next four years. The funding puts Oklahoma in line with other states that have realized the need for engineering support.  The goal of the center is to bring together faculty and students interested in quantum materials, sensors, quantum communications and computing. So, Venkatesan’s rar

OU Researchers Say New Protein Fragment May Improve Cartilage Regeneration

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Current methods to regenerate injured cartilage produce tissue that can break down. This deterioration can eventually lead to osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis that affects more than 32.5 million adults in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The problem with cartilage regeneration is that cartilage is not able to heal itself, so you end up with an inferior, fibrous kind of tissue – similar to scar tissue – that is susceptible to breaking down over time, leading to more serious interventions like a total knee replacement surgery,” said Michael Detamore, PhD, the founding director, professor and Stephenson Chair of Biomedical Engineering in the Gallogly College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. Detamore (photo) is the principal investigator of a research project being conducted at OU and OU Health that is using a protein fragment identified by comparing two different molecules known to support stem cell conversion t

OU Scientist Named Fellow of National Academy of Inventors

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Thirumalai (Venky) Venkatesan has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. He is the director of the OU Center for Quantum Research and Technology. He also holds positions as a professor of electrical and computer engineering in the Gallogly College of Engineering and as a professor of physics and astronomy in the Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy. Venkatesan, an internationally noted researcher in advanced technology innovation, joined OU in 2021. The inventor of the pulsed laser deposition process, he has filed for 46 patents and been issued 33. He has over 800 publications and has mentored hundreds of students.  In addition to being a NAI Fellow, Venkatesan will be inducted into the Royal Society in 2022. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, a fellow of the Materials Research Society, a recipient of the Bellcore Award of Excellence, a winner of the George E. Pake Prize and a recipient of the Distinguished Lectureship on Applications of P

OU Biomedical Engineering Student Named Top Senior

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Emmy Francek in the Gallogly College of Engineering has been selected as an Outstanding Senior at the University of Oklahoma. Francek, of Suttons Bay, Michigan, is a combined master’s and bachelor’s degree student in the Stephenson School of Biomedical Engineering, one of seven schools in the college. She was selected for her exceptional achievements in scholarship, honors, awards, leadership and service.  “It is an incredible honor to have been selected as Outstanding Senior for the Gallogly College of Engineering. I am beyond thankful for everyone who has helped me along this journey,” Francek said.  Francek served as a research assistant in the Wilhelm Lab, a cancer nanomedicine and immunoengineering laboratory. Working with OU researcher Stefan Wilhelm , she helped to start an outreach program called BE4NANO (Bio-nanotechnology Engagement for Native Americans in Oklahoma), an outreach program that focuses on high school juniors, including students who are members of the Kiowa and W

OU Student Addresses Tar Creek Cleanup on Army Corps of Engineers' Program

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For as long as she can remember, Justine McCann has been fascinated by the outdoors and science. It was that fascination that led her from Georgia to Oklahoma to pursue a PhD in environmental science at the University of Oklahoma. McCann recalls the moment she charted a path to the Sooner State. She was working as a consultant for international engineering firm CH2M (now Jacobs Engineering Group) after having earned a bachelor’s degree in geology from Penn State. After a few years, though, she learned that a desk job wasn’t for her. She missed being outside.  Enter engineering professor Robert Nairn, director of OU’s Center for Restoration of Ecosystems and Watersheds (CREW) . In a speech at a Geological Society of America meeting, Nairn talked about his research at Tar Creek, considered one of the most toxic areas in the United States. For the past 25 years, Nairn has worked to improve water quality at the federal Superfund site, finding success in using an unconventional approach – a

Inspiring Future Engineers through SEED Center Activity

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By Susan Walden, PhD Engineering Pathways Executive Director and SEED Center Founder In November, OU engineering alumni Zach Anderson (computer engineering 2002 and MBA 2006) and Ben Ishii (chemical engineering 2010) gathered around a table with a group of boys half their size to contemplate the efficacy of building materials.  Two of the boys are their sons, Ethan Anderson and Eli Ishii, middle school students from Norman Public Schools, who were on campus as part of the Engineering Pathways office’s series of events named Engineering Experiences. The team faced the challenge of designing and building a prototype structure able to withstand modeled severe weather and earthquakes. Photo, from left, Zach and Ethan Anderson, and Eli and Ben Ishii. The Sooner Engineering Education (SEED) Center, a part of the Gallogly College of Engineering (GCoE) Office of Engineering Pathways, began hosting groups of students from area elementary, middle and high schools 12 years ago in the Rawl Enginee

GCoE Undergraduates Making Their Mark in Research

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The fall semester is well underway in the Gallogly College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. And with that, undergraduate students are being recognized at conferences, seminars and competitions. Recent awardees hail from the School of Computer Science (CS), School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering (AME) and School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE).   AME senior Preetha Thanunathan was part of a team winning second place in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) Innovation Challenge in Orlando, Florida. “This was a 48-hour hackathon. We received 48 hours to ideate, prototype and present our product,” she said.  Thanunathan's team produced an affordable small-sized drone, Sky Findr, that helps locate a missing child within a crowd, such as at a theme park. The prototype included custom Python-based facial recognition software. The team won $4,000 provided by Rockwell Automation and was comprised of students from Arizona State University and

OU Engineers Earn High Honors for Contributions to Higher Ed

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The Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society recognized longtime engineering professors Daniel Resasco and David Sabatini at the Oklahoma History Center on Nov. 2. The University of Oklahoma educators were among 11 who were inducted as part of the 2020 Hall of Fame Class that recognizes outstanding service to Oklahoma higher education. Since 1994 almost 300 educators, administrators and others who have made distinguished contributions to higher education have been included. “Dr. Resasco and Dr. Sabatini have both accomplished amazing things in their careers and have used and will continue to use this success to create opportunities for our students. Their dedication to student success and commitment to innovative research in the field of engineering are well known throughout the industry and it is a pleasure to see these two faculty members formally recognized by the Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society,” said John Klier, dean of the Gallogly College of Engineering.   Resasco  

Gift Brings OU School of Industrial and Systems Engineering into New Era

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  A $4.4 million gift to the University of Oklahoma Foundation has the capacity to transform OU’s School of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Charles Jones, a 1969 ISE alumnus from OU’s Gallogly College of Engineering, has committed $2.2 million to establish the Charles R. Jones Endowed Chair in Data Science and Analytics and $2 million to the new Madelaine Pfau Endowed Chair in Enterprise Leadership for Industrial and Systems Engineering. “Data science and enterprise leadership are increasingly important to every engineering discipline,” said Gallogly College Dean and AT&T Chair John Klier. “Having access to professors who are experts in these areas will position OU students well for their future careers and also offer opportunities to work closely with faculty on contemporary research problems, which will provide yet another level of qualification that will bring graduates to the top of hiring lists.” Klier added the endowed positions will be the first two chairs in OU ISE sinc

OU Researcher's Work Garners International Attention

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Thirumalai “Venky” Venkatesan, an internationally renowned leader in advanced quantum technology innovation, is helping shape research through a molecular device that may be able to reprogram the human brain’s logic. His work is garnering global attention for a molecular device that shows exceptional computing prowess and may have the ability to modify or rewire the brain.  Now recognized by science communities such as  Nature  and The Latest Science, the molecular device can be reconfigured quickly for different computational tasks by changing applied voltages, Venkatesan says. As nerve cells store memories, he adds that this same device also can retain information for future retrieval and processing. “In the future, this novel molecular device may help design next-generation processing chips with enhanced computational power and speed, yet at the same time, it will consume significantly reduced energy,” said Venkatesan, director of the  OU Center for Quantum Research and Technology .

OU Engineering Students Win Prestigious Dissertation Award

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Working on a PhD during a global pandemic created new challenges for students. There’s little doubt that the pandemic created obstacles for students of all ages. At the University of Oklahoma, the Gallogly College of Engineering wants to make sure that current doctoral students have the funds – and the motivation – to complete their studies. Seven students recently received the Engineering Dissertation Award, a $5,000 award created to encourage doctoral students to graduate with excellence. While the award has been in existence for several years, this year’s crop of students faces different challenges than those in the past, says Zahed Siddique, the college’s associate dean for research who heads the awards committee.  During most of 2020, these scholars lacked face-to-face interaction with advisers and other PhD students that is critical to the doctoral process, Siddique says. Engineering dissertations take two to three years to write, with most research completed in a lab. “We had to

OU Engineer Aims to Accelerate Development of mRNA Technology Platforms

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An engineering researcher at the University of Oklahoma is part of a National Science Foundation project addressing the logistical challenges of maintaining cryogenic temperatures for Messenger RNA (mRNA) molecules, a molecule that allows human cells to recognize and protect against infectious diseases. Dimitrios Papavassiliou,  a professor in the School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering in the Gallogly College of Engineering, is investigating Distributed Ribonucleic Acid Manufacturing – DReAM – that would create a manufacturing technique to produce mRNA sequences on demand and on-site. The research is funded by the NSF through a four-year, $2 million grant from its Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation program.  “The mRNA molecules are very fragile and require extremely low temperatures for storage and transportation. The DReAM team is working to avoid the need to maintain cryogenic temperatures. We hope our work will revolutionize care for viruses such as HIV,

Canadian Scientist Receives OU International Water Prize

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Cultural anthropologist Dawn Martin-Hill, has been named the 2022 University of Oklahoma International Water Prize recipient for her commitment to improving water security for the people of the Six Nations of the Grand River, the largest Native reserve in Canada. In September Martin-Hill, an associate professor at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, was recognized at the OU International WaTER Symposium for her contributions to understanding how water quality and security are linked to Indigenous community culture, livelihood and health.  Jim Chamberlain, interim director of the OU WaTER Center, said, “Dr. Martin-Hill is deeply committed to bringing water to the underserved in North America. We had five excellent nominees for this prize and a panel of her peers determined that Dr. Martin-Hill’s work stood out as exemplary and representative of the WaTER Center’s mission to bring water and sanitation to communities in need.” The symposium brings together a group of expert panelists

OU Receives Nearly $5 Million to Support Defense Research

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The Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, headquartered at Tinker Air Force Base, is funding six research projects at the University of Oklahoma. A seventh project is being funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory. The nearly $5 million total investment will fund research that addresses sustainment and modernization needs for the Air Force. “Our partnership with OU is instrumental to our ability to meet future mission challenges,” said OC-ALC Cmdr. Maj. Gen. Jeffrey R. King. “These awards, following closely on the heels of our educational partnership agreement and software satellite facility on the Norman campus, represent the next step in this growing and vital relationship.” OU signed an educational partnership agreement with OC-ALC in July 2020 to cultivate aerospace and defense technology development and to improve and enhance education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Following the development of OU’s Lead On, University strategic plan , which defines four “

OU Engineer Receives Award from NSF's Electrochemical Systems Program

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You may not even realize it. The battery that powers your cell phone has not been in existence long. Lithium-ion batteries first became available commercially in 1991, introducing a new age of technology. Thirty years later, universities and businesses around the world continue to explore ways to improve the lithium battery to make it safer, more powerful and long-lasting. Bin Wang, an associate professor in the Gallogly College of Engineering School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering at the University of Oklahoma, is one of the researchers around the globe working on next-generation batteries. In August, Wang received a three-year, $255,552-award from the Electrochemical Systems Program at the National Science Foundation. Wang is part of a collaborative study with researcher Zhaoyang Fan at Arizona State University.  One of the key concerns with lithium-ion batteries is storage capacity for large-scale usage. “Windmills and solar panels produce a lot of electricity. Tha

Scholarship Program Focuses on Computer Science, Tribal Nation Building

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From left,  OU team members Deborah Moore-Russo, Deborah Trytten, Natalie Youngbull, Heather Shotton, Casey Haskins and Randa Shehab.   Deborah Trytten, a computer science professor, is leading a research team at the University of Oklahoma focused on creating pathways to STEM disciplines for students with demonstrated financial need. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the project will support scholarships to 23 full-time students who are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in computer science.  The interdisciplinary team was awarded a nearly $1.5 million grant from the Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics program at the NSF. They represent the many facets of the program to support Indigenous students at OU. The project is also supported by two advisory boards: the Advisors for Indigenous Community Engagement board consists of community members and professionals who support Indigenous education across Oklahoma. The Student Success Advisory Board consists of

OU Engineer Receives National Recognition for Catalysis Research

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Daniel Resasco, a professor in the School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering in the Gallogly College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma, has been awarded the Excellence in Catalysis Award by the Catalysis Society of Metropolitan New York, a prestigious regional organization with an awardee pool national in scope.  The award, sponsored by ExxonMobil, has been given to academic and industrial researchers in heterogeneous catalysis since 1982. Resasco’s affiliation with the organization dates back 40 years to when he was a graduate student at Yale University.  “I vividly remember attending the awards dinner and a seminar given by that year’s awardee so receiving this award and presenting the work conducted at OU almost 40 years later is a very special honor. This award recognizes world-renowned researchers and being part of this remarkable group makes me humble and proud at the same time,” he said.  Joining the OU faculty in 1993, Resasco holds the inaugural Gallo

OU WaTER Center to Host Virtual OU International Water Symposium

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The OU International WaTER Symposium is hosted by the Water Technologies for Emerging Regions (WaTER) Center as part of a broader mission to promote peace through sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene solutions. A virtual symposium starts at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 21. Five internationally recognized practitioners active in the field of water security will have determined the 2022 OU International Water Prize recipient earlier in the day. At the end of the symposium, the recipient will be announced. When: Tuesday, Sept. 21, 7-8:30 p.m. Registration is required. Upon registering a Zoom link will be sent to your email. Register here. What: At approximately 8 p.m. on Sept. 21, the University of Oklahoma International Water Prize is awarded to an individual who has made significant contributions to the field of water supply and sanitation for developing regions.  Who:  Presentations by each of the practitioners, who also are jurors, starts at approximately 7:15 p.m.  This year’s to

OU Team Moves to Reduce Emissions, Improve Efficiencies in Oil & Gas

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Whether for a natural gas pipeline or an offshore production platform, the carbon footprint of reciprocating engines in the oil and gas sector continues to get larger. Wanting to rein in these emissions, University of Oklahoma engineers have discovered that a 70% reduction in emissions from natural gas engines may be achievable.  Their project – Low-Cost Retrofit Kit for Integral Reciprocating Compressors to Reduce Emissions and Enhance Efficiency – is led by Pejman Kazempoor, an assistant professor in the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering in the Gallogly College of Engineering. He says the study’s main scope is to reduce emissions from these oil and gas components. “We are working on manipulating parts of integral compressors to make them more efficient,” Kazempoor said. “Our primary results have shown that we can reduce the emissions by 70%, and if we can achieve this, we will have a major impact on emission reduction from oil and gas facilities.” Kazempoor and his team

OU Engineering Freshmen Shine at 2021 AT&T Summer Bridge Program

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Students (starting second from left) Diego Perez Avendano, Harrison Dean, Brandon Aparicio and Raymond Conner receive the 2021 Summer Bridge Award of Excellence at the closing ceremony. On left, is Chad Davis, ECE instructor, and far right,  Chris Dalton, AME associate professor. This summer, 48 incoming freshmen coming from Oklahoma, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada and Texas graduated from the AT&T Summer Bridge Program in the Gallogly College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. The four-week on-campus program was designed to prepare students entering an OU engineering program for the academic rigor of engineering coursework. Sponsored by AT&T and Dolese, students worked in teams to design and build miniature robotic vehicles. The students applied various skills and concepts of engineering to their designs. They also practiced effective communication, prioritization and presentation skills alongside teammates. After a month of complicated engineeri

GCoE Welcomes New Faculty

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  GCoE has added a total of 18 new faculty to its schools, institutes, labs and centers for the 2021-22 school year.  “The Gallogly College of Engineering has made large strides in recruiting some of the best engineering minds to the University of Oklahoma,” said John Klier, dean of the Gallogly College of Engineering. “This school year marks one of our greatest efforts in that we hired 18 outstanding new faculty to add depth and breadth to research focus areas while at the same time enhancing the student experience.” The following join the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering as assistant professors: Iman Ghamarian, Ph.D., most recently was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Michigan. His expertise is in materials science and engineering with current research linking orientation microscopy to atom probe tomography data. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the Sharif University of Technology in Iran, a master’s degree from the University of North Texas and a doct