2019-20 Auburn Engineering Dean's Report

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SAMUEL GINN COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING 2 0 1 9 - 2 0 2 0

D E A N ’ S

ENG.AUBURN.EDU

R E P O R T


CONTENTS Leadership 6 Annual Report Data

8

Fellows

13

Academic Departments and Degrees

16

Student Involvement

17

Student Support

18

Faculty Highlights

20

Student Highlights

22

COVID-19 Response

24

Additive Manufacturing from Nano to Micro Scales Electrical and Computer

26

Unraveling the Universe’s History Aerospace

29

Bringing AI to Agriculture Biosystems

30

Biomass for Biosensing Chemical

31

Advanced Imaging Civil and Environmental

32

Next-Generation Cyber Defense Computer Science and Software

33

Flying Pharmacies Industrial and Systems

34

Rapid Immune Diagnostics Materials

35

Next Generation Humidity Control Mechanical

36

Improving Indoor Spatial Data

37

Research Centers

40

New Faculty Members

42

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Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

DEAN’S MESSAGE If you had asked me one year ago about some of the biggest challenges facing engineering institutions, a global pandemic would not have been among my answers. But here we are. COVID-19 took the world by surprise, erupting into a full-blown public health crisis and disrupting large swathes of the economy. Like most colleges, we were not immune. Auburn University transitioned to remote instruction and work-from-home protocols in mid-March. That massive transition had the potential to do great harm to our college, but thanks to the Herculean efforts of our faculty, staff and students, we had a successful ending to the spring semester – albeit from a safe, socially appropriate distance. For many of us, one prevailing reason we became engineers is to address society’s great challenges. Although unwelcome, COVID-19 presented an opportunity for Auburn engineers to address myriad new challenges. Our faculty and students quickly jumped into action, developing emergency ventilators from CPAP machines, bringing a COVID-19 test to market in just two weeks, 3D printing personal protective equipment for our nation’s health care workers and much more. I could not be more proud of how they used their skills to address this terrible situation head-on.


Despite the curveball thrown by COVID-19, I am happy to report that the college is maintaining its upward trajectory in teaching and research. Because we strive to provide a premier studentcentered educational experience, the opening of the BrownKopel Engineering Student Achievement Center in August 2019 was hugely significant for the college, providing a centralized location for our student-support services where students already gather. The 2019-20 academic year saw a significant uptick in tutoring appointments in Brown-Kopel, and our Office of Career Development and Corporate Relations, established in 2018, continues to expand its programming, with several new events held in Brown-Kopel. Even after the COVID-19 campus closure in March, these two offices continued to serve our students through Zoom and other digital tools. I reported last year that our research program enjoyed a strong 2018-19, driven by all-time highs in research expenditures and proposals submitted. I am so proud of our faculty and research support staff for continuing that momentum in those two areas into 2019-20. We have had several faculty eclipse $1 million in research awards this year, and I’m particularly proud of the six faculty members who won prestigious early-career awards from

the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. The new $22 million Advanced Structural Engineering Laboratory that is under construction will be one of the preeminent facilities in the nation, allowing our Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering to conduct advanced testing and research in structural engineering. I am thrilled with the direction our college is headed through the efforts of our faculty, staff and students. I invite you to read through this report to read about their remarkable achievements in 2019-20. War Eagle! Sincerely,

Christopher B. Roberts


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Samuel Ginn College of Engineering


Index DEAN Christopher B. Roberts DIRECTOR, COMMUNICATIONS AND MARKETING Austin Phillips EDITOR Chris Anthony CONTRIBUTORS Jeremy Henderson Cassie Montgomery Virginia Speirs Alyssa Turner Lauren Winton GRAPHIC DESIGN Danny Doyle WEB MANAGER Tyler Patterson PHOTOGRAPHY Marcus Kluttz

The new $44 million Brown-Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center opened its doors in August 2019. Located in the heart of campus, the center is a hub for students’ professional and academic needs, providing one of the most comprehensive, active-learning environments in the country. The center was made possible thanks to a $30 million gift from John and Rosemary Brown. To see photos, visit aub.ie/bkesac-pics.

2019-20 Dean’s Report The Dean’s Report is published annually each fall by Auburn University’s Office of Engineering Communications and Marketing. Engineering Communications and Marketing c/o Editor 1320C Shelby Center Auburn, AL 36849 eng.editor@auburn.edu 334.844.3447 © 2020 Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, Auburn University. Auburn University is an equal opportunity educational institution/ employer.

2019-20 Dean’s Report

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COLLEGE LEADERSHIP

Christopher B. Roberts Dean

Jeffrey Fergus

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies and Program Assessment

Maria Auad

Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Faculty Development

Steve Taylor

Associate Dean for Research

Janet Moore

Assistant Dean for Student Services

Auburn Alumni Engineering Council 2020 Executive Committee Kenneth Kelly

Larry Monroe

Brad Christopher

Olivia Owen

Chair

Brian Thurow

Aerospace Engineering Chair

Oladiran Fasina

Biosystems Engineering Head

Mario Eden

Chemical Engineering Chair

Vice Chair

At Large

Jim Cooper

Gerald Pouncey

At Large

Development

Nicole Faulk

Ashley Robinett

Second Past Chair

Maury Gaston

Nominating Committee, Second Past Chair

Andrzej Nowak

Civil and Environmental Engineering Chair

Hari Narayanan

Computer Science and Software Engineering Chair

Mark Nelms

Electrical and Computer Engineering Chair

Carol Godfrey At Large

Melissa Herkt At Large

Anne Cleary

Public Relations Committee

Zeke Smith

Government Affairs

John Evans

Industrial and Systems Engineering Chair 6

Jeff Suhling

Mechanical Engineering Chair

Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

At Large

Young Alumni Council Liaison

Ken Smith

Academics and Student Experience Committee

Jeff Stone

Capital Campaign Committee

Jack Waddey Research

Walt Woltosz

Immediate Past Chair


ADMINISTRATIVE RESTRUCTURING Auburn Engineering welcomed two new faces to its senior leadership team in 2020 as part of an administrative restructuring that supports the college’s student-centered approach to engineering education.

Maria Auad

cannot be overstated,” Roberts said. “His dedication to our students’ success will have a positive impact on his new role overseeing our undergraduate studies.” Steve Duke, associate dean for academics since 2013, rejoined the faculty of the Department of Chemical Engineering. Duke, an associate professor of chemical engineering, first joined the Auburn faculty in 1996. His research interests include flow and energy visualization, polymer and drug particle processing, alternative fuels development and technology education. “Dr. Duke is returning to his first passion of working directly with students through teaching and conducting research,” Roberts said. “Our college owes him a tremendous debt of gratitude for helping to elevate the quality of our engineering student experience and our reputation among engineering institutions nationwide. Our college is certainly stronger because of his fine efforts.”

Maria Auad, the W. Allen and Martha Reed Endowed Professor of chemical engineering, was named to the new position of associate dean for graduate studies and faculty development. As associate dean, Auad is responsible for oversight and coordination of college-wide graduate academic matters and activities related to providing a superior educational experience for the college’s graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, both in on-campus and online programs. Additional responsibilities include oversight and coordination of activities and programs to support and provide for the professional development of the faculty. “Dr. Auad brings exciting ideas for engaging our faculty and elevating our graduate students’ experience and the depth of our graduate offerings. Having served as director of our Center for Polymers and Advanced Composites, and as an interim department chair prior to that, Dr. Auad brings both experience and inspiration to the administration of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering,” said Christopher Roberts, dean of the College of Engineering. Auad joined the Auburn faculty in 2006. She received a doctorate in material sciences from University of Mar del Plata in Argentina and completed a post-doctoral scholar position at the California Institute of Technology. In 2015, she was named director of the Center for Polymers and Advanced Composites and was promoted to full professor of chemical engineering in 2017. As part of an administrative restructuring, Jeff Fergus transitioned from associate dean for assessment and graduate studies to the role of associate dean for undergraduate studies and program assessment. “The impact that Dr. Fergus has made on our graduate programs

Janet Moore

Janet Moore also assumed the role of assistant dean for engineering student services in 2020, succeeding longtime Assistant Dean Bob Karcher. As assistant dean, Moore manages the operation of the Office of Student Services, continues to meet with students to interpret academic and university policy, and represents the Office of the Dean in student matters. “Janet’s résumé speaks for itself,” Roberts said. “She continues to demonstrate a contagious enthusiasm for her work that has her staff equally excited about continuing to serve students under her leadership. The appointment is well deserved.” Moore began her career as an educator and psychometrist in K-12 before transitioning to higher education. Before arriving at Auburn, Moore was the director for academic support and tutoring services at Jacksonville State University, where she was the lead researcher of a $3.5 million grant that provided tutoring, cooperative learning labs, supplemental instruction and retention initiatives for the university. In 2019, she was named the National Academic Advising Association’s Outstanding Academic Advising Administrator. 2019-20 Dean’s Report

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NATIONAL RANKINGS

29

40 23

1

th

Undergraduate program ranking among public universities1

th

Graduate program ranking among public universities1

rd

Graduate online program ranking among all engineering colleges1

U.S. News & World Report data |

2

19

29 40

th

Graduate computer information technology program ranking1

th

Ranking in undergraduate enrollment among all engineering colleges2

th

Tenured/tenure track faculty members among all engineering colleges2

2019 American Society for Engineering Education data |

3

Auburn University National Prestigious Scholarship Program

Enrollment

Engineering

University

Undergraduate

5,579

24,594

Graduate

1,003

5,866

Total

6,582 30,460

21% female 12.5% underrepresented

UNDERGRADUATE ENROLLMENT

8

3,890

4,018

4,157

2010

2011

2012

Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

4,294

4,618

2013

2014

4,968

4,963

2015

2016

5,282

2017

5,559

2018

5,579

2019


FRESHMAN CLASS SNAPSHOT

1,220 FRESHMEN

AVERAGE ACT

3.99

16

GRADUATE SNAPSHOT

29.5

AVERAGE HIGH SCHOOL GPA

MASTER’S

433

NATIONAL MERIT SCHOLARS

8

21% OF THE FRESHMAN ENROLLMENT

25%

FEMALE

Graduate Students by Program Aerospace: 70 Biosystems: 30 Chemical: 84 Civil: 126 Computer science and software: 175 Cybersecurity engineering: 17 Data engineering: 1 Electrical and computer: 112 Master of Engineering: 11 Engineering management: 29 Industrial and systems: 120 Materials: 56 Mechanical: 154 Polymer and fiber: 10

Aerospace: 495 Biosystems: 189 Chemical: 610 Civil: 555 Computer Science and Software: 1,232 Electrical and Computer: 603 Industrial and Systems: 447 Materials: 73 Mechanical: 1,275 Polymer and Fiber: 1 Wireless: 39 Pre-engineering: 60

562

CERTIFICATE

Largest college at Auburn University with

Undergraduate Students by Department

DOCTORAL

(35 master’s and 35 doctoral) (12 master’s and 18 doctoral) (15 master’s and 69 doctoral) (65 master’s and 61 doctoral) (62 master’s and 113 doctoral) (17 master’s) (1 master’s) (43 master’s and 69 doctoral) (11 master’s) (29 master’s) (50 master’s and 70 doctoral) (20 master’s and 36 doctoral) (71 master’s and 83 doctoral) (2 master’s and 8 doctoral)

GRADUATE ENROLLMENT 971 917 810

834

853

885

2010

2011

2012

2013

851

2014

2015

1,003 936

897

2016

2017

2018

2019

2019-20 Dean’s Report

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RESEARCH SNAPSHOT

$65.6 MILLION in research expenditures

FACULTY SNAPSHOT

190

Tenured/tenure track faculty

Research Expenditures (in millions)

2010 2011

55.5 57.4

2012

60

60.1

2013

61.3

2014

60.0

2015

58.3

Non-tenure track teaching/research faculty

2016

61.7

2017

62.6

2018 64.3 2019

65.6

30

Postdoctoral researchers/fellows 10

Samuel Ginn College of Engineering


HIGH PROFILE

STRATEGIC

FUNDING AWARDED IN 2019

Advanced manufacturing and materials

RESEARCH AREAS Transportation Engineering: $19.4 million Additive Manufacturing: $5.5 million Autonomy and Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing: $4.4 million Electronics: $3.24 million Biomedical: $2.7 million

RESEARCH AREAS Infrastructure and transportation Cybersecurity and intelligent systems Energy and environment Biomedical and health systems engineering

Notable Research Awards in 2019 $3,024,861

U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command “Polaris Support” - Mark Adams (electrical and computer engineering) and David Bevly (mechanical engineering)

$1,877,710

National Institutes of Health “Optofluidic Nanoplasmonic Biosensors For Next Gen Point-Of-Care” - Pengyu Chen (materials engineering)

$1,750,000 $1,238,104

Minnesota Department of Transportation “National Partnership to Determine the Life Extending Benefit Curves of Pavement Preservation Techniques” - Adrianna Vargas (National Center for Asphalt Technology) National Science Foundation “MRI: Acquisition Of An X-Ray Computed Nanotomography System” - Lauren Beckingham (civil and environmental engineering)

$939,453

National Science Foundation “MRI: Development Of A Non-Equilibrium Plasma Coupled Rapid Compression Machine” - Nick Tsolas (mechanical engineering)

$700,000

Federal Highway Administration “Development Of Aging Resistant Binder Technology” - Randy West (National Center for Asphalt Technology) 2019-20 Dean’s Report

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ENSURING ENGINEERING’S FUTURE Who are Auburn Engineering’s donors?

Largest areas of support: SCHOLARSHIPS:

3000

The Samuel Ginn College of Engineering provided more than $3 million in scholarships in the academic year 2019-20 through

2500

a total of 1,438 scholarships.

2000

25.1% of funds received went to scholarships – a total of $7.7 million raised

2,017

1500 1000 361

330

500 0

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Alu

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e

Fri

93 s ion

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73 nts are

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The college raised $19.8 million for programmatic support. These funds are mostly unrestricted Funds for Excellence, which allow the deans and department chairs to meet priority goals for the college.

2,885 DONORS

Strategic Leadership Team

in fiscal year 2020

The Strategic Leadership Team exists to help move the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering’s highest-level strategic priorities forward. Since it was established, the team has contributed more than $52 million to propel these priorities.

have given

5,309 GIFTS

$31 MILLION

Funds raised in fiscal year 2020 to date

The Samuel Ginn College of Engineering is committed to providing the best studentcentered engineering experience in America. Our Keystone Society donors are a strategic part of this vision, providing much-needed annual funds to the college. In the 20192020 year, members of the Keystone Society collectively contributed more than $5 million to all areas of Auburn Engineering. These funds enhance engineering education and allow the college to remain nimble and tackle any unexpected challenges. 12

PROGRAMMATIC:

Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

84% of funds raised were endowed

Students are seen in a study room in the Brown-Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center.


FELLOWS IN THE COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING Aerospace Engineering

John Cochran – Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

Biosystems Engineering

Adit Singh – Fellow, IEEE

Jitendra Tugnait – Fellow, IEEE

Dan Wilamowski – Fellow, IEEE

Hulya Kirkici – Fellow, IEEE

William Batchelor – Fellow, American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE)

Vishwani Agrawal – Fellow, IEEE

Oladiran Fasina – Fellow, ASABE

Prathima Agrawal – Fellow, IEEE

Steven Taylor – Fellow, ASABE

Charlie Gross – Fellow, IEEE

Dave Irwin –Fellow, IEEE; Fellow, NAI

Chemical Engineering

Dick Jaeger – Fellow, IEEE

Thomas Hanley – Fellow, American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)

John Wu – Fellow, IEEE

Harry Cullinan – Fellow, Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI)

Bruce Tatarchuk – Fellow, National Academy of Inventors (NAI)

Industrial and Systems Engineering

Sean Gallagher – Fellow, American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA); Fellow, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

Rob Thomas – Fellow, AIHA

Joseph Shaeiwitz – Fellow, AIChE; Fellow, American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE)

Civil Engineering

Alice Smith – Fellow, Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE); Fellow, IEEE Jeff Smith – Fellow, IISE

Chan Park – Fellow, IISE Prabhakar Clement – Fellow, American Society John Evans – Luminary of Surface Mount Technology of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Association (SMTA) Xing Fang – Fellow, ASCE; Fellow, Environmental and Water Resources Institute Mechanical Engineering

Andrzej Nowak – Fellow, ASCE; Fellow, American Concrete Institute (ACI), Fellow, International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering

Bryan A. Chin – Fellow, ASM International; Fellow, American Nuclear Society; Fellow, American Welding Society; Fellow, Electrochemical Society

Robert Barnes – Fellow, ACI

Anton Schindler – Fellow, ACI; Fellow, ASCE

Malcolm Crocker – Fellow, Acoustical Society of India; Fellow, Acoustical Society of America

Huaguo Zhou – Fellow, Institute of Transportation Engineers

Computer Science and Software Engineering

Daniela Marghitu – Fellow, Society for Design and Process Science

Levent Yilmaz – Fellow, Society for Modeling and Simulation International (SCS) Electrical and Computer Engineering Foster Dai – Fellow, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

Jeffrey Fergus – Fellow, Electrochemical Society; Fellow, ABET George Flowers – Fellow, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Jay Khodadadi – Associate Fellow, AIAA Pradeep Lall – Fellow, Alabama Academy of Sciences; Fellow, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers; Fellow, ASME; Fellow, NextFlex P. K. Raju – Fellow, ASME; Fellow, American Society of Engineering Education; Fellow, Acoustical Society of India; Fellow, The Institution of Engineers, India Subhash Sinha – Fellow, ASME; Associate Fellow, AIAA

Mark Halpin – Fellow, IEEE

Jeffrey Suhling – Fellow, ASME

John Hung – Fellow, IEEE

Shiwen Mao – Fellow, IEEE

Hareesh Tippur – Fellow, Society of Experimental Mechanics; Fellow, ASME

Mark Nelms – Fellow, IEEE 2019-20 Dean’s Report

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Auburn Engineering is focused on providing the best student-centered engineering experience in America. We pride ourselves on providing hands-on, experiential learning opportunities for students both inside and outside the classroom. By providing a student-centered learning experience and high levels of engagement with faculty, we graduate engineers capable of addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges in the engineering field.

14

Samuel Ginn College of Engineering


Natalie CĂĄpiro (center), assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, is shown working with students in her lab.

2019-20 Dean’s Report

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ACADEMIC DEPARTMENTS AND DEGREES Aerospace Engineering

Electrical and Computer Engineering

• Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering

• Bachelor of Electrical Engineering

• Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering

• Bachelor of Computer Engineering

• Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering

• Master of Science in Electrical Engineering

• Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering

Biosystems Engineering

• Bachelor of Biosystems Engineering

Industrial and Systems Engineering

• Bachelor of Biosystems Engineering – Ecological Engineering Option

• Bachelor of Industrial and Systems Engineering

• Bachelor of Biosystems Engineering – Forestry Engineering Option

• Master of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering

• Master of Industrial and Systems Engineering

• Master of Engineering Management

• Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering

• Bachelor of Biosystems Engineering – Bioprocess Option

• Master of Science in Biosystems Engineering

• Ph.D. in Biosystems Engineering

Chemical Engineering

• Bachelor of Chemical Engineering

• Master of Science in Chemical Engineering

• Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering

Civil Engineering

• Bachelor of Civil Engineering

• Master of Science in Civil Engineering

• Master of Civil Engineering

• Ph.D. in Civil Engineering

Computer Science and Software Engineering

• Bachelor of Computer Science

• Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

• Bachelor of Software Engineering • Master of Science in Computer Science and Software Engineering

• Master of Science in Cybersecurity Engineering

• Ph.D. in Computer Science and Software Engineering

16

Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

Materials Engineering

• Bachelor of Materials Engineering

• Master of Science in Materials Engineering

• Ph.D. in Materials Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

• Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering

• Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

• Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

Wireless Engineering

• Bachelor of Wireless Engineering

Interdepartmental Programs

• Master of Engineering

• Master of Science in Polymer and Fiber Engineering

• Master of Science in Data Science and Engineering – Interdisciplinary

• Ph.D. in Polymer and Fiber Engineering

• Ph.D. in Earth System Science – Interdisciplinary


STUDENT INVOLVEMENT THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE Student engagement is a vital part of the Auburn Engineering experience. With more than 40 engineering student organizations and more than a dozen global engineering programs, Auburn Engineering offers co-curricular programming for every student who wants to get involved beyond the classroom and make a difference in their community.

Engineering Society, devote their spare time to promoting and serving the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. These undergraduate students can be found around the college leading tours, hosting alumni guests, assisting with K-12 engineering outreach events and fundraising for Engineers Without Borders.

Auburn engineers explore the world through global exchange programs, faculty-led programs and through Engineers Without Borders. This non-credit service learning program allows students to engage in public service and make a difference in developing countries such as Rwanda and Bolivia. Members of the Engineers Without Borders student chapter at Auburn apply their engineering skills toward improving the lives of people worldwide.

Perhaps one of the most valuable examples of student engagement that makes a difference in a student’s academic career is undergraduate research. Exposing undergraduate students to fundamental and applied research projects in conjunction with graduate students and accomplished faculty members opens up countless new opportunities on their engineering career path. Such experiences often serve as a student’s springboard toward a decision to pursue a graduate degree in an engineering discipline.

Engineering student organizations run the gamut from academic honor societies to student chapters of professional societies and institutes. Others, such as the student ambassadors who are members of the Cupola

Engineers Without Borders members in the process of surveying the route of irrigation water for the fields of Iputi in the Bolivian Andes.

2019-20 Dean’s Report

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GUIDING THE NEXT GENERATION OF AUBURN ENGINEERS

The Samuel Ginn College of Engineering has many avenues for students to find academic and professional support and guidance on their path to graduation. These student-centered learning opportunities elevate the Auburn Engineering experience and better prepare students to address the engineering challenges of tomorrow. 100+ Women Strong Fostering the success of female engineering students is the guiding principle of 100+ Women Strong, an organization to recruit, retain and reward Auburn women in engineering. Alumni and friends of Auburn Engineering offer their time to encourage female engineering students through mentoring, sharing professional experiences and unique networking opportunities. Engineering Academic Excellence Program The Academic Excellence Program supports underrepresented students throughout their entire Auburn Engineering experience, from before their first semester starts through graduation and beyond. Students form life-long connections while focusing on academic preparation, professional readiness and exploring career paths. Through collaborative learning sessions, peer tutoring and professional development workshops, the Academic Excellence Program forms a solid foundation on which students thrive.

100+ Women Strong is designed to support female engineering students.

Engineering Tutoring Center Students are encouraged to participate in individual and group tutoring services that cover nearly 75 subjects in math, science and high-demand engineering courses. Mentoring and Advising The academic advisors and faculty in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering are engaged and ready to help students achieve their academic goals. Additional peer advising and mentoring programs serve to further highlight the Auburn Engineering experience as one that centers on student academic achievement.

Students participate in the inaugural Academic Excellence Program Industry Super Bowl.

Career Development The college’s Office of Career Development and Corporate Relations aims to equip students to discover, develop and launch purposeful careers. By providing customized, student-centered career development coaching and resources and cultivating industry-focused partnerships, Auburn engineers can feel confident in their search for a co-op, internship or full-time position.

Students prepare to meet with prospective employers at an annual career fair.

18

Samuel Ginn College of Engineering


2,474

BY THE NUMBERS

Students supported by scholarships in 2019-20

40+

$23.9 MILLION

Scholarship support awarded to engineering students in 2019-20

Engineering student organizations

The Engineering Tutoring Center offers individual and group tutoring for nearly 75 subjects.

2019-20 Dean’s Report

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FACULTY HIGHLIGHTS SIX FACULTY MEMBERS RECEIVE EARLY CAREER AWARDS IN 2019-20

Five Auburn Engineering faculty members received National Science Foundation CAREER awards in 2019-20, while another received a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science Early Career Research Program award. Lauren Beckingham, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, was awarded $315,000 toward her work, “Quantifying evolution of accessible mineral surface areas and pore connectivity for improved simulation of mineral reaction rates.” Computer simulations are often used to help understand how soils and aquifers change over years and centuries, but simulation is difficult because measurements of reaction rates in the laboratory are different from measurements in nature, and the reason is not clear. The proposed project will seek to reconcile these differences by using advanced imaging methods, laboratory rock weathering experiments and computer simulations. This will help simulate and better understand such processes as contaminant fate, carbon dioxide sequestration, the dissolution and precipitation of minerals, and changes in water quality. The long-term research goal is to enhance understanding and simulation of the rate, extent and impact of mineral dissolution and precipitation reactions in subsurface systems to better predict flow and transport in these systems, enabling improved risk and impact assessment. Majid Beidaghi, assistant professor of materials engineering, was awarded $544,586 to conduct fundamental research on advanced battery chemistries and components that have the potential for greater energy density and cycling performance. In addition to enabling the design of an entirely new family of cathode materials for aluminium-ion batteries, the project also includes outreach and educational activities designed to support Alabama middle and high school students participating in STEM-related competitions. Educational modules focused on defining and performing science fair projects will be developed and disseminated to local schools through teacher training workshops. In addition, the educational plan utilizes “science and engineering as art” projects to foster creativity in science communication, and dissemination of scientific concepts and discoveries among undergraduate and graduate students. Debswapna Bhattacharya, assistant professor of computer science and software engineering, will use a $557,340 award to develop novel computational and data-driven methods to substantially improve protein structure refinement, bringing protein models closer to 20

Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

biologically relevant experimental accuracy. He will also develop and publicly disseminate an open-access bioinformatics research infrastructure that will advance basic biological research. This interdisciplinary project has a deep commitment to enriching biomolecular simulation and refinement, benefiting researchers and students in multiple communities at the interface of computing and biology. The project facilitates simulation-based learning through the development of PolyFold, a visual simulator for interactive protein structure manipulation and refinement, with an inclusive commitment to engage the general public in science and technology. Pengyu Chen, assistant professor in materials engineering, will use a $500,000 award to develop a nanomaterial imaging system that can measure and track in real-time chemical signals secreted by immune cells. This novel research into how immune cells “talk” to each other will advance immune disease screening and diagnosis technologies. New education experiences developed as part of this award will train K-12, undergraduate and graduate students in bioengineering and nanotechnology. Learning activities and public events will be performed to increase the public interests in material science and biotechnology. David Roueche, assistant professor in civil engineering, will use his $573,297 award to investigate new methodologies that harness post-windstorm reconnaissance data in order to promote the resilience of buildings and communities and reduce future losses and other impacts. Current capabilities for analyzing this data are ill-suited for efficient discovery and application. Roeuche’s project will develop a robust, theory-guided, statistical inference framework for learning from post-windstorm data that will transform the scale to understand and predict windstorm damage, specifically for low-rise buildings. An interactive outreach platform will be developed to translate the project’s research findings to the general public and increase awareness of the critical factors affecting windstorm performance.


Bryan Beckingham, assistant professor of chemical engineering, is the first Auburn Engineering faculty member to receive an award through the DOE Office of Science Early Career Research Program. He was awarded $750,000 to support his research on multi-solute transport behavior within ioncontaining polymer membranes. The potential impact of this project, titled “Transport of

Mark Adams, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, was awarded $3 million in funding from T2S Solutions for his research toward the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command. Pengyu Chen, assistant professor of materials engineering, received a $900,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health for leukemia cell mapping and immunotherapy research. James Davidson, the Gottlieb Professor of structural engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, received an $800,000 grant from the Battelle Memorial Institute for structural engineering research. Civil engineering faculty members Brian Anderson, Justin Marshall and David Roueche are co-principal investigators. Gerry Dozier, the Charles D. McCrary Professor of computer science and software engineering, and Hari Narayanan, computer science and software engineering department chair and the John H. and Gail Watson Professor, were named to the Alabama Commission on Artificial Intelligence and Associated Technologies. Sa’d Hamasha, assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering, won the 2019 Michael V. Carano Teacher Excellence Award from IPC, a trade association that connects the electronics industries. David Irwin, emeritus head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Pradeep Lall, the John and Anne MacFarlane Professor of mechanical engineering, received $1 million in total awards for flexible

Complex Mixtures in Ion-Containing Polymer Membranes,” includes the future design of ion-containing polymer membranes for a range of applications, including energy devices, water purification and the separation of other complex mixtures. Beckingham will use his award to tackle this challenge through experiments that will investigate the fundamental relationships between membrane structure, membrane physiochemical properties and transport behavior of solutes and complex solute mixtures through dense, hydrated membranes.

electronics research during the first half of 2020. Joe Majdalani, the Hugh and Loeda Francis Chair of aerospace engineering, received the J. Leland Atwood Award from the American Society for Engineering Education in conjunction with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Mark Nelms, professor and electrical and computer engineering department chair, won the IEEE Industry Application Society’s 2019 Distinguished Service Award. Vrishank Raghav, assistant professor of aerospace engineering, received a $600,000 Trailblazer R21 award from the National Institutes of Health for a project designed to help doctors identify and treat patients who have a particular lung disease known as Expiratory Central Airway Collapse. Jorge Rueda-Benavides, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, won the Fred Burggraf Award from the Transportation Research Board. He shared the award with his two master’s students, Keren Xu and Karthik Pakalapati. Anton Schindler, the Mountain Spirit Professor of civil and environmental engineering, was named a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Nima Shamsaei, associate professor of mechanical engineering, was awarded $5.1 million in funding from NASA for his research on rapid analysis and manufacturing propulsion technology. Alice Smith, the Joe W. Forehand/ Accenture Distinguished Professor of

industrial and systems engineering with a joint appointment in computer science and software engineering, is editor of a new book, “Women in Industrial and Systems Engineering.” Yin Sun, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, published a new book titled “Age of Information: A New Metric for Information Freshness.” He also received the best paper award at the IEEE/IFIP WiOpt Conference in 2019 for his work on remote estimation. Bruce Tatarchuk, the Charles E. Gavin III Professor of chemical engineering, received a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Navy for research on high-power battery systems. Nick Tsolas, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, received a $657,627 Major Instrumentation Award from the National Science Foundation for the development of a non-equilibrium plasma coupled rapid compression machine. Yi Wang, assistant professor of biosystems engineering, is co-principal investigator on a new $3 million NASA-MIRO grant aimed at establishing a Center for High-Pressure Combustion in Microgravity. Randy West, director of the National Center for Asphalt Technology, received an $800,000 grant from the National Academy of Sciences for a project researching pavement performance. Levent Yilmaz, professor of computer science and software engineering, was named a fellow of the Society for Modeling and Simulation International.

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SUPERB INTERN Dremere Woods, sophomore in aerospace engineering, was recognized as one of the top interns in the nation on WayUp’s Intern 100 list for 2020.

Woods has spent two semesters as a technical intern with GE Aviation, a subsidiary of General Electric and one of the top aircraft engine suppliers in the industry. During the summer of 2020, one of his coworkers suggested Woods apply for the Intern 100 award. One of the main reasons he was selected for the title was because of an optional project he worked on within his co-op, Woods explained. For the project, Woods was a member of a team that created an online survey designed to discuss diversity and inclusion. The successful survey won first place in the project’s competition. “On top of my regular aviation responsibilities, I participated in this optional competition and I did well with both,” Woods said. “That’s when people began to recognize that I had the potential to receive the award from WayUp, because I went above and beyond.” Woods said that he has already accepted another co-op opportunity with GE Aviation in the summer of 2021, despite getting offers to work elsewhere. He said he plans to continue to work hard on the track to graduation. WayUp is a recruiting platform designed to connect employers with students and recent grads to fill internships and entry-level positions. Launched in 2018, WayUp’s annual Intern 100 list recognizes the contribution of interns to the workforce.

STUDENT HIGHLIGHTS The student chapter of the American Concrete Institute was awarded an Excellent University Award in the 2019 ACI Awards for University Student Activities. Auburn was one of only 40 universities worldwide to receive the award. Kelly Burnham, a senior in aerospace engineering, was named the 2019 Undergraduate Student of the Year by the Greater Huntsville Section of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics. Alexander Davis, a doctoral candidate in aerospace engineering, was awarded a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship from the Department of Defense. Engineering students Mo Fortunatus, David Vivanco, Danny Martinez, Zachary Pace and Madison Eason won the Asphalt Mix Design Competition sponsored by CRH Americas Materials Inc., beating out seven other university teams. Yaeji Kim, an aerospace engineering doctoral student, received the Zonta International Amelia Earhart Fellowship, becoming one of only 30 recipients worldwide for the academic year. Civil and environmental engineering senior Allison Licavoli was awarded the 2020 John A. Focht National Chi Epsilon Scholarship.

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2019 aerospace engineering graduates Jaylon McGhee and Omkar Mulekar were awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Computer science and software engineering doctoral students Jay Patel and Nikolay Sargsyan launched the university’s first ever DevFest hosted by GDG Cloud Auburn, a community-run developer group supported by Google Developers. Mechanical engineering students Mit Patel and Daniel Mazur won Auburn University’s 2020 Tiger Cage Business Idea Competition with SwiftSku, a platform that


leverages big data and machine learning for independent convenience stores. The duo won $25,000 in capital to advance their business. Jonathan Pegues, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering, won first place in the Student Presentation Award at the 4th Symposium on Structural Integrity of Additive Manufactured Materials and Parts hosted by ASTM International. Biosystems engineering juniors Grace Phung and Patrick Redman won first place in the Ethics Video Challenge held by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International for their video “Due Diligence.” Second place went to senior Katelyn Wolfe, sophomore Nolan Bennett and junior Brynn Bartholomew for their video “Ethical Management of Hazardous Wastes.”

Hannah Thomascall, senior in biosystems engineering, won the 2020 Student Honor Award from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International.

WORLD CHAMPION

Langston Williams, a doctoral candidate in aerospace engineering, was named the 2019 Graduate Student of the Year by the Greater Huntsville Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Biosystems engineering senior Sydney Williford took first place and graduate student Vivek Patil placed second in the Ethics Essay Competition held by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International. Hairuo Xu, a doctoral student in computer science and software engineering, was honored by the National Center for Women and Information Technology in the 2020 NCWIT Collegiate Award competition. Ashley Yarbrough, a doctoral student in industrial and systems engineering, was awarded a fellowship from the Graduate Fellowships for STEM Diversity, a partnership among government agencies and laboratories, industry and higher education.

From Olympic Gold medalists to a Women’s Basketball World Cup winner, Auburn University has no shortage of world champions. That exclusive list includes computer engineering freshman Seth Maddox. Maddox was crowned the 2019 Microsoft Office Specialist PowerPoint World Champion. The freshman showed off his presentation skills in the 2016 version of PowerPoint by dispatching 23 competitors from around the world to win the title and a $7,000 prize. Maddox qualified for the world championship by winning the 2019 Microsoft Office Specialist PowerPoint National Championship in June, emerging from a field of 146 finalists after beating out 365,000 competitors who participated in the preliminary round. “The world championship exam was quite a bit harder, so I was very surprised that I won,” Maddox said. “I thank the Lord that I was able to do as well as I did and win the competition.” The competition, sponsored by IT certification exam company Certiport, tests students on their abilities and efficiency using Microsoft Office products. For the world championship, the competitors were tasked with re-creating a printed PowerPoint presentation using the program’s full functionality during a timed exam. The competition was a natural fit for the longtime technology buff, who graduated from Geraldine High School in north Alabama. “I’ve been in love with computers for a long time — every aspect of them and technology in general,” Maddox said. “As a child, I started taking apart an old cathode-ray tube TV and then moved on to computers. That’s why I want to study computer engineering. I am extremely intrigued with what computers can do and how I can better utilize them.” 2019-20 Dean’s Report 23


COVID-19 RESPONSE As the COVID-19 pandemic began to grip the country in March 2020, Auburn engineers moved into overdrive to address one of the greatest public health crises of our generation.

Developing Emergency Ventilators Mechanical engineering faculty Michael Zabala and Tom Burch led a team that successfully converted CPAP machines into emergency ventilators. The units have been distributed to health care workers around the world.

PPE Donations to Health Care Heroes Safety Manager Emmanuel Winful and Research Engineer Christian Brodbeck spearheaded the collection of personal protective equipment for regional medical centers. Donations included hundreds of face shields 3D-printed at Auburn and several batches of hand sanitizer mixed in our labs.

Reliable COVID-19 Testing Chemical engineering doctoral candidate Richard Cullum was part of the research and development team at Assurance Scientific Labs that brought a COVID-19 test from development to clinic in less than two weeks.

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E

Rapid COVID-19 Biosensing Chemical engineering assistant professor Robert Pantazes received a $200,000 National Science Foundation grant to develop a biosensor that will rapidly detect COVID-19. Materials engineering assistant professor Pengyu Chen was a co-principal investigator on the project.

Evaluating Public Health Strategies Industrial and systems engineering faculty Konstantinos Mykoniatis and Alice Smith received a $145,000 National Science Foundation grant to evaluate the public’s compliance with COVID-19 public health orders by looking at social media behavior, specifically focusing on certain keywords on Twitter.

Very Remote Instruction While everyone had to adapt to teaching and working remotely, mechanical engineering associate chair Sushil Bhavnani was forced to teach his students across a 10.5-hour time difference after he became stuck in Mysuru, India during a family emergency. His class attendance during this time never fell below 100%, even when he experienced two power outages.

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ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING FROM NANO TO MICRO SCALES

Interdisciplinary research team aiming to revolutionize the way additive manufacturing produces multifunctional and electronic devices

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MASOUD MAHJOURI-SAMANI Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering 334-844-1826 mzm0185@auburn.edu Website: aub.ie/MMahjouri-Samani

NIMA SHAMSAEI

Philpott-WestPoint Stevens Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Director, National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence 334-844-4839 nzs0058@auburn.edu Website: aub.ie/NShamsaei 26

Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is a revolutionary technology that has recently taken the spotlight in the world of engineering, mainly in mechanical and aerospace engineering. Now, two Auburn University engineering faculty are expanding the technology into electrical and computer engineering, as well. Masoud Mahjouri-Samani, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Auburn University, and Nima Shamsaei, director of Auburn University’s National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence (NCAME), were awarded $400,000 by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for advancing the science toward a new generation of additive nanomanufacturing technology that could revolutionize the future printing of multifunctional materials and devices.

Due to the limited choice of functional materials or appropriate additive manufacturing techniques, printing material and devices with complex electrical, optical and mechanical properties is not possible to date, according to Mahjouri-Samani, principal investigator of the project. With the grant, Mahjouri-Samani and Shamsaei are working to develop a platform that can generate various multifunctional nanoparticles into device structures in real-time. This study is a step toward creating a technology that will give engineers the capability to create a plethora of multifunctional devices that have not been previously feasible through existing additive manufacturing and printing techniques. Industries such as electronic, energy, biomedical, automotive and aerospace will greatly benefit from this technology, supporting the


broader U.S. economy, as well. “What we are researching is the possibility of designing multifunctional materials and hybrid structures that can enable the future printing of electronics, energy storage, catalysis and sensing devices both on Earth and in space,” Mahjouri-Samani said. “We can generate the functional building blocks on-demand, print them on any flexible or rigid surface, and at the end of the day, the printed structures will have a useful functionality. Right now, technology like this does not exist.”

In order to build a revolutionized additive nanomanufacturing platform, Mahjouri-Samani and Shamsaei are trying to control the synthesis and assembly of various multifunctional nanoparticle building-blocks into hybrid structures and devices that possess complex functionalities, and are determined to explain the fundamental underlying mechanisms in this process. “So far, what we know is that we are able to make these building blocks in nanoscale,” MahjouriSamani said. “We have been able to direct those building blocks

toward the printer nozzle, and have been able to sinter and print them in the way we want. Now, we are trying to understand how those building blocks interact with each other, how their phases and structures evolve as they sinter and how their electrical and mechanical properties change in the process. There are many exciting challenges on the way that we are trying to identify and solve one by one as we move forward.” Mahjouri-Samani began his interest in advanced laserbased nanomanufacturing of

multifunctional and quantum materials in the electrical engineering department at the University of NebraskaLincoln, and later at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Today, he leads Auburn’s Laser-Assisted Science and Engineering (LASE) laboratory, a state-of-the-art laser facility with the goal of becoming a laser hub for Auburn University, the state of Alabama and beyond. LASE now has lasers with various time, energy and spectral ranges enabling the lab to perform high-precision laser materials synthesis, laser processing and laser diagnostics. 2019-20 Dean’s Report

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As additive manufacturing today is most commonly connected to the mechanical engineering discipline, Mahjouri-Samani is excited to further grow this research into the electrical engineering field as well. With Mahjouri-Samani and his expertise in electrical engineering and laser-materials interactions, and Shamsaei with his background in mechanical engineering and fatigue performance, together they complement each other to advance this technology. “Because of my background in electrical engineering and extensive expertise in lasermaterials interactions, my perspective is to make things functional through novel nanomanufacturing approaches,” Mahjouri-Samani said. “When it comes to mechanical properties, I am not an expert at all. Dr. Shamsaei helps me understand the mechanical properties and robustness of the structures we are making.” Mahjouri-Samani and Shamsaei’s ultimate goal is to revolutionize the way functional devices can be additively manufactured. Through nanomanufacturing, engineers will be able to design technology layer-by-layer on a much more specific level, which will open the possibility for a wider variety of devices to be manufactured. Additive nanomanufacturing will have the capability to open many horizons for industries across the world. “We are definitely excited about having this technology and research at Auburn,” Shamsaei said. “At the National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence, most of our capabilities lie in fabricating metallic materials with micro-level accuracy. This research is a new addition not only to our center 28

Auburn’s Laser-Assisted Science and Engineering (LASE) laboratory, led by Masoud Mahjouri-Samani (right), is a stateof-the-art laser facility with the goal of becoming a laser hub for Auburn University, the state of Alabama and beyond.

This additive nanomanufacturing study adds a new thrust to the research portfolio of the National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence, led by Nima Shamsaei (left).

but also to the field of additive manufacturing.” Mahjouri-Samani agrees. “I hope that by the end of this grant, we will have a presentable system,” Mahjouri-Samani said. “After that, we can move forward to make this technology

Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

commercially viable. Fortunately, at Auburn, we have strong support from our college and our departments. The infrastructure is well suited for such research activities. The National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence provides valuable scientific and technical expertise as well as international visibility

to our work. Also, the Alabama Micro/Nano Science and Technology Center (AMNSTC) provides access to a wide variety of device characterization instrumentation that allows us to test the functionality of our printed devices. Without all these supports and infrastructures, our research could not be possible.”


UNRAVELING THE UNIVERSE’S HISTORY A E R O S P A C E B Y

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There is still so much of the history of the universe that is unknown. Two aerospace engineering assistant professors are exploring technology for a self-assembling antenna that could uncover new information about The Dark Age, a period of time after the Big Bang before the universe’s first stars were born. The research is being conducted by Davide Guzzetti and Russell Mailen with an award from NASA. They are studying the feasibility of technology that could allow for the compact packaging of kilometer-sized antennas for radio astronomy that self-transforms into the operative configuration once in orbit. This large-scale antenna would be able to capture specific radio waves that are not yet detectable by current technology. “There is a certain radio wave length that requires this particular kind of antenna and this wave length relates to what happened during The Dark Age – that is our ultimate goal and the scientific application of this project,” Guzzetti said. Launching an antenna of that size into space is not a simple task. That’s where Mailen’s expertise comes in. “Basically, you can take a piece of plastic that has been stretched in a way that when you heat it up, it shrinks to about half of its original size,” Mailen said. “What we’re doing here is instead of shrinking the entire antenna, we’re shrinking certain parts of it and that causes it to self-fold. In space, the idea is that the exposure to thermal radiation or light would have the same effect as direct heat.”

DAVIDE GUZZETTI

Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering 334-844-5277 guzzetti@auburn.edu Website: aub.ie/DGuzzetti

RUSSELL MAILEN

Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering 334-844-5145 rwmailen@auburn.edu Website: aub.ie/RMailen

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B I O S Y S T E M S

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BRINGING AI TO AGRICULTURE

YIN BAO

Assistant Professor of Biosystems Engineering 334-844-3560 yzb0016@auburn.edu Website: aub.ie/YBao

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Plant phenotyping is typically labor intensive, time consuming and error prone. Yin Bao, assistant professor of biosystems engineering, doesn’t think it has to be. Bao, director of Auburn University’s Agricultural-CyberPhysical Engineering Research (AgCyPhER) Lab, recently began a five-year project sponsored by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture that aims to improve current plant breeding and crop management practices through technology not typically associated with farms and fields. “In my lab, we are using sensing, computer vision, robotics and AI to advance precision agriculture and forestry,” Bao said. “Labor shortages and changing climate continue to challenge the efficiency, profitability, sustainability and resiliency of crop production systems in the U.S.” Two of those crops — peanuts and pine trees — are of extremely high economic importance to the state of Alabama and across the Southeast. They also require high sustainability. Bao says that the ultimate goal of his project is to automate field-based phenotyping of peanuts, as well as seedling inventory in bareroot pine seedling production, through highthroughput plant phenotyping (HTPP) technologies. “For peanut phenotyping, high-resolution multispectral, thermal and depth images of peanut plants will be collected by a crop-row following, ultra-low-altitude drone,” he said. “For pine seedling inventory, an unmanned ground vehicle equipped with stereo cameras and a GPS unit will be developed to autonomously travel on a seedling bed and examine individual seedlings as they are mechanically exposed.” Bao’s lab will test the mobile inventory system at multiple commercial forest seedling nurseries within Alabama. In addition, AI-based data processing pipelines will be developed to characterize plant architecture, health status and yield components at the plant and organ levels. Research findings will be disseminated through professional conferences and producer meetings. Bao expects the proposed AI-powered HTPP technologies to significantly improve the efficiency and efficacy of traditional crop monitoring practices and alleviate farm labor shortages, leading to increased long-term productivity, profitability and sustainability for the Alabama agriculture and forestry sectors.

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BIOMASS FOR BIOSENSING C H E M I C A L

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One of Alabama’s abundant natural resources, cellulose that is found in the biomass of forest and agricultural products, is a key component of a new advanced biosensor with a wide variety of uses, including detecting pesticides in water. Two chemical engineering faculty members are collaborating with a faculty member from the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, to use nanocellulose in biosensing applications. Chemical engineering faculty Virginia Davis, the Alumni Professor, and Robert Ashurst, the Uthlaut Family Associate Professor, are working with Maria Soledad Peresin, assistant professor of forest biomaterials, on the project. Davis and Ashurst have previously developed patented technology for making tiny devices called Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) from cellulose nanocrystals. Peresin and collaborators have used cellulose nanocrystals to improve the sensitivity of the standard enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) methodology for biosensing. “We realized the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs program would be the perfect opportunity to leverage both approaches to develop affordable, robust sensing platforms based on Alabama’s abundant cellulosic biomass resources,” Davis said. The researchers have obtained preliminary results using nanocellulose in biosensing applications, leading to two issued patents and one preliminary patent. “In the long term, we envision having portable cartridges for simultaneously running hundreds of tests related to a specific challenge like water quality, food allergens or disease biomarkers,” Davis explained. “In general, using cellulose in ELISA is geared toward labs looking for higher sensitivity. Our long-term goal for the cellulose MEMS sensors is for people to be able to use affordable sensors where they are needed and obtain results quickly. We are hopeful that sensors made from the cellulose nanocrystals found in all trees and plants can help meet this need.”

VIRGINIA DAVIS

Alumni Professor of Chemical Engineering 334-844-2060 davisva@auburn.edu Website: aub.ie/VDavis

ROBERT ASHURST

Uthlaut Family Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering 334-844-2559 ashurwr@auburn.edu Website: aub.ie/RAshur

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ADVANCED IMAGING

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Lauren Beckingham has done it again. Just months after receiving a $315,000 NSF Faculty Early CAREER Development Award in 2019, the assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Major Research Instrumentation Award worth more than $865,000. Beckingham is serving as the principal investigator on the project, which focuses on the acquisition of an X-ray Computed Nanotomography (nanoCT) system equipped with in-situ mechanical and thermal material testing that will enable fundamental research in biological, geological and engineered materials. Computer simulations are often used to help understand how soils and aquifers change over years and centuries, but simulation is difficult because measurements of reaction rates in the laboratory differ from measurements in nature. Beckingham wants to find out why. Her team plans to use advanced imaging methods, laboratory rock weathering experiments and computer simulations to help simulate and better understand such processes as contaminant fate, carbon dioxide sequestration, the dissolution and precipitation of minerals, and changes in water quality. The long-term research goal is to enhance understanding and simulation of the rate, extent and impact of mineral dissolution and precipitation reactions in subsurface systems to better predict flow and transport in these systems, enabling improved risk and impact assessment. “Not only will this award and instrument allow for enhanced understanding of porous media systems in my own work, but it will advance critical research in additive manufacturing, biomedical engineering, earth and environmental system, energy and smart materials, and sustainable, resilient infrastructure materials,� Beckingham said.

LAUREN BECKINGHAM Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering 334-844-6260 leb0071@auburn.edu Website: aub.ie/LBeckingham

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NEXT-GENERATION CYBER DEFENSE C O M P U T E R B Y

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A budding research partnership between Auburn University and the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is bolstering Auburn’s research using artificial intelligence (AI) to solve national security problems. Associate professor Daniel Tauritz, interim director and chief cyber AI strategist for the Auburn Cyber Research Center, was named a guest scientist at LANL in 2019, continuing an eight-year relationship he has had with the lab. “The establishment of a long-term relationship between Auburn University and Los Alamos National Laboratory is a unique opportunity to complement Auburn’s existing Department of Defense national security portfolio,” Tauritz said. “In particular, LANL’s emphasis on fundamental science will infuse Auburn’s cyber curricula and research program with both academic rigor and the latest technologies in the field.” One of the marquee projects Tauritz is conducting with LANL is known as CEADS-LIN, Coevolving Attacker and Defender Strategies for Large Infrastructure Networks. After a proof of concept demonstrated in simulation that coevolution is capable of implementing a computational game theory solution for adversarial models of network security, Tauritz’s team began to develop a highfidelity computer emulation to analyze the behavior of artificial attacker and defender agents. “The end goal is to provide a fully automated solution for identifying high-impact attacks and corresponding defenses,” Tauritz said. CEADS-LIN is funded through a $500,000 contract which Tauritz received from LANL to establish the Cyber Security Sciences Institute that will provide further linkage to LANL and the Department of Energy, allowing internship and full-time job opportunities to Auburn students and strengthening the work of the Auburn Cyber Research Center and the McCrary Institute for Cyber and Critical Infrastructure Security.

DANIEL TAURITZ

Associate Professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering Interim Director and Chief Cyber AI Strategist, Auburn Cyber Research Center 334-844-6353 dtauritz@auburn.edu Website: aub.ie/DTauritz

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FLYING PHARMACIES I N D U S T R I A L B Y

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Can drones help solve the problem of rural health care access in Alabama and beyond? Assistant professor Daniel Silva and Alice Smith, the Joe W. Forehand/Accenture Distinguished Professor, both from the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, have teamed up with Toyota Material Handling North America (TMHNA) to find out. “We have been working on drone logistics for parcel delivery for a while. However, most research in that area focuses on urban environments,” Silva said. “We were inspired by news stories about the difficulties that Alabamians face getting to a doctor or pharmacy in rural areas to try to use our research to help address this issue.” The researchers are using computer modeling to explore the ways in which new material handling and logistics technologies can help medical professionals reach rural patients in a manner that is quick, efficient and cost-effective. By modeling various combinations of truck-and-drone logistics, Smith and Silva are exploring ways that medical providers could offer both telemedicine solutions and pharmacy home delivery and pick up to patients in remote areas or with difficulties to travel. Specifically, they are using a combination of mixed integer programming and metaheuristics to model and solve the interplay between the trucks and drones, and to develop algorithms to optimize delivery and pick-up operations.

DANIEL SILVA

Assistant Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering 334-844-4340 dfs0008@auburn.edu Website: aub.ie/DSilva

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ALICE SMITH

Joe W. Forehand/Accenture Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering Adjunct Professor, Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering 334-844-1460 smithae@auburn.edu Website: aub.ie/ASmith


RAPID IMMUNE DIAGNOSTICS M A T E R I A L S

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For doctors, having real-time data on the health and function of a patient’s immune system is critical to treating cancer and autoimmune diseases. However, one of the main diagnostic tools in use today, the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, must be sent to a lab and takes hours to days for results to return. By then, the dynamics of the immune system may have completely changed, leaving the clinician to make treatment decisions based on outdated information. Pengyu Chen, assistant professor of materials engineering, is aiming to change that by developing optofluidic nanoplasmonic biosensors for rapid analysis of the immune system. Supported by a $1.9 million National Institute of Health grant, Chen’s study seeks to better understand and measure cytokines – tiny proteins vital to signaling between cells – for rapid diagnostics. “The ultimate goal is to develop a biomedical device based on nanoparticles that we can use to take one droplet of the patient’s blood and, in a short period of time, we can accurately tell if the patient’s immune system is healthy or not,” Chen said. The research project has three primary goals: to integrate nanoplasmonic structures into biosensors for higher performance and faster response time; to fabricate microfluidic devices for target cell isolation and onchip measurements and analysis; and to develop nanoplasmon ruler

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biosensors – two nanoparticles linked with one DNA – to visualize cytokines secreted from a single immune cell and eventually map out its secretion profile. “Currently, there is no technology that can serve as a real-time diagnostic tool to tell if the dosage and timing of a therapy is good or not. Our hope is that we can develop a point-of-care technology that can be used at bedside so that physicians can make decisions based on these measurements more quickly and accurately, and then potentially change the outcome of the therapeutics.”

PENGYU CHEN

Assistant Professor of Materials Engineering 334-844-4913 pengyuc@auburn.edu Website: aub.ie/PChen

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NEXT-GENERATION HUMIDITY CONTROL M E C H A N I C A L

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Thanks to a husband and wife team of Auburn researchers, indoor humidity may soon be a thing of the past. Lorenzo Cremaschi, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and Selen Cremaschi, the B. Redd Professor of chemical engineering, are using a $1.8 million award from the Building Technologies Office program within the Department of Energy for a research project on new “refrigerant-free” technology for building humidity control. The duo — Lorenzo serves as principal investigator, Selen as co-PI — are leading the project “Separating Sensible and Latent Cooling with Electrically Charged Rotating Vortexes and Vapor Capturing Air Handler Technology” while working collaboratively with two Pennsylvania companies — Advanced Cooling Technology and Johnson Control Inc. The projected demonstration unit will spark new dehumidification systems that can be used in buildings,

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transportation AC systems and even industrial facilities and warehouses, especially the ones located in hot and humid climates. Lorenzo designed and oversees the state-of-the-art Building Energy and Thermal Systems Lab, which provides high-definition tools and advanced sensors that measure the energy performance of buildings’ energy conversion systems while running under realistic field-type operating conditions. “The goal is to provide the enabling technology required to commercialize electrostatic-based water vapor separation systems for separate sensible and latent cooling air conditioning systems,” Lorenzo said. “The proposed air handler consists of small, electrically charged water droplets released inside a forced air vortex. The charged droplets attract water vapor molecules and travel inside the vortex, effectively wiping out the humidity from the air.”

LORENZO CREMASCHI

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering 334-844-3302 lzc0047@auburn.edu Website: aub.ie/LCremaschi

SELEN CREMASCHI

B. Redd Professor of Chemical Engineering 334-844-4970 szc0113@auburn.edu Website: aub.ie/SCremaschi

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IMPROVING INDOOR SPATIAL DATA W I R E L E S S B Y

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Auburn Engineering faculty Xiao Qin and Wei-Shinn Ku are piloting novel indoor data management techniques in their project, “Indoor Spatial Query Evaluation and Trajectory Tracking with Bayesian Filtering Techniques.” The objective of the project is to improve indoor spatial data management despite the challenges that are present. There is a large demand for launching spatial queries for finding friends and points of interest in indoor spaces, but existing spatial query evaluation techniques for outdoor environments cannot be applied to indoor spaces. Current approaches assume that user locations are acquired from GPS signals or cellular positioning, but this assumption can’t be enforced in covered indoor spaces. This is because user movements are enabled and constrained by entities and topologies such as doors, walls and hallways in indoor environments. Qin and Ku’s project is developing an array of techniques to derive accurate object locations from erroneous RFID raw readings for supporting indoor spatial query evaluation and trajectory tracking. “The research results of this project will improve the performance of numerous high value-added indoor applications and hence benefit the economy of our country,” Qin noted. “In addition, the ability to be able to locate people in indoor spaces will improve emergency response.” This project has accomplished developing and comparing Bayesian filtering-based location inference methods, designing novel indoor query evaluation algorithms, inventing a hidden Markov model-based approach for indoor trajectory tracking and implementing a simulation toolkit and prototype system to integrate all components for performance evaluation. Six peer-reviewed journal papers and seven peer-reviewed conference papers have been published based on the results of this project. The duo’s project is supported by a $499,995 National Science Foundation grant.

XIAO QIN

Alumni Professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering 334-844-6327 xqin@auburn.edu Website: aub.ie/XQin

WEI-SHINN (JEFF) KU

Professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering 334-844-6341 weishinn@auburn.edu Website: aub.ie/WKu

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A researcher is pictured in the National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence.

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Auburn University is committing unprecedented levels of support for research across the Auburn campus, bolstering engineering research programs that have long been on the ascendancy. Our faculty and students are conducting novel research in many emerging and established research areas, including advanced manufacturing and materials, cybersecurity and intelligent systems, energy and environment, infrastructure and transportation, and biomedical and health systems engineering.

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RESEARCH CENTERS Auburn Engineering is one of the nation’s top 50 institutions in research expenditures. Pioneering research is underway in our 21 research centers and dozens of labs across campus, focused on producing technology and innovation that will help drive economic growth while improving human life on a global scale. Read more about Auburn Engineering’s quality indicators in research on page 10.

MRI Research Center

Alabama Center for Paper and Bioresource Engineering

Center for Microfibrous Materials

Alabama Micro/Nano Science and Technology Center

Center for Polymers and Advanced Composites

Alabama Transportation Assistance Program

Cyber Research Center

National Center for Asphalt Technology

Erosion and Sediment Control Testing Facility

NextFlex Alliance - Harsh Environment Node

GPS and Vehicle Dynamics Laboratory

Occupational Safety, Ergonomics and Injury Prevention Center

Highway Research Center

Thomas Walter Center for Technology Management

Auburn University Detection and Food Safety Center Center for Advanced Vehicle and Extreme Environment Electronics Center for Bioenergy and Bioproducts Center for Cyber and Homeland Security

Interdisciplinary Center for Advanced Manufacturing Systems

National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence

Wireless Engineering Research and Education Center

McCrary Institute for Cyber and Critical Infrastructure Security

NEW $22 MILLION ADVANCED STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING LABORATORY WILL BE ONE OF TOP FACILITIES IN NATION Auburn University is taking another giant step as the Southeast’s leader in structural engineering research and instruction by breaking ground on a $22 million Advanced Structural Engineering Laboratory. The 41,500-square-foot facility will include a high bay laboratory with specially engineered floors and walls capable of handling extreme structural testing loads; a 4,700-cubic-foot geotechnical test chamber; a concrete materials research and testing laboratory; a wind testing facility; and faculty and graduate student spaces. The project was completed in October 2020. The laboratory will be located near Auburn University Facilities Management offices and the intersection of Shug Jordan Parkway and West Samford Avenue. The construction of the new facility will allow the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering to repurpose the current structural laboratory space in the Harbert Engineering Center for other academic and research programs. “When you combine the strong floor and strong wall with the geotechnical testing capability and all the other materials testing capabilities, we think this will be one of the best laboratories in the country - if not the best,” Associate Dean for Research Steve Taylor said. “If I’m a civil engineering student who wants to be a structural engineer, this is going to be one of the best places to go to school in the nation.”

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The new ASEL will allow Auburn to conduct advanced studies and testing.


AUBURN BUILDING ONE OF THE NATION’S FEW AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE RESEARCH FACILITIES ATTACHED TO A TEST TRACK

The new Autonomous Vehicle Research facility overlooks the 1.7-mile oval test track at the National Center for Asphalt Technology.

For researchers in Auburn University’s GPS and Vehicle Dynamics Laboratory (GAVLAB), prepping autonomous vehicles outside in Alabama’s elements — from the sweltering summer sun to pop-up thunderstorms — has become a near daily occurrence. That is about to change with the addition of a sophisticated new autonomous vehicle research facility at Auburn’s National Center for Asphalt Technology test track. The facility is expected to provide a garage with multiple bays and lifts for commercial trucks and passenger vehicles, office space for researchers, a conference room and an observation area overlooking NCAT’s 1.7-mile oval test track. The building, estimated to cost approximately $800,000, will be one of the few autonomous research facilities in the nation attached to a test track. “The fact that we’ll have our own test track where we can run autonomous vehicles and autonomous testing attached to this facility I think will be an unbelievably unique asset,” said David Bevly, the Bill and Lana McNair Distinguished Professor of mechanical engineering and co-director of the GAVLAB, along with assistant research professor Scott Martin. The GAVLAB has built a strong reputation in autonomous vehicle navigation and developed a broad sponsored research portfolio, with projects ranging from the Department of Defense and the Federal Highway Administration to many private industry partners. With various sponsors visiting each month, the facility’s planned observation area will give the GAVLAB team a high-quality space to demonstrate its research. Bevly’s group has also conducted demonstrations for legislators and the Alabama Department of Transportation.

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NEW FACULTY MEMBERS Since 2015, Auburn Engineering has hired more than 100 new faculty members to bolster our growing research programs and educate the next generation of engineers. Here, you can read more about the newest faculty members that we hired in the 2020 calendar year. You can find profiles of all our new faculty members dating back to 2015 at aub.ie/newENGFaculty.

DARIN BROWN

Lecturer Mechanical Engineering – M.S. Catholic University of America and U.S. Naval War College Brown has more than 30 years of experience in the operation and maintenance of naval and commercial nuclear power plants. He has taught subjects in nuclear reactor physics, system dynamics, turbine and pump theory, electrical power generation and distribution, chemical and radiological controls, and nuclear reactor instrumentation and controls, among others.

SHUBHRA (SANTU) KARMAKER Assistant Professor Computer Science and Software Engineering

– Ph.D. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Karmaker’s primary research interest lies at the intersection of big data, artificial intelligence and natural language processing. He is interested in the following research question: “How can we make data science more accessible as well as usable for general people?”

PANAGIOTIS MISTRIOTIS Assistant Professor Chemical Engineering

– Ph.D. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Mistriotis’ research area lies at the interface of engineering, biophysics, cell and molecular biology and biochemistry with applications in regenerative medicine, aging and cancer metastasis.

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RAQUEL MORAES-PUCHALSKI Assistant Research Professor National Center for Asphalt Technology – Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison Moraes-Puchalski’s work focuses on asphalt binder rheological, analytical and physico-chemical characterization; asphalt chemistry, oxidative aging, asphaltaggregate adhesive properties, mineral filler-asphalt interaction, asphalt binder modification (polymers, rejuvenators, recycled materials and warm mix additives) and asphalt emulsions.

CHAD ROSE

Assistant Professor Mechanical Engineering – Ph.D. Rice University Rose’s research is in robotics, focused on the design and control of wearable devices for rehabilitation, assistance or haptic interaction.

SHEHENAZ SHAIK

Lecturer Computer Science and Software Engineering – Ph.D. Auburn University Shaik focuses her research on developing novel approaches to solve infrastructure resource management problems in the realm of Edge Computing. She has taught courses on data structures, database design, software modeling and design and operating systems.

DREW SPRINGALL

Assistant Professor Computer Science and Software Engineering – Ph.D. University of Michigan Springall’s research focuses on computer and network security in the context of highly-privileged/well-resourced actors with an emphasis on internet-scale analysis as well as election security.

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Auburn University Samuel Ginn College of Engineering Office of the Dean 1301 Shelby Center 1161 W. Samford Ave, Building 8 Auburn, AL 36849

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