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Newsletter Wi n t er 2 01 4

Boise State Receives $10 Million COBRE Grant from NIH By: Kathleen Tuck

Kristen Mitchell, Julia Oxford and Trevor Lujan

A $10 million grant over five years from the National Institutes of Health will establish a prestigious Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) in Matrix Biology at Boise State University. COBRE centers promote collaborative, interactive efforts among researchers with complementary backgrounds, skills and expertise. The COBRE in Matrix Biology is funded by the NIH National Institute of General Medicine.

The IDeA program builds research capacities in states that historically have had low levels of NIH funding by supporting basic, clinical and translational research; faculty development; and infrastructure improvements.

This is the first COBRE grant awarded to Boise State and the third in Idaho. It will support research in heart disease, cancer and stroke; ligament injury and repair; and liver fibrosis. Additional projects could be added over the course of the grant in musculoskeletal and cancer research.

The grant will be housed within the Boise State Biomolecular Research Center (BRC) and administered by Julia Oxford, biology professor and director of the BRC. The grant is part of the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program, which broadens the geographic distribution of NIH funding for biomedical and behavioral research.

“An award of this magnitude is recognition of the high-quality research being done by Boise State’s biomolecular faculty investigators and will allow us to increase our biomedical research efforts. It demonstrates that our researchers are contributing to solving the major health concerns of the nation,” said Boise State President Bob Kustra. “ It also reflects the university’s focus on the collaborative, transdisciplinary research that is vital to innovation and scientific discovery.”

Kustra made a particular point about the role private donors – Duane and Lori Stueckle of Boise – played in making this grant possible. The Stueckles learned about Oxford’s research in 2005 and began investing in her work and faculty position through regular philanthropic gifts, ensuring her research would stay at Boise State.

“Duane and Lori’s generosity and commitment to Boise State helped create this extraordinary opportunity,” Kustra said. “It’s an inspiring example of how donors can potentially impact thousands of lives by giving and how philanthropy is building the future of this university.”

Continued on page 7

Self-Powered Sensors Aim to Keep Tabs on Nuclear Disasters By Kathleen Tuck

A research team led by Yanliang Zhang at Boise State University is working to make sure authorities can keep tabs on what’s happening inside a nuclear power plant in the wake of a disaster like the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that crippled Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in 2011.

Zhang, assistant professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering, is attempting to harvest the heat from a nuclear power plant to enable selfpowered sensor networks. He and Darryl Butt, a distinguished professor of materials science and engineering, will develop high-efficiency thermoelectric generators using thermal energy from nuclear reactors.

Their work is funded by a three-year $980,804 grant from the Department of Energy called a Nuclear Energy Enabling Technological (NEET) Research and Development and Infrastructure Award. Zhang’s proposal was one of only six selected for the 2014 awards from almost a hundred submissions under the NEET Advanced Sensors & Instrumentation program.

“Sensors are critical to nuclear safety,” Zhang said. “If they are self powered, even during an outage the sensors will be working and people can

Yanliang Zhang holds an example of a thermoelectric generator he is developing with co-investigator Darryl Butt. access all the needed information. This will enhance the safety of both nuclear plants and spent fuel storage facilities.”

To be successful, Zhang will need to develop an efficient and reliable thermoelectric generator that can withstand the extreme conditions inherent to the industry. The team will study materials that cover working temperatures Continued on back


From the Dean’s Desk Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I had the opportunity to reflect on the people who have made the College of Engineering at Boise State University what it is today. You may not realize how much each and every one of you has contributed to our success; therefore, I would like to use this space to thank you for your effort, support, advocacy, and enthusiasm. I am thankful for:

Our students – they are the reason we are here! We may be distracted by meetings and deadlines, but we maintain our unshakeable focus on student learning.

Our staff – every accomplishment in the college has been touched in some way by one of our hardworking staff. These are the individuals who work tirelessly to schedule classes, advise students, manage labs, purchase materials, track budgets and expenses, arrange travel, edit grant proposals, coordinate outreach events and job fairs, manage websites, and keep track of more files and documents than you can imagine. Our faculty - these are the dedicated teachers who strive to bring the best possible education to our students. They excel at delivering high quality instruction, cutting edge research, and service to their university, community and profession.

Our industry partners - without connections to real world needs and advances in technology, we run the risk of becoming isolated in an ivory tower. Our industry partners come into the classroom as guest speakers, work with student clubs, coach and judge student competition teams, help with our strategic planning, and provide our students with a solid bridge to their future careers.

Our community partners - Boise State is a metropolitan university. Each of us belongs in some way to a wider community beyond where we work and study. Our community nourishes our sense of place, and we welcome opportunities to give back to that place we call home.

Our Boise State campus community – we often take our infrastructure for granted. Boise State support staff create and maintain our facilities and business processes. They fix our network, manage our web site, shovel our sidewalks, repair our systems, and support our students.

So as you read about our recent accomplishments, and walk through our timeline, I hope you appreciate the many people who contribute every day to our success as a college. Thank you everyone for another wonderful year! Amy Moll

Dean and Professor College of Engineering

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College of Engineering Newsletter | Winter 2014

First Woman to Graduate with a Doctoral Degree from the College of Engineering. By Jenn Ambrose

Dr. Sulmer Fernandez looks out of her new office where she works as a research scientist for nuclear magnetic resonance specialists, Bridge 12 in Boston, and is amazed by the path that brought her here. In 2014, Fernandez graduated with honors from Boise State University. Earning her PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Fernandez is the first woman to graduate with a doctoral degree from the College of Engineering.

Ask her how she got her start and she’ll tell you it was just natural curiosity that motivated her to figure out how things worked, but it was her father who inspired her. As a teenager, Fernandez says she and her younger sister watched her father study as he worked to complete his doctorate in Biological Systems Engineering. He would often talk about his projects and find ways to get them involved. He encouraged them to experiment and follow their curiosity. While he continued his work at Washington State University, Fernandez enrolled as an undergraduate. Fernandez smiles as she tells how she had the opportunity to work with her father as part of his research group and collaborate with him on publications while she was there.

Undoubtedly hard work carried her far, but Fernandez says it was the support of family, friends, colleagues, and her advisor, Dr. Jim Browning, that kept her going. That, and the thought of the endless possibilities ahead of her. Fernandez says that for now, she intends to focus on industry research in microwave devices. Well, research and marathon training, that is. While in Boston, Fernandez has also made it her goal to complete at least a half marathon.

In the long run, she hopes to return to academia to teach the students of the future. Her words of wisdom for every aspiring young person: “Pursue what you are passionate about, whether it is art or science. You should always do what you want to do and not what society thinks you should do.”

The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department is part of the vibrant College of Engineering, which was ranked 16th in U.S. News & World Report's list of best undergraduate engineering programs among comprehensive public universities. The Department provides accessible, high quality, nationally recognized undergraduate and graduate education in Electrical and Computer Engineering that prepares students for productive careers and a lifetime of learning. In addition to an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering, the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering also offers three graduate degrees, including a Master of Science, Master of Engineering, and a doctoral degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering.


Kurtis Cantley

COEN Faculty and Students in Action Vishal Saxena

Vishal Saxena, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was quoted in a story for MIT Technology Review titled “A Brain-Inspired Chip Takes to the Sky.” The story is about work to create “neuromorphic” chips modeled on features seen in brains. Read the article here: technologyreview.com/news/532176/a-brain-inspired-chiptakes-to-the-sky/. The article also was cited at phys.org/news/2014-11drone-flight-special-chip.html

Quincy Conley

Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning faculty member Quincy Conley has been selected to develop and test applications for Google Glass.

Google Glass is a wearable computer in the form of eyewear that includes an optical head-mounted display (OHMD). The Explorer Edition, as shown in the photo, receives data through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to share data connection. Lan Li

Lan Li, assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, was awarded a 2014 Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) Young Leader Professional Development Award. Li was formally recognized at the 143rd TMS Annual Meeting & Exhibition held at the San Diego Convention Center.

The award recognizes early-career individuals, under the age of 40, for their potential as future leaders within TMS and the materials and engineering community it serves. Award winners have unique opportunities to become more involved in society activities and to network with prominent TMS members. Advancing professional growth of TMS’s young members is part of the mission of the TMS Foundation, the award sponsor. It tripled the original size of the award class in 2014, added a second prestigious Early Career Faculty Fellowship and collaborated in support of a new international scholarship.

is for $359,430.

Kurtis Cantley, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has received a United States Air Force Young Investigator Program research grant to fabricate electronic chips that could be used to enhance the intelligence of both piloted and autonomous vehicles. The award

Janelle Wharry

Janelle Wharry, assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, has been awarded a prestigious U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Faculty Development Grant.

The $430,000 award aims to support new faculty focused on nuclear-related research and is highly competitive. Boise State was one of only 12 universities nationwide to receive an award. Dianxiang Xu

Dianxiang Xu, professor, Department of Computer Science, was quoted in a column by the Idaho Statesman’s Zach Kyle about smartphones and cyber security. Xu notes that “many smartphone users infect their own phones [with malicious apps] and highlights some ways you can avoid downloading apps hiding nefarious software.

For more news visit http://news.boisestate.edu/update/category/engineering/

NSF Grant Supports Winds of Change in Scientific Software Wind is a tricky thing. On a flat plain, its direction and speed — or flow — can be plotted with fairly simple calculations. When the terrain gets more complex, involving forested mountains, hills and seaside cliffs, so does the math, physics and computing.

This fact is the basis for a new interdisciplinary grant at Boise State designed to develop open-source software to help predict wind patterns, determine optimal placement of wind turbines and increase capacity on existing transmission lines. Ideally, turbines are set up to produce maximum wind energy in a “sweet spot” that offers plenty of wind power with structurally tolerable turbulence levels.

Four Boise State faculty received $500,000 over three years from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure, Software Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation Program. Their proposal is titled “GEM3D: Open-source Cartesian adaptive complex terrain atmospheric flow solver for GPU clusters.

Principal investigator is Inanc Senocak, an associate professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering with expertise in the field of computational fluid dynamics and parallel computing. Also working on the

project are Grady Wright and Donna Calhoun in the Department of Mathematics, and Elena Sherman in the Department of Computer Science, each of them bringing unique expertise to the project.

“This is a good example of the types of activities going on at Boise State,” said Wright. “It’s an interdisciplinary proposal centered on a software idea, pushing the leading edge of what’s going on in terms of computational abilities.”

Boise State’s project not only will assist those involved in wind energy research and wind modeling, but also provide invaluable workforce experience for students in the development of the complex software that defines our age.

“In today’s world, we have multiple people writing hundreds of thousands of lines of code to simulate a complex multiphysics problem,” said Senocak. “How do we create and maintain these software efforts while making sure that the physics being simulated is right? We need to not only write a code and ensure high performance on supercomputers, but test and maintain our product, so others can continue the work and rely on the results.”

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1440638 to Boise State University. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. College of Engineering Newsletter |Winter 2014

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Collge of Engineering 1996 Boise State begins offering baccalaureate degree programs in civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering

1997

1998

Construction Management becomes a separate department in the newlyformed College of Engineering (COEN)

Department of Instructional & Performance Technology joins COEN

Idaho Microfabrication Laboratory, a Class 1000 cleanroom outfitted with $2.25 million in donated equipment opens its doors

Seven companies donate equipment and supplies: Micron Technology, Zilog, SCP Global Technologies, AMI, West Coast Paper, Comdisc Electronics Group, and Hewlett-Packard

1999

2000

COEN receives accreditation from the ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) for its first three programs in civil, electrical and mechanical engineering

New Micron Engineering Center is dedicated with a $6 million donation from Micron Technology that is matched with $6 million in donations from more than 40 companies, foundations, and individuals

The Harry W. Morrison Civil Engineering Building is completed with a $2 million donation from the Harry W. Morrison Foundation. The building houses more than 10 specialized labs and space for operating high-vibration equipment Idaho State Board of Education authorizes master’s degree in civil, mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering

Boise State University engineering programs graduate first students in civil, electrical and mechanical engineering

2006

2007

2008

2009

Department of Materials Science & Engineering graduates its first two undergraduate students and becomes accredited

State Board of Education approves new Center for Materials Characterization

COEN graduates the first ECE PhD candidate

The $2 million Micron Technology Foundation dollar for dollar match challenge is met to support the ECE doctoral program. Donors include more than 25 private, public and corporate partners

Micron Technology Foundation awards $5 million to support the new Ph.D. program in Electrical & Computer Engineering

COEN kicks off its first ever comprehensive campaign with a goal of raising $18 million to enhance people, places and programs

Idaho State Board of Education approves new name for the Department of Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering COEN begins yearlong celebration of their dramatic first decade

College of Engineering Newsletter | Winter 2014

The Engineering Honor Society was recognized as the Idaho Gamma chapter of Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society, following a six year effort The Department of Construction Management celebrates 30 years of training the nation’s construction leaders

.

Astronaut and educator Barbara R. Morgan joins the College as Distinguished Educator in Residence, to provide leadership on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education COEN surpasses the halfway mark in their $18 million campaign – reaching $11.2 million

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2010


g Through the Years! 2001

2002

2003

Department of Computer Science joins COEN from the Department of Math and Computer Science in the College of Arts and Sciences

COEN joins the Engineering Schools of the West Initiative with a $1 million grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Micron Technology Foundation pledges $2 million over four years to start a Materials Science and Engineering bachelor’s degree program

2004 Classes begin in the new Department of Materials Science & Engineering

2012

Environmental Research Building is completed. Civil Engineering Department moves in.

2013 Amy Moll named Dean of College after serving as Interim

Instructional and Performance Technology Gets New Name. Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning (OPWL)

Micron Technology Foundation grants $320,000 to initiate development of a doctoral program in Electrical & Computer Engineering COEN’s first doctoral program in Electrical & Computer Engineering receives unanimous approval by Idaho State Board of Education

Dean Cheryl B. Schrader takes over from founding Dean Lynn Russell

2011

2005

2014 Boise State Receives $10 Million COBRE Grant from NIH

Dean for 1.5 years

Boise State Gets Approval for New Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering Boise State Receives $1 Million Keck Foundation Grant to Pioneer a Novel Disease Detection System

Bernard Yurke Named Distinguished Research Fellow Computer Science Proposal Approved by HERC for IGEM Funding

$1 Million State Grant to Help Double Boise State Computer Science Grads

Dr. Sulmer Fernandez is the first woman to graduate with a doctoral degree from the College of Engineering

Boise State Team Awarded NSF Grant for Supercomputing and Visualization Infrastructure

http://coen.boisestate.edu

College of Engineering Newsletter | Winter 2014

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Alumni News Computer Science Will Dietrich, CS, December 2013, works for Intel Security in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is working with the Web Security research team. He categorizes and catalogs the threat level of hundreds of millions of URLs received from sources around the world. “My education at Boise State prepared me to learn new technologies and handle the challenges I encounter daily in the software industry”.

Construction Management

Dave Stauffer, CM, 1999, is a Project Manager for Zelham Inc. in Boise. Zelham is a company that remodels hotels across the united states. Josh Milton, CM, 2002, is a Project Engineer for George M. Raymond Co. in Las Vegas, NV.

Scott Castoe, CM, 2007, works for Balfour Beatty Construction in Fort Worth, Texas with his wife Mandy, and 2 year old daughter Brooklyn. Scott works in the special project division, as a project superintendent, working on remodels and tenant build outs.

Josh Martin, CM, 2007, is an Operations Manager for Northwest Guardrail LLC in Boise. Josh and his wife Charmolita have two sons, Rowen and Ryken.

Materials Science & Engineering

Arturo Gutierrez, MSE, 2009, is currently working at Argonne National Laboratory as a Postdoctoral Appointee. His research is focused

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on materials for energy storage, both lithium- and sodium-ion batteries. Arturo and his wife, Annie, have three kids; Emma – 6 yrs., Elaiza – 3 yrs., Kimball – 1 yr.

Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering Jose Lepe, ME, 2004, is a Senior Mechanical Engineer for a medical device startup in Valencia, CA. He is working on a neuromodulation device that stimulates the vagus nerve and activates the body's natural inflammatory reflex to treat patients with debilitating inflammatory diseases such as Crohn's Disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Dan Russell, ME 2005, works for Engineering Incorporated in Boise, and obtained his P.E. license in 2010, which led to a lead design engineer position. Dan works on many interesting design projects within the treasure valley community. Dan and his wife, Rachel, have four children. Jason Hesse, ME 2008, is a Vehicle Engineer at STV Incorporated in Boston. Emily (Perri) and Ben Leake, ME, 2009, Ben and Emily both graduated in 2009 in Mechanical Engineering, and both engineers at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. They have been married for almost three years and are expecting a baby girl in February 2015. Brittany Siewert, ME 2012, obtained a Master’s from UT Southwestern Medical Center in Prosthetics and Orthotics. She is currently

College of Engineering Newsletter | Winter 2014

completing her Orthotics Residency at Brownfield’s Prosthetics and Orthotics in Boise, Meridian, and Nampa offices. Brittany presented her work to students at Boise State in November. Brooke Garner, ME 2014, works at Micron Technology as a Key Equipment Engineer in the Central Test Team.

Levi Holt, ME 2014, graduated from BSU with a Mechanical Engineering Degree and a Minor in Military Science on May 17 2014. Three days after graduating he had orders from the military to go to Fort Benning Georgia. Levi recently finished the Infantry Basic Officer Leadership Couse and is now prepping to go to Ranger School. After completion of Ranger School he will be stationed in Hohenfels, Germany for about three years, working in Engineering unit. Brandon Lee, ME 2014, works for Acutus Medical, a San Diego based company that recently received funding for medical device technology focusing on the diagnostics, prevention, and treatment of heart disease. The project was transferred to Boise as one of the first projects in the new Medtech Furnace facility at the Yanke Family Research Park.

Alumni represented at the annual COEN Career Fairs!

Electrical Engineering alums: Jim Hall, Steele Stone, and Aaron Erbe, Micron Technology

CM alums: Jake Stones and Tyler McIntyre from RSCI

Richard Gines, CS, and Yvette Barrios, ME 2004, represented Hewlett Packard

Alex Hammond, CE, Army Corps of Engineers

Alumni Notes

We want to stay in touch. Please send your updates to Leandra Aburusa-Lete at laburusa@boisestate.edu

R U Following Us? Boise State College of Engineering

Sam Campbell and Corey Breshears represent Clearwater Analytics

https://www.facebook.com/pages /Boise-State-College-ofEngineering/286253614738328 BSUEngineering

http://twitter.com/BSUEngineering Boise State College of Engineering Related Blogs

http://coen.boisestate.edu/blogs/


Tanya Lalicker, EE, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard

Duel Christensen, CM Andersen Construction, and Kevin Higgs, CM Granite Construction

Byron Walker and Josh Christofferson, Gayle Manufacturing

Will Johnson, CE 2014 works at HDR Engineering

Brett Bishop, CM 1998, and Sal Varela, CM 2008 from RSCI

College of Engineering alumni that work at RSCI were highlighted at the Career Fairs, including President of RSCI, Zeke Johnson, CE 2002

Josh Hobbs and Rick Nielson, CM, work at Intermountain Slurry Seal

Jo Doherty, CE 2014, and Alan Avila CM 2013 work for Turner Construction in Portland, OR

Manuel Rauhut, CE and Peter Voss, CE representing HDR Engineering

Tyler Resnick, CM, and Bryan Scanlan, CM 2014, work for McAlvain Construction

$10 Million COBRE Grant Continued...

As program director and principal investigator, Oxford will supervise three other investigators on individual projects that share a common scientific theme. Creating a central mass of investigators working on related projects allows for a beneficial exchange of ideas and allows the researchers to manage an NIH-funded research lab and apply for NIH research funding. All three researchers are working on projects related to extracellular matrix structure, function and changes related to disease or injury.

Trevor Lujan, assistant professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering, is one of the three investigators involved in the work. His research is focused on the role of the extracellular matrix in ligament injury and repair.

Ligament sprains can lead to chronic joint disorders due to the slow and poor healing of the damaged tissue. Thus, a critical need exists to develop treatment strategies that speed and strengthen ligament repair. This research project will utilize experimental and computational methods to determine whether the direct application of mechanical loads to damaged ligament will stimulate healthy tissue remodeling. Results from this project could support the use of economical therapies such as soft-tissue mobilization to enhance ligament healing.

The other two individual projects are: “Extracellular matrix in the calcification of the cardiovascular system,” led by Allan Albig, assistant professor of biological sciences; and “Liver fibrosis and extracellular matrix overproduction,” led by Kristen Mitchell, associate professor of biological sciences.

The COBRE award will support research infrastructure such as professional research and administrative staff, access to sophisticated instrumentation, equipment training and grant writing workshops. It also will partner with the Idaho INBRE on its summer research program.

COBRE support comes in three sequential five-year phases. Phase 1, for $10 million, focuses on developing research infrastructure and providing junior investigators with formal mentoring and research project funding to help them acquire data and successfully compete for independent research grant support.

Computer Science Program Moving into Downtown Boise

One of Boise State University’s most in-demand high-tech programs will move into The Gardner Company’s latest development, City Center Plaza, adjacent to The Grove in downtown Boise. The university will lease space for its fast-growing Department of Computer Science in the new building that will be completed in 2016 on the west side of the U.S. Bank Plaza.

The State Board of Education approved the lease agreement on June 19. Boise State announced the move during a press conference today on The Grove. During the event, Gardner Company Chairman Kem Gardner shared how important scholarships had been to him as a student and pledged a $1 million gift to Boise State for scholarships.

The computer science program will be located in the same building as Clearwater Analytics and within short walking distance of about 20 more of Boise’s top technology companies.

“This move will place Boise State’s computer science students and faculty in the heart of Boise’s downtown technology community,” said Boise State President Bob Kustra. “It will provide our students an unparalleled opportunity for internships and interactions with industry, spur creative and collaborative research of mutual interest and allow local business greater access to our programs.” Read more at http://news.boisestate.edu/update/2014/06/24/computer-science-program-moving-downtown-boise/

College of Engineering Newsletter | Winter 2014

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College of Engineering Dean: AMY MOLL (208) 426-1153 amoll@boisestate.edu

Boise State Micro-Pump Aids Neurological Research By: Kathleen Tuck

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs: JANET CALLAHAN (208) 426-1153 janetcallahan@boisestate.edu

Apply a magnetic field, and the material responds with a shape change. Remove the field, and the new shape remains. Apply a different magnetic field and the material re-forms into a new shape. Do this quickly and with purpose and you have a small motor or pump.

Assistant Dean for Research & Infrastructure: REX OXFORD (208) 426-5744 roxford@boisestate.edu Development Director: DONALD MURRAY (208) 426-1422 donaldmurray@boisestate.edu

Civil Engineering Chair: MANDAR KHANAL (208) 426-3743 mkhanal@boisestate.edu

Computer Science Chair: TIM ANDERSEN (208) 426-5767 tandersen@boisestate.edu

Construction Management +Chair: ROBERT HAMILTON (208) 426-3764 rhamilton@boisestate.edu

Electrical & Computer Engineering Interim Chair: REBECCA MIRSKY (208) 426-1167 rebeccamirsky@boisestate.edu

Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning Chair: DON STEPICH (208) 426-1312 dstepich@boisestate.edu

Materials Science & Engineering Chair: PETER MÜLLNER (208) 426-5639 petermullner@boisestate.edu

Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering Chair: DON PLUMLEE (208) 426-4078 dplumlee@boisestate.edu

In Peter Müllner’s Magnetic Materials Laboratory at Boise State, researchers study magnetic shape memory (MSM) alloys, materials that shape-shift in response to magnetic fields.

The Boise State research caught the attention of Martin Vreugdenhil of the University of Birmingham in England. Vreugdenhil studies the brain function of rats in relation to schizophrenia.

In September 2013, Vreugdenhil contacted Müllner, distinguished professor of materials science and engineering, after reading a publication detailing a magnetic shape memory micropump that was developed at Boise State in 2011.

Vreugdenhil needed a pump that would accurately deliver sub-microliter volumes of drugs while at the same time being small and light enough to be carried on a rat’s head. He asked if a pump meeting his specifications could be developed using MSM technology.

In February 2014, Müllner received a gift from the Micron Foundation to further advance the MSM micro-pump. Sam Barker, a Boise State undergraduate engineering student working with Müllner designed a new micro-pump capable of delivering liquids at three-tenths of a microliter per minute, thus meeting Vreugdenhil’s specifications. The pump housing was 3D-printed with the help of Blaise Lawless of Idaho TechHelp’s New Product Development lab at Boise State.

In June, Barker took eight prototype micro-pumps to the medical school at the University of Birmingham, where he then worked in collaboration with Vreugdenhil and his student. The prototype pumps were successful, performing as expected and demonstrating that the design has the potential to provide an accurate, long-term solution.

“Having the opportunity to work on a collaborative project that brought together materials science, mechanical engineering and biological science was a very unique and rewarding experience,” Barker said.

“Barker’s experiments in Birmingham are a critical step toward commercializing this exciting technology,” said Müllner. “We anticipate developing a new, even smaller pump to be placed on a head stage on the rat so that drugs can be delivered and brain activity can be monitored while the rat is moving about. We plan returning to Birmingham for further experiments in summer 2015.”

Self-Powered Sensors Continued...

ranging from 30-600 degrees Celsius, that are not only high efficiency but also characterized by high thermal stability and mechanical strength. They will also examine the issue of irradiation damage, performing comprehensive tests before, during and after gamma irradiation at various user facilities.

Prior to coming to Boise State, Zhang worked for research startup GMZ Energy Inc. in 2011, where he was a co-principal investigator for an $8 million DOE award aimed at harnessing the waste heat from a car engine to enhance fuel efficiency. He continued on the project after moving to Boise State in February 2013. That project is now nearing commercialization and has a prototype, with interest from Honda and other industry leaders.

Coen alumni newsletter fall winter 2014  

College of Engineering Alumni Newsletter Winter 2014

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