2014-15 UC Irvine Samueli School of Engineering Dean's Report

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Contents 4




















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On the cover: Inspired by the dynamic

configurability of cephalopods, UCI material scientists are making transformational breakthroughs.

2014-15 DEAN’S REPORT The award-winning Dean’s Report is published annually in early fall by the Samueli School’s Communications Department.

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS: Shelly Nazarenus COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER: Lori Brandt PRINCIPAL WRITER & EDITOR: Anna Lynn Spitzer DESIGNER: Michael Marcheschi, m2design group PUBLISHER: Mike Delaney, 2014-15 Dean’s ReportMeridian Graphics

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Kathryn Bold, Pat Brennen, William Diepenbrock, Sharon Henry, Janet Wilson PHOTOGRAPHY: Mike Kitada, Steve Zylius, Debbie Morales, Paul R. Kennedy IMAGE COURTESIES: pg. 10 Joshua Sudock, Orange County Register; pg. 11 Dave Lauridsen Photography; pg.

17 Chris Nugent, UCI; pg. 34 Danny Sullivan at Daggle.com; pg. 36 Jochen Schubert, UCI; pg. 38 Kim Serrano, UCI; pg. 39 U.S. Geological Survey; pg. 53 Sharon Henry, UCI; pg. 67 Marvin Maldonado, UCI; All Historic Photos taken from the University of California, Irvine Libraries Online Archive of UCI History. The digital archive was created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of UC Irvine. ©The Regents of the University of California.



From the

Vibrant Momentum

It is hard to imagine that in 1965, UC Irvine’s School of Engineering began with just two faculty members and 75 students. We were, and are, one of only two University of California campuses to open with a School of Engineering. This distinctive beginning set in motion the school’s many decades of dynamic growth. Our initial emphasis was in electrical engineering, so the campus recruited the department chair from UC Berkeley, Robert M. Saunders, to be the founding dean, and David Isaacs, an assistant professor from UCLA. Saunders’ graduate student, Roland Schinzinger, willingly followed to help the fledgling program. He became the first to receive a Ph.D. at UCI, graduating with the inaugural Class of 1966, and then became the third engineering faculty member. Five decades later, we are enrolling our biggest and most diverse group of students: 3,232 undergraduates and 1,042 graduate students. This is the largest graduate enrollment at UCI. We also have the largest and most diverse cohort of faculty in the school’s history, with 11 new engineers joining us this year.

At the 1970 dedication of UCI’s Engineering Tower, Saunders spoke about the aspirations for engineering at Irvine and the development of the “socially conscious” engineer: “Because the work of the engineer must have the essence of public need associated with it, engineering graduates must be familiar with the artistic, social and political values of our society. The public usefulness aspect of engineering places another requirement on the engineer: that he submit not only a feasible solution to his problem but also the best one.” Our students today are as passionate about ideas, innovation and changing the world as ever. To that end, the school instills entrepreneurial confidence, ensuring graduates have the knowledge, skills and experience to engineer the best solutions for the complexities of a global society. We created an International Engineering Program this year with UCI’s School of Humanities. It is the first degreed program in California where a student can earn a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering and a bachelor of arts in a foreign language in five years. We started with German and next up will be an offering in Asian Studies. We also launched initiatives in advanced manufacturing, technology transfer acceleration and a new “make lab” – the first of its kind in a university setting. We established a schoolwide innovation caucus to drive idea generation, intellectual property placement and research development. From unleashing squid-inspired new materials to measuring brainstorms to developing a hybrid heart valve, our researchers’ unprecedented work will continue the Samueli School’s vibrant momentum over the next 50 years.

Gregory Washington, Ph.D. The Stacey Nicholas Dean of Engineering Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine



Degrees Granted


700 600 500 400

550 541 512





136 146

257 218


The UCI campus opens with the School of Engineering on October 4, 1965. Robert M. Saunders, founding dean, speaks to students in an early classroom setting circa December 1965.













2014-15 Dean’s Report





Incoming Freshmen

668 642



Student Enrollment

3,300 3,000 2,700 2,400 2,100 1,800


1,500 1,200 900 600

2,872 2,777 2,578 720






3,119 3,232 898 2013-14

1,042 2014-15

Over 5 Years






Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine




Faculty Growth

On June 25, 1966, UCI’s first Ph.D. recipient, Roland Schinzinger, receives his doctorate from A.I. Melden with Chancellor Daniel Aldrich offering congratulations. A graduation dinner is held for UCI’s inaugural Class of 1966, comprised of 14 students. In fall of that year, Schinzinger joins as the third faculty member in the School of Engineering.

128 115

FALL 2011

2014-15 Dean’s Report


FALL 2012

116 117

FALL 2013

FALL 2014

FALL 2015


Samueli School Faculty



17 33% 4





U.S. News & World Report Engineering Program Ranking








Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine




2013-14 Research Expenditures By Source


In 1966, the first faculty member in civil engineering, Donald Feurstein, is added as the school develops an emphasis in environmental training. In 1969, a television crew films research in the newly established environmental engineering lab facility.

2014-15 Dean’s Report





$10.7M $3M


Technology Transfer










29 16 7 2010-11


42 32

16 3 2011-12

7 2012-13







Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine


Donor Support CASH DONATIONS RECEIVED * Includes $9.5M Opus Foundation Gift



Partners A sign in June 1964 identifies the construction site for natural sciences and engineering. At the opening of the campus in 1965, the School of Engineering was housed in the newly completed Natural Sciences Building (now Steinhaus Hall). The next year, the engineering school offices and some labs were moved with the mathematics department to the edge of campus in leased quarters. Additional lab space for engineering was assigned in a trailer complex until completion of Engineering Tower in 1970.

2014-15 Dean’s Report






2011-12 2012-13




Leadership Council The Samueli School of Engineering Dean’s Leadership Council is a distinguished group of thought leaders whose industry expertise, community engagement and entrepreneurial endeavors support, inspire and promote the school’s vision.


Nicolaos G. Alexopoulos

Robert A. Kleist

Tom Ambrose

Leo G. LaForge

James Aralis

William J. Link

Donald R. Beall

Ivan Madera

Broadcom Corp. Emulex Corp.

Microsemi Corp.


$3,794,417 $2,581,525 $705,337 $127,021 $40,276


Dartbrook Partners, LLC

Brian R. Bennett

James Mulato

Michael A. Mussallem

Roger Brum

Meggitt Defense Systems, Inc.

William C. Cain

Western Digital Corp.

Ray Chan K5 Launch

Dan Cregg Insteon

Edwards Lifesciences Corp.

Stacey Nicholas Opus Foundation

Daryl G. Pelc

The Boeing Company

Robert J. Phillippy Newport Corp.

Jane E. Rady

Abbott Medical Optics, Inc.

Leila Rohani, `85

Parker Hannifin Corp.

B.S. Electrical Engineering Pacific Mercantile Bank

Carol Erikson

Stanton J. Rowe

Feyzi Fatehi

Henry Samueli

Bruce Feuchter

Frederick E. Schreiner

Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth

Peter M. Fiacco

Executive Technical Consulting

Dominic Gallello MSC Software

Nabeel Gareeb

The Gareeb Family Foundation



Gregory N. Brand, `77

B.S. Electrical Engineering DRS Defense Solutions

Corent Technology, Inc.

$3,287,508 $2,328,179 $1,426,275 $103,799 $102,815

Versant Ventures

Astronics Test Systems

Northrup Grumman Corp.


Rockwell Collins

Intel Corp.

Mark T. Czaja


Printronix, Inc.

Robert E. Grant ALPHAEON Corp.

Judy Greenspon NPI Services, Inc.

Raouf Y. Halim

Edwards Lifesciences Corp. Broadcom Corp.

Thales Avionics, Inc.

Amit Shah

Artiman Ventures

Paul N. Singarella

Latham & Watkins, LLP

Gerald R. Solomon Samueli Foundation

James P. Spoto

Sunrise Micro Devices, Inc.

Vincent L. Thomas Rockwell Collins

John J. Tracy, `87

Mindspeed Technologies, Inc.

Ph.D. Civil Engineering The Boeing Company

Jai Hakhu

Javier Valdivieso

Horiba International Corp.

Bernard Harguindeguy Atlantis Computing, Inc

Michel R. Kamel MelRok, LLC

Scott Kitcher Clean Tech OC

Advanced Digital Manufacturing, LLC

James Watson CMTC

Larry Williams ANSYS

Ruben Zadoyan Newport Corp.

Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine



THE RIGHT MIX Young chemical engineers power their way to nationals

Five Samueli School students are recipients of the Rose Hills Foundation undergraduate science and engineering scholarship program. UCI was awarded $700,000 to support 18 high-achieving undergraduates pursuing STEM degrees. The

UCI’s Chem-E Car is powered by an aluminum battery and stops as a result of a Vitamin C chemical reaction. Called SteVe, it is the fifth version of a car named after the Samueli School’s chemical engineering and materials sciences lab manager, Steve Weinstock. Built with model airplane wheels, a model train motor and a Plexiglas platform body, SteVe took second place in the regional American Institute of Chemical Engineers competition. The annual contest engages college students in designing and constructing a car powered by a chemical energy source that will safely carry a specified load over a given distance. The shoebox-sized car must stop autonomously, using only a chemical reaction. “We use different amounts of iodine to vary the reaction times,” says Sarah Becan, a senior chemical engineering major and a project manager. “All year, we do calibration curves and data tables to prepare for the competition.”

An hour before the event at Cal Poly Pomona, teams found out their cars would need to carry 366 milliliters of water and travel 23 meters within two minutes. Each entry had two chances. Between trials, teams had an hour to take what they had learned from the first trial and fine-tune their calculations for the second run. On its first run, SteVe hit a bump in the road and the battery disconnected, so the car was not able to complete the trial, hampering the team’s ability to precisely calculate their stopping reaction. On the second run, the car traveled five meters past the finish line. UCI came in second, behind UC Davis. Cars must be safe to run, electrically insulated and chemicals doublycontained if too hazardous. “All the chemicals we use for our car are really safe,” says Becan. “They all can be bought at Albertsons, are easily disposed of and contain no major hazards.” The UCI team heads to Utah this fall to compete in the national contest.

program encourages the students to meet at regular intervals to discuss their goals and share their experiences. Biomedical graduate student Jolie McLane is honored as

an outstanding community volunteer at OneOC’s 2014

Spirit of Volunteerism Awards for her work at McFadden

Intermediate School in Santa Ana, Calif. McLane conducts a 24-week, after-school program that brings STEM into schools.

Stephen Timko, an environmental engineering graduate

student, receives the American Water Works Association

Arcadis Scholarship. The $5,000 award supports the

development of professionals interested in service to the water industry.

The Orange County Chapter of the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Foundation, Inc. names three graduate and four undergraduate students from the Samueli School as ARCS Scholars for the 2014-15 academic year. UCI’s nine-member Chem-E-Car team comes in second

in the regional American Institute of Chemical Engineers contest.

Jeremy Pearson is selected as the 2015 American Nuclear Society Glenn T. Seaborg Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow. Pearson, who just earned his doctorate in chemical engineering, begins his fellowship in Washington, D.C., working in the office of U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah.

Three engineering graduate students win highly competitive

fellowships from the National Science Foundation. Doctoral student Neto Sosa is developing new biosensors, biomedical engineer Christian Crouzet is building a new laser speckle imaging device, and materials science graduate student

Rylan Kautz fabricates reflectin films.

2014-15 Dean’s Report


SUCCESS TRAJECTORY Civil engineering doctoral candidate Riccardo Cappa is named a 2015 UCI Public Impact Distinguished Fellow by the

Earth-shaking experience doesn’t rattle grad student

university’s Graduate Division. Cappa, who studies earthquakerelated hazards and disasters, is one of only three graduate students to receive the prestigious $10,000 award.

Hard work pays off in more ways than one for mechanical and aerospace engineering graduate student Alexandra


Samueli School graduate students Arunima Bhattacharjee, Kliah Soto Leytan and Neha Garg are named by the Schlumberger Foundation as 2015-16 Faculty for the Future. The fellowships support outstanding women from developing countries with up to $50,000 a year in their pursuit of doctoral or postgraduate STEM studies. For the fourth consecutive year, the Samueli School’s Design/

Build/Fly team earns a national top-two finish. The

DBF undergraduates placed second in the 19th annual AIAA Competition held in Tucson, Ariz. Doctoral candidates Jason Panzarino and Rachel Gurlin

are recipients of $10,000 Mazda Foundation (USA), Inc. scholarships. Panzarino, an aerospace engineer, studies nanostructured metals nearly 1,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. Gurlin, a biomedical engineer, is developing a bioartificial pancreas device to help combat Type 1 diabetes. Undergraduate Vicki Au is the recipient of the Institute for

International Education’s Generation Study Abroad STEAM scholarship. Au will use the funds to study at Hong

Samueli School graduate student Alexandra Efimovskaya’s impactful research contributions are being duly rewarded. The mechanical and aerospace engineer has been named a Rising Star by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Efimovskaya is one of 56 Rising Stars selected nationally; she was nominated for the honor by DARPA program manager Robert Lutwak, after DARPA’s six technical offices were asked to identify exceptional students, young industry professionals or postdoctoral scholars with significant potential. Efimovskaya works with adviser Andrei Shkel in the school’s Microsystems Lab, where she conducts research in micro-electro-mechanical systems, including chip-scale gyroscopes, and timing and inertial measurement units. TIMU devices enable the measurement of motion and time, including situations when GPS signals are not available. This spring, the doctoral candidate represented her research team at the 18th International Conference on Solid-State Sensors, Actuators and Microsystems in Anchorage, Alaska. Efimovskaya presented their paper, “Miniature Origamilike Folded MEMS TIMU,” and despite a 6.2 magnitude earthquake striking in the midst of her talk, she came away with the conference’s top honor in the oral presentation category. “Despite some panic … in the audience, Alexandra strongly held her ground and completed the presentation with great confidence,” said Shkel, who co-authored the paper along with Durak Senkal, who graduated this year with his doctorate. “I am very excited and proud of bringing the Transducers 2015 Best Outstanding Paper Award to UCI,” Efimovskaya said. “This award was received at one of the biggest conferences in the MEMS sensors and actuators field. It has brought motivation and gratification, reminding me that our hard work does pay off.”

Kong University in the fall.

Six biomedical engineering students and one information and computer science student comprise the team that wins first place in this year’s Beall Student Design Competition in

Engineering. Their project, DECAY-Z, is a low-cost microfluidic device designed to diagnose HIV.


Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine



WIRELESS WIZ Computer scientist recognized for work in communication networks

Faculty The National Academy of Inventors names Chancellor’s

Professor Marc Madou a Fellow. The distinction is awarded

to academics who’ve demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation that has made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic

Syed Ali Jafar, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science who has changed the world’s understanding of the capacity of wireless networks, wins the 2015 Blavatnik National Award for Young Scientists in physical sciences and engineering. Jafar explores the fundamental performance limits of wireless communication networks. Determining network capacity – the maximum data rates that can be reliably supported – is the holy grail of network information theory, according to Jafar and others. And with the rapid growth of wireless communication networks, the quest has taken on unprecedented urgency. Jafar’s research group has gained worldwide recognition for numerous seminal contributions to this topic, including its groundbreaking work on interference alignment in wireless networks. His research found that data rates are not limited by the number of devices sharing the radio frequency spectrum, a discovery that changed the thinking about how wireless networks should be designed. “I am deeply indebted to my brilliant students and collaborators, who are my true miracle workers,” says Jafar. “It is my hope that this recognition will lead to broader exposure to and appreciation of both the beauty of information theory and the tremendous impact it has on our lives.” This $250,000 award, established by the Blavatnik Family Foundation with the guidance of the New York Academy of Sciences, recognizes America’s most innovative and promising young faculty scientists and engineers.


2014-15 Dean’s Report

development and the welfare of society. Civil and environmental engineering professor Bill Cooper

is selected by his peers as a Fellow of the Association of

Environmental Engineering and Science Professors.

Cooper has been serving as director of the National Science Foundation’s Environmental Engineering Program. Two Samueli School engineers – Anne Lemnitzer and Timothy Rupert – are selected as Hellman Fellows. The program supports the research of promising assistant professors who show capacity for great distinction in their chosen fields of endeavor. Lemnitzer studies geotechnical and earthquake engineering, while Rupert focuses on nanoscale mechanics. Computer scientist Syed Ali Jafar is one of three chosen from

among 300 to receive the 2015 Blavatnik National Award

for Young Scientists.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers names

Samueli School Dean Gregory Washington a Fellow in

recognition of his outstanding engineering achievements. The ASME Committee of Past Presidents confers the Fellow grade of membership on worthy candidates.

A globally recognized expert in water resources engineering,

Soroosh Sorooshian is one of 20 international scientists from different disciplinary fields to be awarded a 2014 Chinese Academy of Sciences Einstein Professorship. H. Kumar Wickramasinghe, professor and chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, is awarded top honors by the UC Irvine Academic Senate, earning the 2014-15 Distinguished Faculty Award for Research.


BIGGER AND The American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics announces that Distinguished Professor Satya Atluri is selected to receive


Biomedical engineer gains prominence with perseverance and tenacity

the Walter J. and Angeline H. Crichlow Trust Prize, one of the AIAA’s most prestigious awards. The American Institute for Medical and Biological

Engineering elects Associate Professor Michelle Khine to its elite College of Fellows. She is also named one of the Top 30 Women in Higher Education. Associate Professor Kuo-lin Hsu and his hydrometeorology colleagues are honored with the NASA Robert H. Goddard

Exceptional Achievement Award in Science, which recognizes their work developing the algorithm used by the NASA Global Precipitation Measurement team.

Timothy Rupert, assistant professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering, is selected for the Young Leader Professional Development Award by the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society. The American Society for Engineering Education elects Gregory Washington vice chair of its Engineering Deans Council Executive Board. Washington will serve a two-year term and then assume the chairperson position. Professor Bruce Tromberg receives the Optical Society’s Michael S. Feld Biophotonics Award in recognition

Associate Professor Michelle Khine is known for her playful approach to science. Early in her career, she used a toy – Shrinky Dinks – to invent a quick and inexpensive method for developing custom microfluidic chips for researchers to use in their labs. “As an inventor, I love to come up with wild and crazy ideas, and make them come to life,” says Khine in her TEDx talk. “Each new idea should be bigger and bolder than the previous one.” Today, Khine’s lab at UCI is experimenting with superhydrophobic surfaces that have anti-bacterial applications and developing 3-D surfaces with microsized pits for the purpose of uniform stem cell or tumor cell cultures. Her impact in nanotechnology and biomedical engineering is gaining notice.

This year, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering elected Khine a Fellow, citing her outstanding contributions to developing a low-cost diagnostic technology enabling new biomedical health research and applications. AIMBE is a nonprofit organization representing the top 2 percent of medical and biological engineers. The College of Fellows is comprised of 1,000 members considered outstanding in academia, industry and government. Khine was also named one of the Top 30 Women in Higher Education by the national publication Diverse: Issues In Higher Education. The editors acknowledged Khine for her perseverance and tenacity, as well as her contributions to the field and beyond.

of his innovative and influential contributions to the field of biophotonics. Professor Emeritus Jann Yang is selected by the American Society of Civil Engineers as the 2015 (and first) recipient of the Masanobu Shinozuka Medal. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of stochastic mechanics, reliability, risk and simulation. The Academy of Radiology Research honors Professor Sabee

Molloi as Distinguished Investigator for significant

contributions in the field of medical imaging. Molloi focuses on developing novel diagnostic imaging techniques for breast cancer and cardiac disease.

Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine



EBOLA INVESTIGATION Fundamental research may help other scientists discover a cure

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission awards

$600,000 over four years to the Samueli School’s Department

of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science for two major training grants. Funds are for students who plan on

Biomedical engineer Michelle Digman uses her microscope in the Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics to understand the main protein (VP40) that creates the Ebola virus, which has killed more than 11,200 people in West Africa since March 2014. Digman and her co-researchers are among the few who were studying Ebola long before the 2014 outbreak. In 2011, Ghana-born biochemist Emmanuel Adu-Gyamfi visited her UCI lab. As a child, he had seen BBC stories about Ebola and – then a student at the University of Notre Dame – wanted to take advantage of new technology that lets scientists study the dynamics of living cells. “We like challenges,” Digman says. “Emmanuel came to us and said, ‘I want to look at how this particular

protein interacts in the cell. Can you do this?’ and we said, ‘Absolutely, yes.’”

careers in the nuclear field.

As recently as a decade ago, it wasn’t possible to view live cells under microscopes. Scientists pored over fixed dead ones to puzzle out clues about their behavior. But a new technique called fluorescence dynamics allows researchers to track cells as they grow by tagging them with bright inks. Three people won the Nobel Prize in chemistry this year for their development of superresolved fluorescence microscopy.

awards biomedical engineer Zhongping Chen a $2.6 million, four-year grant to build an integrated, multimodal

Usually, cells can absorb viruses and other harmful substances, and neutralize them with acidic lipids. Not so with Ebola. Digman and others have discovered that VP40 multiplies unimpeded inside the cell until finally the infected body’s membrane bulges out under the accumulated weight, budding into the needle-like filaments. “Everything we learn about the Ebola VP40 protein is a surprise. It dies down, and then it comes back. It’s happened before, and it will happen again. Understanding these kinds of processes can help other scientists come up with targets to stop the spread,” Digman says

The NIH’s National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

imaging system for looking inside the arteries. The proposed system would help with earlier detection, prevention and treatment of heart disease. Using pioneering technology to meticulously track the molecular workings of the Ebola protein, biomedical engineer

Michelle Digman’s research gains critical importance. The American Heart Association honors postdoctoral

scholar Ahmad Falahatpisheh with a two-year $82,000

research fellowship. He uses advanced post-processing

methods related to magnetic resonance imaging to study the hearts of patients born with a complex congenital heart defect. A team of engineers receives a $1.3 million NSF grant

to further their efforts to improve manufacturing processes for nanodevices. The goal is to help these processes leave the laboratory and become usable in widespread commercial applications. UC Irvine scientists studying the role of circadian rhythms in skin stem cells find that this clock plays a key role in coordinating daily metabolic cycles and cell division. Biomedical engineer Enrico Gratton is part of the team whose research

appears in Cell Reports.

Engineering professor Syed Ali Jafar and his graduate student


Arash Gholamidavoodi earn a Best Paper Award at IEEE GLOBECOM 2014. Their research proved a long-standing assumption regarding the benefits of multiple antennas for transmitting high-data rates expected from 5G wireless networks.


A MATERIALS MAN Samueli School engineers seeking to improve drought predictability in California and the Western U.S. are awarded a $1.1 million grant from NASA. Led by Assistant Professor Amir AghaKouchak, the group will collaborate with the California Department of Water Resources on the four-year project. Assistant Professor Timothy Rupert receives an early career boost from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The W.M. Keck Foundation awards $2 million to a team of researchers to develop a photonic “magnetic nanoprobe,” a microscope able to amplify, detect and possibly manipulate the extremely weak optical-frequency magnetic fields in matter. Professor Peter Burke is the recipient of a $329,000

Defense University Research Instrumentation Program grant to fund a scanning microwave microscope, which will allow for nanoscale-resolution imaging of microwave conductivity in nanostructures. Assistant Professor Mohammad Al Faruque and his

doctoral student Kourosh Vatanparvar are recognized

with the Best Paper Award at the IEEE/ACM Design

Automation Conference. Al Faruque is the first UCI faculty

member to receive this prestigious award. With a $1.8 million, three-year NSF grant, UCI creates

a program called iStart. Led by the Samueli School, iStart

partners with community colleges to increase the number of students, especially from underrepresented groups, who earn bachelor’s degrees in engineering and computer science.

A research paper on assessing the potential of ride-sharing using mobile and social data takes Best Paper honors at the 2014 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing. The authors include Associate Professor Athina Markopoulou and her graduate student Blerim Cici.

Funding bolsters advances in extremely tough engineered metals Timothy Rupert is awarded a fiveyear, $750,000 Early Career Research grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The award supports Rupert’s research into controlling the atomic structure and damage tolerance of metallic materials by doping – selectively adding other elements – to their grain boundaries. “We’re trying to identify material design strategies – to fine-tune that space between crystals in order to make the material better in some way,” says Rupert, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. These grain boundaries, interfaces between crystallites in

polycrystalline material, are often the site of cracks and voids that can lead to a material’s failure. Rupert’s work focuses on testing different combinations of doping elements to understand which work best for inducing grain boundary structural transitions that can improve materials’ strength, flexibility, durability, weight or other properties. Using a combination of cutting-edge computational, experimental and characterization techniques, the project seeks to better understand the role played by atomic grain boundary structure and interfacial chemistry. It will enable the creation of advanced engineering metals with improved damage tolerance, leading to better options for bridges, airplanes and other structures. “Tim’s proposed research in combination with his already strong record of achievement is highly deserving of the Career Award,” says Ken Mease, chair of the UCI Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. “The research will focus on an important source of failure in metallic materials, namely damage nucleation in grain boundary structure, which has received insufficient attention. The results are expected to contribute to the development of extremely tough engineered materials.”




Now in its third year, the Saudi Arabia International

Program is a 10-week summer collaboration between Sattam

CASA DEL SOL Making a sustainable future feel like home

bin Abdulaziz University and the Samueli School. Thirteen international students are matched with faculty whose special expertise aligns with their interests and career goals. Seven high school students participate in the St. Margaret’s

Episcopal School Summer Internship Program at the

Samueli School. The program aims to inspire enthusiasm for STEM fields with the hope that the high school students will pursue these areas as they move forward in their education and careers. The Samueli School’s FABCamp for middle schoolers continues to grow, with more week-long-session offerings

Teaming up for the 2015 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition, students from UC Irvine, Chapman University, Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College are building Casa del Sol, a Spanish-inspired, net-zero, solar-powered house. The Solar Decathlon requires collegiate teams to design and build energyefficient houses powered by the sun. The teams spend almost two years creating houses to compete in the competition’s 10 individual contests. The winning team produces a house that: ➤ Is affordable, attractive and easy to live in; ➤ Maintains comfortable and healthy indoor environmental conditions;

participants. FABCamp provides an opportunity for children to

➤ Supplies energy to household appliances for cooking, cleaning and entertainment;

design, build and create projects from start to finish.

➤ Provides adequate hot water;

for first-year attendees and a new program for returning

Team Orange County ceremoniously breaks ground for its U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon home, “Casa del Sol.”

For the third year in a row, faculty members from the Samueli School of Engineering and the Iby and Aladar Fleishman Faculty of Engineering at Tel Aviv University come together for a joint workshop to address an engineering challenge of the future. The session addresses engineering sustainability in an Internet of Things structure.

Two engineering school-based startups launch Kickstarter campaigns. Electrical and computer science Associate Professor Athina Markopoulou is the entrepreneur behind Shoelace

Wireless Inc.; while biomedical engineering Associate

Professor Michelle Khine inspired STEM educational kits for 100

Tiny Hands.

The largest recruitment event to date, EngiTech Career Fair attracts 47 companies and six sponsors to the Samueli School commons to network with students. Company recruiters offer resume and job interviewing advice, as well as potential internships and job opportunities.

2014-15 Dean’s Report

➤ Produces as much or more energy than it consumes. Team OC has designed its 1,000-square-foot house to embrace the relaxed, outdoor-living environment that Southern Californians enjoy. Like California’s state flower, the golden poppy, the house is drought-resistant and diurnal. Its passive solar features cause it to open up during the day, increasing the effective living area. At night, the house closes to maintain a comfortable living environment. It also has the flexibility to accommodate multigenerational family lifestyles and is adaptable to the needs of a diverse and ever-changing demographic. Samueli School Dean Gregory Washington is the principal investigator on the project, and UCI mechanical engineering graduate student Alex McDonald leads the effort. Several local companies have contributed to the venture by sponsoring the team, including the city of Irvine, Edison International, The Irvine Company and Five Point Communities. Seventeen teams from across the country will compete in the Solar Decathlon in October. It’s the first time Orange County has sent a team since the initial Solar Decathlon was held in 2002 in Washington, D.C.



Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine


through the decade 1965-66 July 1965 Robert M. Saunders is appointed first dean

2014-15 Dean’s Report

UCI General Catalogue School of Engineering lists 2 faculty, 12 undergraduate courses, 4 graduate courses. The school enrolls 69 undergraduates and 6 graduate students

June 10, 1967 First M.S. degree in engineering is awarded to Bruce Marvin Rahm

Oct. 4, 1965

June 25, 1966

June 15, 1968

First day of class. Berkeley and Irvine are the only 2 UC campuses to open with a School of Engineering

First Ph.D. degree at UCI is awarded to engineering candidate Roland Schinzinger

First B.S. degrees in electrical engineering are awarded to 5 students


1968 Program in Civil Engineering begins


In the beginning, the school’s programs were largely in the field of electrical engineering with emphasis on systems theory, physical and quantum electronics, information and communication systems, and digital computation. Fifty years later, electrical engineers are taking their know-how into the mysterious realm of the human body.

Program in Environmental Engineering begins

Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine



by Anna Lynn Spitzer

2014-15 Dean’s Report


How do cancer cells survive – and even thrive – despite bombardment by drugs alarmingly lethal to the body’s other cells and systems? A national team of scientists, led by Samueli School professor Peter Burke, believes the answers may lie deep inside cellular mitochondria. Burke, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, along with collaborators from Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania, are using nanofluidics to peer into the cells’ life-and-death cycle, hoping the information will one day lead to personalized treatment protocols and targeted pharmaceuticals.

Burke is collaborating with researchers from Harvard and U. Penn.

Using nearly $1.2 million from the National Cancer Institute’s Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies program, they seek to map out pathways of the molecular process in cancer cells. At the heart of the research is a nanofluidic chip, which can manipulate and probe single mitochondrion from healthy and cancerous cells, allowing them to be tested with libraries of proteins and chemicals – both natural and manufactured – to learn more about why cancer cells respond to signals differently than non-cancerous cells. Researchers will measure the cell life-death decision-making process, using a variety of methods including nanosensors capable of measuring mitochondrial electrical energy.

Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine


“This makes it more of an engineering problem than a basic science problem.”

Mitochondria are the cell’s power plants; they also regulate the celldeath pathway.

Mitochondria, often known as the cell’s power plants, metabolize sugar to create energy; this energy is stored as a voltage across their surface. But mitochondria have a secondary role: they regulate the cell-death pathway. Normal cells react to stress by undergoing a process called apoptosis – programmed cell death. In response to certain triggers, the mitochondria form a pore or pores on their surface, spilling out a signaling protein that prompts the cell to self-destruct. When a cell dies, the voltage from the mitochondria shuts down as well. But cancer cells express an abundance of BCL2, a protein that keeps these apoptotic functions suppressed. By subjecting mitochondria from cancerous tissue to different combinations and concentrations of chemotherapy drugs, and manufactured and natural proteins, researchers hope to learn which unique combinations can overpower the effect of BCL2 cell proteins on apoptosis and force mitochondria to form the pores that lead to cell death. “Here is the question we’re trying to answer: Why don’t cancer cells die and how does chemotherapy work?” Burke says. “Cancer cells are resistant to the signals that cause them to die.

2014-15 Dean’s Report

Understanding that process is very important in understanding cancer.” Researchers do know that two people with the same cancer often react differently to the exact same treatment. Similar tumors can have different properties, causing some cells to depolarize (die) more easily than others. This lab-on-a-chip technology could one day lead to advances in personalized medicine, using test results from specific tumors to create individualized treatment plans, “because not only are people different, but tumors themselves are different,” Burke says. Current cancer treatment has another well-known drawback; chemotherapy drugs routinely kill healthy cells along with tumors. “This [technology] could help us figure out a way to cause the cancer cells to commit suicide without causing the same reaction in other cells,” according to Burke. The tiny chip, currently in development, ultimately will contain thousands of half-micronwide channels, allowing high-throughput testing. (One-half a micron is 500 nanometers, less than 1/100 the width of a human hair.) Current tumor profiling is still rudimentary; it requires tens of thousands of cells to obtain a small amount of information. The chip being developed in Burke’s lab will have the capability to test single cells or mitochondrion, allowing researchers to get a lot more information from tissue samples much more quickly. According to Burke, a 10,000-cell assay on the chip could yield up to 1 million times more information than current techniques. “We’re going

to make that assay thousands of times more powerful by testing not just one or two drugs at a time but thousands of different combinations of drugs or different concentrations.” Project collaborator Dr. Anthony Letai, a Harvard physician and researcher whose lab studies mitochondria, says that understanding how the organelle works can eventually allow doctors to better pinpoint drugs for individual patients. Faster, cheaper assays that require fewer cells for testing are essential. “This makes it more of an engineering problem than a basic science problem,” he says. “We are very happy to be able to work with Peter on this, to be able to take advantage of his novel readouts of mitochondrial dysfunction to hopefully make a better assay to direct therapeutic decision-making in cancer patients.” Researchers also hope to develop on-chip technology that will allow them to understand the biophysical mechanisms that create the formation of the mitochondrial pores. They aren’t sure exactly how the pores form, what their electrical properties are and whether mitochondria produce one pore or multiple pores during apoptosis. “If we can figure out what is causing the mitochondria to depolarize, we will have a better understanding of why the cancer cell lives or dies,” Burke says. “The technology will help us start asking questions about these metabolic pathways and start answering the questions of why cancer cells don’t die.”



by Pat Brennen

Like a gathering storm, tiny electrical pulses in a brain cell coalesce into a kind of explosion: the firing of a single neuron. And the firing of billions of neurons provides each of us with the inner experiences that define our lives – seeing, hearing, thinking, even

noting the passage of time between heartbeats. In a feat of engineering that could extend the reach of both nanotechnology and neurobiology, UC Irvine researchers have found a way to peer inside a neuron and watch as the storm gathers. Using carbon nanowires only a few atoms thick, the team – led by electrical engineering and computer science professor Peter Burke – managed to eavesdrop on the opening and closing of ion channels at the scale of a single brain cell. Ions are charged particles that transmit electrical signals. The collective activity of thousands or millions of channels through which they flow is what causes a neuron to fire. “When it rains, you get a weather report that tells how many inches of rain fell in a given period,” says Burke, whose work was published in Scientific Reports. “The weatherman doesn’t measure each drop.” But the technique his team developed, he says, is the equivalent of “measuring each individual drop of rain.” That’s a first. “No one has ever measured a single ion channel with a single nanowire before,” Burke says.

A team led by Burke developed a detector that offers a window into the inner workings of the brain and a brand-new tool for future research.

The method offers a window into the inner workings of the brain and a brand-new tool for future research. And it could significantly advance the goals of President

Barack Obama’s BRAIN Initiative, announced in 2013, which seeks to map brain functions and attack neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, epilepsy and autism. The team began by creating an artificial cell. Its wall, like that of a real cell, is pockmarked with pores that open and close, allowing ions to flow in and out. Next, the scientists installed nanowires just outside the artificial cell’s wall. The wires are capable of registering minuscule fluxes of energy and picked up the pelting of “raindrops” – in this case, the size of atoms – signaling the opening and closing of ion channels. For now, the nanowire detector is confined to its carefully constructed laboratory setting. Asked to speculate, however, Burke sees a number of potentially revolutionary applications in the years and decades ahead. A nanowire detector, for example, could be implanted in a living human brain, perhaps providing therapy for brain disorders or simply monitoring the organ itself and learning the submicroscopic details of information traffic among brain cells. No one has yet developed a way to implant such a device, Burke notes, and doing so might be difficult. One possible avenue: attach the detector to a free-floating “nano radio” that could broadcast data about the state of ion channels. “So many processes in life, in biology, are using electricity,” Burke says. “The cell, in a sense, is converting some physical phenomenon into an electrical signal. It all involves these ion channels.” Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine


through the decade 1970-71 UCI General Catalogue School of Engineering lists 13 faculty, 31 undergraduate courses, 21 graduate courses. The school enrolls 191 undergraduates and 72 graduate students



UCI Combustion Lab opens

First annual E-Week (Engineering Week) is celebrated

Oct. 12, 1970



Engineering Tower is dedicated, with Ralph Nader as guest speaker

Engineering Society of UCI, the precursor to Engineering Student Council, forms

James H. Mulligan, Jr. becomes dean

2014-15 Dean’s Report


1976 The Institute of Transportation Studies, a University of California organized research unit, is established

1978 Allen R. Stubberud becomes dean


According to an NRC report, the late 1970s saw the beginning of a nationwide shortage of engineering faculty. Despite this, UCI’s School of Engineering manages to nearly double its faculty ranks during the decade. Perhaps the idyllic Southern California climate is the draw?

Student organizations, including Mexican American Engineering Society and the Society of Women Engineers, kick off

Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine



by Lori Brandt 2014-15 Dean’s Report


Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine


UC Irvine was 12 years old when Said Elghobashi arrived in 1978, fresh from the highly regarded University of London’s Imperial College, where he had earned his doctorate. The young assistant professor was the 16th engineering faculty member to be hired at UCI, and only the third in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department. Elghobashi recalls of coming to UCI 37 years ago, “Cows roamed what is now University Hills. The powerful computers essential to my research were nonexistent.” Today the cows have been replaced by faculty housing. There are still no supercomputers on campus, but there are 60,000 computers, tablets, phones and other networked devices. Together, the engineering school and Elghobashi have grown in scope and stature. The school’s graduate program is ranked 21st in the most recent U.S. News and World Report listing of public universities, and Elghobashi, a leading researcher in computational fluid dynamics, is now a member of the esteemed National Academy of Engineering. Along the way he has pushed the study of fluid flows into new arenas. In 2004, Elghobashi and his graduate student Antonino Ferrante demonstrated via numerical simulations how to reduce the friction drag by 20 percent on a flat plate immersed in a turbulent water flow. With funding from the Office of Naval Research, they showed for the first time that microbubbles actually modify the structure of turbulence in the vicinity of a plate, reducing friction drag. “The Navy has been working for years on how to make ships go faster without having to add more engines,” explains Elghobashi. “If you inject air, or microbubbles, around the hull of the ship, through slits in the hull, you can reduce drag. We did the simulation.” More recently, he applied his knowledge of fluid flows to help identify breathing obstructions in young children’s upper respiratory tracts. Elghobashi collaborated with UCI surgeon Dr. Brian Wong. A reconstructive facial plastic surgeon and biomedical engineering professor, Wong wanted to determine the best way to treat upper airway collapse, which can contribute to sleep apnea and other breathing abnormalities. The existing approaches for viewing airflow in this part of the body – MRI and CT imaging – pose risks, including sedation and radiation, to young children.

2014-15 Dean’s Report

A bull’s-eye view of the UCI campus circa 1978

Along with biomedical engineering professor Zhongping Chen, they led an interdisciplinary team encompassing clinicians and scientists, all working toward the common goal of reliably identifying, predicting and managing obstructive breathing in children. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the team is designing and constructing a new minimally invasive imaging technology to view airflow in the upper airway. Elghobashi established a benchmark by simulating the flow through a normal airway and then one with an obstruction. Both models were constructed from optical coherence tomography scans of real patients. Elghobashi’s team developed a method for locating obstructions based on the flow’s fluid dynamic properties, including velocity and pressure. By determining how inhaled and exhaled air traveled through the airway, they could determine the blockage location. The equations required to simulate these complex fluid flows cannot be solved analytically or on a typical desktop computer; they need the power and speed of a supercomputer – high-powered processors running in parallel. Since 1984, Elghobashi has worked on 11 supercomputers, always moving every few years to the newest, fastest, most powerful machine. He currently runs his calculations on the Blue Waters supercomputer, located at the University of Illinois. One of the most powerful in the world and the fastest on a university campus, Blue Waters is a petascale supercomputer that uses hundreds of thousands of computational cores to achieve peak performance of more than 13 quadrillion calculations per second.


“Professor Elghobashi is one of the few scientists to have access to the fastest supercomputers. He’s a national resource,” says Wong. “His precision, accuracy and attention to detail are skills sorely needed in many aspects of biomedical engineering, where we are used to dealing with messy, inexact and poorly described living systems. It is a nice fusion working with the more rigorous, deterministic environment that mechanical engineers deal in.” Over the years, Elghobashi’s research has had “huge impacts in the field due to the high quality and original nature of the work,” according to William Sirignano, The Henry Samueli Endowed Chair in Engineering, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and a former dean of the school (1985-94). “His works are widely cited. He continues to teach us how turbulence affects the behavior of particles, droplets or bubbles. He has always used methodologies that are the most detailed allowed under existing computational resources.” Elghobashi today is a senior member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. In 1999, he earned a D.Sc. from Imperial College. Over the years, he has made his mark on the school of engineering not only during its formative years, but serving as a chair of the MAE department from 19972002.

2014 16th

faculty member hired in the school of engineering, 3rd MAE faculty

Inducted into the National Academy of Engineering

“There were just three of us,” he says about those early days. “We had to create courses – undergraduate and graduate – write grant proposals to get money to hire graduate students and establish ABET accreditation. It was 24/7; I stayed all night sometimes.” “Professor Elghobashi was a pioneer in the development of the MAE department,” states Sirignano. “He was instrumental in the establishment of our curricula, in the recruitment of other faculty, and the advancement of our reputation through his forefront research.” Elghobashi notes that UCI as a whole has seen its reputation as a research university improve considerably over the past three decades, along with the quality of incoming graduate students. Many of his have followed him into academia or research. Ferrante came from Italy to earn his doctorate and work with Elghobashi at UCI. “Said taught me how to be a scientist, how to conduct top research and how to write high-quality scientific journal articles,” says the professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the University of Washington, Seattle. “He is an ‘old-school’ professor who always valued quality over quantity.” After 37 years at UCI, a lot has changed, including the number of MAE faculty. Today there are 32. Elghobashi’s innate curiosity and scientific drive, however, remain as vibrant as the day the young professor first arrived on campus. “I’m always looking for new problems to solve,” he says.


successively newer and faster supercomputers used during his nearly 40-year career


MAE department chair

37 years – an entire career of teaching and research at UCI

Elghobashi’s computational results are obtained from direct numerical simulation. The figures above show contours of the dissipation rate of turbulence kinetic energy. Red and blue contours indicate maximum and minimum dissipation rates, respectively. The top figure shows freely moving solid spherical particles, the bottom figure is without particles.

“He continues to teach us how turbulence affects the behavior of particles, droplets or bubbles.”

Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine


through the decade 1980-81 UCI General Catalogue School of Engineering lists 24 faculty, 78 undergraduate courses, 105 graduate courses. The school enrolls 857 undergraduates and 116 graduate students

2014-15 Dean’s Report



The National Society of Black Engineers is established

William A. Sirignano becomes dean




The honorary engineering societies Eta Kappa Nu and Chi Epsilon Mu (Tau Beta Phi) form

Three departments form: Civil, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering

Audrey Viterbi is the first woman engineer hired to join the school’s faculty, in the Department of Electrical Engineering


1987 Engineering Laboratory Facility constructed


In 1985, UCI social ecologist Betty H. Olson is the first female professor to receive a courtesy appointment on the engineering faculty, in the newly founded Department of Civil Engineering. Olson studies public health aspects of water. Over time, UCI’s reputation in water-related research has risen steadily, garnering national attention.

Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering is constructed

Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine


by Anna Lynn Spitzer



Californians struggling through the fourth year of a withering drought might not see good reason to prepare for flooding. They need look only as far as Texas, though, where last May, a similarly severe five-year drought ended violently when a deadly deluge dropped 37.3 trillion gallons of water over a few days – enough to cover the entire state nearly eight inches deep.

Such is the capricious nature of weather on a planet beset by warmer temperatures and varying climate patterns. These planetary fluctuations can increase the risk of flood, and for residents of coastal areas, destructive flooding can occur even during severe drought. That’s the message a group of researchers is determined to convey. In a lab at the Samueli School, civil and environmental engineers are fine-tuning the science of flood risk probability and, in collaboration with UCI’s social scientists, seeking ways to

communicate this omnipresent threat to a wide range of constituents.

street level flood risk to illuminate the unique threats facing individual properties.

Led by department chair Brett Sanders, researchers on the FloodRISE (Flood-Resilient Infrastructure & Sustainable Environments) project are kneedeep in advanced, fine-resolution computer models that can simulate flooding with more accuracy than ever before.

“Flooding happens with a certain probability, but that probability is not easy to communicate,” Sanders says. “We’re trying to understand how to take this digital technology – simulating flooding, mapping it, visualizing it – and tailor that to make the information useful to different types of people with different needs.”

The four-year, $2.8 million interdisciplinary project, funded by the National Science Foundation, is creating technology that can map

Flood probability is a complex science that involves lots of intertwined, yet distinct, moving

(opposite page) In the aftermath of the California King Tides of December 2012, sea levels rose to cause flooding in Newport Beach, Calif. and made waterways impassable. Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine


“Historically, we have analyzed the risk of flooding based on river flow, but now we realize that sea level rise is becoming more and more of a concern.”

parts: sea level analyses, wave height calculations, tidal data, and rates of river flow, runoff and rainfall, as well as predictions about the way each will behave in the future. The past several decades have seen a tenfold increase in the rate of sea-level rise, and scientists expect global mean sea level to continue to rise. More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has led to melting ice caps, expanding the volume of water in oceans. Warmer temperatures also have spawned more intense rainfall, and with the continued expansion of cities around the world, runoff into floodplains is rapidly increasing. “Historically, we have analyzed the risk of flooding based on river 2014-15 Dean’s Report

flow, but now we realize that sea level rise is becoming more and more of a concern,” says Amir AghaKouchak, a Samueli School assistant professor. “The higher the sea level, the less water rivers can discharge into the oceans during floods.” Explains graduate student Adam Luke, who does much of the project’s modeling work: “It’s a little warmer so the water in the oceans is less dense, there’s more energy for storms, there’s more evaporation, and in turn, more precipitation … the entire hydrologic cycle is intensifying.” Those data tell only part of the flood-risk story, however. Equally important to determining more

precise flood probabilities are a specific location’s topography and existing infrastructure. The FloodRISE team measures sea walls with high-precision, real-time kinematic GPS receivers. They integrate high-resolution topographic datasets from airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) that samples the terrain at one-meter intervals. They survey sand berms with laser scanners boasting 360-degree viewing angles and one-centimeter resolution. They compile all these bits of information into dynamic, fine-resolution computer models capable of identifying risk probability down to the level of an individual homeowner’s lot or an


Researchers parameterize the flood model by using topographic and infastructure data, “meshing” the site to compute flow across triangle cells.

exact spot on the Balboa Peninsula boardwalk. This is known as “street level” flood mapping. It’s a giant leap forward from standard-issue FEMA flood maps that designate whole areas as flood zones without detailing probability rates or honing in on site specifics. FloodRISE’s modeling technology solves a system of equations that predicts the flow of water – how fast floodwater might move, how deep it will be, in what direction it will flow and how those parameters will change over time – all across cells as small as 10 feet. Each triangle in the digital threedimensional rendering, known as a mesh, represents the water flow inside a small parcel of land or sea,

and researchers can zoom in when they want a closer look. “Every time the triangle gets smaller, we get a more accurate reading because we get a more accurate representation of the topography,” says Jochen Schubert, a Samueli School research specialist who helped develop the hydraulic model. With the computer model built, the team’s challenge now is to “force” it. That means incorporating input to the model that accounts for causes of flooding: the rise and fall of the tide; the passing of a storm system that causes rainfall, runoff and storm surge; and the height, direction and duration of ocean waves that will break on the beach, possibly causing overtopping.

“The question is: what mix of tides, waves, runoff and rainfall do we use? You can’t just layer one extreme scenario, say extreme rainfall, on top of another because that assumes they’re independent of each other,” Sanders explains. “Our team is working on ways of blending these factors that are scientifically credible yet can easily be explained to decision makers.” “In such a complicated system, where flooding is caused by different drivers, we have to find a way to address these combinations in an appropriate way, where we’re not overestimating or underestimating flood risk,” says AghaKouchak.

Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine


“We need forwardlooking maps of flood risk that reflect the variability we expect to see in the coming decades, and not backward-looking maps based on what we’ve seen in the past.”

Another distinguishing feature of the FloodRISE model is that it takes into account trends in the factors that pose a risk to flooding. Most models assume that flooding probability doesn’t change from year to year, but global warming and urbanization actually are causing the probability of flooding to increase from year to year. The researchers are developing nonstationary models that account for these changes, allowing risks to be measured over time scales ranging from years to decades. “We need forward-looking maps of flood risk that reflect the variability we expect to see in the coming decades, and not backward-looking maps based on what we’ve seen in the past,” Sanders says.

FloodRISE’s ultimate goal is to create an effective communication medium that delivers essential information to a variety of stakeholders. Experts predict that flooding risk will increase, bringing with it destruction and economic damage that, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, could exceed that of a large earthquake.

concerning their attitudes and habits with regards to heavy rain and flood. They have seen detailed probability maps pertinent to their neighborhoods, where water depth is measured in a rather unorthodox way. Instead of inches or centimeters, potential flood depths are calculated as ankle-high, knee-high and chest-high.

“There’s a huge gap between what scientists know is happening and what people are willing to do,” FloodRISE co-director Richard Matthew, professor of planning, policy and design, told UCI Magazine earlier this year. “Our project is unique because we’re learning from the communities what they value, where they see problems and how they respond to scientific evidence.”

“If we tell them one foot or two feet, they may not relate; this makes it more intuitive,” Sanders says. “It’s an example of what happens when social scientists interact with engineers.”

Residents in Tijuana, Mexico and Newport Beach, Calif. have completed baseline surveys

2014-15 Dean’s Report

Later this fall, a set of five maps will be presented to focus groups: city planners, homeowners, emergency responders, business owners and environmental groups, for example. Participants will be queried on the maps’ effectiveness and will be asked what is missing.


Researchers plan to take that information back to the lab and produce updated versions. “The hypothesis is that depending on what kind of decision you need to make, you’ll need different types of maps,” Sanders says. “Social scientists have known for a long time that communication is most effective when information is personalized, and with street-level flood models we can portray flood risk at the same scale that people process most information. The bigger issue we’re trying to figure out is: can personalized floodrisk information, combined with community engagement, trigger more cost-effective responses to the alarming worldwide growth in coastal flood risk?”


(opposite page L-R) Engineering graduate student Adam Luke assesses a Los Laureles Canyon flood channel in Tijuana, Mexico. This sign warns of rising waters in Los Laureles Canyon. UCI engineers have devised new models showing that more severe storms caused by climate change will mean even greater flooding here.

(above) A boat crew from the U.S. Geological Survey measures the effects of levee detonations, meant to ease flood risk along the Mississippi River in 2011.

A controversial decision in 2011 to blow up Mississippi River levees reduced the risk of flooding in a city upstream, lowering the height of the rain-swollen river just before it reached its peak, according to a newly published computer modeling analysis led by UC Irvine scientists.

levees at Cairo,” said UCI professor and chair of civil & environmental engineering Brett Sanders, an author of the study led by UCI graduate student Adam Luke. “It doesn’t say it wouldn’t have happened. What we’re saying is that detonation reduced the risk of flooding.”

The work focused on a Missouri agricultural area called the New Madrid Floodway that was inundated when the levees were detonated. The researchers found that the region would have flooded anyway if the river had been allowed to overtop the levee banks. And separate modeling showed that the resulting damage to crops and buildings would have been similar either way, though the detonations did shift the damage zone toward Missouri and away from Illinois and Kentucky.

Luke built a computer model of the devastating 2011 floods along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Then he compared modeling runs conducted both with and without the levee detonations. He discovered that they resulted in a lowering of Mississippi River levels near Cairo by 2.6 feet.

Previous studies had reported more than $50 million in levee repair costs as well as damage solely from the rapid flow of water across the floodway after the detonations, which scoured farmland and left behind thick deposits of unwanted sand. The new research found that allowing those levees to overtop naturally would have resulted in less erosion. Still, the flood risk was reduced for the upstream city – Cairo, Ill. – just as intended. “Our model’s not saying the water would have definitely overtopped the

The team also used a separate computer model developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to estimate the costs: more than $250 million in building and crop damage in the flooded area. That’s about $11 million less than it would have been had the levees not been detonated but allowed to overtop without intervention. The study’s findings support earlier work showing the erosion of flood plains caused by levee bursts, leaving scour holes and sand deposits. With that being a potentially major drawback to flood control by detonation, the authors recommend that engineers place greater emphasis on minimizing erosion when creating such a flood control system. Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine


through the decade Feb. 26, 1990

1990-91 UCI General Catalogue School of Engineering lists 70 faculty, 134 undergraduate courses, 172 graduate courses. The school enrolls 1,004 undergraduates and 305 graduate students

Formal dedication of the Rockwell Engineering Center and McDonnell Douglas Engineering Auditorium, with Rockwell International Corp. CEO Don Beall as speaker

Engineering Gateway and Engineering Lecture Hall are constructed




Departments expand to Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Program in Materials Science Engineering begins

Integrated Nanosystems Research Facility is established

Civil and Environmental Engineering Department debuts

2014-15 Dean’s Report



1999 Henry Samueli, Broadcom Corp. co-founder and CTO, and his wife, Susan, donate $20M to the school

1997 Nicolaos G. Alexopoulos becomes dean

1998 National Fuel Cell Research Center is established

The school broadens to include a program in materials science engineering, a field dedicated to the discovery and design of new materials that help solve technological challenges related to energy, health and the environment. Our faculty’s diverse expertise drives creative approaches to the discipline, such as replicating processes found in nature to develop practical uses in real-world settings.

Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine



by Lori Brandt

2014-15 Dean’s Report


Known informally around the UC Irvine campus as the squid guy, Alon Gorodetsky discovered his research muse by chance. While attending a research conference in Nashville in 2011, he walked into a lecture delivered by marine biologist Roger T. Hanlon.

Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine


“Nature is really good at finding ways to achieve things that we sometimes find incredibly difficult.”

The senior scientist at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory was discussing the amazing camouflage capabilities of cephalopods (octopus, cuttlefish and squid). Hanlon showed underwater video clips of an octopus blended so completely into the environment that it startled viewers when it separated from a plant and swam away. The octopus had changed color and shape to the point of being completely indistinguishable from its background. “It was unbelievable,” says Gorodetsky, an assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science. “It was science fiction, a real-life shape shifter. Seeing that video changed my career completely. I said to myself, ‘We have to make materials out of this.’”

since and has proposed several new materials inspired by Loliginidae, also known as pencil squid. Initially, he and his research team produced reflectin – a structural protein essential in the squid’s ability to change color and reflect light – in common bacteria, and used it to make thin, optically active films on silicon substrates. They discovered that appropriate chemical stimuli could shift the films’ coloration and reflectance back and forth, making the films dynamically reconfigurable and allowing them to disappear and reappear when visualized with a camera in the infrared spectrum. This material has possible applications in infrared stealth camouflage, energy-efficient reflective coatings and biologically inspired optics. “The approach is simple and compatible with a wide array of surfaces, potentially allowing many simple objects to acquire camouflage capabilities,” explains Gorodetsky.

Cephalopods (octopus, cuttlefish and squid) are masters of disguise, able to quickly change color and shape to blend into their environment and evade predators.

2014-15 Dean’s Report

Gorodetsky had previously been investigating organic solar cells, but he enthusiastically turned his attention to understanding and emulating the adaptive properties of squid skin. He has been hooked ever

Based on their initial findings, his group then designed “invisibility stickers,” which could help soldiers disguise themselves under low light conditions. The stickers are thin and flexible and can be applied to textiles. These aspects could even let clothing take on a pattern that will better match the soldiers’ infrared reflectance to their background and hide them from active infrared visualization. “Soldiers wear uniforms with the familiar green and brown camouflage patterns to blend into foliage during the day, but under

low light and at night, they’re still vulnerable to infrared detection,” Gorodetsky explains. His work was highlighted at the American Chemical Society’s National Meeting last spring in Denver, Colo., receiving international exposure in the popular media. The materials engineer formulated his next idea after attending a Department of Energy workshop focused on projects to reduce the energy costs of heating and cooling buildings. Gorodetsky began thinking creatively about how materials inspired by reflectin and squid skin could be applied to this problem, and he came up with Thermocomfort Cloth – a new type of fabric that lets wearers regulate their own temperature. “It’s two sides of the same coin, whether you use analogues of our materials to control radiative emissions for camouflage or whether you use them to control radiative emissions for heating and cooling,” he says. Thermocomfort Cloth will leverage the adaptive principles underlying the function of squid skin with established heat-managing capabilities similar to those used in space blankets to trap and release body heat. With a $2.8 million grant from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), Gorodetsky has partnered with sports clothing manufacturer Under Armour to engineer this breathable next-generation fabric. “We envision clothing that allows people to modulate how their body heat is kept in or let out through


their clothes,” he says. “Our goal is to develop technology so each person can regulate his or her own thermal comfort, which potentially would let buildings expand their temperature set point by just a few degrees in each direction. We would then need far less energy for heating and cooling office buildings, which could save 1 to 2 percent of all energy used in the U.S. per year.” Margaret McFall-Ngai, whose lab discovered reflectin in 2004, calls Gorodetsky a “creative genius.” “Alon’s work with reflectins is truly transformational,” says the professor and director of the Pacific Biosciences Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa. She believes Gorodetsky is taking the research on this protein into new and exciting areas and has achieved several breakthroughs that have made it accessible for application. “Specifically, he has determined a method whereby reflectins can be produced in large quantities. With his discoveries and development of methods for handling the protein, he is now in a position to make profound contributions for industry.” In 2014, Gorodetsky discovered that reflectin can conduct positive electrical charges, or protons, making it a promising material for building biologically inspired devices – medical technologies that could communicate more directly with the human body. Currently, products such as retinal implants, nerve stimulators and pacemakers rely on electrons – particles with negative charge – to transmit diagnostic data or to treat medical conditions. Living

organisms use protons or ions to send such signals. Gorodetsky found that reflectin transported protons nearly as effectively as many of the best artificial materials. His discovery could lead to better ion- or proton-conducting materials for biological applications: for instance, implants that could relay electrical messages to the nervous system to monitor or interfere with the progression of disease. Reflectin has several advantages for biological electronics. Because it’s a soft biomaterial, it can conform to flexible surfaces, and the human body may be less likely to reject it. In addition, protein engineering principles could be used to modify reflectin for very specific purposes and allow the protein to decompose when no longer needed.

“We envision clothing that allows people to modulate how their body heat is kept in or let out through their clothes. Our goal is to develop technology so each person can regulate his or her own thermal comfort.”

“Nature is really good at finding ways to achieve things that we sometimes find incredibly difficult,” he says. “Perhaps nature has already optimized reflectin to conduct protons, so we can learn from this protein and take advantage of natural design principles.” Hanlon, whose video sparked Gorodetsky’s imagination, believes that the UCI engineer is bringing biochemical expertise to materials science in a refreshing and inventive manner. “He has opened several new windows into the applied roles that the extraordinary cephalopod reflectin proteins can play in the development of biophotonic devices,” he says. “His bio-inspired approach to materials science is powerful and innovative.”

Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine


through the decade 2000-01 UCI General Catalogue School of Engineering lists 95 faculty, 147 undergraduate courses, 277 graduate courses. The school enrolls 1,874 undergraduates and 326 graduate students

2014-15 Dean’s Report



Center for Pervasive Communications and Computing opens with $3M funding from Broadcom Corp. and Conexant

Two new departments form; Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

Oct. 19, 2000



Formal dedication ceremony and naming of The Henry Samueli School of Engineering

UCI Academic Senate approves the establishment of the Center for Embedded Computer Systems (CECS) as a campus organized research unit

Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology becomes a reality with a $5M gift from Edwards Lifesciences Corp.


2008 Rafael L. Bras becomes dean

2009 Engineering Hall opens, housing the dean’s administrative offices, classrooms and labs

In this decade, the Samueli School launches its biomedical engineering department, merging UCI’s strengths in medicine, biological sciences and engineering. Strong ties with many of Orange County’s more than 300 biomedical device and biotech companies provide students and faculty with distinct opportunities to solve contemporary medical challenges.

Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine


2014-15 Dean’s Report


Sci-Fi Inspired by William Diepenbrock


Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine


In the 1984 science fiction classic “The Terminator,” an unstoppable killing machine cloaked in human flesh takes a beating, but relentlessly pursues its mission of destruction.

2014-15 Dean’s Report


Roll the clock ahead 31 years. Meet Arash Kheradvar, a UC Irvine professor of biomedical engineering, who decided the idea was too good to waste. Kheradvar, also a medical doctor, cloaked an unstoppable life-saving machine in human flesh – a heart valve that takes a beating but relentlessly functions in one of the body’s most demanding environments. “Heart valves are amazing machines, tiny structures that work for billions of cycles during our lifetime. I don’t know of any other organ in the body that tolerates such enormous amounts of load every second,” Kheradvar says. “I wanted to create a living replacement that could stand up to those same pressures.” To do that, he needed to blend the best of what the scientific community now offers while avoiding its limitations. Heart patients currently have two options for valve replacements: mechanical and bioprosthetic. Mechanical valves can function for decades. But they require patients to take anticoagulant drugs to prevent blood clots – medications that take a toll over time. They also are susceptible to mechanical failures that can lead to other health risks, including stroke and thrombosis. Bioprosthetic valves do not require anticoagulants. But because they are made of pig or cow tissues, they are associated with progressive deterioration and sometimes immune reactions. They typically must be replaced after 10 to 15 years. Also, since they tend to calcify more quickly in younger patients, they are recommended mainly for those 65 or older. Tissue-engineered valves are considered the future of heart valve replacement. They typically are crafted with cells grafted onto a foundation, called a scaffold, which is designed to disintegrate over time. The hope is that the body will grow new cells around the remaining tissue. But current versions tend to shrink and leak once the scaffold disintegrates, and usually are unable to withstand the shifting demands of the heart, especially the left ventricle.

Kheradvar’s movie-inspired hybrid takes a page from all three – offering the durability of a mechanical valve with the greater blood compatibility of a bioprosthetic valve and the potential regeneration of a tissue-engineered valve. “I thought of ‘Terminator,’ and how Arnold Schwarzenegger played a robot tightly enclosed in human flesh,” says Kheradvar. “And I thought, that makes sense. After all, if you build a high rise with a disintegrating foundation, what’s going to happen? The first small earthquake is going to make it collapse. But if you give it a permanent foundation, it will stay strong.”

“I thought of ‘Terminator,’ and how Arnold Schwarzenegger played a robot tightly enclosed in human flesh.”

That idea launched a five-year journey of discovery. “This approach is innovative, it’s fresh and it’s state of the art,” says UCI cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Milliken, who will help Kheradvar’s team with animal trials in the next few months. “Arash is a creative mind. He’s a ball of energy and a ball of ideas, and this is the way things get done. I think the idea he’s had is the first of its kind.” Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women across the globe, according to the World Health Organization. In the U.S. alone, more than 600,000 people die of heart disease each year. According to an editorial in the journal Heart, “Valvular heart disease has been relatively neglected by politicians, health economists and even by cardiologists. However, it is assuming increasing importance as our population ages.” It was this need that drew Kheradvar to the field of heart valve research and development. After earning a medical degree in 2000 from the Tehran University of Medical Sciences, he worked as a clinical practitioner, but soon hungered for a fresh challenge. In 2002, he began pursuing a doctorate in bioengineering at Caltech, defending his thesis in 2006. After a short period as a postdoctoral researcher at Caltech, he landed at the University of South Carolina in 2007. That’s where, as an assistant professor, he began exploring the subject of hybrid heart valve technology. At first, some of his peers discouraged him.

Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine


“The first thing I got was a window screen. That was the easiest mesh I could think of.”

“Almost everybody was thinking this was too much of a risk, that it might not be good to start such a thing at the very beginning of my career,” Kheradvar says. But one of his mentors, biologist Tom Borg, pushed him to stick with the challenging study. “He told me to move forward. Yes, it’s risky, but that’s the fun of life. If you can really do it, that’s a big impact; you can help patients and make something that is transformational,” Kheradvar says. In January 2009, he started envisioning the idea of the hybrid tissues; in February 2010, he launched his hybrid heart-valve project; and in October 2010, he brought his lab to UCI. It has taken far more than movie magic to bring Kheradvar’s vision to life. The journey required his team to solve a series of challenges: choosing the right metal for a scaffold; determining how to prepare the metal to act as a foundation for tissue growth; choosing the right combination of cells; nurturing those cells to mimic the conditions of the human heart; and ensuring the final valve would withstand the unforgiving environment of the cardiovascular system. Kheradvar started with the metal mesh for the scaffold – designed as a trio of leaflets similar in shape to the body’s flexible valve tissue. Because the leaflets must open and close with the blood flow, they needed to be crafted from a highly elastic, flexible metal. The ideal choice was a nickel titanium alloy known as nitinol, a super-elastic metal. The team wanted the leaflet trio to be 25 microns thick. A micron is 1,000th of a millimeter; a human fingernail is about 200 microns thick. The problem: In 2009, nitinol manufacturers couldn’t create a mesh much thinner than a fingernail, nor could they make the mesh as fine as desired. “At that time, the thinnest nitinol they could create was 150 microns and forget about the mesh,” recalls bioengineer Hamed Alavi, a postdoctoral researcher who leads Kheradvar’s hybrid heart valve project. “That was five times too thick.”

2014-15 Dean’s Report

So Kheradvar got creative. “The first thing I got was a window screen,” Kheradvar explains. “That was the easiest mesh I could think of.” Then he found a company selling stainless steel, chainmail-like mesh for protecting divers from shark bites, and gave that a try. The two options allowed the team to experiment with the project’s tissue elements while waiting for nitinol manufacturers to meet their specifications – an effort that bore fruit in 2011. “We did a lot of trial and error,” Kheradvar says. “What we came up with is totally novel. Nobody has ever approached what we did.” Other tissue-engineered valves rely on layers of cells – often taken from the patient’s heart valves. But since that approach requires invasive surgery, Kheradvar tried a different tactic. The team crafted a three-layer combination of cells taken from the patient’s peripheral vasculature, which involves a less-invasive procedure. The first two layers work together to mimic the composition of the patient’s existing heart valves; the third functions as a covering to ensure the new valve won’t cause blood clots. Each cell line needs to be cultured before it can be seeded into the mesh. Typically, scientists culture cells in a collagen fluid. The team tinkered with the solution, boosting its density to mirror the environment in the heart. That way, they knew the cells would thrive once implanted. Next, the team prepped the nitinol mesh leaflet – now available at the thinness desired – to function as a scaffold for the cells. They subjected the mesh to hydrochloric acid washes, ultrasonic cleanings, glow discharging (passing an electric current through a gas) and irradiation with a helium ion beam. The nitinol leaflets then were sewn to an anchor made from a tiny, biocompatible polymer ring. Finally, the cells were seeded in layers, allowing a week for each to proliferate.


Building a Personalized Heart Valve

Research project uses cells from the patient’s own body to help create a hybrid heart valve.


A small piece of tissue is taken from the patient’s peripheral vasculature.


Three types of cells are extracted from the patient’s tissue. Over a three-week period, the cells are seeded on a nitinol mesh scaffold.

WEEK 1 Smooth muscle cells

WEEK 2 Fibroblast/ myofibroblast cells


WEEK 8 The hybrid valve is ready to be implanted in the patient.

WEEK 3 Endothelial cells

nitinol mesh scaffold

Together, these two cell layers mimic the composition of the patient’s own heart valve.

This layer protects against blood clot formation.

Alavi, whose doctoral dissertation in Kheradvar’s lab focused on this idea, tested the hybrid valve in a heartflow simulator designed to replicate the environment of the human heart – especially the left ventricle, where pressures are greatest. The valves functioned nicely at pressures found in healthy hearts, at low pressures and at extremely high pressures, according to Alavi.

surgeries. “This will enhance the life quality of the patient dramatically,” Alavi says.

The success of those tests is chronicled in a recent issue of Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

Kheradvar hopes the valve becomes the basis for additional advances in tissue engineering, which could help solve other health challenges – such as a ruptured aortic blood vessel.

Now, the team is ready for the next stage: testing in animals. Those trials, involving sheep, are expected to begin within a few months. They hope the new valve, built to last a lifetime, will eliminate the need for anti-coagulants and replacement

AFTER IMPLANTATION Over time, the hybrid valve regenerates to become more like the patient’s own valve.

Milliken is also optimistic. “It is a very promising option,” he says. “The hope is that the valve will regenerate itself as cells die and it will become like one’s own valve.”

“We’ve gone from science fiction back to life,” he says. “Now the door is opened and who knows what might come next?”

Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine


through the decade 2013

2010-11 UCI General Catalogue School of Engineering lists 100 faculty, 243 undergraduate courses, 279 graduate courses. The school enrolls 2,578 undergraduates and 720 graduate students

2014-15 Dean’s Report

2012 Advanced manufacturing center RapidTech opens

School launches FABCamp, a hands-on engineering summer camp for middle schoolers




Gregory N. Washington becomes dean

In collaboration with UCI’s business school, the M.S. in Engineering Management program begins

UC Irvine and three other Orange County campuses are named an official U.S. Dept. of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015 team by Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman


2014 The Opus Foundation under the direction of Stacey Nicholas gifts $9.5M in support of STEM outreach


President Barak Obama makes advanced manufacturing part of his economic agenda during this decade. In 2014, Dean Washington attends the first-ever White House Maker Faire. With the opening of rapid manufacturing facilities, the Samueli School is poised to prepare the next generation of engineers for 21st century challenges.

FABWorks, one of the nation’s first “make labs” to open on a university campus, launches with funding from the Kay Family Foundation

Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine


by Lori Brandt Sketchbook by Sharon Henry

Named for its early history of abundant, flourishing orange groves, Orange County today has become fertile ground for a new industry: innovation. According to the county’s 2015 Community Indicators Report, “Orange County has a higher employment concentration than the national average in 16 out of 22 high-tech industries, making it the 4th most diverse high-tech economy among 200 metro areas nationwide.” Add to that the intellectual capital at UC Irvine, and Orange County is ripe for growing an innovation ecosystem. The National Science Foundation defines an innovation ecosystem as an environment where people, institutions, policies and resources promote the translation of new ideas into products, processes and services. UCI has always been a place where multidisciplinary research activity and industry engagement have thrived. Recent initiatives in the school of engineering include advanced manufacturing, experiential learning, techtransfer acceleration and a new “make lab.”

2014-15 Dean’s Report

This year, Samueli School Dean Gregory Washington formed an Innovation Caucus to look at ways the school can nurture an innovation ecosystem, and now, he has launched the Institute for Design and Manufacturing Innovation (IDMI) to serve as a hub of the school’s advanced manufacturing design and research activities. Headed by Associate Professor Lorenzo Valdevit, the center will facilitate scientific interactions; match technical expertise between industry contractors and engineering faculty; support local industry via research and access to the school’s design and manufacturing facilities; and promote technical training in design and manufacturing. Valdevit says the institute will integrate much of the manufacturing-themed research that is already going on in labs throughout the school. “Many of our professors are involved in developing the fabrication processes of the future, particularly for micro-, nanoand bio-systems,” says the mechanical and aerospace engineering professor. “Through this institute, we want to create a fertile ground for an effective exchange of ideas by organizing seminar series and conferences, seeding new collaborative and multidisciplinary projects, and supporting teams that will seek extramural funding.” Helping researchers take their ideas from concept to product is exactly the point of the Samueli School’s


In the pages that follow, Sharon Henry takes her sketchbook into the school’s new maker space for an inside look at how students are transforming their ideas into tangible outcomes.

FABWorks Director Sarah Hovsepian designed the 1,200-squarefoot maker space and trains people to use the equipment.


RapidTech and FABWorks. Equipped with 3-D printers and various other new technologies, these labs are sparking imaginations and helping engineers move their innovations closer to implementation. RapidTech, a fabrication facility that opened on campus in 2012, has already produced everything from medical devices to architectural models to drum sets, as well as servicing such traditional sectors as aerospace and automotive. FABWorks, one of the nation’s first “make labs” to open on a university campus, offers a space where students, faculty and the community can design and fabricate “almost” anything. Launched in February with a generous donation from the Kay Family Foundation, FABWorks offers users access to a host of machines and services. “The student experience is evolving,” says Dean Washington. “The engineering student of today is passionate about ideas, innovation and changing the world.”


Since FABWorks opened in February, 60 classes have been held and 230 people have been trained.

Hovsepian spent her first four months at FABWorks creating equipment manuals. 3-D Scanner UPrint 3-D Printer AirWolf 3-D Printer B9 Creator 3-D Printer Vinyl Cutter HAAS Mini Mill Laser Cutter Shop Sabre CNC Router Zenbot CNC Router Industrial Sewing Machine Serger Sewing Machine

Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine



Jacob Jimenez, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student and member of UCI’s Racecar Engineering project, used a sewing machine at FABWorks to create a driver’s seat for the car his team was building.


JACOB JIMENEZ This was the first time he's used a sewing machine.


helps keep thread from breaking when the fabric stretches – also called a "sailmakers stitch." (Sails encounter a lot of wind, causing the fabric to stretch.)

UCI's racecar engineering is part of the senior engineering design classwork.


Each student team designs, builds and tests a prototype based on a series of rules that promote complex problem-solving skills that are at the heart of any great engineering project.

Howe sold only a handful of his orignal machines, while other sewing machine manufacturers were using his designs – and becoming rich. In 1860 the Supreme Court ruled his machine's patented lock stitch was “considered indispensable to its (sewing machine) successful working.”



(Cross section)

The two yards of fabric cost $30. He picked blue to match the color the car will be painted.


This year’s goal is to produce racecars for the Energy Invitational competition hosted by UCI as well as the Formula SAE competition.


a high-performance track vehicle designed and built by students. 2014-15 Dean’s Report

ELIAS HOWE, JR was 27 years old when his sewing machine received a patent on Sept. 10, 1846.

Needle and top thread Bottom thread (bobbin)

Manufacturers who infringed on Howe's patent had to pay him royalties. By 1867, he'd been awarded more than $2 million in patent and license fees.

Jimenez made drawings and a 3-D model of the seat, and he cut and bent the metal seat support.

“The driver’s seat is only part of the overall driver’s cell (compartment), and this is about 20 pages in our Formula SAE Rules,” Kaley Zundel, SAE collegiate program manager, said. 2015 Formula SAE Rulebook (178 pages) SAE, previously known as the Society of Automotive Engineers, started in 1978 as a student design competition.


While FABWorks is most often used to assist with research endeavors, students are welcome to use the equipment for personal projects.

Fourth-year materials science student Matthew Lee uses the laser cutter to etch designs into a wooden box he's making for his girlfriend, Tiffany. She attends UC Davis (440 miles away). The box is a place for his girlfriend to keep the letters he sends her.

HOW A LASER CUTTER WORKS A beam of infrared light released from a glass laser tube reflects off a series of mirrors...

and through a focusing lens...

to cut or etch the material below.

The pattern is from a design he found online. "I Googled 'fancy scroll work,'" he said.


In 1880, a clay tablet from around 2200 B.C. was discovered near Baghdad, It reads, "Bridegroom, dear to my heart, Goodly is your beauty, honeysweet."

About the size of an iPhone 6.




On Aug. 3, 1967, The Times of London reported how Peter Houldcroft used a laser beam as a cutting tool.

The newspaper mistakenly printed, “one 10-inch steel plate” was cut with a laser beam. The actual thickness was 1/10 inch. Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine


Recent biomedical engineering graduate Cynthia Tran used a 3-D printer to create a part for her senior project — a system for testing artificial heart valves and aortic stent grafts.

Tran used SOLID WORKS (a digital modeling program) to create a virtual blueprint for a 3-D part she will use to mimic an aortic bifurcation.


Tran, along with five teammates, built a system for testing artificial heart valves and aortic stent grafts. The final prototype, a pulsatile flow pump system simulating cardiovascular hemodynamics, was built entirely from commercially produced parts, except for two pieces.


A silicone aorta was created from a mold, and a precisely shaped pipe, to replicate blood flowing away from the aorta, was made with a 3-D printer in FABWorks.

THANK GOODNESS FOR FABWORKS. Water pumps through the system, simulating properties of the human body.


3-D PRINTER Prints objects up to 8” x 6” x 6”


1. Filament material is pulled through a tube, into the heating element.




2. Information from the virtual blueprint directs the printer nozzle as it passes over the platform.

Compliance/ Precisely Tension shaped part testing connects to the aorta and simulates carrying blood from the heart. Silicone aorta created from a mold.

3. Material is deposited layer by layer to create a 3-D object.


Water flow

Stents are metal mesh tubes used to prop open a narrowed coronary artery or repair a bulging aorta, known as an aneurysm. They are the most commonly implanted medical devices in the U.S. Each year, more than 500,000 Americans undergo the procedure. Mean age of stent implant patient: 64.6 years. 2014-15 Dean’s Report

(Medical device would be implanted in the silicone aorta for testing.) Aortic aneurysm

Pump (Acts as heart; pumps five liters per minute.)


Biomedical engineering graduate students from Professor Elliot Hui’s laboratory used the HASS MINI MILL to create smaller, more complex and faster-functioning microfluidic devices.


Previously, chips were made by etching channels into glass, but the mill machine allows more three-dimensional circuits to be formed in plastic. This discovery allowed chips to be 10 times smaller and function 10 times faster.


A cheap, disposable, automated, point-of-care diagnostic device.

Plastic tubing

A bit carves channels into a plastic chip. (Fluid will flow through the channels of a finished device.) Channel depths are as small as 15 microns (Width of a human hair is about 100 microns.)




Actual size (Side view) Two precision-cut plastic chips sandwich a PDMS membrane PDMS (Polydimethylsiloxane) is a type of silicon-based polymer, also found in shampoo (makes hair shiny) and Chicken McNuggets (prevents oil from splattering when frying.)


Suction from the syringe powers up a pump inside the chip, which moves a drop of fluid (such as blood) by squeezing then releasing it inside channels and chambers where chemical or biological testing occurs.


In January, a paper about their project (written by Philip Duncan, Siavash Ahrar and Elliot Hui) was published by The Royal Society of Chemistry in the journal Lab on a Chip.

In 2011, DC Comics published a letter from Ahrar suggesting, "Batman has the chance of carrying an entire laboratory in his utility belt," and, "It is time for him and Wayne Industries to have a microfluidics platform."

The comic book editors' response: "This is an excellent idea…with a little bit of luck, we'll be able to work it into the stories!" (Read the entire letter at http://bit.ly/batman15) Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine


bright past

2014-15 Dean’s Report


It is hard to believe that the Samueli School of Engineering began with just two faculty and 75 students. Fifty years later, the school boasts 128 faculty and 4,274 students. Our growing alumni ranks are making signiďŹ cant contributions to society. Wherever they land, Anteater Engineers make us proud, including those who return to the school and share their talents with the next generation of STEM students.

Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine

Sweet Victory




by Anna Lynn Spitzer

When Azucena Castro and Jennifer Barrientos heard their names announced as this year’s MESA USA National Engineering Design Competition champions, their response was stunned silence. The 12th-graders from Compton, Calif., who had toiled for nearly two years to develop the prosthetic arm that outmaneuvered the other entries in the national competition, didn’t jump for joy or scream victoriously. “I was just speechless. I couldn’t say a word because I couldn’t believe that we won,” says Barrientos. “We worked so hard on this, and to finally make it … it was just an awesome experience.” Beating out teams from 10 states to win the national championship was a victory not only for Castro and Barrientos, but for MESA itself. The Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement program has been changing the lives of underrepresented students in profound ways

2014-15 Dean’s Report

since 1970. By partnering with teachers, administrators, school district officials and industry representatives to provide academic enrichment, the outreach program has helped thousands of educationally disadvantaged students nationwide succeed in math and science, and ultimately graduate from college with STEM degrees. UC Irvine’s MESA program, which serves Castro’s and Barrientos’ Dominguez High School, deserves a hearty handshake, too. Since 1999, the UCI chapter, sponsored by the Samueli School, has supported up to 800 middle and high school students each year, providing project guidance, mentorship and leadership, as well as opportunities

to visit – and feel connected to – the university. UCI director Marvin Maldonado `06, a Samueli School electrical engineering alumnus, is the program’s proud patriarch. “Azucena and Jennifer have been stars ever since they’ve been in our program,” he says. “They’ve been students you can point to and say, ‘This is an example of what MESA sets out to do.’” With the exception of associate director Nicole Patterson, Maldonado’s staff is comprised exclusively of undergraduate students, nine of them, all of whom participated in MESA during their own middle and/or high school years.


Castro (left) and Barrientos beat teams from 10 states to clinch the national title. Their prosthetic arm integrated a mailing tube, a belt, duct tape, a grabber tool, rubber bands, erasers and cable ties.

Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine


UCI MESA director Marvin Maldonado, an electrical engineering alumnus, has a passion for his alma mater and for mentoring students.

“Without this program, some of our kids might never be exposed to science and engineering.” 2014-15 Dean’s Report

“We can’t employ all of them but we do our best to keep them close,” Maldonado says. “We want to make sure they’re doing well academically, first and foremost. We always tell them their main priority is to graduate with a degree.” Staffers travel to 20 participating middle- and high schools in Los Angeles and Orange counties, working directly with their young charges. Whether it’s helping them build mousetrap cars, popsiclestick bridges or balsawood gliders, or just leading by example, their message is clear and concise: college is a reality if you work hard and stay focused. This year’s national champions are proof positive. Castro, who joined MESA as an eighth-grader

and continued during all four years at Dominguez High School, will attend UC Berkeley on a Regent’s Scholarship; Barrientos, a nine-year MESA alum, will attend UCI in the fall. Both credit the outreach program for their success. “It played a really important role,” says Castro, who will major in computer sciences at Cal. “Basically, it’s what inspired me to go to college. The people in the MESA program – my friends and my advisers – were like a family who was there for me, for everybody. We were really close to one another.” Adds Barrientos, who will enroll in the Samueli School’s biomedical engineering program: “Being in MESA drove me into engineering. I find it amazing how engineering can create such an impact on our

society. Everything around us has been created by all this math and science.” This year’s national contest entrants – who were also judged on a technical paper, an academic poster and an oral presentation – had to build an inexpensive robotic arm that could perform a series of tasks. Castro and Barrientos had some expertise; they had worked on a prosthetic arm during their junior year, placing third in the state competition. This time, though, they scrubbed their old materials list, which had included a bicycle brake, PVC pipe and tin cans, and started over. “This year, we were more dedicated to the project and more experienced,” Barrientos says. “We knew what we did wrong last year and what we had to do this year.”


The award-winning device integrated a mailing tube, a belt, duct tape, a “reacher” grabber tool, rubber bands, erasers and cable ties. “We were always trying to fix it to make it work better,” says Castro. “We were changing parts all the time; we realized some were not good, so we were continually improving it.” During the final competition, they hit a snag; a wire on the arm snapped, and they had two minutes to fix it. “We had to take it all apart, replace the wire really fast and put it back together,” Barrientos says. “We were scared.” Behind the scenes, guiding the girls through their ups and downs was their MESA adviser, the indomitable Emmanuel Ikeokonta, known to all as Mr. Ike. The Dominguez High School geometry teacher had emigrated from Nigeria, earned an engineering degree at UC San Diego, and worked as an engineer before an unexpected layoff sent him back into the job market. “I became very passionate about teaching,” he says. “Knowing the challenges I faced when I was at UCSD … few minorities were involved in math, science and engineering. I felt my calling was to make more engineers, make more scientists.”

advancing MESA’s mission at his new school. “I want to be very involved to ensure the program is built and strengthened at Compton High,” he says. “Without this program, some of our kids might never be exposed to science and engineering.” Maldonado, who after graduating also relinquished an engineering career, praises Ikeokonta’s commitment. “Mr. Ike is one of our best advisers. You can see the dedication and the passion he has for working with his students,” he says. Mentoring kids is Maldonado’s passion as well. During his own undergraduate years, he worked with UCI’s Center for Educational Partnerships, first with the Early Academic Outreach Program and later, Upward Bound, all the while struggling with whether to complete his engineering degree or switch to education. His head was pushing him toward circuits and capacitors but his heart was downright contradictory.

By all accounts, he is succeeding. “Mr. Ike is just an amazing teacher,” Barrientos says of her mentor. “He’s very committed and very dedicated to this program and to the students. He always pushes us to do our best and to excel at everything we do.”

In a fairy-tale post-graduation scenario, a job announcement on the UCI website cemented his decision; the MESA academic coordinator position encompassed everything he wanted in a career. “This job was math and science but it was also outreach and specifically working with first-generation, low-income underrepresented populations. I thought, ‘This was written for me!’” he says. “It was one of those moments that felt too good to be true.”

Ikeokonta, who recently was promoted to vice principal at Compton High School, will continue

Nine years later, Maldonado couldn’t be happier. “Part of what makes this job so rewarding,” he says, “is

you get to see these students go through the program, grow up and be successful, in college and in careers. It’s so satisfying to see that happen.” As for Castro and Barrientos, both plan to pay it forward. Castro wants to use her UC Berkeley degree to help others realize their dreams. “I don’t know yet exactly what career I’ll choose,” she says, “but I want to be able to come back to my community and influence others to pursue degrees in STEM fields.” Ultimately, Barrientos hopes to use her biomedical engineering degree to create accessible, userfriendly medical devices. For the short-term though, she will work on Maldonado’s UCI staff as a counselor, helping students the way she was helped.

“We had to take it all apart, replace the wire really fast and put it back together,” Barrientos says. “We were scared.”

(clockwise from left) Mr. Ike, with Castro and Barrientos; the national champs, with their trophy; demonstrating their project; presenting supporting materials.

“MESA has influenced me in every way,” she says. “I’m very grateful that I’ve come this far.”

Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine


On an overcast morning in late May 1976, Douglas Thorpe ’82, then a UC Irvine freshman, was on his way to school when a small plane fell out of the sky. The single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza crashed in an empty field near campus, killing everyone on board. Thorpe was first on the scene, and what he saw changed his life.


“The doomed plane flew past my car as I was driving to class,” Thorpe recalls. “There were four souls on board. The [injuries they] suffered left an emotional scar on me. I was just 18 at the time and very impressionable. I became very fearful of flying after witnessing firsthand how bad things can go.” A mechanical engineering major, Thorpe eventually became interested in unmanned aerial vehicles – UAVs, or drones – because they could save lives.

by K


yn B


For more than three decades, he’s designed, developed and manufactured more than 30 different types of remotely operated flying machines. His drones weigh anywhere from 5 to 1,600 pounds and perform all kinds of tasks, including military reconnaissance and modern-day prospecting – searching for gold and oil deposits by flying over hard-to-reach terrain. “In professional flying, there are missions that are simply dull, dirty or dangerous and … can

2014-15 Dean’s Report


end a person’s life. That’s what makes drones so exciting to me,” says Thorpe, a 2014 recipient of the UCI Alumni Association’s Lauds & Laurels Distinguished Alumnus award. “You don’t have to put someone’s life in jeopardy anymore.” The owner of drone manufacturer Thorpe Seeop Corp. in Mesa, Ariz., he has produced and sold more than 30,000 commercial UAVs, aerial targets (used to train antiaircraft crews) and remotecontrol model airplanes. He’s designed little planes that are both propeller-driven and turbine-powered, that both take off from runways and are ejected from missile launch tubes via military aircraft. His creations have been employed in agriculture, flying low over fields to release fertilizer, herbicides or even pest-eating insects on organic farms. They can improve irrigation by scanning crops with infrared cameras to see if they’re suffering from water stress – in advance of such symptoms as wilting. Mining companies enlist his drones to scour topography in search of everything from gravel to gold deposits. They’ve also been utilized to hunt for new sources of oil and natural gas. These endeavors can be extremely risky for pilots, Thorpe notes. “If you’re looking for gold or silver, you have to follow the contours of topography,” he says. “You might have to fly 200 feet above ground. That might sound like a lot, unless

you’re [near] a mountain or your engine goes out and you have no time to recover.” In addition, his drones have been employed by the military for jobs such as surveying target areas and identifying potential ambushes. “It’s a big deal to see what trouble is up ahead,” Thorpe says. His company produced a half-scale Pioneer drone for training during the 1990-91 Gulf War. The Navy flew the full-size, 14-foot-long Pioneer on surveillance missions, using infrared cameras to provide realtime images of targets to field commanders up to 115 miles away. “Iraqi fighters quickly learned that if they saw one of these little airplanes circling, bad stuff would happen, so they would surrender to the drone,” Thorpe says. “It saved lives on both sides.” Because of its unique role in modern warfare, a Pioneer RQ-2A UAV is on display at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum. Before he got into the drone business, Thorpe figured he’d build boats, not planes. During his four years at UCI, he lived on a 27-foot Ericson sailboat in Newport Beach. “It was like living in an RV or a camper shell,” he says. “But I had a beautiful commute between UCI and Newport Beach each day.” After completing his coursework at UCI, Thorpe got a job at a boat-building company in Washington state that required a lot of travel.

“I was flying coast-to-coast working with retailers, boat shows and customers. To treat my fear of flying, understanding friends got me flying sailplanes, small airplanes and helicopters, and my anxiety disappeared,” he says. Thorpe left the boat factory to work at Hughes Helicopters in Culver City, then launched his own business in 1985, making model planes that he sold through hobby shops. The company evolved into Thorpe Seeop to focus solely on commercial UAVs.

“In professional flying, there are missions that are simply dull, dirty or dangerous and … can end a person’s life. That’s what makes drones so exciting to me.”

Currently under development is a unique drone called the Spinwing, a conversion aircraft that takes off and lands vertically, like a helicopter, but can fly as a fixed-wing plane. It’s speedier than traditional helicopters and has a greater range. Thorpe hopes such vehicles will one day be used to transport emergency responders to accident sites, reducing the time it takes to reach patients and perhaps increasing their chances of survival. These days, Thorpe travels frequently between his homes in Arizona and Huntington Harbour. He loves to fly and can foresee a day when passengers will climb into individual aircraft like the Spinwing and be flown to their destination. “There won’t be an air crew on board. Everything will be automated,” he says. “There will still be a human who is ultimately responsible,” he predicts. “People will always make command decisions and control these machines.”

Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine


Reflections “

I started at UCI in 1990, in mechanical engineering, newly recruited from U Minnesota, knowing no one here well. I remember the open table that J. Michael McCarthy organized each lunchtime at the Phoenix Grill. He would round up faculty who were open to eating together by shouting down the hallway, “Who wants to go to lunch?” Most of the rest of us were new, and this provided a social network and a supportive respite from the day.

Paul Arthur, who taught our dynamics class in ’85 or ’86 was a great teacher and a colorful guy. He liked to run down the stairwell in Engineering Tower and would challenge anyone to beat him. I don’t recall anyone could, despite—or maybe because of—the age advantage.

— Mike Barranco, ‘88 B.S. Mechanical

— Martha Mecartney Professor, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

Samueli School of Engineering alumni

and professors share

Allen Stubberud, the dean of engineering at the time, was instrumental in my decision to attend UCI and major in mechanical engineering as an approach to get into medical school. As a current orthopedic surgeon, some might say I haven’t strayed far from my mechanical engineering roots.

What I remember from UCI is a diverse group of students who became good friends, an exceptional group of professors who I still consider great advisers, and most important, an excellent education that built a strong foundation for a career path that was my dream and desire.

— Dr. Roy S. Benedetti, ‘82 B.S. Mechanical

— Ramin Mousavi, ‘07 B.S. Electrical

their memories. More reflections can be found by visiting facebook.com/ uciengineering.

The annual egg drop from the top of engineering tower provided us a chance to try and design packaging that would keep eggs unbroken. This was years before Amazon started but likely helped some students in their careers as the importance of shipping goods undamaged became commonplace.

— Brian Fagan, ‘85 B.S. Mechanical

2014-15 Dean’s Report

In the 60s, the School of Engineering was housed above a beer and food pub across from campus, thus beer could be served, making the atmosphere most relaxing after studies.

— Gary W. Sullivan, ‘69 M.S. Electrical

In the early 70s, the population growth in California did not meet the levels projected a decade earlier when the University elected to add new campuses. Consolidation became the order of the day, including merging the fledgling UCI School of Engineering with the UCI School of Physical Sciences. With proactive engagement of local industry and a resolution of the approximately 15 engineering faculty to move to UC San Diego, the administration conceded to retain the UCI School of Engineering as a separate academic unit.


One of my favorite memories while an engineering undergraduate at UCI was working on the Jet Deflection Cart Project in Professor Sanders’ CEE170 Fluid Mechanics class. My team of 9 fabricated a cart we named ‘Close Enough’ with a goal to be the fastest to cross the finish line. I still have this cart today and have explained this project to Girl Scouts at two events.

— Mary Katherine Danielson, ‘13 B.S. Civil

— Scott Samuelsen Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

One of my most vivid memories is the industrial scale burner experiments I conducted in the UCI Combustion Lab’s “Queen Mary” building.

— Trevor Demayo, ’97, ‘01 M.S. Mechanical; Ph.D. Environmental

My time at UCI established the foundation for me to still be employed in the engineering profession since I graduated over 30 years ago. I developed leadership skills and character as the founding president of the UCI National Society of Black Engineers Chapter in 1981.

— David Braden, ‘83 B.S. Electrical

As an engineering student in the 1960s, I recall doing my homework calculations by hand, occasionally relying on my trusty slide rule for the more complicated ones. The pocket calculator didn’t exist yet. When we graduated in 1969, we were 12 years away from the introduction of the first primitive PC. Yet in spite of the lack of technology, we all got a solid education that led to productive careers.

— John Kramer, ‘69 B.S. Electrical

Jose Cruz was the chair when I joined the department of electrical engineering. One morning in the early 90s I went to his office and said, we need to add computer engineering to the title of our department because it impacts our recognition as a viable computer engineering group. He said fine, but you need to find out the IEEE listing of all of the electrical and computer engineering programs before we can start the process, I did as he said, and the rest is history, so to speak. I always admired his openness for change and listening to a very junior assistant professor when some of the senior professors were not fully convinced.

— Nader Bagherzadeh Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Samueli School of Engineering • UC Irvine



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From the Archives

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