Spotlight on grants - 2013

Publication Date

Faculty members in several disciplines have been awarded a National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation Grant totaling $333,531.

John Rieffel, assistant professor of computer science, along with Ann Anderson, the Agnes S. MacDonald Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Steven Rice, professor of biology, will purchase a multi-material 3-D printer to enable interdisciplinary research and training. The new equipment will meet the need for prototyping technology at the College.

Also included in the proposal are Takashi Buma, the John D. MacArthur Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Michael Hagerman, professor and chair of the Chemistry Department, and Robert Olberg, the Florence B. Sherwood Professor of Life Sciences.

"We are also actively seeking collaborators from the entire college, not just the sciences," Rieffel said. "We think that there are exciting applications in every field, from art history to zoology."

The 3-D printer, to be installed during winter break, will launch a new era of innovative research at the College, with applications including the neuromechanics of dragonfly capture, the manufacture of novel aerogel-coated surfaces and the design of completely soft robots.

Faculty collaborators hope to use trained student experts to staff the printer's design studio.

Other recent grants awarded:

  • Cay Anderson-Hanley, associate professor of psychology, was awarded $329,593 from the National Institute of Health Academic Research Enhancement Award Program to further her work on the positive effects of aerobic exercise on cognitive health.
  • Rebecca Cortez, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and Michael Hagerman were awarded $99,962 in an Early Concept Grant for Exploratory Research from the National Science Foundation to investigate using nanostructured particles and thin films as key components in a polymeric nanocomposite suitable for solar applications.
  • The Kern Family Foundation has awarded two topical grants to Union faculty. Jennifer Currey, assistant professor of bioengineering, and Sudhir Khetan, visiting assistant professor of bioengineering, received a $40,000 grant to support a three-phase approach for developing a strong entrepreneurial mindset in students: a seminar/workshop series, a 10-week capstone design course and an elective course for students to refine their designs and prototypes. Hal Fried, the David L. and Beverly B. Yunich Professor of Business Ethics, and Ronald Bucinell, associate professor of mechanical engineering, received $40,000 to incorporate the product development process in the engineering classroom based on materials used in their Entrepreneurship Seminar. Materials include video vignettes and web-based worksheets that guide students through the process. David Blakelock ’83 and Robert Langone ’96 will participate as project advisors.