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  • richardmitnick 11:39 am on May 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Hurricane hunting, , U Michigan   

    From U Michigan: CYGNSS 

    U Michigan bloc

    University of Michigan

    April 28, 2017
    Nicole Casal Moore

    The most turbulent region of a hurricane holds secrets about its potential for destruction. Michigan Engineering’s newly launched satellite system can reveal how these storms intensify in a warming world.

    The four-engine turboprop was holding steady at 1,500 feet above the roiling Atlantic. Flight director Jeff Masters looked out his window. He could see waves cresting a quarter mile beneath the fuselage. He turned back to his computer, adjusted the radar display, and looked into the eye of Hurricane Hugo.

    The storm would soon break a record as the strongest to make U.S. landfall north of Florida. Masters (BSE, MS, Ph.D., AOSS, ’82, ’83, ’97) was leading a 15-member crew straight into it.

    On his screen, he zoomed in on the eye. He fixated on the ring of red and orange pixels around it – the eyewall.

    The core of a tropical storm holds one of the most abrupt weather changes on Earth: Spiraling around the calm center, the eyewall is a tall cloud column of dizzying winds and hard rain. It’s where a hurricane is most intense – home to the maximum sustained winds that sort it into one of the familiar five categories.

    “With each sweep of the radar, it grew more ominous,” Masters wrote on his blog.

    The year was 1989. At the time, and up until very recently, the only way to gauge the brute strength of a hurricane was to tear through its roughest realm in an airplane packed with weather instruments. (No parachutes; they wouldn’t do any good.)

    Until December 2016, even the most modern weather satellites couldn’t see through the heavy rain of the eyewall to measure the all-important wind speeds at the surface. So for the past six decades, the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration’s (NOAA) band of Hurricane Hunter aircrews have flown through storms threatening the coastal U.S. The missions give scientists and weather forecasters invaluable snapshots of a storm’s potential for destruction.

    But hurricanes still harbor secrets. Scientists need more than snapshots if they’re to understand the details of how they form and evolve.

    And why some grow suddenly stronger, as Matthew did in 2016. In just 24 hours, it swelled from a Category 1 to a Category 5. Matthew killed more than 1,600 people, most of them in Haiti. Scientists say such rapid intensification might happen more often in a warming world.

    A better understanding of the process could lead to better predictions of not just winds, but also storm surge – the swells of water hurricanes bring when they make landfall. It’s the flooding that makes them so destructive.

    A new constellation of satellites could provide the key to these predictions.

    1
    https://podaac.jpl.nasa.gov/CYGNSS

    2
    Chris Ruf, CYGNSS principal investigator at the Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering.

    Seeing through rain

    Michigan Engineering Professor Chris Ruf sat on a brightly-lit stage at Kennedy Space Center dressed in a suit and tie. The room was packed with journalists. The press conference was being broadcast live on NASA TV. It was December 2016, two days to the scheduled launch of their Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System, a suite of eight microsatellite observatories Vice Motherboard had dubbed “spacefaring octuplets.”

    Since grad school, Ruf had been working on ways to measure hurricanes. He wrote the initial algorithms for what’s now the gold standard wind measurement instrument aboard every Hurricane Hunter aircraft. Eventually he moved on to satellite instruments, writing “rain correction” algorithms in an attempt to break through the shroud of the eyewall.

    “The rain has always been a problem because it’s this big interfering signal,” said Ruf, a professor in the Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering.

    Raindrops are roughly the size of the microwave-frequency signals most satellites use to probe storms, so they scatter the signals every which way.

    In CYGNSS, Ruf and his colleagues had finally found a workaround. Their solution was as clever as it was cheap – at $150 million, the satellite system was a bargain by NASA standards.

    CYGNSS would rely on what Ruf called “hacked,” off-the-shelf GPS receivers to turn noise from GPS signals bouncing off the ocean into vital data about surface winds. It could see through rain. And because it consisted of eight observatories, it could take 32 wind speed measurements per second, sampling the entire width of the globe’s tropical hurricane belt every seven hours. That rapid data refresh rate is unheard of.

    2
    CYGNSS press conference with Sean Potter of NASA Communications; Chris Ruf, CYGNSS principal investigator; Aaron Ridley, CYGNSS constellation scientist and Mary Morris, U-M doctoral student. Credit: NASA/Glenn Benson

    At the press conference, Ruf outlined the status quo in ocean surface wind speed measurements. NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite could do the job, except for where it’s raining. Ruf showed a slide of its data.

    “The satellite orbit takes three days to come back around the same place,” Ruf told journalists. “This is fine for a lot of applications, but for extreme weather situations like hurricanes, where things change on the timescale of hours to maybe a day, it’s very likely that you will miss important parts of the evolution of the storm.”

    The National Science Board has considered understanding and predicting hurricane intensification, as well as the resulting storm surge, to be high science priorities for more than a decade.

    “Hurricane track forecasts have been steadily improving, so we’re much better at telling you where we think a hurricane will go than we were 20 years ago. But forecasts of intensity have not improved anywhere near as much.

    “The general consensus on why is because of our inability to measure what’s going on in the middle of the storm. If you can’t track the wind through the rain, you can’t track the storm’s kinetic energy, and you can’t track its evolution. What we’re hoping, in the end, is that our ability to forecast a hurricane’s strength will be much better thanks to CYGNSS.”

    3
    Alumnus Jeff Masters flew into the eyewall of Hurricane Hugo and lived to blog about it. He is co-founder and meteorology director of Weather Underground, one of the most popular weather outlets. Credit: Joseph Xu http://clasp.engin.umich.edu/articles/view/748#.WRczVHY2cZE

    Cyclone soldiers

    Masters had an uneasy feeling about Hugo’s eyewall as they approached it. No other plane had been in this storm yet, so nearly nothing was known about the vortex that was about to swallow them.

    They were entering at an unusually low altitude – as close as they could safely get to the water – to carry out the Hurricane Energetics Experiment. As far back as 1989, researchers were studying the mechanisms of intensification, as well as how the air and sea intermingle in the storm’s most turbulent altitudes.

    As the plane approached the eyewall, winds were reading only 60 mph. In retrospect, those readings may not have been accurate. Here’s an excerpt from Masters’ blog:

    “We hit the eyewall. Darkness falls. Powerful gusts of winds tear at the aircraft, slamming us from side to side. Torrential rains hammer the airplane. Through my rain-streaked window, I watch the left wingtip flex down a meter, then up a meter, then down two meters through the gloomy dark-grey twilight. My stomach is clenched into a tight knot. ….

    “I grab the computer console with both hands, trying to steady my vision on the blurred computer readouts. I don’t like what I see.”

    Wind readings hit 135 mph. Hugo was at least a Category 4. Masters wanted to climb to 5,000 feet, but it was taking the full power of the engines just to keep the plane level, he wrote. They’d have to push through.

    Wind readings hit 155 mph. Updrafts and downdrafts took the prop on a parabolic course that pushed them into their seats with twice the force of gravity, then lifted them, weightless. Gear flew around the plane.

    Wind readings hit 185 mph, gusting at 196. Hugo was officially a Category 5. And they were in the most turbulent altitude of its most turbulent spiral – the eyewall.

    “Thick, dark clouds suddenly enveloped the aircraft,” Masters wrote. They were sucked into a tornado-like vortex within the eyewall. They experienced a pressure of six times the force of gravity. They emerged into the calm eye, but they were falling. And an engine was on fire.

    “This is what it feels like to die in battle,” Masters thought.

    4
    Aaron Ridley, professor in the Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering, is the CYGNSS Constellation Scientist. He wrote the code for the system’s complex orbital dynamics. Credit: Joseph Xu

    The constellation

    A dejected Aaron Ridley was walking down the hall of the Space Research Building at the start of the Winter 2012 semester. Ridley, a professor in the Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering, had spent the past four months writing code for the orbital dynamics of a 40-satellite constellation set to study how solar storms evolve. Then, on Christmas Eve, he got a call from the project leader: They were abandoning the Armada proposal.

    Constellations are groups of satellites that operate as a single system. The US Global Positioning System, or GPS, is a constellation.

    Armada, with Ridley’s orbital dynamics, would have used a research satellite constellation in a brand new way – for rapid refresh of information in order to study things that happen fast. Typical satellites that pass over the same spot once or twice a day could miss the short-lived magnetic field disturbances that Armada was designed to record. The 40 observatories would create a sort of virtual camera burst mode.

    When Ridley ran into Ruf, he shared his news. “He was left high and dry after developing all the software for these orbits,” Ruf recalled.

    Both faculty members knew about a new NASA call for proposals to study Earth with low-cost satellites. Ridley had been exploring ideas with a colleague at the Southwest Research Institute in Colorado. They had an exciting platform. They just needed a problem for it to solve.

    Ruf had no plans to submit ideas. “I design clever little gadgets,” he said. He wasn’t in the business of leading NASA missions.

    But when Ridley asked him if he could think of anything to do with a “whole bunch of little satellites,” a light bulb went off.

    For roughly a decade, scientists had been trying to measure surface wind speeds with reflected GPS signals because they can penetrate rain.

    “They’re intentionally designed to operate at a very long wavelength, at 19 centimeters, “Ruf said, “so when you’re driving in your car, your navigation system works just fine when it’s raining.”

    One GPS receiver couldn’t give good enough coverage for comprehensive science.

    “But if you have a whole bunch of them,..” Ruf remembers thinking.

    5
    The blue dots stand for the 24 GPS satellites that constantly ping Earth’s surface and the yellow represent the CYGNSS satellites, which read the GPS signals that bounce of the ocean’s surface. Credit: CYGNSS team

    They set up a meeting. Ruf drew mock-ups. Ridley started cranking out new code for a system with fewer satellites. They calculated the global coverage and convinced themselves it would work. They submitted a proposal to NASA. They won.

    CYGNSS represents a new regime in research satellite constellations. Instead of using multiple sensors on one observatory to take many measurements in one place, it uses multiple satellites with a single sensor to measure in as many places as possible. What this approach offers is an opportunity to see a system’s dynamics – how it evolves over time.

    Over five years, six faculty members, 11 engineers at the Space Physics Research Lab and 20 students worked on CYGNSS at U-M. Ruf moved from designing clever little gadgets to clever big systems. Ridley earned the nickname Dr. Orbit.

    Launch day arrives

    On the morning of the scheduled launch, Ruf and Ridley had to be at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 3 a.m. Checklists hundreds of items long were waiting.

    “Some people start freaking out. I never freak out,” Ruf said. “I don’t build launch vehicles. So there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s like when you’re on an airplane. There’s someone in the cockpit who knows what they’re doing, and if something goes wrong, they’re either going to deal with it or they’re not.”

    Steady and ready to see the octuplets safely into the troposphere, Ruf headed to his front and center console at Hangar AE, the building that houses the mission control rooms.

    The satellites were folded carefully into the tip of a Pegasus air-launch rocket. This would be a different kind of launch – horizontal rather than the conventional vertical take-off. CYGNSS and Pegasus were strapped to the belly of an L1011 Stargazer aircraft, owned and operated by aerospace firm Orbital ATK. The aircraft would carry them to around 40,000 feet, then drop the rocket and payload. After falling for seven seconds the rocket would ignite and soar into space. NASA TV would broadcast live from a trailing Air Force jet.

    6
    The Orbital ATK L-1011 Stargazer aircraft is seen flying over the Atlantic. Attached beneath the aircraft is the Pegasus XL rocket with eight Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System, or CYGNSS, spacecraft. Credit: NASA/Lori Losey

    The engineers ticked through the ground-based launch readiness checklist. The Stargazer took off just after 7 a.m., heard but hardly seen through thick morning fog that threatened to thwart the attempt. Reporters cheered.

    The pilots steered around storm clouds and traffic en route to the “drop zone.” Then, at step 142, an unexpected anomaly. From Stargazer: “It appears our hydraulic pump is not working.”

    The pump controlled the mechanism that would release the rocket and CYGNSS. The Stargazer is an all-manual aircraft.

    It circled to buy time. Channel after channel had advice: Had they checked the circuit breakers? Yes. Had they gone into the galley and removed and reset the cannon plug? Yes. Had they tried energizing the pump multiple times in a row just to free the motor?

    “That’s been done many, many times,” came the voice from the Stargazer.

    It was near the end of the launch window when the plane arrived at the drop zone. Launch conductor Adam Lewis polled the channels for a final countdown. Weather? Green. Pegasus rocket?

    “Peg is red. Peg is red.”

    “OK,” Lewis said. He sighed. “Abort. Abort…Everybody proceed to the abort checklist at this time.”

    CYGNSS returned to Cape Canaveral. Disappointment hung in the air, but also stoicism. There’s a saying on the campus that nothing’s ever certain there until it’s done. So-called “scrubbed” launches are almost routine.

    By Monday afternoon, NASA had rescheduled the launch for Tuesday morning. But by evening, it was scrubbed again, moved to Wednesday. Then something else surfaced – an error in one of the parameters of CYGNSS’s data tables, like one bad number in an Excel spreadsheet. The value pertained to CYGNSS’s power system.

    It was easy to upload new data tables. But had the system launched with the wrong value, there may have been problems. This was a red flag for the team. They paused. They had to make sure this was isolated. They cancelled the launch, again.

    Ruf came into the hotel lobby around 10 pm Tuesday night. He had been holed up in official meetings much of the day. The following day, he’d have to make the call as to whether to try to launch or hold until January. He said some of his colleagues had teased him – said he had “launch fever.” They could see it in his eyes. He’d need to balance the desire to get the spacecraft in the air with the need to get it right. He knew that.

    At the Southwest Research Institute, where CYGNSS was assembled and tested, an “all hands” meeting was called and the engineers worked through the night running more tests.

    7
    A NOAA Lockheed WP-3D Orion “Hurricane Hunter” aircraft like the one Masters used in 1989. With the launch of CYGNSS, scientists now have a satellite system to see into hurricanes.. https://flyawaysimulation.com/downloads/files/23615/fsx-noaa-hurricane-hunters-lockheed-wp-3d/

    Out of the storm

    Less than 900 feet above the water, Masters’ cockpit crew in NOAA 42 killed the burning engine and righted the aircraft, regaining control.

    “We are so low that I can see beneath the ragged bottom edge of the eyewall clouds, where Hugo’s 160 mph surface winds whip the ocean surface into a greenish-white blur,” Masters wrote.

    The plane entered a left roll that kept it “comfortably in the eye.” The immediate danger was past. But the only way out was back through the eyewall.

    They dumped fuel to lighten the craft so it could climb to a less turbulent altitude. No one talked about the “sick fear” they all shared.

    To their amazement and gratitude, an Air Force companion plane that was flying higher offered to test the eyewall to find a “soft spot” for them. After a few tries, the northeast section was proclaimed “not too bad.”

    They buckled their shoulder harnesses and held on. The two minutes of rough turbulence felt longer. The sun never looked so good, Masters wrote.

    Hugo eventually hit the Caribbean and a swath of the US coast, killing 61 people and causing $10 billion in damage. At the time, it was the most destructive storm in recorded history.

    The flight was Masters’ last as a Hurricane Hunter. He went on to co-found Weather Underground, one of the most popular weather forecasting outlets, which is now owned by IBM. While NOAA has yet to lose a crew to a storm, he’s not convinced this is the best way to gather this data. “It’s dangerous work, and it’s expensive,” he said.

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    Illustration of CYGNSS in orbit. Credit: NASA https://www.nasa.gov/feature/langley/cygnss-satellite-mission-aims-to-improve-hurricane-forecasting.

    Spreading its wings

    It wasn’t launch fever. When Ruf spoke to the engineers running the CYGNSS tests he was confident that the system was sound. On the clear morning of December 15, 2016 the launch sequence went forward again, and this time without a hitch.

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    CYGNSS rides in the tip of a Pegasus air-launch rocket as it blasts up from the belly of a jet that carried it partway to space. Credit: NASA TV

    “It is an amazingly rewarding feeling to spend such an intense and focused time working on CYGNSS and then, in a matter of just a few hours, have the entire constellation suddenly come to life,” Ruf said at the time.

    These complicated launches and built-from-scratch missions are expected to go smoothly, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy to pull off.

    “Everything has to go right for the satellites to work and only one thing has to go wrong for them to not work,” Ridley said. “You can test and test and test, but you can’t be sure how they’ll function until they are actually launched into space. They work, which is fantastic.

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    In just 15 orbits over the course of a day, the CYGNSS constellation covers the globe’s hurricane belt latitudes. Credit: CYGNSS team

    CYGNSS is ready for tomorrow’s hurricanes. It’s a big step in the right direction, says Masters, who feels the US should be spending hundreds of millions per year studying these storms. They’re among the planet’s most powerful and expensive natural disasters.

    The record 2005 season, when Katrina, Wilma and Rita all made landfall, cost $151.9 billion. More recently, Irene, which slammed the East Coast in 2011, cost $17.4 billion.

    “The cost/benefit of hurricane research is huge,” Masters said. “The cost of evacuating a mile of coast is about $1 million per mile. If you make a better hurricane forecast and end up evacuating less coast, or the right part of the coast, you’ve saved a million. And making a bad decision costs lives. You want to make good forecasts because it saves lives and money.”

    And having CYGNSS in orbit, Ruf calculates, is like having 32 virtual Hurricane Hunter airplanes somewhere in the tropics at all times.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    U MIchigan Campus

    The University of Michigan (U-M, UM, UMich, or U of M), frequently referred to simply as Michigan, is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States. Originally, founded in 1817 in Detroit as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, 20 years before the Michigan Territory officially became a state, the University of Michigan is the state’s oldest university. The university moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 onto 40 acres (16 ha) of what is now known as Central Campus. Since its establishment in Ann Arbor, the university campus has expanded to include more than 584 major buildings with a combined area of more than 34 million gross square feet (781 acres or 3.16 km²), and has two satellite campuses located in Flint and Dearborn. The University was one of the founding members of the Association of American Universities.

    Considered one of the foremost research universities in the United States,[7] the university has very high research activity and its comprehensive graduate program offers doctoral degrees in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as well as professional degrees in business, medicine, law, pharmacy, nursing, social work and dentistry. Michigan’s body of living alumni (as of 2012) comprises more than 500,000. Besides academic life, Michigan’s athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Wolverines. They are members of the Big Ten Conference.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:54 pm on May 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Elizabeth Dreyer, U Michigan,   

    From U Michigan: Women in STEM – “Student Spotlight: Elizabeth Dreyer” 

    U Michigan bloc

    University of Michigan

    April 21, 2017
    No writer credit found

    1
    Elizabeth Dreyer, Ph.D. Candidate, Electrical Engineering, Rackham Merit Fellowship

    Her sophomore year at Michigan Tech University, Liz discovered optics and fell in love with light. “To me waves make sense. In electrical engineering, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. In order for me to effectively contribute to the world, I needed to learn more about optics,” she explains.

    “In my junior year, I started thinking about grad school. I came to U-M for a conference and the female grad students convinced me to go for a Ph.D. My family and my husband’s family are from Michigan, so being an hour away from them was appealing. And of course, U-M is just an all-around great school.

    “I had my heart set on Michigan from the beginning.”

    It came down to this: “I don’t entirely know what I want to do when I grow up, but I want options. A Ph.D. from Michigan gives me those options. I chose electrical engineering because although I love working with light, I wanted that engineering degree. Engineer implies ‘problem solver,’ which would give me even more options. I don’t know if I will be an engineer for the rest of my life, and a Ph.D. from U-M is enough to open all kinds of doors.”

    Liz is a Rackham Merit Fellow and has always been intentional about her status as a first generation college student, wanting to find whatever ways to increase her chance for success as much as possible.

    As an RMF, she spent her first summer in Ann Arbor at the Summer Institute, which had a profound impact on her and developed a foundation for her graduate studies. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. It has been wonderful. Still, grad school is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I tell all incoming students, the first semester absolutely sucks. You’re not stupid, this is just really hard. You will get through it and you’ll be better on the other side.”

    Some of these lessons were hard to learn. “Classes were hard to adjust to. Although they say research should come first, you still need to care about your GPA. I had to learn when something was good enough. Now I tell younger students that their personal health is more important than their grades. It’s 11:00 PM, give up and go to bed. In grad school, often the answers just aren’t known. In research, you can always keep working, but at some point you need to draw the line in the sand and stop the research and write the thesis.”

    With a passion for policy that may shape her career trajectory after graduation, Liz completed a graduate certificate in Science Technology & Public Policy. She describes, “I have become a better communicator and am able to place my work and the work of others in a broader societal context. This program gave me a social and political framework for science policy.”

    As an undergrad, Liz was involved in more than a handful of student organizations but made a commitment at U-M to focus on just two extracurricular groups. She had been very involved in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and continues that involvement now with Grad SWE where she had been a co-chair or co-director for the last four years. Involved with the Optics Society (OSA), she founded a joint student chapter of OSA and the International Society of Optics and Photonics (SPIE). The first four years she served as president or secretary and now provides leadership on the national organization level.

    Despite her ‘two organization limit,’ her involvement level in those organizations has mushroomed. For example, 2015 was designated the International Year of Light by the United Nations to raise awareness of the achievements of light science and its applications and its importance to humankind. To mark the year, Liz helped lead light based outreach under the Michigan Light Project, a consortium of local and student organizations who planned light-based outreach at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, in Flint at Back to the Bricks, other events and schools throughout the year.

    Through the Society of Women Engineers, Liz has developed a partnership with a group of women engineers in Liberia. Noting a need for professional connections and support there, she is in her second year of facilitating a two week residential leadership camp for 30 female students in Liberia. She describes, “It’s done a lot for the women. We’ve had to talk to parents because many women had never spent a night away from home. These women have made fantastic friendships among themselves and with us. Facebook and Whatsapp have been amazing to connect us. This is an absolutely phenomenal experience for all of us.”

    On top of all of that, she’s actually in a Ph.D. program. Her lab is in the MURI Center for Dynamic Magneto-Optics, an interdisciplinary collaboration between different U-M departments and other universities to study a new class of optical phenomena that relate to energy conversion and magnetism.

    She explains, “For the last 60 years, when scientists looked at how light interacts with matter, they made assumptions that, although light is an electromagnetic wave, only the electric field component is strong enough to interact with matter. Therefore, they ignored the magnetic field component in most calculations. We are looking now at interactions that are mediated by interactions of electric field and then also by magnetic field – and out pop these new effects that have the potential to produce a significant amount of energy.”

    Liz examines magneto-electric scattering, shining high-powered lasers and controlling input light to focus on the scattered light and determine what’s happening to the material, particularly exploring what makes one material better than another. She says, “I am looking for materials that give highest response at lowest intensity to determine what could be an alternative to traditional photovoltaics. There are a lot of other questions to solve.”

    Liz has time to wait. She should defend her dissertation next August or December. Until then, she’ll keep working and contributing her best to her field, to her colleagues, and to the global engineering community.

    Where all of this takes her is unknown: “I like too many things. I know I’m not going to be a researcher for the rest of my life. I have too many interests; it would be a challenge for me to just stay in the lab. I’m interested in education but can be involved without being a professor. I can still do the outreach that I do. Teaching would be a good side project or retirement plan. I could work in industry for 20 years then be a professor of practice. I want to collaborate with the world, I want to be able to work with anyone in the world and be able to advance science and society.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    U MIchigan Campus

    The University of Michigan (U-M, UM, UMich, or U of M), frequently referred to simply as Michigan, is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States. Originally, founded in 1817 in Detroit as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, 20 years before the Michigan Territory officially became a state, the University of Michigan is the state’s oldest university. The university moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 onto 40 acres (16 ha) of what is now known as Central Campus. Since its establishment in Ann Arbor, the university campus has expanded to include more than 584 major buildings with a combined area of more than 34 million gross square feet (781 acres or 3.16 km²), and has two satellite campuses located in Flint and Dearborn. The University was one of the founding members of the Association of American Universities.

    Considered one of the foremost research universities in the United States,[7] the university has very high research activity and its comprehensive graduate program offers doctoral degrees in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as well as professional degrees in business, medicine, law, pharmacy, nursing, social work and dentistry. Michigan’s body of living alumni (as of 2012) comprises more than 500,000. Besides academic life, Michigan’s athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Wolverines. They are members of the Big Ten Conference.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:11 pm on January 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Sizable cavities, Toward safer long-life nuclear reactors, U Michigan   

    From U Michigan: “Toward safer, long-life nuclear reactors” 

    U Michigan bloc

    University of Michigan

    12/15/2016 [Why so long to get this into social media?]
    Kate McAlpine

    In findings that could change the way industries like nuclear energy and aerospace look for materials that can stand up to radiation exposure, University of Michigan researchers have discovered that metal alloys with three or more elements in equal concentrations can be remarkably resistant to radiation-induced swelling.

    The big problem faced by metals bombarded with radiation at high temperatures—such as the metals that make up nuclear fuel cladding—is that they have a tendency to swell up significantly. They can even double in size.

    “First, it may interfere with other parts in the structure, but also when it swells, the strength of the material changes. The material density drops,” said Lumin Wang, U-M professor of nuclear engineering and radiological sciences. “It may become soft at high temperatures or harden at low temperatures.”

    This happens because when a particle flies into the metal and knocks an atom out of the crystal structure, that displaced atom can travel quickly through the metallic crystal. Meanwhile, the empty space left behind doesn’t move very fast. If many atoms are ousted from the same area, those empty spaces can coalesce into sizable cavities.

    2

    To control the formation of these cavities, and the attendant swelling, most recent research has focused on creating micro- and nano-structures inside the metal as specially designed “sinks” to absorb small defects in a way that preserves the integrity of the material. But Wang and his colleagues are kicking it old school, looking at alloys that don’t have breaks in the crystal structure of the atoms.

    Colleagues at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee created samples of a variety of nickel-based alloys. These were then exposed to radiation in a facility at the University of Tennessee. The most successful alloys were concentrated solid solutions—crystals made of equal parts nickel, cobalt and iron; or nickel, cobalt, iron, chromium and manganese.

    “These materials have many good properties such as strength and ductility, and now we can add radiation tolerance,” said Chenyang Lu, a U-M postdoctoral research fellow in nuclear engineering and radiological sciences and the leading author of the report in Nature Communications.

    In an experiment proposed by Wang, UT researchers exposed the samples to beams of radiation that created two levels of damage, similar to what may accumulate in a reactor core over several years and over several decades. These experiments were done at a temperature of 500 Celsius or 932 Fahrenheit—a temperature at which nickel-based alloys are usually prone to swelling.

    These samples were analyzed at U-M’s Center for Material Characterization with a transmission electron microscope. The team found that compared to pure nickel, the best alloys had more than 100 times less radiation damage.

    To explain what was special about these alloys, the team worked closely with the group of Fei Gao, a theoretician and U-M professor of nuclear engineering and radiological sciences. Gao’s group performed computer simulations at the level of individual atoms and showed that the radiation tolerance in this group of alloys can be attributed to the way that the displaced atoms travel within the material. The explanation was further confirmed by another set of experiments conducted by the team at the University of Wisconsin.

    “In simplified terms, if there are a lot of atoms of different sizes, you can consider them bumps or potholes,” Wang said. “So this defect won’t travel so smoothly. It will bounce around and slow down.”

    Because the displaced atoms and the holes in the crystal structure stayed near one another, they were much more likely to find one another. In effect, this repaired many of the vacancies in the complicated alloys before they could join together into larger cavities.

    “Based on this study, we now understand how to develop a radiation-tolerant matrix of an alloy,” Wang said.

    The study, titled Enhancing radiation tolerance by controlling defect mobility and migration pathways in multicomponent single phase alloys, appears in Nature Communications.

    The work was supported as part of the Energy Dissipation to Defect Evolution Center, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences.

    See the full article here .

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    Stem Education Coalition

    U MIchigan Campus

    The University of Michigan (U-M, UM, UMich, or U of M), frequently referred to simply as Michigan, is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States. Originally, founded in 1817 in Detroit as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, 20 years before the Michigan Territory officially became a state, the University of Michigan is the state’s oldest university. The university moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 onto 40 acres (16 ha) of what is now known as Central Campus. Since its establishment in Ann Arbor, the university campus has expanded to include more than 584 major buildings with a combined area of more than 34 million gross square feet (781 acres or 3.16 km²), and has two satellite campuses located in Flint and Dearborn. The University was one of the founding members of the Association of American Universities.

    Considered one of the foremost research universities in the United States,[7] the university has very high research activity and its comprehensive graduate program offers doctoral degrees in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as well as professional degrees in business, medicine, law, pharmacy, nursing, social work and dentistry. Michigan’s body of living alumni (as of 2012) comprises more than 500,000. Besides academic life, Michigan’s athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Wolverines. They are members of the Big Ten Conference.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:06 pm on January 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Leonard Kapiloff, Power and Energy Society (PES) Scholarship, U Michigan   

    From U Michigan: “EE Student Leonard Kapiloff Earns PES Scholarship to Support Studies in Secure, Sustainable Grid” 

    U Michigan bloc

    University of Michigan

    January 4, 2017
    No writer credit

    1
    Leonard Kapiloff, undergraduate electrical engineering student, has been named a future power and energy leader by the IEEE Power & Energy Society, which recently awarded him a Power and Energy Society (PES) Scholarship for the 2016-17 academic year. This $2000 scholarship recognizes outstanding students committed to exploring the power and energy field. Leonard is also earning a minor in Energy Science and Policy.

    Leonard wants to work in the energy industry towards a more sustainable and secure electric grid.

    “I became interested in the field of power systems largely as a result of the environmental impacts associated with the generation of electricity,” says Leonard. “As I learned more about the industry, I was further intrigued by the importance of a reliable electricity supply for the economy and national security.”

    In the summer of 2016, Leonard worked for Dominion Resources, a power and energy company in Virginia, as a systems operations center intern. While there, he worked on control room contingency analysis to prevent blackouts on the grid. This included developing a program for automated notification of power fluctuations to key customers, including the Pentagon and other federal agencies. He also researched methods for integrating solar forecasting into electric grid reliability studies.

    Leonard has spent a great deal of time doing research, with his first experience at the Israel Institute of Technology doing battery performance analysis. In 2014 he worked as a Corrosion Research Intern at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Maryland, studying crack repair and corrosion on naval ships and weaponry. During the 2015-16 school year he worked as a research assistant in U-M’s Bio-Plasmonics Lab, where he simulated and constructed solar energy harvesting nano-structures to determine their optimal light absorption.

    Outside of his studies, he participates in Michigan Club Wrestling and has worked as a summer counselor at a camp for teens.

    Leonard plans to graduate in May of 2018.

    2
    Leonard Kapiloff (left holding certificate) and Noah Mitchell-Ward, both recipients of a PES Scholarship for 2016-17, were recognized at a seminar sponsored by the Michigan Power & Energy Lab (MPEL). Pictured with them are Prof. Johanna Mathieu and Ian Hiskens, Vennema Professor of Engineering.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    U MIchigan Campus

    The University of Michigan (U-M, UM, UMich, or U of M), frequently referred to simply as Michigan, is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States. Originally, founded in 1817 in Detroit as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, 20 years before the Michigan Territory officially became a state, the University of Michigan is the state’s oldest university. The university moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 onto 40 acres (16 ha) of what is now known as Central Campus. Since its establishment in Ann Arbor, the university campus has expanded to include more than 584 major buildings with a combined area of more than 34 million gross square feet (781 acres or 3.16 km²), and has two satellite campuses located in Flint and Dearborn. The University was one of the founding members of the Association of American Universities.

    Considered one of the foremost research universities in the United States,[7] the university has very high research activity and its comprehensive graduate program offers doctoral degrees in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as well as professional degrees in business, medicine, law, pharmacy, nursing, social work and dentistry. Michigan’s body of living alumni (as of 2012) comprises more than 500,000. Besides academic life, Michigan’s athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Wolverines. They are members of the Big Ten Conference.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:39 pm on January 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Arun Nagpal, Space Science, Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), U Michigan   

    From U Michigan: “Student Arun Nagpal develops new ENG 100 section to spotlight space science” 

    U Michigan bloc

    University of Michigan

    11/22/2016
    Ariel Sandberg

    1
    No image caption. No image credit.

    For incoming freshman, Engineering (ENGR) 100 provides an initial glimpse into the world of collegiate engineering design. Though all offerings of this course contain common core elements, such as a central design challenge and technical communication requirements, each section focuses on a distinct engineering discipline that ranges from music signal processing to underwater robotics.

    Starting this upcoming winter semester, a new ENGR 100 section will be implemented that spotlights previously under-represented topics: atmospheric and space science. The idea first stemmed from a discussion between the council of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) and AE Professor Peter Washabaugh, who saw an opportunity to increase freshman engagement in space research through hands-on course-work. As space science and aerospace engineering are heavily intertwined, Dr. Washabaugh considered this increased engagement a boon for the entire Michigan aero community.

    Arun Nagpal, electrical engineering junior and co-President of SEDS, ran with the idea:

    “The impetus for creating this class was to encourage students to get involved in space science and atmospheric sensing. ENGR 100 is supposed to give students exposure to the full spectrum of Michigan engineering options and I realized [after talking with Professor Washabaugh] that there was no section that captured the work of the Climate and Space Sciences (CLaSP) department. I wanted to introduce freshman to the idea that the atmosphere is a living, breathing thing of scientific interest.”

    Together with CLaSP Professor Aaron Ridley and EE Masters student Abbhinav Muralidharan, Arun developed a series of labs aimed at incrementally exposing students to the electrical and software skills they would need to design and program an atmospheric instrument. He notes:

    “We took inspiration from the master’s level space instrumentation course CLaSP 584, which develops a circuit board with atmospheric sensing capabilities. We took that circuit board and broke it down into discrete parts that could be replicated by students in weekly labs. [The students] will learn the principles of sensing, [Arduino] coding and microprocessor theory and end up with payloads that can measure temperature, humidity, acceleration, and pressure.”

    2

    Though grounded in a fundamental board design, students will have the opportunity to modify their payloads to add additional sensors and functionality. They will gain hands-on experience soldering components to breakout boards and will experiment with the best approaches to processing their data.

    After completing their boards, students will have the opportunity to see their instruments in action aboard high-altitude balloons. Arun explains:

    “We are going to partner with the Michigan Balloon Recovery and Satellite Test Bed (MBuRST) design team to launch student payloads near the end of the semester. The payloads will be packaged on balloons four at a time [so that teams can reference each other’s data sets and subtract out noise]. The last couple of weeks of the course will emphasize flight review and [effective data presentation]. At the same time, students will gain practice explaining their work professionally through writing technical memos with their labs.”

    Overall, Arun feels that this course intimately ties into the mission of SEDS:

    “SEDS is all about advocating for space and spaceflight. An important part of that is making sure people have the education and opportunity to find a passion in the industry. We wanted to give freshman greater exposure to space science, with the knowledge that it may come to influence their eventual choice of major and career.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    U MIchigan Campus

    The University of Michigan (U-M, UM, UMich, or U of M), frequently referred to simply as Michigan, is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States. Originally, founded in 1817 in Detroit as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, 20 years before the Michigan Territory officially became a state, the University of Michigan is the state’s oldest university. The university moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 onto 40 acres (16 ha) of what is now known as Central Campus. Since its establishment in Ann Arbor, the university campus has expanded to include more than 584 major buildings with a combined area of more than 34 million gross square feet (781 acres or 3.16 km²), and has two satellite campuses located in Flint and Dearborn. The University was one of the founding members of the Association of American Universities.

    Considered one of the foremost research universities in the United States,[7] the university has very high research activity and its comprehensive graduate program offers doctoral degrees in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as well as professional degrees in business, medicine, law, pharmacy, nursing, social work and dentistry. Michigan’s body of living alumni (as of 2012) comprises more than 500,000. Besides academic life, Michigan’s athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Wolverines. They are members of the Big Ten Conference.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:35 am on December 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , U Michigan   

    From U Michigan: “Robotics building design approved, including space for Ford” 

    U Michigan bloc

    University of Michigan

    9/15/2016 [When, oh when, will U Michigan figure out the benefits of social media?]
    Nicole Casal Moore

    1
    No image caption. No image credit

    Robotic technologies for air, sea and roads, for factories, hospitals and homes will have tailored lab space in the University of Michigan’s planned Robotics Laboratory.

    Today, the U-M Board of Regents approved the schematic design for the $75 million facility, which is slated for the northeast corner of North Campus in the College of Engineering.

    The 140,000 square-foot building will house a three-story fly zone for autonomous aerial vehicles, an outdoor obstacle course for walking ‘bots, and high-bay garage space for self-driving cars, among other features. And in a unique collaboration, Ford Motor Co. will provide funding to add a fourth floor that it will lease for dedicated space where Ford researchers will eventually be based. The shared space grows a long-standing and broad partnership between U-M and Ford that includes projects to advance a variety of technologies such as driverless and connected vehicles.

    Construction is scheduled to begin after a comprehensive fundraising effort for College of Engineering funds and be completed in the winter of 2020.

    2
    “Many places with strong robotics reputations are computer science-dominated and they don’t test their theories on machines to the extent that we do. At U-M, most of our faculty members have an in-house robot. We put our algorithms in motion.”
    -Jessy Grizzle, U-M director of robotics

    When the building opens, U-M will become one of an elite few universities with a dedicated robotics facility. It will be the only university whose lab is down the road from a proving ground for driverless and connected vehicles. Mcity, U-M’s simulated urban and suburban environment for safe, controlled testing of advanced mobility vehicles and technologies, is located a half mile from the Robotics Laboratory site.

    “The University of Michigan has long been a global leader in robotics and our new facility will give our faculty members room to reach for world-changing advances and set them in motion,” said Professor Alec Gallimore, the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering. “Robots have come a long way from programmed machines bolted to the factory floor. Today they move through the world around us. They communicate and interact with each other and with us. They’re making our work, our travel, and our lives easier, more efficient and safer.”

    3

    Fifteen professors will be core robotics faculty members when the facility opens, and more than 35 across the university are working in the field. They are developing prosthetic limbs that could one day be controlled by the brain, an autonomous wheelchair that can sense obstacles and avoid them, efficient walking robots that have the potential to assist in search or rescue operations, and self-driving and connected cars designed to transform transportation, among other innovations.

    Most of the core faculty members conduct their research on an actual robot, which is unique to U-M.

    “What makes us special is that most of us here do both robotics theory and hardware,” said Jessy Grizzle, the Elmer G. Gilbert Distinguished University Professor and the Jerry W. and Carol L. Levin Professor of Engineering.

    “Many places with strong robotics reputations are computer science-dominated and they don’t test their theories on machines to the extent that we do. At U-M, most of our faculty members have an in-house robot. We put our algorithms in motion.”

    3
    No image caption. No image credit

    Grizzle has been named director of robotics at U-M. He came to the university in 1987 as a feedback control theorist, but quickly expanded his research into other areas. Among his achievements is the development of a theoretically sound and efficient method for control of bipedal robot locomotion, which resulted in the world’s fastest two-legged running robot with knees. He was also a key player in pioneering a model-based programming approach to the control of hybrid electric vehicles that is rapidly becoming an industry standard. The approach takes into account the random fluctuations in traffic patterns to make these vehicles as efficient as possible.

    “This new facility will give us cutting-edge lab space to test our theories on a broader scale, and in a collaborative environment that invites the exchange of ideas,” Grizzle said.

    4

    The building’s schematic design shows a sleek, slate gray and silver façade integrated into the environment in a style described as “machine in the garden.” In addition to the specialized labs, it will include two large shared lab spaces, a start-up style open collaboration area, offices for 30 faculty members and more than 100 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, and two classrooms. U-M offers interdisciplinary masters and PhD degrees in robotics.

    A grand atrium will be flanked by glass walls that serve as windows into high-tech labs and a museum for retired robots. Public and school tours will be available.

    The partnership that puts Ford engineers on the fourth floor is designed to enrich opportunities for collaborative research, as well as educational opportunities for students to gain hands-on experiences.

    “With the new building’s proximity to Mcity, Ford and U-M are poised to accelerate the development of autonomous vehicles,” said Ken Washington, Ford vice president of research and advanced engineering. “This co-located lab on the U-M campus will magnify and deepen a collaborative research effort that is already unprecedented in scale.”

    With a decade-long history, the Ford/U-M Innovation Alliance has led to nearly 200 collaborative research projects. Its joint autonomous vehicle project is the largest university research effort Ford has sponsored on any campus, and the largest industry-funded individual research project at U-M. The technical innovations Ford and U-M produce through it are intended to deliver order of magnitude reductions in traffic deaths and collisions.

    Ford today announced that U-M assistant professors Matthew Johnson-Roberson and Ram Vasudevan will lead the joint Ford/U-M autonomous vehicle research project going forward. Johnson-Roberson is in the Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering and Vasudevan is in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

    The robotics building project is expected to provide an average of 66 on-site construction jobs.

    Grizzle will take part in a Reddit Science AMA (ask me anything) about his work with bipedal robots on Wednesday, Sept. 28 from 1-2 PM ET. Watch for more details on the day of the AMA.

    About Michigan Engineering: The University of Michigan College of Engineering is one of the top engineering schools in the country. Eight academic departments are ranked in the nation’s top 10 — some twice for different programs. Its research budget is one of the largest of any public university. Its faculty and students are making a difference at the frontiers of fields as diverse as nanotechnology, sustainability, healthcare, national security and robotics. They are involved in spacecraft missions across the solar system, and have developed partnerships with automotive industry leaders to transform transportation. Its entrepreneurial culture encourages faculty and students alike to move their innovations beyond the laboratory and into the real world to benefit society. Its alumni base of more than 75,000 spans the globe.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    U MIchigan Campus

    The University of Michigan (U-M, UM, UMich, or U of M), frequently referred to simply as Michigan, is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States. Originally, founded in 1817 in Detroit as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, 20 years before the Michigan Territory officially became a state, the University of Michigan is the state’s oldest university. The university moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 onto 40 acres (16 ha) of what is now known as Central Campus. Since its establishment in Ann Arbor, the university campus has expanded to include more than 584 major buildings with a combined area of more than 34 million gross square feet (781 acres or 3.16 km²), and has two satellite campuses located in Flint and Dearborn. The University was one of the founding members of the Association of American Universities.

    Considered one of the foremost research universities in the United States,[7] the university has very high research activity and its comprehensive graduate program offers doctoral degrees in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as well as professional degrees in business, medicine, law, pharmacy, nursing, social work and dentistry. Michigan’s body of living alumni (as of 2012) comprises more than 500,000. Besides academic life, Michigan’s athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Wolverines. They are members of the Big Ten Conference.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:42 pm on December 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Nanodisc technology, , U Michigan   

    From U Michigan via phys.org: “Nanodiscs deliver personalized cancer therapy to immune system” 

    U Michigan bloc

    University of Michigan

    phys.org

    phys.org

    December 26, 2016
    Researchers at the University of Michigan have had initial success in mice using nanodiscs to deliver a customized therapeutic vaccine for the treatment of colon and melanoma cancer tumors.

    “We are basically educating the immune system with these nanodiscs so that immune cells can attack cancer cells in a personalized manner,” said James Moon, the John Gideon Searle assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences and biomedical engineering.

    Personalized immunotherapy is a fast-growing field of research in the fight against cancer.

    The therapeutic cancer vaccine employs nanodiscs loaded with tumor neoantigens, which are unique mutations found in tumor cells. By generating T-cells that recognize these specific neoantigens, the technology targets cancer mutations and fights to eliminate cancer cells and prevent tumor growth.

    Unlike preventive vaccinations, therapeutic cancer vaccines of this type are meant to kill established cancer cells.

    “The idea is that these vaccine nanodiscs will trigger the immune system to fight the existing cancer cells in a personalized manner,” Moon said.

    The nanodisc technology was tested in mice with established melanoma and colon cancer tumors. After the vaccination, twenty-seven percent of T-cells in the blood of the mice in the study targeted the tumors.

    When combined with immune checkpoint inhibitors, an existing technology that amplifies T-cell tumor-fighting responses, the nanodisc technology killed tumors within 10 days of treatment in the majority of the mice. After waiting 70 days, researchers then injected the same mice with the same tumor cells, and the tumors were rejected by the immune system and did not grow.

    “This suggests the immune system ‘remembered’ the cancer cells for long-term immunity,” said Rui Kuai, U-M doctoral student in pharmaceutical sciences and lead author of the study.

    “The holy grail in cancer immunotherapy is to eradicate tumors and prevent future recurrence without systemic toxicity, and our studies have produced very promising results in mice,” Moon said.

    The technology is made of extremely small, synthetic high density lipoproteins measuring roughly 10 nanometers. By comparison, a human hair is 80,000 to 100,000 nanometers wide.

    “It’s a powerful vaccine technology that efficiently delivers vaccine components to the right cells in the right tissues. Better delivery translates to better T-cell responses and better efficacy,” said study co-senior author Anna Schwendeman, U-M assistant professor of pharmacy.

    The next step is to test the nanodisc technology in a larger group of larger animals, Moon said.

    EVOQ Therapeutics, a new U-M spinoff biotech company, has been founded to translate these results to the clinic. Lukasz Ochyl, a doctoral student in pharmaceutical sciences, is also a co-author.

    The study, Designer vaccine nanodiscs for personalized cancer immunotherapy, is scheduled for advance online publication Dec. 26 on the Nature Materials website.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    U MIchigan Campus

    The University of Michigan (U-M, UM, UMich, or U of M), frequently referred to simply as Michigan, is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States. Originally, founded in 1817 in Detroit as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, 20 years before the Michigan Territory officially became a state, the University of Michigan is the state’s oldest university. The university moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 onto 40 acres (16 ha) of what is now known as Central Campus. Since its establishment in Ann Arbor, the university campus has expanded to include more than 584 major buildings with a combined area of more than 34 million gross square feet (781 acres or 3.16 km²), and has two satellite campuses located in Flint and Dearborn. The University was one of the founding members of the Association of American Universities.

    Considered one of the foremost research universities in the United States,[7] the university has very high research activity and its comprehensive graduate program offers doctoral degrees in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as well as professional degrees in business, medicine, law, pharmacy, nursing, social work and dentistry. Michigan’s body of living alumni (as of 2012) comprises more than 500,000. Besides academic life, Michigan’s athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Wolverines. They are members of the Big Ten Conference.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:49 am on September 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Necmiye Ozay, U Michigan,   

    From U Michigan: Women in STEM – “Necmiye Ozay Receives NASA Early Career Faculty Award for Research in Cyber-Physical Systems” 

    U Michigan bloc

    University of Michigan

    1
    Necmiye Ozay

    Prof. Necmiye Ozay, assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was awarded a NASA Early Career Faculty award for her project, “Run-time anomaly detection and mitigation in information-rich cyber-physical systems.” Her research will be designed to assist in future missions in space, while being applicable to a wide range of cyber-physical systems.

    Next generation space missions require autonomous systems to operate without human intervention for long periods of times in highly dynamic environments. Such systems are vulnerable to software and/or hardware failures due to unexpected internal or external factors. Moreover, small anomalies, if not detected and isolated in a timely manner, can cascade through the system resulting in catastrophic outcomes, especially in highly dynamic missions where fail safe is not an option. This signifies the need for effective methods for integrated system health management, automated data analysis for decision making and verification and validation.

    The objective of this project is to develop the scientific foundation and associated algorithmic tools for synthesis of decentralized passive and active monitors for sensor-rich networked cyber-physical systems from heterogeneous sensory data.

    The potential benefits of the proposed research include (i) reductions in the design time of next generation space systems by automating synthesis of monitoring algorithms instead of hand-coded built-in tests, (ii) reductions in system cost by the potential to replace hardware redundancy with software-based solutions, (iii) increase in the time systems operate reliably by enabling timely detection of anomalies and reducing their cascading effects.

    Prof. Ozay plans to demonstrate the techniques she and her team develops on two university-scale testbeds: (i) vehicular energy networks, and (ii) human-robot teams for exploration missions with limited communication.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    U MIchigan Campus

    The University of Michigan (U-M, UM, UMich, or U of M), frequently referred to simply as Michigan, is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States. Originally, founded in 1817 in Detroit as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, 20 years before the Michigan Territory officially became a state, the University of Michigan is the state’s oldest university. The university moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 onto 40 acres (16 ha) of what is now known as Central Campus. Since its establishment in Ann Arbor, the university campus has expanded to include more than 584 major buildings with a combined area of more than 34 million gross square feet (781 acres or 3.16 km²), and has two satellite campuses located in Flint and Dearborn. The University was one of the founding members of the Association of American Universities.

    Considered one of the foremost research universities in the United States,[7] the university has very high research activity and its comprehensive graduate program offers doctoral degrees in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as well as professional degrees in business, medicine, law, pharmacy, nursing, social work and dentistry. Michigan’s body of living alumni (as of 2012) comprises more than 500,000. Besides academic life, Michigan’s athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Wolverines. They are members of the Big Ten Conference.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:00 pm on May 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 'Kidney on a chip', , , U Michigan   

    From U Michigan: ” ‘Kidney on a chip’ could lead to safer drug dosing” 

    U Michigan bloc

    University of Michigan

    5/4/2016
    Gabe Cherry, Michigan Engineering

    1
    No image caption, no image credit

    University of Michigan researchers have used a “kidney on a chip” device to mimic the flow of medication through human kidneys and measure its effect on kidney cells. The new technique could lead to more precise dosing of drugs, including some potentially toxic medicines often delivered in intensive care units.

    Precise dosing in intensive care units is critical, as up to two-thirds of patients in the ICU experience serious kidney injury. Medications contribute to this injury in more than 20 percent of cases, largely because many intensive care drugs are potentially dangerous to the kidneys.

    Determining a safe dosage, however, can be surprisingly difficult. Today, doctors and drug developers rely mainly on animal testing to measure the toxicity of drugs and determine safe doses. But animals process medications more quickly than humans, making it difficult to interpret test results and sometimes leading researchers to underestimate toxicity.

    2
    No image caption, no image credit

    The new technique offers a more accurate way to test medications, closely replicating the environment inside a human kidney. It uses a microfluidic chip device to deliver a precise flow of medication across cultured kidney cells. This is believed to be the first time such a device has been used to study how a medication behaves in the body over time, called its “pharmacokinetic profile.”

    “When you administer a drug, its concentration goes up quickly and it’s gradually filtered out as it flows through the kidneys,” said University of Michigan Biomedical Engineering professor Shuichi Takayama, an author on the paper. “A kidney on a chip enables us to simulate that filtering process, providing a much more accurate way to study how medications behave in the body.”

    Takayama said the use of an artificial device provides the opportunity to run test after test in a controlled environment. It also enables researchers to alter the flow through the device to simulate varying levels of kidney function.

    “Even the same dose of the same drug can have very different effects on the kidneys and other organs, depending on how it’s administered,” said Sejoong Kim, an associate professor at Korea’s Seoul national University Budang Hospital, former U-M researcher and author on the paper. “This device provides a uniform, inexpensive way to capture data that more accurately reflects actual human patients.”

    In the study, the team tested their approach by comparing two different dosing regimens for gentamicin, an antibiotic that’s commonly used in intensive care units. They used a microfluidic device that sandwiches a thin, permeable polyester membrane and a layer of cultured kidney cells between top and bottom compartments.

    3
    No image caption, no image credit

    They then pumped a gentamicin solution into the top compartment, where it gradually filtered through the cells and the membrane, simulating the flow of medication through a human kidney. One test started with a high concentration that quickly tapered off, mimicking a once-daily drug dose. The other test simulated a slow infusion of the drug, using a lower concentration that stayed constant. Takayama’s team then measured damage to the kidney cells inside the device.

    They found that a once-daily dose of the medication is significantly less harmful than a continuous infusion—even though both cases ultimately delivered the same dose of medication. The results of the test could help doctors better optimize dosing regimens for gentamicin in the future. Perhaps most importantly, they showed that a kidney on a chip device can be used to study the flow of medication through human organs.

    “We were able to get results that better relate to human physiology, at least in terms of dosing effects, than what’s currently possible to obtain from common animal tests,” Takayama said. “The goal for the future is to improve these devices to the point where we’re able to see exactly how a medication affects the body from moment to moment, in real time.”

    Takayama said the techniques used in the study should be generalizable to a wide variety of other organs and medications, enabling researchers to gather detailed information on how medications affect the heart, liver and other organs. In addition to helping researchers fine-tune drug dosing regimens, he believes the technique could also help drug makers test drugs more efficiently, bringing new medications to market faster.

    Within a few years, Takayama envisions the creation of integrated devices that can quickly test multiple medication regimens and deliver a wide variety of information on how they affect human organs. PHASIQ, an Ann Arbor-based spinoff company founded by Takayama is commercializing the biomarker readout aspect of this type of technology in conjunction with the University of Michigan Office of Technology Transfer, where Takayama serves as a Faculty Innovation Ambassador.


    Access mp4 video here .
    University of Michigan researchers used a “kidney on a chip” to mimic the flow of medication through human kidneys. This enabled them to study the dosing regimen for a common intensive care drug. No video credit

    The paper, published in the journal Biofabrication, is titled Pharmacokinetic profile that reduces nephrotoxicity of gentamicin in a perfused kidney-on-a-chip. Funding and assistance for the project was provided by the National Institutes of Health (grant number GM096040), the University of Michigan Center for Integrative Research in Critical Care (MCIRCC), the University of Michigan Biointerfaces Institute, the National Research Foundation of Korea and the Korean Association of Internal Medicine Research Grant 2015.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    U MIchigan Campus

    The University of Michigan (U-M, UM, UMich, or U of M), frequently referred to simply as Michigan, is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States. Originally, founded in 1817 in Detroit as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, 20 years before the Michigan Territory officially became a state, the University of Michigan is the state’s oldest university. The university moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 onto 40 acres (16 ha) of what is now known as Central Campus. Since its establishment in Ann Arbor, the university campus has expanded to include more than 584 major buildings with a combined area of more than 34 million gross square feet (781 acres or 3.16 km²), and has two satellite campuses located in Flint and Dearborn. The University was one of the founding members of the Association of American Universities.

    Considered one of the foremost research universities in the United States,[7] the university has very high research activity and its comprehensive graduate program offers doctoral degrees in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as well as professional degrees in business, medicine, law, pharmacy, nursing, social work and dentistry. Michigan’s body of living alumni (as of 2012) comprises more than 500,000. Besides academic life, Michigan’s athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Wolverines. They are members of the Big Ten Conference.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:00 pm on January 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , U Michigan   

    From U Michigan: “Mapping the brain: Probes with tiny LEDs shed light on neural pathways Michigan Engineering” 

    U Michigan bloc

    University of Michigan

    January 8, 2016
    Michigan Engineering
    No writer credit found

    Temp 1
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    With the help of light-emitting diodes as small as neurons, University of Michigan researchers are unlocking the secrets of neural pathways in the brain.

    The researchers have built and tested in mice neural probes that hold what are believed to be the smallest implantable LEDs ever made. The new probes can control and record the activity of many individual neurons, measuring how changes in the activity of a single neuron can affect its neighbors. The team anticipates that experiments using probes based on their design could lead to breakthroughs in understanding and treating neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

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    “This is a very big step forward,” said Kensall Wise, the William Gould Dow Distinguished University Professor Emeritus, who was involved with the research. “The fact that you can generate these optical signals on the probe, in a living brain, opens up new doors.”

    A network of around 100 billion neurons power the human brain, and figuring out how they work together is a monumental and important task, the researchers say.

    “Hundreds of millions of people suffer from neurological diseases, but treatment methods and drugs are currently very limited because scientific understanding of the brain is lacking,” said Fan Wu, a postdoctoral researcher in electrical engineering and computer sciences and co-first author on a new paper on the findings published in Neuron. “We have developed a tool that is needed to better understand how the brain works—and why it doesn’t work—to try to solve to these problems.”

    In genetically modified rodents, neurons can be turned on and off with light. Typically, neuroscientists using this optogenetics technique shine light on a region of the brain through implanted optical fibers and record the response with a second device. This helps to reveal which regions of the brain are responsible for which behaviors. But it can’t reveal how the neurons communicate with one another.

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    The new probes can. Each probe array contains 12 LEDs and 32 electrodes. The micro LEDs are as small as a neuron’s cell body, so they can turn single neurons on and off. Meanwhile, the microelectrodes measure activity at the single-neuron level, reporting how a change in one neuron’s behavior affects the surrounding network.

    “Now we can know how a group of cells, both adjacent and farther away, are responding to the activation of a single cell. This will help us better understand how these cells are communicating with each other,” Wu said.

    While the probes were made at U-M, the experiments to demonstrate them took place at New York University in the lab György Buzsáki, a leader in experimental neuroscience. Eran Stark, who is currently an assistant professor of neuroscience at Tel Aviv University, used them to measure how signals pass through the brains of mice. He focused on the area of the brain responsible for short- and long-term memory.
    “Using micro-LED probes, we may tease out how the signals propagate inside the neural circuitry so that we can understand how memories are formed, retrieved and replaced,” said Euisik Yoon, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at U-M and project leader.

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    The proof-of-concept experiment found that superficial and deep neurons in the hippocampus produce different kinds of brain waves when stimulated. Future experiments will explore how these waves are related to memory.

    The research is described in the paper, Monolithically Integrated μLEDs on Silicon Neural Probes for High-Resolution Optogenetic Studies in Behaving Animals, is featured on the cover of Neuron 88, on Dec. 16, 2015.

    The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

    Pei-Cheng Ku, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at U-M, helped develop the micro-LEDs. Yoon is also a professor of biomedical engineering. Wise is a professor emeritus of electrical engineering and computer science and of biomedical engineering.

    Electrodes are a way to eavesdrop on neural activity and when combined with optogenetics, neural probes can stimulate the mind’s circuitry and gather further insight into the causes of blindness, deafness, Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s.
    The research was funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (EB019221), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NS075015), and the National Institute of Mental Health (MH54671), all at NIH, and by the National Science Foundation (ECCS 1407977). Funding also was provided by the Rothschild Foundation, the Human Frontiers in Science Program and the Machiah Foundation.

    Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kz…

    See the full article here .

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    U MIchigan Campus

    The University of Michigan (U-M, UM, UMich, or U of M), frequently referred to simply as Michigan, is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States. Originally, founded in 1817 in Detroit as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, 20 years before the Michigan Territory officially became a state, the University of Michigan is the state’s oldest university. The university moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 onto 40 acres (16 ha) of what is now known as Central Campus. Since its establishment in Ann Arbor, the university campus has expanded to include more than 584 major buildings with a combined area of more than 34 million gross square feet (781 acres or 3.16 km²), and has two satellite campuses located in Flint and Dearborn. The University was one of the founding members of the Association of American Universities.

    Considered one of the foremost research universities in the United States,[7] the university has very high research activity and its comprehensive graduate program offers doctoral degrees in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as well as professional degrees in business, medicine, law, pharmacy, nursing, social work and dentistry. Michigan’s body of living alumni (as of 2012) comprises more than 500,000. Besides academic life, Michigan’s athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the Wolverines. They are members of the Big Ten Conference.

     
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