Research Edition 2015

Browse all Research Edition 2015 articles here

Contents

FRONT COVER: Donald and Gertrude Lester Professor of Mechanical Engineering and NASA Kentucky director Suzanne Weaver Smith has played a leading role in the college’s aerospace research efforts since joining UK in 1990.

FRONT COVER: Donald and Gertrude Lester Professor of Mechanical Engineering and NASA Kentucky director Suzanne Weaver Smith has played a leading role in the college’s aerospace research efforts since joining UK in 1990.

Message from the Dean

New Senior Hires

The college has added a wealth of experience and expertise through four new faculty hires.

Top Flight

Suzanne Weaver Smith has built a 35-year career in aerospace research by bringing academia and industry into innovative partnerships.

Aerospace Research at UK

See a sample of the projects and personnel advancing UK as a leader in aerospace research.

Grants and Awards

The Office of Naval Research has selected Aaron Cramer as one of its Young Investigators.

Up to the Challenge

The Center for Applied Energy Research is at the forefront of renewable engineering solutions.

Graduate Research

Michael Akenhead’s doctoral studies in biomedical engineering have immersed him in cellular mechanobiology.

New Faculty

See who joined the UK College of Engineering faculty in 2014-2015.

Message from the Dean

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W

hen I became dean in 2012, I began laying groundwork that I envisioned would move UK toward becoming a top 50 engineering school. Key hires, program changes, space reallocation and more initiated the process; however, it is not always easy to detect exactly when real progress is being made. As I review this annual research edition of our award-winning Kentucky Engineering Journal, I am proud to say there are several areas where we as a college are at a different level than we were just three years ago.

One area has to do with substantial federal funding for aerospace and energy research. Last year we received a $20 million award from the National Science Foundation with an additional $4 million supplied by the Commonwealth in matching funds for the project “Powering the Kentucky Bioeconomy for a Sustainable Future.” It is a massive undertaking involving over 50 researchers throughout the state over five years. On the aerospace side, an interdisciplinary, multi-institution research team led by NASA Kentucky director and mechanical engineering professor Suzanne Weaver Smith has received a $6 million award to continue outstanding work unveiling applications for unmanned aircraft systems. These awards demonstrate that we have outstanding faculty who work collaboratively to address issues of national importance.

Additionally, we have added senior faculty members who have built excellent careers prior to arriving at UK. Dan Ionel, chief engineer with Regal Beloit Corp., who has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Marquette University has joined our electrical engineering faculty as the inaugural L. Stanley Pigman Chair in Power. Michael Renfro has come to us from the University of Connecticut and is serving as our chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Isabel Escobar has come from the University of Toledo to further our membrane science research efforts. Finally, biomedical informatics expert GQ Zhang, formerly of Case Western Reserve University, has joined the College of Medicine and will hold an appointment in the Department of Computer Science. Recruiting and promoting outstanding faculty is a major priority for our college and it is personally gratifying to see our progress in this area.

As you peruse this special research issue, it is my hope that you will understand why I am excited about the tangible results we are seeing.

Sincerely,

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John Y. Walz
Dean