College of Engineering seed grants support multidisciplinary research efforts

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State College of Engineering recently awarded funding to four projects through its Multidisciplinary Research Seed Grants program.

Established in 2014, the program aims to help faculty attract high-impact multidisciplinary and center-level research funding from the state and federal government, industry or foundations. This year, faculty were encouraged to submit proposals that targeted one of the four College of Engineering strategic research thrusts: optimal and secure cyberenvironments; advanced manufacturing for medical, electronic and mechanical sciences; resilient infrastructure systems; and sustainable energy-water-food nexus.

Chris Rahn, associate dean for innovation in the College of Engineering, noted that 37 proposals were submitted for this year’s program.

“I was very impressed with the quantity and quality of the proposals submitted by COE faculty members. It bodes well for the future of our college with so many good ideas and new collaborations being generated,” he said.

The following projects were selected for funding:

  • “Evaluating therapeutic effects of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) in animal model of stress related disorders using behavioral and imaging methods,” by Nanyin Zhang, associate professor of biomedical engineering; Connie Sanchez Morillo, vice president, biology at Alkermes; and David Eyerman, senior staff scientist at Alkermes.
  • “Real-Time Data Synthesis to Detect Abnormal Turbine Operations,” by Karen Thole, professor and department head of mechanical and nuclear engineering; David Miller, professor of electrical engineering in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Reid Berdanier, research associate in Penn State’s Steady Thermal Aero Research Turbine (START) lab; and Joel Wagner, engineer at Pratt & Whitney.
  • “Towards Distributed Wireless Implants for Large-Scale Optogenetics,” by Mehdi Kiani, assistant professor of electrical engineering; Chris Giebink, Charles K. Etner Assistant Professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; and Bruce Gluckman, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics and biomedical engineering.
  • “Engineering a giant meta-material: A band-stop seismic/blast filter to shield critical civil infrastructures,” by Parisa Shokouhi, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Cliff Lissenden, professor of engineering science and mechanics.

“This program jump-starts new research collaborations by supporting the generation of preliminary results that will strengthen future proposals for external funding,” said Rahn. 

Multidisciplinary Research Seed Grants can be used to support graduate students or postdocs, small equipment, software, user facility fees, travel, materials and supplies.

“Penn State Engineering faculty are sharing their technical expertise, now more than ever, with their academic and industrial colleagues. We look forward to seeing the results of these internal and external collaborations,” said Rahn.

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Last Updated January 13, 2017