Annual Report

2016 - 2017 Annual Report


Research Stories

The Art of Origami

Jerry Qi and a team of researchers from Georgia Tech and Peking University have found a new use for the PowerPoint slide: Producing self-folding three-dimensional origami structures from photocurable liquid polymers. The technique, which utilizes the volume shrinkage phenomenon during photo-polymerization to bend film along the direction of a light path, could someday be used in applications ranging from space missions to biomedical devices.


The Future of Farming

Jonathan Rogers and researchers from Georgia Tech are building machines that will change the monotony of agriculture. The machines, which hang over crops and swing along cables, are fitted with cameras to take pictures of plants, helping researchers get more frequent measurements and avoid laborious field work.


Boosting Performance with Tiny Tornadoes

Andrei Fedorov and researchers from Georgia Tech have added the equivalent of a miniature tornado to the interface between electrospray ionization (ESI) and a mass spectrometer (MS), allowing researchers to improve the sensitivity and detection capability of the widely-used ESI-MS analytical technique. Scientific fields serving biomedical and health applications ranging from biomarker detection and diagnostics to drug discovery and molecular medicine could benefit from the new technique.


Exosome Messengers

Research conducted by Brandon Dixon has illuminated the critical role of courier nanoparticles. The research, which discovered that exosomes move with an increased sense of urgency depending on their payload, has produced important findings on the road to targeted therapy.


First Georgia Tech Alan T. Waterman Award Winner

Woodruff School Associate Profes­sor Baratunde Cola was awarded a million-dollar grant for his development of new engineering methods to control light and heat in electronics at the nanoscale. The Alan T. Waterman Award is regarded as the nation’s highest honor for early-career scientists and engineers and honors Cola’s work in piloting a breakthrough other researchers have been attempting to overcome for decades. Dr. Cola is the first Waterman Award winner from Georgia Tech.


Neuroscience Robotics

For scientists listening in on the faint whispers of brain neurons, a first-ever robotic technique for cleaning the tiny devices that record the signals could facilitate a new level of automation in neuroscience research. Based on their cleaning technique and earlier innovations that automated the process of connecting the pipettes to cells, Craig Forest and researchers at Georgia Tech have demonstrated what’s believed to be the first robot to perform sequential patch-clamp recording in cell culture, brain slices, and in the living brain – without a human operator.


Creating the Next in Robotics

Magnus Egerstedt has been heavily involved with the creation of Georgia Tech’s Robotarium. The 725-square-foot facility houses nearly 100 rolling and flying swarm robots accessible to anyone. Researchers from around the globe can write their own computer programs, upload them, and get results as Georgia Tech machines carry out the commands. The one-of-a-kind Robotarium hopes to foster more collaboration within the robotics community allowing scientists and engineers to share their findings more widely, and build on successes.


Medical Robots

Increased efficiency means less downtime in operating rooms and shorter, less expensive hospital stays for patients. Jaydev Desai and his team of researchers are working toward developing patient-specific, 3D-printed robots that are designed to allow physicians to better do their jobs and aid in surgery and breast cancer diagnoses.


Laying a Flexible Foundation

Research led by Suresh Sitaraman aims to lay the groundwork for manufacturing next-generation flexible electronics. Flexible electronics, circuits and systems that can be bent, folded, stretched or conformed without losing their functionality, have the potential to make an impact on some of society’s greatest challenges ranging from health care to defense.


First Responders

Disasters at nuclear power plants present extensive problems for search and rescue teams, from lethal radiation exposure to danger from weakened structures. Jun Ueda and researchers from Georgia Tech are working on a project that could one day put robots on the ground in the immediate aftermath of a nuclear catastrophe, helping to rescue people trapped in the plant and to contain dangerous nuclear material in situations where quick action is critical.


White Noise and Molecular Dances

Molecules of medicine entering a cell receptor interact in nanosecond speed making them nearly impossible to watch. By fine-tuning an atomic scale instrument with the use of electronic white noise, engineers are able to observe molecular interactions play by play. The research con­ducted by Todd Sulchek is paving the way for a clearer understanding of why some drugs work well and others don’t.


Student Stories

ASME Graduate Teaching Fellows

Woodruff School graduate students Allison Mahvi (advised by Srinivas Garimella), and Megan Tomko (advised by Julie Linsey) have been selected as American Society of Mechanical Engineers Graduate Teaching Fellows for the 2017-2018 academic year. The fellowship is intended to encourage outstanding graduate students to pursue an academic career.


EcoCAR3 Competition

Each year, Georgia Tech sends a team of engineers to the U.S. Department of Engineering and General Motors Advanced Vehicle Technology EcoCAR3 competition to prove that they have designed the fastest, most environmentally-conscious car possible. This year the Georgia Tech College of Engineering team was awarded third place overall and second in the technical category. The team included Woodruff School students Matthew Brasselle and Austin Matthews (advised by Michael Leamy) and was made up of master’s and bachelor’s degree students from mechanical, electrical, chemical, and biomolecular engineering majors.


Distinguished Postdoctoral Appointment

NRE graduate student Abdalla Abou Jaoudeas (advised by Anna Erickson) was named as one of the first two Deslonde de Boisblanc distinguished postdoctoral appointees by Idaho National Laboratory. The appointments are competitively awarded to early career researchers who embody the spirit of ingenuity of de Boisblanc and who have leadership potential.


NSF Graduate Research Awards

Woodruff School graduate researchers Anthony Chen (mechanical engineering, undergraduate), Michael Hunckler (mechanical engineering, advised by Andrés Garcia), David Roby Lynn (mechanical engineering, advised by Tom Kurfess), Myela Paige (mechanical engineering, advised by Kate Fu), Andrew Rohskopf (mechanical engineering, advised by Asegun Henry), Thomas Spencer (mechanical engineering, advised by David Hu), Orlin Velev (mechanical engineering, undergraduate) and Kevin Webb (mechanical engineering, advised by Surya Kalidindi) were awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) 2017 Graduate Research Fellowships. The NSF received close to 13,000 applications and made 2,000 award offers to outstanding students pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions.


Alumni Stories

Four Alumni, One Global Game-Changer

ME alumni Johney Green (Ph.D ME ’00), recently named Associate Laboratory Director for Mechanical and Thermal Systems Engineering at National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, and Roderick Jackson (Ph.D ME ’09), Lonnie Love (Ph.D ME ’95), and Brian Post (Ph.D ME ’13), all leaders at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, are spearheading the Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy (AMIE) project, which pairs a 3D-printed house and vehicle to bring about a revolutionary solution to the global energy crisis.


Powerful Female Engineer

Sophia Velastegui (BME ’98), recently appointed Chief Product Officer at Doppler Labs at the University of California, was named one of the 43 most powerful female engineers of 2017 by Business Insider. Business Insider annually recognizes women engineers in US tech who are leading the field of engineering.The Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory unveiled an Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy demonstration, led by ORNL researcher Dr. Roderick Jackson, BSME '00, MSME '04, Ph.D. ME '05, combining clean energy technologies into a 3-D printed building and vehicle to showcase a new approach to energy use, storage, and consumption.


Leadership and Educator Awards

Pamela M. Norris (MSME ‘89, Ph.D.’92), Executive Associate Dean for Research, School of Engineering and Applied Science and Frederick Tracy Morse Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Virginia, was honored with the Elizabeth Zintl Leadership Award from the University of Virginia’s Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center. Norris also received the Society of Women Engineers’ Distinguished Engineering Educator Award.