OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

college of engineering

Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator accepting applications

CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator program is seeking participants for its next cohort, which begins in January 2015 and runs for five months.

Applications from innovative and high-growth traded sector companies that produce goods and services used outside the region are encouraged. Eligibility information can be found on the website.

The program offers an opportunity for entrepreneurs to expand their businesses, connect with industry professionals, gain access to OSU venture development funds, and work with an advisory team to accelerate company development.

“We are taking advantage of the many resources available for clients, and thanks to the accelerator our business is now ready to take off,” said client Stan Baker, with Baker Seed Technologies. “The accelerator is a proven springboard to success.”

The five-month curriculum uses a proven methodology to guide emerging enterprises from infancy to independence, officials say. More information and an application is available on the website, at www.oregonstate.edu/accelerator, and applications will be followed by an interview with the co-directors and a formal presentation to the entrance committee.

Source: 

Betty Nickerson, 541-368-5205

Lomónaco to direct Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Pedro Lomónaco, an expert in coastal and maritime engineering, has been named the director of the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory at Oregon State University.

Lomónaco, previously the director of a marine research facility at the University of Cantabria in Spain, has co-authored more than 60 publications on wave generation and propagation, the stability of coastal and submarine structures, the behavior of floating structures and other topics.

The Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory, a part of the OSU College of Engineering, is a key research facility for coastal and ocean engineering research, including its internationally recognized programs of tsunami research and coastal hazard mitigation.

“The laboratory is immersed in a new and challenging era where the academic community, industry and the general public demands outstanding solutions and testing of multi-hazard events on our coasts, the development of marine renewable energy devices and education of our future researchers and engineers,” Lomónaco said.

Lomónaco earned his doctorate at the University of Cantabria, and for seven years directed its Hydraulics, Coast and Ocean Laboratory. He has also worked and executed experiments at several other leading coastal engineering laboratories in North America and Europe.

With a wide range of K-12 outreach programs and community open houses, the OSU laboratory plays an important role in helping the general public understand and prepare for coastal hazards; study the impacts of waves, storm, erosion and tsunami events; and provides science to help inform public policy, both regionally and nationally. It also operates a Mini Tsunami Wave Flume traveling exhibit that was featured at the National Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C.

Scientists and engineers from many nations travel to Oregon to make use of the facility, which is one of the largest and most technically advanced laboratories for coastal research in the world.

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Pedro Lomónaco, 541-737-2875

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Pedro Lomonaco
Pedro Lomónaco


Wave laboratory
Tsunami wave basin

Grant to enhance minority participation in STEM disciplines

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A collaboration of five universities in the Pacific Northwest has received a five-year, $3.44 million grant renewal from the National Science Foundation to increase the number of minority students who pursue careers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

Participants in the program include Oregon State University, Portland State University, Boise State University, the University of Washington and Washington State University. Karen Thompson, an assistant professor in the OSU College of Education, helped develop this collaboration. Called the Pacific Northwest Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in STEM, the initiative has been quite successful in recruiting more minority students and assisting them in completing their degrees, officials say.

In the first five-year grant at OSU, the goal was to double the number of under-represented minority students who graduated in a STEM discipline – which would have been 154 graduates in June, 2014. They significantly exceeded that, with 196 degrees awarded. This program provides financial, academic, social and professional support to help students achieve their academic and professional goals.

“Changing demographics in Oregon make it critical to graduate a greater number of minority students in STEM disciplines to fill positions in industry and academia,” said Ellen Momsen, co-principal investigator of this program at OSU, and director of its Women and Minorities in Engineering program.

“Our industry partners are enthusiastic about the increase in the diversity of our College of Engineering graduates,” Momsen said. “This is essential to improve the lives of all the people in our state.”

About 47 percent of the 3,043 under-represented minority students at OSU are now majoring in STEM disciplines at OSU, Momsen said. Many of them are taking advantage of programs such as a two-week “bridge” program for freshmen and a two-day leadership academy. A significant number also later become involved as undergraduates in original scientific research.

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Ellen Momsen, 541-737-9699

OSU to celebrate Johnson Hall construction on Sept. 15

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will celebrate the construction launch of its newest engineering building on Monday, Sept. 15, and the public is invited.

A ceremony and reception will begin at 1:30 p.m. to honor the donors who made this facility project possible and celebrate the impact it will make on OSU’s education and research programs, especially in the School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering. The events will take place at the building site at S.W. Park Terrace Place and Monroe Avenue, just north of Kelley Engineering Center.

Speakers include Julia Brim-Edwards, an OSU alumna and senior director for Global Strategy & Operations for Nike Corporation’s Government and Public Affairs team. She serves on the Oregon Education Investment Board.

The state-of-the-art, 58,000-square-foot engineering building is designed to be a place of collaboration and innovation in education and research for faculty, students and industry professionals. It will include labs for interdisciplinary research and a center focused on improving recruitment and retention of engineering students.

The building bears the name, and will continue the innovative legacy, of Peter and Rosalie Johnson. A 1955 Oregon State chemical engineering graduate, Peter Johnson revolutionized battery manufacturing equipment with his trademarked invention for making battery separator envelopes.

The Johnsons committed $7 million to begin construction on the new facility, leveraging an earlier gift of $10 million from an anonymous donor and $3 million in additional private funds, matched by $20 million in state funds.

In addition to being the lead donors for the facility initiative, the Johnsons previously created the Pete and Rosalie Johnson Internship program, which provides opportunities to at least two dozen Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering students annually. They also established the Linus Pauling Chair in chemical engineering to support a faculty member with industry experience who mentors students. The position currently is held by Philip Harding.

“We are so pleased that this new facility will honor the Johnsons and be a place dedicated to supporting the same areas they have always emphasized: collaborative research and hands-on learning for students,” said Scott Ashford, dean of the College of Engineering and Kearney Professor.

“Their investment, and that of our other generous donors, will have a powerful impact on Oregon and our world,” added Ashford, a 1983 OSU alumnus.

Johnson Hall follows two other major facility projects for the College of Engineering during The Campaign for OSU: construction of the $45 million, 153,000-square-foot Kelley Engineering Center, completed in 2005; and the $12 million complete renovation of historic Kearney Hall, completed in 2009. The university will celebrate donors to The Campaign for OSU during Homecoming Week on Friday, Oct. 31, at a public showcase and reception.

Source: 

Molly Brown, 541-737-3602

NSF grant gives OSU unique materials characterization capability

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has received a $648,000 “major research instrumentation” grant from the National Science Foundation, part of a $1.4 million package to allow the university to acquire a near-ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, or XPS system.

The grant will be matched by the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute, and Oregon BEST.

“There will be no other XPS system in the world that has all the same capabilities,” said Greg Herman, an associate professor of chemical engineering at OSU and the grant’s principal investigator. “This laboratory will enhance interdisciplinary research and education programs throughout the scientific and engineering communities.”

Conventional XPS technology is a surface analysis technique, which provides the composition, chemical and electronic states of surfaces and interfaces from materials or thin-film structures — information needed in many applications such as catalysis, corrosion, adhesion, semiconductor and dielectric materials, and magnetic media. XPS is used in the automotive, aerospace, electronics, healthcare, and petrochemical industries, and samples under study must be kept under ultra-high vacuum conditions during the analysis.

“A unique aspect of this XPS system is that it allows us to study reactions at pressures close to those on the Earth’s surface, while typical XPS systems operate near lunar surface pressures,” said Herman. “These pressure extremes can significantly change the chemistries that can take place.”

The near-ambient XPS system will be the foundation of the surface characterization laboratory in Johnson Hall, a state-of-the-art engineering building and the future home of the School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering. It will be available to researchers from OSU, the Oregon University System, and national and international collaborators from academia, government laboratories, and industry.

Media Contact: 

Thuy Tran, 541-737-0787

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Greg Herman, 541-737-2496

Grant to improve STEM success among underrepresented students

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has received a five-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to improve the retention and graduation rates of underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM fields.

The program will benefit underrepresented minorities, women, and economically disadvantaged individuals, and help address a growing national need for workers trained in STEM disciplines.

Targeted at students in the colleges of science, engineering, and agricultural sciences, the OSU program will use methods proven to increase STEM success, such as small, cohort-based orientation courses; mentoring by student peers; and workshops given by upper-class STEM students.

Faculty-directed undergraduate research in the freshman and early sophomore years, and the immediate post-transfer year for community college students, will also help provide students with enriching experiences that increase learning and provide economic support to help disadvantaged students remain in school.

The program is designed to benefit 276 student participants over its five-year span, and will be evaluated and communicated to other universities, for them to benefit by replicating its successes.

“This should also help build a structure, design and institutional culture of support for STEM students that will be retained long after the funding has ended,” said Kevin Ahern, principal investigator on the grant and a leader in university efforts to get more undergraduate students involved in experiential learning.

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Kevin Ahern, 541-737-2305

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Student research

Student research

Intricate algae produce low-cost biosensors

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University researchers are combining diatoms, a type of single-celled photosynthetic algae, with nanoparticles to create a sensor capable of detecting miniscule amounts of protein or other biomarkers.

This is a new and innovative approach to optical biosensors, which are important in health care for such applications as detecting levels of blood glucose or the presence of antibodies. They are also used for chemical detection in environmental protection.

Existing biosensors often require high-cost fabrication using artificial photonic crystals to make a precisely structured device. But diatoms appear to have just the right kind of intricate structure to integrate with gold or silver nanoparticles and produce a low-cost optical biosensor.

 “I've been working on this kind of sensor for a long time, and using diatoms instead of fabricating photonic crystals makes life much easier,” said Alan Wang, an assistant professor of electrical engineering in the OSU College of Engineering. “And from a commercial point of view it's much lower cost, about 50 cents compared to $50.”

Jeremy Campbell, a graduate student in chemical engineering working with OSU professor Greg Rorrer, brought the diatom to Wang’s attention. This launched a collaboration sponsored by the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute and Marine Polymer Technologies.

Although diatoms are being studied by other groups for applications such as batteries, no one else is researching their use for optical biosensors. Producing a low-cost sensor is important for a consumable product that is thrown away after one use.

Research has shown that using diatoms boosts the performance of the nanoparticles by increasing the absolute value of the signal by 10 times, and the sensitivity by 100 times. The current sensitivity of the OSU biosensor is 1 picogram per milliliter, which is much better than optical sensors used in clinics for detecting glucose, proteins and DNA, which have a sensitivity of 1 nanogram per milliliter.

“Combining naturally created structures with chemically synthesized nanoparticles has the potential to revolutionize the fabrication of photonic devices,” Wang said.

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By Rachel Robertson, 541-737-7098

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Walmart and The Walmart Foundation award OSU grant to help boost U.S. manufacturing

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has been chosen for one of the first seven grants from the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund created by Walmart and The Walmart Foundation to help accelerate manufacturing in the United States.

The $590,000 grant will support the development of innovations in plastics injection molding – one of the most common manufacturing processes for making consumer products – in which melted plastic resins are injected into a shaped cavity made by two metallic molds.

“Current practices for fabricating these molds are labor-intensive and costly, and much of the mold material is wasted as metal chips,” said Sundar V. Atre, OSU associate professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering. “We estimate that mold-making costs can be reduced by 40 to 50 percent.”

“That will give U.S. manufacturing an edge,” Atre added.

The Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund, in collaboration with the Conference of Mayors, will provide a total of $10 million in grants over the next five years. The first $4 million in grants were announced Thursday (Aug. 14) at the 2014 U.S. Manufacturing Summit in Denver.

“Researchers at many of America’s best universities are hard at work on tough manufacturing challenges,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of The Walmart Foundation. “We are excited to support the development of innovative solutions, which we hope will unlock new opportunity for manufacturing in this country.” 

Mayor Julie Manning of Corvallis noted that her city has earned a national reputation for innovation, ranking fourth last year in a report of patents per capita.

“A manufacturing renaissance is taking place in our region,” she said. “This project builds on the steps taken in recent years to more closely align the economic development strategy of Corvallis and Benton County with the growing success of Oregon State University and other local employers in fostering innovation and job creation.”

Over the course of the three-year project, Atre and his co-principal investigator, Oregon State mechanical engineering assistant professor Rajiv Malhotra, will work with three industrial partners – Metal Technology, Inc., in neighboring Albany, Ore., plus Arburg and North American Höganäs – to develop and test their manufacturing innovations. Part of the work will take place at the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute, collaboratively managed by OSU and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The team will work with the OSU Advantage Accelerator to develop a commercialization plan. This program helps move promising ideas out of the laboratory and into the marketplace, strengthening the economy.

Atre’s and Malhotra’s project is a prime example of the university’s leading-edge research that creates a better future for Oregon and the nation, said Robert B. Stone, head of OSU’s School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering.

“Making U.S. manufacturing more competitive globally is something all of us can relate to,” Stone said. “When we shop, we know the ‘Made in the USA’ label signifies jobs and stronger communities. This support from Walmart, The Walmart Foundation and the Conference of Mayors represents a vote of confidence in our track record at Oregon State of doing research with real-world impact, as we work in partnership with industry.”

In 2010 alone the U.S. plastics industry produced an estimated 16 billion pounds of injection-molded products for applications in packaging, electronics, housewares and biomedical areas.

The grant to Oregon State is part of The Campaign for OSU, which has raised more than $1.06 billion to support university priorities, including more than $140 million in private faculty research grants. The university community will celebrate the campaign’s impact Oct. 31 during Homecoming.

 

Media Contact: 

Michelle Williams, 541-737-6126

Source: 

Sundar V. Atre, 541-908-1483; Rajiv Malhotra, 541-737-5621

ChickTech encourages girls to enter technology fields

CORVALLIS, Ore. – ChickTech is hosting a workshop on Aug. 23-24 at Oregon State University to encourage high school girls to enter computing and technical fields.

The event culminates with a show on Sunday, Aug. 24, that’s free and open to the public. It will be from 4:30-5:45 p.m. at the Kelley Engineering Center on the OSU campus, and participants will display the projects they built.

The students may help create a robot, build a video game, or make a smartphone application, and are mentored by industry and academic professionals from high-tech fields. The event is free for participants, and includes an overnight stay in an OSU residence hall. It’s sponsored or supported by the OSU School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, the Women and Minorities program, the OSU Library, Tektronix, HP, Kattare, and Korvis.

The event is designed as a fun, positive learning experience to build participants’ confidence in their technical abilities, provide positive role models, and create connections with other young women from the area.

ChickTech is a non-profit organization, founded in Portland in 2013 by OSU alumna, Janice Levenhagen-Seeley, who was motivated by her own experiences to foster a more inviting culture for women.

“It was hard to feel like I belonged as a woman in computer engineering,” Levenhagen-Seeley said. “So I started ChickTech to give other girls and women the support that I didn’t have. I want them to feel like they are welcome and have unique things that they are bringing to the industry.”

Media Contact: 

Rachel Robertson, 541-737-7098

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Engineering Expo to showcase student projects

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The 15th annual Engineering Expo featuring student projects from across all engineering disciplines will be held Friday, May 16, at the College of Engineering at Oregon State University.

The event showcases nearly 200 student-built projects, including at least 30 that focus on sustainability and 50 industry-sponsored projects. Also featured are a Robo*Palooza, an award-winning Mars rover, and First robots. The event is free and open to the public, and will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kelley Engineering Center.

More information is available online at http://engineering.oregonstate.edu/expo2014, or by calling 541-737-3101. Follow the Expo on Twitter at #EngrExpo2014.

The various displays offer an exciting learning opportunity for anyone, organizers say, and may be of particular interest to high school students who are considering a career in engineering.

"The Expo is a collaborative and hands-on experience that helps our graduates transition seamlessly into their careers, and offers immediate value to their employers in today’s competitive job market," said Scott Ashford, dean of the College of Engineering. “It demonstrates the importance of research and industry-university partnership in creating top-notch engineering talent.” 

Among the various displays will be:

  • A campus shuttle tracking app that provides real-time locations on your phone, making it easier to park and get around campus;
  • A segmented radius solar collector that will significantly improve solar energy collection for remote locations;
  • An irrigation system to transport water for agricultural use to the Valley of Peace in Belize; 
  • A student-built rocket for the 2014 Intercollegiate Rocketry Engineering Competition;
  • An ordinary cell phone that can detect gamma radiation with the built-in light sensor.
Media Contact: 

Abby Metzger, 541-737-3295

Source: 

Scott Ashford

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Engineering Expo

Engineering Expo