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02-27-2008

Clarkson University Engineering Professors Win Grants for Innovative Research

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/coulter-seed-2 008.jpg ]

These five projects are great examples of the innovative basic engineering research necessary to make advances in health care, environmental quality, and advanced new materials supporting our nation's competitiveness, said Coulter School Dean Goodarz Ahmadi.Coulter

Technology serving humanity, the motto of the Coulter School of Engineering, served as one of the major criteria for projects receiving this year's seed grants.

Asst. Prof. Shane Rogers, Assoc. Prof. Stefan Grimberg and Prof. Thomas Holsen of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering will be developing new techniques to measure the deposition of bioaerosols from agricultural operations. Bioaerosols are small particles from biological sources such as manure or dust from animal feed. They can harbor pathogens and, thus, can represent a significant health threat if carried down wind and deposited near human populations. The study will include some preliminary testing to develop bioaerosol samples collection and testing methods to identify the presence of pathogens such as salmonella or E. coli.

Asst. Prof. Kevin Fite of the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering has been investigating the design and control of advanced prosthetic limbs that provide output power capabilities approaching that of natural human limbs. He will be developing approaches to control a lower-extremity prosthesis based on models of human biomechanics. In particular, this work will investigate means for integrating the prosthesis into the amputated limb to enable it to behave as a natural extension of the amputee's residual limb. The research results should help a person with an above-knee amputation to walk with a natural gait.

Asst. Prof. Andrea R. Ferro and Post-doctoral Asst. Jing Qian of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Department have previously identified the potential for exposing humans to hazardous particles in indoor air from everyday activities such as walking across a rug. In their new research efforts, they will identify the scientific mechanisms responsible for the formation of this dust cloud. Ultimately, providing an understanding of the science will help to better predict the extent of human exposure and health threats associated with resuspended particles in our indoor environments.

Asst. Prof. Weiqiang Ding of the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering and Prof. Daryush K. Aidun, chair of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, are developing characterization techniques for new lightweight and strong composite materials that could find their way into automobile or aerospace manufacturing applications. In this project, they will explore the reliability and long-term durability of these materials in terms of the resistance to environmental conditions so that their safe use in engineering applications can be assured.

All of the seed grant projects funded through the Coulter endowment are aligned with three of the University's strategic thrust areas: advanced materials, the environment and energy, and biosciences and bioengineering.

Clarkson University crosses the boundaries of disciplines, nations and cultures in order for discovery, engineering innovation and enterprise to come together. As a result, faculty and graduates grasp the full impact of their calling, direct their research to the world's pressing issues and lead with confidence and distinction. One in seven alumni is already a CEO or other senior executive. Located in Potsdam, N.Y., just outside the six-million-acre Adirondack Park, Clarkson is home to 3,000 students preparing for rewarding careers through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, science, and health sciences, as well as unparalleled outdoor recreation and life experiences beyond the classroom.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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