VANDERBILT SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING - Nashville, Tennessee | 2021-2022 - OPTIMIZING - Vanderbilt University

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VANDERBILT SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING - Nashville, Tennessee | 2021-2022 - OPTIMIZING - Vanderbilt University
INSIGHT    l   I N N O VAT I O N   l   I M PA C T ®

Nashville , Te nne sse e | 2021-2022

inland waterway       Dual-band          Algae metabolism
freight capacity      optical processing for biofuels
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Numbers of note

             first-year students
                                                                                       best undergraduate

    are women
                                          %                                            engineering program
                                                                                       among private
                                                                                       research universities**
                          minority students

                                     %        of graduates
                                              have job
                                              offers before

756                                                                    40
         all-time high
                                       graduate and
                                       student enrollment:
                                                                                       %      women
                                                                                              among total
                                       16% increase over                                      undergraduate
                                       2020-2021                                              enrollment

                                                     60                        %   of undergrads participate
                                                                                   in research projects
                                                                                   outside the classroom

                                                     engineering undergraduates

120                                                          32                %
                            from 36
                            societies                                                         institutes and
                                                     have interned or studied abroad             centers

 *U.S. citizen and permanent residents who sought employment (Class of 2021)
**US News and World Report, Sept. 2020
VANDERBILT SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING - Nashville, Tennessee | 2021-2022 - OPTIMIZING - Vanderbilt University
INSIGHT         l   I N N O VAT I O N      l   I M PA C T ®
Pamela Coyle

Pamela Coyle, Brenda
Ellis, Marissa Shapiro, and
Jenna Somers

Mary Alice Bernal,
Finn Partners Southeast                          From the Dean
PHOTOGRAPHERS                                    The transformational force of computer science cannot be underestimated.
Emily Mueting, Joe                               With CS becoming, in effect, a core competency, the School of Engineering
Howell, Anne Rayner, John
Russell, and Susan Urmy                          hired 10 new faculty members in the first year of a multi-year recruitment effort.

Mary Alice Bernal, Finn
Partners Southeast
                                                 Surgery and Engineering
Solutions is published
biannually by the                                The first graduates of an immersive
Vanderbilt University
                                                 clinical training program for engineering
School of Engineering
Office of Communications.                        PhD candidates are poised to influence
                                                 patient care, medical device development,
                                                 and engineering education.
For additional information

about Vanderbilt
University School of
Engineering, visit                       Risk, Reliability, and Resilience
                                                 A case study of how markets that receive at least
                                                 some petroleum by river barges fared during the
                                                 Colonial Pipeline shutdown shows the potential of
Vanderbilt University is committed
to principles of equal opportunity               inland waterways to increase supply chain security.
and affirmative action. Vanderbilt®
and the Vanderbilt logos are

trademarks of The Vanderbilt
University. ©2021 Vanderbilt
University. All rights reserved.
Produced by Vanderbilt School of
Engineering and Corporate Design.
Vanderbilt Digital Strategies and                Cyber-Physical Systems
Development provides online
support. Printed on paper with 10%               Before urban commuters take
post-consumer recycled content
with ink made from renewable                     to the skies, a multi-institution
resources, as part of the university’s
commitment to environmental                      team with Vanderbilt engineers
stewardship and natural resource
protection. This publication is
                                                 and funded by NASA will
recyclable. Please recycle it.                   develop and test the foundations
                                                 of safety management for
                                                 commercial, self-piloted air taxis.

                                          2   Undergraduate viewpoint                      18 Surgery and Engineering
                                          3   Graduate viewpoint                           22 Big Data Science and Engineering
                                          4   Commercial impact                            24 Regenerative Medicine
                                          6   From the Dean                                26 Biomedical Imaging and Biophotonics
                                          8   New faculty                                  29 Energy and Natural Resources
                                          10 Notable                                       32 Risk, Reliability, and Resilience
                                          12 Engineering neighborhoods explained           36 Cyber-Physical Systems
                                          14 Rehabilitation Engineering                    40 Administration and Departments
                                          16 Nanoscience and Nanotechnology                41 Research Groups
VANDERBILT SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING - Nashville, Tennessee | 2021-2022 - OPTIMIZING - Vanderbilt University

    Internship success fueled by coursework,
    mentors, career development emphasis
    By Hannah Farley, Computer Science, ‘23

    This past summer, I had the opportunity to work as a                                on additional responsibilities and
    Technical Program Manager Intern at SiriusXM and Pandora.                           contribute in ways with lasting and
                                                                                        meaningful impact.
    I spent the beginning of my 10-week program learning about                              From a technical perspective, my
    the agile software development process, stakeholders in the                         computer science classes focused
    software development lifecycle, and using Jira, a project                           on coding primed me to learn a
                                                                                        new programming language swiftly
    management software.                                                                and comfortably. My engineering
        When I shifted into the TPM role I assumed full responsibility for a            management courses, specifically
    particular set of app features. As a TPM, I coordinated with engineering leads,     Applied Behavioral Science, helped
    software engineers, product managers, and UX designers to schedule meetings         me expand soft skills necessary
    and lead syncs. Additionally, I ran cross functional meetings, utilized the         to succeed in an engineering
    beta app to identify bugs and verify behavior, tracked project completion via       management role.
    Jira, presented to senior leadership, and participated in hallmarks of the agile        My experience at Vanderbilt also
    process, such as scrum, feature grooming, triage, and sprint planning. My           has been marked by the support
    responsibilities as a TPM also led me to learn a new programming language,          I’ve received from people as well as
    JQL (Jira Query Language.)                                                          organizations. As a Clark Scholar, I
        Separately, I coordinated with another intern to develop a standard,            entered Vanderbilt with an automatic
    optimized system for tracking progress and presenting it to senior leadership.      network of over 40 people who were
    Our mentors and managers, who recognized us as fresh eyes, explained the            invested in my success. In fact, before
2   issue, its downstream implications, what they had tried before, and what an         my internship interview, a fellow
    ideal solution would achieve. Through research, interviews, collaboration,          Clark Scholar spent hours helping me
    gap analysis, and trial and error we developed a solution that met the              prepare and assuring me I would do
    requirements. The following weeks were spent presenting our solution to             great. Not only did I find mentorship
    senior management and holding informational sessions to help existing teams         from older Clark Scholars, I also found
                                                       implement it.                    a great mentor in our faculty adviser,
                                                           More than a few Vanderbilt   who consistently provided valuable
                                                       experiences prepared me for      feedback, advice, and guidance.
                                                       this internship. The most            Still, I would have never even
                                                       notable is the overarching       been at SiriusXM and Pandora if not
                                                       premise of my engineering        for Vanderbilt’s emphasis on career
                                                       education: problem solving.      development and internships. Soft
                                                       Vanderbilt School of             skills and programming know-how are
                                                       Engineering’s emphasis on        well and good, but they must be put to
                                                       the development of problem-      use! Education is cumulative, and my
                                                       solving skills equipped me to    time at Vanderbilt allowed me to seize
                                                       meet every challenge with        this opportunity, learn a great deal
                                                       poise and enthusiasm. This       from it, and excel in my position.
                                                       attitude allowed me to take

VANDERBILT SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING - Nashville, Tennessee | 2021-2022 - OPTIMIZING - Vanderbilt University

Clinical observation
adds rigor, real-world
design constraints to
BME graduate studies
By Eric Tang, PhD candidate
Department of Biomedical Engineering

     It was midsummer as I stood out on the docks,
dehydrated, covered in mosquito bites, but still motivated
to complete my project, which involved constructing a
raft to hold blue crabs while studying their development.
By the end of my time at a marine lab, I had a makeshift
raft built from spare plywood and inflatable tubes, though
half of my blue crabs had escaped. While some might see

                                                                                                                                 Photo credit
this as a failure, I still view the process as a foundational
experience that foreshadowed the ups and downs of
doctoral research.
     As I continued my undergraduate studies, my
interests shifted toward the medical aspects of my major,
biomedical engineering. I joined another lab and began               My experiences in the clinic and operating room
work on a project to develop a handheld probe to image          have helped me better understand the limitations of
circulating tumor cells in patients with melanoma. I            current technology and the potential to improve patient
was introduced to the rigorous design constraints of            care. Ophthalmic surgery, for instance, is conventionally
translational research, which made the project significantly    performed under a 2D microscope. However, procedures
more challenging—but simultaneously more rewarding—             such as epiretinal membrane peels involve the manipulation
than designing a raft for blue crabs.                           of fine ocular tissues that are only tens-to-hundreds of
     In coming to the Vanderbilt School of Engineering for      microns thick. My own research, which involves providing 3D
graduate studies, I wanted to continue translational work,      visualization of these surgical maneuvers, can offer depth-
which led me to join the Diagnostic Imaging and Image-          guided feedback for surgeons and potentially help verify
Guided Interventions Laboratory under Dr. Kenny Tao,            completion of surgical goals.
assistant professor of biomedical engineering. My current            More importantly, my observation has challenged my
project focuses on developing image-guidance tools to           way of thinking about my own project. Engineering design
improve visualization of ophthalmic microsurgery in hopes       itself has many technical challenges, and clinical translation
of improving surgical outcomes for patients who have lost       and implementation of technology raises additional barriers,
vision though diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and         including cost, ease-of-use, and integration into surgical
macular degeneration. Through a collaboration with the          workflow. We also must be able to account for case
Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering, I joined      variability, changes in the surgical environment, and patient
the T32 training program, which bridges the gap between         and disease differences. With the guidance of mentors in the
the engineering and clinical sides of translational research    T32 training program, I have been able to think more broadly
with clinical observation. I shadowed Dr. Shriji Patel, an      and critically about my project, and I intend to maintain a
ophthalmologist and retina specialist at VUMC, obtaining        close collaboration with them to bring a fresh perspective as
first-hand experience of patient care.                          I continue my research.

                                                                                     NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | VU.EDU/SOLUTIONS/
VANDERBILT SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING - Nashville, Tennessee | 2021-2022 - OPTIMIZING - Vanderbilt University
    Widely used software tops 1,000 academic licenses
        A software tool for metabolic              INCA, or Isotopomer Network              INCA, which was released in
    analysis developed by a Vanderbilt         Compartmental Analysis, enables          2014 as part of the Young Lab’s
    chemical engineer has passed 1,000         researchers to model data from           Metabolic Flux Analysis suite, auto-
    total academic licenses and is the         metabolic tracer studies and quan-       mates flux analysis of isotope tracer
    most licensed software on the uni-         tify the flow of labeled atoms inside    experiments, which has become an
    versity’s online licensing and e-com-      living cells. The information pro-       essential component of metabolic
    merce platform.                            vided by INCA can help to better         engineering research. The most com-
        Additionally, it was the third high-   understand metabolic diseases and        mon metabolic tracer is carbon-13.
    est revenue generator on the platform,     improve the productivity of cell-        Researchers feed cells with a labeled
    VU e-Innovations, for 2020. About 20       based bioprocesses.                      nutrient, and the carbon-13 can be
    total commercial licenses have been            “We developed it to serve our        detected through mass spectronomy
    sold since INCA was released. In 2020,     own research needs,” said Jamey          as it is metabolized.
    a total of 125 licenses, the bulk of       Young, professor of chemical and             Young plans to release a major
    them academic, were sold.                  biomolecular engineering. “We were       software update later this year. INCA,
                                               investigating the metabolism of          which is MATLAB-based, is further
                                               tumor cells, how they use nutrients      distinguished as the first publicly
                                                 to grow and survive. We needed         available software package that
    Air quality startup
                                                      better software tools to make     can analyze both steady-state and
    advances to VentureWell                                sense of the data we were    dynamic labeling experiments. The
        An indoor air quality monitoring
                                                              collecting in the lab.”   latter are especially relevant to photo-
    startup founded by a PhD student in
                                                                                        synthetic organisms and cell cultures
    computer science is the first Vanderbilt University
                                                                                        that metabolize the tracer very slowly.
    team to be accepted into VentureWell, winning a
    stage 2 grant.
        Tim Darrah, who also is a NASA fellow, grew
    Intelligent Systems through the Wond’ry, Vanderbilt’s
    Innovation Center. The company is developing software
    technology that uses internet-connected sensor devices and
                                                                             Most Recent Fiscal Year

    deep learning algorithms to monitor HVAC systems and identify
    indoor air quality problems.                                                                    U.S. patent
4       Through Wond’ry’s Post Launch program, Darrah connected                                     applications
    with experts in entrepreneurship who also helped his team                                       filed
    successfully compete in the NSF Innovation Corps program. He

    said working with mentors and advisers at the Wond’ry gave him
    and his co-founders a chance to think through the details and
    nuances essential to a growing business.
        Teddy Dinker, MBA ’20, serves as the company’s chief revenue                                disclosures
    officer, and Kenneth Konam, an undergraduate student in chemical                                received
    engineering, and Diego Manzanas-Lopez, an electrical engineering

    PhD student, joined the team as well.
        At Vanderbilt, Darrah’s research focus is in cyber-physical
    systems and the development and application of algorithms                                       U.S. patents
    handling prognostics and health management and decision-                                        issued
    making for aerospace vehicles. He has worked on research
    projects in these areas sponsored by the Office of Naval

    Research, Department of Defense and NASA. Darrah is a
    U.S. Army veteran and served in Afghanistan.                                                    License
        VentureWell, formerly known as the National Collegiate                                      agreements
    Inventors and Innovators Alliance, funds and trains                                             executed
    faculty and student innovators to create successful,
    socially beneficial businesses.

VANDERBILT SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING - Nashville, Tennessee | 2021-2022 - OPTIMIZING - Vanderbilt University
120                                                                                           5-year totals

                                                                                                       U.S. patent

60                                                                                                     disclosures


                                                                                         139           U.S. patents

      2017            2018                  2019              2020                2021

                  U.S. patent applications filed                               U.S. patents issued
                  Invention disclosures received                               License agreements executed

Vanderbilt climbs in NAI ranking
    The National Academy of Inventors and the              institutes and centers. The faculty working with CTTC
Intellectual Property Owners Association has ranked        on commercializing their research spans the School
Vanderbilt University 35th among top 100 worldwide         of Engineering, School of Nursing, College of Arts and
universities granted U.S. utility patents in 2020.         Science, School of Medicine Basic Sciences, Peabody            5
    This is up one spot from 2019. The list was compiled   College of Education and Human Development, and
using data obtained from the U.S. Patent and Trademark     School of Medicine Clinical Sciences.
Office during the 2020 calendar year.                          “Despite all the challenges of the pandemic, we had
    It was a record-setting year for Vanderbilt            a tremendous year in 2020 thanks to the innovative
faculty and the Center for Technology Transfer and         thinking that is the hallmark of our Vanderbilt community
Commercialization. In FY20 alone, CTTC facilitated 1,057   and the dedication of the CTTC team,” said Vice Provost
material transfer agreements, 94 licensing transactions,   for Research Padma Raghavan. “Our position on this list is
33 investor pitches and five startup opportunities;        a reminder that the Vanderbilt research community has a
issued 76 U.S. patents and evaluated 168 invention         key role in shaping our world for the better.”
disclosures across 63 distinct departments, divisions,

$7,429,010                                                            Revenue generated from VUSE
                                                                      technologies in five years

These figures were provided by Vanderbilt’s Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization for the most recent
fiscal year (July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021).

                                                                               NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | VU.EDU/SOLUTIONS/
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Once a domain of room-sized mainframes
                                                   and esoteric databases, computer science
                                                   is everywhere and part of everything. Basic
                                                   understanding of it has become, in effect,
                                                   a 21st Century competency.
                                                       The World Wide Web launched as a public
                                                   domain less than 30 years ago. Your smart-
                                                   phone has more than 100,000 times the
                                                   processing power of the computer that helped
                                                   land U.S. astronauts on the moon. The global
                                                   digital payments industry is expected to top
                                                   $6.6 trillion this year. Computing technology
                                                   has exploded in terms of performance and
                                                   exceeded all imagination in creating value.
                                                       Moore’s Law predicts that processor
                                                   speed and overall processing performance
                                                   double every two years. Yes, it may be on
                                                   shaky ground, because in pushing the very
                                                   definitions of computation and processing,
                                                   artificial intelligence, quantum computing,
                                                   and nanobiology may prove Moore’s Law
                                                   irrelevant. The pace of growth with these
                                                   new technologies, at least in the short term,
                                                   will outstrip anything Intel cofounder
                                                   Gordon Moore envisioned.

6   21st Century
    School positioned for new
    interdisciplinary partnerships and
    evolution of computing

    by Philippe Fauchet
    Bruce and Bridgitt Evans Dean of Engineering

VANDERBILT SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING - Nashville, Tennessee | 2021-2022 - OPTIMIZING - Vanderbilt University
The School of Engineering is embracing this transfor-      and photonics and optoelectronics. In fact, this work has
mation. In an ever-changing technological world, we           been underway for years. With deep industry connec-
must adapt not only to stay relevant but also to lead in      tions, the Institute for Space and Defense Electronics is
generating new kinds of knowledge with new kinds of           the world’s largest and most recognized university-fac-
partnerships. Twenty years ago, our Electrical and            ing radiation effects institute. Vanderbilt Institute of
Computer Engineering and Computer Science programs            Nanoscale Science and Engineering, often in collabo-
were combined to focus on collaborations and strategic        ration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and other
growth. This past summer we “re-created” them as two          institutions, is creating new materials and solutions to
separate departments that must be allowed to grow in their    problems long considered unsolvable.
own ways and capitalize on new forms of collaboration.            These disciplines are inherently interdisciplinary.
   These partnerships will be with each other, with           Consider a few examples from the pages of this issue
researchers throughout Vanderbilt, and with engineers         of SOLUTIONS:
and scientists at other organizations. To this end, we        n An AI platform that invigorates education with

embarked late last year on a massive, multi-year faculty         narrative scenarios optimized for individual learners
recruitment push. Destination Vanderbilt: Computer               as well as groups,
Science will add at least 20 new tenured and tenure-track     n   A breakthrough using light to transmit data at
positions in addition to existing hiring plans across all         two separate infrared ranges—at the same time,
our engineering departments. These new CS hires are in            in the same device,
four strategic areas:
                                                              n   An algorithm that corrects for image distortions
n Autonomous and Intelligent Human-AI-Machine
                                                                  in brain MRIs to give researchers a more accurate
  Systems and Urban Environments;
                                                                  picture of neurological pathways, and
n   Cybersecurity and Resilience;
                                                              n   A system using sensors, drones, point-of-collection
n   Computing and AI for Health, Medicine, and                    diagnostics, and newly imagined data streams
    Surgery; and                                                  to predict emergent biological threats such as
n   Design of Next Generation Systems, Structures,                West Nile virus.
    Materials, and Manufacturing.                                 Research supported by the Data Science Institute            7
    In the first of three years, we hired 10 new CS profes-   has a broad reach as well: deep learning methods for
sors with specialties ranging from quantum computing          automating recognition of symbols on ancient pottery
to computer vision, cyber-physical systems, autonomous        in Peru; natural language processing to render church
vehicles, machine learning, medical robotics, and game        records of enslaved peoples written in Spanish and
theory. Additionally, we hired four faculty members in        Portuguese; machine learning to establish indicators and
three other departments. You will meet all of them on         potential interventions in so-called diseases of despair,
pages 8 and 9.                                                which contribute to higher midlife mortality in the U.S.
    The new CS and ECE departments will build on their            These latest projects span education, medical imag-
areas of excellence as well as evolve with new core compe-    ing, epidemiology, archaeology, history, and psychology
tencies. This arrangement also accommodates for forecasts     and public health. Large efforts also are underway to
in enrollment growth and the ever-increasing interest in      improve mobility, urban quality of life, and personal
computer science from non-engineering students.               and public safety.
    ECE will focus on four strategic areas based on its           With our new faculty, computer science will be
faculty’s established national and international recogni-     more accessible to a wider range of Vanderbilt students
tion: electronic devices, circuits, and computing hard-       seeking education in data science, cybersecurity, sys-
ware; design and analysis of digital devices integrated       tem architecture, and other computing-related areas
with physical systems; signal and image processing,           required for career success and advancement in the
communications, computer vision, and control systems;         world of today…and of tomorrow.

                                                                                   NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | VU.EDU/SOLUTIONS/
VANDERBILT SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING - Nashville, Tennessee | 2021-2022 - OPTIMIZING - Vanderbilt University
Meet the new faculty
    Ten CS faculty join school in first year of Destination Vanderbilt
                      Ten of the 14 new professors Vanderbilt University School of Engineering has hired
                      are computer science faculty members recruited during the first year of Destination
                      Vanderbilt: Computer Science.
                         Eight of the new faculty are in tenured or tenure-track positions. Two are
                      professors of the practice and will help balance the teaching load in a rapidly
                      growing department.
                         Destination CS is part of Destination Vanderbilt, a $100 million university
                      excellence initiative to recruit new faculty launched in December 2020. The multi-year
                      recruitment and hiring process in computer science will add at least 20 tenured and
                      tenure-track positions at the Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor levels.
                         The 10 new computer science faculty members are Jonathan Sprinkle, Yu Huang,
                      David Hyde, Forrest Laine, Kevin Leach, Meiyi Ma, Soheil Kolouri, Jie Ying Wu, Shervin
                      Hajiamini, and Peng “Dana” Zhang.
                         The other new faculty are Xiaoguang Dong in mechanical engineering; Andrea
                      Locke and Marc C. Moore in biomedical engineering; and Ahmad F. Taha in civil and
                      environmental engineering.

                      Jonathan Sprinkle, professor of computer science
                      n Autonomous vehicles, modeling, cyber-physical systems

                      n PhD in Electrical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, 2003

                        Prior to joining Vanderbilt, Sprinkle was the Litton Industries John M. Leonis Distinguished Associate
                        Professor with tenure and the Interim Director of the Transportation Research Institute at the
                        University of Arizona.

                      Ahmad Taha, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering
                      n Dynamic networks and cyber-physical systems
8                     n PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University, 2015

                        Prior to joining Vanderbilt, Taha was an assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering
                        at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

                      Xioguang Dong, assistant professor of mechanical engineering
                      n Miniature robotics, soft robots, biomedical devices, magnetic actuation

                      n PhD in Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 2019

                        Prior to joining Vanderbilt, Dong was a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute
                        for Intelligent Systems.

                      Andrea Locke, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and assistant professor of chemistry
                      n Nano-biosensers, paper- and micro-fluid design, optical spectroscopy, analytical chemistry

                      n PhD in Biomedical Engineering, Texas A&M University, 2016

                        Locke has been a postdoctoral scholar at the Vanderbilt Biophotonics Center and starts her
                        new position in January 2022.

                      Yu Huang, assistant professor of computer science
                      n Software engineering and human factors

                      n PhD in Computer Science and Engineering, University of Michigan, 2021

                        Huang will join Vanderbilt in January 2022. Her research interests are primarily at the intersection of
                        software engineering and cognitive science.

David Hyde, assistant professor of computer science
n Computational physics, graphics, machine learning

n PhD in Computer Science, Stanford University, 2019

  Prior to joining Vanderbilt, Hyde was a postdoctoral scholar and an assistant adjunct professor
  in the mathematics department at UCLA.

Soheil Kolouri, assistant professor of computer science
n Machine learning and computer vision

n PhD in Biomedical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 2015

  Prior to joining Vanderbilt, Kolouri was a Principal Machine Learning Scientist at HRL Laboratories, LLC,
  Malibu, California, focusing on aspects of deep learning.

Forrest Laine, assistant professor of computer science
n Computational game theory, numerical optimization, robust autonomy

n PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, UC Berkeley, 2021

  Laine’s primary interests are multi-agent interaction, multiple-object tracking, trajectory optimization, and
  robust machine learning.

Kevin Leach, assistant professor of computer science
n Systems security and dependable autonomous systems

n PhD in Computer Science, University of Virginia, 2016

  Leach will join Vanderbilt in January 2022. He is a Senior Research Fellow in Computer Science and
  Engineering at the University of Michigan.

Meiyi Ma, assistant professor of computer science
n Machine learning, formal methods, cyber-physical systems

n PhD in Computer Science, University of Virginia, 2021

  Ma has developed novel formal logic-based learning frameworks to verify and guide deep learning models,
  as well as decision support systems for integrated IoT services in areas of smart cities and health care.

Jie Ying Wu, assistant professor of computer science
n Medical robotics and machine learning                                                                           9
n PhD in Computer Science, Johns Hopkins University, 2021

  Wu focuses on using machine learning techniques to transform surgical robots from a teleoperated
  tool to an intelligent assistant. She will join Vanderbilt in January 2022.

Marc Moore, associate professor of the practice of biomedical engineering
n Regenerative medicine, biomaterials and biomedical design

n PhD in Biomedical Engineering, University of Florida, 2013

Shervin Hajiamini, assistant professor of the practice of computer science
n Green engineering

n PhD in Computer Science, Washington State University, 2018

Dana Zhang, assistant professor of the practice of computer science
n Data Science and blockchains

n PhD in Computer Science, Vanderbilt University, 2018

                                                                       NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | VU.EDU/SOLUTIONS/
     Mark Abkowitz, professor of civil         Cynthia Paschal, senior associate        and operation of ships and offshore
     and environmental engineering and         dean for undergraduate education         structures. He is president and CEO
     director of the Vanderbilt Center         and associate professor of biomedical    of ABS and a member of the School
     for Environmental Management              engineering and radiology and radio-     of Engineering Board of Visitors.
     Studies, was appointed chair of           logical sciences, was named a fellow
     the National Academy of Sciences          of the American Institute for Medical    Chuchuan Hong, Lauren Buck, and
     committee on Extreme Weather              and Biological Engineering. She also     Riqiang Gao received the inaugu-
     and Climate Change Adaptation.            was appointed chair of the ABET          ral C.F. Chen Best Paper Awards, in
                                               Academic Advisory Committee.             electrical engineering, computer
     Bobby Bodenheimer was named                                                        science, and translational research,
     Editor-in-Chief of Transactions on        Craig Philip, research professor of      respectively. The $5,000 awards rec-
     Applied Perception. His term as editor    civil and environmental engineering,     ognize top journal articles for which
     is Aug. 1, 2021, to July 31, 2024.        was appointed to the Transportation      a graduate student is first author. A
     He is professor of computer               Research Board Executive Commit-         gift from May Juan Chen, BA ’68, and
     science, electrical engineering,          tee. He is director of the Vanderbilt    Chun Fu “CF” Chen, PhD ’68, created
     and computer engineering.                 Center for Transportation and            the awards program.
                                               Operational Resiliency.
     Michael Goldfarb, H. Fort Flowers                                                  Mayna Nguyen, a biomedical
     Professor of Mechanical Engineering,      Marjan Rafat, assistant professor        engineering graduate student, and
     was elected as a fellow of the National   of chemical and biomolecular engi-       computer science graduate student
     Academy of Inventors, the highest         neering, received an award for young     Preston Robinette received 2021
     professional distinction accorded         and innovative cancer researchers        National Defense Science and
     solely to academic inventors.             from the Concern Foundation, a           Engineering Graduate Fellowships.
                                               cancer research nonprofit based in       The DOD-funded fellowships
     University Professor John C. Gore,        Los Angeles, California.                 are supported by the Air Force
     founding director of the Vanderbilt                                                Research Laboratory.
     Institute of Imaging Science, was         Cynthia Reinhart-King, Cornelius
     selected to give the Paul C. Lauterbur    Vanderbilt Professor of Engineering      Hoang-Dung Tran, PhD ’20,
     Lecture at the 2021 annual meeting        and professor of biomedical engi-        received the 2021 IEEE
     of the International Society for Mag-     neering, is the new president-elect of   Technical Committee on Cyber-
     netic Resonance in Medicine.              the Biomedical Engineering Society.      Physical Systems Outstanding
10                                             She assumes the presidency in 2022.      Dissertation Award.
     Anita Mahadevan-Jansen, Orrin H.
     Ingram Professor of Engineering and       Ronald Schrimpf, Orrin H. Ingram         New endowments will provide
     professor of biomedical engineer-         Professor of Engineering and Direc-      additional support for rising faculty
     ing, is president-elect of SPIE. She      tor, Institute for Space and Defense     talent. The faculty fellowships were
     assumes the presidency in 2022.           Electronics, received the 2021 IEEE      created with gifts from Sally Baker
                                               Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Merit        Hopkins, BE ’78, and David L. Hop-
     Lloyd W. Massengill, professor of         Award. He is a professor of electrical   kins, Caroline and Jack P. Williams
     electrical and computer engineer-         engineering.                             Jr., BE ’86, and Laura J. and William
     ing, received the IEEE Nuclear and                                                 W. Hoy Jr., BA ’64. The university
     Plasma Science Society Radiation          Lori Troxel, professor of the practice   matched the donations.
     Effects Award at the 2021 Interna-        of civil and environmental engineer-
     tional Nuclear and Space Radiation        ing, was one of two recipients nation-   A Vanderbilt Computer Science
     Effects Conference.                       wide of the 2021 American Society of     team won an IBM-sponsored chal-
                                               Civil Engineers’ Outstanding Faculty     lenge at the 2020 Neural Information
     Michael Miga, Harvie Branscomb            Advisor Award.                           Processing Systems Conference. The
     Professor and professor of biomedical                                              team’s natural language process-
     engineering, was named a fellow of        Christopher J. Wiernicki, BE ’80, was    ing model that took a description
     SPIE for achievements in technol-         elected to the U.S. National Academy     in English and converted it to its
     ogy-guided surgery and computa-           of Engineering for innovative lead-      corresponding Bash syntax, a Unix
     tional modeling for therapeutic and       ership in the design, engineering,       command language, took top honors.
     imaging applications.

from the cover

                                                                                                                                         Emily Mueting
At the top                                                Two Vanderbilt biomedical engineers
                                                          to lead prestigious academic societies
Two outstanding scholars in the same Vanderbilt engineering         further enhance the mentorship of our students and the
department have been elected presidents of distinguished            ‘lead by example’ philosophy we embrace as a school.”
academic societies. Anita Mahadevan-Jansen is president                 Mahadevan-Jansen’s technical interests include biopho-
elect of SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics   tonics, optical spectroscopy, and imaging for disease detec-
that serves 257,000 constituents from 173 countries. Cynthia        tion, neurophotonics, cancer diagnosis, optical guidance of
Reinhart-King is president elect of the Biomedical Engineering      surgery, and clinical translation of optical technologies.
Society, the professional home for biomedical engineering and           “I am reassured by the support of the optics and
bioengineering that serves more than 5,000 members.                 photonics community and I am excited to serve the society,”
     Mahadevan-Jansen is an acknowledged leader in                  said Mahadevan-Jansen, a SPIE Fellow.
biomedical photonics. She is the Orrin H. Ingram Professor              Reinhart-King, a BMES fellow, is a cellular bioengineer
of Engineering, professor of biomedical engineering, and            whose seminal work on extracellular matrices has con-
director of the Biophotonics Center at Vanderbilt. Reinhart-King    tributed to a breakthrough in understanding tumor forma-
is a trailblazing cancer researcher and leader in bioengineer-      tion. The citations of her cellular bioengineering research
ing. She is a Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Engineering,        number in the thousands.
a professor of biomedical engineering, and director of the              “I am drawn to building consensus, and I am not afraid to
department’s graduate studies.                                      explore new ideas to arrive at a better outcome,” Reinhart-
     “The appointments of Anita and Cynthia to lead eminent         King said. “We also are in a terrific window of having robust
professional societies reflect the significant contributions        membership, with many BMES members who are eager to get
they are making in ​their respective fields of engineering. To      involved with the society’s activities, and a national lens on
have both as faculty in the same department is remarkable!”         science and scientists.”
said Philippe M. Fauchet, Bruce and Bridgitt Evans Dean of              Mahadevan-Jansen and Reinhart-King will serve as
Engineering. “Their vision, leadership, and experience certainly    presidents-elect in 2021 and as the societies’ presidents in 2022.
will not only serve their colleagues around the world, but also

                                                                                          NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | VU.EDU/SOLUTIONS/
     Neighborhoods                                                            Rehabilitation
                                                                              develops mechanics
     The Vanderbilt University School of Engineering                          and robotics to help
     has nine core areas of impact in which faculty,                          restore lost physical
                                                                              and cognitive
     staff, students, and outside researchers provide                         functions.
     insight, drive innovation, and create solutions. The
     neighborhood concept aptly describes as well as                               page     14
     defines our distinctive culture of collaboration.
     Neighborhoods celebrate and leverage our               Systems
                                                            technology develops
     commitment to transinstitutionality, collaboration,    processes, protocols,
     and cross-pollination both within and beyond           networking, and technology
                                                            needed for the seamless
     the traditional walls of departments, schools,         and secure integration of
     institutions, and disciplines.                         cyber (software) and physical
                                                            (hardware, networks, and
                                                            users) systems.

                                                                          page     36

                                                                          involves understanding
                                                                          behavior of unhealthy and
                                                                          healthy cells at a molecular
                                                                          level and development of
                                                                          methods to disrupt disease
                                                                          processes, as well as drug
                                                                          delivery, drug efficacy, and
                                                                          tissue engineering.

                                                                                    page     24

Risk, Reliability and Resilience
advances risk quantification; improves
predictability; increases reliability of
systems, infrastructure and materials; and
                                                Nanoscience and
creates technology and materials with
more resilience.
                                                concerns the discovery and
                                                application of how materials and
                     page        32             processes behave on the nanoscale
                                                in diverse areas of engineering,
                                                science and health care.

                                                              page     16

                                                                                 Energy and
                                                                                 Natural Resources
                                                                                 targets transformative
                                                                                 research to enable
                                                                                 sustainable resource and
                                                                                 energy conservation,

 VANDERBILT                                                                      production, and recovery.

 SCHOOL OF                                                                                       page        29
                                                                            Biomedical Imaging
                                                                            and Biophotonics                                        13
                                                                            uses physical phenomena
                                                                            such as magnetic fields,
                                                                            radiation, and light to aid
                                                                            diagnoses and treatments
                                                                            of disease and dysfunction.

                                                                                   page     26
Big Data Science                        Surgery and Engineering
                                        concentrates on the collaborative
and Engineering
                                        efforts of engineers and surgical
develops tools and processes
                                        experts to create, develop, implement,
to harvest and leverage
                                        and evaluate technology, methods,
knowledge from data sets
                                        and tools that improve patient
too large and complex for
                                        outcomes and experiences.
traditional software to handle
and often involves predictive
or user behavior analytics.             page    18
                 page     22
                                                                                         NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | VU.EDU/SOLUTIONS/

                                        Taking a load off
                                        Army Futures Command backs
                                        soft exoskeleton development
                                        Ongoing academic-military-commercial collaboration wins first Pathfinder Project award

                                        Soldiers often carry 100 or more                     To help improve the health of                 bers, industry collaborators, and
                                                                                         soldiers and the success of missions,             soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division
                                        pounds in water, food, batteries,
                                                                                         the Army has turned to a Vanderbilt               at Fort Campbell. The concept,
                                        gear and more. Those in logistics                mechanical engineering professor                  known as the Soldier Assistive Bionic
                                        and sustainment roles may also                   and colleagues who developed a soft               Exosuit for Resupply, or SABER, will
                                        bend and lift heavy objects                      exoskeleton, or exosuit, to reduce                expand on more than two years of
                                                                                         back strain for warehouse workers.                informal design sprints, interviews,
                                        hundreds of times a day.                         Through the Army Research Labo-                   and field exercises between Zelik’s
                                            The extra weight and repetitive              ratory and the Civil-Military Inno-               team and soldiers of the 101st to
                                        lifting come at a cost, and back                 vation Institute, the Army Futures                understand their needs and support
                                        injuries are a big one. The U.S. Army            Command has invested $1.2 million                 field artillery missions.
                                        Public Health Center estimates                   in development of a soldier-inspired                  A big design challenge will be
                                        an annual count of nearly 100,000                exosuit. It marks the agency’s first              how to best integrate an exosuit with
                                        back overuse injuries, conditions                Pathfinder Project award.                         Army uniforms and gear. HeroWear,
                                        that degrade the health, effective-                  Pathfinder will support the work              the startup Zelik co-founded, now
                                        ness, and readiness of soldiers.                 of Associate Professor of Mechanical              mass manufactures the Apex
                                                                                         Engineering Karl Zelik, his lab mem-              exosuit, which is in use in logistics,

     Chad Ice / Vanderbilt University

                                        A Pathfinder award from Army Futures Command will support a collaboration between Vanderbilt mechanical engineers, industry partners, and soldiers
                                        of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell to develop an exosuit that will augment lifting capabilities and reduce back strain.

                                        VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING
agriculture, construction, and            Pathfinder supports collaborations      to research and development and
retail worksites around the world.        between researchers and creative        technology transition.”
In nearly all cases, however, these       soldiers to rapidly innovate high-im-        “We are building a new model                  15
civilian workers wear only a shirt        pact, research-based technologies       for research and development that
and/or a t-shirt.                         with a path to commercialization        is soldier-inspired, that connects
    “Soldiers wear a lot of other gear,   and prompt acquisition of products      the researcher to the stakeholder
like protective body armor,” Zelik        by the Army.                            in ways that heretofore have never
said. “One design challenge is how to         The project is part of the Sol-     been attempted and, most impor-
attach an exosuit without interfering     dier-inspired Innovation Incubator      tantly, in ways that quickly provide
with the other equipment?”                in which Vanderbilt University and      transformative research-based
    Additionally, soldiers need speed     Vanderbilt University Medical Center    technological solutions that advance
and agility during a far wider range      researchers in engineering, educa-      national security interests and
of motions—running, crawling,             tion, neuroscience, emergency med-      improve soldiers’ lives,” said Adams,
jumping, rolling among them. “It          icine, ophthalmology, management,       who chairs the Department of Civil
takes exosuit design to another           and other domains partner with          and Environmental Engineering. V
level,” Zelik said.                       each other, as well as with soldiers
    The SABER team’s ability to           and private industry.
leverage lessons from prior Vander-           Daniel F. Flowers Professor
bilt research and development and         Doug Adams, who directs the
from HeroWear’s translation of the        incubator, called the university’s      Above: Warehouse employees test out the
exosuit technology to a commer-           partnership with Army “a once-in-       Apex exosuit. The exosuit, or flexible
                                                                                  exoskeleton, is also in use in the agricultural,
cially available product make it an       a-generation opportunity to totally     retail, logistics, and military sectors. Photo
ideal fit for the Pathfinder program.     transform the Army’s approach           courtesy of HeroWear

                                                                                  NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | VU.EDU/SOLUTIONS/

     Team achieves dual-band optical processing,
     advancing silicon photonics
     A team led by Vanderbilt engineers has achieved the        and Near-IR Light within a Hybrid Hyperbolic-Material/
     ability to transmit two different types of optical sig-    Silicon Waveguide Heterostructure,” was published
     nals across a single chip at the same time.                online and in print in Advanced Materials.
         The breakthrough heralds a potential dramatic              Joshua Caldwell, associate professor of mechanical
     increase in the volume of data a silicon chip can          engineering, and Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor
     transmit over any period of time. With this work,          Sharon Weiss, professor of electrical engineering, led
16   the research team moved beyond theoretical models          the team.
     and demonstrated dual-band optical processing, a               Two innovations—a novel approach and device
     significant advance in silicon photonics.                  geometry—allowed disparate frequencies of light to
         Using patterned silicon to transmit optical signals    be guided within the same structure. Such frequency
     uses less power without heating up or degrading            multiplexing is not new but the ability to expand the
     the signal. Silicon photonics uses light rather than       bandwidth within the same available space is.
     electrical signals to transmit data. The need for faster       Leveraging the infrared
     and expanded processing has all but outstripped the        properties of hexagonal
     limits of adding more wire to smaller and smaller          boron nitride, researchers
     chips, which requires more power, creates more heat,       devised a hybrid, hyper-
     and risks data integrity.                                  bolic-silicon photonic
         Still, doing more with the same chip has been          waveguide platform.
     challenging. Silicon waveguides provide the principle      The structure was demon-
     building block of on-chip photonics, confining light and   strated to guide long,
     routing it to functional optical components for signal     mid-infrared wavelengths A novel approach and device
     processing. Different forms of light need different        within nanoscale thick-      geometry allow the guiding of
                                                                                             disparate frequencies of light within
     waveguides, but linear scaling to accommodate more         ness slabs, with the         the same structure, a significant
     waveguides would quickly surpass the available space       optical modes following      advance in silicon photonics.
                                                                                             Illustration: Caldwell lab
     of a silicon chip in the standard form factor.             the path of the underlying
         “It has been difficult to combine near-infrared and    silicon waveguide.
     mid-infrared transmission in the same device,” said            Mid-IR is widely used in the chemical and
     Mingze He, a Vanderbilt mechanical engineering PhD         agricultural industries. Applications of near-IR include
     student and first author of the paper. “Guided Mid-IR      telecommunications and medical diagnostics.
Deyu Li, Professor
                                                                                   of Mechanical

First demonstration of a classic
paradox effect bodes well for
semiconductor development
Nearly 70 years ago, the unexpected         According to the FPUT paradox,
result of a numerical simulation        the thermal conductivity of one-
sparked a chaos theory revolution       dimensional atomic chains would
in modern science and launched the      keep increasing with the chain
study of nonlinear systems.             length, which has been further
    In 1953, Fermi, Pasta, Ulam, and    demonstrated by numerous
Tsingou discovered an apparent          theoretical studies. However, until
paradox when investigating              now, no experimental data had
thermalization of mechanical            been obtained to prove the concept.
vibration along a single atomic         In fact, the divergent thermal
chain. Now, a research team led by      conductivity of one-dimensional
Deyu Li, professor of mechanical        atomic chains had been thought
engineering, and a former graduate      to be limited to academic interest
student has produced the first          because, in reality, achieving isolated   law length dependence, consistent
experimental evidence of divergent      single atomic chains of sufficient        with numerous theoretical predic-
thermal conductivity of aligned         length has been almost impossible.        tions. The behavior violates the well-
atomic chains, a direct consequence         In their paper, Yang, Li and          known Fourier heat conduction law
of that legendary numerical             co-workers discovered that when           and serves as the first observation
modeling, which is known as the         the size of a quasi-one-dimensional       of superdiffusive transport of one-
FPUT paradox.                           NbSe3 nanowire hits 26 nanometers,        dimensional phonons, which
    The groundbreaking work has         its thermal conductivity starts to        are discrete units or quantums of
significant implications for the        increase sharply as the wire diam-        vibrational mechanical energy, in
development of more powerful            eter further reduces. Such behavior       one-dimensional van der Waals
electronics and other devices where     is exactly opposite to the so-called      crystal nanowires.
relentless pressure for higher          classical size effect. They further           “The results are what I have
performance comes with a relentless     showed that the thermal conduc-           dreamed to obtain since I worked
escalation in heat loads. It points     tivity of diameter wires of less than     on thermal transport through
to a new route of creating a type       10nm becomes divergent with the           nanowires when I was a PhD student
of thermal superconductor with          wire length following a 1/3 power         over 20 years ago,” Li said.
thermal conductivity values higher
than that of any known materials.
    Li and Lin Yang, PhD ’19, now
a postdoctoral research fellow at
the Lawrence Berkeley National             The results are what I have dreamed
Laboratory, demonstrated
experimentally that the thermal            to obtain since I worked on thermal
conductivity of a special kind of
ultra-thin nanowires becomes
                                           transport through nanowires when I
divergent with the wire length. Their      was a PhD student over 20 years ago.
work, “Observation of superdiffusive
phonon transport in aligned atomic
                                                 				                               Deyu Li
                                                                                    Professor of Mechanical Engineering
chains,” was published in the journal
Nature Nanotechnology.

                                                                                  NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | VU.EDU/SOLUTIONS/

                                                                                                                                Vanderbilt University
     Immersive clinical training elevates
     engineering PhD programs
18   VISE alumni positioned to transform medical procedures
     At the side of clinicians, Winona Richey gained big-pic-      ability to identify important questions that, once solved,
     ture knowledge of workflow, patient experience, and           could create breakthroughs in clinical care.
     existing technology in the operating room. The exposure
     ignited ideas to improve tumor marking and surgery for        IMMERSIVE CLINICAL CONTACT
     breast cancer.                                                    In the first five-year grant cycle, improvements were
         Carli DeJulius shadowed a rheumatologist and multi-       assessed in the ability to ask important questions in sur-
     ple orthopedic surgeons, observing six joint replacement      gery and intervention, knowledge of surgical technologies,
     surgeries and interacting with patients who have osteo-       and understanding of procedural medicine. According to a
     arthritis and other joint diseases. Her research focuses      self-reported survey, trainees observed at least 15 proce-
     on drug development for osteoarthritis.                       dures and had at least 48 hours of clinical contact.
         She and Richey are biomedical engineering PhD                 Significantly, the trainees reported a perceived
     students in an intensive training program supported by        improvement of 34% in their ability to pose important
     nearly $2 million from the National Institute of Biomedi-     questions affecting human health.
     cal Imaging and Bioengineering. The goal is to go beyond,         “The engineering, surgery, and intervention ecosys-
     far beyond, theory and spark ideas with the potential to      tem we have built at Vanderbilt is something wholly
     transform health care.                                        unique and with no parallels,” said Michael Miga, Harvie
         Preliminary reports from the first five-year grant        Branscomb Professor and co-founder of the Vanderbilt
     cycle suggest the program makes a difference—those            Institute for Surgery and Engineering. “Many institutions
     immersive levels of clinical contact significantly improved   have engineers who collaborate with physicians. Vander-
     trainees’ understanding of procedural medicine and their      bilt is different. It’s much, much more.”

At left: Patrick Anderson, PhD ‘20,
right, discusses robot-assisted,
flexible endoscopic surgery with             Technological advances to patient care
colleagues at the grand opening
of new VISE space in December 2018.
Anderson was in the first cohort
                                             in the next century will be better than
of the immersive clinical training
program.                                     any science fiction fantasy you find in
Below: Andria Remirez, left, and
Margaret Rox, right, work on a
                                             your favorite books.
concentric tube robot designed to
perform endonasal surgery, using a
setup that demonstrates how orbital
tumors would be removed through
                                                                                 Michael Miga,
the nose. Rox is in the training                                                 Harvie Branscomb Professor and
program’s third cohort.                                                          Professor of Biomedical Engineering

    Clinical immersion for traditional graduate engineer-       REAL DOMAIN EXPERIENCES
ing education is not common, he said, but is essential to           The training program, which VISE administers, is for
advance procedural medicine.                                    PhD students in biomedical engineering, electrical engi-
    “With such integration, the technological advances to       neering, mechanical engineering, and computer science.
patient care in the next century will be better than any        The NIBIB funded it with a grant of almost $1 million in
science fiction fantasy you find in your favorite books,”       2016 and renewed it in May 2021 for another five-year
said Miga, also professor of biomedical engineering.            cycle (Grant NIH/NIBIB T32EB021937).
    He and Robert F. Labadie, professor of otolaryngology,          In the first of two core courses, trainees attend lec-
head, and neck surgery and a VISE affiliate, reported on        tures by 10 or more physicians who present their pro-
the program in Biomedical Engineering Education, the official   cedural specialties, interwoven with lectures on related
educational journal of the Biomedical Engineering Society.      engineering principles. A second course provides clini-
                                                                cally mentored immersion experiences in the operating

                                                                                                           Continued on next page


                                                                                    NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | VU.EDU/SOLUTIONS/
     Continued from previous page

     room or interventional suite, at clinical conferences,
     and in patient rounds.                                       A look at the first clinical
         Included are sessions with surgeons and interven-
     tionalists researching and treating conditions that
                                                                  training program graduates
     span procedural medicine: brain tumor surgery and            Six engineering PhD recipients haven taken positions
     neuromodulation implants to robotic surgeries in             in startups, health care research, and medical device
     the lung, prostate, and kidney, arterial and ablation        development. More than a dozen other trainees in the
     therapies in the liver, radio-oncological procedures         VISE program will graduate in the next few years.
     in breast and eye, and more.
         The approach, Miga said, provides engineering                           Patrick Anderson
                                                                                 Mechanical engineering, PhD ‘20
     PhD students with “real domain experiences.”
                                                                                 Lead mechanical engineer at EndoTheia,
         “Too often, rather than beginning with observations
                                                                                 Inc., in Nashville, a startup focused on
     of clinical barriers, trainees are either introduced to
                                                                                 flexible endoscopy
     a research laboratory’s perspective or integrated into
     a standardized design framework,” he said. “Without
     these raw observational experiences, innovation may
     become inhibited and, frankly, we might lose out on                         Shikha Chaganti
     some really exciting engineering ideas.”                                    Computer science, PhD ‘19
         Richey, for instance, wondered about breast                             Siemens Healthineers, research and
     cancer procedures after observing several of them.                          technology manager
         “Almost all patients have biopsy clips implanted
     near the tumor, but most have a separate localization
     device implanted as well. Shouldn’t we be able
     to leverage those biopsy clips for localization? If
                                                                                 Hernan Gonzalez
     we could, that would eliminate a second, painful                            Biomedical engineering, PhD ‘21,
     procedure,” she said.                                                       MD expected ‘22
         “The opportunity to work closely with clinicians                        Medical Scientist Training Program, VUMC
     throughout my training has provided me with invalu-                         Applying to neurosurgical residency
     able knowledge in developing technology that will                           programs
     easily integrate into the operating room.” V

20                                                                               Jon Heiselman
        SPECIALIZED MASTER’S PROGRAM                                             Biomedical engineering, PhD ‘20
        ADVANCES CLINICAL TRANSLATION                                            Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center,
                                                                                 postdoctoral research scholar
        A new professional master’s degree program aims
        to blast the bottleneck between breakthroughs
        in biomedical science and clinical translation that
        improves diagnosis and care.
                                                                                 Katie Ozgun
        The Master of Engineering with a surgery,                                Biomedical engineering, PhD ‘21
        engineering, and intervention focus is a 30-credit                       RIVANNA, ultrasound systems engineer.
                                                                                 RIVANNA is a privately held designer,
        hour program that promotes extensive exposure
                                                                                 manufacturer, and distributor of medical
        to clinical domains. Beginning with the fall 2021
                                                                                 technologies and services based in
        semester, three tracks are available:                                    Charlottesville, Virginia.
        n   Interventional imaging, therapeutics, and delivery,
        n   Modeling, simulation, image analysis, and data                       Megan Poorman
            science, and                                                         Biomedical engineering, PhD ‘18
        n   Robotics and medical devices.                                        Hyperfine, clinical scientist. Hyperfine
                                                                                 develops, manufactures, and
        The degree is offered by the School of Engineering                       distributes point-of-care MRI systems.
        in partnership with the Vanderbilt Institute for
        Surgery and Engineering.

   For individuals with drug-resistant temporal lobe epilepsy, open brain surgery is the current standard of care
to reduce seizures, and four of every five patients remain seizure-free after the procedure.
   But perceived risks of a craniotomy make many patients and referring physicians hesitant. More than
90 percent of U.S. patients who could benefit don’t pursue the option, which involves drilling through the skull
into the brain to destroy the small area in the hippocampus where the seizures originate.
   A project to develop a less invasive procedure got a big boost this year with a $2 million National Institutes of          21
Health grant to further refine a needle-size robotic surgery system with real-time MRI guidance for drug resistant
temporal lobe epilepsy. The eventual goal is to provide a minimally invasive way to achieve the benefits of
surgery but use a steerable needle delivered through the patient’s cheek, with thermal therapy to the brain.
   The grant is from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, one of about 20 specialized
institutes within NIH. The project’s research components include demonstrating that the system accurately targets
a defined amount of tissue, monitors the temperature, and treats the proper volume of tissue.
   “This will pave the way for clinical translation of this technology in collaboration with industry partners,
bringing a potentially curative treatment for epilepsy to many more patients,” said Eric Barth, professor of
mechanical engineering.
   The project builds upon earlier work in which the team validated the idea of helical ablation needles and safe
pneumatic robots and integrates those subsystems with MRI guidance. Seizures originate in the hippocampus,
which is located at the bottom of the brain, and the robotic system can direct a special needle through the cheek
and enter the brain much closer to the target area and avoid having to drill through the skull.
   Barth and Robert Webster III, Richard A. Schroeder Professor of Mechanical Engineering, are the principal
investigators. The team also includes William Grissom, associate professor of biomedical engineering, Dario
Englot, VUMC assistant professor of neurological surgery and electrical engineering, and two former VUMC
neurosurgery faculty. Barth, Webster, Grissom, and Englot also are faculty affiliates with the Vanderbilt Institute
for Surgery and Engineering.
   “Our goal is to develop a treatment approach that will prove effective at stopping seizures while minimizing
discomfort and recovery time,” Englot said.

                                                                                   NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE | VU.EDU/SOLUTIONS/
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