Lewis Semprini, University Distinguished Professor in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering, was awarded $1.4 million from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to develop a new approach to remediate groundwater contaminated by mixtures of pollutants.
FY21 Research Funding Highlights
The College of Engineering at Oregon State University has global as well as national and statewide impacts. The nation’s 10th largest engineering college is a proven leader in research ranging from artificial intelligence, robotics, advanced manufacturing, clean water, materials science, clean energy, computing, resilient infrastructure, and health-related engineering.
In the 2020-2021 fiscal year, the College of Engineering received more than $64.6 million in sponsored research awards, its highest total ever, with funding from agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon Health Authority. The following is an overview of notable grants received during that time.
With $250,000 from the Office of Naval Research, Rakesh Bobba, associate professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, will offer research experiences for Naval ROTC and other undergraduate students in high priority areas for the Navy, specifically cybersecurity and advanced RF electronics. Students will participate in research projects to develop their skills. Seminars with speakers from naval research labs will offer connections to potential job opportunities in the Navy.
The National Science Foundation has awarded $706,063 to a team led by Naomi Fitter, assistant professor in the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering (MIME), to create robots that can assist infants with delays in motor skill development. Geoffrey Hollinger in MIME and Samuel Logan in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences will collaborate in the project. They are investigating techniques to develop and test an intelligent mobile robot for therapeutic interventions.
With $5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy, the State of Oregon, and LanzaTech, Inc., Brian Paul in the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering (MIME) leads development of a process to improve the conversion of biomass-based ethanol to jet fuel. Collaborators include researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, providing the enabling catalyst, and LanzaTech, a company commercializing jet fuel made from bioethanol. Paul’s team will develop a cheaper microchannel reactor design by integrating catalyst scaffolds directly within additive manufacturing builds, leveraging new polymetal additive manufacturing techniques being pioneered at OSU.
The Oregon Health Authority awarded Tyler Radniecki, associate professor in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering (CBEE), $5.6 million to lead and develop a state-wide wastewater monitoring program that quantifies the levels of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and identifies the presence of variants of concern. Collaborators include Christine Kelly, professor in CBEE; Blythe Layton, former faculty research assistant in CBEE and now a research scientist with Clean Water Services in Hillsboro; Devrim Kaya, faculty research associate; and Brett Tyler, professor and Director of OSU’s Center for Quantitative Life Sciences. With additional funding through OSU’s TRACE project and data from six Oregon communities (Newport, Eugene, Corvallis, Redmond, Bend, and Hermiston), the team has correlated novel coronavirus wastewater concentrations with the prevalence of COVID-19 at community and neighborhood scales. This makes it possible to use wastewater concentrations of the novel coronavirus to estimate the number of COVID-19 infections in a community, including both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals.
Lewis Semprini, University Distinguished Professor in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering (CBEE), was awarded $1.4 million from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to develop a new approach to remediate groundwater contaminated by mixtures of pollutants. The approach uses a type of bacterium that Semprini has shown to cometabolize dioxane and trichloroethane, two volatile organic compounds that have been detected in municipal drinking water sources. Semprini’s team has found a way to degrade these and other pollutants by passively passing contaminated groundwater through materials containing the bacterium. Their system has the potential to significantly reduce contaminants and to lower treatment costs. Collaborators include assistant professor Kaitlin Fogg and professor Willie Rochefort, both in CBEE, and Michael Hyman, professor of microbiology at North Carolina State University.
With a $920,000 award from the National Science Foundation, Yelda Turkan, assistant professor in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering (CCE), leads a team developing artificial intelligence techniques to create accurate 3-D computer models of infrastructure such as public buildings, highways and bridges. Detailed structural data can now be efficiently collected by remote sensing devices, but the resulting large datasets require manual processing. The project will automate the processing of such datasets into visual models for planning and design purposes. Engineers and planners can use such models to design spaces that meet complex requirements. Collaborators include Michael Olsen (CCE), Fuxin Li (EECS), Yong Cho at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Roger Chen at the University of Hawaii.