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Graduate/Research Seminar Series

Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology's Graduate/Research Seminar is offered every fall and spring semester, and features professionals from industry and academia sharing their experiences at Saint Louis University.

Occasionally, the speakers are entrepreneurs, SLU students or SLU faculty. Their talks are varied and topics can range from their research, their experiences transitioning from school to career, or instructional.

The Graduate/Research Seminar is a great opportunity for students to network and learn from those who have come before them. We believe our graduate students’ experience is enhanced by the inclusion of this seminar. Please see below for some of our recent  speakers.

Spring 2020

January 28, 2020 | Riyadh Hindi, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Graduate Education & Research, Parks College at SLU
Riyadh Hindi pictureRiyadh Hindi, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Graduate Education & Research, Parks College at Saint Louis University

Talk: Planning for Technical Research Publications

Abstract: This presentation provides information on the planning of writing a reliable and successful research paper. It recommends few steps that will help new graduate students prepare their first technical paper. It also provides some tips on selecting a good topic and gathering the right information about the publisher requirements. 

Bio: Riyadh Hindi is a Professor of Civil Engineering and Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Research at Parks College of Engineering, Aviation, and Technology of Saint Louis Univetsity, St Louis, MO. He has authored or co-authored over 75 technical papers and reports. He is a member of several professional organizations including; ACI, ASCE, ASEE, IABMAS, and SEI. He is a Fellow of SEI and ACI. He is a member of ACI committee 343 (Bridge Design) and former chair of ACI-343A subcommittee on concrete bridge design. He is a member and former secretary of ACI-342 committee (evaluation of concrete bridges). He is also a member of ACI 341 (earthquake-resistant concrete bridges), and ACI 441 (concrete columns). He has chaired and organized many technical sessions. He received his BS in civil engineering in 1988 and his MS in civil/structural engineering in 1992 from the university of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq. He received his PhD in structural and earthquake engineering from the university of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada in 2001. He is a registered Professional Engineer in British Columbia, Canada.

January 21, 2020 | Floyd K. Welsh, M.S.Ed., Director of Career Services at SLU
Floyd Welsh pictureFloyd K. Welsh, M.S.Ed., Director of Career Services, Saint Louis University

Talk: Professional Communication in the Workplace

Abstract: Communication is a skill that is necessary in every job you'll find.  Learn about the ground rules for effective communication in the workplace.  We will discuss the many forms of communication from interviews, using email, to meetings, as well as presentations.

Bio: Floyd has been part of the Career Services staff since 2015 and has worked with Parks College since 2016.  Overall he has more than 28 years of working with college students.


Fall 2019

December 3, 2019 | Jalil Kianfar, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, Parks College at SLU
Jalil Kianfar pictureJalil Kianfar, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, Parks College at Saint Louis University

Talk: Proactive Traffic Incident Management in the Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) Environment

Abstract: Traffic incidents are a major source of non-recurring congestion in freeway systems. Transportation agencies work to improve the reliability of travel through the prompt detection of, expeditious response to, and rapid removal of incidents, and then the recovery of traffic flow. In this talk, we discuss how the vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication environment can reduce incident detection time, and how machine learning techniques can be used for spatial and temporal prediction of freeway incidents. This knowledge will enable transportation agencies to proactively implement strategies to prevent or mitigate the effects of anticipated freeway incidents.

Bio: Dr. Jalil Kianfar is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Missouri and an assistant professor of civil engineering at Saint Louis University (SLU). Dr. Kianfar regularly teaches and conducts research in the areas of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), construction zones, and multimodal transportation safety. His research has been recognized as practice-ready by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Sciences.

November 26, 2019 | Vasit Sagan, Ph.D.,  Associate Professor of GIScience, Faculty Director of Geospatial Institute at SLU
Vasit Sagan pictureVasit Sagan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of GIScience, Faculty Director of Geospatial Institute at Saint Louis University

Talk: AI for Food Security: UAV-Satellite Constellation to Address Global Agricultural Challenges

Abstract: In this talk, we present recent advances in UAVs, satellite remote sensing, AI and machine learning to address global agricultural challenges and food security with case studies based on a number of projects funded by NSF, Department of Energy, and NASA. Specifically, we will demonstrate the power of UAV-Satellite data fusion supported by AI/ML on cloud in detecting early water stress, "predicting rules of life" (plant phenotypes), and terminal yield to improve food security. We also show how our research are being transferred to general public by using augmented reality.

Bio: Dr. Vasit Sagan, Associate Professor of GIScience, Faculty Director of Geospatial Institute at Saint Louis University (SLU). He directs M.S. in Geographic Information Science (GIScience) degree, Integrated Applied Science PhD degree and graduate and undergraduate Certificate programs in GIScience. He teaches an array of courses in GIS, remote sensing, geospatial methods, and GIS programming. His research focuses on developing state-of-the-art remote sensing and GIS tools, AI/machine learning, sensor/information fusion, and geospatial methods to study food and water security, bioenergy, and power grid sustainability from regional to global scales. 

November 19, 2019 | Dustin Loeffler, J.D., Associate Professor & Director of the MS Cybersecurity Program, School for Professional Studies at SLU
Dustin Loeffler pictureDustin Loeffler, J.D., Associate Professor and Director of the MS Cybersecurity Program, School for Professional Studies at Saint Louis University

Talk: Pathways to Cybersecurity

Abstract: This presentation will focus on domains within the cybersecurity industry, relevant certifications, and career pathways.

Bio: Dustin Loeffler, JD, comes as an Associate Professor and Program Director over the MS in Cybersecurity program at SLU.  Dustin previously was an Associate Professor at Maryville University and Program Director over the Cybersecurity and Data Analytics programs.  Prior to academia, Dustin has been an Ethical Hacker with IBM and a Chief Security Engineer with Boeing.  Dustin is also named an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2015 and 2017.

November 12, 2019 | Michelle Sabick, Ph.D., Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Dean of Parks College at SLU
Michelle Sabick pictureMichelle Sabick, Ph.D., Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Dean of Parks College at Saint Louis University

Talk: The Road Not Taken: Career Paths in Higher Education

Abstract: Careers in higher education can take a variety of forms, from teaching intensive at a small private college to highly research intensive at a large land-grant university.  However, many graduate students have only had experience at one or two institutions, and may not recognize all of their options.  This talk will provide a summary of the types of colleges and universities, the types of academic positions, and variety of university structures that exist in higher education.  Anyone who is thinking about working full-time or part-time at a college or university in the future will benefit from this primer.  In addition, students who are not planning academic careers will learn more about their current institution and their unique place within it.

Bio: Dr. Michelle Sabick assumed the role of Dean of Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology at Saint Louis University in July of 2016.  Prior to that, she was Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering.  Dr. Sabick began her academic career at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho where she served as Chair of the Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering for three years.

Sabick earned a BS degree in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University and MS and PhD degrees in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Iowa.  Dr. Sabick’s research areas are orthopedic biomechanics and sports medicine.  Her primary focus is on how highly ballistic human movements affect the joints of the upper extremity.  She is the current President of the American Society of Biomechanics.

Throughout her career, Sabick has been passionate about improving undergraduate engineering education. She has been highly involved in efforts to transform STEM teaching practices at both Saint Louis University and Boise State.  She is currently working on a Boeing-funded project to infuse more math content into the middle school curriculum in the St. Louis Public School System.

November 5, 2019 | Spencer Lake, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, McKelvey School of Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis
Spencer Lake pictureSpencer P. Lake, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, McKelvey School of Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis

Talk: Use of an Animal Model to Study Post-traumatic Elbow Contracture

Abstract: Post-traumatic joint contracture (PTJC) is a debilitating condition wherein increased stiffness following injury leads to motion loss and disability. The elbow joint is particularly susceptible to PTJC and suffers from a lack of adequate treatment options. The progression of elbow contracture is unpredictable and poorly understood, making it difficult to devise prevention strategies. Our lab developed an animal model to study PTJC of the elbow using injury and immobilization to induce contracture in rats. Our animals demonstrate significantly impaired joint motion and biological disruptions similar to the human condition. Importantly, these changes persist following remobilization of the joint, demonstrating the induction of long-term joint dysfunction following instigation of clinically relevant soft tissue injuries. Our work represents the first animal model capable of investigating injury specific to the elbow, a complex yet highly understudied joint. We have identified which peri-articular tissues contribute to PTJC and elucidated temporal patterns of pathogenesis. We have also utilized several longitudinal evaluation techniques to quantify the functional impact of PTJC over time. Ongoing work is investigating the ability of physical therapy or biological treatments (i.e., drug or cell based) to reduce the fibrotic tissue response and prevent motion loss following injury. Long-term, this work will improve fundamental understanding of joint health and help guide translatable treatment strategies for PTJC in the elbow and other joints.

Bio: Spencer Lake is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science at Washington University in St. Louis. He received degrees in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Utah and the University of Pennsylvania, followed by postdoctoral training at the University of Minnesota. His research focuses on multiscale structure-function relationships of musculoskeletal soft tissues and joints. Ongoing projects seek to enhance fundamental understanding in order to improve strategies to prevent and treat tissue degeneration and injury.  His work has developed new model systems to study challenging clinical conditions like elbow injury and joint contracture, designed experimental methods to elucidate multiscale tendon mechanics, and advanced imaging techniques to quantify real-time microstructural organization of connective tissues under load. Dr. Lake’s research has resulted in over 60 journal articles and more than 130 conference abstracts, and has been funded by the NIH, NSF, and several research foundations. He is the recipient of the 2016 Donald G. Fink Award from IEEE, the 2017 Early Career Award from the Journal of Orthopaedic Research, and the 2018 Y.C. Fung Early Career Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

October 29, 2019 | Michael Harris, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Washington University School of Medicine, Program in Physical Therapy, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
Michael Harris pictureMichael Harris, Ph.D., Washington University School of Medicine, Program in Physical Therapy, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science

Talk: More to the Story: How Bony Deformity Changes Muscle Mechanics at the Hip

Abstract: Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) dramatically increases risk for early hip osteoarthritis by altering joint mechanics. Bone shape and cartilage stress have traditionally been the focus of hip biomechanics investigations, but they not the only major factors in joint loading. We investigate relationships between abnormal bone in DDH and other major contributors to joint loading, namely muscle-driven forces and motion. In this talk, I will report how our studies combining in-vivo biomechanics, magnetic resonance imaging, and in-silico simulation have recently identified important differences between patients with DDH and healthy controls that may contribute hip joint damage. I will share how we use techniques developed within engineering disciplines, such as musculoskeletal modeling, to clarify the role of muscle in DDH symptomatology, mechanics, and joint damage to inform optimized treatment strategies.

Bio: Michael D. Harris, PhD is a biomedical engineer and Assistant Professor in the Program in Physical Therapy and the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis. He also holds appointments in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. Dr. Harris’ research links outward manifestations of orthopaedic pathologies (e.g. functional deficits) with internal abnormalities (e.g. bone deformity, muscle dysfunction). His lab uses an array of in-vivo and in-silico tools to characterize biomechanics in individuals with pre-arthritic hip disorders, and applies their findings within inter-disciplinary groups to inform surgical interventions and targeted rehabilitation.

October 8, 2019 | Parks Graduate Advisory Board Panel
Parks Graduate Advisory Board

Talk: Parks Graduate Advisory Board Panel

Abstract: We invited four graduate students to our Graduate Advisory Board (GAB) Meeting in the spring of 2019, and the GAB was so excited to hear about their experiences that we are bringing them to you. Our Graduate Advisory Board will be in attendance on Tuesday, October 8 to listen to your feedback and concerns on our graduate programs. We do not have a specific format for this panel, but want to have the opportunity to discuss current program issues, questions and things you would like to see, experience or add to enrich your experience.

 Your feedback is very important to improving our programs, so please attend and be willing to share and/or answer questions about your experience.

October 1, 2019 | Malcolm S. Townes, Assoc. Dir. Technology Commercialization & Entrepreneurship at SLU
Malcolm Townes pictureMalcolm S. Townes, Associate Director for Technology Commercialization & Entrepreneurship, Office of the Vice President of Research at Saint Louis University

Talk: Preparing to Succeed in an Innovation-Driven Work Environment: How You Can Benefit from Participating in SLUStart I-Corps

Abstract: After earning a graduate degree, many if not most students will pursue careers in industry.  Their graduate education is meant to prepare them for success.  In today's changing employment landscape, success increasingly requires skills in innovation and entrepreneurship.  Many companies particularly value employees in technical roles that can speak the language of business and enterprise.  This seminar will provide a brief overview of the SLUStart I-Corps program and how it can help students prepare to succeed in innovation-driven work environments.

Bio: Malcolm Townes is associate director for technology commercialization and entrepreneurship in the Office of the Vice President of Research at Saint Louis University.  In this role, he facilitates the adoption and dissemination of SLU research discoveries and intellectual property through technology transfer.  He is also co-PI and program manager for the NSF funded I-Corps Site at Saint Louis University (SLUStart I-Corps), which prepares University researchers and students as well as community inventors and innovators to extend their focus beyond academia and the laboratory.  Malcolm is currently  pursuing his Ph.D. in Public and Social Policy.  His research interests include policy regarding federal research and development activities, technology transfer, and innovation and entrepreneurship.

September 24, 2019 | Lauren Logan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, Ohio Northern University
Lauren Logan pictureLauren Logan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, Ohio Northern University

Talk: Energy Infrastructure and Water Resources: The Story of How Everything is Connected

Abstract: Understanding and quantifying relationships within the energy-water nexus (EWN) is critical if we wish to work towards solving today's Engineering Grand Challenges. Water is required for extraction and cooling processes related to energy production, but also energy is required for procurement, treatment, and delivery of drinking water to homes and businesses. With this big-picture EWN in mind, my work focuses specifically on the ecological impact that thermoelectric power plants have on waterways as a result of thermal pollution from cooling water discharges. Additionally, I explore the policy implications associated with thermal pollution, and aim to improve science-to-public communication among engineering professionals. My work is highly interdisciplinary, drawing on the fields of civil engineering, biology, political science, and economics. 

Bio: Dr. Lauren H. Logan is an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Ohio Northern University. Her research focuses on quantifying the impacts of thermal pollution from thermoelectric-power-plant water use on aquatic ecosystems. In particular, Logan focuses on coal power plants located on river systems that utilize open-loop cooling technologies. She recently earned her Ph.D. from the Energy-Water-Environment Sustainability program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is active in Tau Beta Pi, currently serving as a District 7 Director, as well as attending every national convention since 2007. She also volunteers for Ohio 4-H as a judge and contributor to Engineering Excitement Day at the Ohio State Fair and is passionate about the recruitment and retention of under-represented minorities into engineering programs.

September 17, 2019 | Ratna Ray, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Pathology, Doisy Research Center at SLU
Ratna Ray pictureRatna Ray, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Pathology, Doisy Research Center at SLU

Talk: Prostate Cancer: Prevention and Treatment

Abstract: Prostate cancer remains the most common cancer in men and is a major cause of cancer-related death, despite the recent advances in treatment. Metastasis is the significant cause of morbidity and mortality in prostate cancer and approximately 90% of patients die with metastasis. Carcinogenesis and metastasis are multi-step processes and understating the signaling pathways will help in developing future treatment modalities. The intervention of multistage cancer by modulating intracellular signaling pathways may provide a molecular basis for chemoprevention with a wide variety of dietary phytochemicals. Therefore, an ideal approach to inhibit the progression of cancer is to induce cell-cycle arrest or apoptosis using dietary chemopreventive compounds.  We have observed that bitter melon can be utilized as a dietary supplement for prevention in prostate cancer. In fact, oral administration of bitter melon significantly inhibits prostate cancer progression in a preclinical model without any adverse health effects, and can be utilized as dietary supplement for prevention of prostate cancer.
microRNAs (miRNAs) play a critical role in multi-step cell growth regulatory mechanisms. Revealing the function of miRNAs as potential oncogenes and tumor suppressors has generated great interest in using them as targets for cancer therapies and we demonstrated that miR-29b can be used as a potential therapeutic agent. Therefore, natural compounds and microRNAs are potential strategies for preventing and treating prostate cancer along with conventional therapy. 

Bio: Dr. Ratna Ray did her PhD from the University of Calcutta, India, in 1985. She has her post-doc training in the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  She joined Saint Louis University as an Assistant Professor in 1993, and rose to the rank of Professor in 2005. Dr. Ray’s laboratory is engaged in cancer biology work.  She showed that natural product (bitter melon) has anticancer activity.  She is investigating its role in tumor microenvironment including immune modulation using prostate, oral and breast cancer model systems. Recently, her laboratory initiated work on non-coding RNA regulation, and currently plans to understand the relationship between microRNAs and cancer therapy.
Dr. Ray is working to understand the mechanisms of hepatitis C virus persistence and end stage liver disease progression in humans. Her research group made a significant contribution in understanding the cross-talk between HCV and host cell factors in disease progression.  She is interested in identifying non-invasive biomarkers for early detection of HCC from different racial/ethnic patients.
Dr. Ray collaborates locally and internationally, and her research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for 25 years.  She has more than 128 peer-reviewed publications. She is an active member in the cancer and virology research communities, served permanent and frequent ad-hoc member of NIH study sections, served as a reviewer, editorial board member, and academic editors for scientific journals.

September 10, 2019 | Mahfuz Rahman, Ph.D. Candidate in Engineering, Parks College at SLU  
Mahfuz Rahman picMahfuz Rahman, Ph.D. Candidate in Engineering, Parks College at SLU

Talk: Study of Drying Shrinkage Mitigating Concrete using Large-Scaled Bridge Decks

Abstract: Cracks in concrete bridge decks shorten the life of deck by providing easy access for deicing chemicals. Most of the bridge decks suffered from early age transverse cracking due to drying shrinkage. This study experimentally investigates the effects of restrained drying shrinkage on bridge decks using 10ft. x 7ft. experimental concrete slabs designed to simulate a portion of a bridge deck. The large-scale experimental bridge decks used in this study was designed to closely replicate the restraint found in the field. Total six different concrete mixtures are evaluated including: (1) a mixture containing 100% portland cement, (2) a mixture incorporating Type-K cement, (3) a mixture containing partially saturated lightweight aggregate (LWA) to promote internal curing, (4) a mixture containing shrinkage reducing admixture (SRA), (5) a combine mixture of Type-K cement and internally cured LWA and (6) a combine mixture of Type-K cement and Gypsum. This study investigates the effectiveness of above-mentioned concrete mixtures to reduce concrete shrinkage and subsequent cracking.

Bio: Mahfuz Rahman is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Civil Engineering at Saint Louis University. He was born in Bangladesh. He completed his Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from Military Institute of Science and Technology (MIST). He also completed his Master of Science in earthquake engineering from Kookmin University, South Korea. His Master’s research was focused on seismic analysis of nuclear containment building considering soil-structure interaction. Rahman’s present area of research interest includes experimental, analytical and finite element modeling of bridges. Currently he is working in a project funded by IDOT to mitigate the shrinkage cracking in concrete bridge decks. Large-scaled experimental modeling along with real field bridge monitoring is main two part of his project. He also performs finite element modeling to investigate structural behavior on the bridge.

September 3, 2019 | Jenna Gorlewicz, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Parks College at SLU
Jenna Gorlewicz picJenna Gorlewicz, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Parks College at SLU

Talk: Preparing NSF GRFP Applications

 Abstract: Have you thought about Ph.D. studies but are unsure how to fund it? Currently a PhD student wishing you had funding? This seminar is for you. In this talk, we will discuss the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. We will talk about the application requirements for the program and present successful strategies for crafting a competitive application. Snippets of successful example essays will also be provided and discussed. Applications are due at the end of October, and now is the perfect time to start yours! Please join us.

Learn more about Dr. Gorlewicz by visiting her faculty page.


Spring 2019

April 30, 2019 | Diana Byrne, Ph.D. Candidate, Energy-Water-Environment Sustainability Program, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Diana ByrneDiana Byrne, Ph.D. Candidate, Energy-Water-Environment Sustainability Program, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Talk: Quantitative Sustainable Design and its Application to Water and Sanitation Infrastructure

Abstract: Quantitative sustainable design, a process of mechanistically linking design and operational decisions to sustainability indicators, can inform decision-making for water and sanitation infrastructure by enabling navigation of trade-offs across dimensions of sustainability (e.g., environmental, economic, human health). This process can help decision-makers target specific design and operational improvements, influence policies, and prioritize future research needs to advance infrastructure sustainability. However, to be useful for decision-making, sustainable design tools must address context-specific objectives and constraints. This presentation will provide an overview of the process of applying quantitative sustainable design tools to water and sanitation infrastructure systems, specifically addressing critical barriers for the practicality of two tools – life cycle assessment (LCA) and quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) – in two different contexts. Finally, future opportunities for advancing quantitative sustainable design for engineering decision-making, such as incorporation of social factors, will be highlighted.

BioByrne is a Ph.D. candidate in the Energy-Water-Environment Sustainability Program within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on applying and adapting sustainable design tools to evaluate water and sanitation infrastructure in both resource-rich and resource-limited settings. Prior to her graduate studies at the University of Illinois, Byrne received her bachelor's degree in civil engineering at Saint Louis University as part of the department’s inaugural class. Outside of research, Byrne is passionate about teaching and social justice and is grateful to be involved in organizations such as the Education Justice Project, which seeks to be a model college-in-prison program for incarcerated students in Illinois. Ultimately, she is interested in combining her interests in engineering and service to solve problems that have meaningful impacts for people and the environment.

April 23, 2019 Jenny Robinson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering Graduate Program, University of Kansas
Dr. Jenny RobinsonJenny Robinson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering Graduate Program, University of Kansas


Talk: Tailoring the Release of Estrogen Receptor Agonists for Sex-Dependent Regeneration

Abstract: The Robinson Lab is interested in developing biomaterials for sex-and age-dependent tissue regeneration. Specifically, Robinson’s Personalized Tissue Engineering Lab focuses on elucidating the role of sex hormones on musculoskeletal tissue homeostasis and disease and developing biomaterial scaffolds engineered to modulate cell response to sex hormones to promote regeneration. Robinson’s seminar will highlighter lab’s focus on developing emulsion electrospun nanofibers with tunable  release of estrogen receptor alpha to promote  regeneration in the temporomandibular  joint and knee meniscus fibrocartilage.

Bio: Robinson is an assistant  professor in chemical engineering and the bioengineering graduate program at the University of Kansas. Robinson received her B.S. in bioengineering from Rice University, Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Texas A&M University, and conducted postdoctoral research in biomedical engineering and craniofacial biology at Columbia University. Her research has been  recognized by a Whitaker  Fellowship,  NSF Graduate  Research  Fellowship, PEO  Scholar Award, NIH NIDCR K12 Training  Grant, a NIH F32 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Postdoctoral Award, and a NIH NIGMS COBRE award.

April 16, 2019 | Jianpeng (Jim) Zhou, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, IL
Dr. Jianpeng (Jim) ZhouJianpeng (Jim) Zhou, Ph.D., Professor, PhD, PE, BCEE, F.EWRI, Department of Civil Engineering, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, IL

Talk: Community Rooted Green Infrastructures for Sustainable Stormwater Management

Abstract: Urbanization has made significant impacts on the natural environment. Green space and permeable land surfaces were lost to impermeable covers such as roads and roofs. The changes resulted in a large increase of peak flows and volume of storm runoff leading to severe urban water management problems such as blocked hydrologic pathway to groundwater, impaired characteristics of urban watersheds, accelerated mobilization of pollutants and erosion, damaged ecosystems, and threatened public health. Green infrastructure integrates stormwater management with landscaping, offering a holistic solution to urban stormwater problems. This presentation will introduce the issues and challenges of urban stormwater management, describe the current efforts and programs to address urban water problems, discuss findings and experience of a number of recent research projects by the presenter’s research group, and link research with engineering application, community development, and public education.  

Bio: Zhou is a professor and former chair of the civil engineering department at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He is a licensed professional engineer, a board certified environmental engineer by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists, an elected fellow of the Environmental and Water Resources Institute of American Society of Civil Engineers, an ABET Program Evaluator for AAEES, and a U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Brazil in 2017. Zhou received his Ph.D. and M.A.Sc. from the University of British Columbia, Canada; and his M.Eng. and B.Eng. from Tsinghua University, China, all in environmental engineering.

Zhou has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in water and wastewater, engineering hydrology, stormwater management, and sustainable engineering; directed research in green infrastructures for stormwater management, wastewater sludge management, and life cycle assessment. His work has been funded by U.S. federal, state, regional and local governmental agencies, and industries. Zhou was a consulting engineer in Canada before joining SIUE. He has been a senior technical consultant for World Bank and Asian Development Bank funded environmental projects in the recent 10 years. 

April 9, 2019 |  Shantanu Chakrabartty, Ph.D., Professor in Electrical and Systems Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Washington University, St. Louis
Shantanu ChakrabarttyShantanu Chakrabartty, Ph.D., Professor in Electrical and Systems Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Washington University, St. Louis 

Talk: Expeditions in Self-powered Sensing

Abstract: At the fundamental level the process of sensing requires coupling of energy from the environment into a transducer followed by a process of measurement. In self-powered sensing, the coupled energy also serves as the source of power for the entire system. In this talk I will discuss the fundamental limits of self-powered sensing and the practical techniques to approach these limits. The resulting sensors are able to operate at power levels ranging from a few nano-watts down to atto-watts where conventional energy harvesting paradigms break down. Examples of sensors that will be discussed include self-powered mechanical usage monitors, impact monitors, self-powered clocks, time-of-occurrence sensors and self-powered biosensors. 

Bio: Chakrabartty is a professor in the school of applied sciences and engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. He received his B.Tech degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi in 1996, M.S and Ph.D in Electrical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD in 2002 and 2004 respectively. From 2004-2015, he was with the department of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan State University. From 1996-1999 he was with Qualcomm Incorporated, San Diego and during 2002 he was a visiting researcher at The University of Tokyo.

Chakrabartty's work covers different aspects of analog computing, in particular self-powered and neuromorphic sensing systems. Chakrabartty was a Catalyst foundation fellow from 1999-2004 and is a recipient of National Science Foundation's CAREER award, University Teacher-Scholar Award from MSU and the 2012 Technology of the Year Award from MSU Technologies. Chakrabartty is a senior member of the IEEE with over 170 journal and conference publications along with ten issued and pending US patents. He is currently serving as the associate editor for IEEE Transactions of Biomedical Circuits and Systems and a review editor for Frontiers of Neuromorphic Engineering journal.

April 2, 2019 | Jamey Jacob, Ph.D., Director, Unmanned Systems Research Institute, Oklahoma State University
Jamey JacobJamey Jacob, Ph.D., Director, Unmanned Systems Research Institute, John Hendrix Chair and Professor of Aerospace Engineering, School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Oklahoma State University

Talk: Winds of Change: The Future of Unmanned Aircraft in Weather

Abstract: Unmanned Aircraft Systems, aka drones, have been proposed for use in a number of areas outside of traditional reconnaissance, including agriculture and infrastructure modeling. Additional civilian applications that are being explored include weather and wildfire monitoring. Researchers at OSU have partnered with NOAA and partner universities through the CLOUD-MAP project to develop and use UAS to help increase our understanding of tornado genesis with the goal of increasing the forecasting capability and warning time of severe storms and deadly tornadoes. While the primary goal is to take measurements that will increase our knowledge of how these storms form, they will also track cyclones as they develop. This will provide information currently only obtainable by storm chasers who put themselves directly in the path of the storm. Future use of UAS will enhance storm-chasing capabilities while allowing the chasers to maintain a safe distance from the storm. The same systems can be used to search for survivors after a storm and perform immediate post-tornado damage assessment. UAS can also be used to obtain data from wildfires to develop better computational models to predict how fires form and behave. These models will help us understand how fires evolve to allow emergency services to contact residents and businesses that may be located in the path of the fire, saving lives and property. This talk explores some of the work currently being done in these areas as well as discuss the future of autonomy, including swarms and driverless cars.

Bio: Jacob is the John Hendrix Chair and Professor in the School Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and director of the Unmanned Systems Research Institute at Oklahoma State University. He is the author of over 200 papers in the areas of unmanned systems, aerodynamics, plasma dynamics, and space travel with research highlighted in Scientific American, National Geographic and Wired, among others. He received his B.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Oklahoma in 1990 and his M.S and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1992 and 1995, respectively. He was a National Research Council Summer Faculty Fellow in the Air Force Research Laboratory at WPAFB in both 2003 and 2004. He spent 10 years as a professor at the University of Kentucky in the mechanical engineering department. He currently serves on the governor’s Aerospace and Autonomous Systems Council and as president of the Unmanned Systems Alliance of Oklahoma. He founded the OSU Unmanned Systems Research Institute in 2015 to support ongoing activities in autonomous systems across the OSU campus and throughout Oklahoma.

March 26, 2019 | Gary D. Renieri, Technical Fellow (Retired), Boeing Research and Technology, St. Louis
Gary RenieriGary D. Renieri, Technical Fellow (Retired), Boeing Research and Technology, St. Louis

Talk: Why Composites?

Abstract: Composite materials, commonly shortened to composites, are materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties that, when combined, produce a material emphasizing the best qualities of the constituents. The disadvantages of the individual constituents are overcome by the presence of the other constituents. While each constituent retains its separate chemical, physical, and mechanical properties, properties that no constituent exhibits in and of itself are created by the interaction of the individual constituents. The new material may be preferred for many reasons over traditional materials: performance improvements, lower manufacturing cost through part reduction, and supportability improvements.  Renieri will overview his experience with composites, discuss applications of composites, and current and potential uses of composites in aerospace, infrastructure, transportation, sporting goods, marine product, and biomedical applications.

Essential to utilizing composites is the understanding of their behavior based on materials selected, fabrication process, structural environment, and cost.  Renieri will discuss a potential course “Mechanical Behavior of Composites” to be offered in the 2019 fall semester. The course is designed for seniors and graduate students little or no knowledge of composites. The goal of this course is to provide a sound foundation in the Constitutive relations (A, B, D matrices) for both lamina (single layer) and laminates (multiple combined layers). This foundation is applicable to all aspects of product development engineering disciplines: Structures, Design, Materials and Processing, and Manufacturing. The course provides an overview of Design Principles - dos and don'ts.  Those in the following engineering degree programs would benefit:  aerospace, mechanical, biomedical, civil, and engineering mechanics.

Bio: Renieri has been an active adjunct professor since 1989 in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Washington University, where he teaches a course in the mechanical behavior of composite materials.  He has also participated in many Ph.D. review panels at Washington University.

Renieri has published over 70 papers and significant company reports in the areas of composite design, analysis and testing, ballistic testing and damage assessment of composite structures, composite structures repairs and associated analysis techniques, and affordable manufacturing methods.

During his nearly 40 years at Boeing, Renieri either lead or was part of many Boeing sponsored composite training courses as part of offset credits. These efforts have included assignments in Italy, Finland and the Netherlands and the training of engineers from Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Korea at the Boeing facility in St. Louis.  

March 19, 2019 |  John J. Myers, Ph.D., Professor of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering and Associate Dean for the College of Engineering and Computing, Missouri S&T
John MyersJohn J. Myers, Ph.D., Professor of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering and Associate Dean for the College of Engineering and Computing, Missouri S&T

Talk: Bridging the Past to the Future: An Overview of Advances in Bridge Engineering for Mitigation of Infrastructure Deterioration

Abstract: This presentation will highlight advances bridge engineering within Missouri from efforts conducted at Missouri S&T over the past two decades. It includes research efforts which initiated from developmental work within the laboratory and then advanced into field demonstration and implementation for field monitoring and evaluation. Highlights include some of the first implementation projects in the United States including advances in concrete materials such as HSC, HS-SCC, HVFA-SCC, HVFAC as well as repair systems FRP, SRP, FRCM, and SRG.

Bio: Myers, P.E., is a professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering and associate dean for the College of Engineering and Computing, joined Missouri S&T under the University's Infrastructure Mission Enhancement Program in 1999. Myers has been actively involved in high performance materials for structural engineering applications from a research standpoint for the past 27 years. In particular, his focus has concentrated on high performance concrete behavior and durability performance, sustainable materials development and composites materials for use in new construction, structural repair and strengthening applications. He also has research interests in the field of structural health monitoring and instrumentation related to NDE and load testing and assessment of structures.

February 19, 2019 | Nathaniel Huebsch, Ph.D, Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis
Nate HuebschNathaniel Huebsch, Ph.D., Assistant Professor,  Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis


Talk: Modeling Inherited Disease and Cardiotoxicity Using Engineering Micro-Heart Muscle Derived from Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Abstract: Stem cell technology holds immense potential for tissue replacements therapies and for guiding drug development. However, these possibilities are hampered by challenges in controlling transplanted cell fate, and the limited prognostic capabilities of overly simplistic in vitro models.

His lab uses biomaterials and bioengineering approaches to overcome both sets of challenges. In this talk, Dr. Huebsch will focus on his work on engineering tissues from Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) derived cardiomyocytes (iPS-CM) in order to study how mechanical cues synergize with genetics and drugs to influence cellular physiology and molecular signaling. When they culture iPS-CM in “tissue-like” micro-environments, the ability to model inherited diseases related to sarcomere mutations (MYBPC3) is enhanced. Importantly, mechanical cues (afterload) influence the genotype-phenotype relationship. In miniaturized tissue models, they can also enhance iPS-CM maturity by altering the metabolic environment (ATP source), whereas the same soluble signal has no discernible effect in 2D culture. To carry out this multidisciplinary work, his lab uses technologies from molecular biology, image processing, micro-fabrication and tissue engineering.

Finally, Huebsch will discuss his lab’s current efforts to use iPS-CM micro-tissues to study inherited arrhythmogenic disease, including the development of high-throughput methods for controlling iPS-CM tissue mechanical loading, and to integrate these tissues with micro-electrode arrays (MEA) to facilitate continuous monitoring of tissue electrophysiology. 

Bio: Huebsch did his B.S. in bioengineering at UC Berkeley, where he did research on biomimetic hydrogels with Kevin E. Healy, Ph.D. In 2004, Huebsch entered the Medical Engineering and Medical Physics (MEMP) joint Harvard-MIT PhD program. During his Ph.D.,Huebsch studied engineering sciences at Harvard University and did research on stromal cell mechanobiology under the guidance of David J. Mooney, Ph.D. In 2010, Huebsch began his postdoctoral training on disease modeling with human induced pluripotent (iPS) stem cell technology under the guidance of  Healy at UC Berkeley and Bruce Conklin, M.D., at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease. Huebsch work as a postdoc and research scientist focused on micro-fabricated models of human heart tissue to model cardiac physiology using iPS-derived cardiomyocytes, and on applying new molecular tools to control iPS-cardiomyocyte behavior. Huebsch joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Washington University in Saint Louis in 2018 as an assistant professor. His lab develops miniaturized engineered heart muscle from iPS that are genetically prone to develop cardiomyopathy, and also creates hydrogels that mimic growth factor presentation from the Extracellular Matrix for regenerative medicine. 

February 12, 2019 | Nabil Khater, Assistant Professor, Center for Radiation Medicine, Saint Louis University
Nabil KhaterNabil Khater, Assistant Professor, Center for Radiation Medicine, Saint Louis University

Talk: Introduction to Radiation Therapy and Related Bio-Medical Research Topics

Abstract: Underlying reasons and technologies for using radiation as a therapeutic agent for cancer therapy are previewed. Introductions to radiobiology, x-ray interactions and x-ray generation are presented. A brief evolution of radiation therapy technology is previewed. Two engineering and biomedical science related research topics are introduced:  patient positioning in head and neck cancer radiotherapy and targeted radio-immunotherapy in solid tumors. Critical barriers, importance and bio-engineering solutions are discussed.


Georgia Institute of Technology - M.S. in Medical Physics and Health Physics– September 1991
Georgia Institute of Technology - M.S. in Mechanical Engineering – December 1986
Georgia Institute of Technology - B.S. in Mechanical Engineering – March 1985

Emory University Crawford Long Hospital, Atlanta, Georgia 
St. Joseph’s Hospital, Atlanta, Georgia 

DeKalb Medical Center, Atlanta, Georgia

Positions and Employment
2017- Present: Assistant Professor, Center for Radiation Medicine, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO, USA
2012-2017: Chief Medical Physicist, Dept. of Radiation Oncology, Univ. of St. Joseph, Hotel-Dieu Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon
1999-2012: Research Associate, Lead Medical Physicist, Dept. of Radiation Oncology, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
1991-1998: Medical Physicist, Dept. of Radiation Oncology, Via-Christy Regional Medical Center, Wichita, Kansas, USA

Professional Memberships and Committees
1985-Present Member, American Association of Physicists in Medicine

American Board of Radiology (06/95) “Therapeutic Radiological Physics”
American Board of Medical Physics (05/96) “Radiation Oncology” (Recertified: 2006, 10, 16)

Selected Peer-reviewed Publications
1. Huib M Vriesendorp, Hal A Droogleever Fortuyn, Dimor Elbers and Nabil Khater. Cheaper, Faster, Development of More Effective New Treatments. Int J Cancer Oncol Vol 5:2. 2018. DOI: 10.15436/2377-0902.18.1888.
2. Taddei PJ, Khater N, Youssef B, Howell RM, Jalbout W, Zhang R, Geara FB, Giebeler A, Mahajan A, Mirkovic D, Newhauser WD. Low- and middle-income countries can reduce risks of subsequent neoplasms by referring pediatric craniospinal cases to centralized proton treatment centers. Biomed. Phys. Eng. Express. 4 025029 (2018)
3. Khater N, Kap M, Sayah R, Elbers D, Vriesendorp HM (2017). Radiolabeled Immunoglobulin Therapy for Patients with Solid Tumors. J Nucl Med Radiat Ther 8: 338. doi: 10.4172/2155-9619.1000338 (Accepted for publication on August 1, 2017).
4. Taddei PJ, Khater N, Zhang R, Geara FB, Mahajan A, Jalbout W, Pérez-Andújar A, Youssef B, Newhauser WD. Inter-Institutional Comparison of Personalized Risk Assessments for Second Malignant Neoplasms for a 13-Year-Old Girl Receiving Proton versus Photon Craniospinal Irradiation. Cancers. 7, 407-426 (2015).
5. P. Taddei, W. Jalbout, R. Howell, N. Khater, F. Geara, K. Homann and W. D. Newhauser. Analytical model for out-of-field dose in photon craniospinal irradiation. Phys. Med. Biol. 58 (2013) 7463–7479.

February 5, 2019 | Cory Seidel, Ph.D. Candidate in Mechanical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis
Cory SeidelCory Seidel, Ph.D. Candidate in Mechanical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis

Talk: Analysis of Inter-Rotor Coupling in a Coaxial Rotor System

Abstract: The development of the finite-state method and inflow models over the last 50 years have made them ideal solutions for induced flow in rotorcraft because inflow models explain the physics of the dynamic behavior and are designed in a hierarchical nature to incorporate previous models. Inflow models are computationally less expensive than CFD and vortex-lattice method (VLM) solutions and can even be calculated in real-time. Until the application of the Adjoint Theorem in 2012, only the flow on and above the rotor disk could be studied with finite-state models. The Adjoint Theorem has now made it possible for analysis of flow below the rotor disk and investigation of multirotor systems and the resultant coupled dynamics.

In this talk, Seidel will present work on the application of existing finite-state potential flow models (including the Adjoint Theorem) to the coupled inflow and rotor dynamics of coaxial rotor systems. Because the Adjoint Theorem involves coupling of rotor and inflow state with adjoint rotor states (including pure time delays in both types of variables), the resultant coupled dynamics experiences characteristics previously not studied in a dynamic system. In order to study this new behavior, this present work first introduces a dynamic inflow model that does more than compute the flow on a given rotor (as is done with most inflow models). Rather the model must compute for each of two interacting rotors:  the flow above each rotor and the flow below the upper rotor. This must be done so that the effect of the lower rotor on the upper (and of the upper rotor on the lower) can be found in a flight simulation.

Bio: Seidel is currently Ph.D. candidate at Washington University in St. Louis where he began his studies in January 2017. Prior to attending Washington University, he received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering from Saint Louis University. His master’s thesis focused on bio-inspired wind turbine design with Dr. Sanjay Jayaram. His Ph.D. dissertation work focuses on the development of finite state inflow models for coaxial rotor systems to model rotor coupling and dynamics. Outside of academic studies, Seidel has spent four summers as a research intern at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. His work focused on uncertainty quantification in fatigue life specimens and artificial target generation and data scoring analysis using machine learning algorithms. His other research interests include computational fluid dynamics, wind energy, urban renewable energy, and machine learning. He is a member of Tau Beta Pi, the Vertical Flight Society, AIAA, and an InSITE Fellow.

January 22, 2019 | Ramzi Roy Labban, Ph.D, CEO at Previse AI
Ramzi Roy LabbanRamzi Roy Labban, Ph.D., CEO at Previse AI

Talk: Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and Computer Simulation in Construction

Abstract: Although the engineering and construction sector stands as one of the largest industries in the world, it remains one of the least efficient. It also is one of the least digitized industries in the world, ranking second to last in the USA. Overall, 98% of capital projects run into schedule delays and/or overruns. Large, complex projects are tough to manage using traditional CEM tools and techniques. Computer simulation has shown itself to be quite effective in designing, analyzing, and optimizing construction processes regardless of the complexity or size of projects. Additionally, IoT, Big Data, and Machine Learning can play a significant role in using production data to improve construction process productivity and predictability. This presentation aims at surveying, briefly, the different computer modeling and simulation techniques and applications that have been found to be quite effective on a number of different construction processes; describing a construction industry-first artificial intelligence/machine learning application to predict construction equipment performance; and  present a real-life case study of the application of computer simulation and machine learning at a mega construction project with substantial monetary savings.  

• Former director of construction decision support systems at a top 20 (ENR, 2018) international engineering and construction firm - led development and implementation of enterprise optimization software solutions using computer simulation and artificial intelligence on multi-billion-dollar projects globally
• 20+ years of experience in software engineering, database application development, business intelligence and analytics, computer modeling and simulation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, and blockchain
• Founder of a postgraduate intensive full-time advanced tech coding bootcamp diploma program focusing on new technologies including blockchain, artificial intelligence, and mobile apps
• Member of the Industry Advisory Board of the Computer Science Program at the American University of Science and Technology
• Graduate-level university instructor - artificial intelligence, big data, and computer simulation
• Invited keynote and panelist at global advanced technology conferences
• Ph.D. in Construction Engineering and Management from the University of Alberta, Bachelor of Engineering in Computer and Communications Engineering from the American University of Beirut
• Developed first AI project at the age of 14
• LinkedIn:


Fall 2018

December 4, 2018 | Chi Hou Lei, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
Chi Hou LeiChi Hou Lei, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
Talk: Thermodynamic Potential Analysis and Phase Field Simulations of BariumZirconate Titanate Solid Solutions

Abstract: Barium Zirconate Titanate [Ba(ZrxTi1−x)O3] solid solutions are promising lead-free ferroelectric materials with switchable polarization, excellent dielectric, piezoelectric, and pyroelectric properties. These materials have received substantial interest, with a wide range of applications in memories, capacitors, actuators, sensors, and electrocaloric cooling devices.

Thermodynamic analysis based on phenomenological Landau-Devonshire theory is a powerful method for theoretical investigation of ferroelectric materials, but cannot be applied to Ba(ZrxTi1−x)O3 because there is no thermodynamic potential. In this presentation, a thermodynamic potential for Ba(ZrxTi1−x)O3 (0 ≤ x ≤ 0.3) solid solutions is constructed, and a thermodynamic analysis then is carried out. The results accurately reproduce known phase structures and their transition temperatures, and there is good agreement with experimentally measured polarization, dielectric and piezoelectric constants. It is found that Ba(ZrxTi1−x)O3 solid solutions at room temperature have three phase boundaries, including a tetragonal-orthorhombic phase boundary at x = 0.013, an orthorhombic-rhombohedral phase boundary at x = 0.0798, and a rhombohedral-paraelectric phase boundary at x = 0.2135. The results also indicate that the chemical composition-induced ferroelectric-paraelectric phase boundary has superior electromechanical properties, suggesting a new way to enhance electromechanical coupling in Ba(ZrxTi1−x)O3 solid solutions.

With the thermodynamic potential of Landau-type for Ba(ZrxTi1−x)O3 constructed, phase field simulation, another promising computational tool for materials at micro- and meso- scales, is developed and implemented to study possible formations of domains with multiple phases at representative temperatures, including cubic, tetragonal, orthorhombic and rhombohedral phases, as well as phase transformations across these temperatures.

Bio: Chi Hou Lei has been in the mechanical engineering program at the Saint Louis University since 2016, where he has been working on modeling, analysis and simulation of smart and multi-functional materials across multiple scales. His works have been presented in conferences and published in Applied Physics Letters, Acta Materialia, Journal of Applied Physics and Mechanics of Solids, Nature Communications and Science Advances. He obtained his bachelor degrees in Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering from National Taiwan University, his master degree in mathematics from Michigan State University and his doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington.

November 27, 2018 | Sean Larkin, Manager of Research and Development, Lickenbrock Technologies, Inc.
Sean LarkinSean Larkin, Manager of Research and Development, Lickenbrock Technologies, INC
Talk: Advances inMultiframe Blind Deconvolution for Ground Based Telescopes

Abstract: Ground-based space telescopes contend with atmospheric turbulence that blurs and distorts imagery.  Adaptive optics (AO) reduce these effects by sensing the wavefront phase disturbances and automatically adjusting deformable mirrors that compensate for the disturbances.  Even so, deconvolution algorithms and software are needed to clarify the imagery.  This is because of residual optical and atmospheric turbulence aberrations.  Recent advances are presented for multiframe blind deconvolution (MFBD) of ground based telescope imagery for low-earth orbit objects. The iterative algorithm uses the maximum likelihood estimation optimization criterion. It is modeled from a previous well-known algorithm called the expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm. New renditions of the algorithm simplify the phase reconstruction, thereby reducing the complexity of the original EM algorithm. Examples are shown, with and without adaptive optics (AO).  The system is being designed for on-the-fly streaming video operation.

Bio: Larkin graduated from Saint Louis University with a degree in biomedical engineering. Currently, he is the manager of research and development at Lickenbrock Technologies in St. Louis.  Since joining Lickenbrock in 2008, he has worked on a wide range of projects including CT reconstruction of solid rocket motors and additively manufactured components for the U.S. Air Force, automated measurements of images quality for non-destructive testing, deeonvolution of light microscopy imagery, and segmentation and automated measurements from human retinal images. His interests include inverse problems, optimization, parallel computing, automated measurements, and user interface design.   

November 20, 2018 |  Alessandro Vindigni, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Alessandro VindigniAlessandro Vindigni, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Talk: Mechanisms of Replication Stress Response to Chemotherapeutics

Abstract: Aberrant DNA replication is one of the leading causes of mutations and chromosome rearrangements associated with several cancer related pathologies. At the same time, agents that stall or damage DNA replication forks are widely used for chemotherapy, in the attempt to selectively target highly proliferating cancer cells. We showed that replication fork reversal is a pivotal mechanism of replication stress response to chemotherapeutics that allows cancer cells to withstand DNA damaging chemotherapy. Our recent progress toward the understanding of factors involved in the formation and protection of reversed replication works will be discussed. These studies provide important clues on enzymes that can be targeted to prevent fork reversal and increase chemotherapy sensitivity.

Bio: Vindigni received a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biophysics from the University of Padua (Italy) and completed his postdoctoral training at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. In 2002, he was appointed Group Leader in Genome Stability at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) in Trieste, Italy. In 2011, he relocated his lab to the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, where he was promoted to full professor with tenure and nominated director of the graduate program in biochemistry of Saint Louis University in 2014. Since 2015, he has been serving as co-leader of the DNA Metabolism and Repair (DMR) program of the Siteman Cancer Center at nearby Washington University, which provides a unique platform for scientists who work in the closely related areas of DNA damage response, DNA replication and repair, chromatin biology, and gene regulation. His laboratory focuses on the mechanisms of DNA replication and repair, and on the possible strategies to target these mechanisms for cancer treatment. His work defined new, important mechanisms for maintaining genome integrity and is currently supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and Breast Cancer Research Program of the Department of Defense.

November 13, 2018 |  Hossam Abdou, Sr., Ph.D., VP and Chief Structural Engineer, Alfred Benesch and Company
Hossam AbdouHossam Abdou, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Structural Engineer, Alfred Benesch and Company
Talk: The Practice of Bridge Design and Construction

Abstract: This presentation will discuss the new IL 89 over the Illinois River project (1,776’ long) which was built next to an existing bridge on an offset alignment. Traffic was maintained on the old bridge, which was removed after the new bridge was completed. The necessary phase I/II engineering were prepared to develop a design option that limits impacts to the surrounding land uses, minimizes environmental impacts and provides for an economical structure. Some of the issues that will be discussed include how the new bridge alignment and span layout were affected by the existing structure, adjacent properties, vessel collision and soil conditions.

Bio:  Abdou is a senior vice president and chief structural engineer of Alfred Benesch and Company in Chicago. Abdou received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering in Cairo. He received his Master of Science and his Ph.D. in structural engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.  Abdou is a registered professional engineer in eight states and licensed structural engineer in Illinois. Since joining Benesch in 1990, Abdou has designed and managed numerous bridge projects for state departments of transportation (DOT), counties, municipalities and contractors throughout the Midwest. He specializes in the design of long span bridges and special structures. Abdou is a member of several professional organizations including: ASCE, ACI, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) and the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineers (IABSE). He is a member of the Structural Committee at NCEES responsible for preparing and grading the SE and PE licensing exams. He is also a member of National Technical Program Committee at SEI responsible for the technical content of the Structures Congress. Abdou lives in Chicago with his wife, Maram, and his two sons Ali and Abdallah.

November 6, 2018 | Ken Herold and Steve Epner, representing SLUStart
Ken HeroldKen Herold and Steve Epner, SLUStart
Talk: An Engineering Perspective of Innovation and Entrepreneurship



Abstract: The program will introduce faculty and students to the SLUStart /I-Corps programs that support faculty and students in Steve Epnercommercializing and monetizing research and business ideas. It is important to encourage our students and faculty to be more “Entrepreneurial” in their approach and future plans. There are many avenues for advancing the careers of students and the rewards to faculty.  


Ken Herold:  With a keen insight for future technology along with a creative and innovative spirit, Ken has 30 years of experience turning software technologies and information into knowledge as a competitive advantage.  Herold served as CKO (Chief Knowledge Officer) for HOK, one of the worlds' largest international architecture and engineering firms. As CKO, he transformed ideas for clients into patentable technology products for licensing and created new revenue streams for HOK.  Most recently, Herold works with more than 25 startups at the intersection of their business models and technology design and delivery through incubators and accelerators in the St. Louis area. Herold holds degrees in architecture, computer science and artificial intelligence.

Steve Epner: A serial entrepreneur, Epner has successfully started, built and sold multiple companies. He teaches Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Business Metrics. He holds bachelor and master’s degrees from Purdue University. Epner  has published nine books and over 1,000 articles. He lectures at many colleges and professional conferences. Epner is the past chairman of the Gateway Venture Mentoring Service, founder and executive director of the St. Louis Innovation Roundtable, and is active in many St. Louis regional activities. 

October 30, 2018 | Amit Pathak, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Washington University, St. Louis
Amit Pathak, Ph.D.Amit Pathak, Ph.D, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Washington University, St. Louis

Talk: Mechanobiology of Epithelial Cells in Physically Heterogeneous Environments

Abstract: The ability of epithelial cells to move through complex tissue barriers fundamentally regulates important physiological and pathological phenomena, such as embryogenesis, organ development, wound repair, and tumor metastasis. In pathogenesis, including fibrosis and cancer, matrix stiffening is known to induce epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and enhance cell migration in clustered epithelial cells. These processes result from a complex interplay of epithelial cells with physically heterogeneous extracellular matrices (ECMs) of varying stiffness and topography, spanning over multiple scales of time and space. In this presentation, I will discuss two broad topics within my research group – the induction of EMT due to matrix confinement and physical defects; and the role of mechanical memory in cell migration. Topic One: We fabricate hydrogel-based microchannels to show that epithelial cells express EMT markers in more confined channels, even in soft ECMs that otherwise protect against such mechano-activation. Through experimental measurements and computer simulations, we show that cell spreading and elongation along channel walls is essential for this confinement-sensitive EMT. In a related project, we show that physical defects in a basement membrane-like soft matrix induce EMT, which is distinct from the known mechanosensitive EMT due to matrix stiffness or topography. Topic Two: We interrogate whether priming of epithelial cells by a given matrix stiffness influences their future migration on a different matrix. Through experimental results and computational modeling, I will discuss how YAP-dependent mechanical memory and dynamic mechanotransduction enable the collectively migrating cells to sense matrix stiffness of both past and present.

Bio: Pathak an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Washington University, studies cellular mechanobiology in mechanically diverse microenvironments. Pathak is the recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2014), the Mallinckrodt Foundation New Investigator Award (2014), NIH/NIGMS Outstanding Investigator Award (2018), and the NIH/NIBIB Trailblazer Award (2018). He received a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from University of California, Santa Barbara after finishing undergraduate studies at Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. Prior to joining Washington University in 2013, he completed his postdoctoral fellowship in bioengineering at University of California, Berkeley.

October 9, 2018 | Nithil Bollock, Aviation Ph.D. Student at SLU's Parks College
Nithil BollockNithil Bollock, Aviation Ph.D. Student at SLU's Parks College

Talk: Aviation in the Ville: Promoting STEM through Aviation

Abstract: Bollock will share the current progress of an ongoing collaborative effort between Parks College Department of Aviation Science and community organizations dedicated to serving the youth of an underrepresented neighborhood. The aim of the research is three-fold: to introduce aviation education to elementary school children, reinforce diversity in aviation undergraduate students and enhance professional development in elementary school teachers.

Bio: Bollock is a graduate assistant and Ph.D. student in the aviation department of SLU. Nithil graduated with his masters in Aviation Safety in 2015 from University of Central Missouri and Bachelors in Aeronautical Engineering from India. His research interests include Aviation Education, Human Factors, Diversity in Aviation, STEM and Learning theories in Aviation.

October 2, 2018 | Enrico Di Cera, M.D., Professor and Chairman Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Dr. Enrico Di CeraEnrico Di Cera, M.D., Professor and Chairman Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Talk: Mechanisms of Ligand Binding Made Dimple (But Not Simpler)

Abstract: Di Cera will review basic mechanisms of ligand binding (lock-and-key, induced fit, conformational selection, allostery) that are relevant to biological interactions. Unexpected features of these mechanisms that emerged from recent analysis will be discussed.

Bio: Di Cera received his M.D. degree in 1985 from the Catholic University Medical School in Rome and worked as postdoctoral fellow with Stanley Gill and Jeffries Wyman in Boulder, CO. In 1990, he joined the faculty at Washington University where he eventually became the Roy and Diana Vagelos Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and Professor of Internal Medicine. On January 2010, he moved to Saint Louis University as the Alice A. Doisy Professor and Chairman of the Edward A. Doisy Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Di Cera has received many awards and is a fellow of the St Louis Academy of Science. He is interested in the thermodynamics and kinetics of ligand binding and in the structure, function and engineering of protein involved in blood coagulation. One of his engineered proteins is currently in Phase I for the treatment of thrombotic complications and stroke under Fast Track designation from the FDA. His research has generated 230+ peer-reviewed articles, 4 monographs and nearly $20M of NIH funding.

September 18, 2018 | Henning Lohse-Busch, Ph.D., Manager, Vehicle Systems Research, Argonne National Laboratory
Dr. Henning Lohse-BuschHenning Lohse-Busch, Ph.D., Manager, Vehicle Systems Research, Argonne National Laboratory

Talk: How Do Hybrid Cars and Electric Cars Increase Fuel Economy over our Normal Cars?

Abstract: The presentation will explain how powertrain electrification increases the overall vehicle efficiency based on actual laboratory test data. Conventional vehicles, hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles, battery electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles will be compared. The second part will focus on the factors (driving style and ambient temperature) that impact the fuel/electricity consumption of these different advanced technology cars. Along the way topics like fuel economy testing, national fuel economy trends, the difficulty of defining efficiency for electric cars, and practical car buying advice will be covered.

Bio: Lohse-Busch is an expert in energy efficiency testing and analysis. His research at Argonne National Laboratory focused on powertrain electrification, alternative fuels testing, system efficiency analysis, and interactions between the smart grid and electric vehicles. In his last years at Argonne he managed the Vehicle System Research group at the Center for Transportation Research. He served for one year at the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. He has told as an Adjunct professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. He holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He is also a graduate of DOE’s Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions from the FutureTruck years. He is currently starting an engineering consulting company in St Louis. 

 September 11, 2018 | John Hardin, Executive Director of MEDLaunch
John HardinJohn Hardin, Executive Director of MEDLaunch
 Talk: SLU MEDLaunch—Entrepreneurship Program in Medical Devices


Abstract: MedLaunch is a SLU program under the Office of Technology Management. It collects medical problems that would benefit from a technology solution (e.g. a medical device), and then assembles teams of engineers, business students and medical students to develop solutions over the course of the school year. Components are entrepreneurship education, and a series of design reviews. Teams are funded, with a chance for funding in a second year. Students interact with an advisory board consisting of SLU faculty (engineering, business, law), SLU physicians, and local entrepreneurs. Hardin, the executive director, will talk about the program, how it works, and its benefits. 

Bio: Hardin has more than 30 years of commercial leadership experience in the medical device field. In his experience, Hardin has held leadership roles at ev3, Inc, Medtronic, Baxter and American Hospital Supply. His experience touches the interventional neuromuscular, interventional radiology, interventional cardiology, vascular surgery, general surgery and electrophysiology market spaces.