November 2016




Ahoya NOVEMBER 2016 Newsletter

Marquette alumni establish scholarship for first-generation students

Marquette University received a $3.5 million gift for scholarship aid to future first-generation engineering students. The donors Don (Eng '66, Grad '68) and Fran Herdrich, were first-generation students, and this is the second scholarship they have endowed at Marquette.

“Fran and I believe strongly in providing scholarship opportunities for worthy students, particularly those students who are the first in their family to attend college,” Don Herdrich said. “Marquette, in particular, does an outstanding job of nurturing first-generation college students to ensure their success, which is why we are so excited to fund this scholarship at our alma mater.”

Creative and interdisciplinary

Last January, five Marquette undergraduates studying engineering and business collaborated on a remarkable challenge. Milwaukee’s Direct Supply, Inc., a national leader in its field, informed the students of a project it was considering — adapting a third-party robot to support the needs of residents in senior living facilities. Executives then asked the students how they’d approach the project.

The exciting interactions between students, universities and corporate partners were featured in a recent BizTimes Milwaukee article.

Galat-Schmit research being used commercially

Research led by Dr. Taly Gilat-Schmit, associate professor of biomedical engineering, is now being used commercially in the GE Revolution CT platform.

The “Smart Phase” algorithm, which was developed through a research collaboration between the Medical Imaging Systems Lab at Marquette University and GE Healthcare, has been released as part of the new Revolution CT platform. The algorithm automatically determines the lowest-motion phase for displaying Coronary CT Angiography images.

GE describes the Smart Phase feature: "Our new Smart Phase analyzes the motion of the coronaries throughout the volume to auto select the best cardiac phase with the least motion, saving you time and giving you the best image to read."

A peer-reviewed paper describing the algorithm and its validation was published in Medical Physics, with graduate student Daniel Stassi as the lead author. Graduate student Hongfeng Ma also contributed to the development of this algorithm and will soon be publishing her latest work.

This has been a great example of industry-sponsored research with both commercial and academic outputs, Dr. Gilat-Schmit said. “It is incredibly rewarding to know that our algorithm is impacting patient care in daily clinical practice,” she added.

Mechanical engineering grad students present papers

Nathaniel Helminiak and Jeff Lajeunesse, graduate students in mechanical engineering, presented papers at the recent meeting of the Aeroballistic Range Association in Toledo, Spain.

The annual ARA meetings are attended by an international group of scientists and engineers from government, academia and industry involved in various aspects of maintaining, upgrading and utilizing launcher technology for a variety of research applications, mostly involving defense or aerospace applications. The meeting features technical talks presented by the members of the group.

Williams reaches out to future generation of engineers

Dr. Andrew Williams, John P. Raynor, S.J., Chair and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the ways he is using robots to inspire creative thinking and problem-solving skills in today’s students. “The future for robots is almost now because we’re seeing things that we didn’t think were possible even a few years ago,” said Williams, who is the director of the Humanoid Engineering and Intelligent Robotics Lab.

The story aired on Milwaukee’s CBS TV affiliate early in October.

MU SAE Baja team earns 3rd place in Midnight Mayhem VIII

The MU SAE Baja team competed in the recent Midnight Mayhem VIII at the University of Louisville and finished 3rd of 91 teams. They were also honored as the rookie team of the year.

SAE Baja Midnigh Madness team Midnight Mayhem VIII vehicle
MU Midnight Mayhem VIII team and vehicle

Midnight Mayhem is an off-season, un-official Baja SAE event hosted by the University of Louisville ASE Baja Team. The competition focused solely on the driving aspect of the Baja SAE competition; a few small dynamic events to test specific aspects of each vehicle’s performance and a four-hour, wheel-to-wheel endurance race. Midnight Mayhem adds darkness to the endurance event. It is the only Baja SAE event held on a lighted track at night.

McNamara on FDA ban on antibacterial soap

The Food and Drug Administration has washed its hands of antibacterial soaps, saying there is no scientific evidence that they are better than plain soap and water.

Antibacterial soaps were banned from the U.S. market in a recent final ruling by the FDA, which said that manufacturers had failed to prove the cleansers were safe or more effective than normal products.

Dr. Patrick McNamara, assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, who has published research on antimicrobial soaps, called the ruling “logical” because research shows “there is no added benefit to having these antimicrobial chemicals in soaps.” He added that triclosan, a component of antibacterial soaps, could play a part in driving antibiotic resistance, saying, “After these chemicals are used in our homes, they go down the drain to wastewater treatment plants and eventually to the environment where they can select for antibiotic resistant genes.”

Connecting with the World lecture series

The Opus College of Engineering kicks off this semester’s Connecting with the World lecture series with two presentations in November.

Norrie Daroga, CEO of IDAvatars. IDAvatars is a Mequon, Wisconsin-based start-up that develops health care apps featuring an avatar. The lecture is Friday, Nov. 4, noon to 1 p.m. in Olin Engineering 202, 1515 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee.

Dr. Jim Edzwald, professor and chair of civil and environmental engineering at Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York. His presentation is Wednesday, Nov. 16, noon to 12:50 p.m., Engineering Hall 221, 1637 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee.

These lectures are free and open to the public. Thanks to Ronald O'Keefe, Eng '57, whose generous contributions make the Connecting with the World lecture series possible.


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