News about
The University of Iowa College of Engineering
Week of April 22, 2018

E/WEEK College Staff:
Editor:  Wendy Brentner, director of alumni relations and communications
Contributing Writer:  Lynn Anderson Davy, UI Strategic Communication
College Web Site:  www.engineering.uiowa.edu


1. Faculty and Staff Recognized at Annual College Awards Ceremony
2. FDA Permits Marketing of IDx-DR for Automated Detection of Diabetic Retinopathy in Primary Care
3. Demir to Receive Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) National 2018 Outreach Award
4. Wilder to Receive 2018 Honors Program Teaching Award
5. Peterson Champions Diverse Ideas and Cultures, Helps Organize UI Powwow
6. Pradhan Receives Goldwater Scholarship
7. UI Research Shows Some Kitchen Cabinets Can Emit Potentially Harmful Compounds
8. UI to Participate in RadLaunch, UV+EB Technology Accelerator
9. Grants and Contracts
10. Events for the Upcoming Weeks
11. Alumni, Where Are They Now?
12. About E/Week

1. Faculty and Staff Recognized at Annual College Awards Ceremony

The annual College of Engineering Faculty and Staff Awards Ceremony was held Tuesday, April 17 in the Stanley Auditorium, Seamans Center for the Engineering Arts and Sciences.  

James Buchholz, associate professor of mechanical engineering, received the Faculty Excellence Award for service.  As Mechanical Engineering Program Coordinator, Dr. Buchholz has led the department’s efforts to revise the curriculum and develop new protocol for assessing student outcomes.  He has been instrumental in the development of the undergraduate fluid laboratories in the new annex and worked with Dr. Pablo Carrica to establish a naval hydrodynamics certificate program.  Buchholz also serves as the faculty advisor to the newly formed Iowa Marine Autonomous Racing Club.  

Dr. Pablo Carrica, professor of mechanical engineering was awarded the Faculty Excellence Award for Research.  He has developed an internationally recognized research program in the areas of naval hydrodynamics, including both computational and experimental fluid dynamics as well as bubbly flows.  He is the originator of the REX CFD code.  His more than 30 projects have garnered over $10 million in funding.  

David Andersen, professor of electrical and computer engineering was recognized with the faculty excellence award for teaching.  Andersen overhauled the senior design course for electrical and computer engineering students which culminates into the annual “Modern Marvels” show.  He has developed new courses and new materials for existing courses, including an elective course on embedded systems.  

Dr. Andres Martinez, assistant research engineer with IIHR received the Staff Excellence Award for Research.  Dr. Martinez contributes to engineering in the area of environmental pollutants, specifically related to pollutant sampling, analysis, and fate and transport modeling.  He is a researcher on the UI’s PCT Superfund program, where he is a member of the team investigating sources of airborne PCBs in indoor and outdoor environments.  

The Mary Sheedy Staff Excellence Award was presented to Brandon Barquist, mechanical shop manager in IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering.  Brandon was recognized for his persistence and ingenuity to solve engineering challenges.  In so doing he has advanced IIHR research and has proven himself to be an outstanding example of leadership and service to the College

The following were recognized for five years of service to the college:

Rose Schmitt, Center for Computer-Aided Design
Jason Knox, IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering
Eric Prill, IIHR
Christian Bauer, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Bill Jennings, Engineering Machine Shop
Yugo Sanada, IIHR
James Niemeier, IIHR
Lisa Lang, Center for Computer-Aided Design

The following were recognized for 10 years of service to the college:

Brandon Barquist, IIHR
Greg Wagner, Center for Computer-Aided Design
Dina Blanc, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Cathy Kern, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Kimberly Farrell, Center for Computer-Aided Design

Carlton Richey of the Center for Computer-Aided Design was recognized for 15 years of service

Wendy Brentner and Joel Steele of the Dean’s Office were recognized for 20 years of service.

Matt McLaughlin of Engineering Computer Services was recognized for 25 years of service.  

2. FDA Permits Marketing of IDx-DR for Automated Detection of Diabetic Retinopathy in Primary Care

IDx, a privately-held AI diagnostics company based on research conducted at the University of Iowa, announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted the company’s De Novo request to market IDx-DR, an AI-based diagnostic system for the autonomous detection of diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness. IDx-DR is the first autonomous, AI-based diagnostic system authorized for commercialization by the FDA.

“The FDA’s authorization to market IDx-DR is a historic moment that has the potential to launch a transformation in the way U.S. healthcare is delivered,” said Dr. Michael Abràmoff, MD, PhD, founder and president of IDx. “Autonomous AI systems have massive potential to improve healthcare productivity, lower healthcare costs, and improve accessibility and quality. As the first of its kind to be authorized for commercialization, IDx-DR provides a roadmap for the safe and responsible use of AI in medicine.”

IDx-DR’s FDA authorization arrives at a time when the healthcare system is struggling to care for the growing population of people with diabetes. More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, and an estimated 24,000 lose vision each year from diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes. If diabetic retinopathy is caught in its early stages, vision loss and blindness are almost entirely preventable.

The FDA issued the following statement in a press release yesterday: “Early detection of retinopathy is an important part of managing care for the millions of people with diabetes, yet many patients with diabetes are not adequately screened for diabetic retinopathy since about 50 percent of them do not see their eye doctor on a yearly basis,” said Malvina Eydelman, M.D., director of the Division of Ophthalmic, and Ear, Nose and Throat Devices at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “Today’s decision permits the marketing of a novel artificial intelligence technology that can be used in a primary care doctor’s office.”

IDx-DR can be used to provide an immediate, reliable assessment for diabetic retinopathy, including macular edema, during a routine office visit in a primary care setting. The exam is performed on site in minutes and produces a diagnostic interpretation and associated report, including care instructions that are aligned with the American Academy of Ophthalmology preferred practice pattern for diabetic retinopathy. This enables primary care providers to counsel patients regarding follow-up care while they are still in the office.

As an autonomous, AI-based system, IDx-DR is unique in that it makes an assessment without the need for a clinician to also interpret the image or results, making it usable by health care providers who may not normally be involved in eye care.

IDx-DR received expedited review under the FDA’s Breakthrough Devices program following a pivotal clinical trial conducted at 10 primary care sites across the U.S. Primary care physician Michele Birch, MD, of CMC-Elizabeth Family Medicine and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, was one of the trial’s principal investigators.

“I am excited that IDx-DR is now cleared for use; there is a definite need for a more affordable and accessible option for the early detection of diabetic retinopathy,” said Dr. Birch. “Making sure that my patients with diabetes have annual eye exams has always been a challenge, but IDx-DR can make it easier by allowing me to conduct an exam right in my office.”

IDx-DR is intended for use by health care providers to automatically detect more than mild diabetic retinopathy (mtmDR) in adults (22 years of age or older) diagnosed with diabetes who have not been previously diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy. IDx-DR is indicated for use with the Topcon NW400.

IDx-DR is available for immediate installation.Visit www.eyediagnosis.net/diabetes to learn more.

3. Demir to Receive Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) National 2018 Outreach Award

Ibrahim Demir, assistant professor of civil and environmental research and assistant faculty research engineer at IIHR--Hydroscience & Engineering, will receive the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) National 2018 Outreach Award on June 21.

Demir is being recognized for developing “Flood AI,” an artificial intelligence system that serves as a virtual flood expert (similar to Siri). Flood AI is accessible through many smart devices, including smartphones, chat applications such as Skype, smart home devices, and more. Users can ask Flood AI any flood or weather related question and get a quick answer.

In December, he was awarded a grant from Microsoft as part of its “AI for Earth” program (https://www.engineering.uiowa.edu/news/demir-wins-microsoft%E2%80%99s-%E...).

More information about AI for Earth can be found on the website: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/aiforearth

4. Wilder to Receive 2018 Honors Program Teaching Award

David Wilder, professor of biomedical engineering and researcher at the UI Center for Computer-Aided Design, has been selected to receive the University of Iowa Honors Program Teaching Award for 2018.

The award recognizes Wilder's ability to effectively engage students in the learning process and help them develop personally.

"I’ve been able to see firsthand from a classroom visit when Dr. Wilder's students were working on their tower projects, and then again in the video of an activity (rocket launching) he had his Honors students doing in the lobby of the Seamans Center," Art L. Spisak, professor of classics, director of the UI Honors Program, and immediate past president of the National Collegiate Honors Council," said. "I also recollect the time he had his class on site measuring the current of the Iowa River, off the pedestrian bridge. In every case his students were highly engaged, and the activity was innovative and experiential. The student evaluations for his Honors classes also reflect the quality of his teaching and the inspiring enthusiasm he generates with his teaching."

Wilder will receive the award May 11 at the annual Honors Commendation Ceremony

5. Peterson Champions Diverse Ideas and Cultures, Helps Organize UI Powwow

Tracy Peterson’s philosophy doesn’t leave room for missed opportunities, for himself or for others.

“There is a Maori saying that goes something like this: ‘The person with a narrow vision sees a narrow horizon; the person with a wide vision sees a wide horizon,’” says Peterson. “I have always tried to be a person who sees the widest horizon possible.”

And for Peterson, director of diversity programs and K–12 outreach in the University of Iowa’s College of Engineering, this means looking for as many ways as possible to engage children from diverse backgrounds in the study of science, technology, engineering, and math. Peterson is especially focused on reaching children from underrepresented groups, including Latinos, African Americans, and Native Americans, and also works with children from rural communities.
“We all want to better ourselves, and I believe we can do so and also help others at the same time,” he says. “For me, this type of thinking, this focus on human connections and inclusion, is what motivates me.”

Peterson’s efforts to increase student diversity in the College of Engineering, and in STEM fields in general, have not gone unnoticed. Participation in the college’s K–12 educational programs has increased since Peterson was hired five years ago, and new programs aimed at bringing more minority children into the STEM fields are gaining traction. Peterson also is working to strengthen relationships with minority communities, including Latino families in West Liberty and Marshalltown, Iowa, and students and staff at the Meskwaki Settlement Schools, an organization of tribal schools in Tama, Iowa. He also is organizing a new summer learning camp through Upward Bound, a federally funded program that serves students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

For these and other achievements, Peterson is one of five recipients of the UI’s annual Diversity Catalyst Awards. The awards honor members of the campus community who have enhanced diversity at the UI through innovative means, and who have shown a dedication to diversity.

Tonya Peeples, associate dean of diversity and outreach at the College of Engineering and keynote speaker for the 2018 awards ceremony, says Peterson exemplifies these qualities.

“Tracy has made great contributions to student success and engagement by building relationships with a variety of stakeholders,” she says. “He has become a recognizable leader in representing the university with diverse communities locally, regionally, and nationally. His efforts are not only important for the university, but also for the future of engineering.”

Peterson has dedicated much of his professional life to supporting and empowering minority students, especially Native Americans. Before coming to the UI, he worked in student-oriented positions at Cornell University; Dickinson State University; the University of Wisconsin–Madison; and the University of Minnesota, Morris. When the diversity outreach job at the UI’s College of Engineering opened, Peterson says he jumped at the chance to return to the campus where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

“I’m a Hawkeye and I always will be,” says Peterson, whose wife, Nicole, is a faculty member at the UI College of Nursing and a citizen of the Menominee Nation, and whose two children attend the UI. “I feel so fortunate to be back on the same campus where I studied. Now, I’m helping others to navigate their paths and helping by giving back to this institution that helped me achieve my career goals. I’ve traveled full circle.”

Besides his work at the College of Engineering, Peterson has taken a special interest in the UI’s Native American Student Association (NASA), which organizes an annual powwow. The 24th Annual UI Powwow andFirst Annual UI Round Dance will take place at the UI Field House on April 13–14, with students taking the lead in event setup and promotion. Peterson says the group of students in charge of this year’s powwow includes a mix of students with Native American heritage as well others with a genuine interest in preserving Native American culture. Peterson himself is a citizen of the Navajo Nation.

“I think it’s great that we can have a group such as the Native American Student Association on campus so that there can be discussions about native peoples and their cultures,” says Peterson. “There are a lot of stereotypes and it’s great that we have Native American students who can answer questions about their heritage. They might only be able to give a sliver of the big picture, but the fact that someone can delve into Native American culture right here on campus, and witness a powwow or round dance, is very positive.”

Native American students especially relate to Peterson and appreciate his support, which is given enthusiastically and often after scheduled office hours.
“Tracy’s contributions are essential to the support and retention of Native American students at Iowa,” says Jessica Owens, a junior from Sioux Center who serves as vice president of NASA and is a citizen of the Ho-Chunk Nation. “He has played an important role in helping me find my place on campus, and for this I am tremendously grateful. Tracy truly deserves a ton of praise for all of his incredible work and the ways in which he has helped students create a place for themselves on this campus.”

Peterson and his wife also serve on the university’s Native American Council, which aims to promote and improve the quality of life of Native American faculty, staff, and students. He also is a member of the UI’s Talent@Iowa Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, which recently submitted recommendations and strategies to acquire, promote, and retain diverse faculty and staff. Campus members who have worked with Peterson on these efforts appreciate his input and leadership.

“Tracy is a skilled listener, and he respects diverse thinking and experiences,” says Candace Peters, an organizational consultant and leadership coach for the Office of Human Resources’ Department of Organizational Effectiveness. “He is truly an exceptional colleague, and it’s because of his numerous creative efforts that the UI is moving forward to address diversity, equity, and inclusion. His vision has created an opportunity for change at the UI.”

Going forward, Peterson says his goal is to complete a doctorate in educational leadership and continue his work on campus and in the community. He is especially excited about the honoring ceremony for graduating NASA seniors that will be performed at the powwow for the first time this year. Peterson hopes the ceremony will become an annual tradition.

“You’re not just going to see Native American students recognized, but also non-native students who have dedicated their time and energy to creating community and helping to further the mission of the NASA group,” says Peterson. “To me, that is the beauty of it, that it is a community-wide celebration that enables everyone to walk away with a feeling of accomplishment and pride. I think it’s going to be awesome.

6. Pradhan Receives Goldwater Scholarship

Ojas Pradhan, a third-year undergraduate student majoring in chemical engineering and computer science, has been has been named a Goldwater Scholar. He also is in the honors program, and is pursuing a chemistry minor and mathematics minor.

He is among three students from Iowa institutions and 211 selected nationwide to receive the prestigious Goldwater Foundation Scholarship, established in 1986 in honor of Sen. Barry Goldwater to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, natural sciences and engineering.

Pradhan plans to pursue a doctorate in chemical engineering and conduct research in drug delivery in industry or academia

7. UI Research Shows Some Kitchen Cabinets Can Emit Potentially Harmful Compounds

A University of Iowa study published today in Environmental Science & Technology reveals that both Aroclor and non-Aroclor sources of airborne polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were found in residential homes. Probably the last place anyone would want to find PCBs is in the kitchen, yet that's exactly where the UI scientists detected their presence, according to the new report.
They say that the PCBs, which are widely considered carcinogenic, are unwanted byproducts of sealant breakdown in modern kitchen cabinetry.
The research was conducted by Nicholas Herkert and Jacob C. Jahnke, graduate students in civil and environmental engineering and graduate research assistants at IIHR--Hydroscience & Engineering, and Keri C. Hornbuckle, Donald E. Bently Professor of Engineering, professor of civil and environmental engineering, and researcher at IIHR.

The ES&T article is posted at https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.8b00966

The important research already has received media attention. Stories have been published in:

Great Britain's Daily Mirror -- https://www.mirror.co.uk/science/modern-kitchen-cupboards-emit-chemical-...
Phys.org -- https://phys.org/news/2018-04-kitchen-cabinets-emit-potentially-compound...
BuzzFeed -- https://www.buzzfeed.com/theresatamkins/kitchen-cabinets-pcbs?utm_term=....
Medindia.net -- https://www.medindia.net/news/kitchen-cabinets-can-emit-cancer-causing-c...

8. UI to Participate in RadLaunch, UV+EB Technology Accelerator

The University of Iowa has been selected to be a participant for RadLaunch, a new, unique idea accelerator for ultraviolet and electron beam (UV+EB) technology start-ups, students and innovators.

Sage Schissel (PhD 2016 chemical and biochemical engineering), Sara Kaalberg (PhD 2018 chemical and biochemical engineering graduating in May 2018), along with Julie Jessop, associate professor of chemical and biochemical engineering and researcher at the Photopolymerizations Center (NSF (IU/CRC), will present their innovations at RadTech 2018 May 7-9 in Chicago in both the technical conference and on the exhibit floor in a dedicated RadLaunch Pavilion. Schissel is applications specialist at ebeam Technologies. Kaalberg is process engineer at Intel Corporation.

The UI team will focus on Transferrable Shadow Cure (TSC) which decouples initiation and propagation mechanisms in cationic photopolymerization to address light penetration problems, thus providing full cure regardless of geometry, pigment and filler content, and sensitivity of material to light and heat.

As a RadLaunch participant, the UI will receive a $1,500 award, $1,500 travel grant to attend RadTech 2018, and technical, marketing and funding mentorship opportunities once the team presents at the conference. RadTech 2018 is the world's largest event dedicated to the educational, technical, and scientific advancement of ultraviolet (UV) and electron beam (EB) technologies.

9. Grants and Contracts

Nathan C. Young of IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering received a $54,658 grant from the City of Ankeny for “Hydrologic and hydraulic models of watersheds for City of Ankeny.”

Christopher Jones of IIHR received a $23,864 grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for “Deployment and management of turbidity sensors in tributaries of the Missouri River.”

Thomas Schnell, professor in the department of mechanical and industrial engineering and director of the Operator Performance Laboratory, received a $71,642 contract from Rockwell Collins, Inc.  He also received an $84,805 grant from the US Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration for “Vision systems human factors research.”

Christoph Beckermann, professor of mechanical engineering, received a $19.676 grant from the US Department of Defense, Defense Logistics Agency for “modeling of reoxidation and inclusions in steel casings.”

Karim Abdel-Malek, professor of biomedical engineering and director of the Center for Computer-Aided Design, received a $50,388 grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation for “Virtual reality interactive display: seat belt demonstration. “

Dan McGehee, associate professor of industrial engineering and director of the National Advanced Driving Simulator, received a $98,492 grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation for “Automated transportation advisory council project. “

Jun Wan, received a $40,000 contract from Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation for “MOS+P polarization data product development and EV-type sensor concept development.”


10. Events for the Upcoming Weeks

April 25 – WorldCanvass: Climate Science and the Environment, 5:00 p.m., MERGE Office, Pedestrian Mall, Iowa City. UI faculty members Greg Carmichael, Gabriele Villarini, Craig Just, Larry Weber, Jerry Anthony, Tyler Priest, and Jerald Schnoor—all recognized leaders in their fields—will share current research and discuss policy approaches to environmental challenges in the U.S. and globally. https://www.engineering.uiowa.edu/event/1247043

April 26 – Biomedical Engineering Dean’s Award for Early Career Achievement Award Seminar, 3:30-4:20 p.m., Stanley Auditorium, 1505 Seamans Center. Spine specialist and biomedical engineer Dr. Ashish Sahai (https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashishsahai/) will present and receive the award from the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

April 26 – Industrial Engineering  Graduate Seminar, 3:30 p.m., 4030 Seamans Center. University of Iowa Assistant Professor Suyong Song will be speaking.

May 19-22 -- Annual Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) Conference, Orlando, FL. Professor Priya Pennathur will be honored with a special award during the conference.  The College of Engineering is planning two events in conjunction with the conference:
A luncheon for all University of Iowa College of Engineering alumni attending the IISE conference, 11:00 a.m. May 22 at Jake's American Bar, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, 6300 Hollywood Way, Orlando FL
A May 22 5:30 p.m. reception for Engineering alumni living and/or working in the Orlando extended area, Orchid Room at the Harry P. Leu Gardens, 1920 North Forest Avenue, Orlando, FL. To RSVP, go to https://uiowa.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_56xOlYLqvRxV3G5


11. Alumni, Where Are They Now?

Megan Phillip (BSE 2015) has been promoted to Maintenance Supply Chain Leader at Frito-Lay at PepsiCo, Charlotte, NC.  

James Robinson (BSE 2017) is a field engineer with Kiewit, Provo, UT.

Anne (Buchele) Campbell (BSE 2009) is a project manager at Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL.

Courtney Paulsen (BSE 2015) started a new position as Digital Business Integration Consultant at Accenture.  

Dave Michaelsen (BSCE 1975), proclaimed the “biggest Hawkeye fan in South Texas” and chief engineer for the Port of Corpus Christi, retired March 29, 2018.  


12. About E/WEEK

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