Faculty & Research
Villanova Civil Engineering Professors’ Research Highlighted in CSA News Article
Rain gardens are a key component of green infrastructure, capturing and filtering stormwater runoff that would otherwise contaminate local waterways. Now, a team of researchers from Villanova University’s Center for Resilient Water Systems have demonstrated that soil moisture sensors can be used to quantify evapotranspiration in rain gardens. Evapotranspiration, the natural process by which water returns to the air, is a key component to how rain gardens control stormwater; however, evapotranspiration is often difficult and expensive to measure. The work of Civil Engineering professors Drs. Andrea Welker, Bridget Wadzuk, and Amanda Hess on using soil moisture sensors to economically predict evapotranspiration was featured in November’s CSA News.
Elucidating the Brain-Behavior Connection to Improve Driver Safety
Research Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Dr. Meltem Izzetoglu is an expert in the field of optical brain imaging and a major contributor to the development of fNIRS (functional near infrared spectroscopy). She is collaborating with Dr. Seri Park, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, to study driving behavior, specifically how distracted driving effects decision-making and performance. The team has outfitted the College’s state-of-the-art driving simulator with fNIRS and eye-tracking devices to shed new light on the brain-behavior connection.
How will blockchain act in space? Villanova is blasting it into orbit to find out | Technical.ly Philly, Sept. 2, 2021
Technically Philly interviewed Villanova Engineering adjunct Hasshi Sudler about his efforts to test how blockchain technology will behave in the new space technology. Unfortunately, the Firefly Alpha rocket carrying his experiment exploded shortly after launch a few days later.
Shifting the Flood Paradigm | TED.com
Dr. Virginia’s Smith TEDxVillanovaU talk is being showcased on TED.com. It is the first Villanova talk to be promoted on this international stage. Her captivating talk presents why water resource planning is fundamental for a more sustainable world, how her cutting edge research is addressing growing global flood crises, and what you can do to help shift the flood paradigm.
Extracting Value from the Air
Though less prevalent than oxygen and nitrogen, argon—air’s third most abundant component—plays an important role in industry, including the production of silicon wafers. Recovering argon from air is an expensive process, and for the past five years, with a sponsored research grant from Air Products and Chemicals, Villanova’s Dr. Charles Coe has investigated new, cost-effective means for achieving this separation. His team’s findings have led to two U.S. patents and related publications.
Multiple Probes Underway As Rescue Efforts Continue At Site Of Condominium Collapse | NPR, 6/27/21
Villanova Civil Engineering professor Dr. Stephanie Walkup is an expert in collapse and failure analysis. She was interviewed by NPR and quoted by The Associated Press on the condominium collapse in Surfside, FL.
Villanova Engineering Professor Identifies Chemical Compounds to Inhibit COVID-19 Related Enzyme
Chemical and Biological Engineering Associate Professor Dr. Zuyi “Jacky” Huang and his team developed a computational platform that has accelerated the discovery of chemical compound inhibitors against 3CLPro, a protease that is essential for the replication of COVID-19. These inhibitors may provide a quick solution to cure people infected with new virus strains.
Dr. Moeness Amin Awarded Signal Processing Best Paper Award
The 2021 Best Paper Award in Signal Processing, an Elsevier journal, is given to "DOA estimation exploiting a uniform linear array with multiple co-prime frequencies." Co-authored by Villanova College of Engineering’s Dr. Moeness Amin, director of the Center for Advanced Communications, the paper designs the optimum array configuration for direction finding of targets, as well as radio frequency emitters.
NovaCell welcomes Janssen as First Consortium Member
NovaCell Director William Kelly, professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, recently welcomed Janssen Research & Development, LLC as the first member of Villanova’s Consortium for Cell and Gene Therapy (CCGT). With the partnership comes a new one-year project: “Investigating the effects of bioprocess conditions on killer T cell growth, differentiation and function.”
The pipeline hack exposed America's infrastructure security vulnerabilities | KYW NewsRadio In Depth, May 13, 2021
The hacking of the Colonial Pipeline caused problems with gasoline supply along the East Coast. Villanova’ Dr. Scott Jackson, Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering talks about the ripple effects of the pipeline hack and how the pandemic has made its mark on energy.
Dr. Robert Traver Recipient of AAWRE 2021 Service to the Academy Award
Dr. Robert G. Traver has been announced as the recipient of the 2021 Service to the Academy Award by the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers (AAWRE), a subsidiary of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He is recognized for his significant contributions and work in furthering the mission and goals of the Academy.
NSF Grant Supports Chengyu Li’s Research on Flow Across Scales
Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Dr. Chengyu Li was awarded nearly $184,000 to study how flexible structures generate flow across the viscous-inertial transition with the goal of developing broadly applicable scaling principles to guide future technology development including bioinspired devices, sensors, and robots.
College Adds Two New Manufacturing PA Grants to Slate of Funded Projects
Through the state’s Manufacturing PA program, academia and industry embark on research projects to develop new technologies and advance innovation. The latest grants will support Mechanical Engineering’s Dr. Calvin Li on “Innovation in the Calibration of CO2 Sensors to Increase Throughput” and Dr. C. Nataraj for “Development of a Low-Cost Field Ventilator.”
Pushing the Envelope | Plastics Engineering, February 2021
Growing use of composites signals a new direction in 3D printing that expands the technology’s suitability for high-performance and specialty parts. In this article, Mechanical Engineering’s Dr. Bo Li, an expert in hybrid nano-architectures and advanced manufacturing, speaks to enhanced strength as a fundamental driving force for their use.
Villanova Engineering Professor Pioneering Post-Quantum Cryptography
The incomprehensible processing speed of quantum computers under development today poses a significant threat to future cybersecurity. Therefore, researchers like Villanova’s Dr. Jiafeng "Harvest" Xie of the Electrical and Computer Engineering department are developing and implementing post-quantum cryptography (PQC) algorithms thought to be resistant to potential attacks.
Villanova Professor and Student Contribute to Advanced Antenna Design
"MXene Antennas: Spray-Applied, Ultrathin and 5G Ready," a paper co-authored by Dr. Ahmad Hoorfar and Christopher Israel ’19 EE, ’20 MSEE, was named "Best of 2020" by World Industrial Reporter. Research conducted by faculty in the departments of Materials Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Drexel University and the Antenna Research Laboratory at Villanova resulted in the fabrication of ultrathin, 5G-ready, MXene antennas that can be spray applied onto a variety of surfaces.
Advances in Earthworm Hemoglobin Blood Substitute Research
Dr. Jacob Elmer has developed cross-linked derivatives of earthworm hemoglobin (LtEc) that are stable at temperatures up to 40oC for seven days or more. He is now partnering with IO Biosciences, a Philadelphia-area biotechnology company, to express the LtEc genes in Chinese hamster ovary cells instead of extracting it from worms, which will allow for much larger batches and also provide control over the gene sequences.
Graduate Cell and Gene Therapy Course Attracts Professionals from Pharmaceutical Industry
Dr. Jacob Elmer in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering has taught a new graduate version of his in-demand Cellular Engineering course. ChE 8591: Cell and Gene Therapy, has proven to be popular among those working in the pharmaceutical field.
Professor Awarded NIH Grant for Improved Bioremediation Research
Dr. Wenqing Xu, associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has been awarded $657,137 as part of a $1.467 million National Institutes of Health grant (R01) for a five-year collaborative project between Villanova University and the University of Iowa. The work centers on the bioremediation of legacy pollutants and emerging contaminants through the use of pyrogenic carbonaceous matter to enhance the performance of organohalide-respiring bacteria.