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Grants roundup: Engineering Faculty Receive $5 million in Funding to Start Fiscal Year

The Villanova University College of Engineering received 19 grants in the first quarter of fiscal year 2022-2023, totaling more than $5 million in funding for research and scholarship. These grants and their principal investigators include:

Dr. Bo Li
Dr. Bo Li

Bo Li
Mechanical Engineering
National Science Foundation: $243,000
Collaborative Research: NRI: Smart Skins for Robotic Prosthetic Hand

In the U.S., there are over 41,000 registered persons who had an amputation of hand or complete arm, and approximately 10,000 new amputation cases in the upper limb each year. Prosthetic hands that can significantly improve the quality of amputees’ life are highly desired to restore many activities of daily living, particularly in hand grasping and object manipulation. However, being able to use the hand accurately remains a grand and fundamental challenge in robotic prosthetic hands, especially in the desired trait of slip prevention for reliable and stable grasping in real life environments. The challenge resides in integrating fast sensing of slip detection and rapid movement in the small-area in the fingertips to prevent slippage through the use of sensors and controls of the prosthetic hands. This project proposes to meet this challenge by exploring a new concept of a skin that can change its shape for prosthetic hands in real-time. Learn more.

Dr. Calvin Li
Dr. Calvin Li

Calvin Li
Mechanical Engineering
National Science Foundation: $399,999
GOALI: Three-Dimensional Biomimetic Structures for Perpendicular and Lateral Liquid Supplies to Enable Ultrahigh Heat Flux in Boiling Heat Transfer and Thermal Management Systems

Boiling heat transfer is one the most efficient ways of removing heat from a hot surface by changing the coolant from liquid to vapor. Boiling has been widely employed in thermal management of power generation, refrigeration and air conditioning systems, electronic devices, and other high-power density systems. This GOALI project will study fundamental aspects of liquid supplies and boiling heat transfer as affected by surface structure characteristics that include a novel biomimetic structure. This will be integrated into commercial heat exchangers that can potentially achieve significant increase in heat transfer performance. Learn more.

Dr. Virginia Smith
Dr. Virginia Smith

Virginia Smith
Villanova Center for Resilient Water Systems
National Science Foundation: $499,536
CDS&E: Facilitating Sustainable and Fair Transformation of GSI through AI

As climate change exacerbates environmental challenges associated with urban growth, green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) is a prevalent stormwater mitigation strategy to provide resilience and mitigate the impacts of development on flooding. In parallel, fully sustainable GSI systems must confront the challenges of historically unequitable distribution of infrastructure. The current data revolution has reached municipal stormwater programs; however, these programs are limited by a lack of knowledge of GSI life-cycle dynamics, high performance and emerging computational tools, and how to integrate new science into design and planning decisions. There is a scientific gap in the space formed among GSI design, performance function, and planning decisions that requires bridging hydrologic science, urban planning, and data analytics. This project leverages innovations in artificial intelligence (AI), advancements in the empirical and theoretical understanding of urban hydrologic science, and social data to produce a new model of GSI dynamics that considers social and environmental equity issues. Learn more.

Other grants received by Villanova Engineering faculty members in the first quarter of FY23:

David Cereceda Senas
Mechanical Engineering
Department of Energy: $749,797
Unraveling transmutation effects in tungsten-based plasma-facing materials: a computational approach that integrates nuclear transmutation, first-principles calculations, and Machine Learning

National Science Foundation: $249,459
LEAPS-MPS: Unraveling the surface effects on tungsten-based plasma-facing materials through first-principles calculations

Jacob Elmer
Chemical Engineering
Bristol Myers Squibb: $83,265
Molecular profiling of anti-viral gene (AVG) signatures in CAR-T product

Jonathan Hubler
Villanova Center for Resilient Water Systems
Carnegie Mellon University: $59,584
Use of Foamed Glass Aggregate in Stormwater Infrastructure

Xun Jiao
Electrical and Computer Engineering
National Science Foundation: $193,176
Collaborative Research: Machine Learning-assisted Modeling and Design of Approximate Computing with Generalizability and Interpretability

Bo Li
Mechanical Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University: $70,000
Scalable water-based nanomaterial coating to enable fire retardancy in hydrophobic fibers

Michele Marcolongo
Drosdick Endowed Dean of Engineering
National Institutes of Health: $311,717
Molecular Engineering of Cartilage PCM Mechanotransduction in Osteoarthritis Using Biomimetic Proteoglycans

Eric Musselman
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University: $65,842
Evaluation of Sustainability Harvested Hardwood for Use in Mass Timber Applications

C. Nataraj
Villanova Center for Analytics of Dynamic Systems
Office of Naval Research: $1,075,226
Modeling Techniques for Dynamic Systems Using Nonlinear Physics and Machine Learning with Application to PEPDS and Other Naval Systems

Alfonso Ortega
Mechanical Engineering
National Science Foundation: $24,000
Phase II IUCRC Villanova University: Center for Energy-Smart Electronic Systems (ES2)

Seri Park
Civil and Environmental Engineering
National Science Foundation: $191,687
Collaborative Research: IRES Track I: Future Mobility for Smart City

Kristin Sample-Lord
Villanova Center for Resilient Water Systems
National Science Foundation: $509,945
CAREER: Coupled Phenomena Resilience and Dynamics in Bentonite Barriers

Dorothy Skaf
Chemical Engineering
National Institute of Health: $249,000
Tailored siRNA Delivery to Human Endothelium to Inhibit and Reverse Inflammatory Damage Following Ischemia Reperfusion Injury in the Kidney

Virginia Smith
Villanova Center for Resilient Water Systems
National Science Foundation: $149,305
Planning: SCC-PG: Smart, Sustainable, and Equitable Green Stormwater Systems in Urban Communities

Qianhong Wu
Mechanical Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University: $69,951
A Novel Wearable Physical Therapy System

Wenqing Xu
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Environmental Protection Agency: $25,000
Enhancing the Anion-Exchange Capacity of Biochar for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) Stabilization in Contaminated Soils