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Nicole McFarlane, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science has been named the first recipient of the Science Alliance’s Program for Advancing Collaborative Teams (PACT). Her research proposes to investigate hybrid biomicroelectronic systems.

Introduced in late 2021, the PACT program provides support for collaborative research intended to target large external funding opportunities, such as the National Science Foundation’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSEC) award. Continue reading

Mahshid AhmadiUniversity of Tennessee, Knoxville, Assistant Professor Mashid Ahmadi has been selected for recognition as a Sloan Research Fellow for her revolutionary work in chemistry. Ahmadi was a recipient of the very first round of Science Alliance’s Support for Affiliated Research Teams (StART) awards and received additional second year funding based on the merits of her work. She is the fifth faculty member from UT to be so honored. The awards are given by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which receives more than a thousand nominations every year for 118 fellowships.

Ahmadi, who works in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in UT’s Tickle College of Engineering, is an expert in dealing with a type of materials known as perovskites that are grown from chemical solutions. Continue reading

Contact with contaminated surfaces is one of the most common ways for illness to spread. A person carrying a pathogen touches something, like a doorknob, then another person touches that object and they can be infected by that pathogen. In between these contacts, the pathogen has to survive on the object, and in a large enough quantity to infect another person. Dustin Gilbert, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, wants to make it impossible, or at least unlikely, for pathogens to survive on a surface.

“If you come into contact with a surface containing pathogens, you could get sick from it, so it’s important to have surfaces that are inhospitable environments for pathogens so they just die quickly rather than being picked up and infecting another person,” said Gilbert. Continue reading

Subhadeep ChakrabortyDriver inattention is the leading cause of traffic accidents in the U.S., resulting in thousands of deaths per year. Inattention can be the result of driver fatigue, texting, loud music, or even daydreaming. Whatever the cause, when a driver’s focus strays, lives are put at risk. Associate Professor of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering Subhadeep Chakraborty’s work with biometric sensing could help minimize that risk.  Continue reading

Francisco BarreraNeuromorphic computing is the use of the human brain as design inspiration for computer systems, and has been steadily gaining interest since the 1980’s. Its potential to improve both speed and energy efficiency in computing, and subsequently supercomputing, make neuromorphic computing a thriving area of interest. 

While not attempting to directly copy the human brain, neuromorphic computing draws inspiration from neurons and synapses to develop new means of computation and information transfer. Innovation is an important part of the field of neuromorphic computing, and Francisco Barrera, associate professor of Biochemistry & Cellular and Molecular Biology, is bringing a new approach to chip development.  Continue reading