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Sindhu JagadammaCarbon is the foundation of all life on planet Earth and is a central component of climate, food production, and energy creation. Carbon cycling is the way carbon is recycled or moved around from the atmosphere, into organisms and soil, and back out again. Changes to each of these components have the ability to impact the carbon cycle, but the potential effects of soil composition are not well understood. Assistant Professor of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science Sindhu Jagadamma hopes to improve that understanding. 

Plants pull carbon dioxide from the air and, through photosynthesis, convert it to plant biomass, which ultimately ends up in soil as soil carbon. Soil carbon is critical to sustainable food production, playing a vital role in soil, water and air quality. Securely storing carbon in soil is also important for reducing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.    Continue reading

Hugh MedalThe Materials Genome Initiative, MGI, was announced in 2011 as a multi-agency initiative intended to increase the speed of advanced materials development and production. Since that time the federal government has invested more than $250 million in new research and innovation infrastructures to help achieve that goal. Assistant Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering Hugh Medal hopes his StART project will also contribute to the goals of the MGI. 

The Materials Project was announced as a key program of the MGI with the goal of providing open access to a registry of known and predicted materials. Since it’s inception, the Materials Project has amassed a database of hundreds of thousands of materials with their predicted properties, information that would normally require repeated experimentation to discover.  Continue reading

Constance BaileyOn average, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, approves 20 new drugs per year for public use. Each of those drugs has been on a decade long journey of research and development that may have cost as much as $2.6 billion. The JDRD work of Constance Bailey, assistant professor of chemistry, could help reduce the time, and subsequently costs, of drug development. 

Creating pharmaceuticals is a complex process that typically begins in a lab. The process of constructing drugs relies heavily on understanding how certain molecules exist in three-dimensional space, or stereochemistry.  Continue reading

Zhenbo WangIn 2009, the Google Self-Driving Car Project made its debut, ushering in an age of interest and research in automated vehicles. Connected and automated vehicles, CAVs, have continued to capture the attention of researchers as they attempt to address some of the fundamental problems with connective vehicle technology. Zhenbo Wang, assistant professor of mechanical, aerospace and biomedical engineering is tackling one of these very problems: intersections. 

CAVs use a variety of technologies to communicate with other connected devices around them. This may include other cars, roadside assistance services, or even traffic signals. These communications could provide information that allow drivers and vehicles to adjust for improved efficiency, such as changes in acceleration to adapt to an approaching intersection.  Continue reading

Michela TauferNeural networks, computational systems conceptually modeled after the brain, are an increasingly effective tool in modern data analysis. One challenge facing scientists using neural networks is the nature of their data. Different types of data require the use of different neural networks. Michela Taufer, Dongarra Professor of electrical engineering and computer science, hopes her JDRD project will make identifying the correct neural networks easier. 

Humans have always found ways to complete tasks more quickly and effectively. Beginning around the 1980’s factories began to use more and more automation in order to generate products more quickly. The volume and pace of production outstripped human capability so humans turned to computerized operation. Neural networks do a similar job for data analysis.  Continue reading