​Notables

Recent Research Awards & Honors

Lake wins early career award from journal: Spencer Lake, an engineer in the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis, has been selected to receive the 2016 Early Career Award from the Journal of Orthopaedic Research.

The award highlights the work of a researcher early in his or her career who published a paper in the journal in the prior calendar year. Lake was lead author of a paper published January 2016, titled “Development and Use of an Animal Model to Study Post-Traumatic Stiffness and Contracture of the Elbow.”

As a biomechanical engineer and assistant professor of mechanical engineering & materials science, Lake studies the biological and structural properties of stiff elbows to determine how changes to the connective tissues around the joint relate to its mechanics. In addition, he looks for the causes of long-term elbow contracture, tightness or reduced function after the joint has been made immobile following injury and how that alters biological and structural properties of tissues within the joint.

Lake is the first recipient of the award, which will be given at the Orthopaedic Research Society’s annual meeting in San Diego in March.



Agarwal appointed Guest Professor at Jiangsu University

Ramesh Agarwal, the William Palm Professor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, has been appointed Guest Professor at Jiangsu University in Zhenjiang, China. Guest Professorship will allow him to visit Jiangsu to teach one- to two-week short courses and collaborate with faculty and students to write joint proposals and publications.


Undergraduate student wins second prize in IMECE NSF Student Competition

Gary Hu, undergraduate student in mechanical engineering, won the second prize in the International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition NSF Student Competition. The poster session, which took place on Tuesday, November 15, provided undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to present a poster of their work from NSF-funded research as part of a competition. The poster forum provided the students an opportunity to disseminate their NSF-funded research to their junior, peer, and senior colleagues. The track is divided into the topics of (1) NSF-funded research grants/programs and (2) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REUs). Hu also won the NSF poster competition travel award.

Hu's poster, titled "Dynamic Instability and Wavelike Oscillations in a 9-Doublet Finite Element Model of Flagella" showed three objectives:

  1. Build realistic finite element model to represent flagella's basic structure of the 9+2 axoneme and the properties of dynein motors.

  2. Simulate the flagella model using a versatile, industry-oriented software package (ABAQUS, Dassault Systemes) to investigate the possible role of viscoelastic instability in FE models.

  3. Evaluate the viscoelastic "flutter" hypothesis suggested by a prior analysis of the partial differential equations of a simplified 2-double axoneme model – Steady dynein activity is sufficient to produce propagating, oscillatory, flagellar waveforms, and dynamic dynein regulation is not necessary for flagella beating.

The conclusion showed that steady tangential dynein forces, combined with fluid-structural interactions, can initiate and maintain propulsive flagellar motion, without feedback to or dynamic regulation of dynein activity.

Pathak awarded American Cancer Society - Institutional Research Grant

Amit Pathak, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, has received a 2017 American Cancer Society - Institutional Research Grant (ACS-IRG) in the amount of $30,000 to study tumor invasion through mechanically diverse microenvironments. In this research, the Pathak lab will fabricate new cell culture platforms of varying mechanical properties, those mimicking the breast tumor microenvironment, and monitor clustered migration of normal and cancerous mammary epithelial cells.

Wagenseil receives grant from The Marfan Foundation

Jessica Wagenseil, associate professor of mechanical engineering, has received a two-year, $100,000 grant from The Marfan Foundation to study arterial tortuosity and aneurysms. She plans to determine whether arterial tortuosity, a rare condition in which some of the major arteries are twisted, can be used to predict outcomes in mice with aortic disease. In addition, she will study whether the twisting is affected by treatment with captopril, an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor used to treat hypertension and congestive heart failure. Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the body's connective tissue and can cause an aneurysm in the aorta, the main blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart to the rest of the body.