University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering


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The departmental Mechanical Engineering Graduation Recognition Event was held on December 9th at Mayo Memorial Auditorium. View the ME Facebook page to see recognition event photos, as well as photos from the ME Senior Design Show and the ME Robot Show!

gao meng natesanThis past semester numerous ME researchers and students received awards. The following are three awardees who received poster awards at the 2016 IEM Annual Conference & Retreat: Post Doctoral Associate Zhe Gao won 1st place in the Post-Doc category for "Nanowarming of Arteries." Post Doctoral Associate, Fanben Meng won 2nd place in the Post-Doc category for "Guide Vascularization via 3D Printed Programmable Release Bionic Capsules." Graduate Student Harishankar Natesan won 1st place in the Cardiovascular Engineering theme with his poster, "A microthermal sensor for Pulmonary Vein (Pv) Ablation."

Benjamin Mayhugh Associate Professor Michael McAlpine is a recipient of the PECASE Award. This is the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach. Learn more:

kulackiProfessor Francis Kulacki is the recipient of the Edwin F. Church Medal. In his 46 year career Professor Kulacki has exemplified outstanding and continuous contributions in mechanical engineering education, research and service. His work has impacted all facets of mechanical engineering education including thermal engineering, the engineering curriculum, and design modalities. Through innovative initiatives, he was a pioneer in establishing and embedding computer-aided design and education in mechanical engineering at three universities. This medal is awarded for eminent service in increasing the value, importance and attractiveness of mechanical engineering education. The ASME International Mechanical Engineering Education Leadership Summit award presentation will be held during the month of April 2017 in Washington, DC.


On behalf of the Council of University Transportation Centers, PhD Student Chen-Fu Liao was recognized as the winner of the CUTC Milton Pikarsky Memorial Award for his dissertation prepared as part of his studies at the University of Minnesota.


Professor Allison Hubel invented a "microfluidics" device that "washes" thawed blood! Learn more in this Twin Cities Business article:

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As part of a new $317 million dollar national initiative, and the Legacy cover story, Assistant Professor Julianna Abel and Professor David Pui are the U of M's lead researchers who will advance innovations in fibers and fabrics for this nationwide "smart fabrics" initiative. View the article here>

A groundbreaking research by Ph.D. students Vu Nguyen and co-authors in Professor Rusen Yang's group has just been published in the journal Nature Communications. The paper, titled "Self-assembly of diphenylalanine peptide with controlled polarization for power generation," discovered that bio-based peptide microstructures can be engineered to convert mechanical energy into useful electricity. This break-through discovery promises to create novel piezoelectric devices and open new biomedical applications. More about this work can be viewed at


The Institute for Diversity, Equity, and Advocacy (IDEA) recently profiled the outstanding research underway by university faculty, and their position surrounding community engagement around grand challenges. ME Professor Sean Garrick was featured as a new IDEA Faculty Development Fellow in an impressive article. Learn more>

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Professor Rajesh Rajamani, Professor Max Donath and Research Associate Nichole Morris, together with Professor Loren Terveen from Computer Science received a $1 million research grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a smart bicycle that monitors distances to nearby vehicles and alerts them to the presence of the bicycle, in the event of danger of a collision. The 3-year project is funded through the 'Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity' program at NSF.

Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor Susan Mantell, an accomplished scholar with 95 refereed publications on design of structures utilizing nontraditional materials, was awarded Fellow of the ASME for distinguished accomplishments in leadership, teaching, and research. Her extraordinary passion has provided innovative excellence in educational leadership, strengthening the engineering curriculum through training of graduate teaching assistants, course design and new infrastructure for experiential learning.

University of Minnesota has a record 17 start-ups in FY16! ME Professor Allison Hubel / MesoFlow, ME Professor John Bischof / Vigilant Diagnostics, Minnepura led by Paul Hansen, Professor Wackett & ME Professor Al Aksan, and Innotronics led by Mike Gust, Ryan Madson, & ME Professor Rajesh Rajamani. Learn more >

PLUS, Innotronics and Minnepura were named among the "Best University Start-ups 2016" by the National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer (NCET2), an association of university start-up officers. Learn more >

Professor Tianhong Cui
was awarded the Outstanding Editor Award from Nature Publishing Group and Chinese Academy of Sciences at Light Conference on July 4, 2016. As an executive editor-in-chief, Professor Cui was the founder for two Nature journals: Microsystems & Nanoengineering and Light: Science & Applications (Impact Factor of 13/6 in 2016).

Professor Jane Davidson
delivered the opening plenary at the ASME Summer Heat Transfer Conference in Washington DC. Her lecture addressed the global challenge of developing sustainable fuels for transportation using sunlight.

ME graduate students Vahhab Zarei (Barocas lab) and Yiru Wang (Bischof lab) placed 2nd and 3rd in their respective categories of the Student PhD Paper Competition at this year's Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering, and Biotransport Conference ( They were selected from roughly 20 entries in each category.

Benjamin Mayhugh Assistant Professor Cari Dutcher
was awarded the Doctoral New Investigator Award from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund for her proposal titled: “Polyelectrolyte – Clay Dynamics and Assembly in Taylor Couette Flows for Applications in Improved Oil Production." The Doctoral New Investigator grants program aims to promote the careers of young faculty by supporting research of high scientific caliber, and to enhance the career opportunities of their undergraduate/graduate students, and postdoctoral associates through the research experience. Learn more >

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