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In a Nutshell: Buckeye Engineering briefs

Buckeye Engineering issue 24 news briefs

Alum's gift supports spine research

John and Mary Lib White hold hands and smile.John and Mary Lib WhiteAlumnus John A. White Jr. ’69 and his wife Mary recently gave $300,000 to support the Ohio State Spine Research Institute’s efforts to prevent, evaluate and treat spine disorders.

“Being an Ohio State graduate opened many doors for me,” John White said. “My doctorate not only equipped me to excel academically, it placed me in the company of a number of highly respected individuals within industrial engineering.”

The generous gift will be used to enhance the institute’s 10,000-square-foot laboratory on the recently renovated fifth floor of Baker Systems Engineering Building. Construction began in December and is expected to conclude in spring 2019. Once complete, the new facilities will include a dedicated lab area for clinical biomechanics studies of the spine, a second high end data collection space that will enable researchers to run several complex research studies simultaneously, training space for the institute’s short courses and additional office space for ergonomics and clinical efforts. Read the full story.

Embracing esports

Lucas Lumbra plays a video game on a desktop computer while wearing an EEG helmet.Lucas Lumbra plays a video game while wearing an electroencephalography, or EEG, helmet. The esports industry is growing quickly and The Ohio State University is leading in its development by forming the most comprehensive esports program to date. The campuswide collaboration brings together academics, collegiate competition and multidisciplinary research to give students as many opportunities as possible to be a part of the booming industry. 

An interdisciplinary curriculum spanning five colleges will focus on game studies and esports is being developed at the core of this program. This curriculum will be one of the first of its kind in higher education, and will include undergraduate and graduate degrees; an elective course in esports content production; online certification programs for specialized credentials; and a gaming speaker series.

A state-of-the-art arena is being built on campus to complement this curriculum and to give students diverse career opportunities. The arena will be home to Ohio State’s esports teams and open to all students. Read the full story.

Healing touch

A professor demonstrates TNT technology on a graduate assistant's arm.Prof. Gallego-Perez (center) demonstrates TNT technology in his lab.Biomedical Engineering Assistant Professor Daniel Gallego-Perez received a National Institutes of Health New Innovator Award to advance novel technology that repairs and restores tissue—including organs, blood vessels and nerve cells—with a single touch. Using $2.3 million in total funding, he will build on earlier studies that demonstrated how tissue nanotransfection can convert skin cells into blood vessels and nerve cells.

“This New Innovator Award will allow us to focus on developing TNT-driven restorative therapies for neurodegenerative disorders,” said Gallego-Perez, also an assistant professor of general surgery at Ohio State’s College of Medicine. “Our initial goal is to study its implementation in the repair of lesions or defects at the central and peripheral nervous system levels.”

Ohio State’s TNT platform technology overcomes many barriers that can interfere with other cellular reprogramming methodologies. It is non-invasive, and since it doesn’t rely on viral vectors to deliver genetic material into cells, immune response is mitigated. Read the full story.

Patent-worthy prototype

Drawing of the vessel design.It began as a speculative design, a prototype system of pre-cast, perforated and self-buoyant concrete vessels to float a forest of trees in Lake Erie, Toledo, to reduce harmful algal blooms. Two years later that collaborative design project by Assistant Professor Jake Boswell and senior landscape architecture student Marty Koelsch has received a provisional utility patent, and is currently in review for a full utility patent from the U.S. Patent Office.

The original design concept received an honorable mention in the 2017 LA+ IMAGINATION Design Ideas Competition. After applying receiving a provisional patent, Boswell enlisted the help of Lisa Burris and Nan Hu, assistant professors of civil, environmental and geodetic engineering, and Rachel Gabor, assistant professor of watershed hydrology in the School of Environmental and Natural Resources, in testing and optimizing the design. 

The team continues to tweak the form of the vessel as well as the composition of the concrete mixture. A six-month mesocosm study at Ohio State's Olentangy Wetland Research Park, set to launch this coming spring, will attempt to reveal the vessel’s true capacity for reducing nutrient loads under several different planting regimes. Read the full story.

Bridging the gap

Six ACM-W members pose next to a sign at Hack OHI/O 2017ACM-W members at Hack OHI/O 2017In classes where male students significantly outnumber females, it can be hard for women in computer science to connect with other women, and easy for them to feel isolated. Luckily, there’s an organization at Ohio State that is dedicated to encouraging women and improving conditions in the computing field.

The Association of Computing Machinery Women’s Chapter at Ohio State—or ACM-W@OSU—began changing the educational experience for women on campus in 2003. What started as a small club has since evolved into a comprehensive provider of mentoring experiences for women.

“Our initial membership was less than 10 women undergrads. In those early years, we had one or two outreach events a quarter, and we worked hard to find sponsors,” explained Computer Science and Engineering Senior Lecturer Bettina Bair, who founded the chapter and currently serves as faculty advisor. “Research shows that having a women-in-computing club on campus can increase students’ confidence and enjoyment of their studies, help reduce their feelings of isolation, dispel common myths and stereotypes, and empower members to actively recruit and mentor others.” Read the full story.