University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering
Exclusive Video of UH Engineering Students’ Ride on NASA’s “Vomit Comet”
February 2014

Exclusive Video of UH Engineering Students’ Ride on NASA’s “Vomit Comet”


A team of UH “Cougarnauts,” comprised of Cullen College of Engineering students, were chosen as part of an elite group to participate in NASA’s Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program, where they performed an assigned experiment during 25-second bouts of weightlessness in NASA’s reduced gravity aircraft: the “Vomit Comet.” The UH students studied the effects of freezing water in zero-gravity conditions. Now, we have a behind-the-scenes look at the "Cougarnauts" flight in near-zero gravity. Watch the Video!



Researcher Developing Plastics from Plants Through NSF CAREER Award
A researcher with the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering has won a $500,000 grant to develop plant-based plastics and rubbers. Megan Robertson, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, received the grant from the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award program. With the funds, she will use vegetable oils like soybean oil, palm kernel oil and linseed oil to develop new polymers. Polymers are long, chain-like molecules made up of repeating units and are the key component of rubbers and plastics encountered in everyday life. Read More

blood cells

Blood Transfusions Made Safer Through $1.8M Grant
Sergey Shevkoplyas wants to make one thing perfectly clear: Blood transfusions save millions of lives every year. Without them, routine surgeries would become life threatening. They’re one of modern medicine’s absolute necessities. But that doesn’t mean transfusions are perfect. There’s strong evidence that for some patients, transfusions of red blood cells stored in a refrigerator for prolonged periods of time can be dangerous or even deadly. The National Institutes of Health has given Shevkoplyas an NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award to develop a simple device that can clean donated blood of toxins and other impurities. Read More

Q&A: NAE Member John Lee
Membership in the National Academy of Engineering is reserved for only the most accomplished engineers and represents the absolute pinnacle of the profession in the United States. The University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering is proud that 10 active NAE members officially claim UH as their own. One of them is John Lee, Professor and Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished University Chair. Lee is one of the most respected petroleum engineers in the world. He’s authored four best-selling petroleum engineering textbooks and was the lead engineer on the SEC’s re-write of rules for reporting petroleum reserves. Continue reading to learn more about Lee’s research, his time at the SEC, and his 2011 move to the Cullen College’s Petroleum Engineering Program. Read More

Video: Brain Machine Interface System in Action
All too often, a stroke can mean total loss of mobility for a patient. For years, this has been accepted as a reality for stoke victims, but for Jose Luis “Pepe” Contreras-Vidal, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering, losing the ability to walk after a stroke is simply a roadblock to regaining full mobility – one which can and will be overcome. A leading figure in the field of brain-machine interface systems, Contreras-Vidal develops algorithms that can read electrical activity in the brain and translate that activity into movement intentions that drive robotic exoskeletons and advanced prosthetic limbs. He recently exhibited the Brain-Machine Interface System at the TIRR Memorial Hermann Research Center. Watch him explain first-hand how these robotic exoskeletons are currently helping these patients to relearn how to walk!

teachHOUSTON Students Learn from Science and Engineering Fair of Houston
There were quite a few college students at the Science and Engineering Fair of Houston (SEFH) on February 19th and 20th, but they weren’t competing against the middle and high school students participating in the fair. Instead, they were learning from them. A group of University of Houston teachHOUSTON students attended the event to observe how the local middle and high school students conducted, presented and explained their scientific research experiments at the fair. Read More

Researchers Exploring Treatment for Lupus-Based Kidney Disease
Chandra Mohan has a theory about the development of lupus nephritis, the leading cause of lupus-related deaths. If he’s right, there may already be a treatment. Thanks to a $200,000 grant from the Alliance for Lupus Research, Mohan will study whether the interaction of three specific molecules is the cause of lupus nephritis. He will test his theory using a drug that is in clinical trials for non-lupus-based kidney disease. Read More

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