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University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering
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The Neural Network--Reverse-Engineering the Brain
April 2011

Spring 2011 Parameters Now Online
The latest issue of Parameters is now available online. This issue highlights the effort of the college's Neural Network, the group of researchers who have been working, for many years in some cases, to uncover the secrets of the human brain. Also featured in this issue: an update on the college's Petroleum Engineering Program and a tribute to the late Neal Amundson, Cullen Professor Emeritus of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Professor of Mathematics. Read it Now!

Professor Creating Color-Coded MRIs
In black and white and with sometimes-poor focus, MRIs can often be too difficult for even an experienced physician to interpret. In a project recently funded by the National Science Foundation, Li Sun, associate professor in the Cullen College of Engineering's Department of Mechanical Engineering, is developing a new class of contrasting agents that will make MRI images easier to read. At the heart of this research are iron nanostructures that will provide something entirely new to these images: color. Read More

Researcher Wins NIH Grant to Test Vaccines for Emerging Virus
A UH Cullen College of Engineering professor has received a grant to develop a new method of testing potential vaccines, and will use this approach to fight a virus identified as an emerging bioterrorism threat. Navin Varadarajan, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, won a two-year, $361,000 grant to test potential vaccines for the chikungunya virus. While rarely fatal, chikungunya causes arthritic symptoms so severe that some victims cannot even walk. These effects can last for up to a year. Read More

Civil Engineering Wins Two Grants to Study Infrastructure Repair
In two separate NSF-funded projects, professors with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering will study the use of fiber-reinforced polymers to repair and strengthen infrastructure. Assistant Professor Mina Dawood will explore combing shape-memory alloys with these polymers to provide a more effective patch for cracked steel. Associate Professor Ashraf Ayoub and Chairman Abdeldjelil "DJ" Belarbi will work to find the rules for how these polymers interact with concrete. Read about Dawood Read about Ayoub and Belarbi 

Student Organizations Win Honors
The IEEE student branch at the Cullen College of Engineering received the 2011 Outstanding Large Student Branch Award for Region 5. The award is based on overall branch activity, including social events, fundraising, service projects, academic performance and participation in IEEE initiatives. The Cullen College's Chem-E Car Team took second place at the regional competition held last month. The competition challenged students to build a small vehicle powered by a chemical reaction, and then have that vehicle travel a determined distance. 
Read about IEEE Read about Chem-E Car  

Headlines
Civil Professors, Students Honored at ACI Conference
Akay Delivers Keynote Address at Middle East Conference on Biomedical Engineering
Plasma Reaction Paper Featured on Journal Cover
PROMES Sponsors Out of Darkness Walk
Diesel Center Researching Marine Vehicle Emissions
Civil Professor Honored by ASCE for Lifetime Work
Civil Engineering Grad Student Wins Fellowship
Engineering Professors Among Those Honored for Faculty Excellence

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

Engineering Commencement
May 13, 6 p.m.
Hofheinz Pavilion, University of Houston

Alumni Awards Gala
June 3, 6 p.m.
Four Seasons Houston

GRADE Camp
June 13-17 & June 27-July 1
9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

STEP Forward Camp
June 18-25



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