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News

February 5, 2016 | UW Today

To widen the pool of women faculty in STEM, UW researchers and leaders have explored strategies to encourage women scientists and engineers with industry or government experience to transition into academia. Ten women who participated in the UW's On-Ramps into Academia workshops and made the leap were interviewed about the challenges and rewards and also the support that made it easier. Initial concerns included having spent more time developing products than publishing papers, not being able to discuss their work because of intellectual property concerns, or having been outnumbered by men when they were getting their doctorate degrees. Ultimately, though, the women found other dimensions of an academic career attractive enough to want to return.

Authors of a paper recently published in the Journal of Technology Transfer are Eve Riskin, a professor in EE and associate dean for diversity and access at the UW College of Engineering and UW iSchool Ph.D. student Katie O’Leary, ADVANCE director Joyce Yen, and professor of bioengineering Matt O’Donnell.

January 25, 2016 | UW Today
ME researchers are developing a handheld microscope to help differentiate healthy and cancerous cells in an office setting or operating room. "Being able to zoom and see at the cellular level during the surgery would really help them to accurately differentiate between tumor and normal tissues and improve patient outcomes," said ME Assistant Professor Jonathan Liu. The handheld microscope, roughly the size of a pen, combines technologies in a novel way to deliver high-quality images at faster speeds than existing devices. Researchers expect to begin testing it as a cancer-screening tool in clinical settings next year.
January 20, 2016 | UW Today
CEE researchers have developed an inexpensive system to sense Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals from bus passengers' mobile devices and collect data to build better transit systems. They tested it on UW shuttle buses last spring. "Let's say you have a Husky game or Seahawks game and you want to know how much demand changes so you can offer the right level of bus service for this special event," said senior author Yinhai Wang, a UW professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium, or PacTrans.
January 19, 2016 | UW Today

Thomson Reuters has selected five Engineering faculty members for their list of elite, highly cited scientific researchers. The researchers were selected "based on their respective output of top-cited papers in their fields... the scientists who have won acclaim and approval within a key population: their peers."

Named to the list: from Materials Science & Engineering are Guozhong Cao, Department Chair Alex Jen, and Miqin Zhang. From Chemical Engineering, Samson Jenekhe. And from Computer Science & Engineering, William Noble.

January 15, 2016 | UW Today
BioE researchers have shortened the wait time in detecting cellular proteins and DNA. Inspired by studies of fluid dynamics, Xiaohu Gao's team worked around the commonly used and sometimes days-long staining process in which detector molecules bind to their targets to produce a visible color change. Instead of waiting for detector molecules to drift through solution to a target at the bottom, Gao's team allowed detector molecules close to the surface to bind. Then they drained the solution from the plate, mixed it, put it back, and repeated this cycle dozens of times — which they call 'cyclic solution draining and replenishing' and resembles a washing machine's function.
January 12, 2016 | UW Today
A new CSE research group is to improve financial products — such as money remittances and savings accounts — for the lowest-income people around the world. With a $1.7 million, two-year grant awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Digital Financial Services Research Group will be established to investigate and overcome technological barriers to widespread adoption of mobile financial services. "This technology can have tremendous impact — both for allowing people to send remittances from the city back to rural regions, and to establish savings accounts so people can have reserves so that an event like an accident or a pregnancy doesn’t send them over the edge," said Richard Anderson, professor of computer science and engineering.
January 11, 2016 | UW Today
Study led by CEE's Cynthia Chen suggests that policies to promote biking and walking need to be tailored to different neighborhoods and different populations. Specifically, lower- and middle-income King County residents who live in denser neighborhoods — with stores, libraries and other destinations within easy reach — are more likely to walk or bike, according to new University of Washington research. But neighborhood density didn’t motivate higher-income residents to leave their cars at home, the transportation engineers found. Of the environmental factors they studied, the only one that significantly influenced how frequently that group walked or biked was how attractive they found their neighborhoods to be.
January 11, 2016 | UW Today
Implantable devices that send signals between regions of the brain or nervous system have potential to improve or even restore mobility for people who have suffered a spinal cord injury or stroke. That’s the mission driving the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering, a UW-led effort that includes researchers from MIT, San Diego State, and other partners. The goal is to achieve proof-of-concept demonstrations in humans within the next five years, Rao said. This will lay the groundwork for eventual clinical devices approved by the Food and Drug Administration, in collaboration with the center’s industry partners.
January 11, 2016 | UW Today
The 1-year program will train students to apply engineering design and entrepreneurship skills to address unmet clinical needs and to transform biomedical research into technologies for improving health care. The degree will position graduates to respond to market-based demands of industry, medicine and translational research. "Our industry partners tell us they want graduates who have hands-on experience, and practice working in teams and solving real-world problems in a clinical environment," said Wendy Thomas, vice chair of academic affairs and associate professor of bioengineering. "Our graduates will also have practice working with all constraints of the business environment and the communication skills needed to facilitate a team of engineers, scientists, clinicians, business and venture capital investors."
December 22, 2015 | UW BioEngineering
Suzie Pun was recently named a 2015 National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Fellow the UW Bioengineering Robert F. Rushmer Professor of Bioengineering, Dr. Pun’s research focuses on developing bioinspired materials for medical applications. Recently, bioengineers in Dr. Pun’s research group, along with collaborators from UW Emergency Medicine and Chemical Engineering, developed PolySTAT, an injectable polymer that helps strengthen blood clots to stop uncontrolled bleeding.
December 15, 2015 | UW Today
To hold up its end of the landmark climate deal signed in Paris last week, the U.S. will need to make cars and trucks of the future far more fuel efficient — to the equivalent of 54 mpg by 2025. “It’s within the realm of what we’ve done before, just not recently. It’s asking for a return to the rate of innovation the industry was able to deliver in the 1970s and 1980s. But it’s not beyond that,” MacKenzie said lead author Don MacKenzie, UW assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering.
December 14, 2015 | UW Today
The new program is a collaboration between Human Centered Design & Engineering, Computer Science & Engineering, the eScience Institute, the iSchool, and additional UW science and math departments. The 45-credit program, launching in fall 2016, will be offered at the UW Seattle campus, with full- and part-time options available in the evening to suit the schedules of working professionals. Students will gain advanced technical expertise in managing, modeling and visualizing big data to meet the growing needs of industry, government, nonprofits and research institutions.
December 7, 2015 | UW Today
CSE researchers show it’s possible for machine learning algorithms to capture a "persona" and create a digital model of a well-photographed person.
December 1, 2015 | UW Today

A collaboration between UW computer scientists and developmental psychologists has shown that robots can "learn" much like kids — by amassing data through exploration, watching a human perform a task, and determining how best to carry out that task on its own. "You can look at this as a first step in building robots that can learn from humans in the same way that infants learn from humans," said senior author Rajesh Rao, a UW professor of computer science and engineering.

Rao's team used research on babies to develop machine learning algorithms that allow a robot to explore how its own actions result in different outcomes.

November 18, 2015 | UW Today

A team of UW computer science and electrical engineers have developed a novel technology that uses a Wi-Fi router — a source of ubiquitous but untapped energy in indoor environments — to power devices.

The Power Over Wi-Fi (PoWiFi) system is one of the most innovative and game-changing technologies of the year, according to Popular Science, which included it in the magazine’s annual “Best of What’s New 2015” awards announced Wednesday.

November 16, 2015 | UW Today

MSE assistant professor Peter Pauzauskie and his team are the first to solve a decades-old puzzle — figuring out how to make a laser refrigerate water and other liquids under real-world conditions.

Using an infrared laser to cool water by about 36 °F, they demonstrated a hydrothermal process to manufacture a well-known laser crystal for laser refrigeration applications in a faster, inexpensive, and scalable way. They also designed an instrument that uses a laser trap to "hold" a single nanocrystal and illuminate it. The instrument projects the particle’s "shadow" to allow observation of minute changes in its motion due to cooling.

November 9, 2015 | UW Today

The first dual degree program to be announced through GIX - Global Innovation Exchange is a new model of learning designed to fuel innovation and foster collaborations on a worldwide scale. The UW and Tsinghua University agreed to launch an integrated dual degree program through GIX that combines project-based learning in design thinking, technology development and entrepreneurship.

"Innovation requires you to understand users so you build the right thing, know enough about the technology to prototype it and demonstrate it, and know how to pitch it and convey its importance. This is going to be an intensive, integrated educational program in all these areas," said Shwetak Patel, chief technology officer for GIX and UW's Washington Research Foundation Entrepreneurship Endowed Professor in Computer Science & Engineering and Electrical Engineering.

The UW MSTI is currently under review by the UW Graduate School, which must approve all new degree programs.

November 3, 2015 | UW Today
Researchers at the UW’s Tech Policy Lab charge designers of future augmented reality systems with making them adaptable to change, resistant to hacking, and responsive to the needs of diverse users. Augmented reality promises systems that can aid people with mobility or other limitations. But augmented reality will also bring challenges for law, public policy, and privacy, especially pertaining to how information is collected and displayed. Issues regarding surveillance and privacy, free speech, safety, intellectual property and distraction — as well as potential discrimination — are bound to follow.
November 2, 2015
The National Science Foundation selected the UW, along with UC San Diego and Berkeley, to co-lead one of four Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs around the country. The ability to access, analyze and draw insights from massive amounts of data is already driving innovation in fields from medicine and manufacturing to the way cities are managed. To accelerate this emerging field, the NSF is establishing four “Big Data brain trusts” to catalyze new collaborations among university researchers, tech companies, national labs, local and state government and non-profits.
October 29, 2015 | UW Today
We have personal trainers and tailored suits. Why don't we have personalized medicine? That question - and the prospects for stem-cell-based treatments that reverse disease and repair damage rather than simply addressing symptoms - will be the focus of UW Bioengineering's 2015 Allan S. Hoffman Lecture on Nov. 5. Molly S. Shoichet, a University of Toronto chemical engineering and applied chemistry university professor who specializes in tissue engineering at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, will deliver the lecture entitled "Engineering Personalized Medicine" at 4 p.m. at Kane Hall's Walker-Ames Room, with a reception to follow.
October 29, 2015 | EE News

A new Pacific Science Center exhibit features the work of EE Professor Howard Chizeck and students in the BioRobotics Lab. The exhibit, Memory: Past Meets Present, focuses on how the brain retains information on repetitive actions performed by the body. The exhibit runs through March 6, 2016.

One panel of the exhibit highlights the Deep Brain Stimulator (DBS) for essential tremor project, led by EE Ph.D. students Jeffrey Herron and Margaret Thompson, aims to build closed-loop DBS systems to improve treatment for people with neurological disorders such as essential tremor.

October 23, 2015 | UW Today
In a lecture titled, "The Science of Information: From Pushing Bits over the Air to Assembling the World's Largest Jigsaw Puzzle," Stanford University professor David Tse will focus on how information theory has enabled new technological innovations. The lecture is part of the 2015 Dean Lytle Endowed Lecture Series hosted by the UW’s Department of Electrical Engineering. "While the design of physical systems is based on the laws of physics, the design of communication systems is based on the laws of information theory," said Tse, a professor of electrical engineering. Tse will give a public talk on Monday, Nov. 2, at 3:30 p.m. in the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science and Engineering atrium, with a reception to follow. The lecture is free, but advance registration is requested by Friday, Oct. 30.
October 22, 2015 | UW Today
A new publicly available tool from UW engineering researchers can better predict which genetic mutations significantly change how genes splice and may warrant increased attention from disease researchers and drug developers. The model is the first to train a machine learning algorithm on vast amounts of genetic data created with synthetic biology techniques. "Some people have variations in a particular gene, but what you really want to know is whether those matter," said lead author Alexander Rosenberg, a UW electrical engineering doctoral student. "This model can help you narrow down the universe — hugely — of the mutations that might be most likely to cause disease."
October 21, 2015 | UW Heath Sciences NewsBeat
Collaborating UW researchers have successfully restored damaged heart muscle of monkeys using heart cells created from human embryonic stem cells. Founded in the research of Dr. Charles Murry, UW professor of bioengineering, pathology and medicine and supported by a $10 million investment from the Washington Research Foundation, the treatment has the potential to restore heart tissue in people who have suffered heart attacks.
October 15, 2015 | UW Computer Science & Engineering
CSE professor Yoshi Kohno and grad students from the Security and Privacy Research Lab were featured on PBS's NOVA. Starting at minute 29 with the now-famous car hacking research, the program also shows CSE grad students able to use a false wifi hotspot to discover another student's home security login, figure out where he lives, and "break in." Kohno's team, including former CSE PhD students Karl Koscher and Franzi Roesner, now a professor at UW CSE, are shown remotely taking over the brakes of a car in a dramatic illustration of how vulnerable embedded systems in automobiles are to attack. The cafe wifi hacking segment features EE PhD student Tope Oluwafemi and CSE bachelor’s student Tariq Yusuf (both now alumni) using just a laptop and their own wireless hotspot to hack into CSE PhD student Alex Takakuwa’s laptop.

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