News & Events

Washington Engineer - July 2014 Dean's Message

Future breakthroughs in tackling the world's greatest challenges will depend largely on the ability of engineers to collaborate with other scientists, innovators and leaders across many disciplines. As a college, the work of our faculty has been acknowledged this year with banner funding from leading foundations across the nation including the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. This spring we celebrated with the entire university upon receiving a generous gift of $31.2 million from Washington Research Foundation to advance entrepreneurship and research in high-need areas. Our engineering faculty and students are involved with four interdisciplinary research teams that are furthering global innovation in clean energy, protein design, big data science and neuroengineering. We are excited to see new talent come in our doors as we foster continued discovery in our labs.

On March 22, a devastating mudslide claimed lives and property in a rural community north of Seattle. A national team co-led by Joseph Wartman, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, quickly formed to provide a technical investigation of what caused the landslide. Wartman and UW geomorphologist David Montgomery offered expert opinion on likely causes and safety considerations. Their report is due out next month and will inform future investigations.

Our engineering faculty and students recognize the increasing benefits to collaboration, particularly in healthcare fields that combine ingenuity and innovation with the expertise of those in medical professions. In this edition of Washington Engineer, you'll read about a breakthrough in heart research and new advances in eye care that could provide a way to monitor pressure to check for glaucoma on a minute-by-minute basis. Collaborations across bioengineering, electrical engineering and medical fields made these discoveries possible.

Engineering faculty and students also collaborated in a big way this spring in developing a "smart" emergency response network as part of the Obama administration's SmartAmerica Challenge, a novel event that sought to demonstrate how innovative research can benefit society. Our engineers developed telerobotics technology and combined their knowledge with a large team from industry and academics, ultimately presenting their response system prototype in Washington, D.C., this summer.

As we closed on one academic year and look forward to a new one, I'm pleased to announce a number of leadership changes in our college's departments. Please join me in welcoming David McDonald as the new Human Centered Design & Engineering chair; Linda Ng Boyle as the new Industrial & Systems Engineering chair; John Sahr as the interim chair for Electrical Engineering; and Alex Jen who is continuing for another term as Materials Science & Engineering chair.

Thank you for taking time to learn more about UW Engineering and for reading Washington Engineer.

Michael B. Bragg
Frank & Julie Jungers Dean of Engineering