You are on page 1of 4




When we say the College of Engineering is research intensive, we mean it. Emulating our faculty and graduate students, undergraduatesnamely, juniors who maintain a QPA of 3.5 or betterare invited to participate in Senior Honors Research. This research program gives bright students the opportunity to apply their hard-earned knowledge and work alongside their professors on projects that genuinely expand engineering knowledge. To acknowledge the talent of these young researchers, the students present their work in Carnegie Mellons annual undergraduate symposium, Meeting of the Minds, a veritable showcase of intelligence and innovation. Read about the winners of the CIT Honors Poster Competition, and we think youll be impressed. Justin Feig 1st Place Project: A Lab-on-a-Chip Device for Controlling the Cellular Environment Advisor: Shelley Anna and Yoed Rabin Extracting cells from liquids, like blood, is one goal of the microuidic device that newly graduated Justin Feig (B.S. MechE, 07) designed. A microuidic device is a seven-syllable phrase describing a microscopic component that handles owing liquids. Feigs creation, sandwiched atop a sliver of silicone and a sheet of PDMS (a widely used silicon-based organic polymer), is a tad wider than half a centimeter, hence the moniker lab-on-a-chip. Through a network of micron-scale channels or tubes that he built on the chip, Feig intends to ush cells out of blood. Heres how his device will work. The channels form a network that has three openings: one to insert blood and another to insert an alternate medium. The purpose of the alternate medium is to dilute the blood. Finally, the third opening allows cells to exit from the device. As the blood ows through the network, the alternate medium is introduced in stages and nearly replaces the blood. Because cells are fragile, the medium must be gradually introduced into the network. The chief focus of Feigs project was to design a device that allowed him to precisely control and monitor this cellular environment. One example of an alternate medium is a cryoprotecting agent (CPA), which can be likened to antifreeze thats used in vehicles. The use of CPA would allow for the seamless extraction of millions of frozen cells, which could then be used in different healthcarerelated therapies. This device is sort of like a hammera general tool, said Feig. Feigs rst-place project was ambitious in its intent and certainly in its execution. No small feat for an undergraduate, Feig used a technique called soft lithography to form the channels on the chip. Soft lithography is a multi-step process that results in a negative mold stamped onto a substrate, e.g., silicon. This mold can then be imprinted into a soft medium such as PDMS, thus creating the channels. Now that the device is fabricated, the next phase will be to extract cells. But that work is for another day and perhaps, another honor student.



Justin Feig

William Garrett Jenkinson, of ECE 2nd Place Project: A Trajectory Physics Based Diffusion Tensor Magnetic Resonance Imaging Fiber Tracking Model Advisor: Jos M. F. Moura Graduate student: Hsun-Hsien Chang William Garrett Jenkinson knew he had a solid research projecthe had been studying MRI technology for three years, but he was almost a no-show at the Meeting of the Minds. The day of the competition, he was so sick, he found himself at Student Health Services. When his IV bag emptied, he dragged himself to the competition and set up his poster display. He spent his senior year preparing for the symposium, and missing it was not an option. His fortitude was rewarded. He placed second in the CIT competition and took rst place in a competition sponsored by Lockheed Martin (he earned a quick $1,000 for this feat). The winning project, which had one of the competitions longest titles, laughs Jenkinson, deals with improving the quality of magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. Jenkinson explains that he is interested in diffusion tensor MRI (DT-MRI) because this technology shows contrasts in images that are unattainable with conventional MRI. DTMRI is able to track the diffusion of water in body tissue, and this information is expressed in images that are comprised of 3-D pixels. Relying on the physics of diffusion, Jenkinson developed an algorithm that takes DT-MRI data to show 3-D models of brous heart tis-

sue. His work, when coupled to 3-D heart-motion tracking algorithms, has yielded results that outperform existing tracking algorithms. Hsun-Hsien and I enjoyed very much our collaboration with Garrett, said Jos M. F. Moura, who was Jenkinsons faculty advisor on the project. He is very talented. Together we learned about diffusion tensor MRI, and his results helped us improve our own algorithms that aim to automatically monitor regional heart failure in heart transplants in rats. We are very happy that he is pursuing a doctoral degree and wish him the best in his graduate studies. Jenkinson, who graduated in May, is now pursuing a Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University in the Center for Imaging Science.

James Rogers, of BME and MSE Synthesis of FeCo Nanorods To Act as Heat Sources for Thermoablative Cancer Therapy Advisor: Michael Bockstaller Applying heat to kill cancer, or thermoablation, isnt a new concept, but widespread clinical use of this technique is not prevalent. It is difcult to deliver heat to a tumor while leaving healthy tissues alone. Researchers across the country, including recent graduate James Rogers (B.S. BME and MSE, 2007), have joined ranks to study how heat-generating nanoparticles can be modied so that they will seek and destroy cancer. The goal of Rogers project was to develop nanoparticles with improved heating rates. To achieve this, he synthesized bio-

compatible magnetic nanoparticles from iron and cobalt. The second portion of his project centered on giving the nanomagnetic particles a cylindrical shape and a single magnetic domain. This means the magnetic momenta of the material are uniformly oriented, which improves the heating rates of the particles. (Small magnetic particles generally have multiple domains, making their heating behavior difcult to control.) He explained that by controlling the shape of the particles, their heating rates may be tuned, and the particles become easier to coat with surfactants, which prevents the particles from aggregating and facilitates their movement in the body. By the end of his senior year, Rogers managed to verify that he had indeed created cylindrical iron-and-cobalt particles with the desired single magnetic domain. This work is important because once researches have these particles under control, they can use magnetic elds to heat the particles and kill specic cells. Of course, much more work needs to be done to see how the particles would behave in a living organism. At this point, however, the CIT grad says his work is done. This fall he started on his Ph.D. in materials science at University of California, Santa Barbara.


Caption? William Garrett Jenkinson James Rogers



Robert Cavagnaro Senior, Mechanical Engineering To prepare themselves for the global job market, these three students did internships in Europe and Asia. This past summer, they learned what it is like to live and practice engineering in different countries, and through their experiences, they learned a lot about themselves. I had always wanted to study or work abroad at some point in my college career. This summer, I was granted such an opportunity and accepted an internship at a German research institute in the small city of Chemnitz. I was extremely excited about this. What could be better? I was going to spend my entire summer in Germany, doing research Im interested in, earning some money, and experiencing life in a culture different from my own. My hosts had arranged my living quarters: a room in a student apartment with two other German students. My summer was as amazing as I hoped it would be. I worked on a challenging project in a facility with a strong focus on precision and integrity in research. I was also able to travel on weekends, visiting many cities in Germany and places in neighboring countries. When I wasnt off traveling, I spent my time interacting with my coworkers and fellow students. The benets of my time there were many. In addition to learning about research practices and protocol in Germany, I got to experience the culture rsthand. I was even able to pick up a bit of the language as well. I feel that my internship abroad has given me a perspective on the world that students who have only lived in the U.S. will never develop. Alexandra DeFazio Junior, Mechanical Engineering This past summer, I spent three months in Karlsruhe, Germany, doing research based on the Auto-Ignition Process of a Dimethylether in an Open Jet. I was provided with this opportunity through the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Research Internships in Science and Engineering Program. While in Germany, I worked under the supervision of two Ph.D. students, Christian Pfeifer and Henning Haessler. Through this program, I was given the tremendous opportunity to work with people from different backgrounds and from various countries. I gained practical international experience while assisting in advanced research work. Living abroad allowed me to gain a rsthand perspective of the German people and culture, and I had only positive experiences. During daily activities, like trying to nd my way around the city, or while working in the research lab, everyone I encountered was eager to help me. I believe that this experience will make me more marketable to employers as international experience is becoming increasingly important in our global society. Spending time abroad in an academic setting certainly opened my eyes to the multitude of opportunities available in the eld of engineering.



Orientation couldnt have been better. The weather was perfect. Three bands played in Schenley Park and our new students got all the food and ice cream they could eat. The incoming class of 2011 deserved a welcome party. Getting accepted into CIT is a feat by itself the competition was tough. (At least three students with a perfect score of 1600 on their SATs were rejected! Forty-nine high-school valedictorians were turned away, too.) But for the bright young men and women who now call Carnegie Mellon their home, high school is a lifetime behind them, Bernard Kung Junior, Electrical and Computer Engineering Bernard Kung grew up speaking Chinese. Both his parents were from Taiwan, and he had visited the country a number of times. When he learned of a program that would enable him to study in Taiwan for a term and then do an internship, he signed up. My roots were there, and I thought I could learn more by living there as opposed to family trips, said Kung. He did learn a great deal, but it wasnt what he was expecting. In the spring term of 2007, he found himself at National Chiao-Tung University in Hsinchu, Taiwan. Upon arriving, he realized that his Chinese was good enough for asking directions or reading a menu, but his vocabulary needed improvement and common expressions were lost on him. When classes ended, the school arranged an internship for him at Sunplus mMedia. Raised in the States, Kung assumed an internship would be a lot like a 9-to-5 job. He soon experienced another major surprise. When I got there, it was harder than I realized, said Kung. Work habits in Taiwan are different than they are in the U.S. During my orientation, I was told that working hours were 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and on Fridays, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., he said. However, he and a fellow intern noticed that nobody left the building at closing time. We would leave at 9 p.m. and half of staff would still be there. Lights were always on. It was ridiculous. We were working 12 hours a day and felt bad when we left. We were wondering if we were doing something wrong. While his hours were long, he did enjoy the work. For six weeks, he and another student from Illinois tried to develop software to correct lens curvature problems in cameras. Kung said, Six weeks is not a lot of time, even when you are working 12-hour days, but we did manage to x distortion under certain parameters. Considering the long days and an occasional language gaffe, Kung says he would be glad to work in Taiwan again: The experience was denitely worth my time. and new, bigger challenges await. We have great expectations for the class of 2011, and we promise that in the next four years these accomplished students will learn a lot about engineering and themselves. A Few Facts about the Class of 2011 396 total students were admitted. 105 females 291 males They come from 35 U.S. states and 15 countries.