Michal Schafer receives 1st place award at the Western Society of Pediatric Cardiology

Congratulations to Michal Schafer on his recent 1st place award for his oral presentation at the Western Society of Pediatric Cardiology 2015 in Vail, CO.  Michal was competing against more than a dozen medical residents and fellows for this honor.  His talk was titled “Vascular Indices of Aortic Stiffness by MRI in Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes.”  Michal works under the mentorship of Dr. Uyen Truong, Dr. Kendall Hunter and Dr. Vitaly Kheyfets.


Bioengineering graduate students receive travel grants from the Graduate School!

Bioengineering graduate students, Melissa Laughter, David Lee, and Anna Laura Nelson have each been awarded a $500 Travel Grant from the Graduate School to present at the Society for Biomaterials Annual Meeting in Charlotte, NC on April 15-18, 2015.

  • David be presenting on functional recovery following peripheral nerve injury using a biomimetic polymer conduit.
  • Melissa will be presenting on a Heparin-mimicking reverse thermal gel for the treatment of myocardial ischemia.
  • Anna Laura will be presenting on an Optimization of the morphology of multifunctional mesoporous silica nanoparticles to increase therapeutic and diagnostic effects in breast cancer.


Mays presents to Colorado Ground Water Association

David-Mays- (10-2014)-webOn Wednesday, March 17, David Mays, associate professor of civil engineering, was the guest speaker at the at the Colorado Groundwater Association March meeting. His presentation, “Plume Spreading for Improved Groundwater Remediation,” was well-received by the group.


Groundwater, found in soils and aquifers, represents 99% of the world’s supply of liquid fresh water. It is therefore a crucial component of our water supply, especially in arid states like Colorado. Unfortunately, gravity means that pollution often finds its way into groundwater, necessitating the art, science, and multi-billion dollar business of groundwater remediation.

This talk will describe an ongoing study, using both computer simulations and laboratory experiments, designed to test the simple hypothesis that groundwater remediation can benefit from an engineered approach to promote plume stretching and folding. This work, funded by the National Science Foundation, represents a new approach to the hydraulics of groundwater remediation based on a key idea borrowed from chaos theory: That stretching and folding optimizes mixing in laminar flows.

The lack of turbulent mixing soils and aquifers makes it difficult to blend chemical additives, which is why the National Research Council has observed that groundwater remediation reactions are usually confined to a narrow interface zone between the injected additives and the contaminated groundwater. The goal if this work is to take the literature on fluid mechanics and turn it into an engineered sequence of injections and extractions at wells that, it is hoped, will provide a new paradigm for the hydraulics of groundwater remediation. Accordingly, this talk will provide a brief introduction to chaos theory, and then summarize computer simulations and laboratory experiments designed to demonstrate stretching and folding for plume spreading.


David Mays serves on the faculty of the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado Denver, located on the Auraria Campus downtown, where he teaches fluid mechanics, pipe network design, and three graduate courses on hydrology. His research program addresses fundamental challenges in groundwater remediation using tools borrowed from complex systems science, including chaos theory (i.e., stretching and folding) and colloid science (i.e., fractal dimensions of permeability-reducing deposits in aquifers). Applications of this research have included pervious concrete, aquifer storage and recovery, and hydrocarbon reservoir engineering. Since joining CU Denver in 2005, Dr. Mays has advised 17 graduate students and published 14 refereed papers and 5 book chapters. More information, including course materials, are available through his website (http://carbon.ucdenver.edu/~dmays).

Dr. Benninger receives a pilot project award from the Cooperative Study Group for Autoimmune Disease Prevention (CSGADP)

Richard Benninger, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering, has been awarded a $72,495 pilot project from the Cooperative Study Group for Autoimmune Disease Prevention (a cooperative study group formed between multiple NIH institutes and the JDRF). This project will develop novel non-invasive imaging approaches to detect inflammation in the pancreas associated with the development of type1 diabetes, enabling early preventative therapeutic approaches to be applied.

Yakacki named college Outstanding Faculty in Research

Yakacki (9-12)-WEBChristopher Yakacki, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, has been selected as the 2015 recipient of the College of Engineering and Applied Science Outstanding Faculty in Research Award. The award, which includes a cash prize and a commemorative plaque, will be presented to Chris at the 2015 Year End Celebration on May 15.

He is also in the running for the campuswide Annual Award for Excellence in Research/Creative Activities.

Congratulations again, and best of luck with the campus-level award.

Hayes selected as the 2015 college Outstanding Faculty in Teaching

KM0_1174Roxann Hayes, instructor of civil engineering and advisor in the Engineering Student Services Center, has been named the 2015 College of Engineering and Applied Science Outstanding Faculty in Teaching. The award–a cash prize and commemorative plaque–will be presented to Roxann at the 2015 Year-End Celebration on May 15.

She is also under consideration for the campuswide Annual Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Congratulations, Roxann, and best of luck with the campus-level award.

EE students advance to 2015 Cornell Cup finals

Team-StratusFor the third consecutive year, a team of electrical engineering students under the leadership of assistant professor Dan Connors, has advanced to the finals of the Intel Cornell Cup. The competition will be held at the NASA Kennedy Space Flight Center May 1 – 2.

Team Stratus, Skyler Saleh, Bruno Mary, Antonio Duarte Jr, and Xin Li, will investigate the use of 3D sensing and computer vision technology available for mobile platforms, and design custom algorithms that trade-off execution time, accuracy, and power efficiency. Overall, the goal of their project is to demonstrate a large-scale near-field mobile 3D mapping system to aid in rapid disaster recovery and environmental analysis scenarios.

Best of luck at the finals and congratulations!

Learn more about the Intel Cornell Cup.

Third Annual Engineering Job & Internship Fair a Success

careerfair10On February 5, the Tivoli Turnhalle buzzed with enthusiastic engineering students on the hunt for internships and jobs. Twenty-one companies attended the third annual Engineering Job and Internship Fair, which drew almost 300 students. The CU Denver student chapters of the Society for Women Engineers (SWE) and Tau Beta Pi sponsored the event, along with the university Career Center and Experiential Learning Center.

“We had 50 percent more participating companies compared to last year, with many returning companies from previous years’ events,” said Maryam Darbeheshti, faculty sponsor SWE. “There’s a lot of good energy here today, on both sides of the tables.”

David Chau, a 2014 graduate from the computer science program, attended with his current employer, ReadyTalk. “It’s careerfair7definitely different being on this side of things and seeing students that I knew last year come through here,” he said. “We talked to at least 15 solid candidates today…there are definitely students who are ready.” ReadyTalk has participated in all three engineering job and internship fairs—Chau landed an internship with the company during his junior year at the 2013 event.

Students attending the fair appreciated the variety of companies on hand and the opportunity to network with employers who were actively seeing engineering professionals.

Nexenta, a company that develops software defined storage solutions, also has been present at all three fairs. Eric Ray, director of platform engineering with Nexenta, was impressed with the number of viable candidates, and he stressed the importance of events like the job fair to build relationships between companies, CU Denver, and the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

“The students here are different…more focused,” said Ray. “Nexenta is one of the most international companies I’ve worked for, and the unique makeup of the students at CU Denver matches that diversity, which is really great.”

Victoria Broce, a representative from RTD, said that this was one of the best job fairs she has attended. “I like that it’s focused and we know who we’re dealing with,” she said. “We typically don’t take applications on-site, but today, we did. We will definitely be back next year.”

Photos courtesy of the CU Denver Career Center

NSF CAREER Award supports work in smart polymers

Yakacki (9-12)-WEBAssistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Christopher Yakacki received a 2014 National Science Foundation CAREER Award. Yakacki’s CAREER award project, “A Two-Stage Processing Approach to Shape-Switching Liquid-Crystalline Elastomers for Biomedical Applications,” is a five-year investigation into the development of a reaction mechanism to tailor and manufacture liquid-crystalline elastomers (LCEs) for biomedical applications.

LCEs are a class of smart polymers that can repeatedly change shape and optical properties in response to a stimulus, such as heat or light. Traditionally, LCEs have been difficult to synthesize and manufacture for applications such as biomedical devices. This CAREER award is to investigate a new approach and reaction mechanism to tailor and manufacture these materials for biomedical applications, specifically shape-changing biomedical devices.

Yakacki’s CAREER award will also serve to create summer workshops for local high school students, which will give them a hands-on experience in how smart polymers can be used in biomedical applications. Using this new technology, Yakacki will apply his teaching and industry experience to design and develop interference devices for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, which also illustrates how the fields of mechanical engineering, materials science, and bioengineering can combine. He hopes to show that engineering isn’t a confined area of study, and that although there are individual degree programs, engineers often solve problems using an interdisciplinary approach. Through this endeavor, Yakacki wants to give students a better look at how a college education can lead to unique, real-world opportunities and experiences.

Benninger to receive 2015 Young Fluorescence Investigator Award

Richard Benninger has been selected for the 2015 Young Fluorescence Investigator Award, to be presented at this year’s Biophysical society annual meeting. The Young Fluorescence Investigator Award is given to an outstanding researcher at the beginning of his or her career for significant advancements and/or contributions in or using fluorescence methodologies. This award is sponsored by Horiba Jobin Yvon and consists of a $1,000 honorarium and an invitation to present a 20-minute research talk at the Fluroescence Subgroup Meeting during the Biophysical Society Annual meeting.