2020 CMEDE Highlights Showcases Research and Collaboration Within the Program

We are pleased to release this compilation of annual highlights on behalf of the Center for Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments (CMEDE).

CMEDE is a multi-institution collaborative research center within HEMI that focuses on advancing the fundamental understanding of materials in high-stress and high-strain-rate regimes, with the goal of developing a materials-by-design capability for these extreme environments. The end goal is to help improve the design of protection materials for the U.S. Army.

This issue illustrates the unique aspects of our activities, recaps some of our significant events, and showcases a small sampling of the programs and people within each of our materials research groups (ceramics, composites, and metals). 2020 has been a tumultuous year, but we are excited to share these accomplishments with you; they have broad and deep impacts on our scientific and technological capabilities and allow us to developing a new workforce educated in the up-and-coming possibilities of materials-by-design. We are positive that the advances we are making in the science and the workforce will have great impact on the protection of our military personnel and vehicles.

We encourage you to take a peek and learn more about CMEDE here.

Sabine Stanley and Morgan Trexler Appointed to HEMI Executive Committee

Congratulations to Sabine Stanley and Morgan Trexler, who have been appointed as new members of the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute (HEMI) Executive Committee.

Stanley is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in the Johns Hopkins Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Her research involves understanding planetary interior processes and evolution. She focuses on planetary magnetic fields, dynamo theory, interior structure models and other geophysical methods to learn about the deep interiors of planets. Her work includes projects on many solar system bodies (Mercury, Moon, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, asteroids and planetesimals) as well as extrasolar planets. She uses a combination of numerical simulations, theory and comparison to observations from various missions to explore her science questions.

Trexler is a Materials Engineer at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. Her research interests include high rate impact mechanics, armor, biomechanics, and multifunctional and expeditionary materials. She received her PhD in Materials Science and Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. In 2014, she won the Outstanding Young Engineer award from the Maryland Academy of Sciences.

The HEMI Executive Committee exercises general responsibility over the activities within the Institute, considers major issues and makes recommendations to the Director. The Executive Committee establishes policies and procedures consistent with the goals of the HEMI mission. It meets monthly.

Learn more about the HEMI Executive committee here.

HEMI Partners with U.S. Army for Artificial Intelligence for Materials Research

The Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute (HEMI) at Johns Hopkins University has signed a new cooperative agreement with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Army Research Laboratory (ARL).

The agreement, titled “Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments Plus (MEDE+)” seeks to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to further materials research and development. HEMI and ARL will collaborate on four initial projects, all focused on artificial intelligence for materials (AI-M):

  1. Project 1: Using artificial intelligence to accelerate the iterative materials design cycle by high-throughput microstructural characterization and rapid processing
  2. Project 2: Acoustic signature and reconstruction of defect avalanches in metals
  3. Project 3: Real-time monitoring of laser-material interactions
  4. Project 4: Toward self-repairing devices: Data-directed design of active, hierarchical colloidal assembly and reconfiguration

K.T. Ramesh, Director of HEMI and professor in JHU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Dr. Sikhanda Satapathy, from the DEVCOM ARL, will lead the research activities.

Learn more about the program here.

HEMI Graduate Student Cristina Martin-Linares Wins Prestigious ”la Caixa” Fellowship

Cristina Martin-Linares, a member of HEMI and mechanical engineering PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins University, has been awarded the prestigious ”la Caixa” Fellowship

Awarded by ”la Caixa” Foundation and personally handed over by the King of Spain in an official ceremony, the ”la Caixa” Fellowship, conferred since 1982, is considered the most important in Spain and one of the most prestigious in Europe. The award recognizes the fellows for both their academic achievements and leadership, and for their high potential.

The Foundation awarded 45 fellowships in 2019 for graduate studies in the United States or Canada. Martin-Linares was the recipient of one of the 11 fellowships in Science and Engineering, in any PhD program of her choosing, after a competitive selection process. The applicants are evaluated and interviewed by committees formed by university professors of the corresponding field from different institutions in the world. The potential of the candidate, academic and professional achievements, innovation, motivation, originality, independence, leadership, the impact of the proposed idea, and communication/clarity of exposition, are among the academic and interpersonal skills used to judge the merit of the applicant.

Martin-Linares is a rising fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. She started her PhD in 2017 with a Departmental Fellowship, and until 2020 was a student under the supervision of Thao (Vicky) Nguyen, where she led innovative research on the constitutive modeling and mechanics of viscoelasticity and energy dissipation in Liquid Crystal Elastomers. Her research has been experimental, computational, and theoretical. Currently, Martin-Linares is advised by Gretar Tryggvason, Department Head and Charles Miller Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Yannis Kevrekidis, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

The fellowship will support Cristina Martin-Linares as she continues to pursue research on the modeling of dynamical and multiscale systems using machine learning techniques and mathematical modeling.

“The ”la Caixa” Fellowship will continue to fund my PhD and gives me the freedom to do research in any topic of my interest,” said Martin-Linares. “I love physics and mathematical modeling. I think that I am working in an exciting and emerging field using creative ways to model physics. I am also very interested in developing these ideas in biology.”

Beyond her research, Martin-Linares participates as Vice President of the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Association (MEGA) and is a representative of the Graduate Representative Organization (GRO). She mentors students and is especially passionate about participating in activities that empower women and other minorities in STEM.

Since 2015, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain have presided over the official ceremony and award the certificate to each of the recipients. Also in attendance are the Ministers of Education and Economy and other personalities, and the families of the awardees.

Due to the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony has been postponed and the new date is yet to be determined.

Originally from Almería, a city in Spain, Martin-Linares, in addition to winning the prestigious ”la Caixa” fellowship, has been named a 2020 finalist for the XII Prize ‘Andaluces del Futuro’ (Andalusians of the Future), in the Science category, given to outstanding young Andalusians scientists.  Her plan in the future is to continue in academia.

Cristina Martin-Linares

Cristina Martin-Linares with Latrobe Hall, home to the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, in the background.

This article originally appeared on the Department of Mechanical Engineering website.

HEMI Mourns the Passing of Mark Robbins

Mark O. Robbins, HEMI Fellow and professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, died unexpectedly on Thursday, August 13, 2020.

Robbins was a member of the HEMI’s Executive Committee and a significant contributor to the research in the MEDE program. He was one of the world’s leading authorities on the mechanisms of friction, granular flow, the mechanics of earthquakes, polymer rheology and molecular dynamics. Within MEDE, he played a dominant role in the modeling aspects of the Polymers CMRG, and more recently in the modeling of granular flow within the Ceramics CMRG. His legacy in the physics of disordered matter is very substantial, and his legacy in terms of the people that he mentored is stronger still.

He also is known for his research regarding the atomic origin of macroscopic phenomena such as earthquakes and avalanches and his help in leading the establishment of major computer facilities at Johns Hopkins University.

Read a full remembrance of Prof. Robbins.

HEMI Senior Budget Analyst Andrew Proulx Receives 2020 WSE Staff Excellence Award


Congratulations to Andrew Proulx, Senior Grants and Contract Analyst for HEMI, on receiving a Whiting School of Engineering Staff Excellence Award!

Each year, the Whiting School of Engineering gathers together to honor staff members who have demonstrate outstanding achievement or innovation and contribute to their departmental/center/institute, WSE, or JHU, beyond the scope of their position. Nomination criteria include:

  • Contribute to exceptional productivity or major process improvements.
  • Provide exceptional customer service to members of the university community.
  • Motivate and inspire the people around them.
  • Show outstanding leadership, professionalism, and/or initiative.

Andrew was one of three recipients in the Excellence category. His guidance and professionalism was key in managing the submission (and subsequent award) of a ~$50M research consortium that includes 18 institutions and 40 PIs. Prof. Tim Weihs, the lead PI for this proposal, states, “Andrew communicated with all 17 external institutions and the 40 PIs in the consortium, collecting budgetary information from each of them. He drafted clear and thoughtful emails, and he handled these interactions in a stellar, professional manner. Throughout these efforts, he was incredibly efficient and strategic, making critical suggestions that enhanced our proposal and made it successful. His efforts far exceeded our standard of performance within WSE.”

In addition to this project, Andrew continued being the trusted resource within the HEMI office that many people look to for help or guidance. Finally, he seamlessly managed 39 subawards which includes establishing accounts, monthly invoicing, and subrecipient monitoring, showcasing his talent not only to members within the Whiting School, but to other organizations as well. As HEMI Executive Program Director Dr. Victor Nakano says, “When a HEMI faculty member wants to submit a proposal, their first choice is Andrew. He is well respected for his calm demeanor and dependability.”

HEMI Fellow Muyinatu Bell Shines New Light on Photoacoustic Imaging

Muyinatu Bell wants to make surgery safer. A HEMI Fellow, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and director of the Photoacoustic and Ultrasonic Systems Engineering (PULSE) Lab, Bell utilizes her cross-disciplinary training to maximum effect. Her work’s potent combination of computer engineering, biomedical optics, and computer science is innovating photoacoustic imaging for better surgical tools which have a wealth of applications across surgery, cancer detection, and women’s health. These efforts have also won her a slew of recognitions including an MIT Technology Review Top 35 Innovators under 35 honor, and, in 2019, an Outstanding Young Engineer Award from the Maryland Academy of Sciences and the Maryland Science Center. Earlier this year, she was an invited Hot Topics speaker at the BiOS conference during SPIE Photonics West.

“I had a particular interest in integrating photoacoustic and ultrasound imaging systems with robotics,” says Bell who will be discussing her current research during the free SPIE.online webinar on 17 August, hosted by the Journal of Biomedical Optics. “I want to improve robotic surgery and to use robotics in new ways to enhance the type of imaging technology that we can provide. At the moment, we are developing novel signal-processing and beamforming techniques for both ultrasound and photoacoustic imaging, and we take those techniques and design novel prototypes — a specialized light-delivery system that attaches to surgical tools, for example — and we use these prototypes to improve image quality. We then integrate our innovations with commercially available ultrasound, laser, or robotic systems, creating a new system that’s the first of its kind to address a clinical challenge. We are always developing our work with the end goal of impacting patient care.”

Read more about the PULSE Lab and Bell’s research.

This article originally appeared on the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering website.

Materials Science in Extreme Environments University Research Alliance (MSEE URA) Holds Kickoff Meeting with over 200 Attendees

On July 21 and 22, 2020, the Materials Science in Extreme Environments University Research Alliance (MSEE URA) officially launched its collaborative research activities with a kickoff meeting. As an alliance of 18 research institutions led by Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and housed within HEMI, the MSEE URA will work in close collaboration with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to advance fundamental science to reduce the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

The two-day meeting included remarks from DTRA and JHU Executives, as well as technical presentations describing the research plans within the alliance. Keynote speakers included: Dr. Rhys Williams, DTRA Director of Research and Development, Mr. Stephen Dowling, Director of Counter WMD Technologies (DTRA R&D Directorate), Dr. Michael Kuliasha, Director Nuclear Technologies (DTRA R&D Directorate), Dean Ed Schlesinger, JHU Whiting School of Engineering, and Dr. Denis Wirtz, JHU Vice Provost for Research. The kickoff meeting was hosted by the MSEE leadership team of Prof. Tim Weihs from JHU and Dr. Mike Robinson from DTRA.

JHU and DTRA executives underscored the importance of the research that the alliance will be performing, the workforce that will be developed through these collaborative projects, and the support from both Johns Hopkins University and the Defense Threat Reduction agency. The technical leads within the URA described plans for research within four broad research areas, as well as plans within the cross-cutting research initiative.

Over 200 representatives from the U.S. Department of Defense, various other government agencies, and national laboratories joined students, postdoctoral fellows, and university professors in attending the event.

Two HEMI Fellows Receive 2020 Johns Hopkins Catalyst Awards

Congratulations to HEMI Fellows Sung Hoon Kang and Emmy Smith who have been selected as two of 36 early-career faculty members to receive a 2020 Johns Hopkins Catalyst Award. Professors Kang and Smith are assistant professors in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, respectively.

The Catalyst Award program offers winners the means and opportunities to pursue a wide range of projects, from disease treatments to environmental studies. Recipients of Catalyst Awards are selected based on their accomplishments to date, creativity and originality, and academic impact. Each awardee will receive a $75,000 grant to support their work over the next year, as well as the opportunity to participate in mentoring sessions and other events. Click here to view the other 2020 awardees.

The program is open to any full-time faculty member appointed to a tenure-track position at least three and no more than 10 years ago. Recipients are celebrated each fall.

Congratulations again to our HEMI awardees!