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!

HEMI Graduate Student Suhas Eswarappa Prameela Receives 2020 Diversity Recognition Award

Congratulations to HEMI graduate student Suhas Eswarappa Prameela (Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering) on being named a 2020 Diversity Recognition Award recipient!

This award, bestowed by the Johns Hopkins Diversity Leadership Council, acknowledges outstanding accomplishments of faculty, staff and students whose demonstrable efforts advance diversity and inclusion at Hopkins. Suhas was chosen as a result of his work towards fostering inclusion within the Whiting School of Engineering and within surrounding communities, particularly his work as co-chair of Homewood Council on Inclusive Excellence (HCIE)’s Climate, Culture, and Campus Experience (C3E) committee.

Through his work on the C3E subcommittee, Suhas leads to partner with Center for Educational Resources to develop for resources/practices that enhance inclusive teaching through the Technology fellowships. Suhas contributes to diversity beyond his formal involvement with the HCIE, he brings his passion for social justice to all facets of his role at JHU; during Alternative Spring Break Suhas developed a lecture of Center for Social Concern (CSC) students on the importance of minorities in STEM fields, he mentors LGBTQ+ undergraduate in his department, and invites diverse speakers to his class- recently facilitating a discussion about gender diverse experiences.  By encouraging students to challenge their own biases and grow their perspectives Suhas not only contributes to immediate discussion around diversity, but ensures that these conversations will continue beyond the classroom.

Learn more about the other awardees here.

Welcome 2020 Research in Engineering Apprenticeship Program (REAP) Interns

We are pleased to welcome the following 2020 Research and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (REAP) Interns to the HEMI for the summer: Nathuel Albayrak (Chesapeake Science Point High School), Daria Holoman (Springbrook High School), Jessica Shi (Thomas S. Wootton High School), and Angela Torrejon (Connelly School of the Holy Child).

HEMI’s REAP interns were selected through a very competitive application process.  Each student will work with a HEMI faculty advisor and have a graduate student/postdoctoral fellow as a mentor. The REAP mentors/faculty advisors for 2020 are: Chongpu Zhai in the group of Ryan Hurley (Department of Mechanical Engineering), Dylan Madisetti in the group of Jaafar El-Awady (Department of Mechanical Engineering), Marco Galvani in the group of Mark Robbins (Department of Physics and Astronomy), and Lucas Pressley in the group of Tyrel McQueen (Department of Chemistry).

REAP is an Army Educational Outreach Program that places talented high school students in research internships area colleges and universities. In REAP, a summer STEM program, students work on a hands-on research project under the direct supervision of a mentor, exposing them to the real world of research and allowing them to gain valuable mentorship and learn about education and career opportunities in STEM.  Each year, over 120 students participate in REAP nationwide at 42 participating universities.  Approximately 90% of the REAP interns pursue STEM studies at the post-secondary level.

Diversity and Inclusion Resources

The Whiting School of Engineering has compiled a list of resource guides, worksheets, training, articles, books, and media related to unconscious bias, interrupting bias, allyship, and the history of race in the U.S.

View the Resource Guide