University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering

News and Events

ME News - Department Newsletter


gao meng natesanThis past semester numerous ME researchers and students received awards. The following are three awardees who received poster awards at the 2016 IEM Annual Conference & Retreat: Post Doctoral Associate Zhe Gao won 1st place in the Post-Doc category for "Nanowarming of Arteries." Post Doctoral Associate, Fanben Meng won 2nd place in the Post-Doc category for "Guide Vascularization via 3D Printed Programmable Release Bionic Capsules." Graduate Student Harishankar Natesan won 1st place in the Cardiovascular Engineering theme with his poster, "A microthermal sensor for Pulmonary Vein (Pv) Ablation."

kulackiProfessor Francis Kulacki is the recipient of the Edwin F. Church Medal. In his 46 year career Professor Kulacki has exemplified outstanding and continuous contributions in mechanical engineering education, research and service. His work has impacted all facets of mechanical engineering education including thermal engineering, the engineering curriculum, and design modalities. Through innovative initiatives, he was a pioneer in establishing and embedding computer-aided design and education in mechanical engineering at three universities. This medal is awarded for eminent service in increasing the value, importance and attractiveness of mechanical engineering education. The ASME International Mechanical Engineering Education Leadership Summit award presentation will be held during the month of April 2017 in Washington, DC.


On behalf of the Council of University Transportation Centers, a PhD dissertation by Professor Donath’s student Chen-Fu Liao was recognized as the winner of the CUTC Milton Pikarsky Memorial Award for his dissertation prepared as part of his studies at the University of Minnesota.

The Mechanical Engineering Fall 2016 Senior Design Show was held December 13th at Coffman Memorial Union. The Mechanical Engineering Facebook page has many photos to view:

The Mechanical Engineering 2016 Robot Show was held December 12th at McNamara Alumni Center. View Robot Show photos at the Mechanical Engineering Facebook page:

The departmental Mechanical Engineering Graduation Recognition Event was held on December 9th at Mayo Memorial Auditorium. Please view the ME Facebook page to see photos!


Benjamin Mayhugh Associate Professor Michael McAlpine earned the title of 'NAS Kavli Fellow' for his presentation "3D Printing Functional Materials & Devices" at the 2016 National Academy of Sciences' fifteenth Japanese-American Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium at the Beckman Center in Irvine, California, December 2, 2016. Learn more>

Associate Professor Michael McAlpine, in collaboration with Ann Parr, MD, PhD, Director of Spinal Neurosurgery U of MN Medical School, and James Dutton, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, received a '2016 $100K Conquer Paralysis Now' grant for their on-going research conquering paralysis using 3-D printing.

The goal of the Conquer Paralysis Now (CPN) Challenge is to accelerate the development of treatments for spinal cord injury (SCI) in order to provide significant improvements in patients' quality of life. CPN started in 2000 as the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation after Sam sustained a paralyzing SCI as a race car driver. The ultimate goal of CPN is to fund research, provide advocacy, and find a cure for paralysis. Learn more here> and here>



Professor Allison Hubel invented a "microfluidics" device that "washes" thawed blood! Learn more in this Twin Cities Business article:



A groundbreaking research by Ph.D. students Vu Nguyen and co-authors in Professor Rusen Yang's group has just been published in the journal Nature Communications. The paper, titled "Self-assembly of diphenylalanine peptide with controlled polarization for power generation," discovered that bio-based peptide microstructures can be engineered to convert mechanical energy into useful electricity. This break-through discovery promises to create novel piezoelectric devices and open new biomedical applications. More about this work can be viewed at




As part of a new $317 million dollar national initiative, and the Legacy cover story, Assistant Professor Julianna Abel and Professor David Pui are the U of M's lead researchers who will advance innovations in fibers and fabrics for this nationwide "smart fabrics" initiative. View the article here>




The Institute for Diversity, Equity, and Advocacy (IDEA) recently profiled the outstanding research underway by university faculty, and their position surrounding community engagement around grand challenges. ME Professor Sean Garrick was featured as a new IDEA Faculty Development Fellow in an impressive article. Learn more>

kortshagen bruggemanProfessor and ME Department Head Uwe Kortshagen and Associate Professor Peter Bruggeman co-authored a paper selected as one of the most influential papers of this era by the Institute of Physics (IOP).

The IOP selected the 50 most influential papers published in the Journal of Physics series on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the journal series. The series consists of five journals covering the entire field of physics. One of the selected papers is the 2012 Plasma Roadmap that was co-authored by professors Bruggeman and Kortshagen. With more than 130 citations and almost 22000 downloads in 4 years, it is recognized as one of the most successful and influential papers of this era. Professor Bruggeman has co-authored with professor Czarnetzki (Ruhr University Bochum) a viewpoint on the importance and impact of this paper that can be found at

September 2016

bruggemanAssociate Professor Peter Bruggeman edited a review and roadmap paper on plasma-liquid interactions with colleagues from the U of MI and FSU that is published in Plasma Sources Science and Technology. The document reviews the state of the art of this increasingly important area in plasma science and technology that is extensively investigated due to its potential for emerging applications in the field of medicine, environmental stewardship and material synthesis. The origin of this discussion was co-organized by Professor Bruggeman and originally held at the Lorentz Center, University of Leiden in the Netherlands in 2014. The 41 attendees of that meeting who co-authored the paper are experts from 10 different research fields and represent 14 different countries. Professor Sean Garrick of the ME department contributed with his expertise in multiphase modeling.

rajamani donath morris

Professor Rajesh Rajamani
, Professor Max Donath and Research Associate Nichole Morris, together with Professor Loren Terveen from Computer Science received a $1 million research grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a smart bicycle that monitors distances to nearby vehicles and alerts them to the presence of the bicycle, in the event of danger of a collision. The 3-year project is funded through the 'Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity' program at NSF.


Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor Susan Mantell, an accomplished scholar with 95 refereed publications on design of structures utilizing nontraditional materials, was awarded Fellow of the ASME for distinguished accomplishments in leadership, teaching, and research. Her extraordinary passion has provided innovative excellence in educational leadership, strengthening the engineering curriculum through training of graduate teaching assistants, course design and new infrastructure for experiential learning.

Benjamin Mayhugh Associate Professor Michael C. McAlpine participated in a multidisciplined plenary session held at the Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) 2016 Week in Boston, MA 8/31-9/3 titled "3D Printed Dynamic Engineering." McAlpine also presented a keynote address titled "3D Printing Functional Materials & Devices."


University of Minnesota has a record 17 start-ups in FY16! ME Professor Allison Hubel / MesoFlow, ME Professor John Bischof / Vigilant Diagnostics, Minnepura led by Paul Hansen, Professor Wackett & ME Professor Al Aksan, and Innotronics led by Mike Gust, Ryan Madson, & ME Professor Rajesh Rajamani. Learn more >

PLUS, Innotronics and Minnepura were named among the "Best University Start-ups 2016" by the National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer (NCET2), an association of university start-up officers. Learn more >


Benjamin Mayhugh Associate Professor Michael McAlpine discusses the exciting future of 3D printing and engineering involved with the regeneration of motor function and sensory information in an ASME article, a 3D MedNet podcast interview, a PLASTICS TODAY article, and a QMed / MEDICAL PRODUCT MANUFACTURING NEWS article.

Distinguished McKnight University Professor & Kuhrmeyer Chair in Mechanical Engineering Professor John Bischof was elected Fellow of the Society for Cryobiology and Recipient of the 2016 Luyet Medal at the 2016 Society for Cryobiology meeting on July 26th. He was nominated by the Board of Governors on the basis of his research and continued service to the society. The Society for Cryobiology exists to bring together those with a shared goal of applying scientific research of low temperature biology for the benefit of mankind.

JULY 2016


Professor Tianhong Cui
was awarded the Outstanding Editor Award from Nature Publishing Group and Chinese Academy of Sciences at Light Conference on July 4, 2016. As an executive editor-in-chief, Professor Cui was the founder for two Nature journals: Microsystems & Nanoengineering and Light: Science & Applications (Impact Factor of 13.6 in 2016)


Professor Jane Davidson
delivered the opening plenary at the ASME Summer Heat Transfer Conference in Washington DC. Her lecture addressed the global challenge of developing sustainable fuels for transportation using sunlight.


ME graduate students Vahhab Zarei (Barocas lab) and Yiru Wang (Bischof lab) placed 2nd and 3rd in their respective categories of the Student PhD Paper Competition at this year's Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering, and Biotransport Conference ( They were selected from roughly 20 entries in each category.

JUNE 2016

Benjamin Mayhugh Assistant Professor Cari Dutcher
was awarded the Doctoral New Investigator Award from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund for her proposal titled: “Polyelectrolyte – Clay Dynamics and Assembly in Taylor Couette Flows for Applications in Improved Oil Production." The Doctoral New Investigator grants program aims to promote the careers of young faculty by supporting research of high scientific caliber, and to enhance the career opportunities of their undergraduate/graduate students, and postdoctoral associates through the research experience. Learn more >

morrisHow can we address the problem of teenage related automobile accidents? Research Associate Nichole Morris and the HumanFIRST lab are looking for solutions. The HumanFIRST lab employs the tools and methods of psychology and human factors engineering to improve scientific understanding of driver performance and cognitive functions. In a New York Times article the dangers of teenage driving are discussed. Passengers may be a greater threat than cell phones. Learn more >





Associate Professor Peter Bruggeman
was awarded the prestigious Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science Early Career Award. Professor Bruggeman is one of only 27 winners from universities across the U.S. to receive significant funding for research. Learn more >

MAY 2016

jenCoty Jen, Mechanical Engineering PhD, 2015, received Honarable Mention in the University of Minnesota Best Dissertation Competition. Coty was advised by Professor Peter McMurry, and her dissertation, “Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometry Study of Sulfuric Acid and Amine Chemical Nucleation Processes Pertinent to the Atmosphere,” examined fundamental processes by which vapor phase species form particles in the ambient atmosphere. Coty is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the department of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management at the University of California-Berkeley.



A paper by Assistant Professor Xiaojia Wang and her colleagues was a featured cover image of the journal Advanced Electronic Materials (Vol. 2, No. 5, May 2016). Their study on the thermal conductivities of black phosphorus (BP) along three primary crystalline orientations using the ultrafast time-resolved magneto-optical Kerr effect (TR-MOKE) is depicted on the journal cover image. More about this work: “Revealing the Origins of 3D Anisotropic Thermal Conductivities of Black Phosphorus” can be viewed here>

Spring Semester 2016 Mechanical Engineering departmental graduation recognition event was held May 13th in the Malcolm Moos Health Sciences Tower Auditorium, +PLUS later in the evening graduates attended the CSE Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony at Mariucci! ME recognition event photos are posted on our ME Facebook page at:

2016 Mechanical Engineering Spring Senior Design Show was held May 3rd in Coffman Memorial Union. View photos here>