University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering

News and Events

ME News - Department Newsletter




The ME Connect Seminars Series is a platform for graduate students and postdocs to connect and share their research. Stay tuned for fall 2019 presentation schedule! Contact if you have questions. Previous fall '18 and spring '19 seminar list can be found here>

View CSE Events Page for upcoming events at the University of Minnesota.

View Mechanical Engineering Alumni Page to see upcoming and past events.



View Upcoming and Past Graduate Seminars here>







Congratulations Gillian McDonald! Learn more about the IEM Fellowship Programs here>


JULY 2019





Welcome Assistant Professor Ognjen Ilic! We are very excited to have Professor Ilic join the Department of Mechanical Engineering!






The 3D Printing light receptor research of Mechanical Engineering Professor Michael McAlpine and team was featured in a guest article for the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering celebrates engineers responsible for ground-breaking innovation in engineering that has been of global benefit to humanity. View the article here>




Congratulations Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Cari Dutcher!




Congratulations Mechanical Engineering Professor Chris Hogan!




Congratulations Mechanical Engineering Professor Traian Dumitrica!





Congratulations Mechanical Engineering Professor Mike McAlpine!

JUNE 2019




Mechanical Engineering Research Associate Qi Shao has received the 2018 Editor's Award from the International Journal of Hyperthermia - Society of Thermal Medicine, for the paper entitled: "Engineering T Cell Response to Cancer Antigens by Choice of Focal Therapeutic Conditions." Contributions to the paper were also made by Stephen O'Flanagan, Tiffany Lam, Priyatanu Roy, Francisco Pelaez, Brandon Burbach, Samira Azarin, Yoji Shimizu, and Mechanical Engineering Professor John Bischof.



Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Xiaojia "XJ" Wang has received a 2019 Minnesota Futures Award. This project is titled Ultra-Efficient Wide-Bandgap Power Converters: Material, Device, Circuit, and System-level Challenges and Opportunities. This will be a collaborative effort with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (Profs. Steve Koester, Sairaj Dhople, and Jungwon Choi) and the Energy Transition Lab (Ellen Anderson). The Minnesota Futures Award is offered annually by the Office of the Vice President for Research; supporting extraordinary research by nurturing interdisciplinary ideas that develop to a point where they become competitive for external funding.






Mechanical Engineering Professor David Y. H. Pui has been named a University Regents Professor. This designation is the highest level of recognition given to faculty by the University. Professor Pui is a University of Minnesota alumnus, receiving his B.S. 1970, M.S. 1973, and Ph.D. 1976.



Are greener tractors in the near future? West Central Research Center scientist Joel Tallaksen (pictured left) and Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor and Director of the Thomas E. Murphy Engine Research Lab Will Northop (pictured right), stand next to an ammonia-fueled tractor on the UMN Morris campus. This tractor is one piece of a larger UMN research project working on reducing the carbon footprint of agriculture by creating an ammonia fertilizer using wind energy. (photo-Dan Gunderson, MPR) Learn more>




Mechanical Engineering Undergraduate student Judith Dominguez received a joint fellowship by the McNair program and the North Star STEM Alliance. This summer she will be a TRIO McNair Scholar, engineering novel neurotechnologies for studying the effects of repeated mild traumatic brain injury.

The McNair program seeks to increase degree attainment by underrepresented and first-gen college students, while the North Star Alliance supports underrepresented minority students receiving STEM bachelor's degrees in MN.


MAY 2019






Mechanical Engineering Professor Uwe Kortshagen has been appointed the holder of a Ronald L. and Janet A. Christenson Chair in Renewable Energy. This role recognizes Professor Kortshagen’s pioneering work in the synthesis of nano particles that has led to novel, low cost solar cells, innovations in energy storage (including lithium ion batteries), and semiconductor nanocrystals (quantum dots) for solar windows.



Mechanical Engineering Professor Rajesh Rajamani will be the new Benjamin Y.H. Liu-TSI Applied Technology Chair. This chair position is funded by an endowment from TSI, Incorporated, and named in honor of Prof. Emeritus, Benjamin Y.H. Liu, in recognition of his academic and scientific achievements. This chair is intended to support a faculty member whose research demonstrates the potential for commercialization. Professor Rajamani is a co-inventor on 13 patents / patent applications. Several inventions from his laboratory have been licensed to companies. Among these licensed inventions are sensors for position, tension loading, and diagnostics. A startup company that he co-founded, Innotronics, was recognized among the 35 Best University Start-Ups of 2016 in a competition conducted by the US National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer.




Mechanical Engineering Professor Michael McAlpine has been named the Kuhrmeyer Family Chair. This chair position is made possible through an endowment from Carl and Janet Kuhrmeyer. This generous gift celebrates Carl's education in Mechanical Engineering and the career it enabled. The chair is intended to support an outstanding mid-career faculty member in mechanical engineering with primarily research in human health and/or cancer. Mike's research is focused on the 3D printing of functional materials & devices for biomedical applications. His team has made recent breakthroughs in 3D printed spinal cord implants, 3D printed bionic eyes (one of National Geographic’s 12 Innovations that will Revolutionize the Future of Medicine), and most recently, 3D bioprinted cancer models.






Associate Professor Will Northop
discusses how electric vehicles perform in extreme weather and the affect it has on vehicles, in a recent Star Tribune article.

Learn more about this article>



HumanFIRST Lab Director Nichole Morris
received the Innovative Transportation Solutions Award for leading the project: "Evaluation of Sustained Enforcement, Education, and Engineering Measures on Pedestrian Crossings"

The award recognizes a transportation initiative, project or policy from initiation to completion, led by a woman, with support from numerous other women.

Learn more about Nichole's award>





Professor Tianhong Cui
will give an invited plenary talk titled "Graphene Biosensors for Biomedical Analysis" at DTIP'2019 in Paris. DTIP'2019 will be the 20th anniversary edition of the Symposium on Design, Test, Integration & Packaging of MEMS and MOEMS. This unique single-meeting event brings together participants interested in MEMS/MOEMS processing and those interested in design tools and methods to facilitate the design of MEMS/MOEMS.
Learn more about DTIP 2019>




Ray Muno, IT manager for the AEM and ME departments, received the Outstanding Service to University Senate Governance Award. This award honors faculty, P&A, and civil service employees who have made a significant impact on University Senate governance. “Ray is energetic, a wealth of institutional knowledge and extremely personable,” wrote his nominators. He is “extremely helpful to new governance members” and “continues to provide information and guidance through process as various issues arise. Ray mentors and encourages members as they take the next steps in governance.” Learn more about Ray and this award>


APRIL 2019





The Tin Man Awards Banquet was held during CSE Week (April 8-12). Two ME student groups received Tin Man Awards which recognizes CSE Student Group Achievements.



The Clean Snowmobile Team received the Most Improved Student Group Award and
She is ME (above) received the Outstanding New Student Group Award.


Photo Credit: Will Ray






Mechanical Engineering Professor JinTaek Chung has been appointed the 20th president of Korea University.

JinTaek Chung was part of the Heat Transfer Lab in 1992 and received his doctorate degree from the University of Minnesota. Learn more about Professor JinTaekChung>

Photo Credit: Korea University







University of Oklahoma professor Jivtesh Garg recently won the prestigious National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Program Award for his research on the design of advanced composite materials for thermal management and energy conversion.

Professor Garg receieved his Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. Learn more about Professor Garg and this award>

Photo Credit: University of Oklahoma







Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Suhasa Kodandaramaiah was awarded multiple National Institute of Health (NIH) grants totaling $2.8 million.


mice lung




Assistant Professor Suhasa Kodandaramaiah and his team engineered a 3-D printed transparent skull implant for mice that provides an opportunity to view activity of the entire brain surface in real time. Learn more>

MARCH 2019



The UMN Clean Snowmobile Team placed 7th overall at the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge in Houghton, Michigan. Advised by Associate Professor Will Northrop, students applied their design and project management skills to design and reengineer an existing snowmobile, with an ultimate goal of reducing emissions and noise pollution.

Learn more about the team>






Leila Ghanbari, graduate student in Professor Suhasa Kodandaramaiah's Biosensing & Biorobotics Laboratory, won 2nd place in the BEST PAPER COMPETITION at the IEEE Neural Engineering (NER) Conference held in San Francisco.









Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Traian Dumitrica was selected as a 2019-20 Fulbright Scholar. Under this award, Professor Dumitrica will develop complex scientific software to enable manufacturing of lightweight ultra-strong composites in a computationally-guided manner.






Mechanical Engineering doctoral candidate Yunli Shao (pictured center), advised by Professor Zongxuan Sun (pictured right), received the Matthew J. Huber Award for Excellence in Transportation Research and Education, demonstrating outstanding achievement in engineering, science, and technology fields. (Also pictured: Gina Baas, CTS Assoc. Dtr. of Outreach & Engagement)









Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Timothy Kowalewski received the National Science Foundation CAREER AWARD entitled “Scientific Foundations for Augmented Human Performance in Robotic Surgery.” This prestigious award is in support of junior faculty who exemplify their role through the integration of education and research. This project will study how skilled humans use handheld robots to accomplish precision manipulation tasks that demand speeds beyond typical human capabilities. More>




Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Cari Dutcher has received the George W. Taylor Career Development Award. This award recognizes exceptional contributions to teaching by a candidate for tenure during the probationary period.


Mechanical Engineering graduate students V.S. Santosh K. Kondeti and Joey Benson are recipients of the Joachim and Yuko Heberlein Award. This award generously provides support for students to either present their work at a conference abroad, or visit a laboratory abroad to do research.

Santosh Kondeti (advised by Prof. Peter Bruggeman) studies the mechanism of atmospheric pressure plasma-induced wound healing. Hydrogen peroxide plays a critical role for the viability of skin cells. With the support from the Joachim and Yuko Heberlein research travel grant, Santosh will perform infrared cavity ring down spectroscopy to in-situ measure the gas phase hydrogen peroxide in the research group of Dr. Jean-Pierre Van Helden at the Leib­niz In­sti­tu­te for Plas­ma Sci­ence and Tech­no­lo­gy, Greifswald, Germany.

bensonJoey Benson (advised by Prof. Alptekin Aksan) will give an oral presentation on the germination and growth of spores encapsulated in different materials at the Sixth International Conference on Multifunctional, Hybrid and Nanomaterials. He will also present a poster on the formation of robust nanocomposites through self-assembly and biomineralization of synthetic fusion proteins. The resulting composite is ideal for use as a living material.

Professor Joachim Heberlein (1939–2014) was born in Berlin, Germany in 1939. He received his diploma degree in physics in 1966 from the University of Stuttgart in Germany. He came to the University of Minnesota as a Research Associate, working in the High Temperature and Plasma Laboratory on problems related to plasma propulsion. After enrolling as a graduate student, he received his Ph.D. in 1975 under the supervision of Professor Emil Pfender. After graduation he worked for 14 years at the Westinghouse R&D Center in Pittsburgh, PA, where he served as a manager of Applied Plasma Research, Lamp Research and Nuclear and Radiation Technology. In 1989 he was hired by the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota as an Associate Professor to work in the High Temperature and Plasma Laboratory. In 1994 he was promoted to Full Professor and in 2000 he was appointed to the prestigious Ernst Eckert Professorship of Mechanical Engineering. For many years he served as Director of the High Temperature and Plasma Laboratory and he played a leading role in the Center for Plasma-Aided Manufacturing, and Engineering Research Center for Plasma-Aided Manufacturing funded by the National Science Foundation.





Mechanical Engineering Professor Sue Mantell has accepted appointment as Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering effective January 1, 2019.

In addition to providing strong and engaged leadership to the Design and Manufacturing division and teaching group, Professor Mantell served as an exceptional Associate Department Head for seven years. Her research focuses on the design and analysis of structures utilizing polymers and polymer composites, as well as the development of mechanics principles associated with design using orthotropic and anisotropic materials. Professor Mantell brings a positive and interactive vision for the department, with a deep commitment to research excellence and an outstanding student experience.






Mechanical Engineering student Rachel Anderson is the recipient of the 2018-19 Sharon L. Doherty Award. This award is presented annually to University of Minnesota students who have demonstrated outstanding volunteer service concerning women's issues on campus or in the broader community. Read more about Rachel here>

rajamani zhang

In recent research reported in the Annals of Biomedical Engineering, a compact water content sensor based on a wearable instrumented elastic band has been developed by ME PhD student Song Zhang and Professor Rajesh Rajamani. Fluid accumulation in the lower extremities is an early indicator of disease deterioration in cardiac failure, chronic venous insufficiency and lymphedema. At-home wearable monitoring and early detection of fluid accumulation can potentially lead to prompt medical intervention and avoidance of hospitalization. More>

jeon rajamani

A United States Patent US 10,144,474 B2 on "Collision Detection" was awarded in December to Mechanical Engineering Professor Rajesh Rajamani and Research Associate Woongsun Jeon. The patent is assigned to the University of Minnesota and is related to a collision prevention system that protects bicyclists.




Mechanical Engineering PhD student Yingying Zhang, advised by Professor Xiaojia "XJ" Wang, won the travel grant (highest cash award) for attending the Micro/Nano Forum at the ASME 2018 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE 2018) in Pittsburgh, PA. She presented her work on Molecular Dynamics Simulation of Thermal Interfaces and Experimental Study of Thermal Transport in ZnO-based Nanocomposite Systems.

The Fall 2018 Mechanical Engineering Robot Show was held December 10th at McNamara Alumni Center. A very impressive show was presented by ME students with the task of designing and building a robot that does something useful. View photos>

The Fall 2018 Mechanical Engineering (Course 4054) Sr. Design Show was held December 11th. Students presented a great display of their semester projects in the Coffman Memorial Union Great Hall. Project teams were judged by a jury of industry professionals. View photos>

The Mechanical Engineering Recognition Event was held December 7th in the Phillips-Wangensteen Building, providing a small venue to honor the graduating ME seniors. View photos>






Undergraduate student Ben Hamlen had a class project assigned in his Introduction to Mechanical Engineering course with the purpose of making an autonomous robot that does something for 20-60 seconds. He created a “Target Practice Robot” that shoots from various positions and includes a demo mode and a user interactive mode. Watch the video here>



wind tunnel



The Department of Mechanical Engineering held an open house on November 16th for its new Spray Wind Tunnel facility, graciously donated by Winfield United, a subsidiary of Land-O-Lakes. This research will help farmers target crop-protection products to prevent over-spraying and minimize product waste. Read more about future spray research in the Mechanical Engineering Department at this link> and view this 11/16/18 Farm Industry News article.





The research of Associate Professor Michael McAlpine and his team was recently featured in WIRED. The article highlighted his 'Frankensteining alternatives' of bionic body part prototypes with nice, soft components — some of them alive! More>




Leila Ghanbari was awarded the University of Minnesota Informatics Institute (UMII) MnDrive Graduate Assistantship for her research titled, Transparent skulls for mapping cortex-wide neural activity during behavior. The research is connected with the Biosensing & Biorobotics Laboratory and advised by Professor Suhasa Kodandaramaiah. Leila is developing neurotechnologies for large-scale mapping and manipulation of brain activity during behavior. During the course of the fellowship, she will develop complementary technologies for recording activity of the whole mouse brain surface and develop new informatics tools for analyzing and visualizing these massive datasets.




Kevin Eschen was awarded the University of Minnesota Informatics Institute (UMII) MnDrive Graduate Assistantship for a part of his research on the Multiscale Mechanics of Shape Memory Alloy Knitted Actuators titled, Active Textile Modeling & Experimental Characterization Data Management Infrastructure. The research is connected with the Design of Active Materials and Structures Laboratory, advised by Professor Julianna Abel, and focuses on the implementation and population of a data infrastructure that connects multiscale model components and experimental data.


nayak moldgy



With their advisor Professor Peter Bruggeman, ME PhD student Gaurav Nayak, and ME MS student Ankit Moldgy, in collaboration with the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab - UMN-CVM, combine plasma technology used for food decontamination, with swine barn air filtration research, to attack bacteria and viruses, while promoting safety in the food industry at large. Learn more:




Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Traian Dumitricã delivered the Warren Lecture "The Mesoscopic Distinct Element Method for Computationally Guided Structural Nanomaterials Design" November 2nd in the George Schroepfer Conference Theater, Civil Engineering Building.






Mechanical Engineering researchers from the The McAlpine Group have made steps toward creating a "bionic eye" by fully 3D printing for the first time an array of light receptors on a hemispherical surface. More>

kowalewski van de ven



Mechanical Engineering Professor Tim Kowalewski with co-PIs ME Professor James Van de Ven, Professors Christopher Ellison (CEMS), Emmanuel Detournay (CEGE), and Kota (U Michigan) was awarded a $1.98M National Science Foundation EFRI grant entitled: "EFRI C3 SoRo: Strong Soft Robots-Multiscale Burrowing and Inverse Design." Their team will study how soft robots of different sizes tunnel through materials. These discoveries may provide access where access wasn’t possible, such as inoperable brain tumors, or buried pipes. (L-Kowaleski, R-Van de Ven) More>






A symposium for Mechanical Engineering Professor Richard Goldstein was held the weekend of October 12-13th, 2018, honoring Professor Goldstein's decades of commitment to the University of Minnesota and his dedication the the Department of Mechanical Engineering.






Mechanical Engineering Professor Uwe Kortshagen has been elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS). The number of APS Fellows elected each year is limited to no more than 1/2 of 1% of the membership! Professor Kortshagen is being honored "for contributions to our fundamental understanding of non-linear electron transport and plasma-nanoparticle interactions in low temperature plasmas and the development of plasma based synthesis of nanoparticles."





Mechanical Engineering Professor Rajesh Rajamani is a Co-PI on a $1.999M NSF EFRI Award entitled "EFRI C3 SoRo: Magneto-electroactive Soft, Continuum, Compliant, Configurable (MESo-C3) Robots for Medical Applications Across Scales." Professor Jake Abbott from the University of Utah is the PI on the project while Rajamani's lab will receive $550k from the project.

livan de ven




Mechanical Engineering Professor Perry Li and his co-PIs Professors James Van de Ven and (ECE) Professor Ned Mohan were awarded a $1.5M grant from the Department of Energy for the research and development of fluid-power systems in off-road vehicles. The project also involves the University of Wisconsin, as well as Eaton, Toro, and Bobcat. (L-Li, R-Van de Ven) More>


August 2018

scaffold image



Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Michael McAlpine and The McAlpine Group are among a team of pioneering UMN engineers and medical researchers who've 3D-printed living nerve cells on a 3D-printed scaffold guide. This groundbreaking device could someday be custom printed and surgically implanted into a patient's spinal cord. The guide "bridges" the living nerve cells on each side of the injury that could help patients with long-term spinal cord injuries regain some function. Learn more>


The Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation (CASC) will feature the multiphase flow research of Mechanical Engineering Professor Sean Garrick and his research group, along with lead researcher ME PhD candidate Everett Wenzel. Each year fewer than 20 researchers are featured from across the country. The team uses a unique set of mathematical techniques to efficiently and accurately describe details of the liquid and simulate the complicated dynamics as the liquid flows and breaks up. This work won the grand prize at the MSI Research Exhibition in 2017.

Top large image: A computational fluid dynamics simulation of liquid fuel breakup and heating. The cooled fuel breaks up as hot air flows from left to right. Some small droplets form directly from the large, dome-like structure, while others are produced from the breakup of long threads of fuel. As the droplets break away, they are carried downstream and heated by the flowing air. The small droplets are hot while the larger droplets remain cooler. Smaller image of four: The time progression for a different droplet breakup mechanism that was simulated with the same numerical methods.

Additionally, in Spring 2018 Everett Wenzel and McKenzie Robida (ME undergraduate researcher in the CTPL) won grand prize for their work on how the lack of gravity affects the smoke generated on spacecraft.



Published this year by Springer International Publishing, AG., Mechanical Engineering Professor FRANK KULACKI is the Editor-in-Chief of the Handbook of Thermal Science and Engineering. This handbook features an expanded treatment of the field, including:
• heat transfer in plasmas
• biology and biological systems
• phase change
• porous and particulate systems
• thermal transport in micro- and nano-scale systems


Director of the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP), and Mechanical Engineering Professor Zongxuan “Sunny” Sun, along with postdoctoral researcher Chen Zhang, won the Best Paper Award from ASME Automotive and Transportation Systems Technical Committee for their paper "Optimization of Trajectory-Based HCCI Combustion."


Students from Xi'an Jiaotong University in China who attended the ME 4090 High-Powered Rocketry and Stratospheric Ballooning course held a public exhibit in the Balas Atrium to display their high-power rockets and stratospheric ballooning payloads. View photos here>


For the 11th year the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) hosted the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. This year CCEFP hosted 24 students across six universities for a 10-week undergraduate research experience. Throughout the program the exposure in these particular fields of technology excite and motivate students considering a PhD in engineering. This expererience led up to a poster expo at McNamara Alumni Center where their excitement was shared with the public. View some photos here>


Mechanical Engineering Director of the HumanFIRST Lab Nichole Morris leads team on a quest for safer roads, & it's working! Learn more in this StarTribune article:

July 2018


Mechanical Engineering Professor
John Bischof has been appointed Director of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM). More>

JUNE 2018

Gaurav Nayak (advisor Prof. Peter Bruggeman) was invited to present at the 45th IEEE International Conference on Plasma Science (ICOPS 2018) held June 24-28, 2018 in Denver, CO. His research topic was "Interaction of Plasma with Liquid Micro-Droplets: a Model for Plasma-Induced Reactivity in Liquid Water."



Eveline van Doremaele received the Best Poster Presentation Award at the 7th International Conference on Plasma Medicine, held in Philadelphia, June 17-22, 2018. She presented her research conducted in the group of Professor Peter Bruggeman as part of her master degree studies at Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands. (Pictured L-R: Prof. Fridman, Eveline van Doremaele, Professor Zdenko Machala)



Science and engineering merge, as shared by Associate Professor Michael McAlpine in the Spring 2018 issue of Legacy magazine. The research of Professor McAlpine and The McAlpine Group involves 3-D printing directly on the skin with limitless possibilities. More>





The research of Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Michael McAlpine and The McAlpine Group was recently featured on the covers of Extreme Mechanics Letters and Advanced Materials. The Extreme Mechanics Volume 21, May 2018 cover image depicts a fully 3D printed electrically-driven soft actuator. The Advanced Materials Volume 30, No. 23, June 6, 2018 cover depicts 3D electronics printed directly on the skin.



The Gopher Motorsports - UMN Formula SAE Team took home the 4th place trophy at the Formula SAE competition in Lincoln, NE, while also finishing 3rd in the endurance race!





"Our Department Head, Professor Uwe Kortshagen, leads by example, including bike commuting!" The Engineering Wheelers Team from the Department of Mechanical Engineering was awarded 2nd Place in Division 3 of the Spring Commuter Challenge. Pictured L-R: Hokan, Sarah Chapman, Professor Uwe Kortshagen, Professor Sue Mantell, and Researcher Brandon Hathaway. Unavailable for photo: Professor Tom Chase and Professor Steven Girshick. Learn more about joining the team - email: and Twitter: @UMN_Zap




The Department of Mechanical Engineering mourns the passing of Professor Emeritus Edward A. Fletcher. More>


The Mechanical Engineering Alumni Network (ME-AN) held an Open House/Meet & Greet Event for the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP). Event hosts were Professor Kim A. Stelson and Professor Zongxuan “Sunny” Sun. Professor Stelson is the current CCEFP Director, and Professor Sun is the incoming Director of CCEFP.