List of Announcements (details below):


Seminar:  Bioengineering Dept.:  Mar 27, 1pm

Title: Micro- and Nano-scale Technologies for Applications in Medicine and Biology
Speaker: Faculty candidate Dr. Hadi Shafiee

Thursday, March 27, 2014
1:00 PM
ENGR 3507


Micro- and nano-scale technologies can have a significant impact on medicine and biology in the areas of cell manipulation, diagnostics, and monitoring. At the convergence of these new technologies and biology, I research for enabling solutions to the real world problems at the clinic. Emerging nano-scale and microfluidic technologies integrated with biology offer innovative possibilities for creating intelligent, mobile medical lab-chip devices that could transform diagnostics and monitoring, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. This seminar will outline Dr. Shafiee’s work in developing micro-technologies with applications in disease diagnostics and treatment monitoring at the point-of-care and primary care settings. Several microchip technologies developed to detect infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS through CD4 count and viral load monitoring, peritonitis (inflammation of peritoneal membrane in patients with end stage renal disease failure) through neutrophil count, and cancer through circulating tumor cells detection and count in unprocessed fingerprick volume whole blood and serum samples will be presented. These emerging technologies could shape our future creating broadly applicable platforms for scientific discovery, providing clinical solutions for resource-constrained settings in the developing world as well as for primary care settings in the developed world.


Dr. Shafiee is a Research Fellow at Harvard-MIT Division of Health Science and Technology and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. His research is focused on developing micro- and nano-scale diagnostic technologies for real world problems in medicine such as infectious diseases detection and treatment monitoring at the point-of-care, and early cancer diagnosis.  Dr. Shafiee is the author of more than 10 journal articles published in Nature Scientific Reports, Small, Lab-Chip, Journal of Haematology, and Electrophoresis, 1 book chapter, 27 conference proceedings, and 3 provisional patents. His work has been featured on the cover of premier journals in the field of micro- and nano-technologies including Small, Lab-Chip, and Electrophoresis. His research was also highlighted in NewsWise, Medical News, VT Research Magazine, Chemical Biology, Small, BWH Clinical Research News, and Lab-on-a-Chip and has been recognized by national awards including Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from National Institute of Health (NIH), MIT Media Lab, Paul Torgersen Research Excellence Award, and Liviu Librescu Fellowship. His publications in microfluidics have been cited more than 200 times in the past 2 years. Dr. Shafiee has also been enthusiastic about translational aspect of his academic research. He conducted his PhD work to develop a microfluidic technology from proof-of-concept through a commercial licensing agreement. He has been actively involved in technology transfer and commercialization in two biotech start-ups through preparing business plans, SBIR, and STTR grant proposals. He also has several years of industrial experience as lead engineer in managing a team of engineers to design the piping routes and equipment arrangement of multiple petrochemical and power plants. Dr. Shafiee hopes for a day that his ideas at the interface of engineering and medicine change people’s lives with a better global health, particularly those with urgent and unmet clinical needs in the developing countries.


Graduate Student Workshop:  Public Speaking Skills: Mar 28, 11am

Being Present in Your Presentation: A Workshop on Public Speaking Skills

Friday, March 28, 2014
Performing Arts Building Room 105

Preparing a talk or presentation for a job interview? Want to feel more comfortable in front of the classroom or colleagues? Or just wondering how to feel more confident as a public speaker overall? Join us for an interactive workshop specially designed for Mason graduate students, facilitated by renowned faculty from Mason’s School of Theatre, Ken Elston and Edward Gero. This workshop will specifically address removing jargon when talking about your research and/or professional interests, communicating with your body in space, and putting on the character or costume of presence.  Lunch will be provided. Sponsored by the College of Visual and Performing Arts, Graduate Student Life, Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence, and the Office of the Provost.

This workshop is free, but pre-registration is required; spaces are limited. Visit to sign up.

For more information contact
    Julie Choe Kim
    Director of Graduate Student Life
    George Mason University
    Phone: 703-993-4031
    Email: [log in to unmask]


Funding Opportunity:  Big Data Science & Engineering (NSF)

On March 12, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released a solicitation entitled Critical Techniques and Technologies for Advancing Big Data Science & Engineering (BIGDATA).  This is the second round for this program, which supports research to address “critical challenges for big data management, big data analytics, or scientific discovery processes impacted by big data.”  BIGDATA will be supported by five NSF directorates (Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE), Education and Human Resources (EHR), Biological Sciences (BIO), and Engineering (ENG)).  Unlike the previous BIGDATA competition, this solicitation is not in partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) is no longer participating.

Proposals should address critical challenges for big data management, big data analytics, or scientific discovery processes impacted by big data. Proposals may include computational, statistical, or mathematical techniques, technologies, and methodologies, and can focus on theoretical analysis or experimental evaluation.  Proposals are invited in all areas of science and engineering that fall within the purview of the participating directorates as outlined above.

The 2014 BIGDATA solicitation invites proposals that fall under two categories:

In addition to the two categories above, all proposals should identify one or more themes that the proposal will address (which differ from the previous solicitation).  The three themes are:

Additional consideration will also be given to proposals that include partnership with other parties such as industry, government, or domestic or international institutions that would enable access to specific expertise, resources, or data to test, modify, and refine their techniques.  All proposals must describe how they will address a critical big data problem, what is novel about the approach, and how the project will address the NSF Broader Impacts criterion.

NSF encourages researchers interested in this solicitation to consult the list of related NSF solicitations available at:  Additional programs that may be more relevant for specific projects include Data Infrastructure Building Blocks (DIBBS) and Computational and Data Enabled Science and Engineering (CDS&E).

Deadline: June 9, 2014.

The NSF BIGDATA program page can be accessed on the NSF website at:
The full solicitation is available at:
More information on DIBBS is available at:
More information on CDS&E is available at:


Funding Opportunity:  Biological Big Data Science (NIH)

The NIH Big Data to Knowledge initiative (BD2K, recently announced the release of an RFA for software and methods development in biomedical Big Data Science:

Development of Software and Analysis Methods for Biomedical Big Data in Targeted Areas of High Need (U01) (RFA-HG-14-020) (

This opportunity targets four topic areas of high need for researchers working with biomedical Big Data:
- Data Compression/Reduction
- Data Provenance
- Data Visualization
- Data Wrangling

The receipt deadline for applications is June 19, 2014, with an optional letter of intent due May 19, 2014.

BD2K is a new major trans-NIH initiative that aims to support advances in data science, other quantitative sciences, policy, and training that are needed for the effective use of Big Data in biomedical research. Interested applicants are encouraged to join the listserv (on the BD2K homepage) to receive the most up-to-date information about BD2K events and funding opportunities.


Supreme Court: Software Patents

From SCOTUSblog:

“The Justices have danced around the question for years.  Critics (including a decided majority of academic analysts) have bemoaned the drag on innovation for decades.  But now the Supreme Court will have a chance to face the question squarely, in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International:  does the Patent Act authorize patents on software – more specifically, on computer-implemented inventions? …

“The case reaches the Court because the Court’s last word on the subject, the 2010 decision in Bilski v. Kappos, left the topic in such disarray.  The Court in that case invalidated a patent on a hedging method as presenting an unpatentable subject matter, too abstract to be claimed by an inventor.  The reasoning of Bilski, however, has left the Federal Circuit completely at sea.  In this case, for example, heard before an en banc panel of ten judges, the court issued seven separate opinions, none of which garnered the support of a majority.  …”


Funding Announcements: Sponsors Requiring No Publicity

Mason’s Office of Sponsored Programs sends me an announcement when a grant or contract is received by a faculty member in the Volgenau School.  I then include the announcement in my weekly notices, and a notice is placed on the School’s website:
Some sponsors insist that there be no public announcement of an award, but I have no way of knowing this from the information that I am provided.

If you receive such an award, please let me know and I will try to ensure that no announcement is released.  In cases where an announcement is posted, please contact me ([log in to unmask]) or Martha Bushong ([log in to unmask]) to have it removed.


Yotam Gingold Receives Funding from Google

Yotam Gingold of the Computer Science Department received $42K from the Google Research Awards program for his project, “Diamonds from the Rough: Improving Creative Performance via Aggregation.”


Stephen G. Nash
Senior Associate Dean
Volgenau School of Engineering
George Mason University
Nguyen Engineering Building, Room 2500
Mailstop 5C8
Fairfax, VA 22030

[log in to unmask]
Phone: (703) 993-1505
Fax: (703) 993-1633