List of Announcements (details below):

 

·         This Week at the Volgenau School

·         VSE in the News

·         Photo of the Week

·         Upcoming Events at the Volgenau School

·         P&T Seminar: Nitin Agrawal (Wed Nov 8, 11am)

·         P&T Seminar: Huzefa Rangwala (Wed Nov 8, 1pm)

·         P&T Seminar: Amarda Shehu (Thu Nov 9, 11am)

·         P&T Seminar: Celso Ferreira (Fri Nov 10, 10am)

·         Funding Opportunity: Computational and Data-Enabled … Engineering … (NSF)

·         Funding Opportunity:  Campus Cyberinfrastructure (NSF)

·         NSF Cybersecurity Funding

·         Lance Sherry & John Shortle Receive Funding from U Maryland & FAA

 

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This Week at the Volgenau School

 

Thursday I attended Mason’s 20th Annual Outstanding Achievement Awards ceremonies.  Two awards went to people from Mason Engineering.

 

Laurence Bray, Associate Chair of the Bioengineering Department, was awarded an Innovative Spirit Award.  Laurence has done a great many things for the department, but in announcing the award there was a focus on her work supervising the capstone senior-design projects for the department.  More specifically they mentioned the project to develop a prosthetic arm for 11-year-old Isabella Nicola.  The related video was played.  It is a heart-warming story, one that charms me every time I see it.

 

Martha Bushong, the School’s Director of Communications, received an Outstanding Achievement Award.  She won the award for her efforts over the past four years to create the communications, branding, and marketing strategies for our School.  Her work is embodied in the School’s Annual Reports, the School’s web site, and many other items.  It is changing how we think about ourselves and our future.

 

Please join me in congratulating Laurence and Martha. 

 

Also, please consider making nominations for next year’s awards.  Our School is full of people doing amazing things.  Sometimes, when they culminate in a focused achievement, they appear as news stories.  But at other times, there is a steady and effective contribution, one that makes the School a better place for all of us.  Both deserve recognition, but perhaps the second category is worth extra consideration since the contributions can become familiar and expected and taken for granted.  I admit that I can get busy and forget to do this.  So, just to get started, try to thank someone today.  You’ll be glad you did.

 

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VSE in the News

 

Here is a list of news stories about VSE that have been posted:

 

Beyond Mason

·         Fairfax Times: Mason grad Anthony Nunez’s robotics company is making mechanical companions for seniors.

·         Signal Magazine: Speed, Resiliency Drive Cybersecurity Ideas. Brig. Gen. Insub Shin, Korean Army (Ret.), director of cybersecurity architectures research, C4I & Cyber Center at George Mason University and vice president, Korea Defense Information Communication Association is quoted in this article. 

 

On the Mason News site (https://www2.gmu.edu/news)

·         Engineering Researchers Seek Ways to Make Planes Safer  Lance Sherry and his team at the Center for Air Transportation Safety Research study ways to make flying safer.

 

On the Mason Engineering news page (https://volgenau.gmu.edu/news/latest-news)

·         New Department Chair Joins Mason Engineering. The Sid and Reva Dewberry Department of Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering welcomes Sam Salem as its new chair.

 

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Photo of the Week

 

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Lance Sherry on Mason’s homepage. (Photo by Evan Cantwell, Creative Services)

 

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Upcoming Events at the Volgenau School

 

Whether you're looking for a specific event or browsing, our calendar lets you know what’s happening at the school. Here is a sample of what’s coming in the next several weeks. For more information visit our calendar on the web. From this page you can share the event on social media, get updates, forward to friends, or save it to your own calendar.

 

Nov. 10, 7:00 p.m. – Men’s Basketball, Mason Engineering Night, Eagle Bank Arena (Mason vs Lafayette)

Nov. 10, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. – Engineering Building, Room 4801, “Protecting and Commercializing Your Intellectual Property.” Speakers Hina Metha, Associate Director, Office of Technology Transfer, George Mason University and Sampath Ramaswamy, Senior Director, Howard Hughes Network, will be our guests at this seminar which is hosted by the Laboratory for IT Entrepreneurship as part of the ongoing LITE Seminar Series. For more information please visit http://lite.gmu.edu/seminars.html or email us at [log in to unmask].

Nov 18, 8:00 a.m.  Exploratory Hall, L003– Washington Apple Pi

Nov. 30, 9:00 a.m. – Bioengineering Senior Design Presentation Practice

 

For information about getting your event posted visit this page.

 

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Mason Korea Faculty Information Session (Thu Nov 2, 2:30pm)

 

Fenwick Library, Main Reading Room 2001

Thursday, November 2nd, 2:30-4:00 pm

 

Learn about Mason’s campus in Songdo and how you might be able to participate! Meet MK students as well. Rsvp to [log in to unmask] to reserve a space.

 

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P&T Seminar: Nitin Agrawal (Wed Nov 8, 11am)

 

Cancer on a chip: From new technologies and basic science to translational medicine

 

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 at 11:00am

Johnson Center, Room C

 

Dr. Nitin Agrawal

Department of Bioengineering,

George Mason University

 

Despite the medical advancements of the 21st century, cancer has remained a formidable disease exceeding 8 million annual deaths worldwide.  Due to heterogeneity of cancer cells from patient to patient, and their adaptability to hostile microenvironments (e.g. low oxygen or ‘hypoxic’ conditions), it is incredibly difficult to develop a universal anticancer approach for a broad population. These challenges highlight the need to better understand cell functions and develop new technologies for personalized medicine.

 

Hypoxia alters cellular metabolism and leads to acquisition of drug resistance and metastatic progression. In most solid tumors, these hypoxic conditions exist as gradients of oxygen with the tumor core being most hypoxic due lack of vascularization. In the m-SCALE (Microfluidic Single Cell Analysis Laboratory in Engineering) group, we have developed a novel lab-on-a-chip strategy to establish linear gradients of dissolved oxygen and study cancer cell behavior under biomimetic conditions. We have also identified a novel molecular mechanism, that regulates transformation of breast epithelial cells to stem-like phenotypes, necessary for metastasis.  The focus of our research revolves around breast and brain cancers as model disease systems. In addition to the above projects, we are also concentrating our efforts towards developing liposome based immunological techniques to engineer cytotoxic T lymphocytes for increased efficacy against cancer.

 

In this seminar, development and functionality of the microfluidic hypoxia platform as well as its utility to explore cellular responses in real-time will be demonstrated. In addition, the unique capability to establish overlapping hypoxia and drug gradients and the potential for personalized diagnostics and treatments will be discussed.

 

Biography: Dr. Nitin Agrawal is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering at George Mason University. He received his PhD in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University in 2006 and Postdoctoral training from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in the field of Bioengineering in 2009. He worked at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for 2.5 years before joining GMU. Dr. Agrawal’s research spans across three critical scientific areas: i) Development of chip based technologies for disease diagnostics and therapies, (ii) Fundamental understanding of the molecular mechanisms of cancer, and (iii) Translation of lab-on-a-chip technologies for clinical and personalized medicine. His research is supported by multiple NSF awards in the areas of nanobiosensing, and biomanufacturing of therapeutic cells. He has authored/co-authored 20 peer reviewed journal articles and several refereed conference articles.

 

Besides research, Dr. Agrawal has served on multiple NSF review panels. He is also actively involved in student mentoring at all levels and was nominated for the OSCAR mentoring excellence award in 2017 at GMU.

 

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P&T Seminar: Huzefa Rangwala (Wed Nov 8, 1pm)

 

Structured Prediction: Data Analytics Meets Applications

 

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 at 1:00pm

Johnson Center, Room E

Dr. Huzefa Rangwala

Department of Computer Science,

George Mason University

Today we are in the “data” age. Data-driven science and engineering are at the forefront of new discoveries and unbounded positive societal impact. Meaningful discovery and actionable insights require extracting useful information from large, heterogeneous and complex datasets, ubiquitous across several domains. Complexity within these datasets arises due to heterogeneity, incompleteness, missing information, noisy nature and inter-dependencies between the input and output domains. Structured prediction is a framework for solving classification and regression problems, in which the output/input variables are mutually dependent or constrained. Examples of dependencies and constraints include sequential, combinatorial or spatial structure in the problem domain and capturing these interactions leads to better prediction models. Several real world applications have dependencies between output labels (multi-label, hierarchical classification), or have an internal structure that is described by inter-dependent components (e.g., sequences, trees, networks, dyadic relationships).

 

In this talk, I will provide an overview of my contributions related to the development of structured prediction algorithms and their applications. I will present a sample of my work across multiple inter-disciplinary applications in (i) educational mining, (ii) genome analysis, (iii) social forecasting and (iv) cyber-physical systems.

 

Biography: Huzefa Rangwala is an Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Science, George Mason University. He was a Visiting Faculty Member at Department of Computer Science, Virginia Tech in 2015-2016. His research interests include data mining, learning analytics, bioinformatics and high performance computing. He is the recipient of the NSF Early Faculty Career Award in 2013, the 2014 GMU Teaching Excellence Award, the 2014 Mason Emerging Researcher Creator and Scholar Award, the 2013 Volgenau Outstanding Teaching Faculty Award, 2012 Computer Science Department Outstanding Teaching Faculty Award and 2011 Computer Science Department Outstanding Junior Researcher Award. His research is funded by NSF, DHS, NIH, NRL, DARPA, USDA and nVidia Corporation.

 

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P&T Seminar: Amarda Shehu (Thu Nov 9, 11am)

 

Sample-based Models of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics as Microscopes over the Healthy and the Diseased Cell

Thursday, November 9th, 2017 at 11:00am

HUB, Room 1 & 2

Dr. Amarda Shehu

Department of Computer Science

George Mason University

In 1952, Sir Alan Turing published “The chemical basis of morphogenesis,” where he introduced the ingredients of a model-driven investigation into how matter changes form. Decades of scientific enquiry have demonstrated just how fundamental form and changes to form are to function and function modulation, whether in understanding and predicting phase transitions in statistical physics, the evolution and dynamics of complex networks in network science, or structural rearrangements of biological molecules regulating cellular processes in a growing cell or a beating heart.

A primary objective of my research is the design of novel algorithmics for elucidating biomolecular structures and their rearrangements as fundamental to understanding (dys)function, cellular processes, our own biology, disease, and disease treatments. My research advocates for a paradigm shift to address the algorithmic impasse in physics-based simulation. Inspiration comes from a combination of biology and science and engineering fields that model dynamic systems. My research group has proposed and matured sample-based models that are allowing us to conduct in-silico biology at scales previously impossible. These models build increasingly-detailed representations of biomolecular energy landscapes and equilibrium structural dynamics. They are now instigating our design of novel spatial data mining techniques to harness information embedded in biomolecular landscapes. As I will demonstrate, computing and mining landscapes is allowing us to discover and categorize mechanisms via which pathogenic mutations alter protein dynamics and function in human disorders. This research is bringing closer the dawn of machines learning how mutations alter biological activities.

As application-driven basic research, my work has also made important contributions to many domains in computer science. I will show selected advancements in stochastic optimization under the umbrella of evolutionary computation, in robot motion planning, the interplay between the two, and the integration of machine-learned models for effective state space exploration and state-to-state navigation problems posed by complex, modular, intrinsically-dynamic systems operating in the presence of constraints.

Biography: Dr. Amarda Shehu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at George Mason University and is also affiliated with the School of Systems Biology and the Department of Bioengineering. Shehu received her B.S. with a dual degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY in 2002 and her Ph.D. in Computer Science from Rice University in Houston, TX in 2008, where she was an NIH fellow of the Nanobiology Training Program of the Gulf Coast Consortia. Shehu’s research is supported by various NSF programs, including Intelligent Information Systems, Computing Core Foundations, and Software Infrastructure. Shehu is also the recipient of an NSF CAREER Award, two Jeffress Memorial Trust Awards, and a Virginia Youth Tobacco Program Award. Shehu is an Associate Editor of IEEE/ACM Transactions in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics. She has served as program committee chair and general chair of the premiere IEEE and ACM bioinformatics conferences and is a frequent editor of special journal collections and issues in PLoS Computational Biology, IEEE/ACM Transactions in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, BMC Structural Biology, and Journal of Computational Biology. Shehu is also the recipient of the 2014 Mason Emerging Researcher/Scholar/Creator Award and the 2013 Mason OSCAR Undergraduate Mentor Excellence Award.

 

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P&T Seminar: Celso Ferreira (Fri Nov 10, 10am)

 

Hurricane storm surge and wave attenuation by wetlands and coastal marshes: Towards a new paradigm for nature based coastal resilience

 

Friday, November 10th, 2017 at 10:00am

Johnson Center, Room A

 

Dr. Celso Ferreira

Sid and Reva Dewberry Department of Civil, Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering,

George Mason University

 

Flooding due to extreme events is one of the most deadly and costly natural hazards around the world. The 2017 Hurricane Season demonstrated the vulnerability of the United States to extreme events, causing wide spread damage and highlighting the need for resilient coastal defenses. Building with nature has offered a paradigm shift in engineering by providing a new design philosophy where the dependence upon hard engineering structures (e.g., levees and seawalls) to provide coastal protection is giving way to hybridized solutions incorporating natural and nature-based features (NNBF) for coastal resilience. Nature-based defenses for coastal resilience are increasingly gaining popularity as an ecological engineering approach to protect coastal communities against flooding and erosion. However, there remains a considerable gap in accurately determining whether coastal communities can safely and cost-effectively rely on NNBFs for community resilience against flooding under a changing climate.

 

In this talk, I will present an overview of our work in quantifying the hurricane storm surge and wave attenuation capacity by marshes and wetlands. The foundation of this work is based on one of the largest field datasets in the world documenting in-situ hurricane storm surge hydrodynamics and wave interactions with natural areas such as marshes during extreme events conditions. My research team has documented more than 50 storms in the last 3 years, including major Hurricanes such as Joaquim, Matthew and Hermine. I will present a new empirical formulation for wave dampening from natural areas and the practical engineering parameters for the implementation of natural and nature-based defenses for coastal protection. I will also present a numerical framework developed to predict protective services from the NNBFs under extreme weather events and the quantification of ecosystems services for flood protection. Finally, I will discuss future impacts of coastal storm surge and marsh migration to infrastructure in the Chesapeake Bay.

 

Biography: Dr. Celso Ferreira is an Assistant Professor in the Civil, Infrastructure and Environmental Engineering Department of George Mason University, specializing in water resources engineering. He is also an Associate Researcher at the USGS National Research Program. His current research interests are associated with water related extreme weather hazards and their impacts on civil engineering infrastructure. Dr. Celso Ferreira has authored over 20 technical publications and his research is currently funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Interior (DOI), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and several private organizations. He was recently appointed a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University. He has more than 10 years of experience working on consulting projects related to water resources, environmental and coastal engineering in the US and Brazil.

 

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Funding Opportunity: Computational and Data-Enabled … Engineering … (NSF)

 

Opportunity Title: Computational and Data-Enabled Science and Engineering in Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (CDS&E-MSS)

Sponsor: Directorate for Mathematics and Physical Sciences/NSF

Deadline Date: 11-Dec-2017

Program URL: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=504687

 

Synopsis: The CDS&E-MSS program accepts proposals that confront and embrace the host of mathematical and statistical challenges presented to the scientific and engineering communities by the ever-expanding role of computational modeling and simulation on the one hand, and the explosion in production of digital and observational data on the other. The goal of the program is to promote the creation and development of the next generation of mathematical and statistical theories and tools that will be essential for addressing such issues. To this end, the program will support fundamental research in mathematics and statistics whose primary emphasis will be on meeting the aforementioned computational and data-related challenges.

 

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Funding Opportunity:  Campus Cyberinfrastructure (NSF)

 

Sponsor: Directorate for Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering/NSF

Deadline Date: 30-Jan-2018

Program URL: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2018/nsf18508/nsf18508.htm

 

Synopsis: The Campus Cyberinfrastructure (CC*) program invests in coordinated campus-level networking improvements, innovation, integration, and engineering for science applications and distributed research projects. Learning and workforce development (LWD) in cyberinfrastructure is explicitly addressed in the program. Science-driven requirements are the primary motivation for any proposed activity. The Campus Cyberinfrastructure (CC*) program welcomes proposals in four areas: Data Driven Networking Infrastructure for the Campus and Researcher; Network Design and Implementation for Small Institutions; Network Integration and Applied Innovation; and Network Performance Engineering and Outreach.

 

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NSF Cybersecurity Funding

 

[This is from the weekly announcements of Kerry Bolognese, Mason’s Director of Federal Relations.]

 

The National Science Foundation will spend $74.5 million funding 214 cybersecurity research projects tackling challenges from cryptography and network mapping to intrusion detection and access control, the agency announced Tuesday. The grants will be part of NSF's Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace program. Three of the largest projects, each with a budget of more than $1 million, will explore encryption algorithms, data privacy and internet infrastructure resiliency. The NSF said it had allocated approximately $160 million to cybersecurity research and education work in the 2017 fiscal year. "Safeguarding cyberspace requires a wealth of expertise from many disciplines, and we are especially excited about the interdisciplinary, highly collaborative nature of this portfolio across a wide range of research areas," said Jim Kurose, head of the NSF's computer science arm, in a statement.

 

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Lance Sherry & John Shortle Receive Funding from U Maryland & FAA

 

Lance Sherry & John Shortle of the Systems Engineering & Operations Research Department received $150K from the Naval Postgraduate School for his project, “Research Support Services for Cross-Domain Pseudo-Sensor for Enhanced ORM.”

 

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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

https://volgenau.gmu.edu/profile/view/10248