CEEatGT Update: October 2018

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Wastewater for foodA pilot project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture will use wastewater nutrients to grow produce on Georgia Tech’s campus to test a model for decentralizing production of vegetables such as this eggplant, tomato, squash and red pepper.
Professor Yongshen Chen has proposed using domestic wastewater streams to grow produce in urban areas — truly making it possible to eat local. His system would strip out chemicals that affect the human endocrine system, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals and other trace contaminants but leave nutrients useful for food production. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded Chen a $5 million grant to pursue the idea, using Georgia Tech’s campus wastewater for a pilot project. It’s the largest award the agency has ever given to a Tech researcher. Chen said the goal is to prove such a system is socially, environmentally and financially sustainable.

Origami + 3D printingCloseup of an origami structure created through Digital Light Processing 3D printing. (Photo: Christopher Moore)

“What we have here is the proof of concept of an integrated system for manufacturing complex origami. It has tremendous potential applications.” That’s Glaucio Paulino, who worked with Jerry Qi to merge the ancient art of origami with state-of-the-art 3D printing techniques to unlock a world of possibilities. They created a one-step approach to fabricating complex origami structures whose light weight, expandability and strength could have applications in everything from biomedical devices to equipment used in space exploration.

Microbes + big dataMicrobes in soil can break down nitrous oxide, N2O, into harmless nitrogen, N2, but they don't always do a good job, according to Professor Kostas Konstantinidis. He has a new grant from the National Science Foundation to understand why. The problem is that the nitrous oxide is a powerful and damaging greenhouse gas. The study will focus on agricultural land, where nitrogen is often added to soil as fertilizer, and tropical forests. (Image Courtesy: Kostas Konstantinidis)

The National Science Foundation has given Professor Kostas Konstantinidis two new grants for projects to help researchers better understand some of the tiniest organisms on the planet. One project will study how soil microbes influence levels of nitrous oxide emissions in hopes of offering new ways to manage the levels of what is a key greenhouse gas. The other project will help researchers make sense of the mountains of new genetic data about microbes that they’ve unlocked in the last decade.
PODCAST: Research for Undergrads

Environmental engineering Ph.D. student Victoria Dean.

Health policy scholar Environmental engineering Ph.D. student Victoria Dean is part of a small group of young leaders who’ve earned the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to collaborate and use their influence to make communities healthier and more equitable. The foundation named Dean to its 2018 class of Health Policy Research Scholars, pledging to support her work for up to five years. She’s the only person from Georgia selected to participate.

Wassim Selman, a triple alumnus of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, delivered the fall 2018 lecture in the Kenneth Hyatt Distinguished Alumni Leadership Speaker Series Oct. 2. Selman focused on the importance of keeping people in the equation — and even presented his own equation for how to do that. (Photo: Qiusen Huang)

People-focused For Wassim Selman, keeping people in every equation has been a driving force throughout his career. It was a lesson he picked up some three decades ago sitting in classrooms in the Mason Building as a Georgia Tech undergrad. He pulled those lessons into the present day in the fall 2019 lecture for the Hyatt Distinguished Alumni Leadership Speaker Series. “You understand the natural and built environment. … You will need to consider the third part of the puzzle, and that is the human element.”

This image from software developed by NASA shows air traffic across the United States. Assistant Professor Sam Coogan has received funding from the U.S. Air Force to use new techniques to understand and manage how physical networks with interconnected components function. His work applies to all kinds of systems, like roads, airspace, water systems and factories. (Image Courtesy: NASA)

Air Force research Assistant Professor Sam Coogan will use a U.S. Air Force grant to develop a new approach to understanding and controlling physical networks like roads, air space and other critical infrastructure. These networks are growing larger, more complex, and more distributed, Coogan said, so it’s essential to create new mathematical tools to understand the dynamics of how materials move through these systems — whether those are cars, airplanes, water or gas — and to provide guarantees about how they operate.

Assistant Professor Lauren Stewart in the Structural Engineering and Materials Lab. (Photo: Gary Meek)

New voice The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine have named Assistant Professor Lauren Stewart to a new group of early career leaders who will help bring fresh ideas to the organizations. She joins 17 other young stars to “help identify and try out activities designed to expand the diversity of expertise” at the academies as well as offer new perspectives on emerging national and global challenges.

Professor of the Practice Eric Marks

Top teacher Once again, some of Georgia Tech’s top teaching happens here. Professor of the Practice Eric Marks has won Tech’s top award for effective teaching. He’s one of only 40 faculty members across campus to receive the Class of 1940 Course Survey Teaching Effectiveness Award for 2018, an honor that stems directly from how students in his courses rated his instruction.

Assistant Professor Jorge Macedo and Professor Paul Mayne.

Editor’s choice Two geotechnical engineering studies from School of Civil and Environmental Engineering faculty members have been honored as the “editor’s choice” selection in two different journals. That distinction typically is reserved for papers that editors consider especially high-caliber and noteworthy. The articles were the results of work on soil liquefaction by Jorge Macedo and field-based soil testing by Paul Mayne.