Student Briefs

Denise Conti, a chemical engineering and materials science PhD candidate, won first place in the Physical Sciences, Engineering and Mathematics category at Wayne State’s 2011 Graduate Exhibition.  Conti presented on "Propellant-based inhalers for the non-invasive delivery of genes to the lungs," the result of her first two years of PhD research.  Conti’s work shows how it is possible to formulate genes (DNA, in this specific study) for oral inhalation to the lung.  A possible application of this research is treatment of pulmonary disorders, such as lung cancer, asthma and cystic fibrosis. Once Conti receives her PhD, she hopes to land a post-doctorate position, pursuing the area of polymer science.


Na Zhu, a mechanical engineering PhD candidate, has been selected to receive the 2011 American Tinnitus Association Student Grant Award. Traditionally, ATA awards go to medical schools and this is the first time it is going to an engineering school. Zhu will receive $10,000 in funding for her project "Development of an Innovative, 3D Computer Aided Diagnostic System for Tinnitus.”  Zhu, whose research concentration is in acoustic and vibrations, works in collaboration with the WSU School of Medicine.


Aishwarya Sankar, a senior in industrial and systems engineering, has received the the Greater Detroit Chapter of the Institute of Industrial Engineers’ Irv Otis Scholarship, which recognizes outstanding Industrial Engineering students within the IIE Greater Detroit Chapter. Sankar was selected for the scholarship in recognition of her leadership in both her academic program and in the IIE chapter. 

Sankar has been an active member of the Wayne State IIE Chapter since 2009 and this year she is secretary. She is the Engineering Student Faculty Board Representative for the Society of Women Engineers and is also a part of the ISE Department’s Operational Management Leadership Program (OMLP). Through this program, Sankar has received a scholarship and also gained internship experiences. This summer she will be interning at Ford Motor Company in the department of Manufacturing and Quality Control.


Electrical and computer engineering graduate students Liang Huang, Arpit Mittal, Vimlesh Shukla, and Prem Sivakumar will be competing in the RESNA  (Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America) 2011 Student Design competition with their project “Wireless Wayfinding System for Training and Job Coaching Support for Workers with Cognitive Impairments.”

The team’s abstract for the project explains, “Indoor wayfinding is a problem for many individuals with cognitive impairments. The system has been tested on janitorial carts in an office wing of the Jewish Vocational Services (JVS), Southfield, Mich.  JVS is a NISH affiliated agency that provides vocational training for workers with cognitive impairments.  The system would enable JVS to effectively train its clients and improve on-site worker efficiencies by allowing a supervisor to monitor his/her own team and provide individualized task prompting to workers.”

You can watch the video they submitted for the conference here.



ISE student Vanda Ametlli presented her project - "Improving Inpatient Discharge Process to Reduce Readmission" - at the Society for Health Systems 2011 Conference. Vanda was the winner of the 2011 Undergraduate Student Paper Competition for the Society for Health Systems.

Her project, based at Crittenton Hospital, focused on improving the quality of the discharge process to reduce readmission rate.

“It goes to show how valuable your internship experience can be and of course being involved in professional organizations,” says Ametlli. “The most important thing out of this conference that I got was that industrial engineers whether in industry or academia have the opportunity to make significant impact in delivery of patient care through our systems-perspective thinking, our background in improvement and of course people skills!”


A team of four Wayne State Biomedical Engineering first-year students has been selected as a finalist in the Undergraduate Design Competition at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Summer Bioengineering Conference.  The inaugural competition sought submissions from undergraduate design teams from around the US and Canada.  Based on two page descriptions of their designs, six teams were selected by a panel of judges to present their projects at the upcoming international conference, which will be held in Nemacolin, PA, at the end of June.  While undergraduate teams at all levels (freshman through seniors) were encouraged to submit a design, the majority of projects were submitted by capstone design teams of senior students.  The selection of this first-year team demonstrates the excellent work that the new undergraduate BME students are doing even early in their curriculum.

The team of Brandon Heid, Ali Abdallah, Nigil Valikodath, and Hajra Khan, which works under the team name BANH, designed a device that will allow a diabetic patient with the use of only one arm to test his blood sugar independently.  This device was developed based on the request of an actual client who approached the BME Department for assistance.  The conceptual design will be prototyped this semester to allow actual testing and feedback from the client.

Through sponsorship by the National Science Foundation, each of the Undergraduate Design Competition finalist teams will be provided with $2500 to support prototyping and travel costs to the conference.


The College of Engineering’s Tau Beta Pi chapter - under the direction of the groups’ community service coordinator, Amani Alkayyali, a junior in biomedical engineering - organized a team of College of Engineering students, faculty, staff, friends and family to take part in the Detroit Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, held May 21.


Mahyar Movahednejad, a doctoral industrial and systems engineering student, received a Gold Paper Award at the 2011 ITS Michigan Annual Meeting and Exhibition, held June 1 at the Ford Conference and Event Center in Dearborn. Movahednejad’s abstract, “State-Space Reduction in Modeling Traffic Network Dynamics for Efficient Graph-Based Hierarchical Routing Algorithms under ITS,” was chosen for this award as the top-ranked abstract presented at the exhibition.

Movahednejad describes  his research: ”Effective en route guidance for vehicles can play an important role in alleviating the negative impacts of ever-growing congestion. As network traffic conditions change due to congestion, the optimal route can change, and updated directions should be given to the driver in real-time. I am developing routing algorithms capturing real time traffic information. The routing policy includes a three-step procedure:  1) Reducing the state space in modeling traffic network dynamics 2) Extracting a graph-based hierarchical structure in the road network and 3) Developing dynamic hierarchical routing algorithms exploiting results from first two steps.”



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