Tag Archive | "college of engineering"

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U.S. Building Technology Manager Presents ‘Building Energy Modeling: A Multi-Purpose Tool for Building Energy Efficiency’ December 5

SEEDS , Green U, the College of Engineering, and the School of Architecture invite the University community to hear Amir Roth, technology manager for building energy modeling at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office discuss “Building Energy Modeling: A Multi-Purpose Tool for Building Energy Efficiency” at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, December 5 in the School of Architecture’s Glasgow Hall Auditorium.

Building Energy Modeling (BEM)—physics-based simulation of a building’s energy consumption given a description of its physical assets, operations, and local weather—is a powerful multi-purpose tool for reducing building energy consumption. Because buildings are prohibitively expensive to prototype physically, BEM is used as a form of virtual prototyping to optimize design. And because it is impractical to physically isolate a building from its occupants, BEM is used to assess occupant-independent building performance for end uses like compliance with energy codes and green certification. While these “offline” uses of BEM are well established, BEM also has promising “online” uses. BEM can be used to continuously commission a building’s systems and to maintain their health. Given live-weather forecasts, BEM also can be used to dynamically optimize building operation in real time. This talk will describe some of these cases as well as DOE’s efforts to support them.

Amir Roth is the technology manager for building energy modeling at DOE’s Building Technologies Office (BTO) in Washington, D.C. He manages a small portfolio of projects that focus on EnergyPlus and OpenStudio, and includes supporting activities on testing and validation, model calibration, research on advanced simulation techniques, and support for the modeling community. Before going to DOE in 2010, he was first an assistant and then an associate professor of computer science at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He holds a bachelor’s in physics from Yale University and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a member of ASHRAE, IBPSA, ACM, and IEEE.

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College of Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series: ‘Energy and Power Electronics’

Dr. Fred C. Lee, University Distinguished Professor, Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech and member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, will present “Energy and Power Electronics”  from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Monday December 1 at the McArthur Engineering Annex Building, room MEA 202. He will describe significant developments and trends in power electronics and highlight some challenges and opportunities. For more information, please contact Maria Aldana at 305-284-3391 or maldana@miami.edu.

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Faculty and Staff Support the U: Alumna and Staff Member Opens Doors for Students and the Community

Ann Helmers

Ann Helmers

Ann Helmers knows that the University of Miami is a powerful force for changing lives. The director of Career Services and Alumni Relations at the College of Engineering, Helmers is a longtime donor to United Way and has contributed to the UM Annual Fund. “I am very proud of our University and glad to be able to give back,” she says.

Helmers has strong ties to UM, both personally and professionally. She began working at the University in 1981, two years after earning her bachelor’s degree in education. She would go on to earn her M.B.A. in 1990. She also met her husband, Terry, a University alumnus and systems analyst in the Information Technology department, at UM. Nearly three decades later, both of the couple’s children are UM alumni. Dan majored in ecosystem science and policy, graduating in 2011, and Caroline in history, graduating this past spring.

Now in her 20th year with the College of Engineering, Helmers helps students prepare for careers in this growing field. “There is an immense demand for engineering talent,” she says. “This is a great time to be an engineer.”

With the University’s continued progress, it’s also a great time, she says, to advise the college’s student groups and cultivate alumni support. “It is a joy for me to work with so many bright and committed students and alumni,” she says. “They are so attuned to the importance of giving back.”

Through the years, Helmers also has contributed her time and talent to the United Way of Miami-Dade and has been a UM unit campaign coordinator since 1986. She served as a campaign leader for the entire University in 1992-94. “About 50 percent of the working people in South Florida are below the poverty line,” she says. “Not everyone has a job with a steady income and benefits, and United Way agencies provide those individuals and families with the support they need.”

She’s also worked with a number of community outreach programs that inspire impoverished high school students to pursue a college education.

Helmers is doing her part to help advance the University through her professional and philanthropic efforts. As she says, “UM strives to open the doors of higher education for young people and change their lives forever. This mission is definitely worthy of our support.”

Read about other faculty and staff who support the U.


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Prominent Nuclear Engineer to Discuss ‘Science and Engineering on a Fast Track’ at College of Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series November 3

Arden L. Bement Jr., David A. Ross Distinguished Professor of Nuclear Engineering at Purdue University and director of the Global Policy Research Institute, will present “Science and Engineering on a Fast Track: A Reprise of the First Decade of the Twenty-First Century at NIST and NSF” on Monday, November 3, at 3:30 p.m. in UM’s McArthur Engineering Annex, Room MEA202, as part of the College of Engineering’s Distinguished Speaker Series.

Bement will discuss how the events that occurred during the first decade of the 21st century drew in the scientific and engineering resources of the nation in many ways. The decade saw the mapping of the human genome, the building of the Atacama radio telescope array to search the far reaches of the universe, the availability of university-operated petaflop-scale computers, and the emergence of cloud computing to support the era of “big data” research, to name just a few.

Light refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Vanessa Faz at 305-284-3291 or email v.faz@miami.edu.

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Overuse of Cigarette Substitutes Could Pose Risk to Bones

By Marie Diaz-Guma
and Annette Gallagher

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (Aug. 26, 2014)—Cigarette smoking kills approximately 440,000 Americans each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection. It is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide. In order to overcome this addiction, many people resort to nicotine replacement therapies.

A recent literature review study by researchers at the University of Miami suggests that small dosages of nicotine found in cigarette substitutes could be harmful to the human musculoskeletal system due to overuse. The findings are reported in the Global Journal of Medical Research.

The researchers investigated and summarized the last five years of studies in the PubMed database on the effect of nicotine on wound and skeletal healing processes in humans.

The report suggests that more information is needed on the potential effect of cigarette substitutes like electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), which are fairly new to the market and not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

“E-cigarettes are marketed as safe alternatives to cigarette smoking. However, the harms associated with their overuse have not yet been widely investigated,” said Herman S. Cheung, James L. Knight Professor in the College of Engineering and senior author of the report. “We hope to increase awareness and promote further investigations into this field.”

Interestingly, the findings show that nicotine can be beneficial at low dosages. For example, exposure to low dosages of nicotine promotes collagen production and skin wound repair. Yet at higher dosages, cells involved in the wound and skeletal healing processes actually become ineffective. That’s why overuse of nicotine replacements, which still contain small amounts of nicotine, can present a health risk. However, what constitutes a low or high dosage depends on the cell type.

The consequences of nicotine overuse are not necessarily new findings. However, the specific effects of nicotine on stem cells and the musculoskeletal system are. Stem cells are generic cells that can give rise to specific cell types in the body through a process called cell differentiation. These cells play a crucial role in tissue regeneration and healing. Any changes to their natural function can significantly alter these processes.

“It has been widely documented that smokers, compared to non-smokers, experience prolonged delays in bone healing after a bone fracture,” Cheung said. “There are many theories as to why. We believe that nicotine significantly affects the potential for stem cell proliferation, migration, and osteogenic differentiation—the potential of a cell to become a bone cell,” he said. “We think that these effects cause delays to bone healing.”

The mechanisms behind the effects of nicotine on musculoskeletal health are not fully understood. However, studies show that proteins called nicotine acetylcholine receptors (nAChRS) sit on the surface of the cells in the musculoskeletal system and act as mediators of the effects of nicotine on the cells.

Found throughout the body, micro ribonucleic acid (miRNA) molecules are instrumental in regulating the process that allows a stem cell to differentiate into a specific type of cell, like a muscle, or a bone cell. The researchers believe that when nAChRS are exposed to nicotine, they affect the expression of miRNAs. But it is not yet known if this is truly the case.

“The effect of nicotine on miRNAs is the focus of our current research,” Carballosa said. “However, the link between nicotine exposure and expression of miRNAs implies that there is a correlation between the two.”

The study is titled “Nicotine’s influence on musculoskeletal healing: A review featuring nAChRS and miRNA.” David J. Fernandez-Fidalgo, a graduate student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, is also a co-author of the report.

Annette Gallagher can be reached at 305-284-1121.








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