Wednesday, March 26, 2014

SEAS Penn iTalks Finalists Talk Summaries - Wednesday, April 2nd (Session 2)

7:00-8:00 pm: SEAS Penn iTalks presentation at Wu and Chen Hall
8:00-9:30 pm: Happy hour (open to all graduate engineering students) at Levine Lobby
The three finalists presenting during this session are:

1) Amit Shavit (CBE)

Using computer simulations to tackle polymer physics on a molecular level

Over the past several decades, miniaturization towards nanoscale devices has become a major focal point of research and practice. Electronic devices—including computers, phones, sensors, and batteries—have all seen a significant reduction in size, making them faster, more powerful, and more portable. The production of many of these devices critically relies on polymer glasses. However, several recent studies have shown how the properties of glass-forming polymers can change upon confinement to the nanoscale. We currently do not understand the origin of these changes, and this limits the production of a number of technologically important devices.
      Our research uses computer simulations to attain a molecular-level understanding of glassy polymers under confinement, similar to the polymers used in many nanotechnological devices. In this presentation, I will present recent results that, for the first time, identify a bulk dynamical property that may control the observed changes in confined polymers. Our identification of this property allows us to focus on means of controlling it in bulk samples, and we can therefore produce materials that are less prone to nanoscale confinement effects. 

2) Sydney Shaffer (BE)

Rapid and accurate influenza detection with RNA FISH

Influenza is a major source of respiratory illness infecting 5-20% of the US population every year. The best available treatments for influenza are oseltamivir and zanamivir, but these medications really only effective when administered within the first 12 hours of symptoms. To guide care with regards to antivirals, clinicians need accurate and rapid tests to diagnose influenza in the appropriate time window for treatment. Unfortunately, the assays currently available are either too slow or have many false negatives. To address this need, I will talk about a new class of molecular diagnostics utilizing ultra-rapid RNA fluorescent in situ hybridization (RNA FISH) capable of detecting influenza at the point of care. Furthermore, I will discuss how this assay can be used for identifying influenza subtypes (H1N1, H3N2, and Influenza B) as well as detection of single base pair differences. Finally, I will present a low-cost microfluidic chip to automate RNA FISH, thereby making this assay robust and easy to perform at the bedside.

3) Nick McGill and Michael Rivera (CIS)

Tracheal Aire - a step toward patient-specific medical instruments

In patients undergoing anesthesia for surgical procedures, the Williams Intubating Airway is a tool used to facilitate ventilation of the lungs through tracheal intubation. A few different sizes of the intubator exist for use, however, further customization in intubator design can be useful for special populations with unique anatomic needs, such as children and adults with airway anomalies including asymmetry, tumors, or limited mobility. Using accurate measurements from a lateral head and neck radiograph, we have constructed a parameterized, digital 3D intubating airway model and a simplified, web-based platform for manipulating the model.  Our platform, Tracheal Aire, allows for the manipulation of the size and shape of the intubator by adjusting four variables: cylinder length, curve radius, airway length, and inner diameter. Likewise, a modified model can be downloaded in four different 3D printer formats (X3D, Binary STL, ASCII STL, AMF) for printing. Tracheal Aire is the first step in creating an online hub for generating and sharing patient-specific medical instruments
Come cheer on your peers and vote for your favorite talk (the audience favorite prize is worth $100 and will be determined at the end of the session). After the talks, stay for the happy hour and network with the judging panel (engineering professors), as well as the presenters and fellow engineering graduate students. The happy hour portion of this event is for students who are 21+. 

If you have any questions/feedback about the event, please email

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

SEAS Penn iTalks - Session 1 Talks

Ben Freedman
Elucidating the mechanisms of tendon fatigue damage with injury and healing through novel mechanical and image-based measures

Carlos Aspetti
Silicon Photonics: Turn off the dark.

Denise Wong
Micro Bio Robots: Actuation and Sensing at the Microscale

SEAS Penn iTalks - Session 1 Recap

 SEAS Penn iTalks Organizers (from left to right): Kalika Kamat, Jacob Berger and Harry Du
 The judges (from left to right): Dr. Jason Burdick, Dr. John Crocker and Dr. Daeyeon Lee
GSEG President Mei Yan Lee
First Presenter: Ben Freedman (BE)

Second Presenter and Audience Favorite Winner: Carlos Aspetti (MSE)

 Emcee: Ryan Wade
Third Presenter: Denise Wong (MEAM)

 SEAS Penn iTalks Organizers (from left to right): Viraj Kamat, Jacob Berger
                                                        Audience Favorite Voting