Butcher Lab

Cardiovascular Developmental Bioengineering Laboratory

Lena F. Kourkoutis wins NSF early-career award

Seven assistant professors win NSF early-career awards

By Tom Fleischman | Cornell Chronicle

Seven assistant professors, representing the colleges of Engineering and Agriculture and Life Sciences, have been recognized with National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Program awards, which support junior faculty members’ research projects and outreach efforts.

This year’s winners from Cornell are: Ludmilla Aristilde, biological and environmental engineering; Jacob Bien, biological statistics and computational biology; Lena Kourkoutis, the Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow in applied and engineering physics; Andreea Minca, operations research and information engineering; Perrine Pepiot and Meredith Silberstein, both mechanical and aerospace engineering; and Christoph Studer, electrical and computer engineering.

Aristilde received $600,000 over five years to study mechanisms underlying the trapping of organic matter, including contaminants and biomolecules within environmental matrices. The trapping studied by Aristilde controls transformation and transport rates within lake and river sediments, soil subsurface, landfills, waste sludge and water filtration systems. The overarching goal of the proposed research is to develop a novel approach that combines experimental and computational approaches to obtain nanoscale to molecular characterization of complex organo-mineral mixtures.

Bien will use his award, $400,000 over five years, to develop new statistical methods that can handle the increasingly complex data that the public relies on to make decisions impacting everyday life. The internet has led to unprecedented quantities of data, from news and commercial websites to consumer reviews and various forms of social media. Such data represent a potential treasure trove of insights into the world; Bien’s goal is to design improved statistical methods whose outputs can be interpreted simply by nonexperts.

Kourkoutis was awarded $550,000 over five years for a project aimed at understanding the processes at interfaces between liquids and solids that, for example, determine how batteries function and fail. The objective of this project is to develop and apply novel electron microscopy techniques that allow not only solid/solid, but also liquid/solid and soft/hard interfaces to be studied at the nanometer to atomic scale. This project will have an impact on science and technology by providing high-resolution characterization techniques of materials that are of interest for a wide range of technologies.

Minca’s project was awarded $500,000 over five years; the goal is to advance methodologies in both operations research and stochastic (randomly determined) analysis. Such systems arise in many contexts, including distributed retail operations, where resources are inventories of goods and backordering is allowed, and financial networks, where resources are cash and other capital assets and individual nodes may experience cash shortfalls. In December, Minca won the 2016 Early Career Prize from the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

Pepiot’s project, awarded $501,233 over five years, aims to develop an integrated approach to understand, model and, eventually, leverage interactions between fuel molecular components during combustion. The fuel landscape is changing due to the introduction of alternative and bio-derived fuels, and this change provides new opportunities to design more efficient fuel blends for advanced combustion technologies to help mitigate environmental impact. The long-term goal: to enable better control of the combustion chemistry process and explore alternative engine concepts.

Silberstein was awarded $500,000 over five years to study mechanochemically responsive polymers – materials that react to the onset of damage by strengthening themselves locally via mechanophores – chemical units that transform themselves under stress. These polymers would be used in such safety-critical products as tires, helmets and airplanes. Most polymer development to date has focused on improving the material’s initial properties, but eventually these properties degrade at a somewhat unpredictable rate. Mechanochemically responsive polymers would have longer life spans and be less susceptible to accumulated damage through high-intensity stressors, such as helmet impact.

Studer was awarded $606,661 over five years for his research of Bayesian inference – a powerful method for extracting statistical information from noisy, corrupted or nonlinear measurements. Sophisticated algorithms have been designed for time-insensitive tasks, but real-time applications – especially in the fields of wireless communications and imaging – typically rely on simplistic methods that prevent the use of accurate system and signal models. Studer proposes to resolve the dichotomy between recent advances on the theory side and real-world hardware constraints by pursuing a bottom-up research approach in which hardware limitations drive efforts on the algorithm and theory levels.

All projects have an outreach component, generally involving K-12 students and people from underrepresented communities.

Schlom elected to National Academy of Engineering

Schlom elected to National Academy of Engineering

By Syl Kacapyr | Cornell Chronicle

Darrell Schlom, the Herbert Fisk Johnson Professor of Industrial Chemistry in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Cornell, has been elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature,” as well as to “the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology,” according to the academy.

APPLICATION CLOSED — 2017 PARADIM Summer School on Electron Microscopy at Cornell

APPLICATION CLOSED — 2017 PARADIM Summer School on Electron Microscopy at Cornell

APPLICATION CLOSED — Invitations to successful applicants will be provided starting in late March or April, 2017.

The summer school features lectures, hands-on labs and training with simulation and analysis software. Topics include 2D and 3D imaging, EELS and imaging using pixelated detectors.

The workshop includes technical sessions, a poster session, and one-minute talks. Topics include new instrumentation, spectroscopy, and the microscope as a laboratory.

There is no registration fee and all meals will be provided. Attendees cover travel and lodging in affordable on-campus housing. Participants from non-R1 research institutions and colleges can apply for a travel/housing grant.

2016 PARADIM Industry Users Kick-Off Event

2016 PARADIM Industry Users Kick-Off Event

In August, 2016, PARADIM welcomed a set of 20 industry participants representing six different companies to the Industry Users Kick-Off Meeting.  Some of the companies, who are existing collaborators with Cornell, are interested in exploring Cornell’s new capabilities provided by PARADIM.  Others are new to Cornell and have specific project ideas in mind that are best addressed by PARADIM.  All participants are seeking assistance from the unique and growing capabilities that PARADIM provides through its user facilities and collaboration opportunities.

Cornell’s industry collaborations provide mutual benefits for both the University and our industry partners.  PARADIM is committed to providing the same benefits to a diverse and extensive set of companies in the electronic materials sector.  The PARADIM leadership team and NSF are currently working together to finalize the terms for corporate access to PARADIM facilities and staff.  Please contact us to learn more.


Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Paul F. Mutolo, PhD
Director of Industrial Outreach
p. (607) 255-4928; m. (518) 469-0306; e. pfm2@cornell.edu

2016 PARADIM Summer School

2016 PARADIM Summer School

An Introduction to Density Functional Theory for Experimentalists

Cornell University
July 24, 2016 – July 29, 2016


click photo above to view photos


click links below to view lectures or download handouts

PARADIM_GiustinoFeliciano Giustino

Professor of Materials
University of Oxford



PARADIM_goncalo_SSJack Goncalo

Associate Professor
Dept. of Organizational Behavior
School of Industrial Labor Relations
Cornell University

1st PARADIM Summer School on Materials Growth and Design at Johns Hopkins

1st PARADIM Summer School on Materials Growth and Design at Johns Hopkins

July 10 – 15, 2016
Summer School on Materials Growth & Design
John Hopkins University, Bloomberg Center for Physics and Astronomy
Click here for agenda and videos

From July 10th – July 15th, the 1st annual Summer School on Materials Growth and Design brought graduate students, postdoctoral research associates, faculty members, industrial employees, and members of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to the Johns Hopkins University (JHU). The summer school was supported by a NSF Material Innovation Platform (MIP) grant.  Led by Professor Tyrel M. McQueen and Dr. W. Adam Phelan of JHU, the highly successful workshop featured a lecture series with scientists from across the globe and a hands-on laboratory component. Both aspects emphasized single crystal growth, drawing on many different crystal growth techniques suitable for participants of varying scientific backgrounds.

Next summer’s workshop will be hosted from July 23rd to the 28th 2017 (JHU Summer School 2017).  The lecture topics and hands-on experiments are still pending.  Please access the above link at a later date for more up-to-date schedules.

Lecture videos for the 2016 school are available to the public free of charge and can be accessed using the link below.
2016 JHU Summer School