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The University of Iowa - 2016

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Research Description

Research Description By Graduate Engineering Department

Biomedical Engineering

Current research strengths of the Department of Biomedical Engineering are in the areas of cardiovascular and
spinal biomechanics, biomaterials and biomedical imaging, tissue engineering, cellular biomechanics, cell motion analysis, physiological modeling, biological signal processing, bioinformatics and computational biology, virtual
reality, human modeling and simulation.

Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Current research strengths of the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering are in the areas of global and regional environmental research, energy conversion and storage, biochemical/biomedical engineering (e.g., drug delivery, biocatalysis, extremophiles, cell culture, applied microbiology, biomaterials, and medical implants), polymer science and engineering, (e.g., photopolymerization) and engineering education.

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Current research strengths of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering are in the areas of water sustainability, air pollution, atmospheric chemistry, bioremediation, contaminant fate and transport, water quality modeling, environmental chemistry, water and waste water treatment, rainfall and flood forecasting, remote sensing rainfall, hydraulic engineering, performance and reliability of water intakes, radionuclide tracers, reservoir sedimentation, thermal regime of rivers, remote sensing of atmospheric constituents, solid mechanics, structural health monitoring, design simulation, optimal control of nonlinear systems, optimization algorithms, optimization of nonlinear structures, reinforced concrete structures, winter highway maintenance, transportation systems, transportation safety.

Computer Science

Current research strengths of the Department of Computer Science are in the areas of algorithms, automated reasoning, computational biology, databases and informatics, computational epidemiology, computer graphics, human computer interaction, and virtual environments, parallel and scientific computing, security, programming languages and software verification, and computational geometry.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Current research strengths of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering are in the areas of big data, CAD tools for VLSI circuit design and test, wireless communications and networks, medical imaging and image analysis, robust control, photonics, non-linear waves, laser arrays, parallel and distributed computing systems, high performance computing with applications to genome research and bioinformatics, nanotechnology and nano-devices, large-scale intelligent systems, high-performance database architecture, geophysical engineering, embedded engineering and signal processing.

Industrial Engineering

Current research strengths of the Industrial Engineering Program of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering are in the areas of engineering and design, manufacturing, haptics, informatics, operational research, reliability, human-machine interfaces, cognitive human factors engineering, healthcare systems, applied optimization, big data analytics, and wind power management.

Mechanical Engineering

Current research strengths of the Mechanical Engineering Program of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering are in the areas of multi-scale and multi-physics modeling and simulation, multi-body dynamics, reliability based design and optimization, composite materials, manufacturing, tissue mechanics, fatigue and fracture mechanics, durability and reliability, fluid dynamics, vehicle dynamics and simulation, turbulence, ship hydrodynamics, bio-fluid mechanics, pulmonary flow, fluid-structure interaction, biomimetic fluid mechanics, propellant combustion, heat transfer, solidification and casting, thermal systems, fuel cells, combustion and gasification of biomass and alternative fuels, and wind energy.

Research Description By Engineering Research Center

Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing

The center's primary aims are to foster biocatalysis and bioprocessing research and encourage intellectual interactions and communication between University of Iowa scientists and biotechnical industries. Faculty scientists from six departments of four University colleges particpate in the following general research areas: fundamental properties of biocatalysts; bioprocessing technology to isolate and purify materials prepared by biocatalysis; discovery of new biocatalysts; applications of biocatalysts (synthesis of chemicals, biosensing technology, development of bioactive agents); and bioremediation.

Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

The center's mission is to educate and conduct research in the broad fields of bioinformatics and computational biology. Bioinformatics and computational biology support and advance the biosciences by developing and testing high performance computing and networking tools capable of mining and analyzing the large amounts of diverse data and information inherent in the process of knowledge discovery in the biosciences. Examples include: algorithms and methods for analysis of genetic and genomic information; large inter-networked database design, knowledge discovery and data mining; novel approaches to information modeling or visualization; simulation of biosystems; techniques for management of computationally intensive problems; and development of web-enabled methods for connecting scientists with these data and resulting algorithms and techniques.

Center for Computer Aided Design

The Center for Computer-Aided Design (CCAD) is a dynamic, multi-disciplinary, solutions-driven research environment. CCAD's research program entails investigation, development, and implementation of advanced software and hardware simulation technologies supporting a wide range of applications, including design, engineering, human factors, biomedical, biomechanics, manufacturing, structural analysis and optimization, sensor systems, highway safety, automotive operations, avionics systems, agricultural machinery, and nanotechnology. CCAD researchers have been responsible for numerous significant technical advancements in simulation and optimization methodologies and capabilities, including advanced software tools for Noise Vibration and Harshness Analysis, Design Sensitivity Analysis, Reliability-Based Design Optimization, the DADS dynamics software, the National Advanced Driving Simulator, the SANTOSTM digital human modeling and simulation environment, and the PORTAL, an advanced immersive virtual reality environment supporting human-in-the-loop interactive simulation.
The Center's current research program is focused in seven areas: Reliability and Sensor Prognostic Systems (RSPS), Operator Performance Labs (OPL), Cognitive Systems Lab (CSL), Virtual Soldier Research (VSR), Musculo-Skeletal Imaging, Modeling, and Experimentation (MIMX), Biomedical Modeling of Soft Tissues (BioMOST) and the National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS).
CCAD is located in the Engineering Research Facility on the main campus at The University of Iowa and boasts numerous laboratory facilities for specialized simulation, robotics, experimentation, and virtual environment projects. The NADS is located at the University of Iowa's Oakdale Research Campus.

Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research

The center fosters interdisciplinary study of the physical, chemical, and biological processes that influence the earth's changes and trends by bringing together the University's special strengths in the health sciences, biogeochemical cycles, hydrologic and climate systems, and ecological systems and dynamics. The center's primary goal is to evaluate the effects and interactions of global change on earth surface processes and people on both the global and regional scale, including Iowa's midwestern agricultural setting. The causes of global change and the feedback of effects on the regional and global scale are considered.

Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research

The center fosters interdisciplinary study of the physical, chemical, and biological processes that influence the earth's changes and trends by bringing together the University's special strengths in the health sciences, biogeochemical cycles, hydrologic and climate systems, and ecological systems and dynamics. The center's primary goal is to evaluate the effects and interactions of global change on earth surface processes and people on both the global and regional scale, including Iowa's midwestern agricultural setting. The causes of global change and the feedback of effects on the regional and global scale are considered.

Center for Health Effects of Environ. Contamination

The center supports and conducts research to determine levels of environmental contamination that can be associated specifically with human health effects. The center assembles pertinent environmental data; uses health outcome data from the existing statewide cancer and birth defect recording systems; develops registries of persons known to be exposed to environmental hazards; performs epidemicologic studies; fosters relationships and ensures the exchange of information with other teaching institutions or laboratiores in the state; and conducts public education prgrams. The center includes faculty from the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Pediatrics, and Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health.

Center for Intn'l Rural and Environ. Health

The center fosters interdisciplinary research into the causes, consequences, and prevention of communicable, chronic, environmental, and occupational diseases in all regions of the globe, focusing on nations with substantial agrarian economies. Faculty and staff come from the social sciences, health sciences, and engineering; reflecting the philosophy that health is the outcome of social economic, political and environmental facotrs as they relate to fundamental biological processes.

Center for Photopolymerization

The Research Center represents a collaboration of scientists from the University of Iowa, the University of Colorado, and industrial representatives. Photopolymerizations offer tremendous advantages over traditional thermal processing methods, including low energy requirements, spatial and temporal control of initiation, and high polymerization rates. These advantages have led to tremendous growth in applications of photopolymerizations; however, much of this growth is occurring without a fundamental understanding of the underlying photochemical processes. Hence, there is a critical need to establish an active dialog between academic and industrial researchers. The objectives of the center are (1) to advance the fundamental understanding of the kinetics and mechanisms of photopolymerizations; (2) to establish a venue for industrial/academic interactions with industrial scientists providing guidance for academic research; (3) to explore high-risk, cutting-edge research on photopolymerization processes that could lead to technological innovations; and (4) to promote and/or develop novel applications which exploit the unique set of advantages offered by photopolymerizations.

Environmental Health Sciences Research Center

The focus of the Environmental Health Sciences Research Center (EHSRC) is research and outreach on the adverse health effects of environmental contaminants among rural and agricultural populations. The EHSRC is uniquely positioned to investigate environmental health problems affecting rural residents. The EHSRC is the only NIEHS environmental health center located within the agricultural heartland and rural ranching areas that include the 15 states of Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Idaho. Ours is also one of three centers that address environmental exposures affecting rural residents and one of the few centers with a major emphasis on population-based research.

Our Center is at the forefront of research on rural environmental health problems such as pesticide-induced cancers and birth defects, community and occupational exposures to airborne hazards from concentrated livestock operations, asthma among rural children, and remediation of rural hazardous waste sites. Our research and educational focus on rural environmental health problems also provides an excellent environment to train promising scientists to characterize mechanisms underlying environmental disease and approaches to their prevention.

Heartland Center for Occupational Health and Safety

The Heartland Center for Occupational Health and Safety provides graduate training, continuing education and outreach in the area of occupational health and safety. Located in the University of Iowa's College of Public Health, it is a NIOSH-funded Education and Research Center serving Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

The Heartland Center offers graduate training programs in Industrial Hygiene, Occupational Medicine, Occupational Health Nursing, Ergonomics, Occupational Epidemiology, Occupational Injury Prevention, and Agricultural Safety and Health.

IIHR - Hydroscience & Engineering

IIHR is one of the nation's premier and oldest fluids research and engineering laboratories, whose mission is to provide education and conduct programs of basic and applied research in fluid dynamics (turbulent flows, ship hydrodynamics, biological fluid flow, and computational fluid dynamics), environmental hydraulics (hydraulic structures, river and dam hydraulics, fish management at dams, sediment management, computational hydraulics, bioremediation of groundwater, water quality and river ecology, ice mechanics, and winter highway maintenance), and environmental remote sensing (pollutant transport, air and water-pollution monitoring, remote sensing of the planetary boundary layer and hydrologic variables, hydrometeorology and hydrology, hydro-climatology, integrated watershed modeling, and floods). IIHR has state-of-the-art laboratories, an environmental research station on the Mississippi River, and specialized instruments and apparatus for laboratory and field study in these areas as well as facilities for developing computational models of fluid flow. A hallmark of most IIHR projects is the high-level involvement of graduate students.

Iowa Flood Center

The Iowa Flood Center (IFC) was established and funded by the State of Iowa in 2009 after the devastating floods in the Midwest in 2008. As the only university-based center devoted solely to flood-related research and education, the IFC’s overarching objective is to improve flood monitoring and prediction capabilities in Iowa. IFC researchers and students develop new capabilities and tools in flood-related monitoring, modeling, and visualization. The IFC is also engaged in watershed-scale projects to better understand the impact of built structures and land management practices on downstream flooding.

Iowa Institute for Biomedical Imaging

The mission of the Iowa Institute for Biomedical Imaging is to foster efficient and cooperative multidisciplinary and cross-college research and discovery in biomedical imaging, and to improve training and education. The research interest comprise all granularity levels from molecules to cells to small and large animals to humans. The main focus is on translational medical image acquisition, processing and analysis in a bi-directional manner, from bench to bedside. The main areas of strength include collaborative multidisciplinary research involving departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Radiology, Radiation Oncology, Orthopedics, Ophthalmology, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Psychiatry, and Pediatrics.

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Institute

The Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Institute at the University of Iowa (NNI@UI) focuses on both the fundamental properties of nanomaterials and the issues related to applications and implications of nanoscience and nanotechnology in environmental processes and human health. NNI@UI provides a venue where researchers from all disciplines of science and engineering can gather to share ideas and discuss their views and prospects of nanoscience, nanoengineering, nanomedicine and nanotechnology.

Optical Science and Technology Center

The center offers scientists and engineers from a wide range of disciplines the opportunity to collaborate on important and complex research problems in broad areas of optical and laser science. Current research areas include ultrafast laser development, photonics and optoelectronics, nonlinear optics, condensed matter physics, materials growth techniques, device physics/engineering, surface chemistry, chemical sensors, laser spectoscopy and photochemistry, environmental chemistry, polymer science, and plasma physics.

Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory

The University of Iowa Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory (UIOBL) was established in 1969, but related research dates back to pioneering collaborations in the 1930’s between Dr. Arthur Steindler and College of Engineering faculty. Steindler’s quote from his presidential address delivered to the American Orthopaedic Association on May 9, 1933 represents a motivating vision for the UIOBL.

UIOBL investigators conduct basic and applied musculoskeletal research for which mechanical analysis and/or measurements are appropriate. Research projects of varying scope are undertaken in the laboratory to address problems of interest to orthopaedic faculty members, and they serve to train students, residents, and fellows in the principles of scientific investigation. Well-established collaborations with other UI orthopaedic research laboratories, with other departments in the Carver College of Medicine and the College of Engineering, and with other institutions complement UIOBL work. Financial support is from a variety of external sources (federal agencies, foundations and other non-profit organizations, industrial/corporate grants and contracts), supplemented by internal funds.

Rather than a specific disease focus, the common thread of the laboratory’s project portfolio is the application of innovative computational formulations, quantitative imaging breakthroughs, and novel experimental approaches to address clinically-oriented research problems across the diverse spectrum of musculoskeletal biomechanics. Current major areas of investigation are joint injuries and post-traumatic osteoarthritis, high-energy limb trauma, articular contact stresses as they relate to joint degeneration, imaging biomarkers of joint health, quantitative histology, joint arthroplasty, carpal tunnel syndrome, compromised bone mechanics in cancer treatment, and surgical skills training and simulation.

Public Policy Center

The University of Iowa's Public Policy Center was formed in 1987 to facilitate interdisciplinary academic research on public policy issues. Working with public and private sector decision makers, faculty, staff, and student researchers explore solutions to complex problems related to the public interest. The Center thus serves as a point of access for those outside the University interested in collaborating with faculty and staff capable of addressing specific policy issues.

Research teams at the Center address a number of important policy areas including transportation, health care, economic development, social equity, and environmental quality. Research is sponsored with external funding obtained through competitive proposals to government agencies, private foundations, and special consortia. Projects often involve collaboration among faculty and staff from different departments, centers, colleges, and universities; many also involve close interaction with advisory committees comprised of public and private sector leaders from around the Midwest and, increasingly, across the nation.

University of Iowa Informatics Initiative

The Iowa Informatics Initiative (UI3) is a campus-wide multidisciplinary initiative designed to establish the university as a national center of excellence in the rapidly evolving field of informatics. UI3 provides overarching coordination of informatics across the institution, and will help expand the research capabilities, strengthen educational and training opportunities in informatics-related areas, and provide a single point of contact for external constituents with interests in informatics. The scope of the initiative spans from health care to digital arts and humanities. The increased informatics research and training activities will enhance career opportunities and will help provide the workforce needed to keep pace with the rapidly evolving field of informatics.

The major informatics scholarship and teaching components at Iowa include the foundation areas of data science and analytics; algorithms and machine learning; statistics; networking (including network science, embedded software, and security); visualization and human computer interface; and systems, including the cloud. The application domains of importance to the University of Iowa include: bioinformatics; biomedical and health informatics; geoinformatics; physical sciences informatics; social and cultural informatics; and the digital arts and humanities. There are existing centers and institutes that have informatics components that focus on specific application areas. Examples include the Iowa Institute for Human Genetics and IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering. Furthermore, several of the recent faculty cluster hires rely heavily on informatics (i.e., Aging Mind and Brain, Digital Public Humanities and Digital Arts, Genetics, and Water Sustainability). UI3 is designed to strengthen the research and training capacities of these centers and clusters by adding new faculty with foundational and domain expertise, and to enhance the professional staff infrastructure to better support informatics activities and maximize the effective use of campus wide informatics resources. The number of degrees awarded in informatics programs at UI has grown by 38% over the last five years. Informatics related courses and programs are offered in a wide variety of departments and colleges across campus. Over 500 degrees are being awarded each year across five colleges.