Spotlight on Research

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Research Center Spotlight: FAA Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation

Distinctive Facilities: Geotechnical Centrifuge Laboratory

Summer 2014

From the Associate Dean for Research

News from the ADR Office
Kurt Maute, Associate Dean for Research
The Office of the Associate Dean for Research has undergone several personnel changes in the past months. Late last year, Molly Riddell was hired to support faculty in developing large and/or strategically important proposals. Earlier this year, Hilary Maybee joined us to support the operative tasks of the ADR office and to develop promotional materials.

With the departure of Jeff Sczechowski, Molly and Hilary have been assisting this transition by collecting up-to-date information on funding opportunities and posting them to the internal CEAS Research Opportunities website. Note that the funding opportunities can be sorted by various criteria, so you can tailor the list to your particular research interests. Selected funding opportunities are also highlighted in our new weekly email newsletter sent to faculty beginning in June. While the website and the newsletter are no replacement for Jeff’s personalized approach of alerting individual faculty to relevant funding opportunities, we hope that the site and the newsletter will serve you well. Please let us know how we can improve these services.

We are currently searching for a new Coordinator for Research Opportunities. If you know qualified candidates, please encourage them to apply online.

Finally, my tenure in the ADR office is ending on July 10, and my successor will be Scott Palo, professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences. It has been a great pleasure and experience for me to serve the college as ADR over the past three years and I would like to thank all faculty and staff for your collaboration, support and collegiality. In particular, I will miss working with the team in the ADR office. I wish Scott all the best in his new position!

Kurt Maute

Research Center Spotlight: FAA Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation

Spotlight on Research

The University of Colorado Boulder was selected in August 2010 as one of nine member institutions forming the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation (COE CST). COE’s are intended to be 10-year partnerships between academia, industry and government; in this case, to create a world-class consortium that will address current and future challenges for commercial space transportation. The center focuses on strategic research, education and training needed to encourage, facilitate and promote commercial space initiatives. The research is categorized into four major areas: space traffic management and operations; space transportation operations, technologies and payloads; human spaceflight; and space transportation industry viability.

CU-Boulder’s effort is led by Professor David Klaus, along with Professors George Born, Penny Axelrad and Dan Scheeres, and Tim Fuller-Rowell of CIRES and NOAA, and has also involved numerous graduate students. The CU-Boulder projects include Mitigating Threats through Space Environment Modeling and Prediction; Space Situational Awareness Improvements; Masters Level Commercial Spaceflight Operations Curriculum; Human-Rating of Commercial Spacecraft; Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking; and Role of the COE CST in “Encourage, Facilitate and Promote” to engage students and young professionals. For more information, see

Distinctive Facilities: Geotechnical Centrifuge Laboratory

Spotlight on Research

Photo Credit: Glen Asakawa

Physical modeling in geotechnical engineering involves complex interdisciplinary challenges, many of which arise from the need to visualize coupled phenomena using sensors embedded in the soil or using digital photography. Often, simplifications must be made to focus on the most important mechanism occurring in the real-world scenario. A multidisciplinary team of centrifuge engineers at CU-Boulder is tackling these unique challenges in the Geotechnical Centrifuge Laboratory inside the basement of the Engineering Center, with specialties in geotechnical physical modeling (Min Zhang), mechanical engineering (Derek Carpenter), and electrical engineering (Greg Miller). The centrifuge engineers ensure that this unique facility is used safely and efficiently by a large number of users, which include researchers from universities around the world.

Recently, John McCartney (CEAE) used the centrifuge to evaluate the thermo-mechanical behavior of drilled shaft foundations used as geothermal heat exchangers, and to evaluate the response of foundations for offshore structures to cyclic lateral loading. A current collaborative project sponsored by the Office of Naval Research MURI program is led by Ron Pak (CEAE) and Richard Regueiro (CEAE) and focuses on evaluating the effects of buried explosives. Shideh Dashti (CEAE) and Abbie Liel (CEAE) are also using the centrifuge in a project funded by the National Science Foundation, to study the seismic performance of inelastic structures on liquefiable sand and the effectiveness of remediation strategies. The team is using a one-dimensional, servo-hydraulic shaking table to apply earthquake motions to small-scale soil-structure models under increased gravity.

> Learn More

Recent Recognition

Paul Goodrum (CEAE) received the Construction Industry Institute Distinguished Professor Award for 2014.

Joseph Kasprzyk (CEAE) was honored by the American Geophysical Union with the 2013 Editor's Citation for Excellence in Refereeing for Water Resources Research. He was also awarded the Universities Council on Water Resources Dissertation Award for 2014.

Karl Linden (CEAE) was selected as a 2013-14 fellow of the Australian Water Recycling Center of Excellence. Under the award, he will work with Melbourne Water on enhanced implementation of water reuse projects, specifically in advanced treatment technologies, to sustainably meet their most significant water reuse challenges.

Jason Marden (ECEE) was honored with NSF’s CAREER award for his proposal, “CAREER: Game Theoretic Methods for Multiagent Coordination.”

Lupita Montoya (CEAE) received a Fulbright Specialist grant in Public/Global Health at La Salle University in Bogota, Colombia for spring 2014.

Ronggui Yang (ME) was selected for the Young Investigator Award from the International Thermoelectric Society (ITS). Yang, who received the Goldsmid Award for Excellence in Research by a Graduate Student in 2005, joins a select few who have received two of the three total awards bestowed by the ITS.

Four advances from Chris Bowman (ChBE) and Dan Schwartz (ChBE) were included in the prestigious 2014 Compendium of Industry-Nominated Technological Breakthroughs. The annual compendium catalogues top technological breakthroughs attributable to NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers.

Research Breakthroughs

Kristi Anseth (ChBE) investigated whether stem cells remember past physical signals in an article titled “Mechanical memory and dosing influence stem cell fate,” which was published in Nature Materials. Anseth and team concluded that stem cells possess mechanical memory that stores information from past physical environments and influences the cells’ fate.

Tad Pfeffer (CEAE) and an international team completed the first mapping of virtually all of the world’s glaciers (nearly 200,000) allowing for calculations of their volumes and contributions to global sea rise as the world warms.
> Learn More

Xiaobo Yin (ME) published a paper entitled "Edge Nonlinear Optics on a MoS2 Atomic Monolayer" in Science. Yin and team recorded the first observations of a strong nonlinear optical resonance along the edges of single layers of molybdenum disulfide that could be key to the use of this and similar 2-D semiconductors in future nanoelectronic devices.

New Projects

Carol Cogswell (ECEE) and Co-PIs Robert Cormack (ECEE) and Mark Winey (MCBD) received a three-year NSF grant for $650K for “IDBR: TYPE A: A Fluorescence Microscope Optical Insert that Creates Video-rate 3D Imaging Capabilities Using an Innovative ‘Expanded Point Information Content’ Design.”

Shideh Dashti (CEAE) received a three-year NSF grant for $353K for research on “Performance of Buildings on Liquefiable Soils: Evaluation and Mitigation.”

Juliet Gopinath (ECEE) and Co-PIs Victor Bright (ME) and Emily Gibson and Diego Restrepo (of the CU Anschutz Medical Campus) were awarded a three-year $945.9K NSF grant for “IDBR Type A: Miniaturized Two-photon Microscopy for Deep Brain Imaging: An Integrated Circuit Design Using Electrowetting Optics.”

Mike Hannigan (ME) received a two-year $1.5M award from the EPA for “Cooking and Lighting Impact on Air Quality and Climate.” Sub awardees are NCAR and Navrongo Health Research Centre.
(Photo: Right)
Kurt Maute, Associate Dean for Research> Learn More

Sehee Lee (ME) and key personnel Conrad Stoldt (ME) received a two-year $382.5K award from Solid Power, with the DOE as the prime sponsor, for “An Ultra High Energy, Safe and Low Cost All Solid-state Rechargeable Battery for Electric Vehicles.”

Alan Mickelson (ECEE) received $360K from Lightwave Logic for research on “Silicon Organic Hybrids Structures for Data Communications.”

Milos Popovic (ECEE) received a $610K three-year DOD Navy ONR grant for “Advanced Classical and Quantum Light Sources On-Chip Based on Photonic Molecule Circuits.”

Dan Scheeres (AES) was awarded $598K from the Southwest Research Institute, prime sponsor NASA, for “Institute for the Science of Exploration Targets (ISET): Origin, Evolution, and Discovery.”

Louis Stodieck (AES - Bioserve) received a three-year $2.4M award from NASA Ames for “A Collaborative Effort for Conducting Space Life Science Research Experiments on Board the International Space Station.”

Conrad Stoldt (ME) and Joel Eaves (Chemistry) received a three-year $465K award from the NSF Division of Materials Research for the project entitled "Iron Pyrite {100}: Investigation into an Electronically Frustrated Material."

Alan Weimer (ChBE) was awarded $450K from Saudi Basic Industries for “Solarthermal Water Splitting.”

Research Metrics - Summer 2014

Congratulations to all of you! Please let us in the ADR office know how we can help you to maintain and expand your successful research programs.

Research Awards for FY 14 July-March

Research Proposals Submitted for FY 14 July-March

For a complete list of new projects, see the OCG Monthly Awards Report.

Technology Transfer News - Summer 2014
A research group led by Kristi Anseth (ChBE, BioFrontiers) recently received a patent for a technique to create highly customizable hydrogel materials, which can be used in many biomedical applications like drug delivery, tissue and biosensors. 
A research group led by Christopher Bowman (ChBE) received a patent for an improved method of detecting molecular recognition events, for use in diagnostic and environmental sensing applications. 
A research group led by Christopher Bowman (ChBE) and Robert McLeod (ECEE) was awarded a patent for an advanced photolithography technique that allows for more precise fabrication of microdevices such as microchips, microfluidics, and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). 

Anushree Chatterjee (ChBE) and Prashant Nagpal (ChBE) have been named the CU-Boulder New Inventors of the Year by the University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office (TTO). This honor is given to researchers who best represent both the spirit of innovation at CU-Boulder and best practices in commercialization of university technologies. In their joint research, Chatterjee and Nagpal have developed a platform technology for fast, reliable, high-throughput, and cost effective single-molecule sequencing of nucleic acids. > Learn more

Two groups of researchers led by John Falconer (ChBE) and Richard Noble (ChBE) were awarded two patents for methods to make improved gas separation membranes, which have great potential in chemical and petrochemical industries for large scale separations, such as natural gas sweetening and CO2 sequestration. 

A group of researchers led by Steven George (ME) was awarded a patent for a process to create ultrathin metal films using atomic layer deposition – the films created using this process are especially well-suited for use as catalysts in fuel cells. 
Rafael Piestun (ECEE) and his collaborators were awarded a patent for an optical-digital technique used to improve range estimation, super-resolution microscopy, and 3D imaging. Along with related intellectual property, this patent is being commercialized by Double Helix LLC, a Boulder-based CU startup company. The company is currently selling a 3D super-resolution microscopy product based on this technology, and continues to develop the technology for microscopy and advanced industry market applications. 
Theodore Randolph (ChBE), John Carpenter (CU School of Pharmacy), and CU-based company BaroFold, Inc. were awarded a patent for improving protein-based drug formulations (used to treat cancers, infectious diseases and several other diseases). The invention reduces sub-visible particles that can cause adverse immune responses in the patient. 
A group of researchers led by Alan Weimer (ChBE) was awarded a patent for a process that uses concentrated sunlight to form syngas or hydrogen. This process can efficiently and inexpensively produce useful fuels with no emissions, waste, or transportation requirements.


How Can We Help?

The ADR office offers direct support for large and strategically significant proposals (over $1M in annual funding), including proposal project management, strategic and compliance review, technical editing, and file management. To request support for an upcoming effort, contact Manager of Large Proposals Molly Riddell (303-492-9108).

The ADR Office is distributing key funding opportunities across a range of research areas. New opportunities are posted each week on Monday and are also available in a sortable database that allows you to filter by one or more criteria. All faculty have access to this site; to request initial access, use the “request access” button or contact Molly Riddell.

Research Development & Grant Writing News is a monthly faculty newsletter on how to compete successfully for research and education funding from federal agencies and foundations. Academic Research Funding Strategies, LLC publishes this newsletter, which is available on our CEAS Research Opportunities website Announcements page.

Research Compliance Reminders
ePERs– Electronic Personnel Effort Reporting System: Each semester, any individual who has effort charged to a research grant or has committed cost share must certify the effort via the ePERs system. Please double check that you have certified your effort for Spring 2014 via the MyCUinfo portal. As principal investigator on the project, please check that graduate students have also certified their project effort.

Equipment on loan from the Government: Do you have equipment that was loaned to you from a government agency for work on a research project? Has this equipment (no minimum value) been properly tagged with a non-CU property tag? If you have questions, please contact OCG Compliance Area: Rebecca Stossmeister (303-492-9167).

Contact Us

We welcome your feedback in general and encourage you to let us know how we can further help support your research programs. Contact our team:

Kurt Maute
Associate Dean for Research

Linda Rose
Coordinator for Research Facilitation

Molly Riddell
Manager of Large Proposals

Hilary Maybee
Assistant to the Associate Dean for Research

Important Announcements

CUEngineering A publication for alumni and friends. Read the 2015 edition of CUEngineering magazine here.


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