engineer wins IEEE Signal Processing Society Best Paper Award<img alt="Ulugbek Kamilov" src="/Profiles/PublishingImages/Kamilov,%20Ulugbek.JPG?RenditionID=1" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><p><a href="/Profiles/Pages/Ulugbek-Kamilov.aspx">​Ulugbek Kamilov</a>, assistant professor of computer science & engineering, received the IEEE Signal Processing Society 2017 Best Paper Award for his paper titled “Message-Passing De-Quantization with Applications to Compressed Sensing.” </p><p>He will receive the award at the IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP) in April 2018 in Calgary, Canada.<br/></p>Ulugbek Kamilov2017-12-04T06:00:00ZUlugbek Kamilov will receive the award at the IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP) in April 2018 in Calgary, Canada. goes to China<p>​Early this summer, five students from WashU’s School of Engineering & Applied Science set out to put their technical chops to the test in China. Led by Xuan “Silvia” Zhang, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering and the Department of Computer Science & Engineering, the team of five students traveled to Xi’an Jiatong University in the city of Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, to compete in the annual Silk Road Robotics competition. The competition is a whirlwind event showcasing innovative builds from engineers all across the world. The WashU team, comprising Adith Jagadish, Matthew Kollada, Meizhi Wang, William Luer and Andrew O’Sullivan, represented both school and country as the only team from the United States.<br/></p><img alt="" src="/news/PublishingImages/Herby%20goes%20to%20China%20WashU%20engineering.jpg?RenditionID=1" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><p>With more than 200 teams participating in the first round, the WashU team faced stiff competition right out of the gate. They presented PiCar — a scaled-down model of a self-driving car that used a small, single-board computer, known as a Raspberry Pi computer, to automate its driving functions — to a packed auditorium.</p><p>To get their driverless car moving, the team had to effectively combine electrical, mechanical and systems engineering with 3D printing and software, which they wrote themselves. Building PiCar was exacting. The crew had to fit as much work as they could into the few weeks leading up to the competition, spending time in the lab all the way up to the day of their departure and even sneaking in a bug-fix or two on their 15-hour flight to China.</p><p>“It was definitely the most hands-on engineering that I had ever done,” says Matthew Kollada, BS ’17. “I learned about as much in the competition as I had learned in a number of other classes.”</p><p>Their hard work secured them a spot among the final 16 teams. Though they didn’t win, the students were ranked in the second tier in the final stage, awarded a trophy as “Outstanding Winners” and received a cash prize of 5,000 Yuan.</p><p>For the students, being recognized at the competition was, of course, ideal, but they also saw that their PiCar could make a wider contribution to science.</p><p>“Our overarching goal for this project was to help university students and professors create algorithms for self-driving cars in the lab,” says Adith Jagadish, a first-year mechanical engineering graduate student from India. So, despite the growing commercial demand for advanced robotics technology, the students posted their designs online for free and made their software code — the mind of their autonomous machine — open source.</p><p>The competition was also a platform for them to relish the experience of creating something with their own hands.</p><p>“It almost seems as if we gave life to an inanimate object,” Jagadish says.</p><p>But the trip to China was not all joules without joy. After the competition, the team toured some of China’s big cities. Meizhi Wang, a senior in electrical engineering from China, was the bridge between their cultures.</p><p>“I am very proud of my country, and it was great to show the team around and surprise them with things about China that they did not know,” Wang says.</p><p>Under Meizhi and Professor Zhang’s able stewardship, the WashU robotics team sampled some of the cuisine in Xi’an and saw some notable sites, such as the famous Terracotta Army statues, the Great Wall and the Forbidden Palace.</p><p>“It was an incredible opportunity, and I had the time of my life there,” says Andrew O’Sullivan, a junior in mechanical engineering.</p><p>The Silk Road Robotics competition welded novel engineering, healthy competition and cross-cultural fun into a fulfilling experience for the WashU students who took part. The implications of technology like the PiCar have inundated conversations in academic and industrial circles alike with speculation on what the future of robotics will be, but, as Wang put it, for the PiCar team, it was just “good to be part of developing technology for the future.”<br/></p>Team Advisor Xuan “Silvia” Zhang, Matthew Kollada, Meizhi Wang, William Luer, Andrew O’Sullivan, and Adith Jagadish competed in the Silk Road Robotics competition as a team. Engineering faculty member Guy Genin served as a contest judge. (Courtesy photo).George Gathiani students from WashU’s School of Engineering & Applied Science put their technical chops to the test in China this summer when they competed in the Silk Road Robotics competition. Tillman Scholar sets sights on next-generation prosthetics<p>​From Legos to engines, tinkering with things has always been a source of joy for <a href="">Heath McClung</a>. Now the University of Missouri–St. Louis upperclassman is applying that interest in a field that can vastly improve lives.<br/></p><img alt="Heath McClung" src="/news/PublishingImages/Heath%20McClung%20WashU%20Engineering.jpg?RenditionID=1" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><p>It’s not a career path that the Army veteran anticipated. He was injured while serving in Afghanistan in 2011, and the years of recovery that followed changed everything. After enduring more than a dozen surgeries, he made the difficult decision to have his lower left leg amputated. He also decided to earn a degree in engineering.</p><p>“I was making a conscious decision to rely on a certain technology the rest of my life. I thought, ‘I want to learn everything I can about this,’” recalls McClung, who started his UMSL coursework just two weeks after the operation in 2014. A few months later, he received his first prosthesis and surprised classmates by moving from a wheelchair one day to walking the next.</p><blockquote>One of about 2 million amputees who live in the U.S., he notes that the population is expected to grow with the rise of Type 2 diabetes among aging baby boomers. He hopes his skills and unique perspective can help address some of the challenges amputees face.</blockquote><p>In fact, McClung’s already gaining experience in the field as he finishes his degree and looks toward a graduate program in prosthetics and orthotics at Northwestern University next summer.</p><p>“I get brought in to see newer amputees and amputees that are struggling – and anybody that just has questions – because I live it,” McClung says of his job at <a href="">P&O Care</a> in St. Louis. “It’s one thing to be educated in the technology and understand its limitations, but it’s another to depend on it every day.”</p><p>Alongside all of these endeavors, the UMSL student has also managed to earn a prestigious national scholarship. He’s one of two Missourians among this year’s Pat Tillman Scholars – a cohort of 61 people selected from a pool of thousands.</p><p>“It’s very humbling,” McClung says of the recognition and the related leadership summit he attended in July. “Ryan Barrett, the first-ever UM System Tillman Scholar [in 2016], was kind of my mentor when I came to UMSL. And the thing that I love about the Tillman Foundation is that everyone is there to do something greater than themselves – helping their community and making a big impact in whatever their area is.”</p><blockquote>As interested as he is in the science behind prosthetics, McClung says it’s the chance to directly help people with their health and activity levels that he finds most rewarding. </blockquote> <p>He loves putting a smile on others’ faces – and is known to do exactly that among classmates and fellow veterans at UMSL. It’s just how he operates.</p><p>“I do what I need to do and try to lead by example and help other people through their recovery process, too,” he says. “There’s no other veteran amputees on campus, but every veteran comes with something. Every person does.”</p><p>This story was originally published in the fall 2017 issue of <a href="">UMSL Magazine</a>.<br/></p><p>​<br/><br/></p> <span> <div class="cstm-section"><h3>UMSL/WashU Joint Undergraduate Engineering Program<br/></h3><div style="text-align: center;"> <strong>The program combines strengths of the two universities to provide a flexible engineering program for the St. Louis community.</strong></div><div><strong><br/></strong></div><div style="text-align: center;"><a href="/our-school/why-wash-u-engineering/partnerships/Pages/umsl-wash-u-joint-undergraduate-engineering-program.aspx">>> Learn more.</a><br/></div><strong> </strong></div></span><strong> <p> <br/> </p></strong>Heath McClung (Photo by August Jennewein)Evie Hemphill, blogs.umsl.edu“It’s one thing to be educated in the technology and understand its limitations, but it’s another to depend on it every day," says Heath McClung, who was injured while serving in Afghanistan in 2011. named top undergraduate program by Entrepreneur Magazine<p>​Washington University in St. Louis is among the top 25 Best Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Programs in the U.S., coming in at #7.<br/></p><img alt="WashU Campus" src="/news/PublishingImages/141020_jwb_brookings_007-1915x768.jpg?RenditionID=1" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><p>​Each year, Entrepreneur partners with <a href="" target="_blank" rel="follow noopener">The Princeton Review </a>to rank the top 25 undergraduate and <a href="" rel="follow">top 25 graduate</a> programs for entrepreneurs. The annual survey looks at more than 300 colleges and universities in the U.S. and considers the extent to which each school provides its students with world-class mentors, professors, and alumni, and immerses students in a thriving entrepreneurial environment. Over the past five years, WashU graduates have started 95 companies and collectively raised almost $354 million in funding.<br/></p><p>>> <a href="">Find the full ranking on Entrepreneur. </a></p>fuse.wustl.edu University in St. Louis is among the top 25 Best Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Programs in the U.S., coming in at #7. the imaging envelope<p>​With support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an engineer at Washington University in St. Louis plans to push the envelope of microscopic imaging to better visualize the molecules involved in Alzheimer’s disease.<br/></p><img alt="" src="/news/PublishingImages/WashU%20engineering%20laser.jpg?RenditionID=1" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><div id="__publishingReusableFragmentIdSection"><a href="/ReusableContent/36_.000">a</a></div><p><a href="/Profiles/Pages/Matthew-Lew.aspx">Matthew Lew</a>, assistant professor of electrical & systems engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, recently won a five-year, $1.6 million Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award from the NIH. With this grant, he will try to pair chemical and optical approaches for a new method of zeroing in on single molecules.</p><p>“Microscopes so far have been really good at giving us pictures of where things are over time,” Lew said. “However, they don’t give scientists a good idea of what individual molecules are doing because what you see are images of many, many molecules at the same time. So if individuals are doing something different from the whole group, we wouldn’t necessarily catch it, and that might have important ramifications for how diseases progress.”</p><p>Lew plans to develop the new advanced imaging technique with an assist from colleague <a href="/Profiles/Pages/Jan-Bieschke.aspx">Jan Bieschke</a>, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, who studies proteins responsible for age-related diseases. In Bieschke’s lab, Lew will have access to amyloid beta, a protein implicated in Alzheimer’s that forms large tangles of fibers, or plaques, in patients’ brains.<br/></p><p>Lew hopes to zero in on the different structures of amyloid beta using a technology called single-molecule, super-resolution fluorescence microscopy. Lew will utilize a widely-used contrast agent called thioflavin T, which glows when it binds to the amyloid beta fiber, but in a new way. He will look at molecules of thioflavin T one at a time, and use them to visualize the structure of the amyloid beta fibers with nanoscale resolution — about 10,000 times smaller than a human hair. At the same time, Lew will work to develop a five-dimensional optical microscope, one that’s sensitive enough to zoom in on a single thioflavin T molecule, plus provide much more information.<br/></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/news/PublishingImages/Jan%20Biescke%20and%20Matthew%20Lew%20WashU%20Engineering.jpg" alt="" style="margin: 5px;"/><br/></p><p>“Biology is three-dimensional, so in order to get a 3D image, you need to have a sophisticated optical microscope,” Lew said. “What my lab is actually doing is pushing to a couple of more dimensions. A protein in a cell has a three-dimensional position, but it might be oriented a certain way with respect to everything around it. So whether or not that protein decides to aggregate with its neighbor and cause some change is dependent on what their mutual orientation is. With this new technique, not only can we image where things are, but the aim is to image what their orientation is; that’s going to be able to help us push beyond what typical microscopes can reveal.”</p><p>Ultimately, Lew said his lab’s end goal is to build new tools to understand not just where molecules are, but what they are actually doing inside cells.</p><p>“I envision this could open up a whole new area of optical imaging, where Alzheimer’s and amyloid beta are just the first application,” Lew said. “We’re starting with the fundamental biology, at the single cell level. Eventually, we’ll be able to scale our approach to involve some of our clinical colleagues in their quest to treat different diseases.”<br/></p><span><hr/></span><div><p>The grant is award R35GM124858 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health, as part of the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) program. The goal of MIRA is to provide investigators with greater stability and flexibility, thereby enhancing scientific productivity and the chances for important breakthroughs. The program also helps distribute funding more widely among the nation’s highly talented and promising investigators.<br/></p><SPAN ID="__publishingReusableFragment"></SPAN></div><p>​​​<br/><br/><br/><a href="/departments-faculty/interdisciplinary-degree-programs/imaging-science/Pages/default.aspx" class="widget_button teal">>> PhD in Imaging Science</a></p><br/>A new NIH grant will fund a collaboration between engineers at Washington University in St. Louis to use the fluorescent glow of individual Thioflavin T molecules to study the nanoscale shapes of amyloid proteins involved in Alzheimer's disease.Erika Ebsworth-Goold engineer at Washington University in St. Louis plans to push the envelope of microscopic imaging, to better visualize the molecules involved in Alzheimer’s disease. <p>​NIH grant to help engineers visualize Alzheimer's<br/></p>