Major Research Awards

Here is a small sample of the many notable awards from federal agencies, corporations, and other entities that have supported research at WPI in recent months.

Intelligent Tutoring Systems

Janice Gobert (Social Science and Policy Studies), Neil Heffernan and Joseph Beck (Computer Science), and Ken Koedinger (Carnegie Mellon) received a three-year, $1.2 million award from the U.S. Department of Education to continue the development of intelligent tutoring systems for middle school science education. The new award will support the creation of modules for earth and life sciences.


Flashover Warning System

James Duckworth and David Cyganski (Electrical and Computer Engineering) and Kathy Notarianni (Fire Protection Engineering) received a $1 million award from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to develop a sensor system that firefighters can deploy in burning buildings to alert them to the risk of flashover. Combined with WPI technology for precisely locating firefighters and monitoring their vital signs, the system will give incident commanders unprecedented “situational awareness” during fires.

Molten Metal Membranes

Ravi Datta and Yi Hua Ma (Chemical Engineering) received a three-year, $997,000 award from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop novel supported molten metal membranes for hydrogen separation. The membranes, which have microdroplets of molten metal on a semiporous support, may offer a more robust and lower-cost alternative to existing means of extracting hydrogen from various gases.


Data Management System

Elke Rundensteiner (Computer Science) received a three-year, $489,000 award from the National Science Foundation to develop the multi-route query mesh model, a new class of high-performance data management system capable of coping in real time with vast amounts of data streaming from positioning, sensing, and monitoring devices.  Learn more...


Metal Ions and Bacteria

Jose Arguello (Chemistry and Biochemistry) received a two-year, $440,000 award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to identify biochemical steps involving the transport of metal ions that contribute to the ability of M.tuberculosis and other virulent bacteria to repel attacks by a host’s immune system. These bacteria defend themselves by secreting complex molecules containing metals.


Heart Repair on a Thread

Glenn Gaudette, Marsha Rolle, and George Pins (Biomedical Engineering) received a two-year, $403,000 NIH award to advance their research on the use of microthreads to stitch human mesenchymal stem cells derived from bone marrow into cardiac tissue damaged by heart attacks. The stem cells are able to regenerate the damaged tissue and restore function to the heart.


MRI-Guided Surgery Robots

Gregory Fisher (Mechanical Engineering) received a three-year, $314,000 New Investigator award from the Congressional Directed Medical Research Program’s Prostate Cancer Research Program to develop a robotic system for performing precision prostate diagnosis and therapy using real-time imagery from an MRI scanner for guidance.


Deep Ocean Wind Turbines

David Olinger and Gretar Tryggvason (Mechanical Engineering) received a three year, $300,000 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop computer simulations and physical experiments to help understand how wind turbines would behave if located on floating platforms in deep ocean water. The results will help determine if it is possible to develop economical ocean-based wind power systems.  Learn more...

Guarding Computer Systems

Joshua Guttman and Dan Dougherty (Computer Science) received a two-year, $292,000 award from the NSF to explore new computing architectures that will enable computer systems made up of vulnerable components to still be resilient in the face of attacks. The approach uses emulsification, which means breaking application functions into pieces and implementing them as separate virtual machines.