WPI students (from left) Amy Babeu ’14, Army ROTC Cadet Marlisa Overton ’14, Erin LaRoche ’14, and Rachael Matty ’14 display a female-friendly hip belt they helped develop for the Army’s Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment (MOLLE) rucksack.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute to Host Soldier Science Research Symposium

Scientists and engineers from WPI to collaborate with U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center
February 23, 2018


Speakers and honored guests:

Laurie Leshin, President, WPI

Douglas Tamilio, director, U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center (NSRDEC)

Charlene Mello, chief scientist, U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center

John Beatty, executive director of the Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force in Massachusetts


Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will host a symposium that will bring together scientists and engineers from WPI and the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC)—commonly known as Natick Labs—to explore new collaborative research solutions to benefit soldier capabilities. 

The two institutions signed a Master Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) in 2016, which has enabled the exchange of information and facilitated collaborations. Also, an Education Partnership Agreement (EPA) was established last March to cultivate the relationship between Natick Labs and WPI.

During the past decade, WPI has played a part in developing solutions to real-world challenges faced by Natick Labs. In one past project, WPI students designed, developed and tested an evaporative cooling vest for soldiers that is now being used by Army air and armored vehicle crews.

WPI is currently working with Natick Labs on a number of projects, including one in which WPI graduate students are developing new data science–based mathematical methods to enable faster detection of chemical vapors in mixtures and other environments. This sensor, about one-third the size of a pinky fingernail, would ultimately be placed on a soldier’s uniform, in a truck, or in a tent.

During the symposium, WPI students and Natick Labs researchers will present posters showing ongoing research and have discussions about their latest collaborative efforts.


WPI Campus Center, Odeum

Monday, Feb. 26, 2018

  • 10 a.m. – Opening remarks by President Leshin and Douglas Tamilio
  • 10:20-10:40 a.m. – Introduction to WPI and NSRDEC research
  • 11:15 a.m. – Poster presentations by WPI research teams
  • 1:30 p.m. – Poster presentations by NSRDEC
  • Media availability, opportunities to see WPI and Natick Labs research and to meet WPI faculty and students.

NOTE:  Reporters interested in attending the event should contact Andy Baron at ajbaron@wpi.edu or 508-831-5916.