The Penn State Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship program (HESE) is focused on how engineering and social enterprise mix to solve humanitarian problems. The talk will show what the program is and where it is going, and highlight an example of how we are working to allow nearly anyone anywhere to use 3D printing to bring medical necessities to rural health care facilities. 

Charts and graphs are crucial tools for communicating scientific data. Unfortunately, it's easy to make charts with awkward, confusing, or otherwise ineffective design choices.  In this talk, I’ll review simple design concepts that can make the difference between mediocrity and an effective, compelling, and inspiring visual aid.

Over the last decade there has been a growing interest in the importance of mechanical stimuli on cell behavior. Passive physical properties (i.e., alignment, stiffness) and actively applied mechanical stimuli (i.e., stretch, fluid shear stress) modulate fundamental aspects of cell function.  However, most mechanobiology studies investigate isolated cells on artificial substrates, which lack the complicated 3D structure and composition of the cellular “niche” found within the native tissue. Using tendons as a model system, I will discuss my efforts to measure tissue mechanics at the cellular length scale and understand the cell response to mechanical stimuli during tendon degeneration and development.  The goals of this work are to identify the causes of tendon pathology, discover novel therapeutic options, and direct the design of biomaterials that can recapitulate the behavior of native tissue.

As we begin the New Year we’ll take a moment to celebrate some recent accomplishments and look towards the future: winners of the 2017 Rustum and Della Roy Awards will be announced, new faculty will be highlighted, and I’ll provide an update on some MRI strategic initiatives.

There are many forms of energy around us: light, heat, vibrations, wind, electromagnetic fields, fluid flow, waves, organic waste, etc. At large scale, many of these energy sources already play a significant role in powering our society and are projected to become dominant contributors by 2040. On the smaller scale, exciting scientific and engineering challenges must be overcome to harness these energy sources. Success in developing devices that cost-effectively convert these very small magnitudes of energy into electricity will lead to massive infrastructural changes ranging from buildings to transportation to communication. In this talk, I will provide a brief summary on the progress made in developing these small scale devices and discuss the potential for hybrid systems that combine living and artificial components to capture environmental energy.

Harl Tolbert | Office of Technology Management

I will discuss the role patents play in research, development, technology and the economy—including the differing views specific fields of research and industry have on the value of patents. The role of patenting at academic institutions will also be discussed. We will examine the ways that patents have enhanced innovation, and how they sometimes are thought to impede collaboration and new discoveries.