Engineering Graduate Students Win UMD 3MT Competition

The A. James Clark School of Engineering held its annual college-wide Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition on March 6, 2020. Four competition winners (each receiving a college prize of $250) and two runners-up advanced to the campus-wide 3MT competition held via video submission in April. Three Clark School graduate students were among the university’s 2020 3MT winners:

The competition challenges students to communicate the significance of their research projects to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes—a unique opportunity for students to demonstrate their ability to effectively explain their research to a broad audience in an engaging and interesting manner.

Clark School 3MT Competition Judges & Affiliations

  • Abhijit Dasgupta, Jeong H. Kim Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Jeffery Klauda, Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director, Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
  • Sennur Ulukus, Anthony Ephremides Professor and Associate Chair for Graduate Studies, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering

Clark School Results of the 3MT Competition

Post-candidacy winner: Ashley Chapin, Bioengineering
Advisor: Reza Ghodssi, Herbert Rabin Distinguished Chair
Title: Serotonin Sensor Technology Integration into In Vitro and In Vivo Systems as Research and Clinical Tools to Address the Gut-Brain-Axis
Project Description: The Gut-Brain-Axis is a strong but poorly understood signaling pathway between the gut and the brain, which underlies human behavior and can develop into co-occurring gastrointestinal and neurological diseases (e.g., inflammatory bowel disease and depression are often correlated). Serotonin is a major signaling molecule in the gut, which relays chemical information about diet and microbiome status to the enteric nervous system, and ultimately to the brain. My project is developing new sensor architectures to detect real-time serotonin released in an in vitro device, to more easily study how GI factors can affect neural signaling.

Post-candidacy winner: Byeol (Star) Kim, Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Axel Krieger, Assistant Professor
Title: Advances in Diagnosis and Surgery of Congenital Heart Disease through Novel Display, Design, Simulation, and Planning Methods
Project Description: My dissertation research focuses on developing tools and methodologies for making a patient-specific vascular graft. Both human usability tests and animal clinical studies are done to evaluate the development.

M.S./Pre-candidacy winner: Austin Lewis, Reliability Engineering
Advisor: Katrina Groth, Assistant Professor
Title: Strategies for Discretizing Continuous-Time Accident Sequences
Project Description: I am studying different methods of discretizing time in continuous accident sequences. By better understanding how a discrete-time model's effectiveness and efficiency at providing system level prognostics is impacted by its time steps, we can improve our approach of monitoring the system health of complex engineering systems.

M.S./Pre-candidacy winner: Xin Tian, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Advisor: Min Wu, Professor and Associate Dean
Title: Cardio Signal Reconstruction from Finger Tip
Project Description: An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a key diagnostic tool for cardiovascular diseases, but its apparatus is restrictive on user activities. On the other hand, a photoplethysmogram (PPG) can measure the heartbeat induced pulse in a 24/7 manner through a fingertip attachment. My research applies signal modeling and machine learning techniques to reconstruct diagnostic information normally retrieved from ECG from a the more adaptable PPG for better, more accessible preventive healthcare.

Post-candidacy runner-up: Daniel Escobar, Aerospace Engineering
Advisor: Anubhav Datta, Associate Professor
Title: Aeromechanics of a Coaxial Mars Helicopter
Project Description: This research focuses on the development of high fidelity tools for the analysis of coaxial rotors flying on Mars. Being such a unique application, there are no prior data sets so vacuum chamber experiments were carried out for validation. This is all done with the focus of understanding the aeromechanics (loads, dynamics, aerodynamics).

M.S./Pre-candidacy runner-up: Amy Morin, Aerospace Engineering
Advisor: Anubhav Datta, Associate Professor
Title: Twisted Blade Fabrication for Maryland Tiltrotor
Project Description: I have fabricated and tested high-twist carbon fiber blades for the Maryland Tiltrotor Rig, which is a Froude-scaled model that was created to study whirl flutter in a tiltrotor. If whirl flutter, an explosive type of dynamic instability, is prevented at the speeds it currently occurs at, then the tiltrotor can attain much higher speeds and efficiencies; studying these complex blades and blade loads will lead to whirl flutter reduction.

Published July 14, 2020