A look back at the news of 2022

We recap 10 of the most-read stories throughout 2022

Beth Miller 

Every day, we bring you information about the research and discoveries taking place within the McKelvey School of Engineering. We showcase those through our website, Engineering Momentum magazine, the Record, and through various placements in the media. Here’s a recap of 10 of the stories readers read most on our website throughout 2022.


McKelvey Engineering adds new faculty for 2022-23

An ever-popular story, this was the most-read story on our website in 2022. McKelvey Engineering welcomed 12 new faculty members for the 2022-23 academic year, broadening the scope of the school’s robust teaching and further strengthening its research.

Meet the Class of 2022 valedictorians

McKelvey Engineering loves its valedictorians, and this year was no exception. In May 2022, McKelvey Engineering celebrated 21 valedictorians, which was among the largest number of valedictorians in the school’s history. To be eligible, students must have a 4.0 cumulative GPA with no repeated courses. Read all about them and their academic careers. 

Yuan named chair of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering

In May 2022, McKelvey Engineering welcomed Joshua Yuan as chair of the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering. Yuan came to WashU from Texas A&M University, where he had been a professor in the departments of Plant Pathology and Microbiology and of Chemical Engineering as well as in the Program of BioEnvironmental Sciences. He has been awarded more than $22 million in funding as a principal investigator or as co-investigator from the Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and others.

McKelvey Engineering faculty awarded $10.7 million in federal clean energy grants

In other big news for the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering, four faculty members received grants for clean energy projects totaling $10.7 million. Young-Shin Jun, Zhen (Jason) He, Vijay Ramani, Fuzhong Zhang will embark on projects that focus on creating new clean energy technologies that address not just energy production, but also emissions, critical element recovery, the conversion of carbon and waste into new energy sources, and durable carbon dioxide storage. The projects are part of a federal goal of a net-zero emissions economy by 2050. 

Center for Women’s Health Engineering launches

To meet the need for research and education for the rapidly expanding field covering half of the world’s population, Washington University in St. Louis is launching the Center for Women’s Health Engineering. The interdisciplinary center, to be housed in the McKelvey School of Engineering, will include faculty from both McKelvey Engineering as well as the School of Medicine, including the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Program in Physical Therapy, among others. In addition to collaborative research, the center will lead education and training for undergraduate students through postdoctoral researchers, encourage innovation and technology transfer and participate in outreach to both researchers and the community.

Low-cost, 3D printed device may broaden use of focused ultrasound technique

Hong Chen’s lab in the Department of Biomedical Engineering continues to refine their work in using focused ultrasound for noninvasive diagnostic use as well as to deliver treatments to the brain for tumors and neurodegenerative diseases. In this research, Chen and her team developed a low-cost, easy-to-use and highly precise focused ultrasound (FUS) device that can be used on small animal models in preclinical research. The FUS transducer, created in-house using a 3D printer, costs about $80 to fabricate. It can be integrated with a commercially available stereotactic frame to precisely target a mouse brain. 

Engineering sophomores reflect on unique first-year experiences

Students who came to Washington University as first-year students during the COVID-19 pandemic had very different experiences than those who began in other years. We asked sophomores about those experiences in this story. Watch the accompanying video to hear their thoughts in their own words.  

Mishra to develop novel ferroelectric semiconductors with NSF CAREER Award

Rohan Mishra, associate professor of mechanical engineering & materials science, was among several faculty to receive a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation in 2022. Mishra’s research aims to avoid these interfaces between layers of a semiconductor material by discovering and developing a new class of semiconductor materials. Mishra, a materials scientist, plans to use theory, computations and machine learning to predict novel ferroelectric semiconductors exhibiting the best properties of each, such as band gap, carrier mobility and polarization. 

Personalized prediction of depression treatment outcomes with wearables

A team of researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and at the University of Illinois Chicago used data from wearable devices to predict outcomes of treatment for depression on individuals who took part in a randomized clinical trial. They developed a novel machine learning model that analyzes data from two sets of patients — those randomly selected to receive treatment and those who did not receive treatment — instead of developing a separate model for each group. This unified multi-task model is a step toward personalized medicine, in which physicians design a treatment plan specific to each patient’s needs and predict outcome based on an individual’s data. 

New robotics club creates opportunity for McKelvey Engineering students

In January 2022, sophomore and electrical engineering major Liana Tilton set out to start WashU Robotics Club, the first club of its kind currently at Washington University in St. Louis.

While creating a student organization from the ground up may seem to be a daunting challenge, Tilton received immediate interest and support from members of the WashU community. Once the group had the necessary building blocks in place, they were able to begin operating as a true robotics team. The club worked together to build a robot dog, a robotic arm and a line-following car. To learn more, visit the club’s website

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