Top WashU Engineering stories of 2016

Engineers in the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis continued their strong research tradition in 2016, making new discoveries that will ultimately benefit society and advance technology, while advancing education within the school with new buildings and programs.

Here are 10 stories that had the most impact and reach in 2016:

1. A new use for insects: biorobotic sensing machines

Using a locust’s sense of smell, a team of engineers are developing new biorobotic sensing systems that could be used in homeland security applications, including bomb and chemical detection.
Washington University-Penn partnership will investigate biology’s mechanics.

3. Washington University invests $25 million in imaging sciences

In a partnership between the School of Engineering & Applied Science and the School of Medicine, Washington University is launching a new initiative to support imaging sciences researchers in their development of new technologies.

4. Dirty to drinkable

A team of engineers at Washington University in St. Louis has found a way to use graphene oxide sheets to transform dirty water into drinking water, and it could be a global game-changer.

5. Research suggests new contributor to heart disease

While high blood pressure and artery stiffness are often associated with plaque buildup, new research shows they are not the direct causes.

6. Nanoparticles present sustainable way to grow food crops

Nanotechnology could help with safer and more abundant food production to meet worldwide demands in the coming decades.

7. Calcium carbonate: A new weapon in fighting tumors

Avik Som and a team of Washington University researchers are using nanoparticle technology, applied to a drug found in most people’s medicine cabinets, to chemically alter a cancer tumor and stop its growth.

8. New engineering building to be named for school's former dean

James M. McKelvey, Sr. Hall will house the Department of Computer Science & Engineering and support Washington University's data science efforts.

9. Fighting crime at the intersection of science and social justice

Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis are using science and engineering to fight the heinous crime of sex trafficking.

10. Second major offered in financial engineering

A new, interdisciplinary academic program will combine courses in math, computer science, engineering and finance for Washington University in St. Louis students pursuing a career in financial engineering.