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Top WashU Engineering stories of 2017

WashU engineers continued their strong research tradition in 2017, and implemented a new strategic plan — Leadership Through Excellence.

Here are 10 stories that had the most impact and reach in 2017:


1. Eleven new faculty to join School of Engineering & Applied Science

“Adding these faculty members at both the junior and senior ranks is a big step in the growth of the size and depth of our research and education programs that are enabled by the expansion of our facilities that is underway," said Aaron F. Bobick, dean.
Washington University in St. Louis is embarking on a major transformation of the east end of its Danforth Campus. The project includes two new buildings dedicated to engineering.

3. A probiotic stress fix

An engineer at Washington University in St. Louis is using a mouse model to develop a probiotic that, when mixed into yogurt or taken as a pill, could combat the negative health effects of adrenaline rush and excessive stress.

4. Pushing the imaging envelope

An engineer at Washington University in St. Louis plans to push the envelope of microscopic imaging, to better visualize the molecules involved in Alzheimer’s disease.

5. Study casts doubt on the warming implications of brown carbon aerosol from wildfires

As devastating wildfires rage in California wine country, a team of environmental engineers at Washington University in St. Louis have made a new discovery about wildfire smoke and its effect on the atmosphere.

6. WashU engineers to study better design for robotics, autonomous technology

Xuan "Silvia" Zhang and Christopher Gill received a four-year, $936,504 grant from the National Science Foundation to study how to orchestrate modular power in a modular manner at the mesoscale, an area that has not yet been studied.

7. Better than a pill

With a new $1.7 million award from the National Institutes of Health, a team from Washington University in St. Louis plans to develop a silk-based system to better alleviate the pain and discomfort of osteoarthritis.

8. Studying the brain’s suspension system in TBIs

New research from a team of engineers at Washington University in St. Louis takes a closer at this “suspension system” and the insight it could provide to prevent TBI.

9. Test uses nanotechnology to quickly diagnose Zika virus

Washington University in St. Louis researchers have developed a test that quickly detects the presence of Zika virus in blood.

10. Common heart ailment target of new WashU Engineering research

Jon Silva and his team will study how small molecules and proteins interact with ion channels in the heart to cause and prevent arrhythmia, when the heart beats too fast, too slow, or is too unstable.