Fall 2020 Newsletter
Vol. 5, Issue 1
Message from the Chair

As I write, we are about 7 weeks into the 2020-2021 academic year. The majority of our classes are being held in virtual modality in the Fall semester and expected to be offered in the same modality in Spring 2021. A limited number of our lab classes, including our capstone program courses which require access to machine shop and fabrication facilities and a senior-level mechanical and thermal systems lab course, are held in-person on campus. Students who attend these classes have to undergo Covid-19 testing once every two weeks. Testing is available free on campus for Faculty, Staff, and Students. These have been challenging times, but I am amazed at how the Faculty, Staff, and Students have adapted. 

Enrollment in the program remains stable. An important development within the last six months is that the ME curriculum has undergone a major revision. While strengthening the program by removing redundancies, the revisions also reduce the number of units required for graduation. 

I hope you will enjoy catching up on recent developments in the Department by reading this Newsletter. They feature two new Faculty who joined the Department in Fall 2020, and some of the accomplishments of our students and Faculty. It has been an exciting time at SDSU. In a historic development, the university broke ground on its Mission Valley campus site in August. A new strategic plan was launched in September. Links where you can read more about these developments are given below.

While the current situation is not conducive for in-person visits to campus, I would strongly encourage you to keep in touch with us. It is my hope that we will be back on campus soon and we can meet again in person. In the meantime, please keep well and stay safe!!


John Abraham, Ph.D., Professor and Chair
SDSU Launches Strategic Plan
President Adela de la Torre launched a Strategic Plan (WE RISE WE DEFY: Transcending Borders, Transforming Lives) in a kickoff event on September 16.
The 5-year plan has the vision to create a more sustainable, equitable, inclusive and environmentally responsible campus community. The plan may be found at the following link: https://www.sdsu.edu/strategic-plan.  
SDSU Breaks Ground in Mission Valley Site
San Diego State University officially broke ground on SDSU Mission Valley Monday, August 17. It is envisioned that the Mission Valley campus will be a vibrant, mixed-use, medium-density development that is transit-oriented, and expands the university’s educational, research, entrepreneurial, and technology transfer programs. SDSU Mission Valley will also include transit, retail, housing, and the development of more than 80 acres of community parks and open space, including the 34-acre River Park. The construction of a 35,000 seat capacity stadium is expected to be completed in 2022. https://missionvalley.sdsu.edu/
SDSU Big Ideas
The Big Ideas Initiative at SDSU "seeks to combine, leverage and promote San Diego State’s distinctive strengths for the betterment of the world". The Steering Committee is chaired by ME Professor Dr. Karen May-Newman.

Two ME Faculty have proposed Big Ideas that have been approved for funding during Phase 2 of the Initiative:
Dr. Joaquin Camacho is leading a team of over 10 faculty from the College of Engineering, College of Science, and the School of Theatre, Television and Film to develop a Big Idea on "Transforming manufacturing leveraging trans-disciplinary strengths of SDSU". The idea proposes to disrupt manufacturing with advanced technology for the benefit of society.
Dr. Kee Moon and a diverse group of researchers are working on a project to create a lung digital health platform. Dr. Moon’s project will provide the ability to easily collect and understand the lung health information of people and quickly and remotely connect health care systems to health care providers, including overwhelmed hospitals.
COVID-19 Pandemic Related Projects
Dr. Kevin Wood and his lab created a prototype that can be assembled with readily available parts to help hospitals in case of a surge in very ill patients needing ventilator assistance. The project has garnered over $37,000 in philanthropic donations and FDA approval is being sought for the device. 
Aztec Electric Racing Puts SDSU on the Map with SAE EV Formula Racing
Aztec Electric Racing enhances collegiate education with hands-on learning through the design, manufacturing and marketing of a Formula 1 style electric race car. These cars are built within 9 months to compete against collegiate teams from around the world. Read more about AER here.
SDSU Mechatronics receives awards from Virtual 2020 International RoboSub Competition
The SDSU Mechatronics team were awarded 5th place for best team video and 4th place overall in the virtual portion of the 2020 International RoboSub Competition. The 23rd RoboSub Competition was held online, due to the in-person event being cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Read More...
Mechanical Engineering Plans Virtual Fall Design Day on December 10

After a very successful Virtual College Design Day on May 6, 2020, the Department will be hosting its Fall Design Day in the virtual mode on December 10 from 1:30 - 4:00 pm. Additional information and links will be mailed and posted on the Department website. The May Design Day was featured in our Spring Newsletter, but for those who missed the event or the Newsletter the links are given below:


Dr. Nili's research is in the areas of robotics and artificial intelligence with a focus on multi-agent coordination and nonlinear motion planning for mobile robots and unmanned air vehicles, useful in surveillance and exploration missions. Prior to becoming a faculty member at SDSU, Dr. Nili was an Assistant Professor at Wichita State University and worked as a Noise Control Engineer at Dana Incorporated. Dr. Nili recently was invited to talk by IEEE regarding her research on "Intelligent Robot Teams with Chaotic Motion Planning for Online and Unpredictable Exploration of Uncertain Environments". Learn more about Dr. Nili's research here.

Dr. Torresani’s research is focused on understanding the fundamentals of sintering and developing constitutive models of sintering which enable the prediction of the macroscopic and microscopic behavior of porous bodies (shape distortion, density distribution, grain growth, etc.) Before becoming a faculty member in the ME Department, she started her postdoctoral research in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at San Diego State University, where she also taught a graduate level class on Mechanics of Sintering. Learn more about Dr. Torresani's research here.
Dr. Kevin Wood awarded $231,137 grant from Belenos Clean Power Holding Ltd. to support his research on "Fundamental Understanding of Li metal Anodes for Improved Device Performance" This grant is part of continuing a collaboration between Dr. Wood's Laboratory (The Interface Design Lab) and a Swiss electric vehicle battery manufacturer. The grant will tackle the complex issue of making lithium metal anodes a commercial viability. As part of the project Dr. Wood's laboratory will also be working with the Swiss national lab EMPA and the Paul Scherrer Institute.
  • Dr. Eugene Olevsky & Faculty Emeritus Dr. Rand German received $150,000 grant from NASA to support their work on liquid-phase sintering under gravity and microgravity conditions
  • Dr. Olevsky awarded $50,000 grant from NSF Directorate for Engineering The grant supports the development of technology that provides 3D printed, customizable, ceramic bone scaffolds that are biocompatible and mimic the mechanical properties of native bone.

Dr. Parag Katira awarded $93,034 from the Department of Defense, US Army, to support his research on "Biomathematics: Predicting Tissue Dynamics based on Stochastic Variations in Cell Stiffness and Spatial Clustering within the Tissue Environment"

Dr. Karen May-Newman received $40,000 from Abbott Vascular, to support the work in her laboratory "Effect of a Programmed 'Pulse' on Flow in the Native Cardiovascular System during LVAD Support with the HeartMate III LVAD, Studied in a Mock Circulatory Loop"

Dr. Fletcher Miller received $40,000 grant from NASA, to support the research on "Developing the Narrow Channel Apparatus as a NASA Standard Material Flammability Test – Flight Experiment"
  • Dr. Amneet Bhalla was invited to present work at Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University. Courant is regarded as one of the premier mathematics research institutes in the world. NYU Courant is home to several Abel prize winners (equivalent of Nobel prize in Mathematics) and National Academy members. 

Dr. Khaled Morsi gave invited talk at the American Manufacturing Strategies Virtual Summit. The talk was titled "Advanced Materials Processing Research at San Diego State University: Novel Materials and Processes" in the Future Technologies and IoT track.
Dr. Scott Shaffar received Faculty Forward Award. The inaugural SDSU Faculty Forward Award honors faculty instructors who demonstrated exceptional agility and dedication in transitioning their courses to the virtual environment during Spring 2020. Dr. Shaffar is the instructor of ME 490B: Senior Design, which is the capstone course in the Mechanical Engineering program. More information about the awards and awardees is given at https://ctl.sdsu.edu/awards
Addressing Climate Change: Recent Alum Makes the News
After graduating with his BSME degree in May 2020, William Wiseman has founded Seeds Investing, a renewable energy FinTech mobile app and recently hosted a TEDx event in Stockholm for the global Countdown series focusing on carbon reduction strategies, innovative cleantech ideas and environmental action. Read more...
Aztec Racing Formula SAE Team is to promote collegiate education through the design, manufacturing and marketing of a small, open wheel race car. The cars are built with a team effort in under one year and are taken to the annual Formula SAE in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Baja SAE team consists of 35+ members who are challenged every school year to design, test, and build a single seat off road buggy that will compete in 3 nation-wide events where 100 global universities are evaluated in static and dynamic events.
The Mechatronics Club consists of 40 members who are developing an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) for the 2019 RoboSub Competition. 

Aztec Electric Racing, commonly referred to as AER, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, electric Formula SAE team at SDSU. They design, build, and race a small-scale, high performance race car each year.
ASME Club sponsors workshops, tours and guest speakers to prepare students for a career in the field of Mechanical Engineering.
BMES Mission:
Our mission is to promote the education of our members by supporting academic and professional excellence, and innovative research.
Quality of Life + brings together America's brightest engineering students at leading universities nationwide to create life-transforming assistive technology for our country's injured and ill heroes. Their mission is to foster and generate innovations that aid and improve the quality of life for those who have served our country.
From the Baja Car to Senior Capstone Projects to Scholarship support, your generous giving makes a tremendous difference for our students. Please consider making a gift to support the Department of Mechanical Engineering

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