The Frontiers of Engineering program brings together through 2-1/2 day meetings a select group of emerging engineering leaders from industry, academe, and government labs to discuss pioneering technical work and leading edge research in various engineering fields and industry sectors. The goal of the meetings is to introduce these outstanding early career engineers to each other, and through this interaction facilitate collaboration in engineering, the transfer of new techniques and approaches across fields, and establishment of contacts among the next generation of engineering leaders.

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  • Sara Tucker
    LiDAR Staff Consultant
    Ball Aerospace

    My research focuses on the development and testing of laser remote sensing instrumentation that measures wind profiles from ground, aircraft, and eventually space platforms to provide the weather prediction community with data that improves forecast accuracy.

    Working in electrical engineering and LiDAR, I had never had the opportunity to interface with so many outstanding and impressive researchers who also happen to be women, which provided a sense of belonging in our “class” that was 45% women. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in FOE, which provided an excellent opportunity to step outside the world of my tightly-focused research topic and learn about what first seemed like entirely different technical topics. While the other challenges and solutions had differences from a purely technical perspective, the engineering approach was similar, and the opportunity to see that approach applied to other fields, often with impressive creativity, seeded more creativity and curiosity in my own research.  

  • Chinedum Osuji
    Associate Professor, Chemical & Environmental Engineering
    Yale University

    My group focuses on elucidating structure-property relationships in polymers and understanding the dynamics of complex fluids.

    FOE provided a much broader perspective on engineering and the physical sciences than one typically encounters during the course of normal research-driven activities, reminding us of the critically important role that engineering has in advancing societal interests. Further, FOE fosters interactions among talented researchers working in disparate yet related fields. Such interactions have the potential to help drive transformational advances that require the amalgamation of a diverse range of skill sets.

  • Debora Rodrigues
    Associate Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering
    University of Houston

    My research interests involve microbial communities and biological processes to better understand and protect water ecosystems and to develop sustainable methods to improve water quality.

    The FOE allowed me to expand my network with emerging engineering leaders in academia, industry, and government laboratories. Also, it allowed me to establish long-term relationships and collaborations with emerging leaders from different engineering fields to develop transformative research that advances science and engineering using cross-disciplinary approaches.

  • Sibendu Som
    Manager, Computational Multi-physics
    Argonne National Laboratory

    My research involves developing enabling technologies for high-performance low-emission combustion engines for both aerospace and land propulsion.

    FOE was a unique opportunity to meet accomplished researchers from the entire range of engineering disciplines. It was also a humbling experience to meet such distinguished early-career researchers achieving greatness in their respective disciplines. This motivated me to work even harder and to get involved in multidisciplinary research not only within Argonne National Laboratory but also by fostering collaborations with academia and industry.

  • Ellis Meng
    Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering-Electrophysics
    University of Southern California

    My research centers on the development of biomedical microsystems, including microsensors and actuators, micromachining and microfabrication, microfluidics, flexible devices, implantable devices, wireless power and data telemetry for implants, and neural engineering.

    There is no other meeting like FOE in which top researchers in very different areas have a chance to meet and discuss the potential synergies among their respective fields. An additional benefit was the mix of industry, national lab, and academic attendees. Hearing about the different sectors and career trajectories was extremely informative and enlightening. I took away many lessons from the event.

  • Jason Furtney
    Chief Technical Officer
    Itasca Consulting Group

    My work involves numerical modeling of rock blasting, geothermal energy production, mining geomechanics, solution mining, hydrocarbon reservoir flow, and magma flow.

    Attending the FOE program was an excellent opportunity to interact with people in other engineering disciplines. In my experience, this cross-disciplinary insight has led to significant breakthroughs in technical problem solving. Today's scientists and engineers are highly specialized, yet we are all working with the same physics, chemistry, and mathematics. I gained valuable insights into these fundamentals by learning about the approaches taken by groups working in diverse application areas.

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  • Features

  • News + Events

    • September 20, 2018
      Purdue University's Pablo Zavattieri (USFOE 2014) is studying how super-resilient materials found in the animal kingdom owe their strength and toughness to a design strategy that causes cracks to follow the twisting pattern of fibers, preventing catastrophic failure.
    • September 17, 2018
      By manipulating DNA, MIT's Timothy Lu (CAFOE 2017) is bioengineering microbes that, once ingested, work to treat a rare genetic condition — a milestone in synthetic biology.
    • September 13, 2018
      Spencer Lake (USFOE 2018) at Washington University in St. Louis engineered a camera inspired by the Mantis shrimp that captures images of the microscopic structure of elbow ligaments.
    • August 31, 2018
      Caltech's Azita Emami (USFOE 2017) is engineering low-power, energy-efficient ways for the information world to interface with the physical world, including an implantable device that can relay real-time glucose readings to a wearable reader.
    • August 27, 2018
      Yale's Hui Cao (GAFOE 2010) is engineering D-shaped lasers designed to eradicate instabilities that can limit their usage in materials processing, large-scale displays, laser surgery, and LiDar.
    • August 20, 2018
      FOE alum Jeff Sakamoto at the University of Michigan is engineering a new rechargeable battery technology that could double the output of current lithium ion cells, an advance that promises to extend electric vehicle ranges and the time between mobile phone charges.
    • August 13, 2018
      FOE alum Aydogan Ozcan at UCLA is developing new opportunities to use an artificial intelligence-based passive device to instantaneously analyze data and images to classify objects.
    • August 9, 2018
      MIT's Hadley Sikes (USFOE 2017) has engineered a new sensor that sees inside cancer cells to determine whether they are responding to a particular type of chemotherapy drug.
    • August 6, 2018
      FOE alum Mona Jarrahi at UCLA has engineered a photodetector that operates across a broad range of light, processes images more quickly, and is more sensitive than current technology to low levels of light, with applications in night vision, medical diagnostics, and environmental sensing technologies.
    • August 2, 2018
      Sameer Sonkusale (USFOE 2015) at Tufts University has engineered a prototype smart bandage designed to actively monitor chronic wounds and even deliver drug treatments, which will particularly help patients who are older, non-ambulatory, and limited in their ability to provide self-care.
    • July 30, 2018
      Jeannette Garcia (USFOE 2015) at IBM Almaden Research Center is working on ways to “upcycle” plastics, breaking them down into new types of monomers to enable the ability to take something like the plastic that is used for soda bottles (polyethylene terephthalate, or PET) and turn it into the plastic used for high-performance products, like airplane parts.
    • July 26, 2018
      MIT's Sangbae Kim (USFOE 2016) has engineered a robotic cheetah that is able to climb stairs and gallop across rough terrain without using cameras or any other visual sensors. Instead, it “feels” its way through its surroundings, with potential applications for exploring disaster zones and other dangerous or inaccessible environments.
    • July 23, 2018
      FOE alum and NAE member Samir Mitragotri at Harvard is developing advances leading to the delivery of blood-sugar-regulating hormones in a pill, long regarded as the “holy grail” of diabetes treatment.
    • June 28, 2018
      Eighty-four of the nation’s brightest young engineers have been selected to take part in the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 24th annual US Frontiers of Engineering (USFOE) symposium.
    • June 25, 2018
      FOE alum and NAE member Sangeeta Bhatia at MIT has engineered malaria in dormant form, which is resistant to most antimalarial drugs and can reawaken months or years later, causing disease relapse. Learning about the biology of these dormant parasites could help lead to the development of drugs that target them.
    • June 21, 2018
      FOE alum and NAE member Zhigang Suo at Harvard University is engineering materials with bonding capability built-in rather than needing a separate agent to bond, which will better enable electrical devices to mimic the function of muscle, skin, and other tissues.
    • June 18, 2018
      FOE alum and NAE member Dina Katabi at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) uses AI to teach wireless devices to sense people’s postures and movement, even from the other side of a wall.
    • June 14, 2018
      FOE alum Tina Salguero at the University of Georgia has contributed to the development of prototype devices made of an exotic material that can conduct a current density 50 times greater than conventional copper interconnect technology.
    • June 11, 2018
      NC State's Michael Escuti (USFOE 2012) has developed a light diffraction technology that allows for more light input and greater efficiency, an advance that could lead to more immersive augmented reality displays.
    • June 7, 2018
      FOE alum He (Helen) Huang at NC State and UNC at Chapel Hill has developed a generic musculoskeletal model that takes the place of an amputee’s missing muscles, joints, and bones to generate control signals for prosthetics.
    • June 4, 2018
      MIT's Timothy Lu (CAFOE 2017) has engineered an ingestible pill that senses signs of disease inside the body, then sends a wireless alert to a phone.
    • May 31, 2018
      FOE alum Carmel Majidi at Carnegie Mellon University has created a self-repairing material — composed of liquid metal droplets suspended in a soft rubber — that can spontaneously repair itself after sustaining extreme mechanical damage.
    • May 24, 2018
      FOE alum Andrea Armani at the University of Southern California has developed a portable optical diagnostics system prototype to detect malaria, which primarily impacts low-resource environments where supply chain management is difficult and access to power can be unreliable.
    • May 21, 2018
      Rice University's Richard Baraniuk (EU-US FOE 2010) has made a microscope mounted on a microchip small enough to sit on a fingertip, and yet capable of micron resolution. The FlatScope could work inside the body as an endoscope, and as a bonus, could be very inexpensive.
    • May 17, 2018
      FOE alum Ali Khademhosseini at UCLA has developed a technique that uses a specially adapted 3D printer to build therapeutic biomaterials from multiple materials. The advance could be a step toward on-demand printing of complex artificial tissues for use in transplants and other surgeries.
    • May 14, 2018
      Rice University's Matteo Pasquali (USFOE 2008) has developed a method to quickly produce fibers from microscopic carbon nanotubes.
    • May 10, 2018
      MIT's John Hart (USFOE 2010) has developed a reel-to-reel technique for making graphene film, which could be particularly useful for making filtration membranes.
    • May 7, 2018
      Gregg Beckham (USFOE 2017) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory solved the crystal structure of PETase, an enzyme that digests polyethylene terephthalate (PET). In the process, he engineered an even better enzyme that could lead to a recycling solution for the millions of tons of plastic bottles, which will remain in the environment for hundreds of years.
    • April 30, 2018
      FOE alum Hussam Mahmoud at Colorado State University created a dynamic mathematical model that integrates a community's infrastructural, social, and economic features to quantify, in space and time, how well a community would withstand a major shakeup such as a natural disaster like a flood or a social disruption like the Arab Spring in 2011.
    • April 26, 2018
      Drexel University's Michele Marcolongo (USFOE 2007) has bioengineered devices that are commercially sold or are in clinical trials. To bring other budding academic entrepreneurs along, she has published an easy-to-read roadmap for translating technology to a product launch.
    • April 23, 2018
      Jeff Karp (USFOE 2007) at Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital has bioengineered a soft, flexible hydrogel that can be loaded with arthritis drugs and injected locally into an inflamed joint to treat unpredictable and often sudden worsening of arthritis symptoms, which can be debilitating.
    • April 19, 2018
      MIT's Sara Seager (USFOE 2015) worked on the team that developed the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, bristling with cameras and ambition to scan for alien worlds, that launched April 18 on a SpaceX Falcon 9, taking the torch from Kepler.
    • April 16, 2018
      Khurram Afridi (USFOE 2017) at the University of Colorado Boulder is engineering wireless power transfer of electrical energy through electric fields at very high frequencies.
    • April 12, 2018
      Toyota's Debasish Banerjee (USFOE 2015) developed “omnidirectional” structural color, a unique and colorless nanostructure that reflects or absorbs certain wavelengths of light and does not change when viewed from different angles.
    • April 9, 2018
      NAE member David Sedlak (IAFOE 2010) at UC Berkeley notes that Californians are becoming more accepting of recycled water to help manage the effects of droughts and climate change.
    • April 5, 2018
      Joshuah Stolaroff at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is studying the impacts of replacing diesel-powered delivery trucks with drones.
    • April 2, 2018
      Philip Feng (USFOE 2013) at Case Western Reserve University is developing "drumheads" that will likely contribute to making the next generation of ultralow-power communications and sensory devices smaller and with greater detection and tuning ranges.
    • March 26, 2018
      William Messner (USFOE 1999) at Tufts University discusses the autonomous vehicle industry following the recent fatality involving Uber.
    • March 22, 2018
      NAE member and FOE alum Linda Griffith at MIT has created a “body on a chip” that can test the effects of medications on the human body, which could lead to more accurate research and eliminate the need for animal testing.
    • March 15, 2018
      Two Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering Grants of $30,000 each have been awarded to attendees of the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 2017 US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium.
    • March 15, 2018
      FOE alum Julia Greer at CalTech has used a new 3D printing technique to produce complex nanoscale metal structures that are orders of magnitude smaller than previously possible, which could be used to engineer tiny medical implants, 3D logic circuits on computer chips, and ultra-lightweight aircraft components.
    • March 12, 2018
      FOE alum and NAE member John Rogers at Northwestern University has developed a bandage-like throat sensor that measures a patient's swallowing ability and patterns of speech, which can aid in the diagnosis and treatment of aphasia, a communication disorder associated with stroke.
    • March 5, 2018
      FOE alum Alexandre Bayen at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley said Caltrans' electronic message highway signs on I-80 give drivers a chance to take action based on what's ahead.
    • March 1, 2018
      Ying Diao (USFOE 2017) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that shape-shifting organic crystals use memory. Shape-memory materials science and plastic electronics technology could open the door to advancements in low-power electronics, medical electronics devices, and multifunctional shape-memory materials.
    • February 15, 2018
      Check out the list of 13 FOE alumni newly-elected as NAE members.
    • January 25, 2018
      Check out the list of 12 FOE alumni selected as NAI 2017 Fellows.
    • October 12, 2017
      Emmanuel Candès (EU-US FOE 2010) at Stanford University was among the 24 individuals recently named as MacArthur Fellows. With applications in healthcare, digital photography, radar imaging, and wireless communications, the framework he developed holds promise for phase retrieval, a problem arising in many applications such as crystallography, diffraction imaging (X-ray), and astronomical instrumentation.
    • September 7, 2017
      Amanda Randles (USFOE 2017), Jenna Wiens (JAFOE 2016), Phillipa Gill (GAFOE 2015), Franziska Roesner (USFOE 2015), and Suchi Saria (USFOE 2017) are among the inspiring and creative innovators selected this year for working on the most important emerging technologies across a broad spectrum of engineering fields.
    • July 17, 2017
      Tune in for the webcast beginning on July 19 of the 2017 Global Grand Challenges Summit (GGCS), which aims to spark global collaborations that lead to innovative ways of addressing critically important engineering challenges and inspiring the next generation of change makers.
    • June 21, 2017
      Eighty three of the nation’s brightest young engineers have been selected to take part in the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 23rd annual US Frontiers of Engineering (USFOE) symposium.
    • February 2, 2017
      Read papers from the 2016 US FOE online, or purchase the publication in print. Included is leading-edge research in virtual reality headsets, autonomous precision landing of space rockets, new materials for emerging desalination technologies, and engineering immunity against cancer, among other topics.