Research Highlights

    • nanovaccine students

      The headlines and feature stories have become frequent for the Iowa State University-based Nanovaccine Institute, a multidisciplinary network of scientists devoted to transforming the development and delivery of vaccines and therapeutics that will fight deadly diseases worldwide. Led by Iowa State Chemical and Biological Engineering Anson Marston Distinguished Professor and Vlasta Klima Balloun Faculty Chair […]

    • Raj Raman

      Raj Raman, Morrill Professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, sees the purpose of any university as creating new knowledge and building human capital. In his research to improve engineering education, Raman does both.

    • When mom said “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” she couldn’t have imagined what Cyclone Engineer Tom Mansell has cooking. Mansell is creating new probiotics and prebiotics that will treat disease as you eat your morning cup of yogurt.

    • Three Iowa State University Cyclone Engineers have been selected for the 2019 National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER).

    • Kaoru Ikuma with grad student

      Kaoru Ikuma (pictured, right), assistant professor in civil, construction and environmental engineering, is bringing clarity – clear, clean drinking water and clear answers – to environmental microbiology questions about water quality. She and her team are researching drinking water and waterbodies to improve public health protection. Drinking water disinfection Ikuma and her team are studying […]

    • From taxicabs of yesterday to rideshares of today to…autonomous personal aircraft of tomorrow? To see the future of getting around congested urban areas, look up in the air. Peng Wei, assistant professor of aerospace engineering, is developing air traffic management systems to make Urban Air Mobility (UAM) a safe, efficient and scalable reality.

    • Adarsh Krishnamurthy (pictured, left) and Ming-Chen Hsu (center) got to talking about their research interests – Krishnamurthy works in simulating cardiac mechanics and Hsu in simulating valve dynamics – when they had an idea. “He had the heart without the valve, and I had the valve without the heart,” Hsu said. “We thought ‘why don’t […]

    • Kristen Cetin, assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, is harnessing smart energy technologies to enhance building performance and occupant comfort. “We’re combining the power of sensors, automation, the internet of things and modeling to create data-driven, real-time energy efficiency strategies for the built environment,” said Cetin.

    • Robotic plant measurements

      Photography by Chris Gannon Lie Tang’s research team designs plant measuring robots that quickly and accurately collect the plant-trait data needed for data-driven crop performance research. “We combine intelligent robotics and sensing technologies to improve both the throughput and the quality of plant measurements, a core need in the growing fi eld of predictive plant […]

    • Renewable energy offers promise for cleaner, cheaper electricity, but the variability in its production levels introduces new levels of uncertainly into the electric power system. Sarah Ryan, Joseph Walkup Professor in Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, is developing new stochastic optimization techniques to help electric system operators effectively plan for deeper integration of renewables.

    • Namrata Vaswani

      Big data holds big potential for solving pressing problems of our time – but big data also brings the significant challenge of working with high dimensional data sets. Namrata Vaswani , professor of electrical and computer engineering, is developing novel algorithms for high-dimensional data recovery. Her algorithms can recover data from noisy or distorted measurements […]

    • Cleaner, Greener Technologies Xiaoli Tan is creating new materials needed to solve international sustainability and environmental challenges. Tan, professor of materials science and engineering, is an expert in designing, creating and measuring new compositions of functional oxide ceramics, materials widely used in electronics. “Our goal is to establish the interrelationships between materials’ composition, microstructure, and […]

    • Manimaran Govindarasu, left, and Sourabh Bhattacharya

      To quantify threats of power grid cyberattacks Threat levels for cyberattacks on the power grid are usually labeled high, medium or low. That’s too qualitative and too subjective for Cyclone Engineers. Current assessments are inadequate to account for dynamic and uncertain adversaries and the complexity of the computer controls and networks that support the grid. […]

    • For a smart, resilient grid Zhaoyu Wang, Harpole-Pentair assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, is using data-driven science and machine learning to bring real-time modeling to electric power systems – and to enhance system resilience in severe weather events. Real-time, grid-wide monitoring Wang’s team is customizing machine learning algorithms currently used in photo processing […]

    • Three Iowa State University Cyclone Engineers have been selected for 2019 National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER). CAREER awards are the NSF’s most prestigious awards given to early-career faculty. The program aims to build a firm foundation for leadership in integrating research and education.


    • Left to right: Boyce Chang, Martin Thuo, Michael Bartlett and Ravi Tutika.

      Cyclone Engineers have developed a new smart and responsive material that stiffens up like a worked-out muscle. Stress a muscle and it gets stronger. Mechanically stress the rubbery material – say with a twist or a bend – and the material automatically stiffens by up to 300 percent, the engineers said. In lab tests, mechanical […]

    • IINSPIRE LSAMP: Thriving in STEM Disciplines Iowa State leads the $5 million Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Iowa-Illinois-Nebraska STEM Partnership for Research and Education (IINSPIRE) project that aims to increase the number and improve the experience of underrepresented students completing STEM degrees in the Midwest. IINSPIRE offers students evidence- based academic, professional and […]

    • Cyclone Engineer Robert Brown is pioneering the use of thermochemical processes to efficiently and inexpensively turn biomass into biofuels and biobased chemicals. Brown, Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering, has built a nation-leading research program in scaling biomass processing discoveries from the bench to pilot and demonstration scales. He directs Iowa State’s Bioeconomy Institute, which researches […]

    • Cassandra Rutherford

      Stronger, cheaper, greener foundations for offshore renewable energy generation “A challenge of foundation research is that you can’t see through soil, so you often can’t see exactly what’s happening in an experiment. We used a transparent soil – a gelatin that acts like soft clay – to make observations not possible any other way.” – […]