Research Highlights

    • 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.

    • 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.” – […]

    • Frank Peters, third from left, an associate professor, was recently named to the C. G. “Turk” and Joyce A. Therkildsen Professorship in Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

      More than 50 named professors and chair positions “Philanthropy propels early-stage, innovative research at Iowa State, making discoveries possible that simply wouldn’t have happened without donors’ gifts,” said Sarah Rajala, James L. and Katherine S. Melsa Dean of Engineering. “The outstanding level of support from our donors also helps us attract the best faculty to […]

    • Alice Alipour Assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering “Resiliency of Electric Power Networks Under Wind Loads and Aging Effects through Risk-Informed Design and Assessment Strategies” Alipour will use a systems approach to create new design methodologies for electric power networks that will increase power grid resiliency in hurricanes, blizzards and other severe storms. […]

    • Doug Jacobson, University Professor of electrical and computer engineering, left, and Daji Qiao, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering

      Cyclone Engineers are developing new tools to optimize networking and secure information in our new world of mobile devices in every pocket, “smart homes,” and remote sensors on everything from bridges to plants. “Cyber is no longer just in our computers. It’s now ‘cyber everywhere,’” said Daji Qiao, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. […]

    • A computer network and a plant don’t seem to have much in common at first glance. But when Julie Dickerson looks, she sees many similarities – and sees how her expertise in computing network science can help unravel complex biological systems. “Mapping networks of how genes influence plant growth and development is key to increasing […]

    • Timothy Bigelow, associate professor of mechanical engineering and electrical and computer engineering

      Timothy Bigelow, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and electrical and computer engineering, is using high-intensity ultrasounds as a noninvasive way to treat infections that can grow on medical implants. “Medical implant infections are uncommon, but when they do occur you have to have a second operation to remove the implant and replace it,” Bigelow […]

    • Rozier standing with a NASA robot

      Looking to the sky of the future, Kristin Yvonne Rozier sees Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) criss-crossing the horizon – and many new challenges for UAS safety and air traffic control. Rozier, an assistant professor of aerospace engineering, is developing new tools to help pilot-less aircraft safely fly themselves. “Our goal is to create on-board systems […]

    • treating printed graphene with lasers to create electronic circuits that repel water

      Cyclone Engineer Jonathan Claussen is creating new graphene printing technology and using it to produce low-cost, flexible, highly conductive and water-repellant electronic circuits. “We’re taking low-cost, inkjet-printed graphene and tuning it with a laser to make functional materials,” said Claussen, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and an associate scientist at the U.S. Department of […]