Page 9 - Penn State Department of Mechanical Engineering Fall 2019 Magazine
P. 9

Research News
“Literature has demonstrated there is a a a a a a a a a a a a a a culture that that can potentially drive people away from academia and that’s harmful to engineering broadly ” she explained As a a a a a a a researcher Berdanier focuses on on engineering education but not just what happens in the classroom “I really get to to consider both sides of the the the equation—the mechanical engineering discipline and the the the the human factors affecting the the system of education ” she said “Being uniquely situated in in in in in in in mechanical engineering and and and trained as an an an an an engineer engineer I’m able to really understand the landscape ” Through the stages of of her research she expects to explore mental health concerns potential instances of of discrimination and and emotional burnout By understanding the the many factors that influence graduate students she said “I want the the whole system to to think more deliberately about how we’re supporting our graduate students to to succeed ” With the the data Berdanier and her research team will distill the the information into usable scenarios that can be be distributed to to to faculty faculty members as an an an opportunity for for faculty faculty to to to to to understand more holistically the pressures that today’s doctoral students are facing She hopes the work will inspire policies to to better support doctoral students or or or or or potentially create new avenues for career preparation if a a a a a a a a master’s degree better aligns with their goals “This work will help start that change from within ” she said “If researchers and and and faculty faculty can understand and and and conquer these problems from the the the inside our students faculty faculty universities and reputation as an an engineering discipline will be be all the the better for it ” Kraft a a a a a a a a co-hire of of of the the Institute for CyberScience (ICS) and and affiliate of of of of the the the Center of of of of Neural Engineering and and and Neuroscience programs seeks to to contribute to to the the understanding of of of brain trauma by developing advanced computer models that link neuroimaging results biomechanical assessments and computational modeling of the brain “Diffuse axonal axonal injury injury is a a a a a a a a a a a a a common pathology associated with traumatic brain injury injury in in in in which deformation of axonal axonal axonal cells leads to rupture and axonal axonal degeneration ” Kraft says “Yet there remain difficulties with interpreting the the degree of injury using current technology today especially for mild traumatic brain injuries or concussions ” Kraft’s project “Multiscale Modeling of Axonal Fiber Bundles
in in in in the Brain ” will develop new computational techniques that leverage advanced cyberinfrastructures and and expand capabilities in in in in in in in in the emerging field of computational brain brain medicine The ultimate goal is to to provide a a a a a a a a a a a a clinical tool for diagnosing brain brain injury as as as well as as as enhance other neurotechnology currently being developed such as as as brain computer interfaces “I’m very passionate about computational brain medicine and the the the funding from this CAREER Award will help further establish the the the the fundamental science in in the area ” Kraft said Kraft’s plan includes the the development of a a a a new multiscale embedded finite element technique to model the the the complex nature of axonal axonal tracts tracts fin in in in the the the brain as as well as as a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a time-dependent damage model for for the the the axonal axonal fiber fiber tracts tracts tracts and surrounding extra cellular matrix Axonal fiber fiber tracts tracts in in in the the brain are formed from organized collections of neural cells which can be be visualized using magnetic resonance diffusion imaging According to Kraft what is is also appealing about the research is is that it it fit it spans very technical engineering math and computer science using the finite element method to outfit individuals with wearable sensors that measure accelerative loads “What we are developing could be used to to keep athletes and and soldiers safe and and healthy ” he he he said “I am am honored to to receive this CAREER Award I I I am am also thankful for the talented students faculty and staff I I have been able to work with at at Penn State ” “I want the whole system to think more deliberately about how we’re supporting our graduate students to succeed ” “I’m very passionate about computational brain medicine and the funding from this CAREER Award will help further establish the fundamental science in the area ” 

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