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Press Release 06-119

NSF Awards $75.3 Million for Five New Engineering Research Centers

Partnerships will pursue breakthroughs in synthetic biology, fluid power, air monitoring, drug manufacturing, and technologies for older adults and people with disabilities

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A fluorescent dye injected into a tank of stirred liquid creates a "green apple" pattern.

A fluorescent dye injected into a tank of stirred liquid creates a pattern that resembles a green apple. The demonstration, conducted by Rutgers researchers from the NSF Engineering Research Center on Structured Organic Composites, shows how liquids mix in a typical pharmaceutical manufacturing operation. Engineers will use such studies to help drug makers improve product uniformity.

Credit: M. M. Alvarez, T. Shinbrot, F. J. Muzzio, Rutgers University, Center for Structured Organic Composites


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Eddie Arpin and Mike Rannow in the Fluid Power Controls Laboratory.

Eddie Arpin and Mike Rannow, first year Masters students in the Fluid Power Controls Laboratory with the hydraulic human power amplifier. The project was partially funded by NSF. This approach will be used in portable fluid power hand tools that will be developed in the ERC.

Credit: Nancy G. Johnson, University of Minnesota


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Jay Keasling poses with artemisia. The plant's genes are useful for creating antimalaria drugs.

Jay Keasling, UC Berkeley professor of chemical engineering and director of the new NSF-funded Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC), holds a sprig of artemisia, a plant from which he extracted genes that he inserted into microbes to produce an antimalaria drug.

Credit: Peg Skorpinski, U.C. Berkeley


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Mid-infrared lasers may one day be used in breath analyzers to detect medical conditions.

Mid-infrared lasers may one day be used in breath analyzers to detect medical conditions.

Credit: Marlan Scully, Texas A&M


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Pearl, the Nursebot, is a personal robotic assistant that could help more people live independently

Pearl, the Nursebot, is a personal robotic assistant that could help more older adults and people with disabilities live independently. Developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, the mobile robot could be used to prompt people with failing memories to take medicine or visit a doctor, to provide remote telepresence for professional careivers or to assist with tasks that would be difficult for people with limited mobility.

Credit: Ken Andreyo, Carnegie Mellon University


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