“Nature has wisely provided an aristocracy of virtue and talent for the direction of the interest of society, and scattered it with equal hand through all its conditions."
The U.Va. Engineering School’s research centers, consortia and laboratories are on the leading edge of technology. We place a high priority on collaboration, technology transfer and opportunities that allow our faculty and graduate students to create solutions to the problems and challenges facing the world today.
Some of the finest engineering research centers, consortia and laboratories are located on the Grounds of the University of Virginia.
Aerogel Research Laboratory was established in 1996 to investigate fundamental properties as well as cutting-edge applications of aerogels. Aerogel materials have the lowest thermal conductivity, lowest dieletric constant, lowest speed of sound, and lowest density of any solid material. Applications include thermal/acoustic/electrical insulation, microanalytical instrumentation, sensors, and sub-atomic collection media.
Aerospace Research Laboratory conducts basic and applied research in advanced aerospace technologies. Research interests have expanded to include high-speed mixing and combustion, aeroacoustics, structures and materials, optical techniques, microscale heat transfer, and computational modeling.
Bio-Thermal-Fluid-Mechanics Laboratorywas established to investigate highly interdisciplinary problems, both fundamental and applied, relating to laminar and turbulent flows, heat and mass transfer in biological, engineering and medical systems ranging in size from a few nanometers to tens of meters. Experimental, theoretical and numerical modeling activities range from the development of innovative biomedical devices such as catheters for the treatment of neurological and cardiovascular diseases, to the understanding of sensors and sensing in nature with engineering applications in mind, to flow-structure interactions in the aorta and in computer hard-disk drives.
Cardiac Systems Biology Lab focuses on the study of cell signaling networks. Perturbations in these signaling networks contribute to the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. One explanation for the remarkable ability of complex signaling networks to control the cell is the use of temporal and spatial strategies, such as feedback and compartmentation. Understanding of these sophisticated control mechanisms will require an integration of experimental and computational systems biology.
Center for Applied Biomechanics was established in 1989 with funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Center for Applied Biomechanics (CAB), formerly the Automobile Safety Laboratory, is an interdisciplinary research facility of the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the School of Medicine at the University of Virginia. Drawing research staff and students from around the world, the facility is one of a limited number of laboratories worldwide using human cadaveric specimens in biomechanical research and has earned an international reputation for its ongoing research in impact biomechanics, computational mechanics, vehicle crashworthiness, and crash dummy development. Sources of funding for research undertaken at the CAB include grants from various governmental agencies as well as from private industry, both domestic and international. Located at the University of Virginia Research Park, the 25,000 square foot facility includes 15,000
square feet of test space equipped with a wide range of test and data acquisition equipment, as well as a machine/fabrication shop, an electronics/ instrumentation shop and surrogate storage, and 10,000 square feet of office and meeting space. Among its test equipment are the Seattle Safety ServoSled, Via crash sled, and Instron high rate servohydraulic material test systems. Data acquisition and imaging equipment includes DTS SLICE, Vicon motion capture systems, NAC high speed cameras, two high speed x-ray systems, and anthropomorphic test dummies.
Center for Electrochemical Science and Engineering (CESE) is a multidisciplinary research effort that incorporates the Departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Chemical Engineering, as well as interactions with Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science, and Physics. The center is one of the nation’s leading research groups of its kind, and its research affects the performance and reliability of most products manufactured in the world today.
Center for In-Vivo Hyperpolarized Gas MR Imaging is a promising option for medical imaging of air spaces and certain tissues in humans without exposing patients to radiation associated with other methods (high-resolution computed tomography and ventilation/perfusion ratio techniques, for example.) Since spring 1996, U.Va. departmental research team for hyperpolarized gases has been exploring and conducting research in this field.
Center for Safe and Secure Nuclear Energy will conduct applied and basic research to create new and improved instrumentation and control technologies to ensure the safety and security of nuclear power plants; transfer technology from the research laboratories to practical, commercial applications; educate the next generation of students in nuclear reactor operation and control, and the design, analysis, operation and maintenance of instrumentation and control systems; and serve the nuclear industry by providing research, technology transfer and educational activities that support workforce training and development, as well as new-technology creation and commercialization. It will be housed in Lynchburg, Va., and is expected to begin operations in TK.
Center for Risk Management of Engineering Systems was founded by the University of Virginia in 1987 by the Council of Higher Education in Virginia as a University-wide resource. It develops theory, methodology and technology to assist in the management of risk for a variety of engineering systems. Working closely with faculty and students at the center, industry and government sponsors of research contribute their unique strengths and interests.
Center for Semicustom Integrated Systems is an internationally respected research group in the areas of computer engineering and digital systems. The center’s ultimate missions are to accelerate economic growth, to improve products and processes, and to integrate the results of academic research into very large-scale integration (VLSI) industry developments. Its research and education programs help satisfy the growing need for leading-edge design tools and methods in the VLSI industry.
Center for Transportation Studies focuses on issues and problems related to the development, operation and maintenance of a safe, efficient intermodal transportation system for the Commonwealth of Virginia and the nation. The center’s research program is noted for being responsive to emerging challenges from the transportation sector and for continually probing into new areas of transportation-related research. The center’s comprehensive research program covers areas such as intelligent transportation systems, transportation planning and logistics, traffic simulation, highway safety, transportation pavements, and freight and traffic operations.
Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) is a partnership founded by the state, U.Va., Virginia Tech, Rolls-Royce and other partners. The vision for CCAM is to become a world-class research facility delivering improved aerospace design and manufacturing technologies. It is located at Crosspointe, in Prince George County, and is the largest Rolls-Royce site by area in North America.
Commonwealth Center for Aerospace Propulsion Systems (CCAPS) is a partnership among Rolls-Royce, the U.Va. Engineering School and Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering to foster collaborative aerospace research while creating new educational opportunities for students at both schools. As a virtual center, CCAPS uses existing lab space at both U.Va. and Virginia Tech to address the latest aerospace propulsion system research questions, while offering students the opportunity to work as graduate research assistants and undergraduate interns. Under the guidance of Rolls-Royce, a world-class power systems provider, CCAPS will explore breakthrough concepts for creating more-efficient and -effective jet-engine propulsion systems.
Computational Systems Biology Laboratory (CSBL) at the University of Virginia develops methods for integrating high-throughput data of biological systems and characterizing cellular network properties relevant to human disease. In particular, we reconstruct integrated cellular signaling networks and develop tools to analyze their properties. The analysis of these networks requires high-performance computing capabilities and sophisticated mathematical techniques.
Dependability Research Group studies the survivability of critical information systems: air traffic control, telecommunications, nationwide control of power distribution, and the financial system. Societal dependence on these systems is growing and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The center’s research focuses on designing software that can be tailored to information systems to ensure the intended operation of their existing components.
Energy Initiative at the University of Virginia is dedicated to developing and commercializing new sources of energy and new techniques to preserve and reclaim vital resources. The University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science is partnering with other U.Va. schools to facilitate this innovation. University faculty, researchers and students are contributing to energy technology research — research that includes work in the areas of alternative renewable resources, ethics, policy, fuel cell efficiencies, nanotechnology, solar energy, and sustainable and efficient housing.
High-Performance Low-Power (HPLP) VLSI Laboratory focuses primarily on original research in the field of low-power and high-performance electronics, spanning digital VLSI and analog systems, architectures, circuits and algorithms. HPLP currently has eight active researchers, as well as a new lab facility containing PCs and workstations donated by IBM and Intel.
Human Computer Interaction develops decision-aiding systems, training systems and models of human performance in a wide variety of domains such as process control, medical, military and transportation. Teams of people typically work together and with a variety of computational systems to meet objectives within a complex set of constraints, using both well-defined strategies and ad-hoc reasoning. Typical tasks to be supported, trained or modeled include monitoring, diagnosis, control, scheduling, planning, and problem-solving for individuals, teams and organizations.
The Institute for Nanoscale and Quantum Scientific and Technological Advanced Reserach (nanoSTAR) is an interdisciplinary institute at the University of Virginia involving faculty from engineering, science, medicine, education and business who work together to provide a very competitive environment for the advancement of the science and technology of nanoscale and quantum systems. Approximately 80 faculty members from departments across Grounds are actively engaged in the institute. Outreach and education are also major functions of nanoSTAR. Students can get involved through related coursework and research opportunities, as well as by participating in meetings and events. Our vision is to encourage, facilitate and support collaborative research, development and commercialization in the key areas of nanoelectronics, medicine, and energy and the environment through partnerships with academia, industry and national laboratories.
Intelligent Processing of Materials Laboratory (IPML) is one of the nation’s premier centers for research on the processing of advanced materials. Affiliated with the University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the laboratory incorporates both the synthesis and processing of materials along with their modeling, sensing and control. Goals of IPML’s research include development of innovative process technologies, creating models for predicting materials evolution during processing, designing advanced in-situ sensors for tracking material changes during processing, and creating model-based path optimization and feedback control.
Internet Commerce Group (InterCom) is a coalition of University faculty and business leaders that promotes development of electronic commerce in Virginia by providing technical and business software, training and consulting services to companies entering (or already participating in) the electronic marketplace.
Keck Center for Cellular Imaging (KCCI) the primary goal of providing a state-of-the-art optical imaging facility to enhance both the research and teaching environments of the University. Concomicant with this goal is the continual development and implementation of novel optical imaging methods that interface expertise in biology, optics and electronic engineering.
Laboratory for Atomic and Surface Physics (LASP) is one of the world’s leading laboratories studying the interaction of energetic particles (ions, electrons), UV photons and laser beams with surfaces. It seeks to understand the mechanisms leading to electronic excitations — luminescence, emission of electrons, radiation, atoms and molecules (sputtering) — and to radiation damage, chemical changes or heat. The studies use a wide array of experimental techniques, such as infrared spectroscopy, microbalance, mass spectrometry, and surface analysis, in addition to computer simulations. The research has applications in semiconductor processing, nuclear fusion, gas discharges, biology, astrophysics and space exploration. A substantial part of the laboratory’s work consists of modeling and simulations of surface processes in icy satellites, planetary atmospheres and magnetospheres, and interstellar grains. Projects are supported by NASA, NSF and SWRI. LASP collaborates with industrial, University and government laboratories in the U.S. and several countries overseas to advance research and education in this field.
Laboratory for Computer Architecture at Virginia (LAVA) focuses on processor-design issues, especially multicore and multithreaded chip architectures, architectures for temperature-aware and power-aware computing; applications of control theory to computer architecture; graphics architecture; novel processor organizations; and associated questions of modeling technique. LAVA currently receives funding from NSF, ARO, Intel and IBM and has ongoing collaborations with Harvard and IBM T.J. Watson Research Center.
Ley Lab, part of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, focuses on molecular mechanisms of atherosclerosis, biomechanics of leukocyte adhesion and targeted ultrasound contrast agents, molecular mechanisms of inflammation in Crohn’s disease, molecular mechanisms of neutrophil recruitment to the lung, and neutrophil homeostasis and proliferation in inflammation.
MAE Design Lab provides specialized computer resources and workspace for students in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The lab is focuses on research and design projects of graduate students and upper-level undergraduates.
Microscale Heat Transfer Laboratory is dedicated to developing new techniques to assist in measuring, understanding and utilizing microscale thermal phenomena. The laboratory’s research is aimed at developing a fundamental understanding of energy transport on ultra-short time and length scales.
Molecular Biomechanics Laboratory, part of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, is dedicated to understanding the molecular mechanisms by which cells move, and the application of this knowledge to the improvement of American public health.
Multiscale Muscle Mechanics Lab identifies the principles of muscle design by characterizing the relationships between muscle structure, mechanical properties, biology and function. The lab integrates a variety of computational and experimental approaches to achieve this goal, and applies these findings to understanding and improving treatments for musculoskeletal impairments.
Nanoscale Materials Characterization Facility (NMCF) provides imaging, diffraction and chemical analysis of materials — from atomic to microscopic levels — and offers guidance to individuals wanting to conduct their own analyses. NMCF houses three transmission electron microscopes (TEMs); two scanning electron microscopes (SEMs); a focused Ga+ ion beam (FIB) microscope; extensive hardware/software for image simulation, processing and analysis; and a variety of specimen-preparation equipment. The facility also has three X-ray diffractometers (XRD’s) with a variety of capabilities and software for data analysis.
National Center for Hypersonic Combined Cycle Propulsion is led by Professor James McDaniel. The center will facilitate development of the analytical tools needed to design the engines for a future hypersonic aircraft — one that could fly up to 12 times the speed of sound. It was established in 2009 under a $10 million grant from NASA and the U.S. Air Force.
Next-Generation Real-Time Computing Lab is part of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Virginia. The laboratory studies a wide range of issues in all aspects of real-time computing and wireless networks. Real-time principles are becoming important for all systems because audio and video streams are being utilized in many new contexts, from control applications to the next-generation Internet.
NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center aims to develop a science, engineering and technology base for laser and plasma processing of materials, devices and systems. The center is building on existing research being conducted in plasma and photon processing. The multi-university team has the requisite expertise and equipment, valued in excess of more than $5 million, to pursue research and development in this area. The center provides a core technology base in lasers and plasma, support for the creation and growth of innovative collaborations among industry partners, and the opportunity to enhance existing research relationships with federal laboratories.
Peirce Laboratory at the University of Virginia uses a parallel approach that combines experimental models with agent-based computational models to guide new approaches in tissue engineering. We are particularly interested in the microcirculatory system and how microvascular networks structurally adapt, through active growth and remodeling. These processes are relevant to a variety of diseases and pathologies, including heart disease, peripheral limb ischemia, cancer and diabetes.
Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center is an evolving organization based on the voluntary scientific interactions of investigative faculty with a broad interest in research in diseases of the cardiovascular system. It is a lightning rod, attracting ongoing research in cardiovascular function, as well as stimulating new initiatives. The center is designed to be able to respond quickly to exciting new research opportunities by providing financial and administrative assistance. Such assistance offers innovative investigators the potential to adapt rapidly to new directions in their research programs, a capability that becomes ever more important as the pace of technology places greater importance on rapid reaction to scientific opportunity. The center is also dedicated to working with the faculty in making the University a center of state-of-the-art technological excellence.
Rotating Machinery and Controls Laboratory (ROMAC) conducts research in the areas of rotor dynamics, turbomachinery, structural dynamics, magnetic bearings, automatic controls, turbomachinery flows, fluid film bearings, and seals. The laboratory’s research is supported by a consortium of industries through the ROMAC Industrial Research Program.
Science and Engineering of Laser Interactions with Matter (SELIM) is a graduate training program is designed to develop students with enhanced mastery and appreciation of the knowledge and state-of-the-art technical skills required for rapid advancements in modern science and technology.
Smart Travel Lab is a state-of-the-art facility that supports research and education in the rapidly emerging area of intelligent transportation systems (ITS). Current projects include investigating potential benefits of vehicle infrastructure integration-enabled ramp metering, as well as evaluation of advanced traffic signal controllers using hardware in the loop simulation.
Space Physics and Surface Physics Theory Program studies the physics and chemistry of energetic ion, electron and UV-photon interactions with surfaces and gases. the processes of interest are desorption and sputtering, as well as the radiolysis and photolysis of surfaces and gases. The motivation for the program’s research is to understand problems in space physics and astronomy.
Surface Science Center provides services on surface analysis, including modifying the surface layers of materials by ion implantation, and surface characterization and depth profiling of sample compositions using a Perkin-Elmer 560 system. Available techniques are angle-resolved X-Ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS or ESCA), scanning auger electron microscopy with sub-micron resolution, ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy (UPS), secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS), ion scattering spectroscopy (ISS) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). Each technique can be combined with the others and with sputter etching (using a differentially pumped ion gun) to obtain composition depth profiles.
Traffic Operations Lab (TOL) is part of the Center for Transportation Studies of the Department of Civil Engineering. TOL supports research and education related to traffic signal control, optimization and simulation, and is equipped with state-of-the-art traffic signal controllers and microscopic simulation programs, as well as hardware-in-the loop simulation (HILS) system. The HILS system allows testing of advanced features of actual traffic signal controllers within a laboratory environment. TOL has access to real-time traffic data from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) traffic control systems through the Smart Travel Laboratory. TOL research focuses mainly on applications of advanced statistical techniques and optimization methods for developing traffic signal control algorithms and improving calibration and validation procedure for microscopic simulation models.
University of Virginia Microfabrication Laboratories (UVML) serves as the University’s center for research and development in solid-state materials, devices and circuits. This laboratory, formed from the AEpL laboratories (founded in 1967), has a 3,500 square-foot clean-room facility for device fabrication and materials growth, as well as a variety of other facilities for microwave and optical analysis, device design, testing and packaging. UVML operates out of the Charles L. Brown Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, but is open to and used by numerous other departments in the University.
University of Virginia Program on Secure and Dependable Computing seeks to assure the trustworthy operation of complex software-intensive systems in a holistic, multidisciplinary manner. The program seeks end-to-end architectural solutions grounded in an end-to-end understanding of software, systems, and human, social and organizational control and practices.
U.Va. Center for Wireless Health was established in 2009 to coordinate research efforts in this area across the University and with collaborators at other institutions. Ongoing projects include in-home sensors for identifying signs of depression, body-worn sensors for fall-risk assessment, and an artificial pancreas that combines blood glucose sensing and insulin pumping for Type I diabetics. All of the center’s projects include the use of novel wireless technologies to collect data on real patients. The results and experiences from these deployments inform the engineering research that yields subsequent technology generations and enables additional medical applications.
U.Va. Medical Informatics/Systems Engineering Training (MINDSET) program is designed to train researchers who are well-grounded in systems engineering methodologies as applied to health care and biological systems. This includes the NLM T15 program trainees as well as students funded by other sources.
Virginia Center for Grid Research is dedicated to performing research and solving issues surrounding the operation, deployment, and use of large distributed data and computing systems. Research covers a wide spectrum of activities, including pure computer science/engineering research, grid system development and deployment, grid research community interaction, development of standards, and end-user collaboration and outreach.
Virginia Transportation Research Council (VTRC), created in 1948, is a partnership of the Virginia Department of Transportation and the University of Virginia. It conducts a comprehensive program of engineering, planning and policy research for all of Virginia’s transportation agencies and ranks among the nation’s most highly regarded transportation research institutes. VTRC supports U.Va. faculty and students through cooperative research projects, as well as through the Smart Travel Lab in the Center for Transportation Studies. VTRC scientists also comprise the faculty for the graduate pavements program in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Virginia NanoComputing group (ViNO) focuses on three aspects of nanoelectronic modeling and simulation: (a) Fundamental Physics exploring nonequilibrium quantum flow of charge, spin and heat, going beyond traditional macroscopic classical concepts like friction and continuum mechanics, (b) Computational modeling of novel materials ranging from strained silicon to organic molecules, graphene, multiferroics and nanomagnets, and (c) Device engineering that deals with beyond roadmap CMOS such as strained silicon, nanowires, nanotubes and nanoribbons, to concepts beyond CMOS such as ratchets, NEMFETs, straintronics, pseudo- spintronics, noise based spectroscopy and bio-inspired computing.