Engineering Faculty Excel in University Research Competition

L-R: Mingoo Seok, Dan Ellis, and John Paisley

Columbia Engineering is represented in five of the six winning research teams in the University’s annual Research Initiatives in Science and Engineering (RISE) competition. Initiated by Columbia’s Office of the Executive Vice President for Research, RISE funds interdisciplinary teams of faculty-level researchers pursuing early stages of research collaborations in engineering, medicine, and the basic sciences.

“This year’s competition was exceptionally rigorous and inspiring,” says G. Michael Purdy, executive vice president for research. “RISE is an important University program for supporting interdisciplinary scholarship … Through this distinct program, we are investing in the next generation of innovative research and in the productive careers of our world-class faculty.”

From 38 teams that entered, six were selected to receive funding of $80,000 per year for up to two years. Four teams included Columbia Engineering faculty and one included a SEAS associate research scientist. They are:

L-R: Liming Li, Michal Lipson, and Latha Venkataraman
  • Mingoo Seok, assistant professor of electrical engineering, with Stefano Fusi, associate professor of neuroscience, for Designing a New Generation of Low-Power Neuromorphic Memory for Pervasive Sensing Devices Having Online Learning Ability;
  • Dan Ellis, professor of electrical engineering, and John Paisley, assistant professor of electrical engineering, with Ben Holtzman, associate research professor of seismology, geology, and tectonophysics, Douglas Repetto, assistant professor of professional practice in visual arts, and Felix Waldhauser, research professor of seismology, geology, and tectonophysics, for Listening to the Physics of Earthquakes, With Applications to Geothermal Energy Production;
  • Liming Li, manager of the Carleton Lab's centrifuge laboratory and associate research scientist in the Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, with Christine McCarthy, assistant professor of seismology, geology, and tectonophysics, and Colin Stark, associate professor of marine geology and geophysics, for Laboratory Study of Glacier-Bedrock Dynamics Using Centrifuge-Enhanced Gravity;
  • Michal Lipson, professor of electrical engineering, with Christine Denny, assistant professor of clinical neurobiology, for Nanophotonics Platform for Enabling Memory Trace Visualization In Vivo Over a Lifetime;
  • Latha Venkataraman, associate professor of applied physics and applied mathematics, with Colin Nuckolls, professor of chemistry, for Imaging a Single Molecule Circuit
  • Since 2004, RISE has awarded $8.82 million to support 61 projects that have gone on to secure nearly $40 million in supplemental funds, including research programs funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, NASA, the Keck Foundation, among others.

    “A distinguishing factor of Columbia’s research community is its interconnectedness—faculty are very enthusiastic about new collaborations—especially across the traditional boundaries of department, school, or campus,” said Barclay Morrison, associate professor of biomedical engineering and a 2015 RISE awardee. “RISE enhances this connectivity by incentivizing creativity, and we see that some of the most exciting basic research happens at the interface between disciplines.”

    —by Jesse Adams

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