Join us as featured speakers from academia and industry speak on various cutting-edge engineering and research topics spanning multiple engineering disciplines as well as entrepreneurship experiences. View the full schedule for speaker details as well as all event activities.



Tuesday , February 19, 2019 | 318 – 320 Curry Student Center, McLeod Suites |11:00am

Microstructural Design of Ceramic-Polyer Composites for Demanding End-Use Applications

Dr. Randall Erb, Assistant Professor, Northeastern University

Lightweight bio-composites including nacre, bone, and bamboo exhibit remarkable strength and toughness due, in part, to their elegant ceramic microstructure. We are investigating routes for applying these natural design principles to manufactured composites by applying physical forces to the microstructure during synthesis. We have successfully developed a magnetic doping process in ceramics to be able to recreate elegant architectures in synthetic ceramic-polymer composites. These break-throughs have enabled two companies to spin-out of our Northeastern lab: Fortify and Boston Materials. In this talk, I will present the technologies behind these companies and discuss some of our ambitions about next generation technologies.

Dr. Erb is a faculty member of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. He heads the Directed Assembly of Particles and Suspensions (DAPS) group that focuses on multi-scale synthesis of advanced materials. Prof. Erb conducted post-doctoral research in the Department of Materials at ETH-Zürich in Switzerland. He received his Ph.D. from Duke University in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science in 2009 and his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Rochester in 2004. He also worked as an electrical engineer at Washington Group International. Dr. Erb has 9 patents and patents-pending. He has co-authored 4 book chapters, 38 papers in prominent peer-reviewed journals. Professor Erb has received several entrepreneurial awards including the 2012 Spark Award, the 2017 Outstanding Translation Award, and two Gold Prizes at MassChallenge. His research has led to two successful, venture-backed companies in the Boston area of which he remains the chief scientific adviser. He is very passionate about enhancing teaching and developing the student experience at Northeastern.


Tuesday , February 19, 2019 | 318 – 320 Curry Student Center, McLeod Suites | 2:00pm

Opportunities for Industrial Engineering to Aid in Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts

Dr. Kayse Lee Maass, Assistant Professor, Northeastern University

Thus far, human trafficking research has primarily focused on qualitative studies, statistical estimations of prevalence, and insights generated from economic models. However, a variety of additional mathematical modeling and data analytic techniques also have the potential to help address the unique challenges facing anti-human trafficking efforts including: the covertness of traffickers, the hidden nature of victim-survivors, fragmented data, and limited resources. This presentation will discuss ongoing transdisciplinary collaborations in this sphere and utilize multiple illustrative examples, including optimizing the allocation of a limited budget for rehabilitative shelters for human trafficking survivors and coordinating efforts to disrupt trafficking networks. Applications of such modeling approaches to other social justice contexts will also be briefly discussed.


Presentation Objectives:

  • Identify opportunities for industrial engineers to aid service providers, policy makers, law enforcement personnel, and other researchers
  • Acknowledge challenges to modeling these environments
  • Highlight the benefits of incorporating industrial engineering models into the decision-making process through illustrative examples

Dr. Kayse Lee Maass is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Northeastern University. Her research focuses on the application of operations research methodology to social justice, access, and equity issues within human trafficking, mental health, and supply chain contexts.

Prior to joining the faculty at Northeastern University, Dr. Maass was a Research Associate in the Department of Health Sciences Research at the Mayo Clinic and received her Ph.D. from the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering (IOE) at the University of Michigan in 2017. She is a recipient of multiple NSF EAGER grants, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program Award, the Towner Prize for Outstanding PhD Research, and the INFORMS Judith Liebman Award. Dr. Maass currently serves as the INFORMS Section on Location Analysis Treasurer and is a member of the H.E.A.L. Trafficking Research Committee.


Tuesday , February 19, 2019 | 240 Egan Research Center, Raytheon Amphitheater | 7:00pm

Generate Presents: Invent Amazing with Russell Morin of iRobot

Russell Morin, Senior Principal Mechanical Engineer at iRobot Corporation

Russell Morin will highlight how engineers can effect and change the world through a variety of channels. With experience from his time at iRobot working on multiple iterations of the Roomba series as well as other innovative products, Russell will discuss the many paths engineering can take and how you can take those paths to Invent Amazing.

Russell Morin is a Senior Principal Mechanical Engineer at iRobot Corporation in Bedford, MA. Originally from Tewksbury, MA, he now lives in Burlington, MA with his wife Alex. He studied at Worcester Polytechnic Institute where received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in International Relations in 2008. He went on to complete his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at WPI in 2010. He began at iRobot as a summer intern in 2005 and worked there for several internships during school until joining full time in 2010. While at iRobot, he has been a key contributor to the 500, 600, 700, 800, and 900 series Roomba products, the Scooba 450, the i7+ Clean Base with automatic dirt disposal, the Create 2, and several yet to be released products. He is a certified professional engineer and a named inventor on more than 15 United States patents, both utility and design. Russell is passionate about bringing robotics into our daily lives and fostering STEM


Wednesday, February 20, 2019 | 104 West Village G | 7:00pm

Talk with Dr. Steven Gray: SVP at Qualcomm, Past VP at Huawei Technologies and Northeastern University ECE PhD Alum. 

Dr. Steven Gray, SVP at Qualcomm

Join us for a discussion about product development, graduate school, diversity in the industry and more with Northeastern University ECE PhD Alum, SVP of Engineering at Qualcomm, and Internet of Things (IoT) leader, Dr. Steven Gray





Wednesday, February 20, 2019 | 333 Curry Student Center, Senate Chambers | 11:00am

Using Hydrogels for Tissue Engineering

Dr. Timothy Lannin, Assistant Teaching Professor, Northeastern University

Tissue engineering is a promising field in which engineers can bring together ideas from chemistry, biology, and mechanics to design replacement tissues and organs, enabling clinicians to treat injuries and disease. Hydrogels are polymers that absorb large amounts of water, often creating a favorable 3D environment in which cells grow. By carefully controlling the chemistry of hydrogels, engineers can transition the gels from a liquid-like state to a solid-like one while maintaining living cells throughout the transition. Engineers can then use manufacturing techniques such as injection molding or 3D printing to create tissue engineered constructs with complex geometries.

Dr. Lannin completed his PhD at Cornell’s Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering under the advisement of Dr. Brian Kirby with the support of an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. His research included work on automating image analysis of cancer cells, measuring the electrical properties of cancer cells to use electric fields to separate them from blood cells, and measuring the electrical properties of algae cells to optimize their output for biofuels. He taught for a year as a visitor at Lafayette College Mechanical Engineering, and now he has been an Assistant Teaching Professor in Bioengineering at Northeastern since Fall 2017.


Wednesday, February 20, 2019 | 240 Egan Research Center Raytheon Amphitheater | 11:45 am

Controlling “Controlled Release” to Make Medicine That Imitates Life

Dr. Steven Little, William Kepler Whiteford Endowed Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Bioengineering, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Immunology, Ophthalmology and The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh

Although the field of controlled release (as applied to release of drugs, cosmetic agents, fertilizers, etc…) has existed for over 40 years, it is still non-trivial to formulate (or engineer) a system to produce a target release behavior (duration of release and rate of release). Over the last 13 years, our research group has revealed fundamental phenomena in how the most widely-used degradable polymers degrade/erode and how this impacts release behavior from systems comprised of these polymers. These discoveries allow for more precise design of controlled release formulations that meet the specific needs of the customer. It also permits, for the first time, design of “biomimetic” controlled release systems that reproduce the basic spatio-temporal information transfer that naturally occurs between the cells in our body, with the goal of inducing and/or regulation key biological processes. Such is currently out of the reach of modern medicine. As just one example, simple temporal control over the release of specific growth factors can induce robust formation of specific tissues that naturally regenerate via stage-wise processes. This is possible using recent advances in the precise design of controlled release formulations. In the same way, this concept can also be used to reproduce spatial information that cells (and even tumors) employ to manipulate immunological responses. Collectively, these new tools can effectively reproduce biological context and have already shown significant promise as next-generation medical treatments in a variety of disease models where current medical treatments have no answer.

Dr. Steven Little is currently the William Kepler Whiteford Endowed Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Bioengineering, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Immunology, Ophthalmology and The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. He received his PhD in Chemical Engineering from MIT in 2005 under the mentorship of Robert Langer, with his thesis winning the American Association for Advancement of Science’s Excellence in Research Award. Dr. Little’s research focuses on controlled release and pharmaceutical formulation as well as biomaterial and pharmaceutical excipient interactions, materials behavior ex vivo and in situ, and biomimetic design principles. Dr. Little was the first to develop a broadly-applicable mathematical design tool for degradable polymer-based controlled release formulations that produce customizable controlled release behavior. This work led to the founding of the first custom design controlled release formulation design company (for pharmaceutical industry, agricultural industry, and academic laboratories) in Pittsburgh, PA (Qrono Inc.). Dr. Little has also developed a number of novel controlled release and drug delivery formulations that mimic the body’s natural processes including systems that can mimic the natural sequence of regenerative cues in wound healing as well as targeting the homing/recruitment of specific cell populations (immune cells, stem cells, etc.) to a local site for more highly sophisticated, next-generation regenerative medicine that requires only picograms-nanograms per kilogram of active ingredient per dose.

Dr. Little’s research has resulted to date in over 90 peer reviewed publications and the founding of two spin-out companies located in Pittsburgh, PA. Dr. Little has delivered over 60 invited talks including 6 plenaries and 6 keynote lectures. Dr. Little has been recognized by national and international awards including the Curtis W. McGraw Research Award from the ASEE, being elected as a fellow of BMES and AIMBE, a Carnegie Science Award for Research, the Society for Biomaterials’ Young Investigator Award, the Controlled Release Society’s Young Investigator Award, the University of Pittsburgh’s Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award, being named a Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar, being named an Arnold and Mabel Beckman Young Investigator, and being elected to the Board of Directors of the Society for Biomaterials and also the Controlled Release Society. In addition, Dr. Little’s exceptional teaching and leadership in education have also been recognized by both the University of Pittsburgh’s Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award and a 2nd Carnegie Science Award for Post-Secondary Education. Dr. Little was named one of Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 under 40, a “Fast Tracker” by the Pittsburgh Business Times, and also one of only five individuals in Pittsburgh who are “reshaping our world” by Pop City Media.

Dr. Little currently serves as the 12th Chairman of the Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering.


*Our previously scheduled speaker, Gary Broberg, has decided to withdraw from the event.


Thursday, February 21, 2019 | 102 ISEC | 3:00 pm

Climate Change in Boston: Preparing for Impacts

Moderator: Dr. Matthew Eckelman, Associate Professor, Northeastern University
Panelists: Dr. Auroop Ganguly (Professor, Northeastern University), Dr. Jim Chen (Professor, Northeastern University), Dr. Paul Kirshen (Professor UMass Boston), and Dr. Indrani Ghosh (Technical Leader, Kleinfelder)

Coastal cities face unique challenges from the effects of a warming planet. What issues are most likely to impact Boston, and how can our city best prepare itself? In this panel discussion hosted by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Northeastern University, we bring together premier experts from industry and academia to examine our vulnerabilities to climate change and how civil and environmental engineers can help build a more sustainable, resilient Boston.


Dr. Matthew J Eckelman is an Associate Professor and Associate Chair For Research at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Northeastern University. He is an affiliated Faculty member with the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Marine and Environmental Sciences, and the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. He received his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Yale University in 2009. His research interests include energy efficiency and emissions modeling, life cycle assessment, material and energy use in urban buildings and infrastructure, nanotechnology, and environmental engineering and health.




Dr. Paul Kirshen is a Professor of Climate Adaptation at the School for the Environment at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He is an expert in water resources, coastal zone management and climate variability and change. Kirshen has worked on several projects for the EPA, US NOAA, US Army Corp of Engineers and the Union of Concerned Scientists studying the impact of climate change on the greater Boston area. He is the Director of the UMass Boston Sustainable Solutions Lab, which assesses the impact of climate change on underserved populations and investigates solutions to these complex issues. He received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975.





Dr. Indrani Ghosh is the Technical Leader for climate change science at Kleinfelder. She models the impacts of climate change on future flooding and heat to identify risks and evaluate adaptation strategies at the local scale. Dr. Ghosh has published several papers which describe how cities and municipalities can translate the uncertainty of climate change into engineering design criteria. She has worked on several projects predicting flooding impacts in the greater Boston area, including climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation plans, sea level rise modeling for coastal towns, and the Disaster and Infrastructure Resiliency Plan for Boston’s Logan International Airport. She was the recipient of the 2014 Clemens Herschel Award from The Boston Society of Civil Engineers (BSCES) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). She received her PhD. in Civil Engineering from Northeastern University in 2010.




Dr. Qin Jim Chen is an expert in coastal engineering and science, particularly in the development of state-of-the-art numerical models to address coastal resiliency and sustainability. He leads the Coastal Hydrodynamics Lab out of the Nahant Marine Science Center at Northeastern University, where he is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, interdisciplinary with the Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences. Through grants from the National Science Foundation, US Geological Survey, US Army Corp of Engineers and the Department of Treasury, Chen conducts research into the effects of extreme weather and climate change on coastal regions. Chen received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Old Dominion University, in collaboration with Danish Hydraulic Institute.




Auroop R. Ganguly, Ph.D., is a hydrologist and a civil engineer, and currently a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston, MA, USA, where he is the Director of the Sustainability and Data Sciences Laboratory (SDS Lab). He is also Professor by courtesy of multiple NU departments and colleges, specifically, Khoury College of Computer and Information Sciences, Marine and Environmental Sciences, Political Science, and Public Policy and Urban Affairs, as well as a Visiting International Professor of Computer Science and Environmental Science at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur. He is a member of the United Nations Environmental Program review panel and the lead author of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) section of the Sustained National Climate Assessment of the United States. He is the Chief Specialty Editor for water and built environment of the upcoming Frontiers in Water journal and serves on the editorial board of the journal PLOS ONE and Scientific Reports published by Nature, as well as the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering. Ganguly received his Ph.D. in Civil & Environmental Engineering from MIT in 2002.