Kurchin selected as MoISSI Faculty Fellow

MSE’s Rachel Kurchin has been selected to participate in the inaugural class of Molecular Sciences Software Institute (MolSSI) Faculty Fellows. MolSSI is a multi-university collaboration designed to serve and enhance the software-development efforts of the field of computational molecular science.


Dickey researches a new class of metal nanoparticles
Mellon College of Science

MSE Head Elizabeth Dickey is researching a new class of metal nanoparticles. She will obtain high-resolution images of metal nanoclusters and their assemblies, with the aim of developing nanoclusters that contain multiple elements and have a precise atomic count and composition. Dickey is collaborating with Chemistry’s Linda Peteanu and Rongchao Jin, who recently received a New Initiatives research grant from the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation.

Bockstaller quoted on safety of food storage containers
Buy Side from WSJ

MSE’s Michael Bockstaller was quoted in Buy Side on the safety of certain brands of food storage containers. Pyrex’s containers, originally made of borosilicate glass, are now made with cheaper but similarly durable soda-lime glass; Bockstaller explained that both types of glass are safe for food storage. Regarding plastic food containers like those produced by Rubbermaid, Bockstaller said that certified BPA-free polycarbonate (PC) plastics are the best bet since they’re more resistant to high temperatures than polyethylene (PE) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET).


Kurchin interviewed about how to choose the best solar power inverters

MSE’s Rachel Kurchin weighed in on a CNET list of the best solar inverters of March 2024. A solar inverter converts energy from solar panels into electricity that appliances can use, and there are many different kinds. The best inverter to buy depends on a consumer’s particular circumstances. She says: “Residential solar installations can look really different depending on what the residence looks like. Maybe your house has a really slanted roof or maybe there are trees around that shade it for part of the day, or maybe that’s not so much of an issue. Those are the kinds of things that can make a real difference in what type of inverter solution makes the most sense.”



Whitacre’s start-up Stratus Materials featured in The Pittsburgh Business Times
The Pittsburgh Business Times

MSE/EPP’s Jay Whitacre’s start-up company Stratus Materials was featured in The Pittsburgh Business Times for its advancement toward a Pittsburgh-based, cobalt-free cathode manufacturing plant. “This new pilot line will allow Stratus to expand the scope of its testing and sampling efforts which will include deploying its materials into large-scale battery packs and electric vehicles,” Stratus says.


Dickey at the 2023 American Ceramic Society Annual meeting
The American Ceramic Society

MSE Head Elizabeth Dickey attended the American Ceramic Society’s 125th Annual meeting at the Materials Science & Technology technical meeting and exhibition where she delivered the Robert B. Sosman lecture and was honored as this year’s Sosman awardee.


17 College of Engineering nominees for annual Andy Awards
Carnegie Mellon University

17 College of Engineering staff members were nominated for the annual Andy Awards, which recognize excellence in areas including Commitment to Excellence; Commitment to Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion; Commitment to Students; Innovative and Creative Contributions; Spirit; and Teamwork and Collaboration. Congratulations to the following staff members:

Commitment to Excellence

  • Neil Emmett (rookie) - Mechanical Engineering
  • Elizabeth Clark (veteran) - Materials Science and Engineering
  • Nancy Doyle (veteran) - Information Networking Institute
  • Matthew Moneck (veteran) - Electrical and Computer Engineering

Commitment to DEI 

  • Leia Delabahan - Integrated Innovation Institute
  • Brittany Bristoll - Electrical and Computer Engineering

Commitment to Students

  • Heather Costello - Chemical Engineering
  • Deborah Kuntz - Engineering and Public Policy

Innovative and Creative Contributions 

  • Justin Dawber - Chemical Engineering
  • Chris Hertz - Mechanical Engineering


  • Cindy Arnett - Information Networking Institute
  • Lisa Cowling - Mechanical Engineering

Teamwork and Collaboration

  • Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Support Team - Heather Costello and Kristyn Williams
  • Mechanical Engineering DEI Committee Staff Team - Annie Harder, Eva Mergner, Yanika Reid, Gabriele Crytser


Pistorius comments on U.S. Steel sale
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

MSE’s Chris Pistorius told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he hopes the new owners of U.S. Steel will continue to support the region’s universities. “If a takeover were to change the relationship with the university, that would not be something we’d be keen on,” Pistorius said.


Engineering faculty engage in industrial decarbonization research partnership
Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation News

MSE’s Chris Pistorius and EPP’s Valerie Karplus and Paulina Jaramillo, along with Heinz College’s Edson Severnini, joined collaborators in Germany to begin an international research partnership. “Prior to the start of the partnership, the academic collaborators and industry partners had been working in parallel towards the shared goal of finding viable decarbonization pathways,” said Karplus. “The meeting was filled with ‘aha!’ moments as we explored common interests and new research opportunities.”

McHenry breaks down superconductors
Built In

MSE’s Michael McHenry was quoted in Built In about the unique properties of superconductors, which are capable of conducting electricity without losing energy. McHenry said, in part, that paired electrons “cooperate with a material’s vibrating atoms” to boost conductivity and avoid resistance.

Dickey uses novel methods to analyze ferroelectric materials
Physics World

MSE Head Elizabeth Dickey and her team of researchers are collaborating with groups at Penn State University to study ferroelectric materials. Together, the groups are combining their skills to analyze the structure of alloyed aluminum nitride films using transmission electron microscopy.

Krause and Wang named Wimmer Faculty Fellows

CEE’s Jerry Wang and MSE’s Mandie Krause have been named Wimmer Faculty Fellows at the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation. This program is designed for junior faculty members interested in enhancing their teaching through concentrated work with an Eberly consultant.


Three CMU energy projects receive Scott Institute Seed Grants
Scott Institute

Three CMU-led projects have been awarded seed funding from the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation as a part of the Seed Grants for Energy Research program.

  • EPP’s Paulina Jarmillo will collaborate with ChemE’s Hamish Gordon, CEE’s David Rounce, and EPP Head Peter Adams on their project Climate risk assessment for electricity transmission assets in the U.S.
  • MechE’s Rahul Panat and Burak Ozdoganlar will work alongside ChemE’s Grigorios Panagakos to demonstrate scalable and low-cost manufacture of porous metal-oxide-frameworks for CO2 capture.
  • Additionally, MSE’s Mohadeseh Taheri-Mousavi, Chris Pistorius, and Marc De Graef will enhance understanding of localized plasticity in pure alloys by studying H-embrittlement of high-strength structural alloys.

Rohrer quoted on steel vulnerabilities after overpass collapse
The Philadelphia Inquirer

MSE’s Greg Rohrer spoke to the Philadelphia Inquirer about the properties of steel in light of the recent overpass collapse on I-95 in Philadelphia that occurred after a tanker truck caught fire. Rohrer noted that heat not only makes steel girders weaker, but it also causes them to expand.


Bockstaller discusses his self-healing plastic research with CBS News Pittsburgh
CBS News Pittsburgh

MSE’s Michael Bockstaller discusses his self-healing plastic research with CBS News Pittsburgh. Typically, plastic’s short lifespan results in substantial waste production, and creating new plastic is much cheaper than recycling it. “The idea is that by creating polymers that would feature self-healing properties, we might be able to prolong the lifetime of these systems and reduce waste formation,” Bockstaller says.

Majidi, Yao quoted on softbotics
World Economic Forum

MechE’s Carmel Majidi spoke to the World Economic Forum about the potential of softbotics, which includes designing them to move adaptably in response to their environment as animals do. “There are many interesting and exciting scenarios where energy-efficient and versatile robots like this could be useful,” Yao said. Their recent design allows the robot to transition from walking to swimming.