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Centers and Laboratories



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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. (back to top)

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. (back to top)

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. (back to top)

Center for Applied Biomechanics is dedicated to vehicle safety testing with a major emphasis on studying impact and injury biomechanics. The focal point of the 30,000 square foot facility is a test sled mounted on a 66-foot track which allows simulation of high speed automobile crashes. In addition to the sled system, the CAB has a number of pneumatic and gravity driven impactors as well as state-of-the-art high speed data acquisition and digital video systems. Major research efforts at the laboratory include the study of advanced occupant restraint systems including air bag and seat belt systems. In particular, the CAB is establishing guidelines and criteria for the mitigation of airbag induced injuries. (back to top)

Center for Electrochemical Science and Engineering (CESE) is a multi-disciplinary 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. One of the nation’s leading research groups of its kind, its research affects the performance and reliability of most products manufactured in the world today. (back to top)

Center for Safe and Secure Nuclear Energy conducts both basic and applied research in nuclear system safety and security including instrumentation and control systems, human performance, human machine interfaces, and reactor modeling and simulation. The CSSNE is housed in a unique 32,000 square-foot research facility that includes a full-scale, modular reactor control room fully integrated with commercial instrumentation and control systems and commercial reactor models. The research environment allows for full-scale experiments on human and machine response to disruptive events due to hardware, software, system, or human failure. CSSNE is a partnership between the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and the Center for Advanced Engineering Research. (back to top)

Center for Risk Management of Engineering Systems was founded by the University of Virginia in 1987 by the CHEV 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. (back to top)

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. (back to top)

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. (back to top)

Commonwealth Center for Advanced Logistics Systems (CCALS) is a unique collaboration between industry, government and universities designed to deliver transformational improvements to logistics systems. University members of CCALS bring outstanding capabilities and research depth in logistics-related disciplines. Members include the University of Virginia, Longwood University, Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia State University. They also provide access to the best and brightest engineering, business and IT students who will compose tomorrow’s logistics workforce. Industry sets the agenda at CCALS, leveraging university expertise and real-world experience to solve logistics challenges that arise as complex technological, mechanical and human systems interact. With multiple perspectives at the table and favorable intellectual property policies, CCALS ensures that promising discoveries become effective business solutions faster than ever. (back to top)

Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) is a public-private research partnership created by the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, Canon, Chromalloy, Newport News Shipbuilding, Rolls-Royce, Sandvik Coromant, Siemens, and Sulzer Metco. CCAM currently has 17 industry members. The CCAM research activities are focused on surface engineering and manufacturing systems. The overall goal is to accelerate new technologies from initial creation through application and proof of concept and into commercial practice by bringing researchers from the universities and industry into a shared collaborative environment. CCAM has recently opened a new 60,000 square-foot research facility that provides researchers access to production quality, state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing equipment for proof-of-concept experiments for new research results. CCAM provides research and internship opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students. (back to top)

Commonwealth Center for Aerospace Propulsion Systems (CCAPS) is a public-private research partnership created by the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Rolls-Royce. The CCAPS research activities are focused on gas turbine technologies including advanced surface coatings, combustion, ceramic matrix composites, fluid dynamics, turbo-machinery, and power electronics. CCAPS is focused on fundamental research whereas CCAM focuses on applied research. Together CCAPS and CCAM allow new ideas to be created in university laboratories and then flow seamlessly to commercial applications. CCAPS research is conducted in multiple laboratories at both the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech. (back to top)

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. (back to top)

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 which can be tailored to information systems to ensure the intended operation of their existing components. (back to top)

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. (back to top)

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. (back to top)

The Institute for Nanoscale and Quantum Scientific and Technological Advanced Reserach (nanoSTAR) is an inter-disciplinary 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 a major function 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. (back to top)

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. (back to top)

Keck Center for Cellular Imaging (KCCI) the primary goal of the imaging center is to provide a state of the art optical imaging facility to enhance both the research and teaching environments of the University. Concomitcant with the goal is the continual development and implementation of novel optical imaging methods that interface expertise in biology, optics, and electronic engineering. (back to top)

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 and also 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 in modeling and simulations of surface processes in icy satellites, planetary atmospheres and magnetospheres, and interstellar grains. (back to top)

Laboratory for Computer Architecture at Virginia (LAVA) focuses on processor-design issues, especially multi-core and multi-threaded 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. (back to top)

MAE Design Lab contains 20 computer workstations with engineering design and analysis software. The lab also operates additive and subtractive manufacturing machines. The additive manufacturing machines are seven fused-deposition modeling 3D printers: six uPrint Plus 3D printers, one Fortus 400mc 3D printer. The subtractive manufacturing machines are computer numeric controlled (CNC) router, mill, and laser cutter. CNC machines in the lab are a Roland mdx-650 router, a HAAS OM-2A 3-axis mill, and a Universal Laser Systems, 75-watt carbon dioxide laser cutter. These machines are used to provide parts for students, faculty, staff, and external clients. (back to top)

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. (back to top)

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. (back to top)

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. The 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. (back to top)

Nanoscale Thermal Transfer Laboratory is dedicated to developing new techniques to assist in measuring, understanding, and utilizing nanoscale thermal phenomena. The laboratory’s research is aimed at developing a fundamental understanding of energy transport on ultra short time and length scales. back to top

National Center for Hypersonic Combined Cycle Propulsion is led by Professor James McDaniel. The center is working to develop 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. (back to top)

NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Laser Applications (LAM) aims to 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. (back to top)

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 lightening 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 possibility 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. (back to top)

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. (back to top)

Space Physics and Surface Physics Theory Program studies the physics and chemistry of energetic ion, electron and uv-photon interactions with surfaces and gases. Tthe 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. (back to top)

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 (which was 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. The UVML operates out of the Charles Brown Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, but is open to and used by numerous other Departments in the University. (back to top)

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. (back to top)

University of Virginia Alliance for Computational Science & Engineering (UVACSE) was established in 2008 to serve researchers through education, consultation, and manage shared computer resources. (back to top)

The University of Virginia Applied Research Institute (ARI) focuses on understanding the problems of the defense and national intelligence community and assembling teams of interdisciplinary faculty to address those problems. Research projects to date have included faculty from the School of Engineering and Applied Science, School of Medicine, College of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Law and have addressed bioinformatics, infectious diseases, unmanned aerial vehicles, 3D printing, as well as specialized training of intelligence officials. The ARI facilitates translation of basic research concepts into applications and commercial solutions. The ARI is located in the University of Virginia Research Park. (back to top)

Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research (VCTIR) is one of the nation’s leading transportation research centers. The organization, founded in 1948, is a partnership of the Virginia Department of Transportation and the University of Virginia. It specializes in basic and applied research in the areas of structures, materials, pavements, safety, system operations, traffic engineering, transportation planning, environmental, and business practices. VCTIR maintains and operates state-of-the-art laboratories to support research in highway aggregates, geological engineering, concrete, bituminous materials, soils, bridge structures, and traffic and safety. VCTIR’s offices and laboratories are located in the Shelburne Building, about one-half mile west of Thornton Hall. (back to top)

Virginia Image & Video Analysis Group (VINO) specialized in image analysis techniques such as image sementation and motion tracking. (back to top)

Virginia NanoComputing group (ViNO) focuses on understanding non-equilibrium properties of nano-scale materials structures-spanning carbon based electronics such as molecules and graphene, spintronics, nano-magnetic memory and logic, quantum dots, nano-mechanical relays, single molecule sensors, telegraph noise, bio-inspired computing and nanoscale thermal transport. (back to top)