Research Centers

Over the past decade, Florida Tech has made major additions and improvements to facilities that enhance the research components of nearly all aspects of undergraduate and graduate education. Along with these facility improvements, a number of research centers have been established to focus on particular areas of study and in many cases encourage interdisciplinary collaboration. These centers and the facilities where they are located represent a significant research capability that supplements the various department- and program-related activities and facilities described in this catalog.  The Florida Tech campus has been transformed in the past ten years into a world-class research center. Spring 2013 saw the complete renovation of the Edwin Link Building into a 30,000-sq.-ft. research and educational facility for the departments of marine and environmental systems and biomedical engineering. The university also officially designated the Florida Tech Center for Aeronautics and Innovation to serve as the central office for the Florida Tech Research Park. During the Fall 2013, Florida Tech accepted a donation of five acres of property located in nearby Palm Bay, Florida, containing a 100,494-sq.- ft. research and development center designed for manufacturing, office space and cleanroom facilities, establishing the Florida Tech Research and Development Center. In 2012, Harris Commons was completed and offers 2,000 sq. ft. of state-of-the-art research laboratories for the College of Psychology and Liberal Arts. The research area includes data analysis laboratories, subject testing areas, applied behavioral analysis rooms and a dedicated conference room for faculty-sponsored research.  Completed in 2009, the Harris Center for Science and Engineering provides 29,000 square feet for computer science, aquaculture and fish biology research programs. The Harris Center also houses the nationally recognized Harris Institute for Assured Information. The 22,000-sq.-ft. Scott Center for Autism Treatment opened in 2008 and provides the highest quality treatment, training and applied research to enhance the quality of life of children with autism spectrum disorders.

Two teaching/research buildings were completed on the Melbourne campus in 1999: the F.W. Olin Engineering Complex and the F.W. Olin Life Sciences Building. The engineering complex is a 68,500-sq.- ft. facility housing 26 specialized research laboratories. The 37,000- sq.-ft. life sciences building houses 12 research laboratories designed with flex-space to meet the needs of specific activities. The 70,000- sq.-ft. F.W. Olin Physical Sciences Center, completed in 2004, houses the departments of chemistry, and physics and space sciences and includes numerous specialty and teaching labs.

Particularly noteworthy is the multidisciplinary Applied Research Laboratory (ARL) located less than two miles from the Melbourne campus. The ARL houses research in ocean engineering, advanced materials, polymer flammability, lasers and electrooptics, psychology, neural network-based autonomous sensing systems and high magnetic-field physics.

Florida Tech has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance-Research (CAE-R) by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Designed to recognize schools that integrate research activities into the curriculum and classroom, and maintain a high quality of information assurance research, Florida Tech is one of only two universities in Florida with this distinction

In just the past two years the university has seen a major resurgence in the number of proposals for funded research. The current value of research and sponsored projects is over $122 million. University research faculty expended $21 million to buy equipment, support students, pay salaries and cover general expenses. In addition to over a dozen research centers, ten new interdisciplinary research institutes provide focal points for Florida Tech undergraduate and graduate research. Brief descriptions of Florida Tech’s research institutes and centers follow. Not included here is research within the various degree-granting academic units, described by department in the Degree Programs section. 

Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU)

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Since 1989, students and faculty of Florida Tech have benefited from its membership in Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU). ORAU is a consortium of 98 colleges and universities, and a contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. ORAU works with its member institutions to help their students and faculty gain access to federal research facilities throughout the country; to keep its members informed about opportunities for fellowship, scholarship and research appointments; and to organize research alliances among its members. Through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), the DOE facility that ORAU operates, undergraduates, graduates and postgraduates, as well as faculty enjoy access to a multitude of opportunities for study and research. Students can participate in programs covering a wide variety of disciplines including business, earth sciences, epidemiology, engineering, physics, geological sciences, pharmacology, ocean sciences, biomedical sciences, nuclear chemistry and mathematics.

Appointment and program length range from one month to four years. Many of these programs are especially designed to increase the numbers of underrepresented minority students pursuing degrees in science- and engineering-related disciplines. A comprehensive listing of these programs and other opportunities, their disciplines and details on locations and benefits, can be found in the ORISE Catalog of Education and Training Programs, which is available at www.orau.gov/orise/educ.htm or by calling either of the contacts below. ORAU's Office of Partnership Development seeks opportunities for partnerships and alliances among ORAU's members, private industry and major federal facilities. Activities include faculty development programs such as the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards, the Visiting Industrial Scholars Program, consortium research funding initiatives, faculty research and support programs and services to chief research officers.

For more information about ORAU and its programs, contact Florida Tech Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer T. Dwayne McCay, ORAU Councilor, at (321) 674-8889; or Monnie E. Champion, ORAU Corporate Secretary, at (865) 576-3306; or online at www.orau.org.

Southern Association for Research In Astronomy (SARA)

Daniel P. Batcheldor, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Head (Interim), Physics and Space Sciences, Director. SARA is a consortium of twelve universities founded by Florida Tech that operates one-meter-class automated telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona, Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory in Chile and the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (ORM) on the Canary Islands. The SARA members are Florida Tech, East Tennessee State University, Valdosta State University, Florida International University, Clemson University, Ball State University, Agnes Scott College, University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, Valparaiso University, Butler University, Texas . 

Research Institutes

Institute for Cross-Cultural Management (ICCM)

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Richard L. Griffith, Ph.D., Professor, I/O Psychology, Executive Director. The institute’s mission is to help organizations adapt, prepare and prosper in the global environment. To effectively reach its mission goals, ICCM is organized into two directorates, research and professional development. ICCM research concentrates on issues that affect daily business conduct such as cross-cultural competency, managing multicultural work groups, expatriation/repatriation and global leadership. This research informs the professional development activities, which train global leaders in the corporate, government and military sectors to effectively manage cultural challenges.

Institute for Research on Global Climate Change

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Robert Van Woesik, Ph.D., Professor, Biological Sciences, Director. Over the next century, the Earth’s average surface temperature is predicted to rise above temperatures that have not been experienced for over 400,000 years. Such a change in climate will consequently increase the risk of drought, erratic weather, sea-level rise, ocean warming and wildlife diseases. The mission of the institute is to: (1) foster climate-change research that will lead to improved decision-making, from local to international levels; (2) provide world-class research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate researchers; and (3) promote interdisciplinary collaborations leading to new understandings of climate change and adaptation. Since the end of 2009 when the institute was initiated, researchers have published over 149 scholarly articles on climate change in international journals.

Indian River Lagoon Research Institute

Robert J. Weaver, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Ocean Engineering, Executive Director; Jonathan M. Shenker, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Biological Sciences and Kevin B. Johnson, Ph.D., Asociate Professor, Oceanography, Co-Directors. The mission of the IRLRI is to develop and implement sustainable solutions for the revitalization and maintenance of the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), with solutions applicable beyond the IRL. The institute addresses the causes of coastal water quality degradation by engineering sustainable solutions that will restore a healthy resilient ecosystem. The IRLRI focuses on engineering technologies to remove the muck and nutrients from the water in the lagoon, better understanding the flow (circulation modeling and forecasting), supporting policy changes to reduce the amount of nutrient and fine sediments, restoring habitat in the lagoon (seagrass, oyster, mangrove and salt marsh), restoring the invertebrates and fisheries, developing effective management practices, and community outreach and education.

Human-Centered Design Institute (HCDI)

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Guy Boy, Ph.D., University Professor, Director. HCDI members are faculty, permanent and visiting research scientists and graduate students conducting research in cognitive engineering, advanced interaction media, complexity analysis in human-centered design, life-critical systems, human-centered organization design and management, and modeling and simulation. The mission of the HCDI is to promote interdisciplinary research to science, engineering, human and social sciences through education, research and outreach, by providing a single point of contact for students, faculty, funding agencies and businesses, and by crossing traditional academic disciplines to promote innovation, leadership and design thinking.

Sportfish Research Institute (SRI)

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Jonathan M. Shenker, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, Director. SRI is dedicated to studies of the sport fishery species that are tremendously important to Florida and the Caribbean, and the restoration of depleted populations. Current research includes studies on the response of juvenile fishes to removal of muck from habitats in the Indian River Lagoon, the use of the IRL mangrove marshes as a nursery habitat for juvenile tarpon, snook and other fishes, and analysis of spawning biology and larval biology of bonefish in the Bahamas and Cuba.  The bonefish work, coupled with aquaculture research on bonefish at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, aims to help restore their population in the Florida Keys.  SRI personnel present talks and provide information to local and regional sport fishing organizations and publications. Funded in part by state and local grants, SRI also seeks funding and participation from corporations associated with the fishing industry and from private individuals.

 

Harris Institute for Assured Information (HIAI)

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Marco M. Carvalho, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Dean, School of Computing, Executive Director. The mission of the Harris Institute for Assured Information (HIAI) is to to advance the field of computer security through interdisciplinary approaches to education, research, and outreach. Supporting Florida Tech’s designation as a DHS/NSA Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity Research, HIAI provides a unique environment for innovation, technology transfer, and the development of cutting-edge research. 

Institute for Marine Research (IMR)

Jonathan M. Shenker, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Biological Sciences and Geoffrey W.J. Swain, Ph.D., Professor, Oceanography and Ocean Engineering, Co-Directors. Study of the marine environment is a cornerstone of teaching and research at Florida Tech, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The mission of the IMR is to advance marine research, education and outreach by coordinating shared facility management, recruiting scholars and students, encouraging interdisciplinary research, and promoting collegiality and cohesiveness within the university. Marine research resides primarily within two departments: the Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Science, and the Department of Ocean Engineering and Sciences in the College of Engineering. Facilities include an environmentally controlled Aqualab with seawater system in Biological Sciences on the Melbourne Campus. Shared facilities are centered around the Ralph S. Evinrude Marine Operations Center. The Marine Operations Center is a 3.5-acre facility on the Indian River Lagoon where the university houses a fleet of boats for research and education, as well as the university’s diving operations.

Institute for Energy Systems (IES)

Y.I. Sharaf-Eldeen, Ph.D., P.E., Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Mary Helen McCay, Ph.D., P.E., Research Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Co-Directors. The mission of the IES is to provide an intellectually stimulating environment for faculty and students to conduct funded research in areas of national need. National energy policy identifies these needs to be: (1) increasing domestic energy supplies; (2) increasing America’s use of renewable and alternative energy; (3) increasing energy conservation and efficiency; (4) developing a comprehensive delivery system; (5) enhancing national energy security and international relationships; and (6) sustaining the nation’s health and environment.

Research Centers

National Center for Hydrogen Research (NCHR)

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Mary H. McCay, Ph.D., Research Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Director. The NCHR was established with funding from NASA to perform research and development concerning the application of hydrogen as a fuel for airborne platforms. It is currently pursuing the development of an interdisciplinary hydrogen and fuel cell technology academic program under the sponsorship of Department of Energy (DOE). The objectives of this program are to develop undergraduate modules, enquiry-based laboratory experiments and a graduate area of specialization academic program that will enable the growth of research and development in the arena of hydrogen and fuel cell technology. Faculty associated with the center are currently conducting research in computational modeling of fuel cells, fiber-optic sensors suitable for safety applications and systems monitoring, hydrogen storage mediums, the interaction of hydrogen with materials and hydrogen purification techniques.

Center for Lifecycle and Innovation Management (CLIM)

Abram Walton, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Nathan M. Bisk College of Business, Director and Darrel Sandall, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Nathan M. Bisk College of Business, Assistant Director. The mission of the Center for Lifecycle and Innovation Management (CLIM) is to serve as an interdisciplinary center integrating concepts of business analytics, innovation science, product design, engineering, manufacturing, support and disposal functions for the development of international applied research on, and the dissemination and education of, the use of Innovation, Business Analytics, and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) concepts, processes and practices in industry. The objectives of the CLIM are to be the preeminent independent source of expertise and knowledge regarding the development and use innovation strategies in creating and assessing value for product and service organizations, providing thoughtful leadership in setting the direction and standards of innovation science and PLM, and educating and training organizations in the concepts and capabilities of people, processes, practices and technologies as it pertains to PLM and innovation.

 

Florida Center for Automotive Research (FCAR)

Gerald J. Micklow, PhD, PE Professor Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Head, Automotive Engineering Director. The Florida Center for Automotive Engineering (FCAR) is dedicated to studying innovative solutions that affect future transportation and mobility. Tomorrow's mobility will be strongly affected by energy and environmental consequences, safety, information and communication systems, and lifestyle and consumer choices. The mission statement is to promote the education of students in the broad areas of motor sports and automotive engineering through theoretical and applied instruction at the undergraduate and graduate levels and through interaction with and support of industry.  Further, a major goal of FCAR will be to develop a nationally recognized program in alternative fuels and renewable energy for the next generation of low pollutant emission high efficiency engines and vehicles.

Federal Aviation Administration Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation

Samuel T. Durrance, Ph.D. Professor, Physics and Space Sciences, and Daniel R. Kirk, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Co-Directors. The center is a partnership of academia, government and private industry addressing the current and future challenges for commercial space transportation. The center encompasses four primary research areas: (1) space traffic management and operations; (2) space transportation operations, technologies and payloads; (3) human spaceflight; and (4) space transportation industry promotion.

Center for Organizational Effectiveness

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Lisa A. Steelman, Ph.D., Associate Dean and Associate Professor, College of Psychology and Liberal Arts, Director. The Center for Organizational Effectiveness is a research and consulting center managed by industrial/organizational psychology faculty and graduate students. The mission of the center is to provide human capital measurement and talent management strategies to promote effective organizations. Its customized solutions help organizations hire, train and retain high-performing employees. The center conducts research and provides consulting services in all areas of industrial/organizational psychology including selection and assessment, training and development, survey research and organizational development, and career development and succession planning.

Scott Center for Autism Treatment

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Ivy Chong, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Interim Executive Director, Alison Betz, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Director of Behavioral Services and Barbara Paulillo, Psy.D., Director of Psychological Services. The Scott Center for Autism Treatment was established to provide state-of-the art service, training and applied research for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their families. It is an integral service/research/training component of Florida Tech’s School of Psychology. Services are provided by faculty and graduate students from psychology graduate programs in applied behavior analysis and clinical psychology and will expand to include other allied health professionals in speech pathology, occupational therapy and medicine. The 21,000-sq.-ft. building opened in September 2009 in close proximity to the School of Psychology. The services provided include: (1) diagnostic and testing services; (2) early intervention services for young children (i.e., 2 - 9 years of age) with autism, and their families; (3) behavior assessment and intervention services for children, adolescents and adults with autism and/or related disabilities who exhibit challenging behavior (e.g., self-injury, aggression, property destruction, stereotypy); (4) feeding disorder assessment and treatment services for children ages 2–10; (5) social skills’ training for children and adolescents who have autism, Asperger’s disorder and related disabilities; (6) counseling and psychological services; (7) training workshops and seminars for parents and teachers who work with children with autism and related disabilities; (8) courses for individuals interested in obtaining certification as a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® and/or a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.® The center has an ongoing program of research directed at improving clinical and behavioral outcomes for children with ASD.

Center for High Resolution Microscopy and Imaging (CHRMI)

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Michael Grace, Ph.D., Associate Dean, College of Science and Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, Director. The Center for High Resolution Microscopy and Imaging is a multidisciplinary laboratory providing state-of-the art light and fluorescence microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, scanning probe microscopy and x-ray microanalysis of natural and artificial materials. The CHRMI contains necessary equipment and expertise to prepare almost any kind of sample for microscopic evaluation, to image sample surfaces and cross-sections at very high resolutions and to analyze elemental compositions of materials. Support staff maintains instrumentation and trains users in sample preparation and analyses of microstructure and microchemistry. Support platforms provide detailed image analysis capabilities.

Center for Medical Materials and Photonics (CMMP)

Michael B. Fenn, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Director. Biomedical engineering faculty and international collaborators have initiated an innovative center for medical materials and photonics that provides world-leading programs in: third generation bioactive materials including bioactive materials for regenerative medicine, load bearing orthopedic and dental devices, intelligent wound care systems and materials for sports medicine repair and reconstruction; medical photonics including laser and bio-Raman-based cancer detection and therapeutics, human cell-based screening for toxicology, pharmaceutical and biomaterials screening, and patient specific diagnosis and therapy analyses. The center will provide education and research opportunities at the undergraduate, graduate and post-doctorate levels.

Federal Aviation Administration Center of Excellence for General Aviation (PEGASAS)

Stephen K. Cusick, J.D., Associate Professor, College of Aeronautics, Director and Deborah Carstens, Ph.D., Professor, College of Aeronautics, Assistant Director.   This center is commonly known as the “Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability” (PEGASAS).  It is comprised of world-renowned universities and institutes with top-tier aviation programs as well as highly respected schools of engineering, science and policy. The mission of the center is to provide the FAA with a national network of researchers, educators and industry leaders to address a broad spectrum of general aviation issues.

Center for Entrepreneurship and New Business Development (CENBD)

Robert Keimer, M.I.A., Instructor, Nathan M. Bisk College of Business, Director. The Center for Entrepreneurship and New Business Development integrates entrepreneurial education, training and research in pursuit of enterprise creation, sustainability and growth. The center fosters partnerships among students, faculty, community members and entrepreneurs.  These partnerships support an educational environment bridging theory and practice in pursuit of early-stage innovation, business leadership and new business ventures. The center encompasses Momentum - the Student Business Incubator (SBI) and the Entrepreneurial Training Services (ETS) program. Momentum offers students physical space, resources, guidance and mentorship, access to financial capital and education directed at assistance in launching student-owned businesses. The ETS program offers entrepreneurs intensive training on business development, supported by business faculty, community leaders and business area experts. The Center offers students a variety of extracurricular activities and events targeting the need for new venture creation knowledge.  These events include a series of Entrepreneur-in-Residence talks, business plan competitions and cross disciplinary hackathons.

Center for Remote Sensing (CRS)

Charles R. Bostater Jr., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Environmental Sciences and Physical Oceanography, Director. The center’s purpose is to encourage excellence in the development and application of remote sensing science and technology. It is organized as a collaborative center among and between faculty within the College of Engineering, College of Science and College of Aeronautics. Under the authority of the Space Grant Act of 1988, Florida Tech is a member of the Southeastern Space Consortium and the Florida Space Grant Colleges Consortium. The center has consulted and provided services to defense contractors, NASA centers and contractors, the Department of Energy and its subcontractors, state of Florida water management agencies, the Department of State and U.S. Department of Education, and is affiliated with foreign institutions and organizations. Facilities for remote sensing teaching and research include the ERDAS Image Analysis System, Evans Library, the Geographical Information Systems Laboratory, the Marine and Environmental Optics Laboratory and the Synoptic Meteorological Laboratory. Various laboratories and facilities in academic and research computing; computer science; aerospace, computer, electrical and mechanical engineering; physics and space sciences; and space systems are also available. Field studies can be conducted through the College of Aeronautics’ fleet of aircraft. The university operates several small boats and charters a well-equipped vessel for offshore, estuarine and river work. Center faculty offer a wide variety of courses at the graduate and undergraduate level, including environmental satellite systems and data, hydroacoustics, digital image processing, and environmental optics for remote sensing.

Center for Corrosion and Biofouling Control (CCBC)

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Geoffrey W.J. Swain, Ph.D., Professor, Oceanography and Ocean Engineering, Director. The mission of the center is to understand the processes of biofouling and corrosion, and to develop and apply innovative solutions for control and prevention. Its objectives are to advance the state-of-the-art in corrosion and biofouling control; to establish mutually beneficial collaborative relationships with local, national and international university, government and industrial partners; and to provide graduate and undergraduate students a world-class research and educational experience that prepares them for both academic and industrial professional opportunities. Current research activities include testing and evaluation of antifouling systems; investigation of hydrodynamic performance of ship hull coatings; the development of autonomous underwater hull cleaning systems; investigating the mechanisms of adhesion and release of fouling to novel biocide-free coating systems; and monitoring the performance of antifouling coatings through dry dock inspections.

Ralph S. Evinrude Marine Operations Center

Captain Timothy Fletcher, Director, Marine and Outdoor Operations. The center houses small outboard-powered skiffs and medium-sized workboats. These vessels and adjoining support facilities are available to graduate students and faculty for teaching and research use in the tributaries and the Indian River Lagoon (IRL). The IRL is a national estuary and is the most biodiverse estuary system in North America. The scientific dive training program, dive locker and diving safety office are located at the center. The dive program is taught every spring and is available to students, staff and faculty who wish to use SCUBA or compressed gas in the pursuit of research or education. The diving locker contains a full suite of equipment including cylinders, BCDs, regulators, wet suits and emergency oxygen cylinders that are available for those who have completed the dive training program. The facility is located on a 3.5 acre site at the confluence of Crane Creek and the IRL, approximately 1.5 miles from the main campus. The Florida Tech challenge course operations office, national champion crew team, champion concrete canoe team and Sailing Club are housed at the center.

National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance- Research (CAE-R)

Florida Tech has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance - Research (CAE-R) by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Designed to recognize schools that integrate research activities into the curriculum and classroom, and maintain a high quality of information assurance research, Florida Tech is one of only two universities in Florida designated as a CAE-R.

Major Research Laboratories

Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory (BNL)

Michael Grace, Ph.D., Associate Dean, College of Science and Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, Director. The BNL is dedicated to the neural mechanisms of behavior in vertebrate and invertebrate animals. Much of the laboratory’s work focuses on vision and other sensory systems, from the molecules of initial sensation through all levels of organization including cellular function, cell-to-cell communication in the nervous system and observable behavior. Molecular biology, biochemistry, high resolution microscopy and analysis of behavior including operant conditioning are used to investigate a variety of sensory issues that include infrared imaging systems in snakes, development of vision in marine fish and endangered sea turtles, pheromonal communication in marine invertebrates and brain organization and function in one of the smallest vertebrate animals on Earth. BNL personnel provide expertise in designing and conducting experiments in both the laboratory and field, and at almost any level of biological organization. The mission of the BNL is to define the neural mechanisms that underlie complex behavior in living organisms and to promote evolved biological solutions to complicated problems as platforms for biomimetic technology development for biomedical, defense and industrial applications. The laboratory actively engages in community outreach from local interaction through international popular broadcasts.

Aerospace Systems and Propulsion Laboratory (ASAP)

Daniel R. Kirk, Ph.D., Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Hector Gutierrez, Ph.D., P.E., Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Co-Directors. The ASAP Laboratory’s mission is to support activities related to the development, integration and operation of advanced aerospace systems and propulsion technologies. The laboratory supports research related to a wide variety of aerospace projects including vision-based guidance, navigation and control of small spacecraft, fluid mechanics and thermal management in microgravity environments, characterization of physical properties of propellants, real-time instrumentation and control of flexible aerospace structures, combustion modeling and the integration of thermal-fluid systems with computer-aided instrumentation and real-time control.

Dynamic Systems and Controls Laboratory (DSCL)

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Hector Gutierrez, Ph.D., P.E., Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering and and Daniel Kirk, Ph.D., Professor, Aerospace Engineering, Co-Directors. The Dynamic Systems and Controls Laboratory (DSCL) supports research in dynamic systems, real-time control, mechatronics, and characterization, instrumentation and control of aerospace systems. The DSC lab is also the experimental branch of the Aerospace Systems and Propulsion Laboratory, which includes other experimental facilities including the shock tube facility, rocket thrust stand, spin-slosh test rig (under construction) and the high-pressure chamber for characterization of liquefied propellants. The DSCL supports a variety of research activities in dynamic systems for mechanical and aerospace applications: (1) Real-time monitoring and control of the flexible dynamics in launch vehicles including design, characterization and integration of distributed sensing. (2) Use of Fiber Bragg grating arrays to monitor and control in real-time, multi-modal vibrations in aerospace structures. (3) Design, analysis, characterization and testing of novel electrical machine topologies. (4) Characterization of liquid slosh dynamics. (5) Motion control, computer based instrumentation and mechatronics. Current and past research activities include: (1) real-time control of structural vibrations based on magneto-rheological (MR) dampers; (2) magnetic suspension systems for high-precision positioning applications; (3) characterization of surface tension and contact angle in novel propellants; (4) development of an experimental platform on board the International Space Station for characterization of slosh dynamics in microgravity.

Robotics and Spatial Systems Laboratory (RASSL)

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Pierre M. Larochelle, Ph.D., Associate Dean, College of Engineering and Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Director.   RASSL is dedicated to the development of robotic mechanical systems that generate spatial (i.e., 3-dimensional) motion and force transmission. RASSL seeks to advance the design methodologies for these challenging systems as well as techniques for their use in industrial and consumer applications. Equipment includes an Aldebaran NAO humanoid robot, Motoman SV3 XRC robot, an Adept/Mobile Robotics PowerBOT and several systems developed by RASSL.

Wind and Hurricane Impacts Research Laboratory (WHIRL)

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Jean-Paul Pinelli, Ph.D., P.E., Professor, Civil Engineering, Director. WHIRL is dedicated to the study of the effects and impacts of windstorms including hurricanes, tornadoes and thunderstorms, and other related meteorological hazards (e.g., flooding and tidal surges) on the natural environment and manmade structures. The laboratory involves a multidisciplinary team of engineers, scientists and business experts. It takes advantage of a geographic location in the heart of Florida’s Space Coast to serve the needs of industry, government and the public in wind hazard mitigation. The laboratory’s activities include research on mitigation of losses of life, property and the environment; education of the public through dissemination of information; and the development of a multidisciplinary program of study focused on wind engineering and wind-related socioeconomic studies and analyses. Research topics in the laboratory include action of strong winds and storm surges on structures; evaluation of codes, standards and retrofitting techniques for buildings and infrastructure systems; risk assessment for existing structures, coastal erosion, sediment transport and environmental damage due to storm surges and floods; development of remote sensing tools for assessing and monitoring hurricane damage, wind speed and flood levels; fundamental wind and meteorological research; wind tunnel modeling and testing; and statistical studies, analysis of economic impacts and development of potential damage maps for hurricane hazards in Florida.

Laser, Optics and Instrumentation Laboratory (LOIL)

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Kunal Mitra, Ph.D., Professor, Mechanical Engineering and Chelakara Subramanian, Ph.D., P.Eng (UK), Professor and Program Chair, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Co-Directors. The Laser, Optics and Instrumentation Laboratory (LOIL) is focused on performing research primarily in the field of biomedical engineering and fluid flow diagnostics using optical techniques. A major research thrust is using short-pulse lasers and optics to develop new techniques for measuring and characterizing tissue and material properties. Biomedical applications focus on minimally invasive techniques for detecting and irradiating cancer/tumors using ultra-short pulsed laser system. Current research is geared towards skin and brain cancer/tumors. Material characterization/ processing applications involve detection of defects in materials and thermal response of materials subjected to high-energy radiation. Selective laser melting process is being used for production of medical and dental implants. Another research area focuses on developing a portable and objective noninvasive tool to evaluate physiological cerebral dysfunction in patients who have sustained concussive head injury. A technique has been developed that could be used in clinical evaluations by implementing cerebral oximetry using near infrared spectroscopy and cerebral bioimpedance with novel algorithms to evaluate mechanisms that control cerebral blood flow. The challenge of integrating laser sources, system optics, instrumentation, measurement schemes and data acquisition provides both graduate and undergraduate students with new learning experiences in these areas. Major equipment currently in use includes mode-locked short-pulse laser, Q-switched pulsed laser, short-pulse diode laser, high-power continuous wave lasers, ultrafast photodetectors and oscilloscope, streak camera, high speed CO2 laser engraving cutting machine, miscellaneous optics and optical accessories, thermal camera and image processing systems.