Engineering students Ahmed Arabi Hassen and Nicolas Willis from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Hanyu Zhang from the Department of Biomedical Engineering were all recently awarded Caroline P. Ireland Research Travel Scholarships.

These scholarships are awarded annually to UAB students who must travel to out-of-state locations to get access to library materials, to study at out-of-state research sites, or to learn new research techniques required to complete their research projects.

ahmed1Ahmed HassenHassen is a doctoral student who has worked in the Materials Processing and Applications Development (MPAD) Center for more than three years. His research into long fiber thermoplastics (LFT) is providing insight into how fibers are oriented during the manufacturing of composites. To do that, he will use the scholarship to travel to Minnesota to take advantage of a technique known as high-resolution digital computed topography that is not available at UAB. This technique is essential to comprehensively complete his work on LFTs.

nic1Nicolas WillisWilllis is a graduate student who is working on a thesis on metal casting cost estimation. The Ireland scholarship will help him travel to foundries in different regions of the country to collect work-measurement data. He plans to complete his thesis this summer.

Zhang is currently working on optical mapping of the heart. Such mapping is usually performed on non-contracting hearts, but Zhang is part of a group that is developing a method that can simultaneously record cardiac mechanical deformation and cardiac electrophysiological activity in isolated hearts with a working left ventricle.

zhang2Hanyu ZhangZhang will use the Ireland scholarship to work with a team at George Washington University in a mutually beneficial collaboration. “Our goal is to combine UAB’s motion-tracking and correction method, which is not available at GWU, with their biventricular working heart model and NADH fluorescence method, which is not available at UAB,” says Zhang. “This will give both groups a more complete picture of the effects of stretch and mitochondrial redox state on arrhythmia induction during acute ischemic events.”

Students are nominated for Ireland scholarships by their graduate program director and their mentor. Selection of the recipients is based on an evaluation of each nominees research travel needs by a faculty selection committee.