Milestones: December 3

Dec 03 2018

Recent awards, recognitions, and accomplishments from our students and faculty

Agrawal Wins Awards From Amazon, Google

Shipra Agrawal, assistant professor of industrial engineering and operations research, has won two noteworthy awards for her research: the Amazon Research Award (ARA) for her proposal on “New Algorithmic Approaches for Reinforcement Learning, with Application to Integer Programming” and a Google Research Award for her proposal on "Robust Auction Mechanisms under Heterogeneous Buyer Behavior." Her focus for the Amazon award is a specific problem-solving application for building a reinforcement learning agent that can learn to solve Integer Programs (IP). For the Google award, she is studying new robust dynamic mechanisms for optimizing revenue in repeated auctions.

Sun Receives Leonardo Da Vinci Award

Steve WaiChing Sun, assistant professor of civil engineering and engineering mechanics, has won this year’s Leonardo Da Vinci Award given by the Engineering Mechanics Institute (EMI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Considered the most prestigious honor EMI bestows on young researchers, the honor is awarded to researchers generally under 35 years of age “whose contributions have the promise to define new directions in theory and application of Engineering Mechanics, in the vein of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), a man of unquenchable curiosity and feverishly inventive imagination.” Sun is the department's second Leonardo Da Vinci award winner (Professor Haim Waisman won it in 2014) and Department Chair George Deodatis notes that Columbia’s is the only department in the world with more than one winner. Sun received the award May 31 at the Awards Banquet of the EMI 2018 Conference held at MIT, Cambridge, USA.

Morrison Inducted Into AIMBE

Barclay Morrison, professor of biomedical engineering, was inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows on April 9. He was elected for his “outstanding contributions to injury biomechanics and post-traumatic pathophysiological processes to reduce the socioeconomic costs of traumatic brain injury.” Election to the AIMBE College of Fellows is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to a medical and biological engineer. The College of Fellows is comprised of the top two percent of medical and biological engineers. Morrison joined 156 colleagues who make up the AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2018 at the induction ceremony was held during the AIMBE Annual Meeting at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC.

Danino Co-Winner of Precision Medicine Award

Tal Danino, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, together with Nicholas Arpaia, assistant professor of microbiology & immunology, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, won an inaugural Roy and Diana Vagelos Precision Medicine Pilot Award for their proposal on programmable probiotics for personalized cancer immunotherapy. They were one of three teams selected from 56 applications from all Columbia campuses. Their project leverages expertise in synthetic biology and immunology to engineer probiotic strains of bacteria that selectively colonize tumors and elicit systemic, neoantigen-guided anti-tumor immunity. In future studies, the investigators will develop methodologies for identifying patient-specific tumor neoantigen repertoires to create personalized bacterial strains for patient- and tumor-specific immunotherapy. The Vagelos Precision Medicine program supports groundbreaking research in the field of precision medicine that “reflect the high standard, the broad base, and the collaborative nature of precision medicine basic science research being conducted and conceived at Columbia.”