Calling Dr. Brilliant

Dr Larry Brilliant gives polio drops to baby

When this seasoned epidemiologist launched his unconventional career in 1969, he fit the bill as the ‘hippie doctor’ with a penchant for Ram Dass and Wavy Gravy. Since then, this aptly named frontline worker has won public health victories over smallpox, blindness, Ebola, and COVID-19. Next? Monkeypox.

  1. Return of the creature feature … on TikTok

    Charlie Engelman, BS ‘14, counts 1.6M followers at ‘oddanimalspecimens,’ his wildly entertaining take on the slimy and sublime. Fun facts abound at U-M’s research collections as Engelman tweezes and teaches his way around spiny lumpsuckers, blood-sucking sea lampreys, and more.

  2. The star who skipped every class

    Just after the 1909 football season, ‘The New York Times’ broke news of a scandal in Ann Arbor: Wolverine James Joy Miller, Fielding Yost’s star halfback and captain-elect, had neglected to enroll at Michigan. ‘The whole university is sick about the business,’ the paper reported.

  3. U-M supports Ukrainian scholars at risk

    As academic research in Ukraine ceased due to the Russian invasion in February 2022, U-M created a 12-month fellowship that offers a life-saving and intellectual home to Ukrainian scholars. Research areas vary from human rights to cyber warfare.

  4. U-M reports record $1.71B in annual research volume

    Total research volume at the University increased by 8.4% in FY ’22, fueling innovations in global health, Great Lakes water quality, firearm violence, and driverless vehicle technologies. FY ’22 also marked a record high of $973M in federally sponsored research expenditures.

  5. First light at the most powerful laser in the U.S.

    Michigan Engineering recently fired up the Zetawatt-Equivalent Ultrashort pulse laser System, promising new developments in medicine, electronics, and national security. Funded by the National Science Foundation, ZEUS will explore the physics of the quantum universe.

  6. Engineering tough: Taking the F-150 electric

    As chief nameplate engineer for the F-150 Lightning, Linda Zhang, BSE EE ’96/MSE CE ’98/MBA ’11, has impacted the design, development, and delivery of the electric vehicle, as well as the creation of its new manufacturing plant and Ford’s marketing campaign.

Watershed moments

Let’s raise a cool glass to U-M’s civil and environmental engineers who are creating a remote, real-time network of water sensors on the streams and rivers of Macomb County. The network allows local NGOs, government officials, river users, and decision-makers to observe and adapt to changes in flow dynamics across seasons, conditions, and long-term climate changes. Images are by Marcin Szczepanski, College of Engineering.

  • Diagnosis

    Students and faculty in U-M’s Digital Water Lab at the College of Engineering (COE) are collaborating with experts in the Center for Social Solutions (CSS) in the College of Literature, Science & the Arts to measure and better understand flooding in vulnerable communities.

     

     

    Engineers on bridge
  • Installation

    American businesses are expected to lose $50 billion in output in 2022 alone due to flooding, says COE’s Branko Kerkez, Arthur F. Thurnau associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. Flooding creates more damage than earthquakes and forest fires put together, he says.

     

    Experts install sensors on bridge
  • Timing is everything

    When installed throughout a watershed, these cost-effective devices will provide researchers with greater situational awareness of a flooding event in real time.

     

    Setting up sensor on bridge
  • Response and recovery

    The partnership with COE’s Kerkez and his team emphasizes the connection between data and humans, says Julie Arbit, research associate in the Center for Social Solutions (CSS).

    “We’re looking at the response and recovery phases of disasters: Who is flooded at this moment, what resources do they need, and how much damage has been incurred?”

    Measurements at the bridge
  • Making sense

    Addressing social inequity is a large motivator for the kind of engineering work Kerkez does. The collaboration with Arbit and CSS is ideal, he says.

    “Rather than just us as engineers focusing on flooding and saying, ‘Hey we have interesting solutions,’ we actually can work with somebody who understands how the community functions and what their priorities are so that the solutions we build actually make sense.”

  • Scaling up

    Researchers are evaluating “a ton of different variables and exploring a lot of different datasets,” to create a scalable methodology for application elsewhere, says CSS’ Arbit.

    “When you are able to evaluate on a very small scale how vulnerable or how resilient households are, you can make sure that equity is built into new policies, not just equality,” she says.

    Bridge