Mark Stremler, a Virginia Tech engineering faculty member, is one of 60 young engineers selected by the organizers of the 2012 Indo-American Frontiers of Engineering Symposium  (IAFOE) to attend this global meeting.

Stremler, an associate professor of engineering science and mechanics, currently directs the MultiScale Transport in Environmental and Physiological Systems (MultiSTEPS) program, an interdisciplinary consortium of Virginia Tech faculty who are preparing future researchers to solve emerging challenges at the intersection of the engineering and biological sciences. The MultiSTEPS program is funded by National Science Foundation's Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program and the Virginia Tech Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program.

"The theme session on Engineering at the Interface of Science fits perfectly with my research interests in biomechanics and my activities with the MultiSTEPS program. I am looking forward to this opportunity to interact with selected colleagues from the US and India," said the MultiSTEPS IGERT director.

Through MultiSTEPS, Stremler has brought together a cadre of experts to educate graduate students on issues of biological transport, such as fluid motion ranging from blood flow to ocean currents, that affect the development and health of organisms, the viability of ecosystems, and growth of the global economy.

"Understanding, predicting, and controlling transport processes such as fluid motion are key to solving important biological and environmental problems in targeted drug delivery for the human body, preventing cancer cell metastasis, and controlling the spread of pollution and disease," Stremler said.

Biologists are not normally trained in the complexity of transient transport or the interdependence of small-scale interactions and large-scale behavior, and in how these various issues might impact biological function. Conversely, engineers typically regard the biological system as a black box, often without much understanding of the basic biological principles governing the system's behavior.

"The discovery, analysis, and solution of critical issues in biological transport requires a new generation of truly interdisciplinary researchers who are educated in both engineering and biology, who merge these perspectives, and who can communicate effectively with fellow researchers, policy makers, and the public," Stremler added.

During the 2012 symposium, four sessions will be covered: Engineering Large Infrastructure for Disaster/Hazards, Intelligent Transportation Systems, Technology Enablers for Advances in Aerospace Materials, and Engineering at the Interface of Science. Speakers from India and the United States will present topics, followed with a question and answer period.

"Dr. Stremler is well suited for bringing insights to this symposium. He has enabled innovations in interdisciplinary research and education. His hallmark is the timely integration of major discoveries in the mechanical sciences with interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate curricula," said Ishwar Puri, department head and N. Waldo Harrison Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics at Virginia Tech.

The IAFOE was initiated in 2005, and the first symposium held in the spring of 2006. The event takes place every year, with the U.S. and India exchanging hosting duties every other year. A total of 30 engineers are chosen from each country.

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