Research Centers and Labs

Research Centers

Data Science and Cybersecurity Center (DSC2)
Director: Dr. Danda B. Rawat
The Data Science and Cybersecurity Center (DSC2) was formed as part of a new initiative at Howard University to create a world-class center for cybersecurity, cyber-event forecasting, cyber-actor behavior understanding, threat intelligence, threat modeling and analysis, cyber resiliency and defense, and data science. This initiative begins with a collaborative cohort of researchers drawn from multiple disciplines to solving the most critical problems related to cybersecurity and data science. It leads and promotes the mission of the College of Engineering and Architecture - to provide faculty and students the opportunity to work on contemporary technological innovation related to cybersecurity that mirrors today’s industry and society.

Howard University Transportation Research Center (HUTRC)
Director: Dr. Stephen Arhin
The Howard University Transportation Research Center (HUTRC) was established in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department to lead interdisciplinary urban transportation research in Washington, DC. The Center seeks the mutual interest of the University and its sponsors. Since 1998, HUTRC has embarked upon research, training and outreach in areas such as transportation policy, management, economics, law, as well as engineering.

Howard University works with a consortium of colleges and universities to supplement their engineering expertise, professional skills and research capabilities. The university also engages consultants with a history of transportation research specialties. HUTRC is cognizant of the need to collaborate with other universities and consultants to meet the center’s goal of:
1. Providing the highest quality of service to its partners and the community
2. Providing safe, economically efficient, and environmentally sustainable solutions to meet the transportation needs of the District.

Center for Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology (CEINT)
Director: Dr. Kimberly Jones
The Center for Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology (CEINT) is dedicated to elucidating the relationship between a vast array of nanomaterials — from natural, to manufactured, to those produced incidentally by human activities — and their potential environmental exposure, biological effects, and ecological consequences. Headquartered at Duke University, CEINT is a collaboration between Duke, Carnegie Mellon University, Howard University, and Virginia Tech with investigators from the University of Kentucky and Standford University. Created in 2008 with funding from the National Science Foundation and the US Environmental Protection Agency, with funding renewed through 2018, CEINT performs fundamental research on the behavior of nano-scale materials in ecosystems that will provide guidance in assessing existing and future concerns surrounding the environmental implications of nanomaterials. Contact at Howard University for this center is Dr. Kimberly Jones:

Center for Energy Systems and Control (CESaC)
Director: Dr. James Momoh

The Center for Energy Systems and Control (CESaC) is an interdisciplinary Research and Education Center at Howard University that is aimed at pioneering research in electric energy systems and control, power, environment, economics and energy markets for terrestrial, space, and off-shore energy systems. The mission of the Center is to engage in research associated with the totality of energy systems and control and develop 21st Century leadership in the development of Efficient and Reliable Infrastructure using state of the art technology.

Howard Nanoscale Science and Engineering Facility (HNF)
Director: Dr. Gary Harris

The Howard Nanoscale Science and Engineering Facility (HNF) is a state-of-the-art nanotechnology center with laboratories open to academia, small and large industry and government for nanoscience research, engineering and product development. At HNF the goal is to assist users in the research, development and manufacturing of quality nanotechnology that is pollution-free, standards-compliant and environmentally friendly. The mission of the facility is to provide research experience for undergraduate students, research experience for teachers, and nano education to students and the community at-large.

NSF Engineering Research Center for Power Optimization for Electro-Thermal Systems (POETS)
Director and PI: Dr. Sonya T. Smith; Co-PIs: Dr. James Hammonds and Dr. Charles Kim

The Power Optimization for Electro-Thermal Systems (POETS) center attacks the thermal and electrical challenges surrounding mobile electronics and vehicle design as a single system. The POETS ERC aims to pack more power into less space for electrical technologies on the move by integrating novel 3-D cooling circuitry, power converters and algorithms for smart power management. The results of the research will enable the manufacture of lighter, more compact and more efficient power electronic systems for electric vehicles, airplanes, construction equipment, handheld tools and other mobile applications.

Research Labs

Biomolecular Assemblies and Nanomechanics (BAN) Laboratory
PI: Dr. Preethi Chandran

The Biomolecular Assemblies and Nanomechanics (BAN) Laboratory is interested in the engineering design behind self-assembled nanoscale structures of semiflexible biopolymers (DNA, aggrecan, and collagen, etc), and in using these nanostructures as physical containers for drug delivery and tissue regeneration. Research efforts have resulted in the development of an integrated approach to study these bioassemblies, from the single-molecule interactions to the group polymer dynamics to the nanomechanics of the final complex. Techniques like Atomic Force Microscopy, Dynamic Light Scattering, and Rheology allow the investigation of the biomolecule physics at different stages of self-assembly. The lab is also engaged in developing a multi-scale modeling theory for semi-dilute biopolymers. This theory is based on our string-of-continuous-beams polymer model. The theory makes it possible to model coarse-grain biopolymer self-assembly at reduced cost but with high orders of polymer interaction.

Physical/Chemical Environmental Processes Laboratory
PI: Dr. Ramesh Chawla

Several products and by-products of industrial processes are very toxic and hazardous to the health of terrestrial and aquatic life forms. Industrialization has helped advance technology but at the cost of contaminating the natural environment. Wastewater and other industrial effluents leach through the earth crust, adsorb on to the surface of soil particles and contaminate subsurface aquifers resulting in the pollution of ground water and many drinking water sources. The laboratory focuses on fundamental and applied studies to remove these environmental contaminants or reduce them to non-toxic forms. Recent remediation efforts have targeted Hexavalent Chromium, Cr(VI), and Trichloroethylene, TCE, which have been classified by the USEPA as known carcinogens. Our group has investigated the reductive degradation of co-contaminant medium of TCE and Cr(VI) as well as the kinetics of their simultaneous transformation, using atomized iron powder.

Nanomaterials Processing Laboratory
PI: Dr. James W. Mitchell

The characterization and reaction chemistry of high-technology materials, especially those required in unprecedentedly high states of purity, are investigated using any of the appropriate analytical tools and methods. In the case of photonic and electronic materials, research activities cover a broad range, which includes assessing the state of purity of materials by developing novel analytical methods and instruments for extreme trace elemental analysis, devising new approaches for ultrapurification of analytical reagents and process chemicals through elucidation of chemical reaction pathways of trace elements, and innovating new contamination-free processes for generating precursors for synthesizing thin film materials and devices. Specific areas of research interests include 1) Nanomaterials Characterization Chemistry and Processing Research and 2) Synthesis and Processing of Ultrapure Reagents and Materials.

Bioprocess Engineering Laboratory
PI: Dr. Solmaz Tabtabaei

Expanding our energy supply sources with less environmental impacts requires creating more sustainable and secure energy systems. The laboratory research activities are mostly focused on developing novel catalytic processes for the sustainable production of advanced biofuels and biochemical from biomass resources. Experimental and theoretical approaches are used to understand the fundamental processes governing biomass conversion. The goal is also to develop environmentally clean bio-separation technologies for concurrent recovery of high-quality food and biofuel from plant-based materials with the aim of addressing major issues in sustainable energy, human nutrition, and the environment.

Bioenvironmental Engineering Laboratory
PI: Dr. John Tharakan

Areas of research interest to the laboratory include environmental engineering and biotechnology, appropriate technology development and education, and sustainable development. Bioenvironmental engineering research focuses on the use of biological technologies for the remediation of contaminated environmental media. Appropriate technology research has had specific focus on technologies for water treatment and conservation, renewable energy production using solar and biomass resources, and waste management and resource recovery. Collaboration with Engineers Without Borders student chapter also covers research work on appropriate water, sanitation and energy technology implementation in developing communities in Senegal, Kenya and El Salvador.

Bio-nano Interfaces, Functional Materials & Biotechnologies Laboratory
PI: Dr. Tao Wei

The laboratory focuses on fundamental studies of interfacial phenomena (adsorption, docking, charge transfer, self-assembling and complex gas-surface or liquid-surface chemical reactions), especially those related with bio-nano hybrids, for the purpose of developing functional materials and biotechnologies to tackle challenges in health, energy and environment. To achieve process-structure-function design, house-developed multiscale simulation framework (quantum, atomistic, mesoscopic and continuum scales) are combined with theories (Statistical Mechanics and quantum) and experiments at the interface between chemistry, physics and biology. Bthe fundamental studies, the lab is working on four specific areas: 1) biomaterials (peptide mimics/proteins, DNA/RNA/nucleic acids and lipids) and biotechniques (biosensors, drug delivery, bioremediation and bioenergy); 2) polymer-nanoparticle composite materials for water treatment and semiconducting polymers for polymer photovoltaics; 3) materials at severe conditions (such as high temperature and high pressure) for energy applications; and 4) low-dimensional or nanoporous materials (such as graphene sheet(s), CNT, zeolites and MOFs) for biosensing, energy and pollution control (water/air).

Biofilm Engineering and Drug Discovery (BEDD) Laboratory
PI: Dr. Patrick Ymele-Leki

The BEDD research program focuses on (i) the development and implementation of high‐ and low- throughput screening assays for the identification of novel small molecules with antimicrobial activity, (ii) the development and characterization of physiologically and industrially relevant multispecies in vitro biofilm models for the identification of potential drug targets, and (iii) the in vivo assessment of cytotoxicity and pharmacokinetics parameters and hypothesis‐driven validation of antimicrobial drug targets for site colonization related to biofilm formation. Long-term research goals are to enhance current antimicrobial arsenal and further understanding of complex microbial communities. Current work and collaborative research projects include (i) the investigation of the impact of biofilm structural features (i.e., porosity, diffusional distance, biomass, and biovolume) and physical fluid forces on the efficacy of known antimicrobial agents; (ii) the evaluation of potential antimicrobial challenge mechanisms as a strategy for in situ biofilm control; and (iii) the identification of novel chemical probes and microbial targets and development of novel drug delivery strategies in biofilm settings.

Passive Seismic Protective Systems (PSPS)
PI: Dr. Claudia Marin-Artieda

Research efforts on Passive Seismic Protective Systems (PSPS) at Howard University focus to advance knowledge about PSPS to secure critical infrastructure such as buildings—its contents and components—and bridges that are subject to extreme load conditions—earthquakes, tsunamis, and hurricanes. Current research involves theoretical and numerical analysis together with real-environment, full-scale experimental testing on the dynamic interaction of structural systems, nonstructural components and systems, and their protective measures under earthquake shaking.

Current research on PSPS has been supported by the National Science Foundation in the following projects:
1. Passive Seismic Protective Systems for Nonstructural Systems and Components in Multistory Building.
2. Innovative Seismic Retrofits for Reinforced Concrete Buildings.
3. Full-Scale Structural and Nonstructural Building System Performance during Earthquakes

Research activities on PSPS include: 1) experimental and theoretical simulations, 2) modeling of dynamic response of structures, nonstructural components and systems, and protective measures to predict the responses by using analytical and computational mechanics tools, 3) validating through experimentation mathematical models that predict behavior of mechanical systems under extreme loading condition, and 4) finding simple procedures and methodologies to support design procedures and verification processes in engineering practice.

The Howard University Structural Simulation Laboratory
PI: Dr. Claudia Marin-Artieda

The Howard University Structural Simulation Laboratory (HUSSL) is an undergraduate research and educational facility dedicated to foster the understanding of structural engineering fundamentals, visualization and experimental demonstrations of concepts on general behavior of structural elements and systems, introduction to structural design using high-performance materials and systems, introduction to emerging technologies for multi-hazard protection of civil engineering structures. The HUSSL research projects emphasize experimental and theoretical simulations, modeling of responses of structures under different load conditions and protective measures. HUSSL also is the base of operations of the Ambassadors of Engineering program. This Ambassador program is managed by CEE students engaging Howard University undergraduate engineering students in outreach from K-12 grades and the general public, and promotion of careers in engineering.

Environmental And Water Resources Engineering (EWRE)
PI: Dr. Kimberly Jones
The research efforts in the Environmental And Water Resources Engineering (EWRE) group foster education and research on water quality and treatment, wastewater treatment, storm water monitoring and quality, fate and transport of contaminants, and hazardous waste treatment. These centers fosters opportunities for collaboration in broad fields such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, and systems engineering in order to prepare graduates for exciting environmental careers in government, private sector and academia.

Motion Control and Drives Laboratory
Director: Dr. Ahmed Rubaai

The Motion Control and Drives Laboratory specialize in experimental research in real-time software/hardware systems and control in a broad range of industrial systems applications. The lab supports undergraduate/graduate education and research in hardware-in- the-loop simulation and rapid prototyping, real-time computing software/hardware systems, advanced modeling and control techniques, digital controller prototyping, intelligent and learning control systems, variable frequency power electronic motor drives, with an emphasis on emerging applications in areas ranging from robotics, mechatronics, intelligent structures, renewable energy and smart grid, factory automation, motion control business, building automation and smart homes, power system automation and SCADA, and research applications related to Homeland Defense.

Electromagnetic Imaging and Modeling Laboratory (EMM)
Director: Dr. John Anderson

EMM is focused on the problem of detecting land mines and improvised explosive devices using forward looking ground penetrating radar. The EMM Laboratory team members are developing new algorithms for reconstructing radar images and improved modeling methods for determining certain material properties of potential targets within a scene-of- interest. The Army Research Office and Army Research Laboratory are supporting the activities of the EMM Laboratory.

Affective Biometrics Laboratory
Director: Dr. Gloria Washington

In the Affective Biometrics Laboratory, research is performed on how human emotion and/or identity can be recognized through the use of physical or behavioral characteristics including heart rate, skin temperature and sweat pores, brain waves, and body language gathered from images, video, and biological sensors.

Embedded Systems Security Laboratory
Director: Dr. Gedare Bloom

In the Embedded Systems Security Laboratory, the research and teaching laboratory explores the relationships between safety and security in the context of real-time embedded systems with a specific focus on cyber-physical systems.

Computational Biology and Algorithms Laboratory
Directors: Dr. Chunmei Liu, Dr. Mugizi Rwebangira and Dr. Legand Burge

The Computational Biology and Algorithms Laboratory works on designing algorithms for biological problems, as well as on theoretical computer science and graph algorithm studies.

Computer Networks and Distributed Systems Laboratory
Directors: Dr. Jiang Li and Dr. Legand Burge

The Computer Networks and Distributed Systems Laboratory studies various cutting-edge topics in computer networks (such as cognition-based networks) as well as the deployment and use issues of distributed software/hardware systems. Both theoretical and experimental aspects are taken into consideration. Collaboration is done with other research groups on cross cutting problems such as network security.

Software Engineering Laboratory
Directors: Dr. Peter Keiller and Dr. Harry Keeling

The Software Engineering Laboratory research group focuses on how to analyze, design, build, test, and maintain safe and reliable software systems. The group has published extensively in international software engineering journals and conferences. Group members work on a very broad research base which includes, research into embedded and real-time systems, communications, databases, software design techniques, user interfaces and human-computer interaction, distributed systems engineering, software measurement and quality, software testing, software processes, reuse, requirements engineering, and software tools.

Cybersecurity and Wireless Networking Innovations Laboratory (CWiNS)
Director: Dr. Danda B. Rawat

The mission of the CWiNS lab is to advance the state-of-the-art technologies in cybersecurity and wireless networks for emerging networked cyber physical systems (smart grid, transportation, Internet of Things, UAV). The CWiNS group engages in fundamental research as well as applied research. The CWiNS lab provides a diverse and rich educational and research environment promoting interdisciplinary research projects. The CWiNS lab also serves as a diverse and rich educational center serving the students of the university as well as its region.

Signal Processing and Communication Laboratory
Director: Dr. Mohamed Chouikha

The Power Optimization for Electro-Thermal Systems (POETS)
Director: Dr. Sonya T. Smith, PI
Co-PIs: Dr. James Hammonds; Dr. Charles Kim (EECS)

The Power Optimization for Electro-Thermal Systems (POETS) center attacks the thermal and electrical challenges surrounding mobile electronics and vehicle design as a single system. The POETS ERC aims to pack more power into less space for electrical technologies on the move by integrating novel 3-D cooling circuitry, power converters and algorithms for smart power management. The results of the research will enable the manufacture of lighter, more compact and more efficient power electronic systems for electric vehicles, airplanes, construction equipment, handheld tools and other mobile applications.

Applied Fluid Dynamics Research Laboratory (AFDRL)
Director: Dr. Sonya T. Smith

The Aerodynamics Research Laboratory provides experimental and computations fluid dynamics (CFD) solutions for fluid dynamics applications. The research concentrates on problems involving airfoil aerodynamics, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), and problems in unmanned air vehicle design (UAVs). In the lab research also includes biological fluid flow research for drug delivery and auditory mechanics. The lab contains a 17” test-section subsonic wind tunnel for airfoil design and validation and a 125-node HPC cluster for CFD modeling.

Applied Mechanics and Materials Research Laboratory (AMMRL)
Directors: Dr. Gbadebo Moses Owolabi and Dr. H.A. Whitworth

The Applied Mechanics and Materials Research Laboratory (AMMRL) supports research activities in the areas of materials testing and characterization for advanced materials at various strain rates and temperature. AMMRL is located in Room G 021, L.K. Downing Engineering Building at Howard University. The laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art instruments. These include: split Hopkinson pressure bars; two uniaxial load frames (one MTS and one Instron machine); two biaxial thermomechanical servohydrualic test systems; high speed digital cameras with frame rate of 1 million frames per second; a digital image correlation system with frame rate of 60 frames per second; an infra-red tomography system; long distance optical microscope with cameras; Nikon MA200 metallurgical microscopes and several specimen preparation tools including Struer’s secotom-15 (for cutting sample) and labopol-5 (for polishing).

Digital Manufacturing Laboratory (DML)
Director: Dr. Grant Warner

The Digital Manufacturing Laboratory (DML) is a member lab in the Consortium for Additive Manufacturing (CAM). CAM is funded by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and is comprised of several HBCUs in partnership with federal manufacturing facilities and labs, including NNSA’s KC Plant, Oakridge National Lab, and Y-12. CAM is exploring the applicability of Additive Manufacturing to the US War Reserve (WR) and Work for Others (WFO) mission space. A major technical hurdle is the development of material standards that characterize the performance of the materials after they have been processed into a part. DML activities are focused on the verification of the material properties of additively manufactured parts under changing manufacturing parameters.

Surface Engineering and Nanofluids Laboratory (SENL)
Director: Dr. Mohsen Mosleh

In the Surface Engineering and Nanofluids Laboratory (SENL) research focuses on understanding the interactions of contacting surfaces in different scales and devising innovative engineering solutions to reduce/eliminate their degradation over time. Surface engineering techniques are being used in a variety of applications including automotive, aerospace, power, electronic, biomedical, textile, petroleum, chemical, machine tools and construction industries. The main thrusts of research include cutting Nano fluids for manufacturing processes, Nano fluids for thermal and lubrication management, Nano lubricants for energy efficiency in engines and transmissions, vehicle tribology, rolling contact fatigue, hybrid bearings, surface texturing, contact mechanics, and Nano tribology.


CEA Women Faculty Doubles, While Women Assistant Professors Quadruple

Tue, July, 31 2018

The percentage of women faculty in the College of Engineering and Architecture (CEA) has doubled since 2015. The percentage of women assistant professors has quadrupled. Read More >>

Pre-College Engineering and Science Summer Academy Closing Ceremony

Mon, July, 23 2018

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Professors James Momoh and Peter Bofah successfully concluded their annual Pre-College Engineering and Science (PCES) Summer Residential Academy last Friday. Dr. Momoh's team included mentors from among CEA students and EECS graduates. Read More >>