Research Centers and Labs

In the College of Engineering and Architecture (CEA) we are continuously dedicated to the advancement of higher education. In the growing age of today’s global society, technology and its mode of evolution are incessantly progressing; leaving institutions of higher education with the task of producing graduates skilled in the area of problem solving to produce scientific solutions.

Faculty and staff within CEA have recognized this preeminent need and are dedicated to leading the 21 century’s next generation of engineers and architects. To ensure that the College of Engineering and Architecture sustains its commitment, intricate departmental laboratories have been constructed to develop the minds of CEA’ young students. These laboratories operate under the leadership and are instructed by some of the most scholarly faculty that Howard University has to offer.

A listing of the laboratories by engineering concentration are provided below:

Department of Chemical Engineering

Physical and Chemical Environmental Processes Laboratory
Director, Dr. Ramesh Chawla

In the Physical and Chemical Environmental Processes Laboratory research is being conducted to understand fundamental mechanisms of transformation using physical/chemical processes for hazardous waste remediation. Mass transfer and reaction kinetic rates of redox reactions, containing halogenated organic compounds, such as TCE, TCA and PCE, and heavy metals like chromium, lead and cesium in aqueous and soil media, are being investigated. Results from these investigations will lead to better design strategies for hazardous waste site remediation systems.

Bioprocess and Bioenvironmental Engineering Laboratory
Director, Dr. John Tharakan

In the Bioprocess and Bioenvironmental Engineering Laboratory research focuses on the development of bioseparation processes for the recovery of biotherapeutics from complex bioreactor supernatants and on the use of biological agents, including microbes and earthworms, to investigate their potential for use in bioremediation for the cleanup of contaminated environmental media, including water, soils and sediments. Cometabolic biotransformation, in situ and ex situ bioremediation and development of novel bioreactors for contaminated media treatment and protein production are areas of study in this lab. Results from these investigations will lead to better design and development in the broad field of environmental remediation and restoration.

Bioassembly and Nanomechanics Laboratory
Director, Dr. Preethi Chandran

In the Bioassembly and Nanomechanics Laboratory the goal is to harness the self-assembly interactions of semi rigid biopolymers (eg. DNA, aggrecan, collagen) to create nanostructured materials for use in drug-delivery and regenerative medicine. An integrated research approach is used that spans nano-scale biophysics and mm-scale mechanics, and combines both experimental and computational capabilities. Techniques like Atomic Force Microscopy, Dynamic Light Scattering, and Rheology are used to probe the individual and group dynamics of biomolecules. A modeling theory is being developed for simulating semi-dilute biomolecule physics reliably but at reduced computational cost.

Biofilm Engineering and Drug Discovery Laboratory
Director, Dr. Patrick Ymele-Leki

In the Biofilm Engineering and Drug Discovery Laboratory the long-term goals of the research group are to enhance current antimicrobial arsenal and to further the understanding and control of complex microbial communities. The research program focuses on (i) the development and implementation of high‐ and low- throughout 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. This approach combines the benefits of physiologically and industrially relevant assays with a target validation approach superior to that typically encountered for either drug discovery screening or biofilm resistance studies.

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Passive Seismic Protective Systems (PSPS)
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. For more information on the recent research projects please visit:,, All inquiries should be directed to Dr. Claudia Marin-Artieda, by phone 202-806-6580 or by email

The Howard University Transportation Research Center (HUTRC)
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.

The center welcomes opportunities to work with other universities, transportation centers and transportation agencies. For more information, please visit All inquiries should be directed to the center’s Director, Dr. Stephen Arhin, by phone 202-806-4798 or by email:

The Howard University Structural Simulation Laboratory
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. All inquiries should be directed to Dr. Claudia Marin-Artieda, by phone 202-806-6580 or by email

Environmental And Water Resources Engineering (EWRE)
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.

The Center for Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology (CEINT)
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

Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation (CRESP)
The multi-university Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation (CRESP) has served DOE and its stakeholders since 1995, currently through a cooperative agreement (2006 – 2017) awarded to Vanderbilt University. The objective of CRESP is to advance cost-effective, risk-based cleanup of the nation’s nuclear weapons production facility waste sites and cost-effective, risk-based management of potential future nuclear sites and wastes. This is accomplished by seeking to improve the scientific and technical basis for environmental management decisions by the Department of Energy (DOE) and by fostering public participation in that search. The CRESP Management Board is comprised of technical, engineering, scientific and policy experts from ten university consortium member institutions: Vanderbilt University, Howard University, New York University School of Law, Oregon State University, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey, University of Arizona, University of Pittsburgh, University of Wisconsin – Madison, and Georgia Institute of Technology. Howard University Contact person, Dr. Kimberly Jones

Department of Energy’s Minority Serving Institutions Partnership (MSIPP)
Three investigators at Howard University were recently awarded grants through the Department of Energy’s Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program, which aims to build a sustainable pipeline between DOE sites and MSI’s in STEM areas. The first project aims to improve the treatment process at two DOE sites, Hanford and Savannah River by improving the membrane treatment process. Crossflow filtration is an integral part of the waste remediation and vitrification process at the Hanford and Savannah River Sites, as each site requires separation of solids from liquid prior to downstream processing. Although microfiltration has been identified as a suitable separation process, ongoing fouling problems hinder the process and threaten to negatively affect the timeline and cost estimates for the overall remediation plan. The overall goals of this project are to understand the mechanistic underpinnings of fouling behavior observed in Hanford and Savannah River crossflow filtration units, recommend appropriate modifications to the filtration process that would reduce fouling and increase overall process efficiency, and develop appropriate parameters for a predictive fouling model. The contact person for this project is Dr. Kimberly Jones

The second project in CEE involves removal of radioiodine from groundwater at the Hanford site. Understanding impacts of other geochemical parameters, specifically oxygen and nitrate, on microbial transformation of iodate will be important in controlling fate and transport of radioiodine in the subsurface. Controlled laboratory studies using stable iodine (127I) are proposed to determine the effects of oxygen and nitrate on iodate transformation kinetics by isolates and consortia isolated from Hanford groundwater. Through this research it is expected that an enhanced understanding of iodate reduction to iodide in the presence of nitrate will be identified and clarification on the role of oxic or anaerobic conditions will be determined. We believe that it will serve as a small advancement toward understanding the fate and transport of 129I at the Hanford site and similar installations around the world. The contact person for this project is Dr. Charles Glass

Department of Computer Science

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.

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.

Computational Biology and Algorithms Laboratory
Directors, Dr. Chunmei Liu; Dr. Mugizi Rwebangira; 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; 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; 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 Laboratory
Directors, Dr. Wayne Patterson; Dr. Moses Garuba

In the Cybersecurity Laboratory the vision is to provide leadership for information security and assurance (ISA) education, research, and practice, to promote collaborative ISA activities within and outside the Howard University's boundaries, to prepare the next generation of professionals in embarking on a life-long commitment to ISA based on ethical and professional conduct, and to pursue excellence in ISA technology and practice.

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

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.

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)
Directors, Dr. John Anderson; Dr. Mihai Dimian

The Electromagnetic Imaging and Modeling Laboratory 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.

Department of Mechanical Engineering

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

Aerodynamics Research Laboratory
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.

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.

Thermally Integrated Phononics Laboratory (TIP)
Director, Dr. James Hammonds

The Thermally Integrated Phononics (TIP) Laboratory develops plastic composites with novel heat conduction properties. Phonon resonance nanoparticles dispersed in the plastic lattice enable new thermal properties that will help mobile devices use more powerful electronics. Work of the lab exhibits how temperature dependent phononic resonances can be used for temperature sensing, paving the way for phononic thermosensors.

Stout Infrastructure, Geotechnics and Materials Laboratory (SIGMa)

Director, Dr. Hessam Yazdani

The multidisciplinary research at SIGMa is dedicated to fostering sustainability and resilience in civil and marine infrastructure through 1) developing high-performance and multifunctional materials, 2) addressing the geotechnical aspects of renewable energy sources, 3) incorporating reliability and optimization into the design of interacting geotechnical and structural systems and 4) improving the durability of civil and marine infrastructure.


Lewis Receives 2019 BEYA Student Athlete Award

Wed, March, 6 2019

Computer Engineering Senior Cameron Lewis received the 2019 Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) Student Athlete Award for his high academic and athletic performance – mastering his skills in the classroom and on the court. BEYA represents global excellence and competitiveness in STEM (BEYA).Read More >>

Creating a Healthy Global Water Environment

Tue, February, 26 2019

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), in coordination with the newly-formed Howard University Water Environment Association (HUWEA), hosted a panel on careers in protecting human health and the environment – becoming a water professional. The theme: “A community of empowered professionals creating a healthy global water environment”. Read More >>


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