School of engineering and applied science

Early notice of COVID outbreaks

Using research led by Jordan Peccia, the Thomas E. Golden Jr. Professor of Chemical & Environmental Engineering, a new website allows the public to get up-to-date information on COVID-19 infections in several regions of the state, including days-in-advance predictions based on sewage samples. The Yale COVID-19 Wastewater Tracker features the results of research that measures and reports daily concentrations of coronavirus RNA at Connecticut wastewater treatment facilities. It covers nearly one million residents in the state. When there’s an outbreak in a community, it’s critical for the public to have as much information as possible, Peccia said.

Very detailed replication

The ability to replicate materials at the atomic level has gained significant attention in the field of materials science. Although the current technology is limited by a number of factors, Udo Schwarz, professor of mechanical engineering & materials science and department chair, has shown that when working with metallic glasses, there’s virtually no limit to the accuracy that you can achieve when replicating surface features. In APL Materials, he demonstrated a process that can replicate a surface’s features to details of less than one ten-billionth of a meter, or less than 1/20th the diameter of an atom. 

Barcoding cells

The lab of Rong Fan, professor of biomedical engineering, has developed a technology that involves barcoding cells in tissue. It allows for identifying and tracking cells in the native tissue context, and could help researchers answer crucial questions about how tumors form, for instance, or how different organs emerge in early-stage embryos. Fan and his research team created a process that uses a microfluidic device to deliver barcodes for messenger RNAs and proteins. Each is attached to a combination of DNA tags while they are still in the tissue.

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