Science for Human Sake

The 7th International ECS Electrochemical Energy Summit: Human Sustainability
Monday October 2 – Thursday, October 5

Electrochemical Energy Summit

ECS’s Electrochemical Energy Summit brings together policymakers and researchers from around the globe to discuss the ways in which science impacts the planet’s key sustainability issues. In National Harbor, the 7th International ECS Electrochemical Energy Summit: Human Sustainability – Energy, Water, Food, and Health is set to include three distinct symposia: Energy-Water Nexus; The Brain and Electrochemistry; and Sensors for Food Safety, Quality, and Security.

2017 Organizing Group

Eric Wachsman | University of Maryland

Bryan Chin | Auburn University
Lili Deligianni | IBM Corporation Research Center
Christina Bock | National Research Council of Canada

Z03 – Energy-Water Nexus

October 2 and 3, National Harbor 10 room
Energy-Water Nexus will focus on the connection between energy and water and emerging technologies that could improve access to clean, safe, and affordable resources across the globe. In addition to technical sessions ranging from membranes for water purification to fuel cells, the symposium will feature talks from members of federal agencies to discuss funding opportunities.

Energy-Water Nexus Plenary session
Monday, October 2, 1400-1640h

What would Thomas Malthus tell us in the 21st Century?: Experiences in the Water-Energy-Food Nexus from an International Development Perspective
F. Miralles-Wilhelm | Earth Systems Science Interdisciplinary Center

Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm is a hydrologist with research interests in modeling of surface and groundwater systems, climate-hydrology-vegetation interactions, water quality and modeling of the water-energy-food nexus. He has been a Principal Investigator in research sponsored by NASA, NOAA, NSF, USDA, USAID, the World Bank and other agencies, and has worked as a consultant in water resources projects in all five continents for over 20 years.

Prior to his appointment at UMD, he served on the faculty at Northeastern University, the University of Miami, and Florida International University. He also spent 5 years as a civil servant in the Water and Sanitation Division of the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington DC.

He earned a Mechanical Engineering diploma from Universidad Simón Bolívar in Caracas, Venezuela (1987), a MS in Engineering from the University of California, Irvine (1989), and a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1993).

Fernando is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and a Diplomate of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the states of Massachusetts and Florida.

He lives in Bethesda MD with his wife Monica, and is the father of two UMD Terps (Andrea, class of ’18 and Adriana, class of ’20). On nice sunny days, you will most likely find him playing tennis at NASA Goddard, or on the Capital Crescent Trail on his running shoes, his bike, roller blades or his Sector 9 longboard.

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Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems (INFEWS) and Beyond
W. Jones | National Science Foundation

James W. Jones currently is a Program Director with the National Science Foundation for the INFEWS initiative in the Engineering Directorate (CBET Division).

He received a PhD degree from North Carolina State University in Biological and Agricultural Engineering. His research area is on mathematical modeling of cropping systems; interactive effects of climate, soil, water, genetics, and management on productivity; climate risk management and decision support for agriculture; and integration of crop and other models for application at field and broader spatial scales. He co-founded the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Program (AgMIP – and the Florida Climate Institute, a coalition of ten universities in Florida conducting research and outreach activities on climate change and sea level rise and associated impacts and societal responses (

He is recognized globally as a leader in modeling cropping systems and applying them for improving agricultural productivity and resource use efficiency. He has organized and taught courses on concepts and applications of agricultural systems models during the last thirty years. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and Fellow member of AAAS, ASABE, ASA, SSSA, and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the University of Florida.

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Overview of NSF-EPRI Collaboratively Funded Advanced Dry Cooling Program
J. Shi | Electric Power Research Institute

Jessica Shi is a Senior Technical Leader/Manager at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) heading EPRI’s cross-sector power plant cooling technology innovation research.

Shi joined EPRI in 2010. Her key achievements at EPRI include initiation and establishment of the Technology Innovation Water Program and NSF-EPRI Advanced Dry Cooling Program, winning two large DOE-ARPA‑E ARID Program awards and developing a large and diversified portfolio of advanced cooling technologies to reduce power plant cooling water use and consumption.

Before joining EPRI, Dr. Shi was a Principal Aero/Thermal Engineer at Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems. Her responsibilities included developing thermal fluid modeling and design for laser weapon thermal energy storage systems and other thermal management systems, as well as performing compressor and steam turbine airfoil aero and steam valve designs and analysis for naval submarine and surface ship propulsion and generation systems. Before that, she worked as a Lead Engineer in General Electric’s Aircraft Engine Division, where she designed and analyzed turbine airfoil cooling systems and performed life assessment analyses of turbine airfoils. She has also worked on various thermal-cooling R&D projects at BAE Systems, Argonne National Laboratories, Research Associates, and the National Institute of Metrology in Beijing.

Dr. Shi is a lead inventor on several patents for gas turbine airfoil cooling designs and of patent applications for power plant cooling technologies. In addition, she has published numerous papers and reports. Shi has also served as an international conference committee organizer, board member, and session co-chair, and as a reviewer for prestigious journals.

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DOE’s Approach to the Energy Water Nexus: New Opportunities and Solutions
R. Ivester | U.S. Department of Energy

Robert W. Ivester currently serves as the Deputy Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. AMO is focused on creating a fertile innovation environment for advanced manufacturing, enabling vigorous domestic development of new energy-efficient manufacturing processes and materials technologies to reduce the energy intensity and life-cycle energy consumption of manufactured products.

Prior to this position, he served as the Executive Secretary to the Inter-agency working group on Advanced Manufacturing, which was formed in 2011 under the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Technology in the Executive Office of the President, which produced the February 2012 report A National Strategic Plan for Advanced Manufacturing. His research interests include manufacturing process metrology, modeling, and optimization.  He has performed research to quantify uncertainty associated with measurements and model-based predictions of manufacturing process behavior.  In particular, he has performed extensive research on the measurement of temperature and strain during metal cutting.

He has been an instructor for the Johns Hopkins University Engineering for Professionals program for graduate-level studies in manufacturing engineering since 2001. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and received his Ph.D. and Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Master of Science in Manufacturing Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

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Technology’s Role in Sustainable Energy
E. D. Williams | University of Maryland

Ellen Williams is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, where she is working at the interface of energy technology and policy.  Before returning to the University in January of 2017, she was the Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency, ARPA-E, in the Department of Energy.  The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment.

Prior to Senate confirmation for her role in ARPA-E, Dr. Williams had been the Chief Scientist at BP (2010-2014), and a Distinguished University Professor in the Institute of Physical Science and Technology and the Department of Physics at the University of Maryland.  At Maryland she founded and led the University’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Center from 1996 through 2009.

Dr. Williams has a distinguished history of professional service, including chairing the development of the NAS report on Technical Issues for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and extensive work in providing technical advice to the U.S. government, primarily through the Departments of Energy and Defence.  She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a foreign member of the Royal Society (London), a fellow of the American Physical Society, American Vacuum Society and American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has been recognized by awards from the American Physical Society and the Materials Research Society.

Z04 – The Brain and Electrochemistry

October 3, 4, and 5, National Harbor 11 room
The Brain and Electrochemistry will focus on research and developments in the brain, central nervous system, and the peripheral nervous system and aims to open the doors to this exciting field for electrochemical and solid state scientists, highlighting interdisciplinary approaches to emerging technologies and potential funding streams from government and other large agencies.

Summit on Neural Health session
Tuesday, October 3, 0800-1200h

Brain Initiative & Biomaterials Research Support at the National Science Foundation
A. Simonian | National Science Foundation

Aleksandr L. Simonian is internationally recognized for his outstanding technical achievements with significant distribution and interest in his work. He has spent more than 40 years advancing the state-of-the-art in biosensor technology and smart functional biomaterials, leading cutting-edge development and pioneering multiple, paradigm changing advances in the field. His research has been focused on the development and application of biosensors and smart functional materials in fields such as environmental analysis, food safety, medicine, agriculture, and industrial process control.  Significantly, he has authored over 120 publications in peer reviewed scientific journals, and has multiple highly cited review articles, book chapters and patents.

Dr. Simonian has created new research opportunities for the broad scientific community including ECS members. In 2008-2012, Dr. Simonian as a National Science Foundation (NSF) program director founded and managed the Biosensing Program of CBET, (Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems). This NSF program has created a unique additional funding source on a national scale for researchers involved in biosensor research, thus significantly advancing the state-of-the-art of biosensor technology.

In 2014 he become a NSF Biomaterials Program Director in Division of Material Research. He is also a Professor Emeritus of Materials Engineering at Auburn University, Auburn AL.

Dr. Simonian received his M.S. in Physics from the Yerevan State University (Armenia, USSR), Ph.D. in Biophysics from the USSR Academy of Sciences and a Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) degree in Bioengineering from Moscow Institute of Applied Biochemistry in Moscow, Russia. Before immigrating to the United States, he was working at a variety of professional, academic and industrial institutions in Armenia, Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Italy. Dr. Simonian was elected as a member of the Armenian Academy of Engineers in 1994 and as a Foreign Member of Armenian National Academy in 2011.

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The NIH BRAIN Initiative – the Road Thus Far and into the Future
N. B. Langhals | National Institutes of Health

Nick B. Langhals serves as Program Director for Neural Engineering at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). He is heavily involved in both the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative as well as the Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC) program.

He currently manages a grant portfolio in the areas of neurotechnology development, validation, and translation for applications in basic neuroscience, neurophysiology, neuromodulation, and other interfaces with the nervous system.  Dr. Langhals received his B.S.E. in 2001 from Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ). He received both 2003, as well as a Ph.D. in 2010 in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI).  Dr. Langhals has worked as a Senior Research Engineer within the Center for Neural Communication Technology and also served as a consultant for Neuronexus Technologies (Ann Arbor, MI), Biotectix (Ann Arbor, MI), and Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI).

He was also a co-founder of Rhythm Solutions, a University of Michigan startup company focused on the development and commercialization of automated algorithms and technologies for the diagnosis and monitoring of atrial fibrillation.

Prior to arriving at the NIH in 2015, Dr. Langhals served as a Research Assistant Professor in Plastic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering and Co-Director of the Neuromuscular Lab at the University of Michigan.

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The Biotic/Abiotic Interface between Neuromodulation Electrodes and the Peripheral Nervous System
M. B. Wolfson | National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering

Michael B. Wolfson joined the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) in 2016 as a Program Director in the Division of Discovery Science and Technology. He has programmatic oversight of discovery and applied research grants, with emphasis on implantable and assistive medical devices.

Mike received a Sc.B. degree in electrical engineering from Brown University and a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Cornell University. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and a member of the Society for Neuroscience.  Mike specializes in performing characterization, analysis, and integration of novel biologic and microscale systems within commercial, small business, and academic R&D environments. His expertise spans multiple disciplines and covers emerging domains, such as bio-, micro-, and nano-system technologies.

From 2000 through 2009, Mike was involved in several ventures to develop microsystems technologies for commercial applications. From 2009 through 2016, he was a subject matter expert in DARPA’s Microsystems Technology Office and Biological Technologies Office, supporting MEMS and neuro-technology programs. During this period, Mike consulted for several other organizations, including GlaxoSmithKline and the Bionics Institute.

He brings to NIBIB substantial experience developing and managing translational neurotechnology R&D portfolios, with particular emphasis on system design principles. Mike has been instrumental in DARPA’s RE-NET, HAPTIX, ElectRx, and NESD programs, as well as the GSK Innovation Challenge. He has also provided mentorship to over a dozen recipients of the DARPA Young Faculty Award.

Mike is committed to developing foundational device technologies and translational systems in order to apply them to unique physiological targets, such as the peripheral nervous system.

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A FDA Staff Perspective on Navigating the Regulatory Landscape and Moving Medical Devices to the Marketplace
K. Wachrathit | US FDA, CDRH, Office of Device Evaluation

Kelliann Wachrathit has worked at the FDA since 2013 as a pre-market scientific reviewer in the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), Office of Device Evaluation (ODE), Division of Neurological and Physical Medicine Devices (DNPMD). Review areas include brain computer interfaces (BCI) and nerve and muscle electrical stimulators.

She recently joined the United State Public Health Service in 2017. Prior to her role as a pre-market scientific reviewer, she conducted regulatory science research from 2010-2013 on peripheral and cortical neural interface devices in the Neural Implant Lab in the Division of Biomedical Physics (DBP) in the Office of Engineering and Science Laboratories (OSEL) in CDRH.

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Reanimating Paralyzed Limbs and the Future of Bioelectronic Medicine
C. Bouton | The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Chad Bouton is the VP of Advanced Engineering and the Director of the Center for Bioelectronic Medicine at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, the research arm of the Northwell Health System in New York.

Professor Bouton formerly served as research leader at Battelle Memorial Institute—the world’s largest independent research and development organization—where he spent 18 years researching and developing biomedical technology. At the Feinstein Institute, he is performing groundbreaking research in neurotechnology to treat paralysis and is developing new technologies to accelerate the field of bioelectronic medicine.

Professor Bouton’s pioneering work, allowing a paralyzed person for the first time to regain movement using a brain implant, has been featured on 60 Minutes, CBS, and presented at TEDx. He holds over 70 patents worldwide and his technologies have been awarded three R&D 100 Awards and he was recognized by the US Congress for his work in the medical device field. He has been named Inventor of the Year and Distinguished Inventor by Battelle, and was selected by the National Academy of Engineering in 2011 to attend the Frontiers in Engineering Symposium.

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Invasive Cortical Microelectrode Array Longitudinal Performance: Temporal Dynamics of Electrical Impedance Spectroscopy and Multiunit Activity
C. Welle | University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus; M. G. Street, US FDA; K. Ruda, Duke University; E. Civillico, National Institutes of Health; and P. A. Takmakov, US FDA

Cristin Welle is an Assistant Professor in University of Colorado Departments of Neurosurgery and Bioengineering faculty, and her lab investigates circuit-level structure and function in the context of translational neurotechnology.

Using chronic in vivo electrophysiology, in vivo multiphoton imaging and advanced histological techniques, her lab examines the electrode/tissue interface of high-density recording electrodes for brain-computer interface systems. Prior to her time at the University of Colorado, she spent 5 years as the principal investigator of the Neural Implant Lab in the Division of Biomedical Physics, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, exploring safety and performance of invasive neural recording electrodes used in neuroprosthetic systems and novel electrode technology for the detection of traumatic brain injury.

A neurophysiologist by training, she received her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010.

Z05 – Sensors for Food Safety, Quality, and Security

October 4, National Harbor 10 room
Sensors for Food Safety, Quality, and Security will feature six overview talks from government, industry, and association representatives, which will focus on broad trends in the field and “research roadmaps,” the planning and implementation of government funding in the areas of food safety, quality, and security. In addition the symposium will hold a one day, poster-focused session.

Oral Sessions 1 & 2
Wednesday, October 4, 0850-1215h; 1315-1700h

An Expanding Role for Sensor Research in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Food Systems
T. A. Bewick and S. J. Thomson | USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Tom Bewick received his B.S. degree in Olericulture from UC-Davis and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Horticulture from the University of Wisconsin.  In 1987, he joined the faculty in Horticultural Sciences at the University of Florida and in 1997 he moved to the University of Massachusetts as Director of the Cranberry Experiment Station on Cape Cod.

Tom joined USDA in 2000 as the National Program Leader for Horticulture.  In addition to his responsibilities in Horticulture, he has provided leadership in the areas of invasive species and organic agriculture.

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The INFEWS Program at the National Science Foundation
T. Torgersen | National Science Foundation

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Sensors in Agriculture: Opportunities for Small Businesses
R. Melnick | USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Rachel Melnick is the National Program Leader for Agroclimatology at USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).  She manages the Plant Production and Protection – Engineering area of the USDA SBIR program as one of 10 National Program Leaders with responsibility for different parts of the SBIR Program.

Rachel also manages competitive research and extension programs outside of the SBIR program such as Climate Masters and Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWs) with NSF.

Prior to joining the USDA SBIR team, Rachel served as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at USDA NIFA and was a postdoctoral research plant pathologist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service.  She has a background working in integrated pest management and improvement of crop production under drought.

Rachel received her B.S. in Biology from Bloomsburg University and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from Penn State University.

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Spectral Imaging and Instrumentation for Food Safety Evaluation of Agricultural Products
M. S. Kim | USDA-ARS

Moon S Kim  joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in 1999.  Prior to joining USDA-ARS, he held positions at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD for more than 10 years. While working full time at NASA, he also earned advanced degrees at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD.

He directs a multidisciplinary team of researchers, collaborating ARS laboratories, cooperating universities, and other government agencies to develop innovative sensing methodologies and technologies to address food safety concerns for food production, to aid in reducing food safety risks in food processing. He leads the development of novel instruments and sensing technologies, and transformation of these novel technologies into practical instrumentation for scientific and industrial implementations. He is a recognized world leader, sought for his expertise and responsible for his lab’s reputation as the world premier optical sensing research and technology site.

He has authored/coauthored more than 360 scientific publications, including over 190 peer reviewed journal articles, 12 U.S. patents, and 9 book chapters, and has received more than 100 invitations for presentations, consultations, and collaborations. Dr. Kim has received three national Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) and two mid-Atlantic FLC Excellence in Technology Transfer awards for hyperspectral imaging (2009), automated poultry inspection (2014, 2015), and handheld fluorescence imaging device (2015, 2016). Since 2009, he has served as the chair of the Sensing for Agriculture and Food Quality and Safety Conference, SPIE (International Society for Optical Engineering Symposium).

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Sensors in Agriculture, Food and Research; a Biological Perspective for Engineering Food Protection
M. L. Kotewicz | FDA CFSAN

Michael Kotewicz is a molecular/microbiologist with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), Office of Applied Research and Safety Assessment (OARSA), Division of Molecular Biology (DMB), Molecular Genetics Branch (MGB) in Laurel Maryland.

Dr. Kotewicz received his B.A.from University of Washington, Seattle, Washington and his Ph.D. from the Department of Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley. After two years of post-doctoral studies at Harvard University, he spent 16 years at BRL/LTI and Biotech companies.  He holds patents for work at LTI for cloning Moloney murine leukemia virus reverse transcriptase and the development of  the first generation of Rnase H deficient RTs. Since 1997, Dr. Kotewicz has worked at the FDA, on foodborne pathogens, their identification and chromosome and genome structure, including Cronobacter, Salmonella and Escherichia coli.  His work at the FDA has also included extensive regulatory review for genetically modified crops as well as review of new beneficial bacteria used in Dietary Supplements.

While at the FDA he used optical mapping for the study of bacterial genomes from outbreaks. In 2015 he was a panelist for the FDA Food Safety Challenge Award for novel and innovative technology developments in foodborne pathogen detection, specifically with the goal of accelerating the detection of Salmonella in produce. In 2016 he gave two presentations at the international meeting and workshop of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in April 2016 in Paris, France on“Bioinformatics Analysis of Whole Genome Sequence Data in Submissions of Genetically Engineered Crops” and “High-throughput DNA Sequencing in the Safety Assessment of Genetically Engineered Crops; The US Experience.” 

He is currently working on the diversity and safety of beneficial microbes found in fermented and cultured foods and their relationships to commercial strains using metagenomic and whole genome studies.

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New and Innovative Sensor Technologies for Aquacultural System in China
D. Li, C. Wang, and X. Zhang | China Agricultural University, Research Center for Internet of Things in Agriculture

Daoliang Li, is Changjiang Scholar Professor, Ministry of Education, China and director of EU-China Center for ICT in Agriculture and Beijing Engineering Research center for Internet of things in Agriculture, China Agricultural University.

His principal research interest is ICTs in agriculture, especially for information processing, smart sensors and automatic control system in aquaculture. He is the editor-in-chief of International Journal of Information processing in Agriculture and the Chair of the Work Group for Advanced Information Processing in Agriculture, International Federation for Information Processing. He also is member of Expert Committee of National rural informatization of China.

He was the chairman of 1st to 9th International conference on computer and computing technologies in agriculture ( He coordinated more than 70 international and national research projects, such as FP6, FP7, Horizon2020 and has published more than 200 international journals papers and 8 books, he also has 31 Chinese patents, and he is also the evaluation expert of FP7, Horizon2020 and all Chinese National research programs.