Roundup: LIFT, Walsh College, U-M, WSU, Free Prix & More

Here’s a look at recent innovation news from around Michigan:

—Detroit-based Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT), a public-private partnership focused on the development and deployment of advanced lightweight metal manufacturing technologies, has formed a team of manufacturers and universities to develop a database and computer models that better predict the way aluminum alloys deteriorate after being put into use as parts for airplanes or other forms of transportation. Ohio State University and United Technologies Research Center will lead the project in collaboration with Lockheed Martin, DNV GL, and the University of Michigan. The goal is to identify new ways to mitigate corrosion within aluminum alloys. LIFT is funded in part by the Department of Defense and managed by the Office of Naval Research.

“Our role is identifying innovations that are ready to make the jump from the lab to production, then leveraging the right expertise and resources to deliver results,” said Alan Taub, LIFT’s chief technical officer, in a press release.

—Scott DeRue has been named the new dean of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. We interviewed DeRue last year, when he led the university’s Social Impact Challenge, which culminated with Detroit’s first youth maker faire. DeRue currently teaches business administration, is associate dean for executive education, and professor of management and organizations at the Ross School. He also served as the associate dean and director of U-M’s Sanger Leadership Center.

Since DeRue is practically the university’s “positive business” philosophy personified, it seems U-M is serious about business being a catalyst for positive change in the world. His five-year term will begin July 1. He replaces Alison Davis-Blake, who is stepping down after five years of service and will return to the faculty, the university said.

—The TEDx Detroit conference is coming back to downtown’s Fox Theatre on Oct. 6. Organizers say more than 3,000 designers, entertainers, entrepreneurs, educators, scientists, technologists and artists will gather to participate in a day-long conference, which aims to inspire collaboration between the technology, entertainment, and design industries. TEDx is on the hunt for speakers, performers, and exhibitors. Interested parties should submit an application online before Aug. 26. The full event schedule will be announced in September.

—A Wayne State University researcher has won a nearly $350,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to improve the quality of imaging and chemical sensing of disease biomarkers. Chemistry professor Federico Rabuffetti will focus on establishing relationships between the chemical composition, atomic structure, and luminescence of “upconversion nanocrystals,” with the goal of designing emitters that are bright and can be color-tuned. The project will also train students in the synthesis and advanced characterization of luminescent nanomaterials. Wayne State hopes that one day, the university’s discoveries will lead to better diagnosing and treatment plans for numerous health issues.

—Calling all car buffs: Tomorrow is Comerica Bank Free Prix Day. Gate admission, open grandstand seating, and access to the Fifth Third Bank Paddock is complimentary all day at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. Gates open at 7:30 a.m. and the last race begins at 5:05 p.m. As part of Free Prix Day, Comerica is sending 100 students from Detroit’s Martin Luther King Jr. High School and University Prep Science & Math Middle School who are interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers on a private tour, where they’ll meet with competing race teams.

—Walsh College in Troy recently celebrated the grand opening of a new $15 million, 55,000-square-foot addition and renovation that includes a cyber lab, which the school describes as “a custom learning space for training future cybersecurity professionals that offers realistic, hands-on opportunities to experience the physical security countermeasures faced in information technology environments.” The Walsh Cyber Lab includes workstations, virtualization screens, and threat maps pinpointing virus and malware infestations around the world. It also provides a cloud environment to provide penetration testing and defense deployment from anywhere in the world. Walsh College is a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.

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