Jayathi Murthy, dean of the University of California, Los Angeles Samueli School of Engineering, is leading efforts to address the shortage of personal protective equipment and other medical supplies badly needed by frontline health care workers fighting to flatten the curve of COVID-19 globally.
The Indian American educator, the first woman dean in the school’s 75 years, is providing resources to faculty members and students to use their engineering ingenuity to provide scalable solutions, said a press release, citing a few of the school’s success stories as follows:
- Bioengineering professor Jacob Schmidt has led the effort to manufacture surgical face shields at the UCLA Samueli Makerspace. Using 3D-printing machines and robotic laser-cutting techniques, Schmidt, along with campus partners, has already distributed more than 2,000 disposable face shields to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and local hospitals. A new 3D injection-molded prototype designed by bioengineering professor Ben Wu will provide reusable face shields compatible with most hospital-grade disinfectants. These shields, which offer more durability and splash protection, have received approval from UCLA Health and will be manufactured and distributed to hospitals. The team expects an initial batch of 10,000 face shields with more than 15,000 per week to follow.
- Electrical engineering doctoral student Glen Meyerowitz is developing a low-cost ventilator in collaboration with medical professionals at UCLA Health. The device is a much simpler version of ventilators used in hospitals, and is designed to address specific COVID-19 symptoms such as the acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS. Within a week, Meyerowitz put together a functional proof of concept and has started working with companies on manufacturing a medical-grade design for testing at UCLA Health.
The collective effort is a reflection of the outstanding faculty and students at UCLA Samueli and the exemplary support provided by Murthy, who recently was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, noted the release.