Engineering professor receives $500,000 National Science Foundation award

Assistant Professor Michael Calvisi, left, works with former student James Carroll.

An assistant professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department of the UCCS College of Engineering and Applied Science recently earned a $516,000 award from the National Science Foundation to support his biomedical research.

Michael Calvisi

Michael Calvisi, assistant professor and director of the Computational Fluid Dynamics Lab, received a National Science Foundation award for his research project “Optimal Control of Encapsulated Ultrasound Microbubbles for Biomedicine.” The five-year award will support graduate research, undergraduate projects and outreach to secondary schools to increase interest in science, technology, engineering and math.

The National Science Foundation CAREER award recognizes potential for university faculty to serve as role models in research and education and to lead advances. The awards are highly competitive.

“Dr. Calvisi is very deserving of this prestigious award,” R. “Dan” Dandapani, dean, College of Engineering and Applied Science, said. “This is a great honor for him and the College of Engineering and Applied Science. We are excited for the cutting-edge biomedical research this award will enable, along with the experiential benefit this will provide our students.”

Calvisi uses the tools of computational fluid dynamics to study the behavior of ultrasound contrast agents, which consist of microscopic bubbles that flow through the bloodstream.  By creating more realistic models of how microbubbles interact with ultrasound and the surrounding tissue, he is able to optimize their performance.  For example, the bubble properties and acoustic inputs can be tailored for specific biomedical applications, such as ultrasound imaging or targeted drug delivery.

In addition to his ultrasound research, Calvisi will develop a new UCCS course and will work with UCCS students to create an interactive online educational game to simulate the movement and action of ultrasound microbubbles. The game’s intent is to stimulate interest in science, technology, engineering and math among middle and high school students.

“This is a great honor,” Calvisi said. “I am grateful to the NSF for the opportunity to pursue this research and educate other students and the public about the role of fluid dynamics in biomedicine.”

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly. For more information, visit

Sue McClernan, College of Engineering


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  1. Brandon Runnels, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, earns NSF CAREER Award – UCCS Communique

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