Computing, Radiation Focus of Global Clinics

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Harvey Mudd College students are engaged in two Global Clinic projects this year, working with students in Israel and Japan to resolve real-world, computer science and bioengineering challenges.

Modeled after the College’s renowned domestic Clinic Program, Global Clinic provides long-term, sponsored engineering and science projects in which teams of HMC students work with student teams from partnering schools in Central and South America, Asia and Europe. Company sponsors and a generous, $1-million endowment from the Robert and Joan Vickery family support the program.

“Our mission is to give students hands-on experience and prepare them to work in an international context,” said Global Clinic Director Lisette de Pillis, Norman F. Sprague, Jr., Professor of Life Sciences and professor of mathematics. “Students who participate in Global Clinic appreciate learning how to work and communicate across cultural boundaries. Some have even gone on to pursue globally focused careers.”


Jeff Hemphill ’13, Gary Lent ’13 (POM) and Jessi Peck ’13 are working with students from the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) to create tools that will help Intel developers and engineers work more efficiently.

The Intel-HMC-Technion Global Clinic Team will develop analyses and transformations for C++ coding techniques, and then integrate them into the Eclipse development environment as a plugin. The work involves hardware synthesis, program analysis and plug-in development for an Integrated Development Environment.

“The experience is very challenging. It’s hard to work on open-ended problems and even harder to do so when half the team is halfway across the world,” said team advisor Ben Wiedermann, assistant professor of computer science. “But it is so worth it. We’re making progress on a difficult problem, and it’s compelling to know that our work has the potential to be really valuable to Intel’s engineers.”

OBEI/Kogakuin University

HMC seniors J Emery, Braden Neufeld, Jackie Olmos-Silverman and Brianna Posadas, and juniors Meghan Jimenez and Maya Johnson are working with students from Kogakuin University (KU) in Japan to develop a way to remove radioactive contaminants from skin using a chitosan compound created by the Oregon Biomedical Engineering Institute (OBEI).

The OBEI-HMC-KU Global Clinic Team will test the compound—which has already been shown to bind to radioisotopes in in-vitro studies—on an intact skin model to inform future designs for skin decontamination for both military and civilian use.

“Initial results suggest up to 96 percent of the radioisotopes can be removed from skin using the chitosan compound,” said engineering Professor Liz Orwin, the team’s advisor. “The team will develop an assay system and, ultimately, a product that will deliver chitosan for the optimal removal of the radioisotope.”