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Risa Robinson

Risa Robinson
Department Head, Professor

Phone: 585-475-6445
Office: GLE/2103

Dr. Robinson is an RIT alumna, having graduated with her BS degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MS in Imaging Science.  She earned her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Buffalo in 1999, joined the tenure-track faculty in the Kate Gleason College in 2000 as an Assistant Professor, and was promoted to full Professor in 2012.  Dr. Robinson has held several leadership positions in recent years, including a three-year appointment as Associate Department Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department and Chair of the department’s Curriculum and Assessment Committee.  She recently served as co-Chair of the Institutional Academic Portfolio Blueprint Task Force.  She is currently involved in innovative curricular development for first-year students, and was previously sponsored by the National Science Foundation to incorporate industry standard data acquisition techniques into the freshmen year.  Through these educational and leadership activities, Dr. Robinson has played an integral role in cultivating and disseminating new models for curriculum development and assessment strategies within her department and the college, and in defining a strategic map for future academic programming for the university. 

Dr. Robinson’s research interests, generally speaking, are centered on the dynamic behavior of inhaled particles as a means to study the toxicological effects of various tobacco products and nicotine delivery devices.  Her expertise is in aerosol mechanics, fluid dynamics and particle transport and deposition in systems, including the respiratory tract.  Dr. Robinson established and directs the Respiratory Technologies Laboratory (RTL) in the college which is engaged in a variety of fundamental and applied projects relating to smoking and particle inhalation.  In particular, the Lab develops systems to evaluate new tobacco products against manufacturer’s claims for reduced emissions and addictive potential.  It develops novel surveillance systems to monitor user’s smoking behavior in natural environments, to evaluate the user’s exposure to harmful constituents upon switching to new purportedly safer products.  Additional activities include the design of replica lung models for healthy and diseased lungs and their analysis, with both computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and particle image velocimetry, to map two-phase flow in these models to assess dosimetry of toxic constituents.  This research will inform regulatory policy regarding improved standards for testing new tobacco products, and will ultimately have a positive impact on public health.  Dr. Robinson’s work has been sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the Phillip Morris External Research Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.  Her work currently is sponsored by the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The major thrust of these current efforts involves the evaluation of electronic cigarettes, a product whose market is rapidly expanding to now include teenagers.  Her work will aid the FDA in regulating these new and widely untested products.

Select Publications

Norton, M. M., Robinson, R. J. and Weinstein, S. J.  2011  Model of ciliary clearance and the role of mucus rheology, Physical Review E. 83, 011921.

Berg, E. and R. Robinson. Stereoscopic Particle Image Velocimetry Analysis of Healthy and Emphysemic Alveolar Sac. J. Biomech. Eng. 133(6), June 11, 2011.

Harding, E.M. Jr. and Robinson, R.J. Flow in a terminal alveolar sac model with expanding walls using computational fluid dynamics.  Inhalation Toxicology. 22(8): 669–678 , 2010.

Berg, E.J., Weisman, J. , Oldham, M., and Robinson, R.J. Flow fields in a compliant acinus replica model using particle image velocimetry. Journal of Biomechanics.  Journal of Biomechanics. 43(6): 1039-1047. 2010.

Robinson, R.J. Russo, J. and Doolittle, R. 3D Airway reconstruction using visible human data set and human casts with comparison to morphometric data. The Anatomical Record, 292: 1028-1044, 2009.

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