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Risa Robinson

Risa Robinson
Department Head, Professor

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

Dr. Risa Robinson completed a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), an M.S. in Imaging Science at RIT and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Buffalo.  Dr. Robinson began her career as an engineer at Xerox Corporation researching innovative methods for reproducing images.  She returned to academia in 1992 and is now Professor and Associate Department Head of Mechanical Engineering at RIT.

Dr. Robinson’s research interest focuses on mapping the dynamic behavior of inhaled particles as a means to study the differential toxicological effect 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. She studies flow in the replica lung models via computational fluid dynamics and particle image velocimetry. Dr. Robinson was awarded a Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society, wherein she lead a multi-institutional team to evaluate the carcinogen-specific differential emissions of purportedly safer cigarettes and their effect on dosimetry in the respiratory tract of adolescent compared to adult smokers.  The Phillip Morris external Research Foundation awarded Dr. Robinson a project grant to study the effect of passive smoking on the inhalation of carcinogenic particles in children, and later to study the deposition in the diseased lungs of smokers. She developed and currently directs the Smoking Lab at RIT, with capabilities for testing tobacco products for realistic smoking patterns, including carcinogen-specific emissions and replica lung cast deposition.  In addition, her lab has developed novel electronic cigarette smoking machines and testing protocols that will inform regulatory policy for these new products.  Dr. Robinson is working with a local industry partner to develop a wireless smoke monitoring device that can measure a smoker’s behavior, including frequency of use and puffing profile in their natural environment. The impact of this research will help inform regulatory policy regarding improved standards for testing new tobacco products that will more accurately represent their effect on public health.

Dr. Robinson’s teaching interests involve the fundamental engineering sciences including statics, dynamics, mechanics, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer.  She is currently involved in innovative curricular development for first year students, and was previously awarded a National Science Foundation grant to develop a first year open-ended project course involving industry standard measurement, instrumentation and control techniques.  Dr. Robinson has held leadership roles on departmental curriculum and assessment committees, and recently served as co-chair of the Institutional Academic Portfolio Blueprint Task Force.  Through her service she has played an integral role in cultivating and disseminating new models for curriculum development and assessment strategies within her department and college, and defining a strategic map for future programming at the university.

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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