SURE Virtual Poster Fair & Celebration

April 2021 students and projects listed below

See the tremendous results of the 2021 program from the virtual SURE Poster Fair & Celebration! Students in the program presented their hard work and discussed their incredible research.

Watch this page in Spring Semester 2022 for details about the April 2022 poster fair.

Search the 2021 project list for topics and keywords

TitlePresentation PDF LinkDepartment Student NameSURE Faculty MentorSummary
3D printing for fibrocartilage regeneration (intervertebral disc and temporomandibular joint)Presentation PDF linkMechanical EngineeringSteven MendozaJason KuiperFibrocartilage cannot regrow or heal, injury or disease like osteoarthritis and other diseases damages this tissue can lead to permanent disability. The aim of this research project is to make a replacement for the fibrocartilage in the jaw and back using a special 3D printer that prints with polymers. The 3D printer we are using is very new technology that uses electricity to make the polymers into a printable substance. This new method of printing will replace other procedures that do not fix the problem making this a very innovative way to fix fibrocartilage.
Adaptive Soft Robotic FingerPresentation PDF linkMechanical EngineeringClint MiddlemistJianguo ZhaoIn the world of prosthetics, there has always been the challenge of replacing that of an actual human hand and finger. The aim of this research project is to design and develop a soft robotic finger which can be remotely controlled and utilized in countless different applications, including prosthetics.
Algae Cell ImmobilizationPresentation PDF linkChemical and Biological EngineeringMadison HillKenneth ReardonThe use of biofuels as a renewable energy source is increasing, however, it can be an expensive alternative due to its requirement of additional energy and water. Cyanobacteria is a specific type of algae that can convert carbon dioxide into useful products and reduce the use of fossil fuels. The goal of this research project is to increase the efficiency of the algae cells in producing these beneficial products that can then be used as energy sources. To accomplish this goal, the algae cells are immobilized and then grown in thin gel films where they are monitored daily in order to determine the best conditions for algae growth and maintenance. Methods to collect their products effectively are also being determined and studied. By analyzing their growth and requirements, more information about the algae can be collected and utilized to improve techniques and understanding.
ALPINEPresentation PDF linkMechanical EngineeringSam VaughanAnthony MarcheseAs emission requirements increase in response to climate change, different fuels will likely become a necessity. Liquified propane gas (LPG) is a potential option, but requires in-depth analysis to match the efficiency of traditional gasoline engines. This project aims to thoroughly analyze the behavior of LPG in a rapid combustion machine, while controlling and changing variables.
Canal Seepage Mitigation by Biopolymer SealantsPresentation PDF linkCivil and Environmental EngineeringCecilia BrockettJoseph ScaliaEarthen canals are a common way of transporting water for agriculture. However, flow losses from canal seepage have been estimated to be 17-70%. In addition, canal seepage degrades soil and water quality. The goal of this project is to improve water quality and quantity through the reduction of canal seepage with biopolymer sealants. By understanding the performance of biopolymers and the factors that influence their effectiveness as a canal sealant, we aim to understand the viability of using a greener biopolymer in reducing canal seepage.
Canal Seepage Mitigation by Polymer SealantsPresentation PDF linkCivil and Environmental Engineering Angelita Chavez-Cazarez Joe ScaliaEarthen canals are a common way of transporting water for agriculture. However, flow losses from canal seepage have been estimated to be 17-70%. In addition, canal seepage degrades soil and water quality. The goal of this project is to improve water quality and quantity through the reduction of canal seepage with biopolymer sealants. By understanding the performance of biopolymers and the factors that influence their effectiveness as a canal sealant, we aim to understand the viability of using a greener biopolymer in reducing canal seepage.

CdTe Photovoltaic ResearchPresentation PDF linkMechanical EngineeringElaine SmithKevan CameronAn ongoing research project aimed at improving the efficiency of Cadmium Telluride solar panels by testing different combinations of materials deposited on glass.
Cell interaction with nanomaterials for medical device applicationsPresentation PDF linkBiomedical EngineeringRichard Morales-VillalvaProfessor PopatIn this project, over many years many researchers in the medical industry have tried to find materials for implants that not only are safer but also better than the ones already in the market, the aim is to make biomaterials that are safer and more effective for implants and in this research project a surface modification strategy using natural biopolymers on titanium is proposed to improve bone healing and promote rapid and successful osseointegration of orthopedic implants.
CO2 Enzyme Membrane ProjectPresentation PDF linkChemical and Biological EngineeringBridget EdigerKenneth ReardonLarge-scale algal cultivations, such as those used for biofuel production, are normally conducted in open ponds. Algae obtain and consume dissolved CO2 needed for growth from the air above the pond surface and from industrial sources added to the pond. Normally, the added CO2 is simply bubbled into the water. However, this is extremely inefficient and more than 85% of the CO2 added to the pond simply goes into the atmosphere. In a project sponsored by the Department of Energy, we are developing a more efficient method of adding CO2 gas to ponds via a porous membrane.

My subset of the project is focused on simulating and understanding the limitations of storing dissolved CO2 in tanks prior to being added to the pond. This includes studying how factors such as salinity, pH and concentration affect CO2 storage. My current work also focuses on measuring the rate of CO2 transfer to water through the membrane being researched, both with and without the enzyme carbonic anhydrase used as a membrane coating. Carbonic anhydrase is found in lungs and red blood cells, and is being used in this project to increase the rate at which CO2 is transferred to water for storage.
Comparison of Groundwater Depth in a Heterogeneous Riparian Buffer Under Separate Hydrologic RegimesPresentation PDF linkCivil and Environmental EngineeringAlbert MarquezRyan MorrisonWe seek to understand the effects of riparian vegetation on the irrigation-influenced water balance in the Lower Arkansas River Valley (LARV).
Compound meandering flume experiment with variable floodplain vegetation densities.Presentation PDF linkCivil and Environmental EngineeringAnna WikowskyPeter NelsonThis research project will help gain a better understanding of how the density of vegetation in the floodplain affects the velocities of the water in the channel and the floodplain. Methods to conduct this experiment and take measurements include large scale particle imaging velocimetry (LSPIV) and acoustic doppler velocimeter (ADV). The results of this project will help in determining the risk of damage structures and vegetation in a flood plain, and can thus aid in flood mitigation planning.
Co-Optimization of Fuels & EnginesPresentation PDF linkChemical EngineeringDarwin CortesBret WindomThe goal of this project is to optimize the composition of bio-blendstock in order to reduce soot emissions which has been found to negatively impact health and the environment (like lake acidification). All while keeping the composition energy efficient.
Correlations of Material PropertiesPresentation PDF linkMechanical EngineeringAlistair MayfieldChris WeinbergerMaterials have been a very important cornerstone of technological development, and there is currently a large number of materials that have properties that are not yet fully understood. A greater number of materials with unusual properties are being explored and utilized as time progresses. The main objective of this research project is to utilize computer programming and statistical analysis in order to understand the properties of different metals and metalloids. These methods of material exploration, seeking potential correlations between any of the numbers of properties present in the materials and the factors that play into those correlations, can aid in developing a better understanding of the materials with greater analysis.
Creation of Laser-Induced Graphene (LIG) from Commercial Polymer Surfaces for Resistive Heating ApplicationsDepartment of Mechanical EngineeringKyle PintoMostafa YourdkhaniWith the growing popularity of the extremely versatile material graphene, ranging in application from extremely-dense energy storage mechanisms to enhanced building materials for mechanical applications, many methods of graphene production have been explored to make this material more available and cheaper to use. One of the biggest problems with graphene today is its extremely high cost of production due to extremely low yields through most methods of creation, including exfoliation, chemical vapor deposition, or nanotube slicing, to name a few. The aim of this research is to explore a much more scalable and cheaper method of graphene production: laser irradiation of polymer precursors, or more specifically, the usage of a very cheap blue laser that can be readily acquired and simple Kevlar fabric sheets to manufacture small samples of graphene that can be replicated relatively easily. Though the quality of this graphene would not be the same as more traditional methods of manufacturing, it would be a much more versatile and scalable method of production that could be used for applications such as resistive heaters for integration into vehicle chassis or curing of composite materials via local heating.
Designing a loop system for testing materials under flow for blood contacting medical devicesPresentation PDF linkME/BMEEdna Barcenas RamirezKetul PopatThe development of medical devices and treatments require extensive testing to ensure quality and safety. I was working on the design of a three-dimensional printed hemocompatibility chamber. A key part of the chamber was that it had to have the ability to rotate to test stents at a velocity that simulated blood flow in the body. This part rotated by attaching to a shaft driven by a motor. In order to improve efficiency, the 3-D printed center of the disk had to be redesigned to match the shaft shape.
Designing a Regenerative Implant to Help Heal Critical Bone Defects in Canine RadiiPresentation PDF linkMechanical EngineeringErik ChristoffersenDavid PrawelThe current treatment for critical bone defects in canine extremities involves very invasive surgeries that involve implanting metal plates and screws that can cause a multitude of post operative complications including infection and chronic pain. This intention of this project is to aid the development of a 3D printed device that will house a scaffold that will promote osteogenesis and eventually complete healing of the bone.
Dimethylformamide Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic ModelPresentation PDF linkChemical and Biological EngineeringEmmaKate RaisleyBrad ReisfeldDimethylformamide (DMF) is a common solvent used in the manufacturing of synthetic fibers, leathers, films, and surface coatings. Exposure to this chemical can result in a variety of adverse effects, including liver toxicity. The aim of this research is to develop pharmacokinetic (‘what the body does to the chemical’) and pharmacodynamic (‘what the chemical does to the body’) models for DMF exposures in humans. We expect that these models, underpinned by exposure data from a partnering company, will facilitate prediction of the severity of effects resulting from DMF exposure and help inform strategies to lessen the toxic effects to workers in these industries.
Direct Write 3D PrintingMechanical EngineeringGenevieve Reyland-SlawsonMostafa YourdkhaniWhile 3D printing has become more popular, newer techniques have emerged to create more efficient and easier to produce. While the traditional methods of producing 3D models work well, newer techniques to produce products with different materials and different methods of curing can be more efficient and easier. In this research project we are trying to find a material that acts as a mold that cures the 3D printed material on a mold. By creating a mold that is able to heat up substantially enough and conduct that electricity towards the 3D printed material, the curing step in a drying oven can be skipped to save time. The overall goal of this research is to find a material that is able to conduct electricity without overheating while also curing a 3D printed material on the bed.
Distraction OsteogenesisPresentation PDF linkBiomedical EngineeringColton MooreBen GadomskiBone defects greater than 8 cm long will not heal on their own. Distraction osteogenesis is a method used to solve these issues. Distraction osteogenesis is a process of bone lengthening with many applications. As a research team, we are focused upon using distraction osteogenesis as a method for the purpose of healing. This happens by removing the dead or defected bone segment, cutting the healthy bone on a side of the removed segment then transporting the new section of healthy bone 1mm per day until it reaches the other side. It grows new bone behind it as it is transported.
Drone PearchingPresentation PDF linkAdaptive Robotics LabJoshua NezJiangao ZhaoFlyping drones only have a certain fly time due to their limited battery capabilities. To help the drones finish their job, they can maintain the same height using a perching technique. This can help the drone conserve it's energy and allow it to stay on the field longer. The purpose of this reasearch is to create a compliant mechanism to achieve a perching of the drone.
Electro Stimulated FermentationPresentation PDF linkChemical and Biological EngineeringAmanda MohrlangKenneth ReardonMetabolites such as butanol are useful molecules for biofuels, industrial solvents, and many other applications. However, they are most often produced petrol-chemically; a process that has many harmful environmental side effects and is unsustainable. Currently, microbial production of metabolites is limited by high costs and low production yields due to a low reducing power from electrons. These limitations drastically decrease the process's sustainability. The goal of this research project is to improve the yield of metabolites from microbial production by increasing the flux of metabolic electrons into microbes through electro stimulated fermentation.
Environmental Fluid Mechanics at CSUPresentation PDF linkCivil and Environmental EngineeringSarah DannKaran VenayagamoorthyThe first aim of this research project is to evaluate the efficacy of random packing material (RPM) to distribute water evenly in small water systems, which make up the majority of water systems in the US, thus ensuring sufficient chlorination time and preventing byproducts and improving public health. The second aim of this research project is to study the fluid mechanics of a model weir at varying angles to be applied to a real weir and ensure that it is structurally sound. Both focuses of the research will be validated with computational fluid dynamics (CFD).
Generating a Scaffold for Rotator Cuff Tendon RepairPresentation PDF linkBiomedical/ Mechanical EngineeringJason JacksonKirk McGilvrayInjuries to the rotator cuff afflict millions annually. Current treatments often fail to minimize a high re-tear rate, and considerably lowered post-operation muscle quality and shoulder function. The aim of this research project is to perform a material analysis of different polymers which could be used as a cell-hosting scaffold for potentially more effective cell therapies and treatments of the rotator cuff.
Implementation of Asymmetric Illumination Phase Contrast MicroscopyPresentation PDF linkElectrical and Computer EngineeringVivia Van De MarkRandy BartelsAdvances in histopathology, the study and diagnosis of tissue disease, frequently occur concurrently with advances in bioimaging and computational microscopy. Phase contrast microscopy, in particular, has great potential as a diagnostic tool as it does not require extensive cell preparation (staining) and/or cell death. Here, we apply contemporary progress in asymmetrical illumination phase contrast imaging, utilizing an LED array microscope, toward gathering not only more precise morphological data but quantitative data often overlooked by traditional histopathology techniques.
MathlabPresentation PDF linkMechanical EngineeringJuan SaucedoDaniel HerberI learned how to code to be able to solve a problem that was about finding the best way to build a computer that was under the budget of 800 dollar by regular coding then building a equation/function that would be easier to do.
Mesenchymal Stem Cell Mechanical Memory at Cytoplasm and NucleusPresentation PDF linkSchool of Biomedical EngineeringAbigail FennellSoham GhoshMesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) offer a promising new frontier in regenerative and anti-aging medicine. However, large-scale manufacturing of MSCs causes gradual deviation from MSC phenotype and loss of multipotency, thus limiting their scalable applications. This can be attributed to mechanical properties of the cell culture environment. Interestingly, MSCs have an ability called mechanical memory where they display a certain degree of plasticity to define their own phenotype during its expansion process on substrates with various stiffness. The aim of this research is to investigate the mechanism of mechanical memory in MSCs through the hypothesized mechanism of the differential dynamic response of cytoplasmic and nuclear proteins. Specifically, we have explored the role of actin and lamin proteins in this complex interplay through MSC culture on different substrate stiffness, confocal microscopy, image analysis and mathematical modeling. Elucidation of the mechanisms of mechanical memory in MSC can be exploited to maintain MSC phenotype during large scale expansion culture.
Perfluorinated Compound Analysis using Quadrupole Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry DataPresentation PDF linkEnvironmental Engineering - Center for Contaminant Hydrology Jenna SalvatJens BlotegovelPerfluorinated compounds have proliferated in use and production as a result of developments in chemistry and thus are increasingly found in many aqueous substrates. Methods are being formulated by scientists to attempt to degrade, neutralize, or completely destroy these compounds and the efficacy of such techniques may be determined through sample processing and the use of quadrupole time-of-flight (QTOF) mass spectrometry. The focus of my work was to assist in manual processing of QTOF mass spectrometry data from various projects for data acquisition and analysis.
Polyoxymethylene Ethers (POMEs) as a High Cetane, Low Sooting Biofuel Blendstock for Use in MCCI Engines​Presentation PDF linkMechanical EngineeringAlayna GilbertBret WindomIn the next several years, petroleum fuel consumption and heavy-duty freight will continue to grow. While the engines used in heavy-duty freight (MCCI diesel engines) are highly thermal efficient, they produce a large amount of NOx and Particulate matter emissions that require high energy and costly exhaust aftertreatment systems. The aim of this research project is to create a POME biofuel that will reduce carbon emissions, target fuel properties that will enhance the engine performance and reduce emissions, will be renewably sourced, and have acceptable lower heating values, oxidative stability, and water solubility.
Quantitative Structure-Activity RelationshipsPresentation PDF linkChemical and Biological EngineeringCaroline LoeweckeBrad ReisfeldAs the field of pharmacology develops, the number of chemicals investigated for therapeutic uses also develops. Screening drugs for specific therapeutic applications is very expensive and time consuming. The use of quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSARs) is an extremely beneficial way to discover drugs that might be candidates for different therapeutic uses. These QSARs turn chemical structures of very similarly configured molecules into descriptor values. These descriptors are then used to measure an endpoint (receptor binding affinity, toxicity, etc.) for the group. Then, once validated, the QSAR can be used to predict the effects of other similarly structured chemicals that are not a part of the original set. Using this method, researchers are able to narrow down a group of chemicals to the ones with the most potential success regarding their given target. This saves time and resources by allowing screening without the need for in vivo or in vitro experiments on all of the possible candidates.
Response of Stem Cells to High Oxidative EnvironmentPresentation PDF linkBiomedical EngineeringIsabelle LemmaSoham GhoshStem cells are known for their self-renewal and differentiation abilities, which changes over time as they age to the point where they eventually stop replicating by being senescent. High oxidative stress is one of the reasons for stem cell senescence in culture and in vivo. Specifically, the oxidative stress affects the telomerase activity in the cells and that negatively affects the cells’ ability to replicate. The aim of this project is to create an experimental platform and a mathematical model to predict the oxidative stress induced senescence in the stem cell. The framework will not only be useful for cells for understanding stem cell aging but also the aging of other cell types.
Steel Crack DetectionPresentation PDF linkCivil EngineeringAlexis DiazYanlin GuoBridges are inspected yearly with multiple cracks being found year after year. These cracks continue to develop over year and if not found, these cracks can create a dangerous situation that could end up in the bridge possibly collapsing. The aim of the research was to develop a neural network that could take images taken from a drone and detect steel crack in the bridge. The neural network would be able to detect the crack in the steel taking away the need for a person to spend hours looking at the structure of a bridge.
Structure From Motion and GeomorphologyPresentation PDF linkCivil and Environmental EngineeringEvan MalloyPeter NelsonStructure From Motion (SFM) is a powerful tool used by researchers to help them create a 3d image of an area of study with thousands of points surveyed into a coordinate system. SFM can allow researchers to survey an entire area simply by taking photos as opposed to using physical surveying methods. This technology can be beneficial in rapidly changing environments, such as a stream bed.
Super-resolution 3D imaging microscopyPresentation PDF linkBiomedical Engineering Audrey Bankes Diego KrapfThus far, the focus of infertility problems has been on the female reproductive system despite causes of infertility being equally split between males and females. The aim of this research is to better image the three-dimensional structures of sperm cells in hopes of better understanding male infertility issues and male birth control options. The research begins with the imaging of the sperm cells using microscopy and supper-resolution 3D imaging.
Super-resolution microscopyPresentation PDF linkElectrical EngineeringElliot McCormickDiego KrapfConventional optical microscopy is limited by the diffraction limit. Super-resolution microscopy is looking to overcome that limit. The goal of this project is to be able to image beyond the threshold of diffraction in three dimensions. This ability will then be applied to studying sperm cells to greater understand infertility issues.
The testing and Analysis of Permeability of Hydroxyapatite-Polycaprolactone ScaffoldsPresentation PDF linkBiomedical EngineeringMadison ShaferDavid PrawelOsteogenesis, commonly known as the growth of bone, depends on many key factors. In order for man-made bone scaffolding to accurately assist in the regrowth of bone, it must first mimic the characteristics of bone. The movement of fluid and particulates through the bone is one essential attribute to this process. The aim of this research project is to understand the permeable characteristics of the 3D printed Hydroxyapatite-Polycaprolactone Scaffolds generated in the Prawel Bone Lab. The movement of fluid through the tested scaffolding will be telling in how true biologically formed bone will react in its presence. Along with this, it will provide an estimation for the best percentage of porous scaffold should be places in the body.

2021 SURE participants and projects

Audrey Bankes

Biomedical Engineering

Presentation PDF link

Thus far, the focus of infertility problems has been on the female reproductive system despite causes of infertility being equally split between males and females. The aim of this research is to better image the three-dimensional structures of sperm cells in hopes of better understanding male infertility issues and male birth control options. The research begins with the imaging of the sperm cells using microscopy and super-resolution 3D imaging.

Faculty Mentor:
Diego Krapf

Edna Barcenas Ramirez

ME/BME

Presentation PDF link

The development of medical devices and treatments require extensive testing to ensure quality and safety. I was working on the design of a three-dimensional printed hemocompatibility chamber. A key part of the chamber was that it had to have the ability to rotate to test stents at a velocity that simulated blood flow in the body. This part rotated by attaching to a shaft driven by a motor. In order to improve efficiency, the 3-D printed center of the disk had to be redesigned to match the shaft shape.

Faculty Mentor:
Ketul Popat

Cecilia Brockett

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Presentation PDF link

Earthen canals are a common way of transporting water for agriculture. However, flow losses from canal seepage have been estimated to be 17-70%. In addition, canal seepage degrades soil and water quality. The goal of this project is to improve water quality and quantity through the reduction of canal seepage with biopolymer sealants. By understanding the performance of biopolymers and the factors that influence their effectiveness as a canal sealant, we aim to understand the viability of using a greener biopolymer in reducing canal seepage.

Faculty Mentor:
Joseph Scalia

Angelita Chavez-Cazarez

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Presentation PDF link

Earthen canals are a common way of transporting water for agriculture. However, flow losses from canal seepage have been estimated to be 17-70%. In addition, canal seepage degrades soil and water quality. The goal of this project is to improve water quality and quantity through the reduction of canal seepage with biopolymer sealants. By understanding the performance of biopolymers and the factors that influence their effectiveness as a canal sealant, we aim to understand the viability of using a greener biopolymer in reducing canal seepage.

Faculty Mentor:
Joseph Scalia

Erik Christoffersen

Mechanical Engineering

Presentation PDF link

The current treatment for critical bone defects in canine extremities involves very invasive surgeries that involve implanting metal plates and screws that can cause a multitude of post operative complications including infection and chronic pain. This intention of this project is to aid the development of a 3D printed device that will house a scaffold that will promote osteogenesis and eventually complete healing of the bone.

Faculty Mentor:
David Prawel

Darwin Cortes

Chemical Engineering

Presentation PDF link

The goal of this project is to optimize the composition of bio-blendstock in order to reduce soot emissions which has been found to negatively impact health and the environment (like lake acidification). All while keeping the composition energy efficient.

Faculty Mentor:
Bret Windom

Sarah Dann

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Presentation PDF link

The first aim of this research project is to evaluate the efficacy of random packing material (RPM) to distribute water evenly in small water systems, which make up the majority of water systems in the US, thus ensuring sufficient chlorination time and preventing byproducts and improving public health. The second aim of this research project is to study the fluid mechanics of a model weir at varying angles to be applied to a real weir and ensure that it is structurally sound. Both focuses of the research will be validated with computational fluid dynamics (CFD).

Faculty Mentor:
Karan Venayagamoorthy

Alexis Diaz

Civil Engineering

Presentation PDF link

Bridges are inspected yearly with multiple cracks being found year after year. These cracks continue to develop over year and if not found, these cracks can create a dangerous situation that could end up in the bridge possibly collapsing. The aim of the research was to develop a neural network that could take images taken from a drone and detect steel crack in the bridge. The neural network would be able to detect the crack in the steel taking away the need for a person to spend hours looking at the structure of a bridge.

Faculty Mentor:
Yanlin Guo

Bridget Ediger

Chemical and Biological Engineering

Presentation PDF link

Large-scale algal cultivations, such as those used for biofuel production, are normally conducted in open ponds. Algae obtain and consume dissolved CO2 needed for growth from the air above the pond surface and from industrial sources added to the pond. Normally, the added CO2 is simply bubbled into the water. However, this is extremely inefficient and more than 85% of the CO2 added to the pond simply goes into the atmosphere. In a project sponsored by the Department of Energy, we are developing a more efficient method of adding CO2 gas to ponds via a porous membrane. My subset of the project is focused on simulating and understanding the limitations of storing dissolved CO2 in tanks prior to being added to the pond. This includes studying how factors such as salinity, pH and concentration affect CO2 storage.

My current work also focuses on measuring the rate of CO2 transfer to water through the membrane being researched, both with and without the enzyme carbonic anhydrase used as a membrane coating. Carbonic anhydrase is found in lungs and red blood cells, and is being used in this project to increase the rate at which CO2 is transferred to water for storage.

Faculty Mentor:
Kenneth Reardon

Abigail Fennell

School of Biomedical Engineering

Presentation PDF link

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) offer a promising new frontier in regenerative and anti-aging medicine. However, large-scale manufacturing of MSCs causes gradual deviation from MSC phenotype and loss of multipotency, thus limiting their scalable applications. This can be attributed to mechanical properties of the cell culture environment. Interestingly, MSCs have an ability called mechanical memory where they display a certain degree of plasticity to define their own phenotype during its expansion process on substrates with various stiffness. The aim of this research is to investigate the mechanism of mechanical memory in MSCs through the hypothesized mechanism of the differential dynamic response of cytoplasmic and nuclear proteins. Specifically, we have explored the role of actin and lamin proteins in this complex interplay through MSC culture on different substrate stiffness, confocal microscopy, image analysis and mathematical modeling. Elucidation of the mechanisms of mechanical memory in MSC can be exploited to maintain MSC phenotype during large scale expansion culture.

Faculty Mentor:
Soham Ghosh

Alayna Gilbert

Mechanical Engineering

Presentation PDF link

In the next several years, petroleum fuel consumption and heavy-duty freight will continue to grow. While the engines used in heavy-duty freight (MCCI diesel engines) are highly thermal efficient, they produce a large amount of NOx and Particulate matter emissions that require high energy and costly exhaust aftertreatment systems. The aim of this research project is to create a POME biofuel that will reduce carbon emissions, target fuel properties that will enhance the engine performance and reduce emissions, will be renewably sourced, and have acceptable lower heating values, oxidative stability, and water solubility.

Faculty Mentor:
Bret Windom

Madison Hill

Chemical and Biological Engineering

Presentation PDF link

The use of biofuels as a renewable energy source is increasing, however, it can be an expensive alternative due to its requirement of additional energy and water. Cyanobacteria is a specific type of algae that can convert carbon dioxide into useful products and reduce the use of fossil fuels. The goal of this research project is to increase the efficiency of the algae cells in producing these beneficial products that can then be used as energy sources. To accomplish this goal, the algae cells are immobilized and then grown in thin gel films where they are monitored daily in order to determine the best conditions for algae growth and maintenance. Methods to collect their products effectively are also being determined and studied. By analyzing their growth and requirements, more information about the algae can be collected and utilized to improve techniques and understanding.

Faculty Mentor:
Kenneth Reardon

Jason Jackson

Biomedical/ Mechanical Engineering

Presentation PDF link

Injuries to the rotator cuff afflict millions annually. Current treatments often fail to minimize a high re-tear rate, and considerably lowered post-operation muscle quality and shoulder function. The aim of this research project is to perform a material analysis of different polymers which could be used as a cell-hosting scaffold for potentially more effective cell therapies and treatments of the rotator cuff.

Faculty Mentor:
Kirk McGilvray

Isabelle Lemma

Biomedical Engineering

Presentation PDF link

Stem cells are known for their self-renewal and differentiation abilities, which changes over time as they age to the point where they eventually stop replicating by being senescent. High oxidative stress is one of the reasons for stem cell senescence in culture and in vivo. Specifically, the oxidative stress affects the telomerase activity in the cells and that negatively affects the cells’ ability to replicate. The aim of this project is to create an experimental platform and a mathematical model to predict the oxidative stress induced senescence in the stem cell. The framework will not only be useful for cells for understanding stem cell aging but also the aging of other cell types.

Faculty Mentor:
Soham Ghosh

Caroline Loewecke

Chemical and Biological Engineering

Presentation PDF link

As the field of pharmacology develops, the number of chemicals investigated for therapeutic uses also develops. Screening drugs for specific therapeutic applications is very expensive and time consuming. The use of quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSARs) is an extremely beneficial way to discover drugs that might be candidates for different therapeutic uses. These QSARs turn chemical structures of very similarly configured molecules into descriptor values. These descriptors are then used to measure an endpoint (receptor binding affinity, toxicity, etc.) for the group. Then, once validated, the QSAR can be used to predict the effects of other similarly structured chemicals that are not a part of the original set. Using this method, researchers are able to narrow down a group of chemicals to the ones with the most potential success regarding their given target. This saves time and resources by allowing screening without the need for in vivo or in vitro experiments on all of the possible candidates.

Faculty Mentor:
Brad Reisfeld

Evan Malloy

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Presentation PDF link

Structure From Motion (SFM) is a powerful tool used by researchers to help them create a 3d image of an area of study with thousands of points surveyed into a coordinate system. SFM can allow researchers to survey an entire area simply by taking photos as opposed to using physical surveying methods. This technology can be beneficial in rapidly changing environments, such as a stream bed.

Faculty Mentor:
Peter Nelson

Albert Marquez

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Presentation PDF link

We seek to understand the effects of riparian vegetation on the irrigation-influenced water balance in the Lower Arkansas River Valley (LARV).

Faculty Mentor:
Ryan Morrison

Alistair Mayfield

Mechanical Engineering

Presentation PDF link

Materials have been a very important cornerstone of technological development, and there is currently a large number of materials that have properties that are not yet fully understood. A greater number of materials with unusual properties are being explored and utilized as time progresses. The main objective of this research project is to utilize computer programming and statistical analysis in order to understand the properties of different metals and metalloids. These methods of material exploration, seeking potential correlations between any of the numbers of properties present in the materials and the factors that play into those correlations, can aid in developing a better understanding of the materials with greater analysis.

Faculty Mentor:
Chris Weinberger

Elliot McCormick

Electrical Engineering

Presentation PDF link

Conventional optical microscopy is limited by the diffraction limit. Super-resolution microscopy is looking to overcome that limit. The goal of this project is to be able to image beyond the threshold of diffraction in three dimensions. This ability will then be applied to studying sperm cells to greater understand infertility issues.

Faculty Mentor:
Diego Krapf

Steven Mendoza

Mechanical Engineering

Presentation PDF link

Fibrocartilage cannot regrow or heal, injury or disease like osteoarthritis and other diseases damages this tissue can lead to permanent disability. The aim of this research project is to make a replacement for the fibrocartilage in the jaw and back using a special 3D printer that prints with polymers. The 3D printer we are using is very new technology that uses electricity to make the polymers into a printable substance. This new method of printing will replace other procedures that do not fix the problem making this a very innovative way to fix fibrocartilage.

Faculty Mentor:
Jason Kuiper

Clint Middlemist

Mechanical Engineering

Presentation PDF link

In the world of prosthetics, there has always been the challenge of replacing that of an actual human hand and finger. The aim of this research project is to design and develop a soft robotic finger which can be remotely controlled and utilized in countless different applications, including prosthetics.

Faculty Mentor:
Jianguo Zhao

Amanda Mohrlang

Chemical and Biological Engineering

Presentation PDF link

Metabolites such as butanol are useful molecules for biofuels, industrial solvents, and many other applications. However, they are most often produced petrol-chemically; a process that has many harmful environmental side effects and is unsustainable. Currently, microbial production of metabolites is limited by high costs and low production yields due to a low reducing power from electrons. These limitations drastically decrease the process’s sustainability. The goal of this research project is to improve the yield of metabolites from microbial production by increasing the flux of metabolic electrons into microbes through electro stimulated fermentation.

Faculty Mentor:
Kenneth Reardon

Colton Moore

Biomedical Engineering

Presentation PDF link

Bone defects greater than 8 cm long will not heal on their own. Distraction osteogenesis is a method used to solve these issues. Distraction osteogenesis is a process of bone lengthening with many applications. As a research team, we are focused upon using distraction osteogenesis as a method for the purpose of healing. This happens by removing the dead or defected bone segment, cutting the healthy bone on a side of the removed segment then transporting the new section of healthy bone 1mm per day until it reaches the other side. It grows new bone behind it as it is transported.

Faculty Mentor:
Ben Gadomski

Richard Morales-Villalva

Biomedical Engineering

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In this project, over many years many researchers in the medical industry have tried to find materials for implants that not only are safer but also better than the ones already in the market, the aim is to make biomaterials that are safer and more effective for implants and in this research project a surface modification strategy using natural biopolymers on titanium is proposed to improve bone healing and promote rapid and successful osseointegration of orthopedic implants.

Faculty Mentor:
Ketul Popat

Joshua Nez

Adaptive Robotics Lab

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Flying drones only have a certain fly time due to their limited battery capabilities. To help the drones finish their job, they can maintain the same height using a perching technique. This can help the drone conserve it’s energy and allow it to stay on the field longer. The purpose of this research is to create a compliant mechanism to achieve a perching of the drone.

Faculty Mentor:
Jiangao Zhao

Kyle Pinto

Mechanical Engineering

With the growing popularity of the extremely versatile material graphene, ranging in application from extremely-dense energy storage mechanisms to enhanced building materials for mechanical applications, many methods of graphene production have been explored to make this material more available and cheaper to use. One of the biggest problems with graphene today is its extremely high cost of production due to extremely low yields through most methods of creation, including exfoliation, chemical vapor deposition, or nanotube slicing, to name a few. The aim of this research is to explore a much more scalable and cheaper method of graphene production: laser irradiation of polymer precursors, or more specifically, the usage of a very cheap blue laser that can be readily acquired and simple Kevlar fabric sheets to manufacture small samples of graphene that can be replicated relatively easily. Though the quality of this graphene would not be the same as more traditional methods of manufacturing, it would be a much more versatile and scalable method of production that could be used for applications such as resistive heaters for integration into vehicle chassis or curing of composite materials via local heating.

Faculty Mentor:
Mostafa Yourdkhani

EmmaKate Raisley

Chemical and Biological Engineering

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Dimethylformamide (DMF) is a common solvent used in the manufacturing of synthetic fibers, leathers, films, and surface coatings. Exposure to this chemical can result in a variety of adverse effects, including liver toxicity. The aim of this research is to develop pharmacokinetic ( “what the body does to the chemical”) and pharmacodynamic ( “what the chemical does to the body”) models for DMF exposures in humans. We expect that these models, underpinned by exposure data from a partnering company, will facilitate prediction of the severity of effects resulting from DMF exposure and help inform strategies to lessen the toxic effects to workers in these industries.

Faculty Mentor:
Brad Reisfeld

Genevieve Reyland-Slawson

Mechanical Engineering

While 3D printing has become more popular, newer techniques have emerged to create more efficient and easier to produce. While the traditional methods of producing 3D models work well, newer techniques to produce products with different materials and different methods of curing can be more efficient and easier. In this research project we are trying to find a material that acts as a mold that cures the 3D printed material on a mold. By creating a mold that is able to heat up substantially enough and conduct that electricity towards the 3D printed material, the curing step in a drying oven can be skipped to save time. The overall goal of this research is to find a material that is able to conduct electricity without overheating while also curing a 3D printed material on the bed.

Faculty Mentor:
Mostafa Yourdkhani

Jenna Salvat

Environmental Engineering - Center for Contaminant Hydrology

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Perfluorinated compounds have proliferated in use and production as a result of developments in chemistry and thus are increasingly found in many aqueous substrates. Methods are being formulated by scientists to attempt to degrade, neutralize, or completely destroy these compounds and the efficacy of such techniques may be determined through sample processing and the use of quadrupole time-of-flight (QTOF) mass spectrometry. The focus of my work was to assist in manual processing of QTOF mass spectrometry data from various projects for data acquisition and analysis.

Faculty Mentor:
Jens Blotegovel

Juan Saucedo

Mechanical Engineering

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I learned how to code to be able to solve a problem that was about finding the best way to build a computer that was under the budget of 800 dollar by regular coding then building a equation/function that would be easier to do.

Faculty Mentor:
Daniel Herber

Madison Shafer

Biomedical Engineering

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Osteogenesis, commonly known as the growth of bone, depends on many key factors. In order for man-made bone scaffolding to accurately assist in the regrowth of bone, it must first mimic the characteristics of bone. The movement of fluid and particulates through the bone is one essential attribute to this process. The aim of this research project is to understand the permeable characteristics of the 3D printed Hydroxyapatite-Polycaprolactone Scaffolds generated in the Prawel Bone Lab. The movement of fluid through the tested scaffolding will be telling in how true biologically formed bone will react in its presence. Along with this, it will provide an estimation for the best percentage of porous scaffold should be places in the body.

Faculty Mentor:
David Prawel

Elaine Smith

Mechanical Engineering

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An ongoing research project aimed at improving the efficiency of Cadmium Telluride solar panels by testing different combinations of materials deposited on glass.

Faculty Mentor:
Kevan Cameron

Vivia Van De Mark

Electrical and Computer Engineering

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Advances in histopathology, the study and diagnosis of tissue disease, frequently occur concurrently with advances in bioimaging and computational microscopy. Phase contrast microscopy, in particular, has great potential as a diagnostic tool as it does not require extensive cell preparation (staining) and/or cell death. Here, we apply contemporary progress in asymmetrical illumination phase contrast imaging, utilizing an LED array microscope, toward gathering not only more precise morphological data but quantitative data often overlooked by traditional histopathology techniques.

Faculty Mentor:
Randy Bartels

Sam Vaughan

Mechanical Engineering

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As emission requirements increase in response to climate change, different fuels will likely become a necessity. Liquified propane gas (LPG) is a potential option, but requires in-depth analysis to match the efficiency of traditional gasoline engines. This project aims to thoroughly analyze the behavior of LPG in a rapid combustion machine, while controlling and changing variables.

Faculty Mentor:
Anthony Marchese

Anna Wikowsky

Civil and Environmental Engineering

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This research project will help gain a better understanding of how the density of vegetation in the floodplain affects the velocities of the water in the channel and the floodplain. Methods to conduct this experiment and take measurements include large scale particle imaging velocimetry (LSPIV) and acoustic doppler velocimeter (ADV). The results of this project will help in determining the risk of damage structures and vegetation in a flood plain, and can thus aid in flood mitigation planning.

Faculty Mentor:
Peter Nelson