Speakers in the Research Networking Thread
Christopher A. Alabi
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Control over primary sequence and structure is critical to the development of new functional materials such as catalysts, synthetic affinity ligands and therapeutics, sequence responsive scaffolds, programmable biomaterials and much more. Motivated by these opportunities and the need for sequence-control and structural diversity in polymer research, we present a versatile methodology for the assembly of a new class of sequence-defined macromolecules called oligoTEAs. With sequence-control in hand, we are currently working to establish sensitive solution-phase structural characterization methods to determine their conformational dynamics and to formulate sequence-structure relationships for biological applications. We focus on applications that leverage the advantages of these novel macromolecules such as increased serum stability, precise control of backbone and pendant group sequence, and a large scope of chemically diverse monomers. Current applications under exploration in our lab include the design of cleavable linkers to quantitate intracellular cleavage kinetics, development of novel sequences and conjugates for intracellular drug delivery, and the design of membrane selective antibacterial compounds. In this talk, I will discuss the antibacterial properties of oligoTEAs in detail by examining the kinetic phenomenon behind their mechanism of action and investigations into the effect of primary sequence, composition and structure on antibacterial properties.
Materials Science and Engineering
University of Florida
The Allen lab has three main research thrusts in cellular engineering, biomaterials, and the study of dynamic environmental conditions. The focus of this seminar will be recent work in these three areas as it relates to cardiovascular disease and vascular tissue engineering. Our work in cellular engineering is motivated by the continued challenge to control cellular processes, including stem cell differentiation. Our labs approach is the development of receptor agonist in the form of nucleic acid aptamers. We have fabricated a novel divalent aptamer assembly that shows agonist function towards vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2, leading to downstream pathway activation. Our biomaterials work involves the creation of a biomimetic nanofibrous scaffold composed of an elastomeric polymer combined with collagen and elastin proteins. These biphasic scaffolds are biologically compatible, mechanically robust and compliant, and show great promise as a vascular scaffold. Lastly, our work to study vascular cells exposed to dynamic environments such as microgravity will be presented. There exists a correlation between microgravity and the onset of cardiovascular deconditioning, therefore, this work aims to utilize this extreme environment to study changes in vascular repair cells.
Cancer. Infertility. Hearing loss. Each of these phrases can bring a ray of darkness into an otherwise happy life. The Stanford Biomedical Optics group, led by Professor Audrey Bowden, aims to develop and deploy novel optical technologies to solve interdisciplinary challenges in the clinical and basic sciences. In short, we use light to image life — and in so doing, illuminate new paths to better disease diagnosis, management and treatment. In this talk, I will discuss our recent efforts to design, fabricate and/or construct new hardware, software and systems-level biomedical optics tools to attack problems in skin cancer, bladder cancer, hearing loss and infertility. Our efforts span development of new fabrication techniques for 3D tissue-mimicking phantoms, new strategies for creating large mosaics and 3D models of biomedical data, machine-learning classifiers for automated detection of disease, novel system advances for multiplexed optical coherence tomography and low-cost technologies for point-of-care diagnostics.
University of California, San Diego
Gastrointestinal (GI) problems are the second leading cause for missing work or school behind the common cold, giving rise to 10 percent of the reasons a patient visits their physician and costing $142 billion annually. More than half of GI disorders involve abnormal functioning of the GI tract, where diagnosis entails subjective symptom-based questionnaires or objective but invasive, intermittent procedures in specialized centers. In this talk, we will discuss our advancement of a “Digestive EKG” with high-resolution multi-electrode abdominal recordings and physiologic waveform analysis methods that enable objective, non-invasive functional GI assessment. Specifically, we will demonstrate dynamic estimation and uncertainty quantification methods that enable inference of propagation patterns, propagation velocity, and other GI digestive parameters typically acquired invasively in specialized centers. We will discuss how this approach is being used to disambiguate disorders with overlapping symptoms and optimize treatment regimens. Lastly, we will discuss the potential of removing bottlenecks and benefitting large populations with our development of ambulatory monitoring systems and adhesive-integrated flexible electronic systems. We will conclude with a summary and a vision for how modernizing gastroenterology with applied mathematics and engineering has transformational potential to improve health, reduce healthcare costs, and advance science.
Materials Science and Engineering
Penn State University
Solid-liquid interfaces are at the heart of a wide array of electrochemical technologies, such as batteries, super- and pseudocapacitors, fuel cells, electroactuators, electrosensors, and dye-sensitized solar cells. To optimize these technologies, the interactions of the charged electrodes and the ions from the surrounding electrolyte need to be understood at the molecular level. While existing quantum-mechanical models work well for either the electrolyte or the electrode, in isolation, their combination remains challenging using available computational methods. This presentation will discuss progress in the quantum-continuum modeling of solid-liquid interfaces. The focus will be on the conversion of electrical energy in fuel cell and the production of chemical fuels in photoelectrochemical reactors. Specifically, we will describe the application of embedded density-functional theory techniques and large-scale finite-temperature sampling methods to elucidate the stability of bimetallic electrocatalysts and the electrification of silicon electrodes in aqueous solution.
Climate change is arguably the most important problem in the history of mankind, since it presents a clear trajectory towards human extinction. Preventing further change in the earth’s climate will require ending the usage of fossil fuels and will consequently require an overhaul of many of the technologies currently in use in the electricity, transportation, and major industrial sectors. The biggest culprit in in global warming is the electricity sector, which may eventually absorb the energy required for the transportation sector, if electric vehicles reach full penetration. Eliminating the usage of coal and natural gas from the electricity sector is therefore one of the most important technological grand challenges to mitigating climate change. Towards this end, the cost of flat plate solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind have decreased tremendously over the last decade, such that their levelized cost of electricity is competitive or cheaper than that of natural gas, in the sunniest and windiest locations on earth. The problem, however, is that solar and wind derived electricity is weather dependent and cannot be dispatched on demand, as the current electricity grid requires. This then necessitates some kind of grid level energy storage, and the first option one might think to turn to, namely electrochemical batteries, are exceedingly expensive when one considers their short cycle life and subsequent need for replacement. Furthermore, studies over the last decade have now shown that no matter how cheap solar and wind become, without some form of inexpensive grid level energy storage, renewable energy will never be able to reach more than 10-20% penetration on the grid (currently it constitutes only ~ 1%). Considering the critical importance and need for a new and inexpensive grid level energy storage technology, this talk will introduce a promising new concept being developed in the Atomistic Simulation & Energy (ASE) research group, termed Thermal Energy Grid Storage (TEGS). TEGS can take on several different embodiments, but the most economically attractive approach that uses Thermophotovoltaics (TPV) will be discussed in detail as well as the critical new technological advance that enables its realization.
Chemical & Environmental Engineering
Self-assembly of block copolymers and small molecule mesogens gives rise to a rich phase behavior as a function of temperature, composition, and other relevant parameters. The ability to precisely control their chemical functionality combined with the readily tunable characteristic length scales (~1-100 nm) of their self-assembled mesophases position these systems as a versatile and attractive class of materials for compelling applications ranging from membranes for size and chemo-selective transport, to optics, and lithography. As a result there is intense interest in elucidating the physical processes relevant for directing self-assembly in these systems to create application relevant structures, with a goal of exploiting such fundamental understanding to create useful materials or devices. This presentation discusses such directed self-assembly of soft nanostructured materials and emerging methods for generating highly ordered and heterostructured systems. In particular, we focus on recent advances in the creation of highly ordered nanostructured membranes for water purification, and small length scale structures for lithography in microelectronics.
Case Western Reserve University
The limited repair capacity of the adult heart is attributed to the low frequency of mitosis in the beating cardiomyocytes. The preclinical understanding of cardiac growth is evolving with evidence that natural tissue generation can be stimulated in the adult heart. Complementary advanced tools from cosmogeology and molecular biology allow study of unique aspects of cardiac biology including that new heart tissue may derive from proliferation of beating heart cells. We tracked biological events in a benign manner using safe stable isotopes over months on a transgenic mouse line to determine cell birth rates. Injury appears to induce an increase in cardiomyocyte proliferation potentially due in part to soluble factors released from activated neighboring cells. We are now developing microfluidic and hydrogel platforms to investigate the role of the microenvironment in regulating heart tissue turnover.
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Future applications, such as wearable electronics, flexible and transparent displays, or devices for solar energy conversion and storage require materials with more versatility, more integrated functions, and more environmentally responsible processing compared to traditional options (i.e., inorganic semiconductors, like silicon). Organic semiconductors, such as small molecules and polymers, are well-suited to these future requirements; however, their electrical properties and environmental stability are inherently worse. Hybrid materials, such as inorganic nanoparticles embedded within a polymer film, can mitigate the trade-offs that exist for any single material type by combining organic and inorganic semiconductors. For example, hybrid materials can impart multi-functionality, flexibility, transparency, and sustainability to devices based on the interaction of light and matter (i.e., optoelectronic devices) or energy-related devices (e.g., solar cells, supercapacitors, or photo-electrochemical cells). A critically important requirement to realize the promise of hybrid materials for devices is to understand and control thin film deposition. Because hybrid materials are heterogeneous systems containing more than one component, thin-film deposition can be complicated compared to single component films. As a result, the co-deposition of two or more materials with different properties to synthesize a hybrid film with pre-determined functionality is a technological challenge within thin-film engineering, an area that resides at the nexus of materials science, physics, and electrical engineering. I will describe my research program that investigates hybrid thin film deposition using matrix-assisted pulsed laser evaporation (MAPLE) to control structure and properties and to improve the performance of optoelectronic and energy-related devices.
Speakers in the Professional Development Thread
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Carnegie Melon University
Vice-President of Research and Institutional Advancement
Tennessee State University
Dr. Crumpton-Young received her BS, MS, and Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University; where she was the 1st African-American female to receive a Ph.D. in engineering. Dr. Crumpton-Young received the 2006 Outstanding Women of Color in Science and Technology Educator Award and the 1999 Janice A. Lumpkin, Educator of the Year Golden Torch Award from the National Society of Black Engineers. Also, Dr. Lesia L. Crumpton-Young received the 1997 Black Engineer of the Year Education Award which is given to the one candidate whose qualifications place him/her in the ranks of the nation’s highest achievers in the field of engineering.
She is a certified Life and Career Coach who uses her knowledge and experience to help further the career of faculty, students, and staff throughout the nation. She has co-authored a workbook entitle “Advancing Your Faculty Career” and authored the “You’ve Got The Power!” Workbook series dedicated to empowering individuals to unleash the greatness that exists within them. She was the founder and former CEO of PowerfulEducation Technologies a company dedicated to enhancing the personal and professional development of youth and adults throughout our nation. Also, Dr. Young served as founder and Executive Director of the Power Promise Organization a non-profit entity dedicated to helping students realize the promise of a brighter future.
In addition, she is an active researcher in the area of modeling Human Systems under Dynamic conditions. For example, her various research interests include: Professional development, STEM education mentoring, curriculum reform, STEM leadership development, human performance modeling and analysis, human reliability analysis, human fatigue assessment and modeling, use of virtual reality and computer simulation in ergonomics design and analysis, design of displays and controls, workplace design; carpal tunnel syndrome prevention and control; and workplace redesign for disabled persons. Dr. Crumpton-Young received the CAREER development award from the National Science Foundation for her research on Developing Engineering Criteria for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities. In addition, she received the outstanding industrial paper award for her research entitled: An Investigation of Cumulative Trauma Disorders in the Construction Industry from the International Occupational Ergonomics and Safety Conference. She has served as Principal Investigator on numerous research projects and published hundreds of scholarly publications. Her research has been externally supported by the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, NASA, and Department of Education; also, she has worked on many industrial research projects with sponsorship from companies such as UPS, IBM, Caterpillar, Intel, Garan Manufacturing, Southwest Airlines, and Lockheed Martin.
She has been married for 25 years to Mr. Reginald Young, owner of Ebay’s Graphic Designs, and is the mother of two beautiful daughters, Mattlyn Young age 19, and Ashlee Young age 16.
Professor of Civil,Construction and Environmental Engineering
North Carolina State University
Electrical and Computer Engineering
John Hopkins University
Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Dr. Goddard joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2007 and was promoted to Associate Professor and then to Full Professor in 2013 and 2017, respectively. His research group focuses on fabricating, characterizing, and modeling photonic sensors, integrated circuits, and instrumentation, as well as developing new processing techniques and testing novel semiconductor materials and devices. Applications include quantitative phase microscopy for semiconductor wafer metrology, hydrogen detection for fuel cells, carbon dioxide detection for reducing post-harvest food loss, and integrated microring Bragg reflectors for narrow linewidth lasers and next generation energy efficient computing architectures.
Dr. Goddard was an Associate Editor of the IEEE Photonics Journal from its inception in 2009 through 2014. He currently serves on its Advisory Board. Dr. Goddard is also an Assistant Topical Editor for the Journal of the Optical Society of America B. He is the recipient of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE); the nomination was by the Department of Energy in 2008. He is also the recipient of the inaugural AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science in 2011. Dr. Goddard is an author or co-author of over 190 publications and has 9 issued patents.
Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies
Morgan State University
C. Fred Higgs III
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
He serves on the ASME Tribology Executive Committee and is an Associate Editor for the STLE Tribology Transactions journal. He founded and directs the Particle Flow & Tribology Laboratory (PFTL), which conducts high-performance computing and high-fidelity experimentation. His work has been sponsored by the government, industry, foundation, and venture-capital entities. Professor Higgs has published over 60 journal papers in venues ranging from the major Tribology journals to other high-impact journals such as Nature Materials, Nanoletters, and Applied Physics Letters. Since 2004, he has been the research advisor to over 100 undergraduate, 30 Masters, 16 doctoral, and 5 postdoctoral research students. He is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of InnovAlgae, a university bioenergy and nutraceutical research spin-off company.
Civil and Environmental Engineering
North Carolina A&T State University
Electrical and Computer Engineering