Author: Chloe

Numerous Faculty Receive EPSCoR and OK-INBRE Grants

As part of his collaboration with Oklahoma State University, Dr. Chad King has received a subaward from Oklahoma NSF EPSCoR, receiving an overall grade of “Outstanding” for the proposal. As a result, Dr. King’s team will receive $15,000 to “identify the future pattern of water quantity and quality in the Upper Little River Watershed (ULRW) under the impacts of changed climate conditions and intensified land disturbances.”

March was a busy time for faculty seeking funding for biomedical programs at UCO. One of the university’s most important partners, the Oklahoma IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (OK-INBRE), recently contributed vital grant monies to UCO faculty to further enhance the statewide research infrastructure and biomedical research capacity. Recently, four UCO faculty have received new Summer Mentoring and Research Training (SMaRT) grants from the OK-INBRE program. Dr. Christopher Goodchild will receive $5,985 for his project titled “Transcriptional Regulation of Chick Embryo Cardiac Morphogenesis” to assess the potential for adverse developmental outcomes in chicks from embryonic exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Dr. Mohammad Hossan will receive $5,992 for this project titled “Hemolysis and Thrombogenicity Studies of PCL Flow Diverters” to design and develop bioresorbable flow diverters that can control aneurysm specific hemodynamic parameters and degrade after insertion into the body when they complete dissolving aneurysms. Dr. Morshed Khandaker will receive $6,000 for his project titled “Measurement of Interface Failure Strength Between Titanium and Bone” to design, develop and characterize a tibial interlocking nail system for an engineered 3D-printed large bone defect model. Dr. Nikki Seagraves will receive $5,998 for her project titled “Assessing the Effect of Phenylalanine Neural Crest Cell Differentiation” to improve the current understanding of how phenylalanine causes craniofacial deformities by examining the effects of phenylalanine on chondrocyte differentiation by O9-1 mouse cranial neural crest cells.

Two faculty received Equipment grants from OK-INBRE as well. Dr. Abdellah Ait-Moussa was awarded $24,539 to purchase a desktop extrusion-based bioprinter manufactured by CELLINK for use in multi-disciplinary biomedical research and education. This bioprinter is designed to fabricate tissue structures that contain cells blended with extracellular matrix. Dr. Mohammad Hossan will receive $24,995 to acquire a Cellometer Spectrum image cytometry system to count and analyze primary cells from peripheral blood, cord blood, bone marrow, and other complex samples including regular cells in cell media, surface markers and other cell-based assays.

Drs. Sanjeewa Gamagedara and Hari Kotturi both won Summer Research Opportunity (ROA) grants from OK-INBRE. Dr. Gamagedara will receive $7,480 to identify and characterize allergens proteins from two most abundant grass species in Oklahoma. He will conduct this research at the University of Oklahoma Mass Spectrometry, Proteomics & Metabolomics (MSPM) Core Facility in Norman. Dr. Kotturi will receive $12,228 to purify UCO’s high-titer lysates using ultracentrifuges and remove Lipopolysaccharides from high-titer lysates in labs located at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, therefore helping produce Phage-incorporated PCL nanofibers with much better antimicrobial properties.

Congratulations to each of the faculty for their successful pursuit of external funding for important science projects here at UCO. More OK-INBRE award announcements are expected soon.

Two CMS Faculty Receive OK-INBRE RPI Grants

Two professors in our college recently received OK-INBRE Research Project Investigator grants totaling $594,753.

Dr. Mohammed Robi Hossan, Associate Professor of Engineering & Physics, will receive $344,753 to develop fluidic devices (flow diverters and stents) to regulate hemodynamic parameters for the treatment of vascular diseases including brain aneurysms and remodeling of the vascular network to a normal physiological state. Dr. Hossan has been involved in fundamental research on fluid mechanics, electrokinetics and development of microfluidic devices for various biomedical applications including understanding the role of fluid dynamics in activation of biochemical signal pathways. The PI, Dr. Hossan, has already established a microfabrication and fluidic experimental facilities in his “Microsystems Engineering Laboratory (MEL)” for design and development of fluidic devices at UCO.

Dr. Nesreen Alsbou, Assistant Professor of Engineering & Physics, will receive $250,000 to use a portable and low-cost microwave imaging system designed and built in her Internet of Things (IoT) research lab to detect and prevent neural tissue damage, specifically neuroinflammation caused by microbubble-associated cavitation damage, during traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The research will focus on the detection and identifying of the microbubbles and collapsing those microbubbles immediately after TBI using in vitro and in vivo blast tube test models. The PI Dr. Alsbou has established an Internet of Things (IoT) research lab at UCO for the design and development of smart devices for many different applications such as smart phantoms, smart medical devices, smart hospitals, smart homes, smart streets, and smart cities. The proposed project stems from a developed microwave detection system to successfully detect microbubbles after sudden agitation, which was possible from Faculty on Campus (FOC) grant and an OK-INBRE mini grant.

 

Both professors wish to thank OK-INBRE for its generosity.

 

Biology Professors Receive OK-INBRE Equipment Grant

Five biology professors within the College of Mathematics and Science recently received $49,651 from OK-INBRE to fund purchases of important research equipment. Dr. Christina Hendrickson will receive a water bath and other supplies worth $9,417, while Dr. Christopher Goodchild will receive $17,090 for a new Percival incubator. Dr. Samjeewa Gamagedara will receive $20,282 to purchase a new Infinity analytical fraction collector, while Dr. Melville Vaughan will $475 to acquire a Lifeline Cell Technology kit. The remaining $2,388 will help Dr. Hari Kotturi purchase various supplies for his phage therapy research. The College of Mathematics and Science would like to thank OK-INBRE for its generosity.

Two CMS Faculty Receive a Mathematics Education Grant

Two professors in our college recently received a Mathematics Association of America grant totaling $29,502 for mathematics education.

Dr. Emily Hendryx, Assistant Professor of Mathematics & Statistics, and Dr. Matthew Parks, Assistant Professor of Biology, will receive $29,502 courtesy of the Mathematics Association of America. Their project, “Multiple Aspects of a Single-use Problem: Applying Mathematics to Understand Consumer Litter Distribution along Metropolitan Waterways,” will provide students with an opportunity to get hands-on experience in applying mathematics and statistics to the real-world problem of consumer litter accumulation along local streams. In their 7-week program, students will not only develop mathematical models and perform statistical analyses based on local litter data, but they will also participate in the design and implementation of the data-collection process. Students will therefore gain first-hand experience in experiment design, fieldwork, data wrangling, basic programming skills, statistical analyses, and mathematical modeling through differential equations.

Both professors wish to thank the Mathematics Association of America for its generosity.

Area Industry Partners Sponsor Engineering Senior Design Projects

Every student who graduates from an engineering program at UCO participates in a 2-semester senior engineering design capstone experience.  During this experience, an interdisciplinary team composed of three to four students will identify an engineering problem, design and develop potential solutions to the problem, analyze and improve their solutions, and ultimately deliver a final prototype. Throughout the process, students utilize the knowledge and skills attained in their degree program’s prior coursework, while ensuring they meet specific industry standards and work within their projects’ identified constraints.

While many senior design projects are proposed by UCO faculty, and a few by the students themselves, over one-third of the projects, come from the department’s many industry partners. Last August, for example, Dakota Maxwell (a 2018 graduate of UCO’s Mechanical Engineering program and who is currently an R&D Mechanical Engineer at Nortek Air Solutions), approached the department with three potential projects. After some discussion, it was agreed to submit two of the projects for review by new senior design students in the 2021 Fall Semester. There are always more projects than student teams, and some projects end up being shifted to future semesters. In this case, both projects were chosen.

The first project, the Nortek Air Solution Duct Air Sampling System, involves developing an apparatus to take uniformly averaged air temperatures in rectangular air ducts of arbitrary sizes. The Senior Design Team of Amanda Durbin (Mechanical Engineering), Jenny James (Biomedical Engineering), and Samantha Mas (Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering) are undertaking this project under faculty sponsor Dr. Evan Lemley.

The second project is the Nortek Air Solution Center of Family Love Filter Frame Helper. The Center of Family Love is an organization that employs individuals with special needs. One of their programs allows their employees to manufacture air filters for residential and commercial applications. Unfortunately, many of the workers do not have the dexterity to fold the air filter cardboard frames without assistance. This project involves the design and fabrication of an automated jig to provide the assistance the workers need to overcome their dexterity challenges in assembling air filters. The Senior Design Team of Luis Martinez (Electrical Engineering), Rose Njoki (Biomedical Engineering), and Aaron Smith (Electrical Engineering) are undertaking this project under faculty sponsor Dr. Abdellah Ait moussa.

The department is extremely thankful to our many industry partners for their assistance in identifying and providing support for these industry-sponsored projects. In addition to Nortek Air Solutions, recent Senior Design Project sponsors have included ClimateMaster, Aaon Heating and Cooling, Oklahoma City VA Health Care System, OU Health Science Center, Pelco Products, Boeing, FAA, Tinker AFB, Kamray, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Stanfield Engineering, and many others. Companies interested in sponsoring future projects may contact the department’s Industry Liaison, Dr. Mohamed Bingabr (mbingabr@uco.edu).

Remembering Dr. John Bowen

Bowen teaching fencing to a student

It is with a heavy heart to announce the passing of Dr. John Bowen on January 16, 2022, after struggling with a long illness.  John joined the University of Central Oklahoma in August of 2000 and retired in May 2018.  John received a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Central State University and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Oklahoma State University.  At UCO he taught General Chemistry I lab, Quantitative Analysis lecture and lab, and Instrumental Analysis lecture and lab.

He was an active faculty member who coordinated the departmental seminar program.  Among his other activities, he was a member of various task forces for the College and University, a co-sponsor of the Forensic Science and Chemistry Clubs, collaborated on projects with the University of Wyoming, worked with GEAR-UP, was an advisor for the Gold Key Honor Society and Fencing Club.

Adventures of Dr. Bowen

Old newspaper article

John co-authored papers published in various chemical journals, received funding for his research from the Office of Research and Grants, and mentored students who presented papers at Research Day and at the ACS national meeting. John particularly loved to be outdoors.  He had interests in mountaineering, skiing, caving, and especially whitewater rafting.

John was kind and soft-spoken. He always had time for other faculty members and students.  He will be missed by all of us at UCO.