Category: CMS-Engineering & Physics

Student Kudos

UCO Student Wins First Place in the Non-Life Science Poster Presentation at Annual Research Symposium

 The UCO College of Mathematics and Science, School of Engineering student, Kayley McBride was

awarded first place in the non-life science poster presentation at the Oklahoma Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (OK-LSAMP) 28th Annual Research Symposium. McBride’s presentation, titled “ParaView-ing Data at NERSC Remotely Using Jupyter Notebooks”.

The symposium, held on October 1, 2022 at the OSU campus in Stillwater, included approximately 70 students from ten universities across Oklahoma. McBride, a biomedical engineering senior was among ten students in the non-life science poster category. Research was conducted at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in summer 2022 with mentorship by Johannes Blaschke, Ph.D., a LBNL application performance specialist and Gang Xu, D.Sc., UCO professor of Biomedical Engineering.

Jupyter Notebook is an increasingly popular open-source application that allows users to create an

d share documents containing live codes, equations, and data, but with limited visualization capacity especially for large datasets. On the other hand, ParaView is one of the open-source data analysis and visualization applications that allow quick analysis and interactive visualization of extremely large datasets. As part of the project funded by the Department of Energy, McBride’s task was to combine the best of both worlds in order to process and visualize the complex datasets from the computational fluid dynamics simulations run on the LBNL supercomputers. She showed that Jupyter Notebook running the ParaView kernel can be set up on a personal computer or laptop and then connected to a ParaView server that is running on a supercomputer. Her project supports th

e possibility of fully implementing the ParaView kernel on a supercomputer and dramatically improving the user experience in large data visualization in Jupyter Notebook, which will benefit a wide range of computational projects and researchers.


The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (OK-LSAMP) is a National Science Foundation funded consortium of Oklahoma colleges and universities working together to develop programs aimed at increasing the number of students from under-represented populations who receive degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Current goals and activities of OK-LSAMP focus on undergraduate research experiences, graduate school preparation, and international experiences.


A number of UCO faculty were recently awarded a $1,187,961, six-year grant from the National Science Foundation as part of its Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. This project titled “Master Teachers Conducting STEM Practices and Action Research” will create a new partnership among the University of Central Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Public Schools, and the Central Oklahoma STEM Alliance to serve the national need of developing highly effective biology and mathematics teacher leaders in secondary education in Oklahoma.

The Noyce program supports talented STEM undergraduate majors and professionals to become effective K-12 STEM teachers and experienced, K-12 teachers to become STEM master teachers in high-need school districts. Fourteen central Oklahoma high school biology and math teachers will become Master Teaching Fellows. They will conduct STEM research and educational action research, do leadership training, and continue professional development and community building with each other while teaching in high-need schools. The program will orient these teachers to effectively support and mentor other teachers, especially those with emergency and alternative certifications.

Program organizers include UCO’s: Allyson Fenwick, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology; Liz Lane-Harvard, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Mathematics & Statistics; Elizabeth Allan, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Biology, and Mike Nelson, Ph.D., Professor and Assistant Dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies. The program evaluator is Cynthia Murray, Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics and Statistics. Additional UCO faculty are senior personnel on the project and will mentor Fellows.

Dr. Ben Tayo, Associate Professor of Engineering & Physics was awarded a National Institutes of Health, R-15 grant. The grant, a three-year, $425,928 research grant will bring deeper insights on a new class of materials for DNA detection. The ability to detect and discriminate DNA bases by reading it directly using simple and cost-effective methods is an important problem whose solution can produce value for areas such as cancer and human genetic disorder research. Despite progress in sequencing techniques, there are still several challenges to be overcome. Because of the challenges, the need for cheaper and faster approaches for automated sequencing is crucial. This research will employ high-performance computing and machine learning resources to investigate the potential of several two-dimensional crystalline materials for DNA sequencing. The knowledge gained from this research will provide deeper insights that will help guide the integration of these materials as active components of electronic devices for fast, direct-read, and affordable DNA sequencing. This award will strengthen the research environment at the University of Central Oklahoma and engage students in computational research.

Dr. Emily Hendryx from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics was awarded a three-year, $410,515 grant from the National Institute of Health. Titled “Summarizing Cardiac Data: An Automated Approach for Identifying Representative Heartbeats in the Clinical Setting,” this project involves a collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital to use applied mathematics and data science in removing noise and summarizing pediatric electrocardiogram data recorded at hospital bedsides. This project will provide a way to present a representation of a patient’s recent cardiac health history to clinicians and deliver clinical decision support toward improving patient outcomes. Co-advised by Dr. Tyler Cook from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, this project will also offer undergraduate students an opportunity to participate in innovative interdisciplinary research.

Dr. John Rhee from the Department of Computer Science received a $87,873 grant from Sandia National Laboratories as part of his effort to build better cybersecurity services for cloud-based software systems. Once completed, the tools developed in his project titled “TelScope: Discovering Blind Spots of Telemetry Diagnosability” will be used to reveal gaps between telemetry requirements and implemented telemetry collection for cloud services.

Dr. Morshed Khandaker from the Department of Engineering and Physics received an Oklahoma Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) grant for his project “Anti Corrosion Behavior of Mg and Zn nanoparticle incorporated nanofiber membrane.” This $5,000 award will be used to evaluate the structural efficacy of magnesium- and zinc-loaded nanofiber membrane coating on steel in reinforced concrete.

STEM Industry Careers Panel

CMS recently hosted 18 industry leaders from around the OKC Metro area for a STEM Industry Careers Panel. Panelists participated in moderator led Q&A sessions followed by industry focused break-out sessions with students. Panelists shared how they entered their careers upon completion of their degree and provided advice to students on how to prepare for career opportunities in various STEM fields.

The event took place in two lecture halls and included panelists from Tinker Air Force Base, Cytovance Biologics, American Fidelity, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Love’s, ASRC Federal, FSB Architects and Engineers, ARL Bio Pharma, Oklahoma City Public Schools, Paycom, ALK OKC Allergy Supplies Inc., Bethany Children’s Health Center, OU Health Center, Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality and the FBI. Over one hundred students attended the panel discussions throughout the two lecture halls and break-out rooms.

Panelists then broke in to five targeted sessions focusing on computer science, math, engineering, nursing, biological and chemical sciences. Students participated in the break-out sessions asking questions and sharing information pertinent to their future career goals.

The event ended with a networking reception for students and professionals to continue visiting and building connections. Throughout the one-hour event conversations revolved around ways to enter an industry as well as how careers take shape as the discipline evolves.



The University of Central Oklahoma’s Department of Engineering and Physics has elevated its designation to the School of Engineering, reflecting the school’s overall growth, quality and broad range of STEM-focused programs. The school is home to four accredited engineering programs including biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, engineering physics and mechanical engineering.

“The redesignation as the UCO School of Engineering is based on the excellence of the school’s academic programs, the high level of faculty productivity and the focus on undergraduate and graduate research,” said Gloria Caddell, Ph.D., dean of the College of Mathematics and Science at Central. “It reflects the strengths of what the school has to offer and the benefits of pursuing an engineering degree at UCO.”

The UCO School of Engineering’s bachelor’s programs are accredited by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET), which confirms the programs have met the standards essential to prepare students to enter critical engineering occupations in the global workforce.

“For fifteen years, we have been growing organizations in Oklahoma by evolving well-trained engineers from our accredited programs. With this redesignation, we are forming new industry partnerships that will differentiate us from other universities and colleges,” said Evan Lemley, Ph.D., assistant dean for the College of Mathematics and Science at Central.

Student research and engineering design at the undergraduate and graduate levels remain an important element for the UCO School of Engineering that it plans to add a fully equipped makerspace, which will provide students with a well-designed space to accommodate research and design needs.

“The new makerspace will house student workspace for projects and research in areas such as reverse engineering, additive and subtractive prototyping and outreach activities. Resources, like the makerspace, will ensure that the UCO School of Engineering is ready to engage and meet the educational and workforce needs of the metropolitan community,” Lemley said.

The UCO School of Engineering will continue to integrate multiple disciplines, including a recently created computer engineering program that will undergo ABET review in the next program evaluation.

The school offers a master’s program in engineering physics that gives students the choice between four majors—biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and physics.

Central also has a professional science master’s degree in computational science that combines graduate coursework in a chosen STEM major and management.

Students graduating from the UCO School of Engineering are equipped to enter a vast array of industries and will develop a solid educational foundation to lead the way in innovation and emerging technologies.

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.