Category: CMS-Engineering & Physics

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.

 

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).

The Department of Engineering and Physics Holds Annual Engineering Workshop Academy

Media Contact: Chloe Hrdlicka, Marketing and Development Coordinator, UCO College of Mathematics and Sciences, 405-597-2740, chrdlicka@uco.eduhand fixing circuit board

The Department of Engineering and Physics Holds Annual Engineering Workshop Academy

From June 7th-18th 2021, the Department of Engineering and Physics in the College of Mathematics and Sciences held the 5th annual Engineering Workshop Academy. Dr. Ait moussa and Dr. Alsbou gathered 30 middle school students from central Oklahoma together to learn basic engineering skills.

Dr. Ait moussa and Dr. Alsbou teach the 8th, 9th and 10th-grade students how to use a program to build a bridge modeled electronically before they complete the paper and wood version, which is then tested to see if it performs how it was intended. The students also learn how to maximize profit with excel, learn how to work with circuits and 3D printers, have exposure to Engineering 3-D modeling programs. This group of 30 students participated in different contests throughout the week to test their new skills.

The academy is set up to communicate to the students that “the only difference between where you are and where you want to be is the steps you haven’t taken yet” (Dawson, 2021:online). students building wooden bridges

Ait moussa hires five graduate students to help teach alongside the professors. The program is sponsored by an annual grant from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education which allows the students to attend at no cost. The first graduating class of engineering program students began college last fall, and we have four of those students attending UCO.

For more information about the Engineering Workshop academy, contact Abdellah Ait Moussa Ph.D. AAitMoussa@uco.edu.

For more information about the Department of Engineering and Physics, visit https://www.uco.edu/cms/academics/engineering-and-physics

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Cutline: University of Central Oklahoma Department of Engineering and Physics welcomes Oklahoma middle school students to partake in Engineering Workshop Academy.

Portable Intelligent Driver’s Health Monitoring System for Safety on the Road

This past year, Dr. Nesreen Alsbou, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was awarded U.S. Patent No. 10,912,509 titled “Portable Intelligent Driver’s Health Monitoring System for Safety on the Road.” Dr. Alsbou is the Electrical Engineering Program Coordinator and Director of UCO’s Internet-of-Things (IoT) Laboratory.

The majority of traffic accidents that involve commercial trucks result from factors related to the driver’s behavior and health.  These may include fatigue, attention deficit, health issues, or simply poor driving habits. Systems currently exist that warn drivers when they are exhibiting potentially hazardous behaviors such as lane departures or imminent collisions. While these smart technologies are more widely available in newer automobiles, commercial trucks generally do not use them or have minimal technology for that purpose. When warning systems are available, they only alert the driver of the errant vehicle.

Dr. Alsbou’s driver alert system, while originally developed for commercial trucking, is portable and adjustable to fit any vehicle, including a passenger car. It monitors a driver’s attention, health, and operating behavior and provides notifications to the driver about potential problems. What makes it unique is that it also has the capability of notifying surrounding vehicles when a vehicle operates abnormally.

Students worked with Dr. Alsbou in her IoT lab on multiple projects in the area of smart vehicles, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, and safety on the road through STLR, RCSA, and Senior Design. Students include Michael Nolan, Giang Dao, Skyler Moore, Mohamed Afify, Michael Van Der Veldt, Amjad Barghouthi, Mohamed Keblawi, and others. Students presented their work in local, regional, national, and international engineering conferences. Dr. Alsbou encouraged and supported her senior design student Erin Drewke to be in a team with business and marketing students to develop a business plan and submit it for the Love’s Entrepreneurs Cup Businesses Plan Competition in Spring 2020.

This was the first patent awarded to the IoT Laboratory. Dr. Alsbou continues to work with students, local companies, and hospitals on projects. Her work is focused on the Internet of Things, Smart Vehicles, Smart Homes, and Smart Devices. She recently filed a second patent application, currently under review, related to an intelligent device that gives caregivers real-time feedback when providing CPR.

Student Highlight: Mukesh Tumbapo and Matthew Henry

Two Engineering Physics Master’s Recipients Present Research on Phosphorene and Silicene:

Mukesh Tumbapo and Matthew Henry both completed Master’s degrees in Engineering – Physics last December. Their research was conducted under the direction of UCO Associate Professor Dr. Benjamin Tayo. Ever since the isolation and controlled exploration of the two-dimensional (2D) crystal graphene was made possible (leading to the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010), the scientific community has taken great interest in the possibilities graphene offers for new approaches to DNA sequencing. Despite several major advances, sequencing DNA using graphene has not yet been demonstrated. One of the major hindrances is the hydrophobic nature of graphene’s surface which causes DNA bases to stick to its surface. Matthew and Mukesh have demonstrated, using computational studies, that phosphorene and silicene are promising alternatives to graphene.

Binding energy (in electron-volt) for GNP, PNP, and SNP.

The above figure from their work shows that binding energies of the 4 DNA bases Guanine (G), Adenine (A), Cytosine (C), and Thymine (T) for interaction with graphene nanopore (GNP) are much higher than those for phosphorene nanopore (PNP) and silicene nanopore (SNP). This shows a minimal tendency for bases to stick on phosphorene and silicene, compared to graphene.  Hence the problem of DNA bases sticking to graphene’s surface is not expected for phosphorene and silicone. These results were presented at three national conferences and at two regional conferences, and are also the subject of a manuscript that has been accepted for publication in the journal AIP Advances.

Matthew accepted a position as a Systems Engineer at Boeing, and Mukesh is considering whether to move into the industry or continue his studies in pursuit of a doctorate.