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Aggie Research Scholars Program and Aggie Research Leadership Program

Project List

Available Undergraduate Research Opportunities: 27

Team Leaders and Faculty Mentors have created 967 undergraduate research opportunities since spring, 2016. More projects are being added every day, bookmark and check this page periodically. Please contact Team Leaders to discuss joining their teams.

Available Projects

Fall 2017: Animal Welfare Judging Team4 Spots Open
Affiliations:
Undergrad Animal Science and Behaviour Lab
Project Leader:
Rachel Park
rachelpark@tamu.edu
Animal Science
Faculty Mentor:
Courtney Daigle, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Tuesdays at 5:30 PM
Team Size:
4
Special Opportunities:
Students involved will have the opportunity to travel to Iowa to compete and build connections within the animal welfare industry.
Team Needs:
Students will be required to meet twice weekly for one hour time periods to engage in team learning to prepare for the competition. They will additionally need to practice gathering scientific sources on their own time.
Description:
Students engaging in the Animal Welfare Judging Team will provide oral reasons based on scientific evidence to indicate welfare status of animals in a competitive environment. MORE INFORMATION on this project will be provided at informationals during the following times: Tuesday, Sep5th, 7PM @ KLCT 123; Thursday, Sep7th, 6PM @ KLCT 121
Fall 2017: Ornamental Saltwater Fish - Studying the Aquarium Keeping Social World4 Spots Open
Project Leader:
Elizabeth Marchio
elizabeth.marchio@tamu.edu
Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
David Scott, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Twice a week TBD; Approximately 2 hours of research will be done per week for the fall semester.
Team Size:
4
Special Opportunities:
Research co-authorship is possible; please inquire. I am also looking for a student to apply for the Applied Biodiversity Conservation Scholars Program at Texas A&M
Team Needs:
"Students with personal or family-owned saltwater aquaria are asked to be participant observers. Students with no personal saltwater aquaria are asked to do content analyses. Students who show interest and promise are invited to participate in conducting interviews of all skill level aquarists in any location in the United States. "
Description:
90-99% of all ornamental marine organisms in the aquarium hobby are wild caught. Who are the people that keep these organisms? What motivates them? What positive and negative attributes are found within the saltwater aquarium trade? Do aquarists learn about conservation or science? These are a sample of the themes my team is researching. Methods: You will participate in one of two separate projects: (1) Participant observation which includes participating in the hobby and/or observing those who participate in it or (2) analyzing the content of saltwater aquarium-related literature, online forums, and any other pertinent materials. Interviewing aquarists is also possible.
Fall 2017: Synthetic polymeric coatings for corrosion protection1 Spot Open
Project Leader:
Hanna Hlushko
hanna.hlushko@tamu.edu
Materials Science and Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Svetlana Sukhishvili, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2017: TBD
Team Size:
3
Special Opportunities:
Earning co-authorship, becoming a full member of our research group, developing of professional skills and abilities.
Team Needs:
Responsibility, accountability, maturity, general chemistry knowledge, ability to work in a team.
Description:
This topic will include studies of physical and chemical properties of antioxidant polymers which have been synthesized in our lab and the development of polymeric coatings based on these polymers. In particular, the project will include learning a range of polymer characterization techniques (TLC, UV-vis, FTIR), studies of thermal properties of polymers (such as glass transition temperature), and measurements of polymer coatings properties (contact angle, roughness, adhesion of the coating to the surface). Finally, an epoxy-based coating that contains these novel antioxidant polymers will be developed, and coatings will be prepared for electrochemical testing of their anticorrosion efficiency.
Fall 2017: AGGIENOVA: Exploding Stars5 Spots Open
Project Leader:
Peter Brown
grbpeter@yahoo.com
Physics & Astronomy
Faculty Mentor:
NIcholas Suntzeff, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Monday 4 pm Mitchell Institute
Team Size:
5
Special Opportunities:
coauthorship on resulting papers, great experience for graduate school
Team Needs:
python or IDL programming strongly encouraged.
Description:
The Aggienova research group will study the catastrophic deaths of stars. The last decade has seen an explosion in the amount of ultraviolet observations of supernovae. We will use ultraviolet observations from the Swift and Hubble space telescopes as well as ground-based optical and near-infrared data. We will exploit that data and make tools to better understand nearby supernovae as well as those observed at high redshifts.
Fall 2017: X-Nav Interplanetary Mission Simulation11 Spots Open
Project Leader:
Stoian Borissov
sborissov@tamu.edu
Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Daniele Mortari, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Twice weekly. Time TBD
Team Size:
12
Special Opportunities:
Co-authorship on journal and conference papers, potential opportunity to visit Johnson Space Center
Team Needs:
Calc, Scripting, MATLAB, GMAT, Basic Prob and Stats, Signal Processing, Relativistic Physics
Description:
The 'X-Nav' team is dedicated to developing the technologies required for spacecraft navigation using X-Ray pulsars. X-ray pulsars are distant but highly energetic stars that flash at a regular interval and their light may be used to aid spacecraft navigation. This navigation technique has been tossed around by academics for decades, however our goal is to produce a fully fleshed out simulation of an interplanetary mission using x-nav. Through partnerships with Goddard Space Flight Center and Johnson Space Center, we will be be testing navigation algorithms and hardware tech. There will be heavy use of scripting languages such as MATLAB as well as mission simulation tools such as NASA's GMAT software. Students in this group will be responsible for first familiarizing themselves with the state of the art of x-nav. Online articles as well publications from academic journals will be given to students. Several copies of textbooks on pulsar astronomy will also be made available. The final results of students' work will be published in conference proceedings and may even be incorporated into journal articles. A strong background in the fundamentals of linear algebra and calculus as well as familiarity with scripting are required.
Fall 2017: Layer-by-layer Polymer Assemblies with Antimicrobial Agents for Biomedical Applications1 Spot Open
Project Leader:
Victoria Albright
victoria.albright@tamu.edu
Materials Science & Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Svetlana Sukhishvili, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
MWF 2 pm til 6 pm
Team Size:
3
Special Opportunities:
Hard working students will be rewarded with opportunities to present their work at a conference, earn co-authorship on publications or even become a full member of our research group.
Team Needs:
Science & engineering majors will be given preference.
Description:
"The future of polymeric materials as biological implant coatings to prevent bacterial infection and stimulate cell growth depends on the ability to selectively trigger the release of components from the materials on demand. Our research group currently explores manipulating chemistry of polymer particles and films in order to develop polymeric materials that can deliver antibiotics and cell stimulating factors in a controlled fashion. This work will explore direct assembly of antimicrobial agents and enzymes into layer-by-layer coatings with biodegradable polymers. Students are needed to help choose better drugs to incorporate into the films, understand the optimal conditions to deposit stable films, explore enzymatic degradation of films as well as film stability in various pH and salt conditions. Students will become familiar with the layer-by-layer assembly, ellipsometry, and various other techniques. Check out our recent work on biomedical polymer coatings that was featured in Science here: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nn500674g as well as our most recent work: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1742706117305020."

Projects with Full Teams

Fall 2017: US International Trade Policy with China-Who Bears the Burden? Full Team
Project Leader:
Haopeng Yuan
yhp122691@tamu.edu
Economics
Faculty Mentor:
Li Gan, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
M 4 pm-5:30 pm
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Team Needs:
Proficiency in statistics; excellent communication skills; be punctual; willing to learn about economics
Description:
We will be examining the change in economic condition of both economies along with the issuance of new trade policies by comparing major economic indicators, including GDP growth, unemployment rate, interest rate, net export, capital account and current account, etc. We will focus on the optimal solution on creating a win-win situation for both countries by building up a model that contains some of the factors above, adjusting and comparing the results in the model. We should be able to make suggestions on how governments should be involved in trade policy in order to maximize the social welfare of both countries by the end of the project.
Fall 2017: Porcine Epicardial Lymphatics Full Team
Project Leader:
Helene Weideman
heleneweideman@gmail.com
Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Ranjeet Dongaonkar, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Monday 4 pm- 6pm; Tuesday 3:30-5:30pm
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Possibility of earning co-authorship on a paper, learn to dissect and cannulate vessels, learn to perform in vitro vessel experiments and physiological data acquisition.
Team Needs:
Entry level Chemistry and Biology courses completed with lab, interest in biomedical science research, preferred BIMS and biomedical engineering majors
Description:
The lymphatic system plays a crucial role in interstitial fluid balance—it collects and transports fluid and proteins lost to the interstitial space from blood capillaries to the circulation system. However, little is known about epicardial lymphatic function. Therefore, we plan to study the response of porcine epicardial lymphatic vessels to various physiological stimuli as well as the expression levels of different contractile elements.
Fall 2017: Supporting women in STEM learning in Informal settings Full Team
Affiliations:
Project Leader:
Katherine Vela
kvela07@tamu.edu
Curriculum & Instruction
Faculty Mentor:
Robert M. Capraro, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2017: TBD (A mutually agreeable time will be determined when the team is assembled)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Opportunity to conduct research, work on presentations at student research week, paid travel to present at a conference, and to participate in writing a publication. Research credit can also be available from the College of Education.
Team Needs:
Positive attitude, enjoyment of team work, highly motivated, technology friendly.
Description:
Collaborators on this project will explore issues related why middle and high school girls avoid rigorous Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics learning. Women and women of color specifically are underrepresented in STEM college majors and in the professors. We will explore ways to help middle and secondary school girls to make choices about middle and high school classes that can lead to pursing a college degree in STEM. Their informal experiences may provide the opportunity to explore STEM careers and provide important incentives. We will work with three groups a girls only, a boy only, and mixed gender camps to explore what it takes to support girls in STEM fields.
Fall 2017: Social Mixing In Cattle Full Team
Affiliations:
Undergrad Animal Science and Behaviour Lab
Project Leader:
Emily Van Raay
emily.vanraay@tamu.edu
Animal Science
Faculty Mentor:
Courtney Daigle, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Tuesdays 5:30pm-6:30pm
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Team Needs:
Part of the Undergrad Animal Science and Behaviour Lab
Description:
Validating social mixing causes in cattle by ethogram and video.
Fall 2017: Algebraic Formula Predicting Preload Recruitable Stroke Work from Cardiac End-Diastolic and End-Systolic Pressure-Volume Relationships Full Team
Project Leader:
Ian Stoute
imstoute@tamu.edu
Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology
Faculty Mentor:
Christopher Quick, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
TBD
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Description:
Preload recruitable stroke work (PRSW) is a fundamental characterization of cardiac function that is purportedly independent of preload and afterload. It is typically expressed as an empirical relationship between stroke work (SW) and end-diastolic volume (Ved). This relationship has been reported to be strikingly linear over large ranges of end-diastolic volumes in multiple mammalian species. Although the slope and intercept of the PRSW relationship shift significantly with different heart failure phenotypes, there is currently no means to predict a priori how changes in contractility, diastolic stiffness, or unstressed volume will affect the PRSW. Therefore, the purpose of the present work was to develop an algebraic formula for the PRSW relationship in terms of standard parameters characterizing systolic and diastolic function. Four simple assumptions were made. First, the end-systolic pressure-volume relationship was assumed to be linear, characterized by end-systolic elastance (Ees) and end-systolic unstressed volume. Second, the end-diastolic pressure was assumed to be an exponential function of end-diastolic volume, characterized by parameters describing diastolic stiffness. Third, either mean arterial pressure (MAP) or systemic resistance were assumed to be constant. Fourth, MAP was assumed to approximate end-systolic pressure. Solving for SW as a function of Ved resulted in a nearly linear relationship. The PRSW relationship was linearized using a Taylor series approximation, which yielded simple formulas for the slope and intercept of the PRSW relationship in terms of Ees and diastolic stiffness. The slope was found to be predominantly determined by MAP, elucidating the difficulties encountered using PRSW as an index of cardiac contractility.
Fall 2017: Optimized Solar Energy Harvesting with Dual Phase Output Full Team
Project Leader:
Sinan Sabeeh
sinan.sabih@tamu.edu
Electrical & Computer Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Prasad Enjeti, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
MWT 3:00-5:00PM
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Attending Conferences, earning co-authorship on publication, learning how to get Research Grand for Post Grad
Team Needs:
C++, Lab-view, Ni equipment, DSP control, Matlab/Simulink skill (There skills are NOT mandatory to have but highly preferred)
Description:
As the electrical grid becomes more complex—Including different types of power generation units e.g solar, wind, turbines...etc—there is high demand to design elements that help to maintain the stability of the grid. This project focuses on designing an optimized differential power converter to harvest solar energy from multiple sources, and feed it high density dual phase output inverter to supply 110V/220V. The project would involve C block programming, circuit design, voltage and current sensors, using simulation tools e.g PLECS and SIMULINK. The power converter would work on high switching frequency 100KhZ-500KhZ and final product should be actual hardware that can be commercialized. The project would done in four phases: Phase 1 would ensure the dual phase inverter works on stable DC input (e.g Battery) Phase 2 would ensure the inverter works on a single set of PV module build in series and parallel Phase 3 would ensure the Power sharing module works effectively with multiple inputs Phase 4 would be integrating the Power Sharing and Balancing module with dual phase output inverter.
Fall 2017: Dopamine Effects on Lymphatic Vessels II Full Team
Project Leader:
Cheyenne Rovello
chey_rov@tamu.edu
Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Ranjeet Dongaonkar, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2017: M 12:30PM-5:30PM
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Possibility of earning co-authorship on a paper, learn to dissect and cannulate vessels, learn to perform in vitro vessel experiments physiological data acquisition.
Team Needs:
Interest in bio-medical science research, preferred BIMS and biomedical engineering majors
Description:
Recent studies have reported that dopamine at low concentrations has chronotropic as well as inotropic effects on the heart. The resulting increases in cardiac contractility and heart rate have been reported to increase cardiac output, increase mean arterial blood pressure and decrease central venous pressure. However, how dopamine affects lymphatic pump has yet to be studied thoroughly.
Fall 2017: Novel Mammalian Similarity Principle Predicted from the Minimal Closed-Loop Cardiovascular Model Full Team
Project Leader:
Emily Rimes
em4ags@tamu.edu
Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Christopher Quick, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
TBD
Team Size:
5 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Co-authorship
Team Needs:
We are looking for team members that are interested employing their strong writing skills, or members who have developed effective public speaking skills. Also, looking for members who are interested in reading and learning the literature on allometry. While math skills are welcomed, it is not a necessary skill for this project. Must be willing to work outside scheduled meeting times. Students will be expected to register for 3 ch of research (VTPP 291/491 or BMEN 291/491).
Description:
Allometric scaling laws are empirical relationships relating particular parameters to body weight. Investigators have identified only a small number of allometric invariants for the mammalian cardiovascular system--combinations of parameters that have constant values independent of species weight. Although many allometric invariants have arisen from applying optimality principles, the physics governing blood pressures and flows impose constraints that strictly limit parameter values. Therefore, the purpose of the present work is to derive a novel mammalian similarity principle, assuming a closed-loop cardiovascular model.
Fall 2017: Why Do STEM Majors Become STEM Majors Full Team
Project Leader:
Devyn Rice
devynchae15@gmail.com
Educational Administration & Human Resource Development
Faculty Mentor:
Sue Geller, Ph.D.; Sandra Nite, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Thursday 4-5
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Presentation of the research, possible publication
Team Needs:
willing to work, interested in the topic, excited to learn about research
Description:
Examining the effects of informal/formal education, mentorship, and social interactions on the decision for students to become STEM majors.
Fall 2017: Epigenetic Regulation of Metabolic Disease Full Team
Project Leader:
Catherine Powell
powell@tamhsc.edu
College of Pharmacy-Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Mahua Choudhury, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
MWF 9:00-10:00 AM
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Opportunities include building professional skills and experience in epigenetic research and letters of recommendation for graduate school
Team Needs:
Motivated and reliable students who are interested in research.
Description:
This project will focus on the introduction to laboratory science with an emphasis on learning epigenetic concepts in relation to metabolic disease. This project will include learning basic laboratory skills, pipetting, autoclaving, and advanced techniques such as western blotting, mouse handling, and data analysis. Scholars will be encouraged to engage in ongoing research in the lab varying from cell culture to mouse work.
Fall 2017: Swelling Response and Thermal Transitions of Polyelectrolyte Multilayers Full Team
Project Leader:
Joshua O'neal
hammer534@tamu.edu
Materials Science & Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Jodie Lutkenhaus, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fridays at 12:00PM
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Co-authorship on a journal article in a scientific journal. Potentially a letter of recommendation to employers or graduate programs from a well respected faculty member.
Team Needs:
Prior research experience is required. Preferably experience working with polymers and soft materials. Must be junior classification or above. Chemical Engineers and chemistry majors preferred. Must be willing/able to work in a laboratory environment independently. Data processing skills (excel, matlab, origin or equivilent) preferred.
Description:
In this project we will explore the responsive behavior of polyelectrolyte multilayers to changes in post-assembly environment. The project will inlclude preparation of layer-by-layer thin films, analysis of thermal properties using modulated differential scanning calorimetry, analysis of physical responsive behavior using quartz-crystal microbalance with dissipation, as well as various emission spectroscopy techniques for fundamental elemental analysis of samples. This work will result in a publication, and all those team members who contribute to the project completion will be names as co-authors on the manuscript.
Fall 2017: Development and Validation of a Novel Fear Test for Cattle Full Team
Project Leader:
Amanda Mathias
a.mathias@tamu.edu
Animal Science
Faculty Mentor:
Courtney Daigle, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
T 5:30PM-6:30PM
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Team Needs:
Commitment to working hard, completing tasks, and being willing to try something new.
Description:
Using a Bovine Zero Maze (BZM) to quantify stress and anxiety in cattle in comparison to the open field test, pen scores, and exit velocity.
Fall 2017: Algebraic Formula Predicting the Fraction of Absorbed Fluid Transported by Mesenteric Lymphatic Vessels Full Team
Project Leader:
Chesley Johnson
cmjcmj25@tamu.edu
Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology
Faculty Mentor:
Christopher Quick, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Th 12:45PM-2:00PM
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
This project is well-developed, with a manuscript in preparation for submission. Team members will have the opportunity to earn co-authorship.
Team Needs:
We are looking for team members that can use their skills to advance the project to a completed manuscript. We are particularly interested in students that have strong writing ability. An additional requirement we have is the ability to synthesize information from multiple scientific journals. Lastly, the project being a mathematical model, we are interested in students that have a mathematical modeling background.
Description:
Nutrients absorbed into the interstitial space from the intestinal lumen can be transported either by intestinal capillaries to the liver or by the mesenteric lymphatics to the great veins of the neck. Several factors can alter the fraction of nutrients and fluid that is transported by mesenteric lymphatics, including abnormal liver function. The purpose of the present work is to develop a simple algebraic formula that predicts the fraction of nutrients and fluid that is transported by the mesenteric lymphatic vessels. This model will not only allow for the prediction of nutrient transport, but will also serve as a novel tool in characterizing critical parameter values in clinically relevant disease states. Currently the project is in the writing phase, however, interpreting previous data, validation, and exploring disease states are also major focuses.
Fall 2017: Historical biography in World Cultures: Using narratives to enhance middle school social studies experiences Full Team
Project Leader:
Eliel Hinojosa
elielhinojosajr@tamu.edu
Teaching, Learning & Culture
Faculty Mentor:
Lynn Burlbaw, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2017: TBD
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Participants will have the opportunity to earn co-authorship in a paper and/or presentation. Additionally, students have the opportunity to gain research and academic writing experience as well as earn research credit.
Team Needs:
Participants must be accountable and self-motivated with a strong work ethic. Participants should enjoy gathering information verbally as well as through analysis of printed materials.
Description:
As middle school students study world cultures their depth of understanding is often limited by the lack of biographical information from the people in those cultures. Historical narratives and the biographies of people from around the world can provide students with greater understanding of the economic, social, political and environmental factors that shape/shaped their lives. Participants in this project will work to collect oral histories and/or recorded histories from people who represent their particular region. The objective is to collect historical accounts for the purpose of preparing them for use by the middle school social studies teacher. While the curriculum of the sixth-grade World Cultures course calls for an analysis of the overall society of the area studied, we hope to engage students more profoundly by allowing them to interact with first-hand accounts of real people whose lives are/were affected by the unique facets of their country. First-hand accounts will be gathered through personal interview as well as through analyzing recorded materials. Upon the completion of data gathering it is our intention to make the narratives suitable for middle school use and then compile them into a collection for use by the middle school social studies teacher. Additionally, this research will be conducted with the goal of earning a publication in a historical or educational peer-reviewed journal.
Fall 2017: Shaping the cotton microbiome for sustainable pest management Full Team
Project Leader:
Polly Harding
pollyharding@tamu.edu
Entomology
Faculty Mentor:
Gregory Sword Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
TBD
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Students will lead their own experiment and learn technical skills such as managing field and greenhouse cotton, monitoring and controlling insect pests, performing dose-response assays, rearing insects, PCR, isolating microbes from plant tissues, and assessing the viability of fungal spores
Team Needs:
Must register for ENTO 291 research credits, minimum 10 hrs/week. Prior experience not required, but students with a demonstrated interest in a relevant field of study are preferred. To apply, send resume to pollyharding@tamu.edu
Description:
Fungi that occur inside living plant tissue without causing harm to the plant are known as fungal endophytes. Research in field crops has shown endophytes enhance plant growth and increase resistance to pests. A team of undergraduate researchers will investigate whether these microbes can be utilized for reducing dependence on insecticides in cotton production.
Fall 2017: Characterization of the Upper Camp Bird III Rock Glacier in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado Using Electromagnetic Induction Full Team
Project Leader:
Raquel Granados-Aguilar
raquelg@tamu.edu
Geology and Geophysics
Faculty Mentor:
John (Rick) Giardino, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
M 09:00AM-10:00AM
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Attending and presenting at a national conference, as well as other relevant meetings
Team Needs:
Geology field work experience Excels in a group setting. Learn how to collect and analyze data, Punctuality, meeting deadlines, Being proactive
Description:
The proposed research intends to provide a characterization of the internal structure, including water storages, pathways, and thresholds, as well as an estimation of the volume of ice stored within a rock glacier to evaluate its potential as a freshwater resources.
Fall 2017: Exploring the Properties of Werner Complex Using Computational Methods & Computational Investigations of Molecular Gyroscopes Full Team
Project Leader:
Lars Erik Andreas Ehnbom
lehnbom@tamu.edu
Chemistry
Faculty Mentor:
John A. Gladysz, Ph.D.; Michael B. Hall, Ph.D.; Lisa M. Pérez, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Tuesday 1PM
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Can earn research credit (1-3 credits), co-authorship on publications, obtain knowledge and practice using quantum chemical software (Gaussian09), submitting jobs using supercomputers, as well as data analysis (e.g. KaleidaGraph™ for graph plotting, Mercury™, Avogadro™, and AGUI™ for visualizations). Preparation of posters and scientific presentations. Receive letters of recommendation for work or graduate school.
Team Needs:
Participants must be accountable and self-motivated with a strong work ethic. Be dedicated, highly motivated, hard working, and enthusiastic! Computing skills are not a requirement.
Description:
You can choose to work with any of the two topics below. The work-methodology for them are the same. Topic 1: Experiments by Alfred Werner in the late 19th century on cobalt coordination compounds paved the road for modern coordination theory and stereochemistry. We followed in the footprints of Werner and now use related cobalt-containing complexes for catalysis. However, we do not fully understand how these catalysts function and this project use computational tools to study the properties and energies of Werner complex and their isomers. Topic 2: Gyroscopes have numerous technological applications, but until the work in the Gladysz group, no molecules that mimic the symmetry, connectivity, and rotational abilities of common toy gyroscopes were known. In a computational tour-de-force, we study entire families of complexes called molecular gyroscopes that have a static outer cage part and an inner part featuring a transition metal bearing ligands that may rotate. These components are systematically varied in this study and different properties are probed using computational tools.
Fall 2017: BitGrange: development of a smart hydroponics device to grow vegetables indoors. Full Team
Project Leader:
Alfredo Costilla-Reyes
acostillar@tamu.edu
Electrical & Computer Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Edgar Sánchez-Sinencio, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
F 10:00AM-1:00PM
Team Size:
8 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Through this project the team members will be able to apply the Build-Measure-Learn Lean Startup Methodology using a scientific approach to conduct an engineering-driven product development.
Team Needs:
Strong programming skills in C++, SolidWorks, Altium, Xcode, Swift. Self-motivated research-oriented students. The students are expected to have research-level technical-writing skills.
Description:
BitGrange is an internet-enabled device, to easily grow vegetables indoors. While this device is currently designed to make it easy to grow real food, a gamified smartphone application is intended to serve as an educational tool to teach kids the science behind agriculture.
Fall 2017: Study of the rheological (flow behavior) properties of cornmeal powder Full Team
Project Leader:
Dipanshu Chinwan
dipanshuchinwan@tamu.edu
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Elena Castell-Perez Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
TBD
Team Size:
5 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Posters, conference, etc
Team Needs:
Punctual, food enthusiast, determined, fun,
Description:
o Characterize the physical properties of cornmeal at different moisture contents o Characterize the flow behavior of cornmeal and other food powders o Develop flow equations for cornmeal-water mixture at different ratios as they enter/exit an extruder
Fall 2017: Field-based Surveying of Riverine Channels for Hydrologic and Geomorphic Applications Full Team
Project Leader:
Cesar Castillo
castillocesar@tamu.edu
Geography
Faculty Mentor:
Inci Guneralp, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
W 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Team Size:
7 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Opportunities include: Exploring field-based aspects of hydrology and geomorphology; becoming a full member of our research group; and possibly attending a conference.
Team Needs:
The mandatory requirements include: 1) A U3 to U5 classification in a geoscience or environmental science related discipline. This will ensure that students have a solid understanding of basic hydrologic and geomorphic concepts and terminology. 2) The students must participate in all field-based activities. This includes field-based training and the fieldwork that will be undergone at Fennessey Ranch. Furthermore, students need to be able and willing to trek through water, mud, and thick vegetation that are commonly found in riparian environments. Sought after skills, talents, or abilities include: 1) Skills in topographic surveying that include using survey equipment. 2) Skills in using Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS)/Global Positioning Systems (GPS) equipment and software. 3) Skills in using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). 4) Skills in using programming languages for data analysis. Preferred languages include: R, Python, and Matlab. 5) Skills in using canoes and kayaks in riverine environments.
Description:
Students will be trained in the classroom and in the field (in places around College Station such as Wolf Pen Creek Park) to use topographic survey equipment and techniques that are commonly used by hydrologists and geomorphologists. Once students have been properly trained, they will assist the Team Leader in surveying the channel geometries of Mission River for several locations (10-20) in and around Fennessey Ranch on the Coastal Bend of Texas.
Fall 2017: Childhood Food Security Full Team
Project Leader:
Christa Cardenas
christa.cardenas@tamu.edu
Sociology
Faculty Mentor:
Sarah Gatson Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
MW 4pm-5pm and 5:30pm-630pm
Team Size:
5 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
co-authorship on publications
Team Needs:
willingness to work with children between the ages of 8 and 17
Description:
We will be conducting service learning research. We will research childhood food security in the Brazos Valley and performing community service through a non-profit organization.
Fall 2017: Dopamine's effects on lymphatic vessels Full Team
Project Leader:
Elizabeth Brown
eabrown11@tamu.edu
Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Ranjeet Dongaonkar, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
M 12PM-3PM
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Possibility of earning co-authorship on a paper, learn to dissect and cannulate vessels, learn to perform in vitro vessel experiments physiological data acquisition.
Team Needs:
Interest in bio-medical science research, preferred BIMS and biomedical engineering majors
Description:
Recent studies have reported that dopamine at low concentrations has chronotropic as well as inotropic effects on the heart. The resulting increases in cardiac contractility and heart rate have been reported to increase cardiac output, increase mean arterial blood pressure and decrease central venous pressure. However, how dopamine affects lymphatic pump has yet to be studied thoroughly.
Fall 2017: Good at Math? How Teacher Mathematics Anxiety Affect their Students. Full Team
Affiliations:
Project Leader:
Danielle Bevan
dbevan114@tamu.edu
Teaching, Learning, & Culture
Faculty Mentor:
Robert M. Capraro, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2017: TBD
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Can earn research credit, can participate in Student Research Week, paid conference presentation travel, authoring manuscripts for publication, and receive letter of recommendation for work or graduate school
Team Needs:
A can do attitude, a research interest, able to meet virtually when face-to-face is not possible. Dedication, highly motivated, hard working, enthusiasm.
Description:
The purpose of this project is to explore how mathematical misconceptions and or mathematics anxiety intersect to influence how teachers understand mathematics and how that influences the mathematics they teach their students. Research says that students, who are empowered mathematically are the ones who were taught mathematics by teachers who build students' mathematical identity. Research also indicates that students who have a strong mathematical identity have much greater mathematics achievement and have a much higher earning potential. Our goal is to understand what influences preservice teacher mathematics misconceptions and anxiety and develop strategies to address misconceptions and remove the mathematics anxiety.
Fall 2017: A study of porcine epicardial lymphatics Full Team
Project Leader:
Lena Ayari
Lena97@tamu.edu
Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology
Faculty Mentor:
Ranjeet Dongaonkar, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Monday 4-6, Tuesday 2-5, Wednesday 4-6
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Possibility of earning co-authorship on a paper, learn to dissect and cannulate vessels, learn to perform in vitro vessel experiments.
Team Needs:
Interest in biomedical science research, preferred BIMS and biomedical engineering majors
Description:
The lymphatic system plays a crucial role in interstitial fluid balance—it collects and transports fluid and proteins lost to the interstitial space from blood capillaries to the circulation system. However, little is known about epicardial lymphatic function. Therefore, we plan to study the response of porcine epicardial lymphatic vessels to various physiological stimuli.
Fall 2017: Role of Replication Protein A (RPA) in T elomere Maintenance Full Team
Project Leader:
Behailu Aklilu
behailu@tamu.edu
Biochemistry and Biophysics
Faculty Mentor:
Dorothy Shippen, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Friday, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Special opportunities for students include exploring the field of telomeres and telomerase in relation to cancer and aging, participating in scientific meetings and conferences, and earning co-authorship on publications.
Team Needs:
For my research team, I accept undergraduate students who are in their second and/or third year of study (sophomores or juniors) and majoring in genetics or biochemistry. In addition, to be part of my team students should register for 491 Research credit. As students in my team will participate in design, execution, and analysis of experiments, they must be in good academic standing and able to commit to 10-12 hours of research per week, and for at least 3 semesters. In addition, students should have high personal motivation, commitment, self-management, detail-orientation, and ability to take responsibility. Prior laboratory experience in PCR and cloning is advantageous, but not required.
Description:
The ends of eukaryotic linear chromosomes are capped by nucleoprotein structures called telomeres, which protect the termini from progressive chromosome shortening and play essential roles in genome stability and cell proliferation capacity. Interestingly, the telomere itself need to be protected from attrition that is caused by barriers of telomere replication, e.g. G-rich higher order structures, in telomere tracts. We use biochemical, molecular and genetic approaches to study the role of Replication Protein A (RPA); a heterotrimeric, single-stranded DNA-binding protein complex required for multiple processes in eukaryotic DNA metabolism, including replication, repair and recombination; in protecting telomeres tracts from attrition caused by such higher order structures.
Fall 2017: Virtual-reality enhanced exoskeleton for rehabilitation controlled via reverse engineering the central nervous system Full Team
Affiliations:
Project Leader:
Amin Zeiaee
amin.zeiaee@tamu.edu; rana.soltani@tamu.edu
Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Reza Langari, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
TBD
Team Size:
5 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Opportunity to work with a real robotic system, opportunity to work with microsoft Hololens, opportunity to interact with a medical robot
Team Needs:
Solid Basic Engineering Knowledge, Interest in programming and robotics, motivated and interested in hands on experience
Description:
Focus of this project is on developing a virtual-reality enhanced upper limb exoskeleton for rehabilitation of stroke patients. Exoskeleton is an orthosis device worn by the patients which will enable automated physical therapy. To enhance the rehabilitation process, a virtual reality environment will be linked to the exoskeleton. Thus the research effort will include automation, control and programming tasks.
Fall 2017: Nutrition and health of 17th-century sailors Full Team
Project Leader:
Grace Tsai
getsai@tamu.edu
Anthropology
Faculty Mentor:
Karen Kubena, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
W 3-4 pm and as needed
Team Size:
16 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Students have the chance to be a co-author in a paper, may have the opportunity to tour and possibly stay on a historical sailing vessel, present at conferences, and receive directed studies course credit in Nutrition
Team Needs:
For those with an interest in the biology/microbiology/biochemistry/hard science side of the project, previous lab experience is preferred. I am looking for a mixture of talents as this is a multi-disciplinary project. In particular, students majoring, or with an interest in, biochemistry/microbiology, visualization, food science, meat science, viticulture, nutrition, marketing, history, anthropology, chemistry, and biology are sought after in this team. However, all interested individuals are welcome to apply.
Description:
This project hopes to understand the effects of shipboard diet on the health of sailors by determining the nutritional intake of seamen on 17th-century English ships. Previous attempts to gauge the nutritional value of shipboard diets were based on historical documentation instead of laboratory data. In this project, shipboard food will be replicated using the exact ingredients and methods of preparation from the 17th century, including non-GMO ingredients, the exact species of plant or animal, and the same butchery methods and cuts of meat. Archaeological and historical data will be used to replicate the salted pork and beef, ship biscuit, wine and beer, and other provisions aboard Warwick, an English race-built galleon that sank in 1619. Then, a trans-Atlantic voyage will be simulated by storing the food in casks and keeping these in a ship’s hull for three months. Every ten days, representative samples of food will be sent for nutritional and microbial analysis. Lastly, this project compares laboratory results to data that has already been derived from human remains on wrecks such as Mary Rose (1545) and Vasa (1628). This project also has broader impacts because it is hypothesized that certain microbes found on the experimental food may be novel strains of probiotics, which can be cultured for today’s health industry. The results of the project will be featured in an exhibit at the Texas Seaport Museum in Galveston.
Fall 2017: Optimal stroke work of contracting lymphatic vessels Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Scott Rohren
scottarh@tamu.edu
Biomedical Science
Faculty Mentor:
Christopher Quick, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
MW 3PM-5PM
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Team members have the chance to earn co-authorship in a paper, gain experience with data analysis and scientific writing, interact with faculty, and earn research credit.
Team Needs:
Prior experience is not necessary. This team is looking for enthusiastic members with the ability to comprehend basic algebra, and use algebraic solutions as a basis to characterize physiological systems. A science, math, or engineering background would be helpful but is not required. Students will be expected to register for 3 ch of VTPP 291/491 or BMEN 291/491.
Description:
Lymphangions, the functional units of a lymphatic vessel bound by two valves, actively contract and relax to propel lymph throughout the body, which prevents fluid from building up in the tissue (i.e., edema). Stroke work (SW) is a measure of how well a lymphangion is pushing lymph and is based on several parameters such as filling pressure, outlet pressure, systolic contractility, and diastolic stiffness. From the relationship of these parameters, an equation generalizing the conditions in which SW is maximized has been developed. Currently, a manuscript is being written describing this equation’s fundamental importance to lymphangion understanding as well as its relation to ongoing research and medical applications. In this project, members will work within a team alongside a faculty member to continue advancing the manuscript.
Fall 2017: Impact of Communication Design on Customer Satisfaction: Insights from Online Courses Full Team
Project Leader:
Unnati Narang
unnati@tamu.edu
Marketing
Faculty Mentor:
Manjit Yadav, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
TBD
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
1. Opportunity to work with cutting-edge faculty and students from Marketing, Economics, and Statistics; 2. On-the-job training in statistical software, such as R; 3. Opportunity to work with big data and potentially machine learning at later stages; 4. Presenting work at a poster session and potentially to Marketing department faculty and PhD students at Mays Business School; 5. If you do well, then letters of recommendation for your future roles (Please note that this role does not offer co-authorship or publication)
Team Needs:
Comfort with MS excel; basic knowledge of Statistics preferred but not necessary. Problem-solving ability, Willingness to learn, Resourcefulness, and Dedication
Description:
"The purpose of the proposed study is to measure and explain the impact of various communication design strategies adopted by online two-sided platforms on customer engagement and satisfaction. In recent years, two-sided platforms, such as Airbnb and Uber that connect two or more sets of participants have grown rapidly and are poised to comprise 30% of the world’s GDP by 2025. As a result, their design and delivery are critical for both companies and customers. Specifically, how a platform designs its communication flows among participants is an important but underexplored issue. In the proposed study, we investigate the effect of communication design strategies on customer engagement and satisfaction. Our overarching argument is that specific communication linkages can have beneficial – and detrimental – implications for value creation in two-sided platforms. Theoretically, the proposed framework advances our understanding of how communication strategies contribute to value creation in these platforms. Our empirical context is Coursera.org (an online course platform), but our theoretical findings have broader applicability to other two-sided platforms. We collect individual-level panel data from Coursera and also plan to conduct a number of field experiments in one of the world’s most popular Coursera courses on Digital Marketing. We apply advanced econometric techniques, such as estimating a system of equations using conditional mixed processing, and difference-in-differences analysis. Our work provides a measurable estimate of the impact of communication design for customer-centric outcomes of a two-sided platform. Learn more by watching the team leader's video presenting the project at a leading Marketing Conference: https://vimeo.com/204892915"
Fall 2017: Developing anti-racism curriculum Full Team
Project Leader:
Vicki Mokuria
vmokuria@tamu.edu
Education - Teaching, Learning, & Culture
Faculty Mentor:
Marlon James, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
TBD
Team Size:
16 (Team Full)
Description:
This research will focus on studying and creating anti-racism curriculum. Students will engage in research to explore what kinds of curriculum currently exists for elementary-college level students. We will create a literature review that summarizes strengths and drawbacks of the anti-racism curriculum we find. This research project will also include conducting interviews, as well as self exploration about how we developed our own racial identities and implicit biases by completing autoethnographic activities. As a group, we will reflect on meaningful ways to engage learners of all ages in reflecting on this important topic. Based on the goals and skills of team members, the research group could work with TAMU faculty and students and lead discussion groups. The plan is that a collective research project on anti-racism will emerge from the collaborative efforts of all participants. Ultimately, a paper for publication could be submitted to a journal, based on this research.
Fall 2017: Over-churched and under-fed: organizational missions of religion and food security Full Team
Affiliations:
Urban Re-Rural/Everybody Eats: Community Food Security and the Land Grant School
Project Leader:
Andrew McNeely
amcneely@tamu.edu
Sociology
Faculty Mentor:
Sarah Gatson, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
participants must be available for at least TWO meeting times (see below)
Team Size:
7 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
-Extensive community service involvement -TAMU research symposium -Ongoing, multiple-semester project with significant impact on local food insecurity
Team Needs:
Monday (1-2:30) Tuesday (9-12; 9:30-11) Wednesday (1-2:30) Thursday (9:30-11; 5-7) Friday (9:30-11) Saturday (10-11:30) Weekly Meeting (TBD)
Description:
Brazos County has a significantly higher number of religious congregations than the average county in Texas. Along with this, it also has a significantly higher rate of food insecurity among its citizens. These two realities, ostensibly, should not exist simultaneously in the same area. The purpose of this research project is to investigate the relationship between religious bodies and food security issues. Initially, we will explore baseline statistical data to establish the relationship. Further, we will create contacts with as many religious bodies as possible in order to perform participant-observational research with their food related service programs, investigating the variation across religion, denomination, size, and structure. The goal is to determine, if possible, what aspects of religious organizations—if any—affect food security issues in their community, and how. This project will emphasize a sociological imagination when thinking about religious issues in a community. As such, all religious activities will be treated objectively and with respect at all times.
Fall 2017: Developing STEM language of elementary students through making Full Team
Affiliations:
Project Leader:
Rachel Martin
rkt002@tamu.edu
Teaching, Learning & Culture
Faculty Mentor:
Lynn Burlbaw, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2017: TBD
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Team members will have the chance to earn co-authorship in a paper and/or presentation, gain experience with research and data analysis, support with academic writing, interact with faculty, and earn research credit.
Team Needs:
No research experience required. This project would be beneficial for students interested in educational research, STEM education or language development. 1-2 team members who speak Spanish would be beneficial, as many of the Maker students are bilingual.
Description:
This research project will focus on 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students’ development of STEM language. These elementary students are participating in a grant funded project where they use making and computer programing to learn science concepts. The research we will focus on is analyzing students' language use and development across time (from their 3rd grade experience through their 4th grade experience) to see how they are acquiring STEM academic language. This team will work together to review literature, design methods for the transcription of video/audio data, plan the analysis and perform data analysis. The goal for this project is to put together a scholarly paper that displays how elementary students acquire STEM language while participating in making activities.
Fall 2017: Microbiota - host immune system and metabolism cross talk Full Team
Project Leader:
Mohammad Khattab, Ph.D.
mohammad_refaat@tamu.edu
Small Animal Clinical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Jan Suchodolski, DVM, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
TBD
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Each member will be exposed to a huge space of very important knowledge which will affect both personal and academic life in addition to the impact on graduate study preferences; we will work together all the time even when every member being alone; we will help in everything and we will play to be the team # 1.
Team Needs:
Biomedical and bioinformatics background are very important. Team members should be knowledgeable, creative, self-initiative, ambitious, sincere
Description:
Microbiota treated now as secondary liver with great share in host metabolism and immune response; this outgoing research project try to unravel the deep relation between different microbiota and the previously mentioned host functions in a way which can enhancing the discovery of new diagnostic biomarkers and hopefully some tailored therapeutic interventions.
Fall 2017: Synthetic polymeric antioxidants for corrosion protection Full Team
Project Leader:
Hanna Hlushko
hanna.hlushko@tamu.edu
Materials Science and Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Svetlana Sukhishvili, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: W 4pm-7pm, F 3pm-6pm
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Earning co-authorship, becoming a full member of our research group, developing of professional skills and abilities.
Team Needs:
Responsibility, accountability, maturity, general chemistry knowledge, ability to work in a team.
Description:
This topic will include studies of physical and chemical properties of antioxidant polymers which have been synthesized in our lab and the development of polymeric coatings based on these polymers. In particular, the project will include learning a range of polymer characterization techniques (TLC, UV-vis, FTIR), studies of thermal properties of polymers (such as glass transition temperature), and measurements of polymer coatings properties (contact angle, roughness, adhesion of the coating to the surface). Finally, an epoxy-based coating that contains these novel antioxidant polymers will be developed, and coatings will be prepared for electrochemical testing of their anticorrosion efficiency.
Fall 2017: Neurosteroid or Epigenetic Therapeutics for Acquired Epilepsy Full Team
Project Leader:
Tori Golub
dunlap@medicine.tamhsc.edu
NExT- HSC
Faculty Mentor:
Samba Reddy, Ph.D., R.Ph.
Meeting Times:
TBD
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
As an undergraduate student researcher, you will aid in the analysis and collection of data, and have opportunities to present and potentially publish your work or be selected for the Summer Research Program at the HSC. Students will have the opportunity to work in a top-tier research facility at the Med School campus at Texas A&M HSC. They will also gain experience working with research pharmaceuticals, lab animals, translating animal behavior, EEG analysis, histology and stereology, as well as have the opportunity to receive class credit and a certificate of being an Aggie Research Scholar.
Team Needs:
Students should be in good academic standing, with an interest in science, research, and team collaboration.
Description:
We are looking for undergrads who are interested in joining an interactive research team which studies the effects of, and develops therapeutics - for a range of neurological conditions related to epilepsy, from genetic factors and chemical toxicity, to traumatic brain injury and stroke. We require at least 10 hours/week, and are looking for students with at least 1 year left to conduct research. Longer tenures will allow for more advanced training and greatly amplify impact on your work. The main focus of our lab is epilepsy, a presently incurable disease that affects thousands of people in the US and millions worldwide. It is largely characterized by hypersynchronous activity in the brain which can manifest themselves as visible seizures. Our goal is to find new therapeutics, such as neurosteroids, to not only be used as a treatment for symptoms, but also to modify or halt the process of epileptogenesis. Our lab uses mice and rat animal models like the CCI Traumatic Brain injury model, the kindling model, and the 6Hz model to study this disease.
Fall 2017: spaceCRAFT: virtual reality sandbox environment Full Team
Affiliations:
Project Leader:
Mauricio Coen
coen@tamu.edu
Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Greg Chamitoff, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2017: TBD
Team Size:
0 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Releasing software
Team Needs:
C++, ability to research and solve open ended problems
Description:
SpaceCRAFT is a Virtual Reality (VR) 'Sandbox' environment designed to enable government, university and commercial entities to collaborate in the design, use and evaluation of technology for future operations in Space. Taking advantage of high speed parallel computing, virtual reality systems and open source software platforms, SpaceCRAFT aims to enable any person or institution to contribute to humanity’s future in Space.
Fall 2017: Additive manufacturing advantages to mars exploration Full Team
Affiliations:
Project Leader:
Mauricio Coen
coen@tamu.edu
Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Greg Chamitoff, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2017: TBD
Team Size:
0 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Releasing software
Team Needs:
C++, ability to research and solve open ended problems
Description:
SpaceCRAFT is a Virtual Reality (VR) 'Sandbox' environment designed to enable government, university and commercial entities to collaborate in the design, use and evaluation of technology for future operations in Space. Taking advantage of high speed parallel computing, virtual reality systems and open source software platforms, SpaceCRAFT aims to enable any person or institution to contribute to humanity’s future in Space.
Fall 2017: AGGIENOVA: other exploding objects Full Team
Project Leader:
Peter Brown, Ph.D.
pbrown@physics.tamu.edu
Physics and Astronomy
Faculty Mentor:
Nicholas Suntzeff, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
TBD
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Team members will be coauthors on appropriate publications.
Team Needs:
experience with programming (python or IDL) or statistics helpful but not required for all team members
Description:
The Aggienova research group will study the catastrophic deaths of stars. The last decade has seen an explosion in the amount of ultraviolet observations of supernovae. We will use ultraviolet observations from the Swift and Hubble space telescopes as well as ground-based optical and near-infrared data. We will exploit that data and make tools to better understand nearby supernovae as well as those observed at high redshifts. I will be giving a talk on my research on Monday December 5, at 11:30 in M102 of the Mitchell Institute if you would like to hear what I am working on. https://mitchell.tamu.edu/events/seminars/#astro Official meetings will start next semester, but background work can begin before the break.
Fall 2017: AGGIENOVA: exploding stars near and far Full Team
Project Leader:
Peter Brown, Ph.D.
pbrown@physics.tamu.edu
Physics and Astronomy
Faculty Mentor:
Nicholas Suntzeff, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
TBD
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Team members will be coauthors on appropriate publications.
Team Needs:
experience with programming (python or IDL) or statistics helpful but not required for all team members
Description:
The Aggienova research group will study the catastrophic deaths of stars. The last decade has seen an explosion in the amount of ultraviolet observations of supernovae. We will use ultraviolet observations from the Swift and Hubble space telescopes as well as ground-based optical and near-infrared data. We will exploit that data and make tools to better understand nearby supernovae as well as those observed at high redshifts. I will be giving a talk on my research on Monday December 5, at 11:30 in M102 of the Mitchell Institute if you would like to hear what I am working on. https://mitchell.tamu.edu/events/seminars/#astro Official meetings will start next semester, but background work can begin before the break.
Fall 2017: X-Nav interplanetary mission simulation Full Team
Project Leader:
Stoian Borissov
sborissov@tamu.edu
Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Daniele Mortari, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2017: TBD
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Co-authorship on journal and conference papers, potential opportunity to visit Johnson Space Center
Team Needs:
Scripting, MATLAB, GMAT, basic electrical engineering
Description:
The 'X-Nav' team is dedicated to developing the technologies required for spacecraft navigation using X-Ray pulsars. X-ray pulsars are distant but highly energetic stars that flash at a regular interval and their light may be used to aid spacecraft navigation. This navigation technique has been tossed around by academics for decades, however our goal is to produce a fully fleshed out simulation of an interplanetary mission using x-nav. Through partnerships with Goddard Space Flight Center and Johnson Space Center, we will be be testing navigation algorithms and hardware tech. There will be heavy use of scripting languages such as MATLAB as well as mission simulation tools such as NASA's GMAT software. Students in this group will be responsible for first familiarizing themselves with the state of the art of x-nav. Online articles as well publications from academic journals will be given to students. Several copies of textbooks on pulsar astronomy will also be made available. The final results of students' work will be published in conference proceedings and may even be incorporated into journal articles. A strong background in the fundamentals of linear algebra and calculus as well as familiarity with scripting are required.
Fall 2017: Smart water distribution systems Full Team
Project Leader:
Mohsen Aghashahi
aghashahi@tamu.edu
Civil Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Katherine Banks, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2017: TBD
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Co-authorship in publications, working in a vital research group with a postdoc fellow and two Ph.D. students and gaining a broad range of experience in smart technology.
Team Needs:
Students with a background of or interested in cyber-physical systems and infrastructures, Internet of Things, cyber-security, control theory, sensors and actuators, wireless connectivity, dynamic programming, 3D printing, robotics.
Description:
A smart water network is a water distribution system which adjusts its performance with varying elements such as variable demands and pressures and acts as an integrated cyber-physical system that constitutes four major sectors including sensing, computing, control and communication. In this research we will advance mobile and stationary water sensor networks technology to enable realtime sensing and communication at a fine temporal and spatial resolutions. Computationally efficient and accurate algorithms will be adapted to simulate system. Optimal control methods will be developed to facilitate system automation by sensor readings and simulation projections. Reliable and fast information exchange between sensors, models, and controllers under rate and power constraints will be achieved using communication systems.
Fall 2017: Advanced vapor compression desalination Full Team
Affiliations:
Project Leader:
Momore Adesanmi
momore.adesanmi@tamu.edu
Chemical Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Mark Holtzapple, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2017: Thursday 5 pm
Team Size:
0 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Engineering Project Showcase
Team Needs:
Registration for ENGR 491 - 504/201
Description:
An AggiE_Challenge team of undergraduate engineers from Texas A&M University put together to address the National Academy of Engineering's Grand Challenge for the 21st Century regarding limited access to drinkable water. Ninety-seven percent of the Earth’s water exists as salt water in our oceans, so effective desalination methods are a logical step forward. Together, we have researched and developed a scalable advanced vapor-compression desalination process (Advanced VCD) that recycles the waste heat of existing refineries to produce drinkable water and other profitable byproducts. This is novel because desalination units traditionally require a large amount of heat to run and utilizing waste heat proves to be economical and environmentally friendly.
Summer 2017: A Study of Porcine Epicardial Lymphatics Full Team
Project Leader:
Lena Ayari
lena97@tamu.edu
Department of Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology
Faculty Mentor:
Ranjeet Dongaonkar, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2017: TBD
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Possibility of earning co-authorship on a paper, learn to dissect and cannulate vessels, learn to perform in vitro vessel experiments and physiological data acquisition.
Team Needs:
Interest in biomedical science research, preferred BIMS and biomedical engineering majors
Description:
The lymphatic system plays a crucial role in interstitial fluid balance—it collects and transports fluid and proteins lost to the interstitial space from blood capillaries to the circulation system. However, little is known about epicardial lymphatic function. Therefore, we plan to study the response of porcine epicardial lymphatic vessels to various physiological and pharmacological stimuli.
Summer 2017: Mapping the geography of urban drinking water Full Team
Project Leader:
Samantha Zuhlke
szuhlke@tamu.edu
Political Science
Faculty Mentor:
Manuel Teodoro, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2017: TBD
Team Size:
2 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
This research is part of an on-going project that may include further research and travel opportunities.
Team Needs:
Preference given to candidates who have completed POLS 207 and 209, and have experience with statistical and quantitative analysis, as well as mapping technologies (Google Maps, ArcMap). Seeking at least one team member with fluent Spanish
Description:
This project investigates urban drinking water quality via mapping analysis. I am seeking a research team to help build a data set that examines the relationship between poverty, race, various businesses and drinking water quality within the United States. Team members will use Google Maps to build datasets depicting locations of various businesses within the U.S. Ambitious team members will have the opportunity to perform geographic and statistical analyses of the data using ArcMap and statistical programs. All team members will engage in discussions of political theory that explain location-based phenomena.
Summer 2017: Virtual-reality enhanced exoskeleton for rehabilitation controlled via reverse engineering the central nervous system Full Team
Affiliations:
Project Leader:
Amin Zeiaee
amin.zeiaee@tamu.edu; rana.soltani@tamu.edu
Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Reza Langari, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2017: TBD
Team Size:
0 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Opportunity to work with a real robotic system, opportunity to work with microsoft Hololens, opportunity to interact with a medical robot
Team Needs:
Solid Basic Engineering Knowledge, Interest in programming and robotics, motivated and interested in hands on experience
Description:
Focus of this project is on developing a virtual-reality enhanced upper limb exoskeleton for rehabilitation of stroke patients. Exoskeleton is an orthosis device worn by the patients which will enable automated physical therapy. To enhance the rehabilitation process, a virtual reality environment will be linked to the exoskeleton. Thus the research effort will include automation, control and programming tasks.
Summer 2017: Control of a virtual/augmented reality enhanced upper limb rehabilitation exoskeleton using bio-signals Full Team
Affiliations:
Project Leader:
Amin Zeiaee
amin.zeiaee@tamu.edu;
Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Reza Langari, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2017: TBD
Team Size:
0 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Opportunity to work with a real robotic system, opportunity to work with microsoft Hololens, opportunity to interact with a medical robot
Team Needs:
Solid Basic Engineering Knowledge, Interest in programming and robotics, motivated and interested in hands on experience
Description:
Summer 2017: A 21st century perspective on prison management and the aging process Full Team
Project Leader:
Monica Williams
mewilliams28@tamu.edu
Sociology
Faculty Mentor:
Sarah Gatson, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Tuesday 11am-12pm
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
detail-oriented, effective written and oral communication skills, and penchant for organization
Team Needs:
experience with data coding and collection (preferred but not required).
Description:
Aging inmates are a rapidly growing part of the prison population. Some offenders are entering prison at older ages, and others are aging while imprisoned due to lengthy sentences. There is a scarcity of policies and programs designed to meet the needs of aging inmates. With a disparate amount of programs and policies for females when compared to those for men, most options available to aging female inmates were created through a patriarchal lens. Data will be analyzed to isolate trends contributing to aging inmate growth. The existing aging inmate typology will be confirmed as male-centric, and a new typology for aging female inmates will be created. Analyses will be done to include the historical process from which policies and programs have emerged, as well as a survey of state prisons and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (inclusive of Washington, D.C.). These analyses will provide necessary data to compare and contrast national policies and programs with international standards. Theory will be suggested as a set of guidelines to revise or create prison policies and programs.
Summer 2017: A Study of porcine epicardial lymphatics (2) Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Helene Weideman
heleneweideman@tamu.edu
Vetinary Physiology & Pharmacology
Faculty Mentor:
Ranjeet Dongaonkar, Ph.D
Meeting Times:
Summer 2017: TBD
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Possibility of earning co-authorship on a paper, learn to dissect and cannulate vessels, learn to perform in vitro vessel experiments physiological data acquisition.
Team Needs:
Interest in bio-medical science research, preferred BIMS and biomedical engineering majors. Students can register for 3 ch of research (VTPP 291/491 or BMEN 291/491).
Description:
The lymphatic system plays a crucial role in interstitial fluid balance—it collects and transports fluid and proteins lost to the interstitial space from blood capillaries to the circulation system. However, little is known about epicardial lymphatic function. Therefore, we plan to study response of porcine epicardial lymphatic vessels to various physiological and pharmacological stimuli.
Summer 2017: Nutrition and health of 17th-century sailors Full Team
Project Leader:
Grace Tsai
getsai@tamu.edu
Anthropology
Faculty Mentor:
Karen Kubena, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2017 (Team Full)
Team Size:
8 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Students have the chance to be a co-author in a paper, may have the opportunity to tour and possibly stay on a historical sailing vessel, present at conferences, and receive directed studies course credit in Nutrition
Team Needs:
For those with an interest in the biology/microbiology/biochemistry/hard science side of the project, previous lab experience is preferred. I am looking for a mixture of talents as this is a multi-disciplinary project. In particular, students majoring, or with an interest in, biochemistry/microbiology, visualization, food science, meat science, viticulture, nutrition, marketing, history, anthropology, chemistry, and biology are sought after in this team. However, all interested individuals are welcome to apply.
Description:
This project hopes to understand the effects of shipboard diet on the health of sailors by determining the nutritional intake of seamen on 17th-century English ships. Previous attempts to gauge the nutritional value of shipboard diets were based on historical documentation instead of laboratory data. In this project, shipboard food will be replicated using the exact ingredients and methods of preparation from the 17th century, including non-GMO ingredients, the exact species of plant or animal, and the same butchery methods and cuts of meat. Archaeological and historical data will be used to replicate the salted pork and beef, ship biscuit, wine and beer, and other provisions aboard Warwick, an English race-built galleon that sank in 1619. Then, a trans-Atlantic voyage will be simulated by storing the food in casks and keeping these in a ship’s hull for three months. Every ten days, representative samples of food will be sent for nutritional and microbial analysis. Lastly, this project compares laboratory results to data that has already been derived from human remains on wrecks such as Mary Rose (1545) and Vasa (1628). This project also has broader impacts because it is hypothesized that certain microbes found on the experimental food may be novel strains of probiotics, which can be cultured for today’s health industry. The results of the project will be featured in an exhibit at the Texas Seaport Museum in Galveston.
Summer 2017: Relating preload recruitable stroke work to parameters characterizing systolic and diastolic cardiac function Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Ian Stoute
imstoute@tamu.edu
Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Christopher Quick, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2017: TBD
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
This project is well-developed, and a manuscript is in the early stages of preparation. Team members will have an opportunity to continue this project in the Fall, and those making a scientific contribution will earn co-authorship.
Team Needs:
We are seeking students who either have an interest in employing their strong writing skills or have an interest in developing an in-depth knowledge of the scientific literature dealing with cardiac function. Understanding of mathematical approaches to physiology are welcome, but unnecessary. Must be willing to work outside of the team meeting time. Contributors must be flexible with their schedules. Students will be expected to register for 3 ch of research (VTPP 291/491 or BMEN 291/491).
Description:
Preload recruitable stroke work (PRSW) is a fundamental characterization of cardiac function that is independent of preload and afterload. It is typically expressed as an empirical relationship between stroke work (SW) and end-diastolic volume (Ved). This relationship has been reported to be remarkably linear over large ranges of end-diastolic volumes in multiple mammalian species. Although the slope and intercept of the PRSW relationship shift significantly with different heart failure phenotypes, there is currently no means to predict in what way changes in contractility, diastolic stiffness, or unstressed volume will affect the PRSW relationship. Therefore, the purpose of the present work was to develop an algebraic formula for the PRSW relationship in terms of standard parameters characterizing systolic and diastolic function.
Summer 2017: Virtual-reality enhanced exoskeleton for rehabilitation controlled via reverse engineering the central nervous system Full Team
Project Leader:
Rana Soltani
rana.soltani@tamu.edu
Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Reza Langari, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Team Size:
0 (Team Full)
Description:
"Focus of this project is on developing a virtual-reality enhanced upper limb exoskeleton for rehabilitation of stroke patients. Exoskeleton is an orthosis device worn by the patients which will enable automated physical therapy. To enhance the rehabilitation process, a virtual reality environment will be linked to the exoskeleton. Thus the research effort will include automation, control and programming tasks. "
Summer 2017: Optimized Solar Energy Harvesting with Dual Phase Output Full Team
Project Leader:
Sinan Sabeeh
sinan.sabih@tamu.edu
Electrical Engineering Department
Faculty Mentor:
Prasad Enjeti, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
MTWThF during Summer from 9:30 - 6:30
Team Size:
2 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Co-authorship on publications
Team Needs:
-Special working hours can be arranged -SIMULINK, DSP, C++ programming,Microsoft Visio, familiar with hardware design and build
Description:
As the electrical grid becomes more complex—Including different types of power generation units e.g solar, wind, turbines...etc—there is high demand to design elements that help to maintain the stability of the grid. This project focuses on designing an optimized differential power converter to harvest solar energy from multiple sources, and feed it high density dual phase output inverter to supply 110V/220V. The project would involve C block programming, circuit design, voltage and current sensors, using simulation tools e.g PLECS and SIMULINK. The power converter would work on high switching frequency 100KhZ-500KhZ and final product should be actual hardware that can be commercialized. The project would done in four phases: Phase 1 would ensure the dual phase inverter works on stable DC input (e.g Battery) Phase 2 would ensure the inverter works on a single set of PV module build in series and parallel Phase 3 would ensure the Power sharing module works effectively with multiple inputs Phase 4 would be integrating the Power Sharing and Balancing module with dual phase output inverter.
Summer 2017: The negro In our history Full Team
Project Leader:
Dalitso Ruwe
dalitso88@tamu.edu
Philosophy
Faculty Mentor:
Tommy Curry, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Friday 11:00AM - 12:00PM
Team Size:
5 (Team Full)
Description:
This project seeks to explore early Black Philosophy of History through texts in defense of the Black race that showed Africans as an integral part of a civilizing universe include, reading include but not limited to James W. C Pennington A Text Book of the Origin and History of the Colored People 1841, Robert Benjamin Lewis’s Light and Truth: Collected from the Bible and Ancient and Modern History; Containing the Universal History of the Colored and Indian Races from the Creation of the World to the Present Time (1843), Henry Garnet The Past and Present Condition, and the Destiny of the Colored Race, 1848, Henry McNeal Turner The Negro in All Ages, 1873, Joseph T.Wilson Emancipation 1882 Antenor Firmin The Equality of the Human Races 1885 , Williams Wells Brown, The Black Man: His Antecedents, His Genius, and His Achievements, 1863, J.F.Dyson A New and Simple Explanation of the Unity of the Human Race, 1893, W.H. Crogman and H.F. Kletzing The Progress of a Race, 1897, Pauline E. Hopkins A Primer of Facts Pertaining to the Early Greatness of the African Race and the Possibility of Restoration by its Descendants, 1905 and Daniel Murray, Murray’s Historical and Biographical Encyclopedia of the Colored Race Through the World, William Ferris The African Abroad, Carter G Woodson The African Background Outlined: Or a Handbook for the Study of the Negro,
Summer 2017: Effect of counter-ion species on the physical and thermal properties of polyelectrolyte multilayers Full Team
Project Leader:
Joshua O'Neal
hammer534@tamu.edu
Materials Science and Engineering, Chemical Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Jodie Lutkenhaus Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2017: F 9am-11am (subject to change)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
co-authorship on publication, good possibility of future membership in this research group (based on performance and competency)
Team Needs:
Excel, graphing/plotting software, technical writing, preferably some lab experience, Strong work ethic, positive attitude, flexible work schedule, junior year or above in science or engineering degree
Description:
In this project we will explore the physical response properties of layer-by-layer assembled polyelectrolyte thin films using quartz-crystal microbalance with dissipation. This is a technique that allows us to build our films and observe in real-time the swelling or contracting response the films have to various counter ion solutions. We will also study the film composition using neutron activation analysis in order to gain an understanding of the internal structure and behavior in response to ion exchanges at various concentrations. Finally, we have a branch of the project that focuses on the thermal properties of our layer-by-layer films. This study is conducted on free standing films using differential scanning calorimetry. This is a multi-dimensional project that will give you a good foundational understanding of polymer chemistry from an engineering standpoint as well as provide experience with analytical techniques you likely have never used before. In this project you will be a fully functioning member of the research team and will participate in both data analysis and publication writing/editing. The goal of this is to give you experience in the research setting as well as get your name on a publication that will result from this work. Training will be sufficient and your contribution will be valuable.​
Summer 2017: Pain meta-analysis Full Team
Project Leader:
Namrata Nanvaty
nnanavaty@tamu.edu
Psychology
Faculty Mentor:
Vani Mathur, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2017: TBD
Team Size:
9 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Students will have the opportunity to learn more about our Social Neuroscience of Pain Disparities Lab (Mathur Lab) and if interested, apply to become a full member of our research lab in the Psychology department at Texas A&M University.
Team Needs:
Independent work at home (will need a laptop or access to a library computer). Eager to learn!
Description:
This team will involve working with a graduate researcher to conduct a meta-analysis examining mechanisms of pain, as pain is still a major public health problem that is not well understood.
Summer 2017: Developing Anti-Racism Curriculum II Full Team
Project Leader:
Vicki Mokuria
vmokuria@tamu.edu
CEHD-TLAC
Faculty Mentor:
James Marlon, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Wednesdays 1-3 (flexible)
Team Size:
8 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Students can co-author papers or create workshops for other students
Team Needs:
Willingness to meet 2 hours/week
Description:
This project includes reflective journaling and dialogues between students working together to explore the ways their own racial identities developed, while also co-collaborating on curricular projects to expand similar dialogues that counter racism and its impact on the self and others.
Summer 2017: Over-churched and under-fed: organizational missions of religion and food security Full Team
Affiliations:
Urban Re-Rural/Everybody Eats: Community Food Security and the Land Grant School
Project Leader:
Andrew McNeely
amcneely@tamu.edu
Sociology
Faculty Mentor:
Sarah Gatson, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2017: participants must be available for at least TWO meeting times (see below)
Team Size:
7 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
-Extensive community service involvement -TAMU research symposium -Ongoing, multiple-semester project with significant impact on local food insecurity
Team Needs:
Monday (1-2:30) Tuesday (9-12; 9:30-11) Wednesday (1-2:30) Thursday (9:30-11; 5-7) Friday (9:30-11) Saturday (10-11:30) Weekly Meeting (TBD)
Description:
Brazos County has a significantly higher number of religious congregations than the average county in Texas. Along with this, it also has a significantly higher rate of food insecurity among its citizens. These two realities, ostensibly, should not exist simultaneously in the same area. The purpose of this research project is to investigate the relationship between religious bodies and food security issues. Initially, we will explore baseline statistical data to establish the relationship. Further, we will create contacts with as many religious bodies as possible in order to perform participant-observational research with their food related service programs, investigating the variation across religion, denomination, size, and structure. The goal is to determine, if possible, what aspects of religious organizations—if any—affect food security issues in their community, and how. This project will emphasize a sociological imagination when thinking about religious issues in a community. As such, all religious activities will be treated objectively and with respect at all times.
Summer 2017 Full Team
Project Leader:
Elizabeth Latham
ealatham@tamu.edu
Animal Science
Faculty Mentor:
Karen Kubena, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
W 3:00PM
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Team Needs:
6 hours of lab time
Description:
Examine the microbial populations found on recreated food from the 17th century.
Summer 2017: Microbiota - host immune system and metabolism cross talk Full Team
Project Leader:
Mohammad Khattab, Ph.D.
mohammad_refaat@tamu.edu
Small Animal Clinical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Jan Suchodolski, DVM, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2017: TBD
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Each member will be exposed to a huge space of very important knowledge which will affect both personal and academic life in addition to the impact on graduate study preferences; we will work together all the time even when every member being alone; we will help in everything and we will play to be the team # 1.
Team Needs:
Biomedical and bioinformatics background are very important. Team members should be knowledgeable, creative, self-initiative, ambitious, sincere
Description:
Microbiota treated now as secondary liver with great share in host metabolism and immune response; this outgoing research project try to unravel the deep relation between different microbiota and the previously mentioned host functions in a way which can enhancing the discovery of new diagnostic biomarkers and hopefully some tailored therapeutic interventions.
Summer 2017: Recommendation of evaluation tools for assessing the effectiveness of recycling agents in recycled asphalt mixtures Full Team
Project Leader:
Fawaz Kaseer
fawazkaseer@tamu.edu
Civil Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Amy Epps Martin Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Monday 8-9 AM
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Description:
"Economic and environmental considerations have prompted the use of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) and recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) in asphalt mixtures. However, due to the concerns about long-term pavement performance, including low cracking resistance of the recycled asphalt mixtures, State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) tend to limit the quantities of the recycled materials unless certain mixture modifications are made, including using recycling agents (RA). The effect of recycling agents in improving the cracking resistance of recycled asphalt mixtures had been investigated by the research team for a limited set of materials from three different field projects in Texas (TX), Indiana (IN), and Nevada (NV), using a number of tools and laboratory tests. The objective of this research project in summer 2017 is to validate the evaluation tools and laboratory tests to include different materials from two different field projects in Wisconsin (WI) and Delaware (DE). "
Summer 2017: Mathematical model characterizing fluid transported by mesenteric lymphatic vessels Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Chesley Johnson
cmjcmj25@tamu.edu
Biology
Faculty Mentor:
Christopher Quick, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2017: TBD
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
This project is well-developed, and a manuscript is in preparation for submission to the American Journal of Physiology. Team members will have an opportunity to continue this project in the Fall, and those making a scientific contribution will earn co-authorship.
Team Needs:
We are looking for team members with different strengths that can advance the project. We are particularly seeking a team member with a strong writing skills, a member with an interest in mathematical modeling, and a team member who is interested in synthesizing information from diverse journal articles. Students will be expected to register for 3 ch of research (VTPP 291/491 or BMEN 291/491).
Description:
Nutrients absorbed into the interstitial space from the intestinal lumen can be transported either by intestinal capillaries to the liver or by the mesenteric lymphatics to the great veins of the neck. Several factors can alter the fraction of nutrients that are transported by mesenteric lymphatics, including abnormal liver function. Experimental approaches employed to elucidate the mechanisms governing the relative flow through these two parallel pathways are limited, because critical parameters are difficult to measure and cannot be controlled independently. Conventional mathematical modeling approaches are also limited, because the numerical solution of the systems of equations are sensitive to assumed parameter values and must employ advanced computational techniques. Therefore, the purpose of the present work is to develop a simple algebraic formula that predicts the fraction of nutrients that is transported by the mesenteric lymphatic vessels. This model will not only allow for the prediction of nutrient transport, but will also serve as a novel tool in characterizing critical parameter values in clinically relevant disease states.
Summer 2017: Shaping the cotton microbiome for sustainable pest management Full Team
Project Leader:
Polly Harding
pollyharding@tamu.edu
Entomology
Faculty Mentor:
Gregory Sword, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2017: TBD
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Conduct independent research, will co-author and submit a journal article on summer research, gain diverse technical skills in microbiology, horticulture and entomology
Team Needs:
Must register for ENTO 491 research credits, minimum 10 hrs/week. Prior experience not required, but students with a demonstrated interest in a relevant field of study are preferred.
Description:
"Fungi that occur inside living plant tissue without causing harm to the plant are known as fungal endophytes. Research in field crops has shown endophytic fungi enhancing plant growth and increasing resistance to pests. In this study, we will determine whether these microbes can be applied in cotton to help growers reduce the number of insecticide sprays needed to control pest populations of aphids. Responsibilities will include: Monitoring aphid populations in field cotton, maintaining plants, inoculating plants with microbes, rearing insects, plating media, sub-culturing fungi, re-isolating endophytes from plant tissues, calculating spore concentrations and creating fungal suspensions"
Summer 2017: Cardiac adaptation to wall stress Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Wesley Fuertes
wfuertes@tamu.edu
Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Randolph Stewart, DVM, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer: TBD
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
You will gain valuable research experience and chances of earning co-authorship, and we are presenting our findings at the Experimental Biology Conference in April. Also research is a great way of procuring letters of recommendation.
Team Needs:
Experience is not required to join the project. We are looking for enthusiastic students that are able to think creatively. Meeting Times are flexible, you don't have to be there for the entire time, but it is preferred that you can make the meeting times.
Description:
The twin fields of cardiovascular physiology and cardiac mechanobiology have typically studied independently/ On one hand, cardiovascular physiologists are interested in how ventricular stroke volumes and blood pressures emerge from the complex interaction of the heart and the vasculature. Cardiac contractility, characterized by the slope of the end-systolic pressure-volume relationship, is only one of many factors determining ventricular pressure and stroke volume. The result of cardiac adaptation is characterized by changes in contractility. On the other hand, cardiac mechanobiologists are interested in how tissue stresses result in structural remodeling. Ventricular pressures and volumes are viewed only as boundary conditions that affect wall stress. The stimulus for cardiac adaptation is wall stress. The need to integrate these two fields becomes clear when considering that wall stress affects contractility, and changes in contractility in turn, affects wall stress. Using a simple closed loop model and a simple assumed ventricular geometry, we integrate these two approaches. First, wall stress is found to be a bimodal function of contractility. Second, we make the common assumption that contractility adapts so that it increases with wall stress. These two functions, representing the fundamental assumptions of cardiovascular physiology and cardiovascular mechanobiology, result in a simple balance point that predicts equilibrium contractility. The purpose of the present project therefore is to use the insight arising from mathematical modeling to explore cardiac adaptation in health and disease.
Summer 2017: Novel mammalian similarity principle predicted from the minimal closed-loop cardiovascular model Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Emily Duhon
emilyduhon@tamu.edu
Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Christopher Quick, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2017: TBD
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Co-authorship or possibly becoming a full member in Fall 2017
Team Needs:
We are looking for team members that are interested employing their strong writing skills, or members who have developed effective public speaking skills. Also, looking for members who are interested in reading and learning the literature on allometry. While math skills are welcomed, it is not a necessary skill for this project. Must be willing to work outside scheduled meeting times. Students will be expected to register for 3 ch of research (VTPP 291/491 or BMEN 291/491).
Description:

 Allometric scaling laws are empirical relationships relating particular parameters to body weight. Investigators have identified only a small number of allometric invariants for the mammalian cardiovascular system--combinations of parameters that have constant values independent of species weight. Although many allometric invariants have arisen from applying optimality principles, the physics governing blood pressures and flows impose constraints that strictly limit parameter values. Therefore, the purpose of the present work is to derive a novel mammalian similarity principle, assuming a closed-loop cardiovascular model.
Summer 2017: Pre-Service Teacher Mathematics Confidence Level Full Team
Project Leader:
Kimberly Currens
kim.currens@tamu.edu
TLAC
Faculty Mentor:
Robert Capraro, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Monday 4-5 - subject to change
Team Size:
1 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Research hours through enrollment in EDCI 485/685, part of publication and presentation team, learn about/strengthen social science research
Team Needs:
Interested in Mathematics Education and Aggie Teach program. Strong team work and collaborative skills
Description:
Elementary teachers are expected to teach all subjects: mathematics, science, history, and language arts. However, elementary school teachers often lack confidence in their mathematics skills. Most pre-service teachers complete a minimal number of mathematics courses as part of a teaching curriculum which can lead to a lack of confidence in their mathematics skills. The purpose of this study is to determine the confidence level of pre-service teachers who have completed at least two mathematics courses. Participants will be enrolled in MASC 450 at Texas A&M University. The primary research question is: What is the confidence level of pre-service teachers when asked to consider elementary and middle school mathematics concepts.
Summer 2017: SpaceCRAFT: cislunar architecture Full Team
Affiliations:
Project Leader:
Mauricio Coen
coen@tamu.edu
Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Greg Chamitoff, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2017: TBD
Team Size:
0 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Releasing software
Team Needs:
C++, ability to research and solve open ended problems
Description:
SpaceCRAFT is a Virtual Reality (VR) 'Sandbox' environment designed to enable government, university and commercial entities to collaborate in the design, use and evaluation of technology for future operations in Space. Taking advantage of high speed parallel computing, virtual reality systems and open source software platforms, SpaceCRAFT aims to enable any person or institution to contribute to humanity’s future in Space.
Summer 2017: Additive manufacturing advantages to mars exploration Full Team
Affiliations:
Project Leader:
Mauricio Coen
coen@tamu.edu
Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Greg Chamitoff, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2017: TBD
Team Size:
0 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Releasing software
Team Needs:
C++, ability to research and solve open ended problems
Description:
SpaceCRAFT is a Virtual Reality (VR) 'Sandbox' environment designed to enable government, university and commercial entities to collaborate in the design, use and evaluation of technology for future operations in Space. Taking advantage of high speed parallel computing, virtual reality systems and open source software platforms, SpaceCRAFT aims to enable any person or institution to contribute to humanity’s future in Space.
Summer 2017: CRISPR/Cas9-based selfish gene element propagation in Drosophila melanogaster. Full Team
Project Leader:
Pratima Chennuri, Ph.D.
pratimachennuri@tamu.edu
Entomology
Faculty Mentor:
Kevin Myles, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2017: TBD
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Research experience and guidance from experienced researchers, opportunity to learn methods in recombinant DNA technology such as cloning in addition to using current genome editing technologies such as CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome engineering. To the enthusiastic and interested scholars, a great opportunity to learn, apply, and even get hired on a long-term basis within the lab.
Team Needs:
Experience of working in a molecular biology or cell culture or Drosophila laboratory preferred. Basic molecular biology laboratory skills, ability and more importantly enthusiasm to learn new techniques and apply them in a timely manner, self-motivated and interested in molecular biology and genetics.
Description:
The project involves engineering DNA constructs, cloning the constructs in to plasmids in E. coli, extraction and purification of plasmid DNA, and their injection in to Drosophila embryos. Scholars will spend some of their time in cloning constructs and the downstream processing of plasmid DNA. Some of the time will be spent on conducting experiments in classical Mendelian fly genetics that will complement the cloning along with associated general fly husbandry and laboratory duties. There might be opportunities for some scholars to test the cloned plasmids in insect cell cultures.
Summer 2017: Encouraging sustainable gardening among community youth Full Team
Affiliations:
Urban Re-Rural/Everybody Eats: Community Food Security and the Land Grant School
Project Leader:
Christa Cardenas
christa.cardenas@tamu.edu
Sociology
Faculty Mentor:
Sarah Gatson, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
TR 9AM-10AM
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Hands on approach to sociology and co-authorship on publications.
Team Needs:
Experience or desire to work with youth. Previous gardening or nutrition experience is not necessary. Weekly community outreach
Description:
Engage with service learning research by encouraging healthy eating and sustainable gardening among school-aged children. We will be working with a local non-profit that serves children.
Summer 2017: Frogs & Lobsters Full Team
Project Leader:
Stephanie Brown
stephanieevbrown@tamu.edu
Psychology
Faculty Mentor:
Kathi Miner, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
M 2:30PM-3:30PM
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
- Exploring the field of psychology - Learning new data collection techniques - Earning co-authorship on publications - Attending a conference - Presenting research at TAMU Student Research Week - Practice writing grants
Team Needs:
Experience with data collection on human subjects, literature searches, and basic statistical tests (completion of PSYC 203 & 204 preferred). Also a willingness to learn.
Description:
The purpose of this study is to examine how exposure to varying degrees of low-level negative interpersonal interactions affects physical health (e.g., blood pressure) and psychological well-being (e.g., negative emotions). We intend to determine if exposure to one more severe interaction (e.g., raising voice) has a different effect on physical and psychological measures than exposure to a series of milder interactions (e.g., eye rolling, condescension).
Summer 2017: Dopamine's effects on lymphatic vessels (2 Groups) Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Elizabeth Brown
eabrown11@tamu.edu
Biomedical Science
Faculty Mentor:
Ranjeet Dongaonkar, Ph.D
Meeting Times:
Summer 2017: Monday 11:30AM-5:30PM
Team Size:
8 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Possibility of earning co-authorship on a paper, learn to dissect and cannulate vessels, learn to perform in vitro vessel experiments physiological data acquisition.
Team Needs:
Interest in bio-medical science research, preferred BIMS and biomedical engineering majors. Students can register for 3 ch of research (VTPP 291/491 or BMEN 291/491).
Description:
Recent studies have reported that dopamine at low concentrations has chronotropic as well as inotropic effects on the heart. The resulting increases in cardiac contractility and heart rate have been reported to increase cardiac output, increase mean arterial blood pressure and decrease central venous pressure. However, how dopamine affects lymphatic pump has yet to be studied thoroughly.
Summer 2017: X-Nav interplanetary mission simulation Full Team
Project Leader:
Stoian Borissov
sborissov@tamu.edu
Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Daniele Mortari, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2017: TBD
Team Size:
8 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Co-authorship on journal and conference papers, potential opportunity to visit Johnson Space Center
Team Needs:
Scripting, MATLAB, GMAT, basic electrical engineering
Description:
The 'X-Nav' team is dedicated to developing the technologies required for spacecraft navigation using X-Ray pulsars. X-ray pulsars are distant but highly energetic stars that flash at a regular interval and their light may be used to aid spacecraft navigation. This navigation technique has been tossed around by academics for decades, however our goal is to produce a fully fleshed out simulation of an interplanetary mission using x-nav. Through partnerships with Goddard Space Flight Center and Johnson Space Center, we will be be testing navigation algorithms and hardware tech. There will be heavy use of scripting languages such as MATLAB as well as mission simulation tools such as NASA's GMAT software. Students in this group will be responsible for first familiarizing themselves with the state of the art of x-nav. Online articles as well publications from academic journals will be given to students. Several copies of textbooks on pulsar astronomy will also be made available. The final results of students' work will be published in conference proceedings and may even be incorporated into journal articles. A strong background in the fundamentals of linear algebra and calculus as well as familiarity with scripting are required.
Summer 2017: Institutional factors influencing underrepresented students’ STEM preparation in ISHSs Full Team
Affiliations:
Project Leader:
Ali Bicer
alibicer@tamu.edu
Teaching, Learning, and Culture
Faculty Mentor:
Robert Capraro, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer: MT 2-3PM (staring May 1)
Team Size:
0 (Team Full)
Description:
The purpose of this study is to understand factors influencing underrepresented students’ STEM preparation in Inclusive STEM High Schools (ISHSs). The researchers will conduct a case study that used semi-structured interviews with participants who graduated from ISHSs in Texas. Students’ STEM high school experiences related to their school factors will be classified under categories and these characteristics will be helpful for both STEM and non-STEM schools to establish STEM-focused school environment.
Summer 2017: A study of porcine epicardial lymphatics Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Lena Ayari
lena97@tamu.edu
Physiology & Pharmacology
Faculty Mentor:
Ranjeet Dongaonkar, Ph.D
Meeting Times:
Summer 2017: TBD
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Possibility of earning co-authorship on a paper, learn to dissect and cannulate vessels, learn to perform in vitro vessel experiments physiological data acquisition.
Team Needs:
Interest in bio-medical science research, preferred BIMS and biomedical engineering majors. Students can register for 3 ch of research (VTPP 291/491 or BMEN 291/491).
Description:
The lymphatic system plays a crucial role in interstitial fluid balance—it collects and transports fluid and proteins lost to the interstitial space from blood capillaries to the circulation system. However, little is known about epicardial lymphatic function. Therefore, we plan to study response of porcine epicardial lymphatic vessels to various physiological and pharmacological stimuli.
Summer 2017: Smart water distribution systems Full Team
Project Leader:
Mohsen Aghashahi
aghashahi@tamu.edu
Civil Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Katherine Banks, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2017: TBD
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Co-authorship in publications, working in a vital research group with a postdoc fellow and two Ph.D. students and gaining a broad range of experience in smart technology.
Team Needs:
Students with a background of or interested in cyber-physical systems and infrastructures, Internet of Things, cyber-security, control theory, sensors and actuators, wireless connectivity, dynamic programming, 3D printing, robotics.
Description:
A smart water network is a water distribution system which adjusts its performance with varying elements such as variable demands and pressures and acts as an integrated cyber-physical system that constitutes four major sectors including sensing, computing, control and communication. In this research we will advance mobile and stationary water sensor networks technology to enable realtime sensing and communication at a fine temporal and spatial resolutions. Computationally efficient and accurate algorithms will be adapted to simulate system. Optimal control methods will be developed to facilitate system automation by sensor readings and simulation projections. Reliable and fast information exchange between sensors, models, and controllers under rate and power constraints will be achieved using communication systems.
Spring 2017: Mapping the geography of urban drinking water Full Team
Project Leader:
Samantha Zuhlke
szuhlke@tamu.edu
Political Science
Faculty Mentor:
Manuel Teodoro, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: (full)
Team Size:
5 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
This research is part of an on-going project that may include further research and travel opportunities.
Team Needs:
Preference given to candidates who have completed POLS 207 and 209, and have experience with statistical and quantitative analysis, as well as mapping technologies (Google Maps, ArcMap). Seeking at least one team member with fluent Spanish
Description:
This project investigates urban drinking water quality via mapping analysis. I am seeking a research team to help build a data set that examines the relationship between poverty, race, various businesses and drinking water quality within the United States. Team members will use Google Maps to build datasets depicting locations of various businesses within the U.S. Ambitious team members will have the opportunity to perform geographic and statistical analyses of the data using ArcMap and statistical programs. All team members will engage in discussions of political theory that explain location-based phenomena.
Spring 2017: Superhydrophilic filter paper for effective oil recovery from oil contaminated wastewater Full Team
Project Leader:
Minxiang Zeng
zeng692@tamu.edu
Chemical Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Zhengdong Cheng, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: (full)
Team Size:
8 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Available conference opportunities will be shared to team members.
Team Needs:
Strong teamwork skills
Description:
Oil contaminated wastewater from petrochemical industries each year causes serious environmental issues and low resource utilization. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other oily chemicals in wastewater pose a potential risk to aquatic ecosystems as their decomposition causes excessive oxygen consumption, which leads to an increased mortality rate in fish populations. Meanwhile, those “harmful” chemicals could be useful in other areas such as energy fields or pharmaceutical industries. Therefore, the challenge of effective oil–water separation has been highlighted. Conventional oil-water separation methods including gravity separation, air flotation, coagulation, de-emulsification, have the inevitable disadvantages such as low efficiency, high energy consumption, recontamination problems. Separation of oil and water is essentially an interfacial science problem, and thus new strategies based on unique wettability materials have shown to be effective and advantageous. Herein, we proposed a hydrogel coated superhydrophilic filter paper for efficient oil recovery from oily wastewater.
Spring 2017: Virtual-reality enhanced exoskeleton for rehabilitation controlled via reverse engineering the central nervous system Full Team
Affiliations:
Project Leader:
Amin Zeiaee; Rana Soltani-Zarrin
amin.zeiaee@tamu.edu; rana.soltani@tamu.edu
Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Reza Langari, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: (full)
Team Size:
15 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Opportunity to work with a real robotic system, opportunity to work with microsoft Hololens, opportunity to interact with a medical robot
Team Needs:
Solid Basic Engineering Knowledge, Interest in programming and robotics, motivated and interested in hands on experience
Description:
Focus of this project is on developing a virtual-reality enhanced upper limb exoskeleton for rehabilitation of stroke patients. Exoskeleton is an orthosis device worn by the patients which will enable automated physical therapy. To enhance the rehabilitation process, a virtual reality environment will be linked to the exoskeleton. Thus the research effort will include automation, control and programming tasks.
Spring 2017: What is a dune? Improving our ability to extract features from remote sensing data Full Team
Project Leader:
Phil Wernette
wernett9@tamu.edu
Geography
Faculty Mentor:
Chris Houser Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: (full)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Co-authorship on publications from this research. Opportunities to preset this research at Student Research Week and possibly additional conferences.
Team Needs:
GIS, geology, programmingGIS, geology, programming
Description:
Traditional approaches to identifying and differentiating landscape features and landforms from the landscape remain time-intensive and highly subjective, which limit our ability to assess changes over large geographic areas. Subjectivity due to the person interpreting the features introduces spatially variable amount of error into the change assessment. The purpose of this project is to expand on existing approaches and develop new approaches for objectively differentiating landscape features, which can be automated. The project will utilize existing geographic information systems (GIS) and work to develop new custom approaches. Team members may have the opportunity to be listed as co-authors on publications and/or presentations related to this research. It is also possible that team members may present this research at Student Research Week and/or one or more regional/national professional conferences.
Spring 2017: Historical relationships between vegetation and geology on barrier islands Full Team
Project Leader:
Phil Wernette
wernett9@tamu.edu
Geography
Faculty Mentor:
Chris Houser, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: (full)
Team Size:
8 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Co-authorship on publications. Poster and paper presentations at Student Research Week and national conferences. Possible fieldwork opportunities.
Team Needs:
Looking for diverse set of skills, including, but not limited to: GIS, geology, geophysics, computer science/programming, statistics.
Description:
Recent evidence suggests that barrier island morphology, particularly dune morphology, exhibits both free and forced controls. The purpose of this project is to explore the relationship between spatially discontinuous or variable vegetation dynamics (typically identified as a free factor) and the underlying geologic structure (forcing factor). Understanding the roles and relationships of these factors in dune behavior has implications for modelling the effects of storms and sea-level change on coastal communities. Team members may have the opportunity to be listed as co-authors on publications and/or presentations related to this research. It is also possible that team members may present this research at Student Research Week and/or one or more regional/national professional conferences.
Spring 2017: Nutrition and health of 17th-century sailors Full Team
Project Leader:
Grace Tsai
getsai@tamu.edu
Anthropology
Faculty Mentor:
Karen Kubena, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: (full)
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Students have the chance to be a co-author in a paper, may have the opportunity to tour and possibly stay on a historical sailing vessel, present at conferences, and receive directed studies course credit in Nutrition
Team Needs:
For those with an interest in the biology/microbiology/biochemistry/hard science side of the project, previous lab experience is preferred. I am looking for a mixture of talents as this is a multi-disciplinary project. In particular, students majoring, or with an interest in, biochemistry/microbiology, visualization, food science, meat science, viticulture, nutrition, marketing, history, anthropology, chemistry, and biology are sought after in this team. However, all interested individuals are welcome to apply.
Description:
This project hopes to understand the effects of shipboard diet on the health of sailors by determining the nutritional intake of seamen on 17th-century English ships. Previous attempts to gauge the nutritional value of shipboard diets were based on historical documentation instead of laboratory data. In this project, shipboard food will be replicated using the exact ingredients and methods of preparation from the 17th century, including non-GMO ingredients, the exact species of plant or animal, and the same butchery methods and cuts of meat. Archaeological and historical data will be used to replicate the salted pork and beef, ship biscuit, wine and beer, and other provisions aboard Warwick, an English race-built galleon that sank in 1619. Then, a trans-Atlantic voyage will be simulated by storing the food in casks and keeping these in a ship’s hull for three months. Every ten days, representative samples of food will be sent for nutritional and microbial analysis. Lastly, this project compares laboratory results to data that has already been derived from human remains on wrecks such as Mary Rose (1545) and Vasa (1628). This project also has broader impacts because it is hypothesized that certain microbes found on the experimental food may be novel strains of probiotics, which can be cultured for today’s health industry. The results of the project will be featured in an exhibit at the Texas Seaport Museum in Galveston.
Spring 2017: International rip current detection Full Team
Project Leader:
Sarah Trimble
trimblesm@tamu.edu
Geography
Faculty Mentor:
Chris Houser, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: (Full)
Team Size:
2 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
All significant contributions will be acknowledged with co-authorship on resulting publications.
Team Needs:
GIS/Remote sensing skills, statistics.
Description:
Rip currents, sometimes called rip tides, are concentrated flows of water moving out to sea between breaking waves. They cause hundreds of fatalities worldwide every year and are therefore a global health issue (~100 deaths per year in the US). My dissertation aims to reduce these fatalities by improving signs, warning systems, and rip current prediction models. I am looking for a max of 5 undergraduates with a variety of skills because my dissertation has many types of data, ranging from large multispectral satellite images to tape-recorded interviews with business owners in a small Costa Rican town. All class years are welcome (freshman too!). You only need a basic knowledge (or a desire to learn more) in any one of the following subjects: geology, geography, computer science, modeling, remote sensing, GIS, coastal engineering, statistics, psychology, Spanish… there are many others and all will be useful. We will investigate: (1) developing rip current maps from satellite data, (2) results from interviews with beachgoers, lifeguards, rip current survivors and more, and (3) computer modeling of rip current circulations. Additional research topics may come up throughout the semester. If you want to know more about rip currents, here’s a great website with more information: http://www.scienceofthesurf.com/about.html
Spring 2017: Impact of biomechanical environment on adipose tissue function Full Team
Project Leader:
Arturo Sobarzo
gabrielsobarzo@tamu.edu
Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Joseph M. Rutkowski, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: (full)
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Course credit; experience with a range of biological research techniques, such as tissue culture, RNA analysis, and imaging
Team Needs:
Detail-attentive, coachable, punctual. Students will have to complete BL2 training in addition to the standard laboratory safety training.
Description:
We will be utilizing genetic mouse models and isolating adipose cells, then manipulating the cellular microenvironments in which the cells live in vitro. This will involve varying the composition of the extracellular matrix and scaffolding as well as interstitial flow rates, among other elements. The adipose cells and their matrices will then be analyzed mechanically (porosity, stiffness, etc.) in addition to being imaged and quantified using qPCR. This project is of timely medical significance in regards to obesity and adipose tissue inflammation.
Spring 2017: Primary mechanical determinants of ejection fraction Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Steven Shao
stevenshao@tamu.edu
Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Randolph Stewart, DVM, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: (full)
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Student Research Week, Research experience working with an experienced faculty
Team Needs:
Writing and editing
Description:
Cardiovascular diseases make up the leading cause of death in the United States and around the world. Estimates of left ventricular ejection fraction are widely used clinical indices to track cardiac performance and progression of heart disease. Ejection fraction is defined as the ratio of stroke volume over end-diastolic volume of a ventricle. However, it is not that simple. Clinicians run into a phenomenon in which patients with and without heart failure would appear to have the same ejection fraction. This is problematic to any clinician using this value to diagnose heart failure. This project aims to define the primary determinants of ejection fraction by further expanding and understand the implications each parameter involves. Team members will gain a foundation of the cardiovascular system while learning the fundamentals of research and modeling.
Spring 2017: Racialization of religious cultural capital in secular Turkey Full Team
Project Leader:
Rebecca Shaffer
rkshaffer@tamu.edu
Sociology
Faculty Mentor:
Edward Murguia, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: Friday 9:30AM-12:30PM
Team Size:
0 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Writing IRB Applications, Semi-Structured Interviews, Preparing Manuscript for Publication
Team Needs:
A student interested in history, particularly modern Turkish History (or Islamic history); good writing skills; student interested in researching intersectional apporaches to race, class and religion.
Description:
This project has two aims: (1) to demonstrate that religious identity and behaviors are a form of cultural capital and (2) to demonstrate that religious cultural capital is undergoing racialization in secular Turkey.
Spring 2017: Genomic prediction modeling for fiber quality in upland cotton Full Team
Project Leader:
Mitchell Schumann
mitchell.schumann@tamu.edu
Soil and Crop Science
Faculty Mentor:
Wayne C. Smith, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: (full)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
You will be able to gain research experience working in plant breeding and genetics with the Cotton Genetics Improvement Lab (CGIL); learn basic principles in plant breeding and statistical techniques for quantifying genetic variation that will be applied to real world data; given the opportunity to receive research credit hours; and highly motivated participants will be considered for full time paid summer employment with the (CGIL).
Team Needs:
You will need to be able to work outside and in different varying weather conditions (heat, cold, dusty) while standing.
Description:
The cotton industry accounts for 100 billion dollars of the U.S. economy, and the U.S. is the number one exporter of cotton. The goal of this program is to explore the genetic architecture of cotton fiber quality, and produce elite cultivars with superior fiber quality alleles. The approach of this project is to develop genomic prediction models to predict fiber quality using only genotypic data.
Spring 2017: Drug target identification Full Team
Project Leader:
Adam Salazar
isayni2u@tamu.edu
Genetics IDP; TIGGS, Biochemistry and Biophysics
Faculty Mentor:
James Sacchettini, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: (full)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Being part of an elite research team, possibility of preferentially joining future ARP projects, mastering basic microbiology techniques
Team Needs:
Must be committed to weekly schedule; Microbiological practice generally requires a small-moderate input of time over many days! General microbiology lab coursework, isolation of clonal bacteria, pouring agar media plates, aseptic tequnique, working with biological safety hoods, BSL2 certification, working with liquid bacterial cultures
Description:
M. tuberculosis is an opportunistic human pathogen responsible for infecting nearly 1/3 of the world's population (CDC, 2015). The recent emergence of multi-drug and pan-drug resistance in Mtb to classical antibiotics has highlighted a pressing need to explore the development of novel antibiotic drugs with new targets. In this project, we will attempt to determine the enzymatic target(s) of candidate novel antibiotics. First, we will isolate resistant mutants of a fast growing mycobacterial species to Mtb active compounds by traditional microbiological techniques. Once mutants have been isolated, we will genetically characterize isolates by preparing high quality DNA for illumina ""next gen"" sequencing and mapping resulting sequenced reads to the parental genome. The location and type of mutation will likely reveal the candidate drug target. This project will likely span multiple semesters.
Spring 2017: Impact of a selective NADPH oxidase inhibitor on skeletal muscle atrophy Full Team
Project Leader:
Patrick Ryan
patryan412@tamu.edu
Kinesiology
Faculty Mentor:
John Lawler Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: F 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Description:
Skeletal muscle is responsible for producing the forces required for organisms to move and interact with their surroundings, while also serving a crucial role in metabolism. As such, it is critical to overall health. A highly dynamic tissue, it is capable of responding and adapting to changes in external load and physiological stimuli. During prolonged periods of unloading, such as bedrest, casting, or spaceflight, skeletal muscle undergoes an atrophic process, decreasing in mass, size, and force generating capacity. The Redox Biology and Cell Signaling Lab at TAMU has identified increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) as a key factor in the signaling pathway that leads to muscular atrophy. Ongoing research by our laboratory investigates the role of NADPH oxidase-2 (Nox2), a membrane bound enzyme that produces ROS, in relation to increased oxidative stress and atrophy. We are currently conducting experiments involving inhibition of Nox2 in rat tissue by a selective peptide inhibitor in order to determine the role of this enzyme in the atrophic cell signaling pathway, and to potentially identify novel therapies that would slow the muscle wasting process. In addition to becoming acquainted with the operation of a modern exercise physiology laboratory, team members will have the opportunity to participate in biochemical assays designed to test physiological responses to Nox2 inhibition, including Western blots, immunohistochemistry, and various other laboratory experiments. Members of the team may have the opportunity to be included in publications (meetings, presentations, scientific papers) disseminated as a result of this research.
Spring 2017: Heritability and quantitative trait loci for kernel morphological traits in sorghum Full Team
Project Leader:
Nicholas Pugh
npugh@tamu.edu
Soil and Crop Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
William Rooney, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: (full)
Team Size:
0 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
1. Authorship on papers where the student intellectually contributed (Very good for resumes and C.V.s!). 2. Particularly hardworking students may be offered permanent positions in the lab as part-time undergraduate workers. 3. Gain the opportunity to get some hands-on experience working with actual crop scientistis, and learn more about plant breeding and applied genetics from world-class breeders.
Team Needs:
1. Creativity and the ability to think "outside the box" 2. The ability to work as an equal member of a team 3. That you aren't afraid to speak up when you have ideas or constructive criticisms of others' ideas. 4. The ability to work hard for a goal. 5. Careful and precise when acquiring and maintaining data. 6. Be able to work in an independent manner when possible; know when and when not to come to the project leader with questions. 7. Basic knowledge of a discipline related to the research. Examples: Horticulture, Food Science, Biology, Statistics, Agronomy, etc.
Description:
Popped sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) grain is becoming an increasingly more popular snack food in the United States. However, it has not been subject to the amount of research and selective breeding that popcorn has. Popping quality characteristics have been shown to be highly heritable in sorghum; nevertheless, the traits that influence it have not been as well characterized. Morphological features of popcorn kernels, such as the relative amount of hard and soft endosperm and the size of the embryo, have been shown to be important for popping quality; however, these have not been the subject of any such studies in sorghum. These traits are traditionally difficult and time-consuming to measure in sorghum grain. Now, using high-resolution imaging and image analysis software, these differences can be studied in an efficient manner. The objectives of this study are i) to determine what effect, if any, that these anatomical kernel characteristics have on popping quality, ii) to determine whether these characteristics are heritable in sorghum, and iii) to identify quantitative trait loci, or QTL, for these traits so that marker-assisted selection is possible.
Spring 2017: Biosensors based on temperature responsive polymer nanobrushes & metallic nanostructures platforms for salmonella detection Full Team
Project Leader:
Shubhangi Pant
shubhangipant@tamu.edu
Biological & Agricultural Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Carmen Gomes, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: Tuesday, 10-11AM
Team Size:
0 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Poster presentations, Research week, Food Safety knowledge, Food Engineering knowledge.
Team Needs:
Interested in working in sensing technologies and engineering.
Description:
Today, food safety is a growing concern for food production and supply industries. Currently, the conventional techniques being used in the food industries for foodborne pathogen detection are culture and colony counting, Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), and Polymerase Chain reaction (PCR). These techniques are not feasible for continuous monitoring since they are time consuming and require expensive equipment and highly trained personnel. Biosensors have been the latest development in real-time detection of food pathogens since they can provide rapid and continuous, simple, reliable diagnostic of foodborne colonization and contamination in food production settings. This project aims to design an electrochemical biosensor platform for the detection of Salmonella by using electro-deposition of Platinum nanostructures in combination with temperature-responsive polymer nanobrushes and aptamers specific to Salmonella as the biorecognition element. In order to carry out the deposition of nanoplatinum structure onto the electrode surface Pulsed Sonochemical Electrodeposition (pulSED) technique are used. For analyzing the effectiveness of the developed biosensor platform, the Electroactive Surface Area (ESA) values from Cyclic Voltammetry (CV) are observed and actuation tests are performed in order to check polymer’s response to different temperatures in purified media and complex food systems. Results are compared with conventional methods and published biosensors.
Spring 2017: Effect of Counter-ion Species on the Physical and Thermal properties of Polyelectrolyte Multilayers Full Team
Project Leader:
Joshua O'Neal
hammer534@tamu.edu
Materials Science and Engineering, Chemical Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Jodie Lutkenhaus Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
F 9am-11am (subject to change)
Team Size:
0 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
co-authorship on publication, good possibility of future membership in this research group (based on performance and competency)
Team Needs:
Excel, graphing/plotting software, technical writing, preferably some lab experience, Strong work ethic, positive attitude, flexible work schedule, junior year or above in science or engineering degree
Description:
In this project we will explore the physical response properties of layer-by-layer assembled polyelectrolyte thin films using quartz-crystal microbalance with dissipation. This is a technique that allows us to build our films and observe in real-time the swelling or contracting response the films have to various counter ion solutions. We will also study the film composition using neutron activation analysis in order to gain an understanding of the internal structure and behavior in response to ion exchanges at various concentrations. Finally, we have a branch of the project that focuses on the thermal properties of our layer-by-layer films. This study is conducted on free standing films using differential scanning calorimetry. This is a multi-dimensional project that will give you a good foundational understanding of polymer chemistry from an engineering standpoint as well as provide experience with analytical techniques you likely have never used before. In this project you will be a fully functioning member of the research team and will participate in both data analysis and publication writing/editing. The goal of this is to give you experience in the research setting as well as get your name on a publication that will result from this work. Training will be sufficient and your contribution will be valuable.​
Spring 2017: Developing anti-racism curriculum Full Team
Project Leader:
Vicki Mokuria
vmokuria@tamu.edu
Education - Teaching, Learning, & Culture
Faculty Mentor:
Marlon James, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: Wed 1:00-3:00 PM
Team Size:
1 (Team Full)
Description:
This research will focus on studying and creating anti-racism curriculum. Students will engage in research to explore what kinds of curriculum currently exists for elementary-college level students. We will create a literature review that summarizes strengths and drawbacks of the anti-racism curriculum we find. This research project will also include conducting interviews, as well as self exploration about how we developed our own racial identities and implicit biases by completing autoethnographic activities. As a group, we will reflect on meaningful ways to engage learners of all ages in reflecting on this important topic. Based on the goals and skills of team members, the research group could work with TAMU faculty and students and lead discussion groups. The plan is that a collective research project on anti-racism will emerge from the collaborative efforts of all participants. Ultimately, a paper for publication could be submitted to a journal, based on this research.
Spring 2017: Over-churched and underfed: organizational missions of religion and food security Full Team
Affiliations:
Urban Re-Rural/Everybody Eats: Community Food Security and the Land Grant School
Project Leader:
Andrew McNeely
amcneely@tamu.edu
Sociology
Faculty Mentor:
Sarah Gatson, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: Tues & Thurs 12:45-2:00PM, and probably Mon and Fri mornings
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Team Needs:
strong communication and observation skills; at least one member to assist in managing database of information
Description:
Brazos County has a significantly higher number of religious congregations than the average county in Texas. Along with this, it also has a significantly higher rate of food insecurity among its citizens. These two realities, ostensibly, should not exist simultaneously in the same area. The purpose of this research project is to investigate the relationship between religious bodies and food security issues. Initially, we will explore baseline statistical data to establish the relationship. Further, we will create contacts with as many religious bodies as possible in order to perform participant-observational research with their food related service programs, investigating the variation across religion, denomination, size, and structure. The goal is to determine, if possible, what aspects of religious organizations—if any—affect food security issues in their community, and how. This project will emphasize a sociological imagination when thinking about religious issues in a community. As such, all religious activities will be treated objectively and with respect at all times.
Spring 2017: Synthesis of water network using building block-based superstructure Full Team
Project Leader:
Jianping Li
ljptamu@tamu.edu
Chemical Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Faruque Hasan, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: TBD
Team Size:
0 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Potential for attending undergraduate student research conferences and co-authorship; Access to some of resources in the Research lab.
Team Needs:
Students majoring in Chemical Engineering, Computer Engineering or having any background in mathematical modeling are encouraged to join us. Fundamental knowledge in mass transfer operations.
Description:
Nowadays, the grand challenges related with energy and environment are mainly classified as: 1) energy security and increasing energy demand, 2) generation of sustainable energy. Among all the options to address the challenges, process intensification is becoming a promising alternative and brings about technical revolution through significant reduction in energy consumption, waste generation and environmental impact. Process intensification enables “multi-tasking” by combining reaction, separation and other operations in a single unit, and leads to a substantially smaller, cleaner, safer, and more energy-efficient technology. The role of process intensification is like the role of X-men, both of which are powerful in achieving people’s expectation. In our proposed framework, we are utilizing optimization technique and building the mathematical model by breaking the classical unit operations into more fundamental level of physiochemical phenomena such as reaction, vapor-liquid phase contact. This allows us to better grasp the nature of equipment and include more process alternatives including membrane reactor, absorption, et.al. The proposed framework has been utilized to investigate a lot of industrial examples. In this project, we would specifically focus on the application of the proposed framework on water network synthesis (the fundamental question would be how we are able to manage and plan for the water resources in chemical plants in order to save water resources and reduce environmental pollution). Hopefully, we are also able to realize simultaneous design of water network and heat utilization network (how to obtain the best production route that could save resources and energy).
Spring 2017: Space habitat design research Full Team
Project Leader:
Pedro Leal
leal26@tamu.edu
Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Darren Hartl, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: M 5PM-6PM
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Description:
Dr. Hartl and Dr. Skelton are inviting students to participate in a research project (AERO 491) in collaboration with Boeing, NASA and other companies. As part of the undergraduate design challenge by the Consortium for the Advancement of Shape Memory Alloy Research and Technology (CASMART), undergraduate students will design a deployable, expandable, space habitat. The habitat will utilize origami structures, tensegrity concepts and shape memory alloy actuators.
Spring 2017: Effects of age and exercise on equine skeletal muscle Full Team
Project Leader:
Christine Latham
c.latham@tamu.edu
Animal Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Sarah White, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: TBD
Team Size:
8 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
0-3 course credits in the Animal Sciences department.
Team Needs:
At least 4 hours/week for laboratory work. Lab experience with immunohistochemical, colorimetric, or enzymatic assays would be ideal, but can also be taught.
Description:
Analysis of preexisting muscle samples by immunohistochemistry and colorimetric assay for fiber type, cross sectional area, mitochondrial function and other parameters, and analysis of samples from two spring projects examining effects of exercise on equine skeletal muscle and systemic parameters known to influence changes in skeletal muscle parameters. Project 1: Effect of organic and inorganic trace mineral supplementation on systemic inflammation and antioxidant enzyme activity and muscle characteristics in exercising yearling horses. Project 2: Effects of low-intensity exercise on systemic inflammation and antioxidant enzyme activity and muscle characteristics in aged horses.
Spring 2017: Developing and implementing a fracking curriculum for 6th graders in Texas Full Team
Project Leader:
Collin Kohlmeyer
cj18kohl@tamu.edu
Geography
Faculty Mentor:
Julie Loisel, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: TBD
Team Size:
8 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Poster presentation at conferences, Research credits (GEOG491), Opportunity to visit at least one energy site (likely fracking site and/or wind farm), Listed as an official contributor/co-author on final publications (based on contribution).
Team Needs:
Looking for a diverse set of skills including: knowledge (or willingness to learn) about different energy types, interest in K-12 education and Environmental science (majors in Education and Environmental Science/Geography welcome, but not mandatory), good writing skills, and good academic standing. We also hope to recruit at least one student with graphic design experience.
Description:
This ongoing research project on hydraulic fracturing merges K-12 education and environmental science. We are developing an energy workbook that will be implemented at the 6th grade level throughout Texas, and potentially across the USA in the coming years. While the emphasis will be on hydraulic fracturing (see justification below), the workbook will also cover all main types of energy currently in use in the USA and across the world. Student researchers will be tasked with: (1) researching materials related to the various energy types, (2) writing the reading materials that will become part of the energy workbook, (3) help developing content mastery questions and hands-on activities for students. In addition to being a comprehensive energy unit, the workbook will be geared towards state and national standards, such as TEKS and Common Core. A little more background on fracking: According to the US Energy Information Administration, over 50% of the oil and natural gas produced in the US came from hydraulically fractured wells in 2015. While the economic and geopolitical benefits of this new industry are numerous, hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is still controversial because of its negative impacts on the environment such as ground and surface water contamination, air pollution, and increases in seismic activity near deep injection wells. Yet, it is only briefly mentioned in textbooks and rarely taught in middle schools. Our project fills that educational gap
Spring 2017: Targeting within universalism: WIC as a networked community garden site Full Team
Affiliations:
Urban Re-Rural/Everybody Eats: Community Food Security and the Land Grant School
Project Leader:
Hannah Klein
hecklein94@tamu.edu
Sociology
Faculty Mentor:
Sarah Gatson, Ph.D
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: Mon & Thur 4-5PM, Wed -10AM
Team Size:
5 (Team Full)
Team Needs:
Special Requirements: Ability to get to WIC of Brazos Valley (some rides may be accommodated)
Description:
"Utilizing Theda Skocpol’s “Targeting within Universalism” theory, this research project will focus on examining the role social policy plays in food security for women and families. “Targeting within Universalism” refers to a social program and/or policy that aims to target a specific problem to fix or targets a particular population to serve. By working at the community gardens at the WIC of the Brazos Valley, researchers will familiarize themselves with the work of WIC (within SNAP), and additional readings will introduce researchers to the relationship between women and food. Ultimately, we, as a team, will aim to theorize how instigating an institutionalized community garden could further serve a targeted population’s needs. I hope to collaborate as a team, and submit a chapter proposal to Canadian Scholars’ “Feminist Food Studies: Exploring Intersectionality.” Due to the nature of the research, additional readings about women and food, gender and sex roles in families, and social policy will be assigned. They will all be interesting and cool, and above all, short. Trust me. "
Spring 2017: Microbiota - host immune system and metabolism cross talk Full Team
Project Leader:
Mohammad Khattab, Ph.D.
mohammad_refaat@tamu.edu
Small Animal Clinical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Jan Suchodolski DVM, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: Tuesday 10 AM or 5 PM
Team Size:
5 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Each member will be exposed to a huge space of very important knowledge which will affect both personal and academic life in addition to the impact on graduate study preferences; we will work together all the time even when every member being alone; we will help in everything and we will play to be the team # 1.
Team Needs:
Biomedical and bioinformatics background are very important. Team members should be knowledgeable, creative, self-initiative, ambitious, sincere
Description:
Microbiota treated now as secondary liver with great share in host metabolism and immune response; this outgoing research project try to unravel the deep relation between different microbiota and the previously mentioned host functions in a way which can enhancing the discovery of new diagnostic biomarkers and hopefully some tailored therapeutic interventions.
Spring 2017: Food insecurity among minority college students: a real problem? Full Team
Affiliations:
Urban Re-Rural/Everybody Eats: Community Food Security and the Land Grant School
Project Leader:
Heidi Jauregui
heidijauregui16@tamu.edu
International Studies
Faculty Mentor:
Sarah Gatson, Ph.D
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: Tues & Thurs 12:45-2:00PM; Tues & Fri 4-5PM
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Team Needs:
Be able to communicate effectively. Be dedicated and responsible at all times. And lastly, be able to work within deadlines in a timely manner.
Description:
This project will focus on survey analysis, and interviews from self-selected survey respondents. We will be getting in contact with people that signed up for interviews last semester, and ask them specific questions about their experiences at Texas A&M, if they feel food secure or insecure, and if they feel food insecure, find the main reasons behind that. The final project is expected to show how Texas A&M students feel that food insecurity its affecting their lives and to what extent. The responses gathered from these interviews as well as responses from the 1,000 surveys previously examined, will be used to expand our knowledge about the impacts of food insecurity on young adults and lead us to solutions to this problem. It is anticipated that this project will serve as a ground basis to guide other universities to look into their student population, find out if food insecurity it’s a problem on their campus, and, if it is, look for possible solutions.
Spring 2017: Predictors of stability of an infant ductus arteriosus Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Juzar Hussain
Juzar94@tamu.edu
Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Randolph Stewart, DVM, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: MW 1:00pm-2:30pm
Team Size:
1 (Team Full)
Description:
The ductus arteriosus (DA) is a muscular artery connecting the aorta to the pulmonary artery in fetuses. It normally regresses shortly after birth, but fails to close in some individuals, causing a multitude of issues ranging from pulmonary hypertension to heart failure. Although it is unknown why the DA spontaneously regresses or becomes patent (i.e., PDA), clinical investigators have identified the existence of a critical radius governing its behavior. In general, if the DA is larger than 1 mm, patients will be treated pharmacologically with Indomethacin. If it remains patent, it will be closed surgically. Three challenges remain for clinical research: 1) reducing the risk factors for PDA, 2) increasing the efficacy of Indomethacin, 3) developing patient-specific criteria for surgery. All three challenges cannot be met without first identifying the primary mechanism of spontaneous regression. There is, however, a fundamental property of adapting vessels that has been previously identified using mathematical modeling. Assuming that arteries primarily adapt to changes in endothelial shear stress leads to the prediction of two equilibrium radii. The larger of the two is always stable, and resists regression. The smaller equilibrium radius is always unstable, and constriction below this critical radius causes vessels to remodel and regress. The purpose of this project is therefore to develop a mathematical model to test the hypothesis that the patency and spontaneous regression of the DA is a manifestation of adaptation to shear stress leading to both stable and unstable equilibrium radii.
Spring 2017: Synthetic polymeric antioxidants for corrosion protection Full Team
Project Leader:
Hanna Hlushko
hanna.hlushko@tamu.edu
Materials Science and Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Svetlana Sukhishvili, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: W 4pm-7pm, F 3pm-6pm
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Earning co-authorship, becoming a full member of our research group, developing of professional skills and abilities.
Team Needs:
Responsibility, accountability, maturity, general chemistry knowledge, ability to work in a team.
Description:
This topic will include studies of physical and chemical properties of antioxidant polymers which have been synthesized in our lab and the development of polymeric coatings based on these polymers. In particular, the project will include learning a range of polymer characterization techniques (TLC, UV-vis, FTIR), studies of thermal properties of polymers (such as glass transition temperature), and measurements of polymer coatings properties (contact angle, roughness, adhesion of the coating to the surface). Finally, an epoxy-based coating that contains these novel antioxidant polymers will be developed, and coatings will be prepared for electrochemical testing of their anticorrosion efficiency.
Spring 2017: Reconceptualizing lymphatic flow with differential inlet and outlet sensitivities Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Syed Hasnain
qasimh@email.tamu.edu
Biology
Faculty Mentor:
Christopher Quick, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: Wednesday & Friday 3:00-5:00 PM
Team Size:
5 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Opportunity to earn research credits and earn valuable experience in the final stages of research.
Team Needs:
Writing skills, ability to decipher scientific articles, proficient with Microsoft Office, creating visuals for graphs and figures.
Description:
Fluid movement from the capillaries into the interstitium is described by the Starling Landis equation, and fluid movement from the interstitium through the lymphatics is described by the Drake-Laine equation. The premise of the current research is to add complexity to the existing lymphatic flow model. Thus, the purpose of the present work is to develop algebraic formulas for interstitial pressure and edemagenic gains assuming a lymphatic system differential sensitivity to interstitial pressure and outlet pressure.
Spring 2017: Effect of low-dose ionizing radiation on lymphatic endothelial cells Full Team
Project Leader:
Harlan, Collin
cjh5801@tamu.edu
RHEN/NUEN
Faculty Mentor:
Ranjeet Dongaonkar, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
T/TR 11:300 AM - 2:30 PM
Team Size:
1 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Skills learned/developed: How to use an Olympus inverted microscope, how to use MetaFlour Fluorescence Imaging Software, how to handle cultured rat lymphatic endothelial cells, how to handle and use drugs/soultions such as Trypan Blue, Trypsin, Accumax, DMSO, DAF and Fura 2 AM, how to conduct cell viability studies, how to conduct intercellular calcium and nitric oxide studies
Team Needs:
Radiological Health Engineering/Biomedical Engineering/Computer Engineering, Biomedical Sciences MATLAB experience, Microscope handling, Research paper writing/editing
Description:
Lymphatic vessels periodically contract and relax to actively pump lymph, transport immune cells, and are critical for organ health. Lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) regulate pump function by releasing vasoactive factors, nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandins, in response to altered lymph flow and composition. It is understood that enhanced LEC NO production induces lymphatic pump failure and leads to organ dysfunction. Although recent radiation studies have reported loss of lymphatic function regarding high-dose radiation, effects of low-dose ionizing radiation on LECs have yet to be investigated thoroughly. Therefore, the goal of these studies to investigate the mechanisms by which low-dose ionizing radiation induces LEC dysfunction. Findings from these studies are expected to form the basis for the development of novel therapeutic strategies to treat organ dysfunction in radiotherapy patients.
Spring 2017: Systems engineering approach to total hip replacement surgical process Full Team
Project Leader:
Karla Gonzalez
kalleyranch08@tamu.edu
Industrial and Systems Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Mark Lawley, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: M 4:30-6:30PM
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Potential to publish research
Team Needs:
Work at least 5 hours a week outside of meeting Simulation, Statistics, Time Studies, Ineterests in health care
Description:
Hip replacements is one of the most common surgeries in the nation. As our American population's average age increases, more of these surgeries are required. Yet, there is a low number of new surgeons entering the workforce, so more efficient and effective techniques have to be implemented in hospital surgical flows so the surgeon's capacity is optimized.
Spring 2017: Effects of neurosteroids or traumatic brain injury on epileptogenesis Full Team
Project Leader:
Tori Golub
dunlap@medicine.tamhsc.edu
NExT- HSC
Faculty Mentor:
Samba Reddy, Ph.D., R.Ph.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: Mon Wed Fri, 10:00-11:00 AM
Team Size:
7 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
As an undergraduate student researcher, you will aid in the analysis and collection of data, and have opportunities to present and potentially publish your work or be selected for the Summer Research Program at the HSC. Students will have the opportunity to work in a top-tier research facility at the Med School campus at Texas A&M HSC. They will also gain experience working with research pharmaceuticals, lab animals, translating animal behavior, EEG analysis, histology and stereology, as well as have the opportunity to receive class credit and a certificate of being an Aggie Research Scholar.
Team Needs:
Students should be in good academic standing, with an interest in science, research, and team collaboration.
Description:
We are looking for undergrads who are interested in joining an interactive research team which studies the effects of, and develops therapeutics - for a range of neurological conditions related to epilepsy, from genetic factors and chemical toxicity, to traumatic brain injury and stroke. We require at least 10 hours/week, and are looking for students with at least 1 year left to conduct research. Longer tenures will allow for more advanced training and greatly amplify impact on your work. The main focus of our lab is epilepsy, a presently incurable disease that affects thousands of people in the US and millions worldwide. It is largely characterized by hypersynchronous activity in the brain which can manifest themselves as visible seizures. Our goal is to find new therapeutics, such as neurosteroids, to not only be used as a treatment for symptoms, but also to modify or halt the process of epileptogenesis. Our lab uses mice and rat animal models like the CCI Traumatic Brain injury model, the kindling model, and the 6Hz model to study this disease.
Spring 2017: Avian malaria prevalence and isolation from College Station Passerines Full Team
Project Leader:
Camille Goblet
ccgoblet@tamu.edu
Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology
Faculty Mentor:
Sarah Hamer, DVM, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
MW 8:20AM-11:20AM
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Description:
This project looks at the prevalence of avian malaria, specifically the agent of the disease, Plasmodium, which can be found in the blood. The project will involve mist-netting target bird species (including but not limited to: house sparrow, house finch, blue jay, northern cardinal, etc.) in residential areas around College Station. From the captured birds we will collect weights and measurements, apply leg band (when applicable), and collect blood. We will try to determine infection by blood smear in the field and follow up molecular ID by PCR in the lab, and exsanguinate birds that test positive for Plasmodium. The blood of the Plasmodium positive birds will be cryopreserved, tested for pathogens, and utilized for future inoculation into canaries in the lab. The aim of the project is to quantify the proportion of the College Station Passerine population currently infected with the avian malaria disease.
Spring 2017: Thermoelectric materials Full Team
Project Leader:
Nader Ghassemi
nader@tamu.edu
Physics and Astronomy
Faculty Mentor:
Joseph Ross, Jr., Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: Friday 2:00-3:00 PM
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Description:
Thermoelectric technology has the ability to realize direct conversion between heat and electricity. Compared to the traditional refrigeration and energy generation technologies, thermoelectric technology has the advantages of having no moving parts, quiet, and long term stability. Thus, thermoelectric technology offers a great potential for the use in many cooling and power generating applications to help combat the global energy dilemma. In our lab, we will work on dimensionless thermoelectric figure of merit near unity in compounds of the form Cu12-xMxSb4S13, where M is a transition metal such as Zn or Fe, for wide ranges of x. The compounds we will investigate span the range of compositions of the natural mineral family of tetrahedrites, the most widespread sulfosalts on Earth, using NMR spectroscopy, magnetic measurements, computational methods, and other techniques. In this studies of advanced thermoelectric materials, we investigate quantum effects in semiconductor phase and our goal is to show that the natural mineral itself can be used directly as an inexpensive source thermoelectric material. Thermoelectrics comprised of earth-abundant elements will pave the way to many new, low cost thermoelectric energy generation opportunities.
Spring 2017: Dopamine's effects on lymphatic vessels Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Jay Garza
jaygarza@tamu.edu
Biomedical Science
Faculty Mentor:
Ranjeet Dongaonkar, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: Monday, 2:30-5:30PM and Wednesday, TBD
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Possibility of earning co-authorship on a paper, learn to dissect and cannulate vessels
Team Needs:
Interest in bio-medical science research, preferred BIMS and biomedical engineering majors
Description:
The lymphatic system plays a crucial role in interstitial fluid balance—it collects and transports fluid and proteins lost to the interstitial space from blood capillaries to the circulation system. Once thought to be a passive process determined by pressure gradients, lymphatic transport is an active process determined by spontaneous contractions of lymphatic vessel segments. Although lymphatic vessels look like blood vessels, they function as pumps like cardiac ventricles. Lymphatic muscle provides the ability to generate pressure to pump lymph, fluid and proteins inside the lymphatic vessels, from the low-pressure interstitial space to high-pressure veins of neck. Presence of valves helps maintain one-way flow. Furthermore, it is understood that lymphatic pump failure against elevated central venous pressure decreases lymph flow leading to edema, excess accumulation of fluid and protein. However, no effective treatments for lymphatic pump failure exist. Recent studies have reported that dopamine at low concentrations has chronotropic as well as inotropic effects on the heart. The resulting increases in cardiac contractility and heart rate have been reported to increase cardiac output, increase mean arterial blood pressure and decrease central venous pressure. However, how dopamine affects lymphatic pump has yet to be studied thoroughly. Therefore the goal of the project is to evaluate our hypothesis that dopamine enhances lymphatic pump function. To test this hypothesis, we will quantify the effects of various concentrations of dopamine on contraction frequency, strength and active lymph flow of bovine mesenteric lymphatic vessels.
Spring 2017: Cardiac adaptation to wall stress Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Wesley Fuertes
wfuertes@tamu.edu
Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Randolph Stewart, DVM, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: Wed. 10:30 AM-12:00 PM, Thur. 12:45-2:15 PM
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
You will gain valuable research experience and chances of earning co-authorship, and we are presenting our findings at the Experimental Biology Conference in April. Also research is a great way of procuring letters of recommendation.
Team Needs:
Experience is not required to join the project. We are looking for enthusiastic students that are able to think creatively. Meeting Times are flexible, you don't have to be there for the entire time, but it is preferred that you can make the meeting times.
Description:
The twin fields of cardiovascular physiology and cardiac mechanobiology have typically studied independently/ On one hand, cardiovascular physiologists are interested in how ventricular stroke volumes and blood pressures emerge from the complex interaction of the heart and the vasculature. Cardiac contractility, characterized by the slope of the end-systolic pressure-volume relationship, is only one of many factors determining ventricular pressure and stroke volume. The result of cardiac adaptation is characterized by changes in contractility. On the other hand, cardiac mechanobiologists are interested in how tissue stresses result in structural remodeling. Ventricular pressures and volumes are viewed only as boundary conditions that affect wall stress. The stimulus for cardiac adaptation is wall stress. The need to integrate these two fields becomes clear when considering that wall stress affects contractility, and changes in contractility in turn, affects wall stress. Using a simple closed loop model and a simple assumed ventricular geometry, we integrate these two approaches. First, wall stress is found to be a bimodal function of contractility. Second, we make the common assumption that contractility adapts so that it increases with wall stress. These two functions, representing the fundamental assumptions of cardiovascular physiology and cardiovascular mechanobiology, result in a simple balance point that predicts equilibrium contractility. The purpose of the present project therefore is to use the insight arising from mathematical modeling to explore cardiac adaptation in health and disease.
Spring 2017: The effect of xenobiotics on honey bee feeding behavior Full Team
Project Leader:
Adrian Fisher
solifuge9378@tamu.edu
Entomology
Faculty Mentor:
Juliana Rangel, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: Fridays 1:00PM
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Co-authorship on publications, opportunity to present work at a regional conference, possibly becoming a full member of the lab
Team Needs:
No allergies to bee stings.
Description:
The honey bee (Apis mellifera) contributes approximately $17 billion annually in pollination services for several major food crops in the United States including almond, which is completely dependent on honey bees for pollination. Almond growers face challenges to crop productivity due to several pests and pathogens which are often addressed with a multitude of chemical applications. For instance, insecticides are often applied in combination with other products to control insect pests. In this study, we intend to test the effects of commonly used insecticides on honey bee forager sucrose (sugar) sensitivity. Honey bees will be exposed to field relevant concentrations of select insecticides through simulated aerial application. The proboscis extension reflex (PER) assay will then be used to assess changes to sucrose sensitivity over the course of two days. If interested, a weekly class schedule will be requested
Spring 2017: Community food security at the campus dorm level Full Team
Affiliations:
Urban Re-Rural/Everybody Eats: Community Food Security and the Land Grant School
Project Leader:
Sylvia Emmanuel
smarieemmanuel@tamu.edu
Sociology
Faculty Mentor:
Sarah Gatson, Ph.D
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:45-2:00 PM
Team Size:
5 (Team Full)
Description:
This is one of the sub-projects offered in the Sociology of the Community (SOCI 404) course which seeks to study and analyze the community as both a social institution and as a social experience that fosters communal relationships and networks. Specifically, this sub-project will endeavor to study these phenomena from within the context of residence life on campus which is centered around the idea of cultivating of an open and safe space where students can engage each other socially and academically. Those involved in this project will be observing and analyzing the creation and facilitation of community within the dorm in relation to food access and security. For example, we will seek to answer some of the following questions: how do residents obtain their food? Do they grow their own food in a community garden or do they buy it? If the food is bought, where do they buy it? How do residents acquire their food—do they have their own vehicle or do they need to carpool with other residents? Do they cook together? Share food together? And so on.
Spring 2017: Mouse digit tip regeneration Full Team
Project Leader:
Dolan, Connor
cpdolan@cvm.tamu.edu
Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology
Faculty Mentor:
Muneoka, Ken
Meeting Times:
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Students will be able to earn co-authorship on publications, take research credit, and if desired continue on with our lab and continue studying digit regeneration.
Description:
Like the human fingertip, the digit tip of mice possesses a similar ability to regenerate; amputation through the terminal phalanx results in the faithful restoration of the digit tip. This regenerative response is highly reproducible and occurs following digit amputation during fetal, neonatal and adult stages. Digit tip regeneration is a complex process both resembling and diverging from digit development. In the mouse, regeneration of the digit occurs through sequential stages which includes inflammation, histolysis, epidermal closure, blastema formation, and finally redifferentiation into structures which were amputated. Presently, it is unknown if the number or regenerating digit tips effects the overall regeneration process of an individual digit. In this project, students will use micro computed tomography to investigate whether the overall regeneration of a mouse digit tip is effected when other digit tips are concurrently undergoing regeneration.
Spring 2017: Dietary saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation product supplementation to maintain gut health and immune status in horses Full Team
Project Leader:
Emily Dickson
eclaired@tamu.edu
Animal Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Sarah White, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: TBA
Team Size:
8 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Opportunity to be involved with some other equine research projects going on in the spring that are related to exercise physiology, muscle physiology, and nutrition.
Team Needs:
Previous horse experience is necessary. 4 hours a week of work is required. Participants will have to sign a volunteer form or register for either 0 credit hours or actual credit hours.
Description:
Mature horses (n=60) from the TAMU Equestrian Team will be enrolled in the study. All horses will receive a basal diet consisting of a commercial grain mix formulated to meet or exceed requirements of mature horses at current workload fed twice per day, and coastal bermudagrass hay ad libitum. Throughout the trial, horses will be regularly exercised in preparation for a National Competition (Waco, TX) in April. Horses will be grouped by age, sex, discipline (hunter/jumper, reining, or western riding), qualification status to compete in National Championship Show, and d 0 ulcer score, and randomly divided into one of 3 groups: no yeast culture (CON; n=20), low-dose yeast culture (YCLo; n=20), and high-dose yeast culture (YCHi; n=20). At wk 0, 4, and 8, resting blood and fecal grab samples will be collected and gastroscopies will be performed. Blood will be evaluated for measures of stress (cortisol, sIgA) and immune status/function (CBC, serum amyloid A, IL-1, IL-10). Fecal grab samples will be analyzed for pathogen load (salmonella, C. perfringens, and C. difficile). Gastroscopies will be evaluated for ulcer parameters (number of lesions, ulcer score, etc.).
Spring 2017: SpaceCRAFT Full Team
Affiliations:
Project Leader:
Mauricio Coen
coen@tamu.edu
Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Greg Chamitoff, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: TBD
Team Size:
1 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Releasing software
Team Needs:
C++, ability to research and solve open ended problems
Description:
SpaceCRAFT is a Virtual Reality (VR) 'Sandbox' environment designed to enable government, university and commercial entities to collaborate in the design, use and evaluation of technology for future operations in Space. Taking advantage of high speed parallel computing, virtual reality systems and open source software platforms, SpaceCRAFT aims to enable any person or institution to contribute to humanity’s future in Space.
Spring 2017: A nebulizer system for PET Imaging of aerosols and nanoparticles for use in preclinical pulmonary drug delivery studies Full Team
Project Leader:
Ryan Clanton
rc1025@tamu.edu
Nuclear Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Gamal Akabani, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: TBD
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Conferences, co-authorship
Team Needs:
Solidworks skills Willingness to learn and experience with mouse studies.
Description:
Design and implementation of a nebulizer delivery system for radionuclides to be utilized in conjunction with Albira Si micro-PET/Spect/CT to image the lungs.
Spring 2017: Effects of processing using E-beam irradiation and freeze drying on the phenolic content of blueberries Full Team
Project Leader:
Dipanshu Chinwan
dipanshuchinwan@tamu.edu
Biological & Agricultural Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Elena Castell-Perez, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: Tuesday 11AM-Noon
Team Size:
0 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Co-Authorship, Attending a conference.
Team Needs:
Interest in working with foods.
Description:
Fresh blueberries contain an array of phytochemicals that contribute to their elevated antioxidant capacity, including flavonols, tannins, and anthocyanins. The growing concern regarding health related problems has caused researchers to look for foods that are benevolent and can provide more than just useful nutrients. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants which have been widely considered to help in promoting health benefits. Several processing techniques are currently available to disinfect the blueberries but radiation treatment has shown great promise by displaying good results that don’t only include disinfecting them but also enhancing the phytochemicals. With this in mind, we plan to study the effect of e-beam irradiation and freeze drying at different doses on the phenolic content of the blueberries. E-beam radiations will be used to disinfect the blueberries and also enhance the phenolic content. Freeze drying will be used with the objective of retaining the total phenolic content that has been enhanced by irradiation for foods like breakfast cereals. We will elucidate the kinetics of the radiation-induced chemical changes responsible for the enhanced antioxidant activity of the fruits.
Spring 2017: Tree growth-climate relationship of three sub-alpine tree species from the Nepal Himalaya and Alaska, USA Full Team
Project Leader:
Parveen Chhetri
parveenkchhetri@tamu.edu
Geography
Faculty Mentor:
Jeremy Johnson, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: TBD
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Members will be acknowledged with co-authorship on regional and national conferences, and future publications
Team Needs:
Prior experience is not required, however students with strong interest in climate, geography and ecology will be preferred. Must register for research hour, and able to give minimum 4 hours per week to the project.
Description:
The tree growth–climate relationship for sub-alpine forest is key to understand the current growth dynamics of forest and to improve predictions about their future distributions under climate change. Abies spectabilis (Himalayan silver fir) and Betula utilis (Himalayan birch) are the two main species of the sub-alpine forest of Nepal, and Tsuga Mertensiana (Mountain Hemlock) of the Alaskan Kenai Peninsula, USA. In this project we will work with tree-ring cores of Fir, Birch, and Hemlock trees collected from study sites. First we will prepare tree-ring cores by mounting them in the wooden frame and use belt sander to enhance the visibility of the rings. Then we will use Velmex Tree Ring Measurement System to measure ring width and later use software such as COFECHA, ARSTAN, DENDROCLIM 2002, dplR to see climate and ring width relationship, and reconstruct the past climate.
Spring 2017: Alpine treeline mapping and spatial pattern analysis Full Team
Project Leader:
Parveen Chhetri
parveenkchhetri@tamu.edu
Geography
Faculty Mentor:
Jeremy Johnson, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: TBD
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Members will be acknowledged with co-authorship on regional and national conferences, and future publications
Team Needs:
GIS and Remote Sensing skills, statistics, and programing.
Description:
The alpine treeline ecotone is an important component of high altitude mountain ecosystems and plays a vital role in the life of indigenous people, conserves natural resources, maintains biological diversity, controls the geo-hydrological cycle, and provides other ecosystem benefits. However, treeline advance would fragment the current continuous expanses of alpine heath, change the distribution pattern of alpine species, increase the risk of species extinction, and change the structure and function of the alpine ecosystem. The Himalaya has one of the highest positioned treelines in the world and recent studies have indicated treeline advance due to recent temperature increases in the region. In the Nepal Himalaya, only a few scientific studies have been carried out at treeline, and there is still a lack of consistent data on treeline position, nature and dynamics. Mapping of the treeline ecotone will help to detect both the current and historical position of the treeline ecotone. It will also help to differentiate climatic, anthropogenic and topographic treeline. We will use Remote sensing (RS) and Geographic information science (GIS) techniques to map the current treeline and spatial pattern analysis.
Spring 2017: Aggienova: exploding stars near and far Full Team
Project Leader:
Peter Brown, Ph.D.
pbrown@physics.tamu.edu
Physics and Astronomy
Faculty Mentor:
Nicholas Suntzeff, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: Thursday 2:00-4:00 PM
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Team members will be coauthors on appropriate publications.
Team Needs:
experience with programming (python or IDL) or statistics helpful but not required for all team members
Description:
The Aggienova research group will study the catastrophic deaths of stars. The last decade has seen an explosion in the amount of ultraviolet observations of supernovae. We will use ultraviolet observations from the Swift and Hubble space telescopes as well as ground-based optical and near-infrared data. We will exploit that data and make tools to better understand nearby supernovae as well as those observed at high redshifts. I will be giving a talk on my research on Monday December 5, at 11:30 in M102 of the Mitchell Institute if you would like to hear what I am working on. https://mitchell.tamu.edu/events/seminars/#astro Official meetings will start next semester, but background work can begin before the break.
Spring 2017: X-Nav interplanetary mission simulation Full Team
Project Leader:
Stoian Borissov
sborissov@tamu.edu
Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Daniele Mortari, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: TF 5:00PM-6:00PM
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Co-authorship on journal and conference papers, potential opportunity to visit Johnson Space Center
Team Needs:
Scripting, MATLAB, GMAT, basic electrical engineering
Description:
The 'X-Nav' team is dedicated to developing the technologies required for spacecraft navigation using X-Ray pulsars. X-ray pulsars are distant but highly energetic stars that flash at a regular interval and their light may be used to aid spacecraft navigation. This navigation technique has been tossed around by academics for decades, however our goal is to produce a fully fleshed out simulation of an interplanetary mission using x-nav. Through partnerships with Goddard Space Flight Center and Johnson Space Center, we will be be testing navigation algorithms and hardware tech. There will be heavy use of scripting languages such as MATLAB as well as mission simulation tools such as NASA's GMAT software. Students in this group will be responsible for first familiarizing themselves with the state of the art of x-nav. Online articles as well publications from academic journals will be given to students. Several copies of textbooks on pulsar astronomy will also be made available. The final results of students' work will be published in conference proceedings and may even be incorporated into journal articles. A strong background in the fundamentals of linear algebra and calculus as well as familiarity with scripting are required.
Spring 2017: Culicoides community composition and infection with pathogens Full Team
Project Leader:
Jamie Benn
jbenn@tamu.edu
Veterinary Pathobiology
Faculty Mentor:
Sarah Hamer, DVM, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: MW 8:20AM-11:00AM
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Team Needs:
Be enrolled in ENTO/VIBS 489: Methods in Vector-borne Disease Ecology
Description:
This project will determine the composition of Culicoides species in the community and discover which pathogens each species may carry. Samples of Culicoides species will be collected from various locations around the Bryan-College Station, TX area and then tested for filarial nematodes and haemosporida using PCR.
Spring 2017: Effects of time on community sustainability Full Team
Affiliations:
Urban Re-Rural/Everybody Eats: Community Food Security and the Land Grant School
Project Leader:
Jose Avila
jca_1891@email.tamu.edu
Sociology
Faculty Mentor:
Sarah Gatson, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: MW 12:30-2:00PM
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Special opportunities for joining this team may include but are not limited to special topic presentations, work cited, professional networking, signing up for conferences, exploring ideas and concepts in the growing topic of sustainability, and becoming a full member for further studies. Students will develop and/or enhance their skills in research, project management, self-management, time management, computer literacy, statistical analysis, self-motivation, creative thinking, critical and analytical thinking, communication, and source gathering. The skills listed here are not limited and more may be gained depending on the efforts put forth by the student.
Team Needs:
Creative and critical thinking skills are a plus but not required. Participants must register for SOCI 404: Everybody Eats, with Dr. Sarah Gatson.
Description:
In today's busy world there is a need for sustainability without compromise of time and money. For this project we will be analyzing what type of effects the concept of time has on food security and sustainability among communities. We will be analyzing the correlations between time, money, health, and food access for sustainable communities. As this is a very broad topic, we will be searching for data throughout various sources. Data may be gathered locally from surveying, observation, and from interpretation of national and/or global data sets. Data analysis and manipulation will play a critical role in this research as we will be creating visual representations for the interpretation of our findings.
Spring 2017: Exploration of polymer capsules and films for biomedical applications Full Team
Project Leader:
Victoria Albright
victoria.albright@tamu.edu
Materials Science & Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Svetlana Sukhishvili, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: Working Hours available: T 1 - 6 PM; R 1 - 6PM; F 12 - 5PM, Team Meeting Time TBD.
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Hard working students will be rewarded with opportunities to present their work at a conference, earn co-authorship on publications or even become a full member of our research group.
Team Needs:
All majors are invited to apply but science & engineering majors will be given preference. A willingness to learn is more important than grades in class or prior experience (so don't be afraid to apply!)
Description:
The future of polymeric materials as biological implant coatings to prevent bacterial infection and stimulate cell growth depends on the ability to selectively trigger the release of components from the materials on demand. Our research group currently explores manipulating chemistry of polymer particles and films in order to develop polymeric materials that can deliver antibiotics and cell stimulating factors in a controlled fashion. This work will explore block copolymer micelles that are temperature responsive and correlate the ratio of block copolymer components to physical properties of the micelles as well as to their ability to encapsulate and release small molecules (i.e. antimicrobials, cell stimulating growth factors, etc.) In the future, these micelles will be deposited on substrates and tested with both bacterial and cell cultures. Students are needed to help choose better drugs to incorporate into the films, understand the optimal conditions to deposit micelles, explore encapsulation conditions for drugs into micelles and develop a method to incorporate these micelles into biodegradable matrices. The project may further evolve into developing additional layer-by-layer systems for biomedical coatings. Check out our recent work on biomedical polymer coatings that was featured in Science here:http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nn500674g as well as two of our works on micelles http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nn900655z, and http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168365913003787.
Spring 2017: Smart water distribution systems Full Team
Project Leader:
Mohsen Aghashahi
aghashahi@tamu.edu
Civil Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Katherine Banks, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: TBD
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Co-authorship in publications, working in a vital research group with a postdoc fellow and two Ph.D. students and gaining a broad range of experience in smart technology.
Team Needs:
Students with a background of or interested in cyber-physical systems and infrastructures, Internet of Things, cyber-security, control theory, sensors and actuators, wireless connectivity, dynamic programming, 3D printing, robotics.
Description:
A smart water network is a water distribution system which adjusts its performance with varying elements such as variable demands and pressures and acts as an integrated cyber-physical system that constitutes four major sectors including sensing, computing, control and communication. In this research we will advance mobile and stationary water sensor networks technology to enable realtime sensing and communication at a fine temporal and spatial resolutions. Computationally efficient and accurate algorithms will be adapted to simulate system. Optimal control methods will be developed to facilitate system automation by sensor readings and simulation projections. Reliable and fast information exchange between sensors, models, and controllers under rate and power constraints will be achieved using communication systems.
Spring 2017: Bats jamming bats: sonar in a social context Full Team
Project Leader:
Amanda Adams, Ph.D.
aadams@bio.tamu.edu
Biology
Faculty Mentor:
Michael Smotherman, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: TBD
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Earning co-authorship on publications.
Team Needs:
We are looking for students with a diverse range of skills who want to be part of a team to accomplish this research. A few components of the project team members will work on: - analyzing bat 3D flight paths with stereo videography. We are looking for individuals with experience in computer vision with MATLAB and/or LABView. - developing a bilingual educational website to pair with this research. We need individuals interested in creating website content, website design, and graphic design. - Statistical analysis, mathematical modeling of animal behavior - Animal care, specifically sophomores and juniors who are interested in working with and handling bats in behavioral experiments and can help with animal care, such as feeding.
Description:
For more than 60 years researchers have puzzled over how echolocating bats avoid interfering with each other’s sonar while flying in dense swarms or within crowded roosts. Man-made sonar and radar systems face similar problems, but the bat’s exceptional resilience to jamming by conspecifics far exceeds the strategies currently employed in artificial systems. We are working to explain how groups of bats manage this extraordinary feat. We study bats’ flight, echolocation, and behavior in the lab at TAMU. By revealing important, new mechanisms by which bats compensate for noise, the results help predict how different types of anthropogenic noise impact bat behavioral ecology and therefore can help guide bat conservation efforts worldwide.
Spring 2017: Kaplan longitudinal and multigenerational study Full Team
Project Leader:
Richard Abel
rdabel@tamu.edu
Sociology
Faculty Mentor:
Heili Pals, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: Wed 2:00-3:00PM; 3:00-4:00PM
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Earning co-authorship on a publication and possibly attending a conference
Description:
This project explores a variety of different topics specific to student and researcher interests typically related to self-attitudes, other social-psychological factors, deviant behavior, and interactions and experiences with school, family, and peers.
Fall 2016: Superhydrophilic filter paper for effective oil recovery from oil contaminated wastewater Full Team
Project Leader:
Minxiang Zeng
zeng692@tamu.edu
Chemical Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Zhengdong Cheng, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016: Thursday 7:30-8:30 PM
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Available conference opportunities will be shared to team members.
Description:
Oil contaminated wastewater from petrochemical industries each year causes serious environmental issues and low resource utilization. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other oily chemicals in wastewater pose a potential risk to aquatic ecosystems as their decomposition causes excessive oxygen consumption, which leads to an increased mortality rate in fish populations. Meanwhile, those “harmful” chemicals could be useful in other areas such as energy fields or pharmaceutical industries. Therefore, the challenge of effective oil–water separation has been highlighted. Conventional oil-water separation methods including gravity separation, air flotation, coagulation, de-emulsification, have the inevitable disadvantages such as low efficiency, high energy consumption, recontamination problems. Separation of oil and water is essentially an interfacial science problem, and thus new strategies based on unique wettability materials have shown to be effective and advantageous. Herein, we proposed a hydrogel coated superhydrophilic filter paper for efficient oil recovery from oily wastewater.
Fall 2016: Virtual-reality enhanced exoskeleton for rehabilitation controlled via reverse engineering the central nervous system Full Team
Affiliations:
Project Leader:
Amin Zeiaee; Rana Soltani-Zarrin
amin.zeiaee@tamu.edu; rana.soltani@tamu.edu
Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Reza Langari, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016 (Team Full)
Team Size:
0 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Opportunity to work with a real robotic system, opportunity to work with microsoft Hololens, opportunity to interact with a medical robot
Team Needs:
Solid Basic Engineering Knowledge, Interest in programming and robotics, motivated and interested in hands on experience
Description:
Focus of this project is on developing a virtual-reality enhanced upper limb exoskeleton for rehabilitation of stroke patients. Exoskeleton is an orthosis device worn by the patients which will enable automated physical therapy. To enhance the rehabilitation process, a virtual reality environment will be linked to the exoskeleton. Thus the research effort will include automation, control and programming tasks.
Fall 2016: What is a dune? Improving our ability to extract features from remote sensing data Full Team
Project Leader:
Phil Wernette
wernett9@tamu.edu
Geography
Faculty Mentor:
Chris Houser Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016: Monday 8:00-9:00 AM
Team Size:
5 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Co-authorship on publications from this research. Opportunities to preset this research at Student Research Week and possibly additional conferences.
Team Needs:
GIS, geology, programming
Description:
Traditional approaches to identifying and differentiating landscape features and landforms from the landscape remain time-intensive and highly subjective, which limit our ability to assess changes over large geographic areas. Subjectivity due to the person interpreting the features introduces spatially variable amount of error into the change assessment. The purpose of this project is to expand on existing approaches and develop new approaches for objectively differentiating landscape features, which can be automated. The project will utilize existing geographic information systems (GIS) and work to develop new custom approaches. Team members may have the opportunity to be listed as co-authors on publications and/or presentations related to this research. It is also possible that team members may present this research at Student Research Week and/or one or more regional/national professional conferences.
Fall 2016: Historical relationships between vegetation and geology on barrier islands Full Team
Project Leader:
Phil Wernette
wernett9@tamu.edu
Geography
Faculty Mentor:
Chris Houser, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016: Thursday 5:00 PM
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Co-authorship on publications from this research. Opportunities to preset this research at Student Research Week and possibly additional conferences.
Team Needs:
Looking for diverse set of skills, including, but not limited to: GIS, geology, geophysics, computer science/programming, statistics.
Description:
Recent evidence suggests that barrier island morphology, particularly dune morphology, exhibits both free and forced controls. The purpose of this project is to explore the relationship between spatially discontinuous or variable vegetation dynamics (typically identified as a free factor) and the underlying geologic structure (forcing factor). Understanding the roles and relationships of these factors in dune behavior has implications for modelling the effects of storms and sea-level change on coastal communities. Team members may have the opportunity to be listed as co-authors on publications and/or presentations related to this research. It is also possible that team members may present this research at Student Research Week and/or one or more regional/national professional conferences.
Fall 2016: International rip current detection Full Team
Project Leader:
Sarah Trimble
trimblesm@tamu.edu
Geography
Faculty Mentor:
Chris Houser, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016: Thursday 1:00-2:00 PM
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
All significant contributions will be acknowledged with co-authorship on resulting publications.
Team Needs:
GIS/Remote sensing skills, statistics.
Description:
Rip currents, sometimes called rip tides, are concentrated flows of water moving out to sea between breaking waves. They cause hundreds of fatalities worldwide every year and are therefore a global health issue (~100 deaths per year in the US). My dissertation aims to reduce these fatalities by improving signs, warning systems, and rip current prediction models. I am looking for a max of 5 undergraduates with a variety of skills because my dissertation has many types of data, ranging from large multispectral satellite images to tape-recorded interviews with business owners in a small Costa Rican town. All class years are welcome (freshman too!). You only need a basic knowledge (or a desire to learn more) in any one of the following subjects: geology, geography, computer science, modeling, remote sensing, GIS, coastal engineering, statistics, psychology, Spanish… there are many others and all will be useful. We will investigate: (1) developing rip current maps from satellite data, (2) results from interviews with beachgoers, lifeguards, rip current survivors and more, and (3) computer modeling of rip current circulations. Additional research topics may come up throughout the semester. If you want to know more about rip currents, here’s a great website with more information: http://www.scienceofthesurf.com/about.html
Fall 2016: Mechanical determinants of ejection fraction Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Alyson Terry
alyt95@tamu.edu
Biomedical Science
Faculty Mentor:
Randolph Stewart, DVM, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016: Monday & Wednesday 12:30-3:30 PM
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Working with experienced faculty, earning co-authorship on publication.
Team Needs:
Writing and editing skills
Description:
Cardiovascular diseases make up the leading cause of death in the United States and around the world. Estimates of left ventricular ejection fraction are widely used clinical indices to track cardiac performance and progression of heart disease. Ejection fraction is defined as the ratio of stroke volume over end-diastolic volume of a ventricle. However, it is not that simple. Clinicians run into a phenomenon in which patients with and without heart failure would appear to have the same ejection fraction. This is problematic to any clinician using this value to diagnose heart failure. This project aims to define the primary determinants of ejection fraction by further expanding and understand the implications each parameter involves. Team members will gain a foundation of the cardiovascular system while learning the fundamentals of research and modeling.
Fall 2016: Genomic prediction modeling for fiber quality in upland cotton Full Team
Project Leader:
Mitchell Schumann
mitchell.schumann@tamu.edu
Soil and Crop Science
Faculty Mentor:
Wayne C. Smith, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
You will be able to gain research experience working in plant breeding and genetics with the Cotton Genetics Improvement Lab (CGIL); learn basic principles in plant breeding and statistical techniques for quantifying genetic variation that will be applied to real world data; given the opportunity to receive research credit hours; and highly motivated participants will be considered for full time paid summer employment with the (CGIL).
Description:
The cotton industry accounts for 100 billion dollars of the U.S. economy, and the U.S. is the number one exporter of cotton. The goal of this program is to explore the genetic architecture of cotton fiber quality, and produce elite cultivars with superior fiber quality alleles. The approach of this project is to develop genomic prediction models to predict fiber quality using only genotypic data.
Fall 2016: Drug target identification Full Team
Project Leader:
Adam Salazar
isayni2u@tamu.edu
Genetics IDP; TIGGS, Biochemistry and Biophysics
Faculty Mentor:
James Sacchettini, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016: Mon 10:00-10:30 AM
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Being part of an elite research team, possibility of preferentially joining future ARP projects, mastering basic microbiology techniques
Team Needs:
Must be committed to weekly schedule; Microbiological practice generally requires a small-moderate input of time over many days! General microbiology lab coursework, isolation of clonal bacteria, pouring agar media plates, aseptic tequnique, working with biological safety hoods, BSL2 certification, working with liquid bacterial cultures
Description:
M. tuberculosis is an opportunistic human pathogen responsible for infecting nearly 1/3 of the world's population (CDC, 2015). The recent emergence of multi-drug and pan-drug resistance in Mtb to classical antibiotics has highlighted a pressing need to explore the development of novel antibiotic drugs with new targets. In this project, we will attempt to determine the enzymatic target(s) of candidate novel antibiotics. First, we will isolate resistant mutants of a fast growing mycobacterial species to Mtb active compounds by traditional microbiological techniques. Once mutants have been isolated, we will genetically characterize isolates by preparing high quality DNA for illumina ""next gen"" sequencing and mapping resulting sequenced reads to the parental genome. The location and type of mutation will likely reveal the candidate drug target. This project will likely span multiple semesters.
Fall 2016: Geochemical characteristics of possible dust sources Full Team
Project Leader:
Maria Reimi
reimim@tamu.edu
Geology and Geophysics
Faculty Mentor:
Franco Marcantonio, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016: Tuesday &Thursday 9:00 AM
Team Size:
5 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Capstone research, credit on publications, possible conference travel for 2017
Team Needs:
Basic computer skills, database management skills preferable
Description:
This project is about contributing a searchable and editable database of the radiogenic isotope composition of sediment from across the globe. We will start with the sources more relevant to the tropical Pacific. The goal is create a spatially tied distribution of the geochemical characteristics of possible source areas for detrital sediment, using the current descriptions in the scientific literature, and to create a system that other scientist can add on. This project is ideal for students interested in geochemistry, for students who want to hone in their database and big data skills, and for geography students interested in GIS. This project can be broken down into a capstone. This is a large and time consuming project, with which I aim to serve the entire geochemical community in properly defining possible source areas of dust to the world’s oceans. "
Fall 2016: A Study of porcine epicardial lymphatics adaptation Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Cole Nipper
cnipper@tamu.edu
Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology
Faculty Mentor:
Dongaonkar, Ranjeet Ph.D
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016: TR 1:00PM-5:00PM
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Members will earn co-authorship on future publications. Team members will learn how to isolate and cannulate epicardial lymphatic vessels. Members will learn how to utilize data acquisition technologies to design and perform physiological experimentation.
Team Needs:
An interest in physiology and the use of data acquisition technologies in the carrying out of physiological experimentation.
Description:
Little is known about epicardial lymphatic adaptations to various physiological stimuli (please email for more information). In order to better understand epicardial lymphatic adaptation, phasic contractile response of porcine epicardial lymphatic vessels will be studied in vitro using isobaric and isoshear protocols.
Fall 2016: Medical illustration of extraembryonic membrane formation Full Team
Project Leader:
Joshua McKenna
josh.mckenna@tamu.edu
Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Louise Abbott, Ph.D., DVM
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016: Monday & Wednesday 10:00-11:30AM
Team Size:
2 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Portfolio development, interdisciplinary research experience, project management, human research administration, and eligibility to earn the ARSP certificate.
Team Needs:
Animation, Digital Illustration, Graphic Design, Educational Design, Pedagogy, Qualitative Research, Problem Solving
Description:
By adapting medical illustrations of extraembryonic membrane formation in learning aids, we will implement the learning intervention for embryology students of VIBS 612. Variables of color, texture, animation, scale, and presentation medium will be studied to elucidate mechanisms of value in the learning aid. This project will formulate a product to enhance learning for graduate and professional students studying extraembryonic membrane formation.
Fall 2016: Synthesis of water network using building block-based superstructure Full Team
Project Leader:
Jianping Li
ljptamu@tamu.edu
Chemical Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Faruque Hasan, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Potential for attending undergraduate student research conferences and co-authorship; Access to some of resources in the Research lab.
Team Needs:
Students majored in Chemical Engineering, Computer Engineering or having any background in mathematical modeling are encouraged to join us.
Description:
Nowadays, the grand challenges related with energy and environment are mainly classified as: 1) energy security and increasing energy demand, 2) generation of sustainable energy. Among all the options to address the challenges, process intensification is becoming a promising alternative and brings about technical revolution through significant reduction in energy consumption, waste generation and environmental impact. Process intensification enables “multi-tasking” by combining reaction, separation and other operations in a single unit, and leads to a substantially smaller, cleaner, safer, and more energy-efficient technology. The role of process intensification is like the role of X-men, both of which are powerful in achieving people’s expectation. In our proposed framework, we are utilizing optimization technique and building the mathematical model by breaking the classical unit operations into more fundamental level of physiochemical phenomena such as reaction, vapor-liquid phase contact. This allows us to better grasp the nature of equipment and include more process alternatives including membrane reactor, absorption, et.al. The proposed framework has been utilized to investigate a lot of industrial examples. In this project, we would specifically focus on the application of the proposed framework on water network synthesis (the fundamental question would be how we are able to manage and plan for the water resources in chemical plants in order to save water resources and reduce environmental pollution). Hopefully, we are also able to realize simultaneous design of water network and heat utilization network (how to obtain the best production route that could save resources and energy).
Fall 2016: Predictors of stability of an infant ductus arteriosus Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Juzar Hussain
Juzar94@tamu.edu
Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Stewart, Randolph
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016: Monday & Wednesday 12:30-4:30
Team Size:
2 (Team Full)
Description:
The ductus arteriosus (DA) is a muscular artery connecting the aorta to the pulmonary artery in fetuses. It normally regresses shortly after birth, but fails to close in some individuals, causing a multitude of issues ranging from pulmonary hypertension to heart failure. Although it is unknown why the DA spontaneously regresses or becomes patent (i.e., PDA), clinical investigators have identified the existence of a critical radius governing its behavior. In general, if the DA is larger than 1 mm, patients will be treated pharmacologically with Indomethacin. If it remains patent, it will be closed surgically. Three challenges remain for clinical research: 1) reducing the risk factors for PDA, 2) increasing the efficacy of Indomethacin, 3) developing patient-specific criteria for surgery. All three challenges cannot be met without first identifying the primary mechanism of spontaneous regression. There is, however, a fundamental property of adapting vessels that has been previously identified using mathematical modeling. Assuming that arteries primarily adapt to changes in endothelial shear stress leads to the prediction of two equilibrium radii. The larger of the two is always stable, and resists regression. The smaller equilibrium radius is always unstable, and constriction below this critical radius causes vessels to remodel and regress. The purpose of this project is therefore to develop a mathematical model to test the hypothesis that the patency and spontaneous regression of the DA is a manifestation of adaptation to shear stress leading to both stable and unstable equilibrium radii.
Fall 2016: SpaceCRAFT (2) Full Team
Affiliations:
Project Leader:
Robert Hogan
sportzgamer05@tamu.edu
Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Greg Chamitoff, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016: F 9:00-10:00AM
Team Size:
0 (Team Full)
Description:
SpaceCRAFT is a Virtual Reality (VR) ‘Sandbox’ environment designed to enable government, university and commercial entities to collaborate in the design, use and evaluation of technology for future operations in Space. Taking advantage of high speed parallel computing, virtual reality systems and open source software platforms, SpaceCRAFT aims to enable any person or institution to contribute to humanity’s future in Space.
Fall 2016: Reconceptualizing lymphatic flow with differential inlet and outlet sensitivities Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Syed Hasnain
qasimh@email.tamu.edu
Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Christopher Quick, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016: Monday & Wednesday 12:30-2:30PM
Team Size:
5 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Opportunity to earn research credits and earn valuable experience in the final stages of research
Team Needs:
Writing skills, ability to decipher scientific articles, proficient with Microsoft Office, creating visuals for graphs and figures. Academically commendable, ample time to commit to research (at least 10 hours), ability to write proficiently
Description:
Fluid movement from the capillaries into the interstitium is described by the Starling Landis equation, and fluid movement from the interstitium through the lymphatics is described by the Drake-Laine equation. The premise of the current research is to add complexity to the existing lymphatic flow model. Thus, the purpose of the present work is to develop algebraic formulas for interstitial pressure and edemagenic gains assuming a lymphatic system differential sensitivity to interstitial pressure and outlet pressure.
Fall 2016: Effect of low-dose Ionizing radiation on lymphatic endothelial cells Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Collin Harlan
cjh5801@tamu.edu
Radiation Health/Nuclear Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Ranjeet Dongaonkar, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016: Monday & Wednesday 3:00-6:00PM
Team Size:
5 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Skills learned/developed: How to use an Olympus inverted microscope, how to use MetaFlour Fluorescence Imaging Software, how to handle cultured rat lymphatic endothelial cells, how to handle and use chemicals/drugs such as Trypan Blue, Trypsin, Accumax, DMSO, DAF and Fura 2 AM, how to conduct cell viability studies, how to conduct intercellular calcium and nitric oxide studies
Team Needs:
MATLAB experience, Microscope handling, Research paper writing. Radiological Health Engineering/Biomedical Engineering/Computer Engineering, Biomedical Sciences
Description:
Lymphatic vessels periodically contract and relax to actively pump lymph, transport immune cells, and are critical for organ health. Lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) regulate pump function by releasing vasoactive factors, nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandins, in response to altered lymph flow and composition. It is understood that enhanced LEC NO production induces lymphatic pump failure and leads to organ dysfunction. Although recent radiation studies have reported loss of lymphatic function regarding high-dose radiation, effects of low-dose ionizing radiation on LECs have yet to be investigated thoroughly. Therefore, the goal of these studies to investigate the mechanisms by which low-dose ionizing radiation induces LEC dysfunction. Findings from these studies are expected to form the basis for the development of novel therapeutic strategies to treat organ dysfunction in radiotherapy patients.
Fall 2016: Epidemiologic aspects of Salmonella transmission in wild birds Full Team
Project Leader:
Mary Grigar
mgrigar@cvm.tamu.edu
Veterinary Integrative Biosciences
Faculty Mentor:
Kevin Cummings, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016
Team Size:
2 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
co-authorship, poster/oral presentations, field work
Description:
As the number of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases continues to grow, wildlife have been recognized to play an important role in the spread of these diseases to human populations (Greig et al. 2015). The increased incursion of humans into wildlife habitats due to population growth and other factors increases the risk of zoonotic transmission (Miller et al. 2013). Birds have the ability to travel large distances and thus a tremendous capacity to transmit zoonotic pathogens. Our lab focuses on the prevalence and risk factors associated with shedding Salmonella in wild birds. Currently, we have two projects in our lab.
Fall 2016: Dopamine's effects on lymphatic vessels Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Jay Garza
jaygarza@tamu.edu
Biomedical Science
Faculty Mentor:
Ranjeet Dongaonkar, Ph.D
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016: Monday & Tuesday 2:30-5:30 PM
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Possibility of earning co-authorship on a paper, learn to dissect and cannulate vessels
Team Needs:
Interest in bio-medical science research, preferred BIMS and biomedical engineering majors
Description:
The lymphatic system plays a crucial role in interstitial fluid balance—it collects and transports fluid and proteins lost to the interstitial space from blood capillaries to the circulation system. Once thought to be a passive process determined by pressure gradients, lymphatic transport is an active process determined by spontaneous contractions of lymphatic vessel segments. Although lymphatic vessels look like blood vessels, they function as pumps like cardiac ventricles. Lymphatic muscle provides the ability to generate pressure to pump lymph, fluid and proteins inside the lymphatic vessels, from the low-pressure interstitial space to high-pressure veins of neck. Presence of valves helps maintain one-way flow. Furthermore, it is understood that lymphatic pump failure against elevated central venous pressure decreases lymph flow leading to edema, excess accumulation of fluid and protein. However, no effective treatments for lymphatic pump failure exist. Recent studies have reported that dopamine at low concentrations has chronotropic as well as inotropic effects on the heart. The resulting increases in cardiac contractility and heart rate have been reported to increase cardiac output, increase mean arterial blood pressure and decrease central venous pressure. However, how dopamine affects lymphatic pump has yet to be studied thoroughly. Therefore the goal of the project is to evaluate our hypothesis that dopamine enhances lymphatic pump function. To test this hypothesis, we will quantify the effects of various concentrations of dopamine on contraction frequency, strength and active lymph flow of bovine mesenteric lymphatic vessels.
Fall 2016: Chemical ecology of endophytes in cotton Full Team
Project Leader:
Cody Gale
CodyGale@tamu.edu
Entomology
Faculty Mentor:
Greg Sword, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Spring 2017: TBD
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Students will be provided a unique opportunity to explore chemical ecology through both entomological, microbiological, and agricultural perspectives. Conferences and publications are always a possibility, they depend on the quality of the research performed, not necessarily the results obtained. Dr. Sword is likely to give serious consideration to students who wish to join the lab as graduate students if they showed promise as a motivated undergraduate.
Team Needs:
I would prefer student who prefer to work in blocks of time ~4 hrs.
Description:
I need a team to assist in the execution of experiments needed to understand the endophytic colonization of cotton and its ecological implications. The goal of this research is to manipulate the fungal microbiome of cotton plants and understand how those manipulations affect plant-insect interactions. Although this work is focused on the cotton crop system, I will be teaching students experimental designs, microbiology lab techniques, plant-insect behavioral assays, and chemical analysis techniques that can be applied across many fields of study. The focus of my dissertation is specifically aimed at understanding how the manipulation of the fungal endophyte microbiome affects the profile of volatile organic compounds being emitted from cotton. I will guide students through the procedures needed to set up the experiments that I perform, but the purpose of forming this research group is to have students perform experiments that compliment my own. There is much we do not know about the efficiency and effectiveness of our experimental manipulations, but there is a list of relatively straight-forward experiments that can be carried out to help our understanding. Students interested in participating should have a desire to take responsibility for at least one of these experiments completely and perform the research at a quality suited for presentation at a research conference or possibly publication. Involved students will learn small-scale agricultural experimental design in greenhouses and the field, microbe culturing techniques and working in a sterile environment, chemical extraction and analysis techniques, and bioassay techniques for studying plant-insect interactions.
Fall 2016: Cardiac adaptation to wall stress Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Wesley Fuertes
wfuertes@tamu.edu
Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology
Faculty Mentor:
Randolph Stewart, DVM, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016: MW 1:00-2:30 PM
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
You will gain valuable research experience and chances of earning co-authorship
Team Needs:
We will be modeling different aspects of the cardiovascular system, and analyse the results with computational programming. Experience is not required to join the project.
Description:
The twin fields of cardiovascular physiology and cardiac mechanobiology have typically studied independently/ On one hand, cardiovascular physiologists are interested in how ventricular stroke volumes and blood pressures emerge from the complex interaction of the heart and the vasculature. Cardiac contractility, characterized by the slope of the end-systolic pressure-volume relationship, is only one of many factors determining ventricular pressure and stroke volume. The result of cardiac adaptation is characterized by changes in contractility. On the other hand, cardiac mechanobiologists are interested in how tissue stresses result in structural remodeling. Ventricular pressures and volumes are viewed only as boundary conditions that affect wall stress. The stimulus for cardiac adaptation is wall stress. The need to integrate these two fields becomes clear when considering that wall stress affects contractility, and changes in contractility in turn, affects wall stress. Using a simple closed loop model and a simple assumed ventricular geometry, we integrate these two approaches. First, wall stress is found to be a bimodal function of contractility. Second, we make the common assumption that contractility adapts so that it increases with wall stress. These two functions, representing the fundamental assumptions of cardiovascular physiology and cardiovascular mechanobiology, result in a simple balance point that predicts equilibrium contractility. The purpose of the present project therefore is to use the insight arising from mathematical modeling to explore cardiac adaptation in health and disease.
Fall 2016: Design & control of a vibration-added haptic device for minimally invasive surgical simulation Full Team
Affiliations:
Project Leader:
Avinash Danda
abhi@tamu.edu
Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Bruce Tai, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016 (Team Full)
Team Size:
0 (Team Full)
Description:
Haptic devices are increasingly being used in medical training to simulate operations like bone cutting. Several haptic force models are developed in the last decade to simulate dental and temporal bone surgery. However, many of these methods ignore the principles of cutting mechanics in their formulation. The most common approaches are the once based on Hertz’s contact theory, Impulse based dynamics and Specific cutting energy. This study characterizes the forces in high-speed bone cutting and grinding for the use of haptic devices in surgical simulations. Unrealistic force feedback due to the lack of vibrational features is one of the most common drawbacks. Generally, the force profile can be decomposed to a mean force and a vibrational force magnitude. These forces are experimentally measured under various motions, including feed rate and tool orientation, to mimic manual operations and to understand the effects of these parameters. Change in feed rate was found to be insignificant in the overall force feedback, while the change in tool orientation showed statistically significant effects. The grinding burr and cutting burr also exhibited different forces under an identical condition. The explanation for the behavior of the forces based on the cutting and grinding conditions is discussed along with the results.
Fall 2016: SpaceCRAFT Full Team
Affiliations:
Project Leader:
Mauricio Coen
coen@tamu.edu
Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Greg Chamitoff, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016: Monday & Wednesday 5-7PM, Friday 9-10AM
Team Size:
0 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Releasing software
Team Needs:
C++, ability to research and solve open ended problems
Description:
SpaceCRAFT is a Virtual Reality (VR) ‘Sandbox’ environment designed to enable government, university and commercial entities to collaborate in the design, use and evaluation of technology for future operations in Space. Taking advantage of high speed parallel computing, virtual reality systems and open source software platforms, SpaceCRAFT aims to enable any person or institution to contribute to humanity’s future in Space.
Fall 2016: A nebulizer system for PET Imaging of aerosols and nanoparticles for use in preclinical pulmonary drug delivery studies Full Team
Project Leader:
Ryan Clanton
rc1025@tamu.edu
Nuclear Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Gamal Akabani, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Conferences, co-authorship
Team Needs:
Solidworks skills
Description:
Design and implementation of a nebulizer delivery system for radionuclides to be utilized in conjunction with Albira Si micro-PET/Spect/CT to image the lungs.
Fall 2016: Contribution of genetics and underlying disease to inter-individual variability in susceptibility to environmental toxicity Full Team
Project Leader:
Joseph Cichocki
jcichocki@cvm.tamu.edu
Veterinary Integrative Biosciences
Faculty Mentor:
Ivan Rusyn, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016: M 9:00AM-12:00PM
Team Size:
5 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Team members that contribute significantly to the scientific process of a project (performing experiments, analyzing data, generating figures) should expect co-authorship on any publications stemming directly from that work. However, there needs to be a significant contribution to the science (i.e. not just run one gel or help change a few mouse cages). The Society of Toxicology (our groups' main professional Society) is very supportive of funding undergraduate trainees to attend their annual (and possibly regional) meetings. As the Toxicology Program continues to expand and acquire significant support from funding agencies, there is potential that undergraduate training in toxicology would make team members qualified potential candidates for the Toxicology Program here at TAMU.
Team Needs:
Requirement: Take animal handling and basic lab safety courses The ability to perform basic science techniques (e.g. pipetting) is highly preferred. Applicants absolutely must be organized and motivated.
Description:
One of the main interests of the Rusyn laboratory is investigating how different individuals respond to exposure to environmental chemicals. Using both in vivo (mouse) and in vitro (human induced pluripotent stem cells) approaches, we are characterizing and quantifying inter-individual variability in toxicokinetics (i.e. how the body processes a toxicant) and toxicodynamics (i.e. how the toxicant alters the body). This specific project will be focused on utilizing a mouse population model to characterize inter-individual variability in toxico-kinetics and -dynamics in response to trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene, two ubiquitous environmental pollutants. Many of us are familiar with the sharp, sweet odor of tetrachloroethylene, as this is the solvent which off-gasses from our freshly dry-cleaned garments. Currently, the main on-going study in the Rusyn lab which will require immediate attention is a large mouse study with ~500 mice that are being exposed to trichloroethylene for 90 days. As the concept of ""the dose makes the poison"" is paramount to toxicity testing, different doses of trichloroethylene have been administered to different groups of animals. What makes our laboratory unique from other toxicology labs is that we are using mice from a variety of different genetic backgrounds to investigate inter-individual variability in response to trichloroethylene. Animal exposures will culminate by November and thus this semester is the perfect opportunity for team members to join our team. A non-exhaustive list of some skills that team members can expect to acquire are the following: 1) a basic understanding of toxicology; 2) animal handling; 3) tissue processing, including extraction and analysis of nucleic acids and/or proteins; 4) acquire familiarity with using gas and or liquid chromatography coupled to mass-spectroscopy to analyze small molecules in tissue samples; 5) general laboratory safety and organizational skills; 6) effective collaboration and networking skills.
Fall 2016: Tree growth-climate relationship of three sub-alpine tree species from the Nepal Himalaya and Alaska, USA Full Team
Project Leader:
Parveen Chhetri
parveenkchhetri@tamu.edu
Geography
Faculty Mentor:
Jeremy Johnson, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Members will be acknowledged with co-authorship on regional and national conferences, and future publications
Team Needs:
Prior experience is not required, however students with strong interest in climate, geography and ecology will be preferred. Must register for research hour, and able to give minimum 4 hours per week to the project.
Description:
The tree growth–climate relationship for sub-alpine forest is key to understand the current growth dynamics of forest and to improve predictions about their future distributions under climate change. Abies spectabilis (Himalayan silver fir) and Betula utilis (Himalayan birch) are the two main species of the sub-alpine forest of Nepal, and Tsuga Mertensiana (Mountain Hemlock) of the Alaskan Kenai Peninsula, USA. In this project we will work with tree-ring cores of Fir, Birch, and Hemlock trees collected from study sites. First we will prepare tree-ring cores by mounting them in the wooden frame and use belt sander to enhance the visibility of the rings. Then we will use Velmex Tree Ring Measurement System to measure ring width and later use software such as COFECHA, ARSTAN, DENDROCLIM 2002, dplR to see climate and ring width relationship, and reconstruct the past climate.
Fall 2016: Biosensor for pathogen detection Full Team
Affiliations:
Project Leader:
Jaskirat Batra
jbatra@tamu.edu
Materials Science and Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Jun Kameoka, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016
Team Size:
0 (Team Full)
Description:
The goal of this project is to design a low-cost and portable way to diagnose pathogens.
Fall 2016: Exploration of polymer capsules and films for biomedical applications Full Team
Project Leader:
Victoria Albright
victoria.albright@tamu.edu
Materials Science & Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Svetlana Sukhishvili, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016
Team Size:
2 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Hard working students will be rewarded with opportunities to present their work at a conference, earn co-authorship on publications or even become a full member of our research group.
Team Needs:
All majors are invited to apply but science & engineering majors will be given preference. A willingness to learn is more important than grades in class or prior experience (so don't be afraid to apply!)
Description:
The future of polymeric materials as biological implant coatings to prevent bacterial infection and stimulate cell growth depends on the ability to selectively trigger the release of components from the materials on demand. Our research group currently explores manipulating chemistry of polymer particles and films in order to develop polymeric materials that can deliver antibiotics and cell stimulating factors in a controlled fashion. This work will explore block copolymer micelles that are temperature responsive and correlate the ratio of block copolymer components to physical properties of the micelles as well as to their ability to encapsulate and release small molecules (i.e. antimicrobials, cell stimulating growth factors, etc.) In the future, these micelles will be deposited on substrates and tested with both bacterial and cell cultures. Students are needed to help choose better drugs to incorporate into the films, understand the optimal conditions to deposit micelles, explore encapsulation conditions for drugs into micelles and develop a method to incorporate these micelles into biodegradable matrices. The project may further evolve into developing additional layer-by-layer systems for biomedical coatings. Check out our recent work on biomedical polymer coatings that was featured in Science here:http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nn500674g as well as two of our works on micelles http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nn900655z, and http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168365913003787.
Fall 2016: Smart water distribution systems Full Team
Project Leader:
Mohsen Aghashahi
aghashahi@tamu.edu
Civil & Environmental Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Katherine Banks, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Co-authorship in publications, working in a vital research group with a postdoc fellow and two Ph.D. students and gaining a broad range of experience in smart technology.
Team Needs:
Students with a background of or interested in cyber-physical systems and infrastructures, Internet of Things, cyber-security, control theory, sensors and actuators, wireless connectivity, and dynamic programming.
Description:
A smart water network is a water distribution system which adjusts its performance with varying elements such as variable demands and pressures and acts as an integrated cyber-physical system that constitutes four major sectors including sensing, computing, control and communication. In this research we will advance mobile and stationary water sensor networks technology to enable realtime sensing and communication at a fine temporal and spatial resolutions. Computationally efficient and accurate algorithms will be adapted to simulate system. Optimal control methods will be developed to facilitate system automation by sensor readings and simulation projections. Reliable and fast information exchange between sensors, models, and controllers under rate and power constraints will be achieved using communication systems.
Fall 2016: Bats jamming bats: sonar in a social context Full Team
Project Leader:
Amanda Adams, Ph.D.
aadams@bio.tamu.edu
Biology
Faculty Mentor:
Michael Smotherman, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Fall 2016: Tuesday 12:30PM-1:30PM
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Earning co-authorship on publications.
Description:
For more than 60 years researchers have puzzled over how echolocating bats avoid interfering with each other’s sonar while flying in dense swarms or within crowded roosts. Man-made sonar and radar systems face similar problems, but the bat’s exceptional resilience to jamming by conspecifics far exceeds the strategies currently employed in artificial systems. We are working to explain how groups of bats manage this extraordinary feat. We study bats’ flight, echolocation, and behavior in the lab at TAMU. By revealing important, new mechanisms by which bats compensate for acoustic interference, the results help predict bat behavior in different contexts and can help guide bat conservation efforts worldwide. We are looking for students with a diverse range of skills who want to be part of a team to accomplish this research. We are specifically looking for sophomores and juniors who are interested in working with and handling bats in behavioral experiments and can help with animal care, such as feeding. If you are interested, contact Dr. Amanda Adams (aadams26@tamu.edu). Please send your resume, a short email about why you are a good match for this project, and your availability for the upcoming semester.
Summer 2016: What is a Dune? Improving our ability to extract features from remote sensing data Full Team
Project Leader:
Phil Wernette
wernett9@tamu.edu
Geography
Faculty Mentor:
Chris Houser, Ph.D
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Co-authorship on publications from this research. Opportunities to preset this research at Student Research Week and possibly additional conferences.
Team Needs:
Diverse set of skills, with at least one team member with strong GIS skills.
Description:
Traditional approaches to identifying and differentiating landscape features and landforms from the landscape remain time-intensive and highly subjective, which limit our ability to assess changes over large geographic areas. Subjectivity due to the person interpreting the features introduces spatially variable amount of error into the change assessment. The purpose of this project is to expand on existing approaches and develop new approaches for objectively differentiating landscape features, which can be automated. The project will utilize existing geographic information systems (GIS) and work to develop new custom approaches. Team members may have the opportunity to be listed as co-authors on publications and/or presentations related to this research. It is also possible that team members may present this research at Student Research Week and/or one or more regional/national professional conferences.
Summer 2016: Historical relationships between vegetation and geology on barrier islands Full Team
Project Leader:
Phil Wernette
wernett9@tamu.edu
Geography
Faculty Mentor:
Chris Houser, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Co-authorship on publications from this research. Opportunities to preset this research at Student Research Week and possibly additional conferences.
Team Needs:
Looking for diverse set of skills, including, but not limited to: GIS, geology, geophysics, computer science/programming, statistics.
Description:
Recent evidence suggests that barrier island morphology, particularly dune morphology, exhibits both free and forced controls. The purpose of this project is to explore the relationship between spatially discontinuous or variable vegetation dynamics (typically identified as a free factor) and the underlying geologic structure (forcing factor). Understanding the roles and relationships of these factors in dune behavior has implications for modelling the effects of storms and sea-level change on coastal communities. Team members may have the opportunity to be listed as co-authors on publications and/or presentations related to this research. It is also possible that team members may present this research at Student Research Week and/or one or more regional/national professional conferences.
Summer 2016: Determinants of the homeostatic range of capillary pressure Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Mariana Villanueva
mariana.villanueva93@tamu.edu
Biomedica Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Christopher M. Quick, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Co-authorship on publications.
Team Needs:
It is important that members be open to new perspectives, willing to learn, and willing to ask questions.
Description:
Find the physiological range of capillary pressure (ΔPc) for different physiological diseases, and understand the significance. Using the findings and literature, we will explore various perspectives for analyzing lymphatic pathologies. Ultimately, the research will lead to novel approaches to current clinical treatments. The main tools we will use include Excel, Mathematica, and Stella. Research Goals: (1)Connect ΔPc findings to their physiological meaning (2)Establish normal ΔPc values for different tissues (3)Apply ΔPc equation to chosen disease states of interest (4)Use data obtained from research to theorize new or improved treatments
Summer 2016: User interface for custom multi-channel receiver for MRI Full Team
Project Leader:
Austin Lu
alu008@tamu.edu
Biomedical Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Mary McDougall, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Frequent hands on experience with a 4.7 Tesla MRI scanner. Exposure to MR technologies as an introduction to bioinstrumentation.
Team Needs:
Familiarity with different languages such as MatLab and C++. Use of Linux command prompt
Description:
We will analyze the inputs, outputs, and software of a multi-channel receiver for MR imaging, built by a recent PhD graduate, to develop a user-friendly interface for future students to use. Currently, the receiver operation involves a process unique to the original PhD student who formatted it. The goal of the project is to design a convenient interface for any graduate student to use for his or her own research.
Summer 2016: Understanding plant defense by AGGIES Full Team
Project Leader:
Maricarmen Quiroz
mari_quiroz@tamu.edu
Biochemistry & Biophysics
Faculty Mentor:
Ping He, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Team members can get involved in an NSF-sponsored Green Immunology Education & Outreach Program during the summer.
Team Needs:
Faculty Mentor is looking for a Team Leader with some knowledge of genetics; some lab experience is also preferred. If you're interested in joining as a Team Member, spots will be opened once a Team Leader is found.
Description:
Lack of adaptive immune system and specialized immune cells, plants have evolved a robust innate immunity to protect themselves against potential infections. To understand how plant defend pathogen attacks, our lab has developed a sensitive and high throughput genetic screen with a mutagenized population of model plant Arabidopsis transgenic plants expressing a luciferase reporter gene under the control of an immune responsive gene. Mutants with altered luciferase activity upon pathogen treatment were identified and named as Arabidopsis genes governing immune gene expression (aggie). The research team will characterize these aggie mutants genetically and biochemically and identify the causal mutations via map-based cloning and next generation sequencing.
Summer 2016: Topology control for load shed recovery Full Team
Project Leader:
Haley Demos
hdemos@tamu.edu
Industrial Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Erick Moreno-Centeno
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
You have the chance to explore what you can do with an industrial engineering degree, you gain research experience, and work on a fantastic cutting edge project.
Team Needs:
It would be beneficial if you had programming experience, specifically java, and basic understanding of electricity principles.
Description:
The goal of the project is to optimize the load shed recovery(LSR) or system recovery for power plants. 1) Figure out how to make the java tool run. Including finding a toy dataset to play with. This java tool takes as inputs: (a) the current configuration of the electricity grid and (b) the current electricity demand at each network node. The java tool outputs an optimal energy production plan for every generator in the grid. 2) Find a way to simulate a contingency on the java tool. Where a contingency is the loss of a transmission line. After a contingency happens, some of the remaining lines may be overloaded.
Summer 2016: Statistical modeling of alzheimer's disease pathology Full Team
Project Leader:
Joshua Fuller
jfuller@tamu.edu
Psychology
Faculty Mentor:
Steve Balsis, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Interested students will have the opportunity to earn authorship on a poster to be presented at a research conference. Students especially dedicated to our project may have the opportunity to continue with our lab as a full team member and could conceivably earn authorship on a manuscript that will be published in a research journal. This is an especially unique research opportunity for anyone interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology or an M.D. Interested students may also earn a 485 research credit for the one of the summer sessions. Please email Joshua Fuller and Dr. Balsis ASAP if you are interested and need to register for a 485.
Team Needs:
As we will be training you in the literature and statistical processes utilized in our lab, no prior research experience is needed. However, an understanding of rudimentary statistics and an interest in geriatric psychology is preferred. A strong work ethic is required.
Description:
Our lab uses data from large national databases of Alzheimer’s disease patients to create empirical models of Alzheimer’s disease pathology. We employ advanced statistical processes to analyze these data. We have previously used these data in an award-winning study that investigated the relationship between Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers (specifically MRI brain volume) and Alzheimer’s disease severity. Presently, we are beginning an investigation of how measurement of various domains of Alzheimer’s disease (e.g., cognition, neuropsychiatric symptoms, etc.) contributes to the purest assessment of Alzheimer’s disease severity. Team members will begin their summer by being immersed in the literature on Alzheimer’s disease assessment, and will conclude the summer by assisting in our statistical analysis and interpretation of our results.
Summer 2016: Spatial distribution of corporate climate governance Full Team
Project Leader:
Ariana Randal
artennis301@tamu.edu
Environmental Studies
Faculty Mentor:
Jayme Walenta, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Possible co-authorship on peer review publication Opportunity to attend conference to present research results
Team Needs:
Interests: Climate change policy and sustainable business practices Skills: Excel; Attention to detail
Description:
This project builds from an existing base of research that addresses how the voluntary carbon market in the United States governs climate change. Currently, much climate governance in the United States is undertaken not by government oversight and regulation, but instead by corporations under pressure by investors to act. Previous research has noted that in their efforts to address climate change, U.S. based corporations exhibit a tendency to invest in climate governance at or near corporate headquarters, rather than along corporate value chains (where many greenhouse gas emissions occur). The research for this project questions how or whether trends in corporate climate governance shift given where a company is headquartered. The research team will investigate the corporate climate governance actions taken by companies located in France, the United Kingdom, Japan, and China. The goal is to make comparisons between how U.S. based companies engage climate change versus corporations based in other countries, particularly those countries where strong government oversight exists. We will ask, do corporations headquartered in climate friendly nations tend to invest in climate governance near to them (as do US based companies)? Or, do corporate climate governance strategies shift to consider value chain emissions? To undertake this research, team members will examine the publicly available climate change disclosures of major corporations based in the aforementioned countries, cataloging the emissions profiles of those firms, as well as documenting the spatial distribution of climate governance strategies.
Summer 2016: Small mammal assessment team Full Team
Project Leader:
Lauren Naylor
laurenchristine09@tamu.edu
Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Thomas Lacher, Jr., Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Gain research experience working on a high profile global conservation project Opportunities available to gain experience with ArcGIS and R and Python statistical programming.. Potential to publish in a peer reviewed scientific journal.
Team Needs:
A strong work ethic, ability to meet deadlines, detail-oriented, and interest in mammalian ecology and conservation. Preferred: GIS skills (for mapping only) and familiarity with data bases.
Description:
This project will be conducted in conjunction with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Small Mammal Specialist Group (SMSG) to re-assess species extinction risk of New World small mammals. Team members will complete species assessments for priority species across North, Central, and South America. Duties will include conducting extensive literature reviews, GIS mapping, data mining and organization, and presentation and publication of results on the IUCN Red List. The work conducted by the SMSG team at Texas A&M will be presented in September 2016 at the World Conservation Congress (the largest conservation conference in the world) in Hawaii. Along with IUCN Red List priority species assessments, the team members will also conduct preliminary analyses of priority species. This includes mapping and referencing current ranges and IUCN Red List status in relation to protected areas across the Americas. We will start at a national level with local analyses of priority species in Colombia. We aim to get these analyses published in a scientific journal by the end of 2017.
Summer 2016: Shock waves and the brain: MRI elastography of blast induced traumatic brain injury Full Team
Project Leader:
Shannon Ingram
sni94@tamu.edu
Biomedical Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Michael Moreno, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Impress the graduate students to become a full member of the lab. Explore bTBI and the use of MRIs. Develop skills in design and problem solving.
Team Needs:
We would prefer that the students that have some experience in Solidworks.
Description:
Students selected for this team will aid an investigation of blast induced traumatic brain injury (bTBI) which occurs when a shock wave from high explosive detonation travels through the brain. This injury has impacted as many as 20% of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and causes PTSD –like symptoms. We are developing diagnostic and research imaging systems that will enable us to perform MR elastography imaging to map mechanical changes in brain tissue after exposure to blast waves produced by a compressed gas shock tube. Additionally, interns will aid in development and improvement of the compressed gas shock tube system. Specifically, interns will: •Perform blast studies, •design elastography equipment, •3d print components, •perform MRI imaging studies, and •analyze imaging data. If interested in this project and the opportunity to contribute to the investigation of bTBI and its mechanism of injury to ease diagnosis and develop prevention and treatment, contact the team leader.
Summer 2016: Seeking low altitude terrestrial gamma-ray flashes via high altitude balloon Full Team
Project Leader:
Nathaniel Peirson
npeirson@tamu.edu
Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Sharath Girimaji, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Take part in front-line science and research. - Actively engaged participants will be granted co-authorship on publications. - Opportunities in any research continuation.
Team Needs:
Electrical engineering students, or students familiar with electronics design. - Nuclear engineering students, or students familiar with scintillation counters. - Students interested in atmospheric sciences / meteorology.
Description:
High energy gamma radiation bursts have been detected above lightning strikes, and the causal mechanism remains unclear. One model, elegantly complementary to recent discoveries regarding lightning-strike initiations, suggests that these radiation bursts should be able to occur in the lower regions of thunderstorms, but atmospheric attenuation prevents orbital observation below ~11 km; no such events have yet been recorded. This project will attempt to observe these hypothetical events, as well as the atmospheric conditions surrounding their occurrences, with instrument payloads carried by specialized weather balloon systems.
Summer 2016: Remote health monitoring system for chronic disease management Full Team
Project Leader:
Faysal Altaher
fta130030@tamu.edu
Industrial Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Michelle Alvarado, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
This project will help students utilize their academic knowledge in real world problems that will have a huge impact.
Team Needs:
Student interest in healthcare and specifically in understanding chronic disease management is highly desired. Interest in health device technology is also preferable.
Description:
This project is in the early phase of an ongoing effort to design and develop an integrated smart remote health system for chronic disease management. Chronic diseases are those that require long-term management such as diabetes, sleep apnea, and asthma. This system will remotely monitor patient health and activity, continually update assessments of patient compliance and risk, select and trigger interventions based on health risk assessment, track the implementation and effectiveness of interventions on patient outcomes, and continuously learn and improve based on experience. We want a team of undergraduate student to identify indicators for each chronic disease (e.g. blood glucose levels for diabetes), to catalog which indicators can be collected and monitored using remote device technology, and to identify specific devices with open-access data than can be implemented in the smart remote health system.
Summer 2016: Protein antibiotics and phage hunt Full Team
Project Leader:
Lorna Min
min385@tamu.edu
Biochemistry
Faculty Mentor:
Ryland Young, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
In addition to exploring the exciting field of bacteriophage and gaining Aggie Research Scholar credentials, students who successfully complete the summer term will be eligible to become part of the Center for Phage Technology in the following Fall and Spring semesters. Program may be completed for credit, if so enrolled.
Team Needs:
In order to be part of this team, you must complete Biosafety Level 2 training and be compliant with all safety guidelines. For the summer, a minimum of 12 hours/week is expected from all students. Basic understanding of microbiology technique is preferred but not required.
Description:
Antibiotic overprescription and misuse have contributed to the creation of “superbugs” resistant to, and sometimes even capable of metabolizing, all known antibiotics. As such, the search for novel antibiotics and their targets is becoming increasingly important. Studying “protein antibiotics” produced by small lytic bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria, may aid in this effort. Most pharmaceutical antibiotics currently used target the cell wall, a uniquely bacterial cell component vital to structural integrity. Upon impairment of the cell wall, cells swell up and ultimately explode from their high internal pressure. Protein antibiotics have been found to impair the cell wall using similar mechanisms as pharmaceutical antibiotics. E and A2, the protein antibiotics of prototypical small phages fX174 (Microviridae) and Qb (Alloleviviridae), inhibit the cell wall biosynthesis enzymes MurA and MraY respectively. L, the protein antibiotic of prototypical small phage MS2 (Leviviridae), kills bacteria through an unknown mechanism and is currently thought to activate the host autolytic system, causing the host to degrade its own protective cell wall. Additionally, our lab recently discovered that the protein antibiotic M Lys of Leviviridae phage M inhibits the cell wall biosynthesis lipid II flippase MurJ, establishing a new class of antibiotics that targets flippases specifically. The discovery of protein antibiotics, then, is key to further development of pharmaceutical antibiotics. As such, isolating the phages encoding these protein antibiotics is also becoming increasingly important. This project will therefore focus on the isolation and characterization of novel small lytic phages.
Summer 2016: Portable MRI system Full Team
Project Leader:
John Berlien
johnb110@tamu.edu
Electrical Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Steven Wright, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Students will learn much about MRI and gain valuable skills and research experience. ECEN students will also be able chance to continue working in the lab.
Team Needs:
Any discipline is welcome, though engineers are more encouraged. Students will learn most concepts on site. Programming and/or circuits experience is welcome.
Description:
Magnetic Resonance Imaging is an invaluable tool used in many fields, and is a mainstay of medical imaging. Conventional MRI scanners are impractical to move and prohibitively expensive, weighing thousands of pounds and costing upwards of a million dollars. Thus, conventional approaches to MRI may be limiting the applications of this important technology. The goal of this project is to create a complete low-cost, portable MRI system. Using magnets already created, students will research different methods and construct an imaging system. Some methods include using permanent magnets and Software Defined Radio hardware and software. The current focus in the project is on shimming to make the magnets have a more homogeneous magnetic field. The next step is gradient design and implementation. There are several aspects to the project, and tasks assigned depend on current knowledge/skills.
Summer 2016: Phage hunt Full Team
Project Leader:
Rachele Bonasera
kbnsr@tamu.edu
Biochemistry
Faculty Mentor:
Ryland Young, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
In addition to exploring the exciting field of bacteriophage and gaining Aggie Research Scholar credentials, students who successfully complete the summer term will be eligible to become part of the Center for Phage Technology in the following Fall and Spring semesters. Program may be completed for credit, if so enrolled.
Team Needs:
In order to be part of this team, you must complete Biosafety Level 2 training and be compliant with all safety guidelines. For the summer, a minimum of 12 hours/week is expected from all students. Basic understanding of microbiology technique is preferred but not required.
Description:
Bacteriophages (“ phages”) are the viruses of bacteria. In the early 20th century, phages were used for antibacterial therapy, before small molecule antibiotics became available in quantity in the 1940s. Now that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are beginning to dominate the clinic, phages are now being reconsidered as therapeutics. One major challenge is that, in general, phages tend to be highly specific. That is, a phage that attacks a particular species of bacterium may only infect certain strains of that species. To be useful as antibacterial agents, phages need to be available in collections that are diverse in terms of host range. The Center for Phage Technology (CPT) at Texas A&M is the only non-profit state-supported institution for translational phage research in the country. One of the CPT goals is to assemble libraries of phages against important bacterial pathogens. The objective of the RICU team being assembled is to be a part of this effort by collecting various environmental samples in search of phages that combat bacteria such as Corynebacterium jeikeium and Acinetobacter baumanii. Both these multi-drug resistant pathogens are infamous for infecting the immunocompromised and often lead to death. Once a phage is isolated, the main purpose of the project can begin, sequencing and annotating phage DNA. The newly acquired information can then be added to the growing phage ontologies.
Summer 2016: Novel locations for iodide transport in animals Full Team
Project Leader:
Anthony Martillotti
amartill1@tamu.edu
Biology
Faculty Mentor:
Duncan MacKenzie, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Potential long-term undergraduate research position in the MacKenzie lab
Team Needs:
Must be willing to work with animals and complete animal welfare training. Aquarium experience desirable but not essential. Interest in anatomy and physiology preferred. Ability to work occasional nights and weekends. Expected enrollment in 291/491 for 0-2 hours.
Description:
The sodium-iodide symporter (NIS) is the protein responsible for transporting iodide from the diet across the intestinal epithelium into the blood and into the thyroid gland, where iodide is essential for the formation of thyroid hormones. Although thyroid and intestinal transport are well-established in mammals, aquatic animals have the opportunity for direct uptake of iodide from their environment across integumentary membranes. In this project, we will use molecular biological techniques to identify potential novel locations of NIS expression in zebrafish to test the hypothesis that direct environmental iodide accumulation can occur across integument or gills. If successful, this project will help identify novel routes of iodide accumulation in aquatic species that may serve to maintain normal thyroid function in fish in aquaculture.
Summer 2016: Novel breast cancer screening modality using digital image Correlation: a phantom study Full Team
Project Leader:
Wang Sicheng
sharonwang@tamu.edu
Applied Mathematical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Sevan Goenezen, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Successful outcome of this project will result in an internationally recognized and peer reviewed journal article with all the team members being co-authors in that article.
Team Needs:
This project requires interdisciplinary work in areas of computational simulations, data processing, digital camera data acquisition using DIC systems, and construction of tissue mimicking phantoms. While none of these are pre-requisites, it is strongly expected that the team leader has interest in all these areas and assembles a team that has interest in each of these areas.
Description:
The goal of this proposed project is to analyze a novel breast cancer screening technology that relies on a set of digital cameras and physics-based mathematical models. We will test this technology on three breast phantoms containing various numbers of tumor mimicking inclusions (e.g., lobular carcinomas, invasive ductal carcinomas, and ductal carcinomas in situ) and benign tumor (e.g., fibroadenomas) phantoms. Tumor mimicking inclusions will be printed with a 3D printer using viscoelastic materials. Their surrounding fatty material will be represented with a gelatin/agar solution. Digital camera images will be recorded before and after applying a palpation force on the breast phantom to induce surface displacements that can be determined from these images using a digital image correlation system (known as DIC). The palpation will be applied at multiple locations on the breast phantom and a rich surface displacement data set will be acquired. This data set will then be used to non-destructively map the true 3D stiffness of the entire breast phantom from surface displacements and palpation forces.
Summer 2016: Minority food insecurity and community gardens Full Team
Project Leader:
Hannah Klein
hecklein94@tamu.edu
Sociology
Faculty Mentor:
Sarah Gatson, Ph.D
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
I am part of a larger Social Justice project that is centered on food security, led by Dr. Sarah Gatson. Completion of this summer research class could lead to a more permanent role in the project.
Team Needs:
Interests: Community Development, Race, Social Justice, Community Gardens, Systemic Inequality. Skills: Some sociology background suggested, but not required.
Description:
This study examines the sociological perspectives of community in order to accurately measure the scope of food insecurity in minority populations, and discuss the future of locally grown, organic produce as a potential answer to food insecurity. Class time will be dedicated to ethnography training, and sociological/historical examinations of citizenship and community, explorations of systemic inequalities apparent in the institution of race, and a discussion of these variables’ effect on food policy with a critical race theory perspective. Field research and community engagement will be conducted at the WIC of the Brazos County, which is located in Bryan. During the course, students will investigate the systemic causes of food insecurity, and apply their theoretical knowledge to ethnographic evidence they collect. Additionally, we all will have the opportunity to install raised beds at the WIC, interact with WIC clients, and develop a food class for WIC clients.
Summer 2016: Key ideas to be used in TAMU POLS classes Full Team
Project Leader:
Scarlet Amo
amo6@tamu.edu
Political Science
Faculty Mentor:
Quan Li, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
The team will work to complete a brand new textbook. Specific assignments include: read draft chapters & materials and provide feedback as to content, format, accessibility and style. Next, search for useful learning materials related to the course to improve the quality of the manuscript.
Team Needs:
This is International Political Economy. Anyone interested in IPE and anyone that has taken IPE 412 will be given preferential treatment.
Description:
The team will work to complete a brand new textbook. Specific assignments include: read draft chapters & materials and provide feedback as to content, format, accessibility and style. Next, search for useful learning materials related to the course to improve the quality of the manuscript.
Summer 2016: Keep immunity from running amok by a “bak to life” screen Full Team
Project Leader:
Teleri Smith
ffydd16@tamu.edu
Bioenvironmental Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Ping He, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Team members can get involved in an NSF-sponsored Green Immunology Education & Outreach Program during the summer.
Team Needs:
To qualify for a team leader, the basic knowledge of Biology is required and lab experience is preferred.
Description:
Maintaining active growth and effective immune response is often costly for a living organism to survive. The uncontrolled defense activation is often detrimental to the hosts, and potentially leads to massive cell death. The depletion of a key immune regulator BAK1 in model plant Arabidopsis leads to spontaneous cell death with extensive defense activation. My lab has developed a RNA interference (RNAi)-based genetic screen for suppressors of BAK1-mediated cell death. Mutants that suppress BAK1-mediated cell death are named “bak to life” (btl). The research team will isolate and characterize these btl mutants genetically and biochemically. Understanding defense and cell death control is essential for the survival of all organisms.
Summer 2016: Investigation into anatomy and pathology of rat brain post alcohol addiction Full Team
Project Leader:
Bradley Jones
jones1127@tamu.edu
Molecular & Cell Biology
Faculty Mentor:
Jun Wang, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Students may have the opportunity to join the lab at the end of the project if they perform well and wish to do so. Also, this project is part of a large research project which involves many different projects. Members of this team will be able to sit in on lab meetings involving multiple projects in this field.
Team Needs:
Looking for individuals interested in gaining experience in the neuroscience research field with strong work ethics. The project lends itself to people studying biochemistry, psychology, or any field in biology. Besides a basic understanding of the brain, having the ability to efficiently handle delicate tissues is something that would be greatly useful. No need for animal handling training since all tissues will be handle in vitro.
Description:
The research of our lab focuses on identifying the neurobiological basis of neuropsychiatric disorders, more specifically, alcohol addiction. We investigate the cellular and circuit alterations that occur in areas of the brain in response to excessive, pathological alcohol consumption. In this project, the brain anatomy and pathology of rat brains post alcohol addiction will be studied to gain a better understanding of how addiction alters neuronal synapse and function. The brains which will be tested, have been perfused and fixed from known alcohol addicted rats. Slicing and plating of the brain tissue will be performed; along with several techniques (immunostaining, etc) for histology. The rat brains being studied have been tested using optogenetic techniques. The rats have had intracranial infusions of viruses and intracranial cannula implantation surgeries throughout their lives. Anatomical location of virus infusions and cannula implantation will be verified.
Summer 2016: Investigating social media for personally-relevant science learning Full Team
Project Leader:
Stephen Spencer
stevegar@tamu.edu
Architecture
Faculty Mentor:
Sharon Lynn Chu, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Understanding the field of human-computer interaction (HCI). Possibility of co-authoring publications at high-level conferences. Having access to the HCI lab in the Department of Visualization. Becoming a member of the StoryLab@Texas A&M and getting into the research mindset.
Team Needs:
Interests: Educational technologies, children, human-computer interaction Skills: (any of the following) - Web programming - Visual or UX design - Survey preparation and administration - Quantitative and qualitative analysis - Experience working with children.
Description:
This project will investigate the potential of social media to motivate and scaffold science learning for elementary school students. Interest in pursuing STEM-related careers has historically been low, especially for children from minority populations. Studies consistently show that one of the main underlying problems may be that the science curriculum lacks meaning and relevance for children from minority populations. We are interested to look at the use of social media as a means to enable children to explore and learn about science in ways that are more context-bound and that take into account the diversity of students’ backgrounds. The proposed research will involve a formative study to understand the current social media practices of children from minority populations, the design and development of a social media portal that allows elementary school students to record personally-relevant science stories, and the evaluation of the portal on a small scale with a group of elementary school students from minority populations. Results of this project will be sent for publication to conferences in human-computer interaction and educational technologies.
Summer 2016: Inhibiting the transition from alcohol use to alcohol dependence in the dorsal striatum Full Team
Project Leader:
Eric Williams
ew55p@tamu.edu
Faculty Mentor:
Jun Wang, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Team members will have the opportunity to work in a lab at the main medical school campus at Texas A&M Health Science Center. They will also gain experience working with lab animals, studying animal behavior, and have an opportunity of gaining a position in our lab for the upcoming year.
Team Needs:
We are looking for reliable team members comfortable handling rodents, an interest in neuroscience and addiction, and a strong work-ethic.
Description:
The research of our lab focuses on identifying the neurobiological basis of neuropsychiatric disorders, more specifically, alcohol addiction. We investigate the cellular and circuit alterations that occur in areas of the brain in response to excessive, pathological alcohol consumption. Addiction is believed to be triggered by drug-evoked maladaptive plasticity. This aberrant plasticity occurs differentially in distinct neuronal populations. We are particularly interested in changes that occur in specific populations of neurons and in specific afferent projections to these neurons; we currently investigate alcohol-mediated aberrant plasticity in the dorsal striatum, a major entry structure of the basal ganglia. The dorsomedial striatum (DMS) is responsible for “goal directed” activities, while the dorsolateral striatum (DLS) is responsible for “habitual” activity or habituation. It has been shown that the shift from recreational to compulsive drug or alcohol use is mediated by a shift from behavior mediated by the DMS to the DLS. One of the major ways we study addictive behavior is through operant behavioral testing and self-administration of alcohol. The purpose of this project will be to develop a new operant learning paradigm to differentiate goal directed vs habitual alcohol seeking and investigate its efficacy on animal subjects. The result of the research will guide future efforts toward the development of more effective therapeutics for alcohol use disorders.
Summer 2016: Impact on protein delivery via dfTAT while chemically bonded to protein of interest Full Team
Project Leader:
Moroni Berrios
moroniberrios@tamu.edu
Biochemistry
Faculty Mentor:
Jean-Philippe Pellois, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Team members will acquire skills in Solid-Phase Peptide Synthesis (SPPS) and Protein Expression and Purification, along with other skills regarding the project. The work done by this research team will contribute to the work of other lab members and would be included in future publications. Real hands-on experience in research will be acquired, and team members will have the opportunity to receive Undergraduate Research credit for their degree program(s).
Team Needs:
A background in Biochemistry or Chemistry is preferred and a strong motivation for lab research and flexibility with time is required. Basic knowledge of SPPS and Protein Expression and Purification is helpful but not necessary.
Description:
It has been shown that dfTAT, a delivery dipeptide, can assist in delivering proteins into a cell effectively by co-incubation. However, delivery in vivo requires the protein of interest to be chemically bonded to dfTAT to ensure delivery into cells. Therefore, the purpose of this project is to discover the impact on cells and protein delivery into cells when a protein that is to be delivered is chemically bonded to dfTAT.
Summer 2016: Impact of meiosis on cryptococcal dissbemination into the host brain cells Full Team
Project Leader:
Todd Kveton
tkveton@tamu.edu
Biology
Faculty Mentor:
Xiaorong Lin, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Learn skills of reading and writing academic literatures, being lab citizens, thinking in a scientific and logic way. Learn basic molecular cloning techniques that will be done in almost every biology-related lab you work in, such as PCR, restriction enzyme digestion, bacterial and fungal transformation. Learn to use different kinds of microscopes. Network with a Texas A&M Faculty member and a few Texas A&M post-docs
Team Needs:
A passion for biological research is greatly desired. An interest in the field of medical mycology is a plus. Expected to work independently and as well as in an interactive team environment. Completion of the free BL-2 Safety Training through Texas A&M is a requirement to work in the lab.
Description:
Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic human fungal pathogen causing more than half a million death each year. It undergoes dramatic morphological differentiation during its life cycles. The morphogenesis appears to be coupled with either bisexual or unisexual reproduction, during which ploidy reduction happens through meiosis. Cryptococcal infection is typically asymptomatic, and it either can be cleared or enter into a dormant form in the lungs. Polyploid titan cells have been observed in the infected lung tissues. After reactivation of C. neoformans, it can disseminate into the brain, where only haploid cells are observed, causing fetal meningitis. Based on the observations, we hypothesize that the polyploid titan cells may play roles in establishment of cryptococcal latency, and meiosis may happen in vivo to help cryptococcal ploidy reduction and dissemination. Recently, we identified the in vitro condition, under which the meiosis-blocked mutants show enlarge cell size and DNA content.To further test our hypothesis we will be generating several mutant strains with meiosis blocked in different steps to observe their effect on cell size and DNA content. In the future, we will test the effects of meiosis on cryptococcal latency and discrimination during infection in a mice model.
Summer 2016: Effects of Bisphenol A exposure on developing CNS Full Team
Project Leader:
Centura Anbarasu
cra1996@tamu.edu
Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Louise Abbott, DVM, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Chance to gain research experience, work with 2 different faculty members, and potential opportunities to continue working in the lab for future semesters.
Team Needs:
Strong work ethic and an interest in biomedical sciences or neuroscience.
Description:
The goal of this research project is to identify the effects of Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure on developing central nervous systems. We will use zebrafish as the model organism and investigate the damage to motor and sensory skills. Multiple techniques including immunohistochemistry, data analysis, and microscopic work will be used.
Summer 2016: Eating behaviors and stress Full Team
Project Leader:
Shelby Herrera
svh285@tamu.edu
Psychology
Faculty Mentor:
Sherecce Fields, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Students will earn insight on Clinical Psychology research and a possible opportunity of a spot at the lab for this upcoming Fall 2016 - Spring 2017 academic year.
Team Needs:
Looking for individuals who will work cohesively towards a goal and maintain a positive work environment.
Description:
Our lab focuses on examining the role of executive functioning in trans-disease processes. Specially how the lack of executive functioning in adolescents and emerging adults contributes to increased risk behavior during this developmental period. Specifically, this research project will aim for further understanding on eating behaviors among college students/ emerging adults/ adolescents when under stress. For any more information, please feel free to reach out at the email provided.
Summer 2016: Drug trials on trypanosoma Full Team
Project Leader:
Zakaria Abu-Adas
zakariaadas@tamu.edu
Biochemistry
Faculty Mentor:
Jorge Reyes, PhD.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Excellent opportunity to learn how to perform a drug trial, learn how to calculate specific cell product concentrations through bio-luminescence. Work is done in collaboration with 2 Texas A&M professors so it is an excellent chance to work with 2 faculty members.
Team Needs:
A solid understanding of Molecular genetic techniques, knowledge of cell growth phases, and a strong work ethic.
Description:
The project will entail testing the efficacy of different drug compounds on the halting of division of Trypanosoma Brucei. Meticulous care of cell cultures and punctuality in delivering drug and counting resulting cells will be necessary. We will do orthodox cell counting as well as bioluminscent counting of ATP product of cell lysate to determine cell viability after treatment with drug.
Summer 2016: Dissection of lipid signaling in plants Full Team
Project Leader:
Ruby Trejo
rtrejo8@tamu.edu
Chemistry
Faculty Mentor:
Hisashi Koiwa, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Presentation of research outcomes in various on-campus student symposia, co-authorship in the publication, and enrollment opportunities for HORT491/MEPS491 to conduct mentored research of their own.
Team Needs:
Interests in genetics, genetic engineering, molecular biology, microscopy, and chemistry. Hand skills to manipulate small objects.
Description:
In plants, abiotic stresses such as drought and salt stress induce lipid oxidation that leads to formation of diverse oxylipin chemicals. Oxylipins trigger various defense reactions including expression of genes involved in antioxidative defense, osmoprotection, antibiotic defense, and reprogramming cell division and differentiation. Depending on the environmental stimuli, plants produce different chemical signatures, i.e., blends, of oxylipins, that are likely tuned for triggering optimum defense responses, however, only little is known about identity and role of individual oxylipins, mainly due to the complex interaction of different oxylipin biosynthesis pathways that are coregulated during the stress responses. In this project, we will study plants that express a subset of oxylipin pathway. For this purpose, isoforms of maize lipoxygenase (LOX) genes were individually introduced in Arabidopsis thaliana. It is expected that each LOX is responsible for initiating oxylipin biosynthesis in distinct subcellular compartment, and generate unique oxylipin signatures. The research team will identify plants stably expressing LOX-GFP transgenes in segregating populations of transgenic plants. Using selected transgenic plants, the team will evaluate subcellular localization of LOX isoforms using fluorescent microscopes and stress tolerance parameters of transgenic plants using image-based root growth analysis and automated transpirational water loss analysis systems.
Summer 2016: Characterization of the progeny from sorghum bicolor x S. halepense intra-specific hybridization Full Team
Project Leader:
Tri Tran
tritran94@tamu.edu
Plant & Environmental Soil Science
Faculty Mentor:
Muthukumar Bagavathiannan, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Members of this research project will be able to be exposed to a variety of biology researching techniques from manipulating plant genetics in the lab to examining the plant phenotype in the greenhouse. The project is leading by an experienced undergraduates student under the instruction of a pos-doc and supervised by a professor. Students may have a chance to attend the conference and become a member of the Weed Identification Team in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. Students participating this projects will hands-on experience as well as communication skills in the friendly professional environment.
Team Needs:
The project requires undergraduates to have knowledge in biology/ genetic field and the passion in conducting plant biology experiment.
Description:
ultivated sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) and the common weedy relative johnson grass (S. halepense) have the potential to out cross and exchange traits. Crop sorghum is an annual, diploid (2n=20) species, whereas johnsongrass is a tetraploid (2n=40) perennial species, capable of producing underground rhizomes. The ability for out crossing between the two species presents challenges to the successful deployment of novel traits in crop sorghum. Although gene flow is known to occur between the species, little is known on the characteristics of the hybrid progeny. Because crop sorghum is a diploid and johnson grass is a tetraploid, the hybrids are typically expected to be sterile triploids, but not always. Preliminary crosses conducted under controlled environment have also yielded fertile tetraploids through unreduced gamete formation in crop sorghum. Little is known on the overall genotype and phenotype of such hybrids and frequency of occurrence, knowledge of which is critical for developing effective gene flow mitigation/management tactics. Experiments will be conducted to determine the ploidy (chromosome number), rhizome production potential, plant height and other growth habits, seed characteristics, among others. Additionally, simple sequence repeat markers will be used to characterize the genetic similarities among the hybrids and their parents.
Summer 2016: Big data system for cardiac disease prediction Full Team
Project Leader:
Trang Le
trangle173@tamu.edu
Industrial Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Satish Bukkapatnam, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
This project will help students utilize their academic knowledge in real world problems.
Team Needs:
Sophomore and junior students majoring in industrial engineering. Students interested in data analysis.
Description:
Using image processing method to convert patient information into a data warehouse. Next, develop a classification method to use the data from the warehouse to predict a cardiac disease condition with high sensitivity and specificity (low type II and type I error).
Summer 2016: Programmable isolated heart preparation Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Cole Nipper
cnipper@tamu.edu
Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Ranjeet Dongaonkar, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Description:
The heart is very sensitive to its loading conditions, making it difficult to study rigorously in vivo. A Langendorff system can be used to characterize cardiac function by using retrograde perfusion to maintain a heart beating in vitro. The classical Langendorff system has been used to study changes in cardiac function under a great number of conditions, including the response to ischemia, antiarrhythmic drugs, and myocardial stem-cell therapy. However, a standard Langendorff setup is limited, because it does not typically control the volume of the left ventricle dynamically. Previously reported modifications that rely on mechanical pistons to control ventricular volume are expensive and are not fully customizable. We therefore modified a Langendorff system to include a user-friendly, computer-driven piston to control left-ventricular volume. The purpose of this project is to refine this device and begin isolated cardiac experiments.
Summer 2016: Utrophin expression in golden retriever muscular dystrophy dog Full Team
Project Leader:
Sara Mata
smata05@tamu.edu
Veterinary Integrative Biosciences
Faculty Mentor:
Peter Nghiem, DVM, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
2 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Working primarily with dog biopsies with the potential to work with human biopsies. Molecular work, including protein studies, will be performed in the laboratory of Dr. Joe Kornegay at the Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building. Potential access and hands-on experience with the dog colony performing pup’s feeding shifts.
Team Needs:
BBP and BL2 training is needed. Interest in veterinary medicine and science. Self-motivated students. Ability to keep track of their work. Good communication skills. Ability to analyze data and to work in a team-based environment.
Description:
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a X-linked, recessive disorder that affects one in every 5,000 males worldwide. DMD is a muscular illness caused by the lack of expression of dystrophin protein, resulting in progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. There is no effective treatment for DMD to date and some studies are conducted on GRMD (a Golden Retriever dog model for DMD) to evaluate pathogenesis and therapies. Current therapeutic trials are focused on alternative proteins to supply the dystrophin function. In this project, the study of Utrophin protein (UTRN) will be the main focus. Utrophin is a protein expressed in early development that gets replaced at early age in healthy muscle by dystrophin. The age related expression of UTRN in GRMD dogs would be studied and compared to DMD biopsies samples as well as the mouse model for DMD (mdx). If the current dog colony located at Texas A&M increases, teaching will be done on feeding and keeping track of dog’s biometrical variances.
Summer 2016: Reactions of preservice teachers to an inquiry-based learning experience: a mixed methods study Full Team
Project Leader:
Luke Lyons
lukelyons@tamu.edu
Curriculum & Instruction
Faculty Mentor:
Carol Stuessy, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
7 (Team Full)
Team Needs:
Strong writers, ability to work with an interdisciplinary team, classroom experience (observations) is preferential, basic statistics knowledge.
Description:
Elementary and middle school preservice teachers at Texas A&M University face the challenge of learning methods to foster a more student-centered and authentic learning environment. This is especially important in the science classroom of today. Upon graduation, all of these preservice teachers will have progressed to becoming fully certified teachers in Texas. Integrated within the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) are process standards that require students from Kindergarten through high school to plan and conduct their own investigations. Inquiry should be method of instruction that all teachers have a capability to use within the classroom, as well as it being a defined process standard within every grade of the science TEKS. However, preservice teachers convey an inability to conduct inquiry within the classroom, thus having an initial unenthusiastic attitude towards inquiry-based learning. This mixed methods study will measure preservice teachers’ attitudes towards science and inquiry-based learning. An embedded research design will be used with qualitative data embedded within a major experiential intervention that is encompassed in a larger quantitative study. Pre and post surveys, prior to and after an inquiry known as “Squishy Circuits," will be used to quantitatively test and analyze the attitudes towards science and inquiry-based learning for pre-service teachers at Texas A&M University. The qualitative data will be embedded in this larger experiential intervention during the inquiry experience where observational data using the Math and Science Classroom Observational Protocol System (M-SCOPS) will be collected, along with post experience focus groups with the preservice teachers.
Summer 2016: Functional characterization of porcine mesenteric lymphatic vessels Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Vinay Khanijow
vpk97@tamu.edu
Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Ranjeet Dongaonkar, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Potential co-authorship of publications, research experience, resume, leadership and team cooperation skills.
Team Needs:
Willing to contribute outside of meeting times viz online assignments. Basic computer knowledge, literature review, equipment use and safety training.
Description:
Earlier studies of large animal (cow and sheep) lymphatic vessels demonstrated the critical role of lymphatic system in interstitial fluid balance as well as transport of fats and immune cells. Recent studies using small animal lymphatic models suggest that lymphatic molecular makeup and signaling pathways, and therefore the lymphatic responses to similar stimuli may significantly differ between species. Furthermore, these lymphatic models may also significantly differ from human lymphatics. Although, porcine cardiovascular models have been considered to closely mimic human cardiovascular responses, porcine lymphatic vessels have yet to be studied thoroughly. Therefore, the goal of our project is to characterize functional and biomechanical responses of porcine mesenteric lymphatic vessels.
Summer 2016: Effect of Exercise on porcine mesenteric lymphatic vessels Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Vinay Khanijow
Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Ranjeet Dongaonkar, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Co-authorship of publications, research experience, resume, leadership and team cooperation skills.
Team Needs:
Basic computer knowledge, article researching ,equipment use and safety.
Description:
Lymphatic Vessels have you susceptibility to bind to fat molecules. The build up of fat molecules on lymphatic vessels can greatly reduce lymphatic vessel function and contractibility. Our experiment will analyze if exercise has an effect on reducing the fat molecules around the vessels and help increase the function of the them as well.
Summer 2016: The effect of low-dose ionizing radiation on lymphatic endothelial cells Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Elizabeth Harper
bethharper@tamu.edu
Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Ranjeet Dongaonkar, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Skills learned/developed: How to use an Olympus inverted microscope, how to use MetaFlour Fluorescence Imaging Software, how to handle cultured rat lymphatic endothelial cells, how to handle and use chemicals/drugs such as Trypan Blue, Trypsin, Accumax, DMSO, DAF and Fura 2 AM, how to conduct cell viability studies, how to conduct intercellular calcium and nitric oxide studies
Description:
Lymphatic vessels periodically contract and relax to actively pump lymph, transport immune cells, and are critical to maintain organ health. Lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) regulate pump function by releasing vasoactive factors, nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandins, in response to altered lymph flow and composition. It is understood that enhanced LEC NO production induces lymphatic pump failure and leads to organ dysfunction. Although recent radiation studies have reported loss of lymphatic function, effects of low-dose ionizing radiation on LECs have yet to be investigated thoroughly. Therefore, the goal of these studies to investigate the mechanisms by which low-dose ionizing radiation induces LEC dysfunction. Findings from these studies are expected to form the basis for the development of novel therapeutic strategies to treat organ dysfunction in radiotherapy patients.
Summer 2016: Into the field: raising preservice teacher’s efficacy for working with English language learners Full Team
Project Leader:
Randy Garver
ragbear@tamu.edu
Teaching, Learning, & Culture
Faculty Mentor:
Zohreh Eslami, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Recieve a $100 Walmart gift card. Gain experience in qualitative research. Possibility of co-authoring a scholarly publication.
Team Needs:
Expected to work 3 hours per week (1-2 hours outside of weekly meeting time). Strong writing skills. Self-motivated. Able to complete tasks in timely fashion. Ability to work with an interdisciplinary team. Ability to analyze qualitative data. Previous experience observing classrooms. Schedule somewhat flexible.
Description:
Preservice teachers generally feel unprepared to work with English language learners (ELLs) (Siwatu, 2011). Cultural competency and understanding of second language acquisition (SLA) directly influence preservice teachers’ perceived sense of efficacy for working with ELLs. Service-learning with ELLs can positively change teacher efficacy with ELLs. In this study, preservice teachers have engaged in service-learning activities with ELLs in different types of educational settings during an ESL methods course. Research question: How do different types of ELL service-learning experiences (prek-6, university intensive English program, community adult ESL) affect preservice teachers’ self-efficacy for teaching English language learners? Using purposeful sampling, the researcher will analyze field reflections from preservice teachers who visited these types of locations during the year 2014. Reflections will be coded to highlight how interactions with ELLs at different locations impact teachers’ cultural competence and understanding of SLA, and thus alter their perceived efficacy for working with this student population.
Summer 2016: Chemical ecology of endophytes in cotton Full Team
Project Leader:
Cody Gale
CodyGale@tamu.edu
Entymology
Faculty Mentor:
Gregory Sword, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Students will be provided a unique opportunity to explore chemical ecology through both entomological, microbiological, and agricultural perspectives. Conferences and publications are always a possibility, they depend on the quality of the research performed, not necessarily the results obtained. Dr. Sword is likely to give serious consideration to students who wish to join the lab as graduate students if they showed promise as a motivated undergraduate.
Team Needs:
I would prefer student who prefer to work in blocks of time ~4 hrs.
Description:
I need a team to assist in the execution of experiments needed to understand the endophytic colonization of cotton and its ecological implications. The goal of this research is to manipulate the fungal microbiome of cotton plants and understand how those manipulations affect plant-insect interactions. Although this work is focused on the cotton crop system, I will be teaching students experimental designs, microbiology lab techniques, plant-insect behavioral assays, and chemical analysis techniques that can be applied across many fields of study. The focus of my dissertation is specifically aimed at understanding how the manipulation of the fungal endophyte microbiome affects the profile of volatile organic compounds being emitted from cotton. I will guide students through the procedures needed to set up the experiments that I perform, but the purpose of forming this research group is to have students perform experiments that compliment my own. There is much we do not know about the efficiency and effectiveness of our experimental manipulations, but there is a list of relatively straight-forward experiments that can be carried out to help our understanding. Students interested in participating should have a desire to take responsibility for at least one of these experiments completely and perform the research at a quality suited for presentation at a research conference or possibly publication. Involved students will learn small-scale agricultural experimental design in greenhouses and the field, microbe culturing techniques and working in a sterile environment, chemical extraction and analysis techniques, and bioassay techniques for studying plant-insect interactions.
Summer 2016: Cardiac adaptation to wall stress Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Fazal Dalal
fdalal5@tamu.edu
Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Randolph Stewart, DVM, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Description:
The twin fields of cardiovascular physiology and cardiac mechanobiology have typically studied independently/ On one hand, cardiovascular physiologists are interested in how ventricular stroke volumes and blood pressures emerge from the complex interaction of the heart and the vasculature. Cardiac contractility, characterized by the slope of the end-systolic pressure-volume relationship, is only one of many factors determining ventricular pressure and stroke volume. The result of cardiac adaptation is characterized by changes in contractility. On the other hand, cardiac mechanobiologists are interested in how tissue stresses result in structural remodeling. Ventricular pressures and volumes are viewed only as boundary conditions that affect wall stress. The stimulus for cardiac adaptation is wall stress. The need to integrate these two fields becomes clear when considering that wall stress affects contractility, and changes in contractility in turn, affects wall stress. Using a simple closed loop model and a simple assumed ventricular geometry, we integrate these two approaches. First, wall stress is found to be a bimodal function of contractility. Second, we make the common assumption that contractility adapts so that it increases with wall stress. These two functions, representing the fundamental assumptions of cardiovascular physiology and cardiovascular mechanobiology, result in a simple balance point that predicts equilibrium contractility. The purpose of the present project therefore is to use the insight arising from mathematical modeling to explore cardiac adaptation in health and disease.
Summer 2016: The racial dynamics of neoliberalism: free markets and mass incarceration in contemporary America Full Team
Project Leader:
Patrick Anderson
anderspa@tamu.edu
Philosophy
Faculty Mentor:
Tommy J. Curry, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
Summer 2016 (complete)
Team Size:
5 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
This project aims to help undergraduates produce independent or group projects that result in either conference presentations or publications. The specifics of these opportunities will be worked out once the team is assembled and each member has stated their personal goals.
Team Needs:
Summer 1 Enrollment Required. Experience in history, sociology, political science, philosophy, economics, or legal studies would be helpful, but any self-motivated student interested in the project is welcome to apply.
Description:
This project will pursue an interdisciplinary investigation into the simultaneous rise of neoliberal economic theory and mass incarceration in 1970s America. Drawing on history, sociology, philosophy, legal studies, economics, and political science, we will seek to provide an explanation for the connections between the War on Drugs, the prison-industrial complex, deindustrialization, deregulation, economic stratification, and demographic concerns (race and gender). Students will receive training in research methods, textual analysis, argument synthesis, academic writing, and interdisciplinarity. Unlike most Liberal Arts research into the nature of neoliberalism (Marxism and poststructuralism), this project will take a racial realist approach to these questions; however, if a student decides to pursue an individual project, they are free to use any method they prefer.
Spring 2016: Determining the optimum dosage of recycling agents for recycled asphalt mixtures Full Team
Project Leader:
Fan Yin
taizhongyinfan@tamu.edu
Civil Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Amy Epps-Martin, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Exploring research fields in recycled asphalt materials
Team Needs:
Interests in asphalt pavement materials.
Description:
The benefits of using recycled materials including reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) and recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) in asphalt pavement construction operations include economics, conservation of natural resources, reduction in energy consumption, and reduction in emissions. Though these benefits are substantial, the incorporation of RAP and/or RAS into asphalt mixture operations is not without challenges. For example, mix design of these mixtures is becoming more complicated and more time consuming particularly with higher recycled binder ratios (RBR). In addition, the potential for the following construction and performance issues is also increased as the high RBR mixtures are stiff and brittle: thermal cracking, fatigue cracking, reflective cracking, and raveling. Mitigation of these construction and performance issues can be addressed through mix design with the use of higher binder contents, material selection with the use of softer binders, or additives such as recycling agents. Although recycling agents have been widely used by highway agencies and contractors to rejuvenate the recycled asphalt mixtures, a standard procedure to determine the optimum dosage of the recycling agents has not been established yet. Therefore, the objective of this research project is to determine the optimum dosage of the recycling agents for recycled asphalt mixtures.
Spring 2016: What is a dune? Improving ability to extract features from remote sensing data Full Team
Project Leader:
Phil Wernette
wernett9@tamu.edu
Geography
Faculty Mentor:
Chris Houser, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
5 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Co-authorship on publications from this research. Opportunities to preset this research at Student Research Week and possibly additional conferences.
Team Needs:
Diverse set of skills, with at least one team member with strong GIS skills.
Description:
Traditional approaches to identifying and differentiating landscape features and landforms from the landscape remain time-intensive and highly subjective, which limit our ability to assess changes over large geographic areas. Subjectivity due to the person interpreting the features introduces spatially variable amount of error into the change assessment. The purpose of this project is to expand on existing approaches and develop new approaches for objectively differentiating landscape features, which can be automated. The project will utilize existing geographic information systems (GIS) and work to develop new custom approaches. Team members may have the opportunity to be listed as co-authors on publications and/or presentations related to this research. It is also possible that team members may present this research at Student Research Week and/or one or more regional/national professional conferences.
Spring 2016: Population variability and the teratogenic effects of exposure to dioxin during pregnancy Full Team
Affiliations:
TAMHSC MCMD
Project Leader:
Faculty Mentor:
David Threadgill, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
8 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Throughout this research experience you will explore the fields of Toxicology, Reproductive and Developmental Biology, and Genetics. You will also get the opportunity to earn co-authorship on publications, and potentially present findings at local conferences.
Team Needs:
No previous experience required. Weekly and Mid-Semester Evaluations
Description:
2, 3, 7, 8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD, dioxin) is a well known toxin that exhibits carcinogenic and deleterious effects on various tissues and organs. The general population is exposed to this persistent, environmental bioaccumulant daily through ingestion of common foods and exposure to everyday products (i.e. eggs, milk, hygiene products, plastics, etc.). Dioxin exposure during pregnancy is a particular concern as it heightens the risk of fetal malformations. While susceptibility to many toxins vary among individuals due to genetic differences, current studies of the teratogenic effects of dioxin do not take inter-individual variability into account when evaluating exposure risks. Our study aims to evaluate the effects of dioxin exposure on pregnant females and their embryos in genetically diverse mice to determine how genetic background impacts susceptibility.
Spring 2016: Mechanism-based screening for environmental pollutants and adverse drug interactions Full Team
Project Leader:
Meichen Wang
mwang@cvm.tamu.edu
Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology
Faculty Mentor:
Yanan Tian, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Team Needs:
Previous laboratory experience is not required, and all science-relate majors are welcome.
Description:
Environmental contaminants such as dioxin, bisphenol A, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), as well as numerous clinical drugs are known as the xenobiotics.  These xenobiotic compounds can cause physiological and pathophysiological responses in human and animals, and therefore need to be eliminated through a receptor-regulated detoxification system. The receptors involved in the metabolic detoxification system are known as the xenobiotic receptors, which include the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) and pregnane X receptor (PXR). Our laboratory investigates the roles of these xenobiotic receptors as the “sensor and effectors” in regulating toxic responses as well as metabolic detoxification processes and utilizes these receptor-toxicant interactions for screening and analysis of environmental contaminants as well as herbal medicines for potential adverse drug interactions. We will use PXR and AhR-based screening systems to learn the mechanism whereby the xenobiotic compound regulating physiological processes by interacting with the receptors. Students are also encouraged to attend the VTPP676 (a stacked course of VTPP489 for undergraduate students is being developed) in Spring 2016 to learn more extensively the xenobiotic/drug metabolism and detoxification.
Spring 2016: Surgical techniques for functional genomics Full Team
Project Leader:
Faculty Mentor:
David Threadgill, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
2 (Team Full)
Team Needs:
Previous laboratory experience is not required, and all science-related majors are invited to apply. We are aiming to automate the genotyping process as much as possible, so a biomedical engineer major who is interested in working on this aspect of the project is encouraged to apply.
Description:
We are investigating the function of different genes and the mechanisms underlying sex-specific effects of diet. One aspect of this project will investigate the role of Oprd1, a gene that has been previously linked to differential ethanol consumption, in regulating ethanol metabolism in the liver. Techniques to surgically denervate the liver will be developed and used to investigate whether OPRD1 activity in the central nervous system regulates liver metabolism. The second aspect will be to perform oophorectomy and orchiectomy to determine the role of sex hormones in regulating sex-specific responses to dietary interventions. Follow-up functional studies will be performed in the mice.
Spring 2016: Molecular genetic techniques and cancer suppressors Full Team
Project Leader:
Faculty Mentor:
David Threadgill, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
7 (Team Full)
Team Needs:
Previous laboratory experience is not required, and all science-related majors are invited to apply. We are aiming to automate the genotyping process as much as possible, so a biomedical engineer major who is interested in working on this aspect of the project is encouraged to apply.
Description:
Mus musculus, commonly known as the house mouse, is a powerful research model for human physiology and disease. Our laboratory maintains a breeding colony of over 50 inbred strains of mice that are used in various research projects that investigate the interaction between genetic background and various endpoints including physiological responses to diet, cancer susceptibilities, and effects of toxin exposure. As a first step for these projects, many of the mice must be genotyped to maintain the breeding lines as well as provide mice with specific alleles for the various experimental groups. This research team will extract DNA from mouse tissue, perform polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and analyze the PCR products by gel electrophoresis to determine the genotype of the mice. The team will create Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for various laboratory methodologies, and work to automate many assays using robots within the lab. Mastery of these skills and other general laboratory techniques will provide a strong foundation for future molecular research. Team members that complete the required mouse handling trainings can assist in tissue collection and weaning within the mouse rooms. Additionally, this team will participate in the genetic analysis of cancer suppressor genes. Two genetic systems are being used, one is a modifier analysis of PTEN signaling using a transgenic line with a reporter phenotype, the second is the genetic mapping of strong colon cancer resistance loci using a backcross between cancer resistant and susceptible mouse strains.
Spring 2016: Characterizing gene expression regulation by the chromatin remodeler CHD8 Full Team
Project Leader:
Jessica Tracy
j-tracy@tamu.edu
Biochemistry
Faculty Mentor:
Gary Kunkel, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
2 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
You will learn basic molecular biology techniques such as cloning and site-directed mutatgensis,as well as more advanced techniques such as CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology and high resolution melt analysis.
Description:
CHD8 is a chromatin remodeler that has recently been linked to autism spectrum disorder. Little is known about CHD8. Our lab is investigating the role CHD8 plays in embryonic development of the model organism zebrafish. We are particularly interested in the role CHD8 plays in brain and heart development.
Spring 2016: Influences of diet, genetics, and gut microbiome on health Full Team
Project Leader:
David Thornberg
dcthornberg@tamu.edu
Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
David Threadgill, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Potential for attending conferences and co-authorship
Description:
Previous research in our lab has shown that individuals’ response to diet is dependent upon their genetic background. Many studies have shown that diet and genetic background can influence gut microbiome composition (the composite of all microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract), which in turn is associated with health status. This team will investigate the effects of genetic background and diet on a broad range of health phenotypes in four genetically diverse mouse strains. The team will perform DNA extractions, sequencing, and bioinformatics. This research will allow a better understanding of how diet and genetic background influence the gut microbiome to alter the overall health of individuals.
Spring 2016: Low-dose ionizing radiation induced lymphatic pump failure Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Emily Thompson
emilyathompson@tamu.edu
Radiological Health Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Ranjeet Dongaonkar, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Description:
Radiation-induced enteropathy (intestinal dysfunction) is a critical problem in 100% of radiotherapy patients receiving treatment for cancerous tumors in the abdominal cavity. Although low-dose fractioned radiation exposure does not damage DNA or cause cell death, it has been reported to cause intestinal edema, dysmotility, diarrhea, and malabsorption. Such enteropathy not only significantly decreases the quality of life in cancer survivors but also limits the maximum radiation dose and thus the effectiveness of radiotherapy for cancer treatment. Mesenteric lymphatic vessels drain intestinal interstitial fluid, transport fats, immune cells and are critical for normal functionality of the digestive system. Dysfunction of mesenteric lymphatic vessels leads to compromised digestive and immune system functionality with symptoms observed similar to radiation-induced enteropathy. Although recent studies have demonstrated lymphatic chronic dysfunction following high-dose radiation, acute effects of low-dose ionizing radiation on lymphatic vessels of the gut have yet to be investigated thoroughly. Therefore, we hypothesize that low-dose ionizing radiation induces mesenteric lymphatic pump failure. To test this hypothesis, first, we will expose rat abdomens to low-dose ionizing radiation. Next, we will evaluate the pump function of isolated mesenteric lymphatic vessels in vitro by characterizing changes in lymphatic contraction frequency and stroke volume. Findings from these studies by successful completion of the proposed work is expected to form the basis for development of novel therapeutic strategies for treating enteropathy by restoring mesenteric lymphatic pump function. The knowledge gained from these studies is also expected to advance current understanding of basic lymphatic biology and provide insights into the role of lymphatic dysfunction in radiation-induced morbidity in other organs.
Spring 2016: Video analysis of aeolian saltation Full Team
Project Leader:
Christy Swann, Ph.D.
cswann@tamu.edu
Geology & Geophysics
Faculty Mentor:
Ryan Ewing, PhD
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
2 (Team Full)
Description:
The purpose of this research is to determine the degree of error associated with visually defining the threshold for aeolian saltation. The research group will use two disparate approaches to define the threshold of motion. The first method requires analyzing video frames to count the physical number of particles moving in aeolian saltation. The second method involves a video survey where academics visually define the threshold for aeolian saltation. These two students will work together to correlate the survey response with quantitative data of the number of particles moving at each user-defined threshold of motion.
Spring 2016: Electron beam (eBeam) applications in packaging materials and space food Full Team
Project Leader:
Shima Shayanfar
shimika@tamu.edu
Food Science & Technology
Faculty Mentor:
Suresh Pillai, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
The candidates will have significant opportunity to be exposed to and develop competency in microbiology, food science and eBeam technology. Opportunities to develop scientific and technical writing skills. Individuals who make a substantial contribution to research projects will be considered for co-authorships on technical articles.
Team Needs:
Previous laboratory experience is a plus, and all science-related majors are invited to apply.
Description:
Electron beam is a non-thermal irradiation technology for ensuring safety and inactivating of microorganisms without compromising the quality. We would apply this technology in three phases within this study, Phase I: Understanding microbial metabolomic responses to irradiation in fresh produce. Phase II: immobilizing health beneficial phytochemicals on packaging materials. Phase III: Incorporating eBeam technology to develop the next generation of space foods for manned space missions.
Spring 2016: Primary determinants of ejection fraction Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Steven Shao
stevenshao@tamu.edu
Biomedical Science
Faculty Mentor:
Randolph Stewart, DVM, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Presentation at student Research Week, Research experience working with an experienced faculty.
Team Needs:
Writing and editing skills.
Description:
Cardiovascular diseases make up the leading cause of death in the United States and around the world. Estimates of left ventricular ejection fraction are widely used clinical indices to track cardiac performance and progression of heart disease. Ejection fraction is defined as the ratio of stroke volume over end-diastolic volume of a ventricle. However, it is not that simple. Clinicians run into a phenomenon in which patients with and without heart failure would appear to have the same ejection fraction. This is problematic to any clinician using this value to diagnose heart failure. This project aims to define the primary determinants of ejection fraction by further expanding and understand the implications each parameter involves. Team members will gain a foundation of the cardiovascular system while learning the fundamentals of research and modeling.
Spring 2016: Hydraulic fracture initiation and propagation in shales Full Team
Project Leader:
Sergei Parsegov
parsegov@tamu.edu
Petroleum Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
David Schechter, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Exploring your field, attending a conferences/trainings/audit PETE courses, earning co-authorship on publications, OR/AND becoming a full member of your research group.
Team Needs:
Reading and writing skills, lab work with rocks (mechanical testing, SEM/EDS measurement), statistics, geomechanics, geology, geophysics, MATLAB, C/C++, Java, ImageJ
Description:
Hydraulic fracturing (HF) is a key method to assure production from Ultra Low Permeability (ULP) reservoirs. Miller et al. (2011) showed that on average 30% of all HF stages are not producing and 1/3 of the stages result in 2/3 of production. According to Shlyapobersky (1985) Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics (LEFM) does not properly describe failure of quasi-brittle rocks and HF propagation. Numerous experiments provided Net pressure(Pnet) inside the fracture higher than expected from LEFM. Therefore, there must be some additional loss of energy other than that predicted by LEFM. Considerable effort has been exerted to match Pnet by the extended LEFM. This includes tip effects, near wellbore tortuosity, variable K1c, bedding planes, HF height confinement uncertainty, mixed fracture opening modes (Mode I and Mode II) and perhaps other phenomenon. Our current understanding of the phenomenon of fracture initiation and propagation is limited to grid block averaged parameters: fracture toughness (K1C), horizontal stresses (σHmax and σHmin), Poisson’s ratio (ν), and Plain Strain Modulus (E'=E/(1- ν^2 )), etc. Warpinsky and Teufel (1987) concluded from Nevada mineback experiments that geological discontinuities that are favorably located can lead to parallel fracture propagation. Fisher et al (2004) founded that in Barnett shale there is strong evidence of interaction of HF and the Natural Fracture (NF) system. Miller et. al. (2010) referred to strong relations between the presence of NF, stress distribution and mineralogy. Gale et al. (2007) and Landry et al. (2014) observed for Barnett shale and Eagle Ford shale respectively that SEM is capable of distinguishing between natural and artificially induced fractures. This leads to the idea to measure rock properties and texture features on multiple scales. Analysis of multiscale heterogeneity will provide new physics driven methods of multistage HF design optimization.
Spring 2016: Pathology of colorectal cancer progression Full Team
Project Leader:
Faculty Mentor:
David Threadgill, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
7 (Team Full)
Description:
It has been recently shown that metastatic progression of some cancers has a significant inherited component. Our lab has developed a mouse model that can be used to investigate how genetic background and cooperating alleles interact to affect metastasis. Histological analysis is used to determine the progression of the cancer into underlying tissues and to compare invasiveness between various experimental groups. Using the same methodologies used in human histopathology analysis, team members will prepare tissue samples and use various stains (including hematoxylin and eosin staining and immunohistochemistry) for histological analysis of cancer samples from other projects.
Spring 2016: Mechanical determinants of heart failure Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Alejandra Morfin
a.morfin16@tamu.edu
Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Christopher Quick, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Scientifically significant contributions to the manuscript will be recognized by co-auhorship.
Description:
This research project is focused on heart failure and its interaction with the closed-loop system. The worst symptoms of heart failure occur via two mechanisms. The first occurs when cardiac output is extremely low and is paired with increased resistance caused by vasoconstriction, which leads to the "cold" stage of heart failure. On the other hand, the second manifestation occurs when blood volume is increased as well as pulmonary congestion causes the patient to enter the "wet" stage of heart failure. In both cases, the patient is outside a normal homeostatic range, which can be treated by raising or lowering blood volume. In order to determine the mechanical properties of the heart and vasculature, we have taken a different approach to simplify this standard model. Three strategies were employed: 1) assuming the minimal closed-loop model, 2) linearizing all model equations, and 3) assuming systemic resistance was a variable and systemic arterial pressure was a constant parameter. Constraining the complexity of the closed-loop model yielded general algebraic formulas for cardiac output and systemic venous pressure. These simplifying strategies yielded a novel alternative to Guyton’s classical graph, the first algebraic formulas that incorporate the baroreflex, and a simple formula for a physiological range of circulatory filling pressure. Combining these elements with how they manifest in heart failure is the biggest challenge we face. This project is in an advanced stage, and will shortly yield a manuscript for submission.
Spring 2016: Effects of proximal tubule-capillary interaction on renal function Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Scott Mash
SMash@cvm.tamu.edu
Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Christopher M. Quick, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
6 (Team Full)
Team Needs:
Backgrounds in engineering, physics, or physiology.
Description:
Most fluid reabsorption in the kidney occurs in the nephron’s proximal tubule (~65%). Alhough the equations governing flows across proximal tubule and peritubular capillary membranes are known, interaction among the mechanical properties balancing tubule reabsorption and capillary uptake has yet to be elucidated. Current understanding of tubular-capillary fluid balance is therefore piecemeal; and experimental design and interpretation remain difficult. While computational models have examined tubular reabsorption, numerical solutions are particularly sensitive and specific to chosen parameters and do not qualify underlying mechanics of multi-dimensional systems well. Two tools have yet to be applied: analytical and graphical balance point methods. Analytical approaches provide generalized algebraic solutions that reveal the qualitative relationships among mechanical properties. Balance point analysis can also be used to understand how complex subsystems interact. Therefore, the purpose of the present work is to provide analytical solutions and graphical balance point representation to characterize complex mechanical interactions underlying tubular-capillary fluid balance.
Spring 2016: Inducible colorectal cancer disease Full Team
Project Leader:
Rachel Lynch, Ph.D.
rlynch@medicine.tamhsc.edu
Molecular & Cellular Medicine
Faculty Mentor:
David Threadgill, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Team Needs:
Previous laboratory experience is not required, and all science-related majors are invited to apply. Candidates must be willing to work with mice and take the required mouse handling trainings.
Description:
Somatic mutations in a variety of tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes are associated with progression of colorectal cancer. In this study, we utilize Cre-lox mediated site-directed recombination in mice to induce activation of inactivation of specific genes associated with colon cancer in humans in order to compare the effects of these mutations within the colonic epithelium. Team members will assist in setting up mouse mating crosses to obtain the desired allelic combinations, inject a steroid-derived compound in the mice to initiate recombination at the desired time, assist in local delivery of adeno-viral cre (for those that have completed BSL-2 training), perform colonoscopies, and participate in necropsies of the mice to analyze the resulting colonic epithelium and cancer progression.
Spring 2016: Supermileage Full Team
Affiliations:
Project Leader:
Parisa Khodabakhshi
prs.khodabakhshi@gmail.com
Civil Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Andrea Strzelec, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
15 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
The opportunity to be fully funded to compete at an international competition and apply technical skills to solve real world problems.
Team Needs:
Interest in engineering design
Description:
SAE Supermileage is a challenging international design competition for engineering and technology students. It involves design, and construction of a single-person fuel-efficient vehicle. The goal is to obtain the highest MPG across a specified course. All vehicles will use the same engine donated by sponsors of the competition. The difference shows up in the design of the vehicle itself. For the first time, Texas A&M University has recruited an all-women team by the name Women in Engineering TAMU to participate in the competition. The team consists of female students from various engineering departments working together to come up with the design of the vehicle and constructing it. This and similar other projects pave the way for female students to become aware of their competencies and to gain the confidence for their future career goals.
Spring 2016: Effects of low-dose ionizing radiation on lymphatic vessels under isovolumetric conditions Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Vinay Khanijow
vpk97@tamu.edu
Biomedical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Ranjeet Dongaonkar, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Potential co-authorship of publications, research experience, resume, leadership and team cooperation skills.
Team Needs:
Willing to contribute outside of meeting times
Description:
Low-dose ionizing radiation, although used successfully for cancer treatment, has been reported to induce enteropathy (intestinal dysfunction). Early toxicity causing bowel edema, dysmotility, diarrhea, malabsorption, and inflammation manifests within hours to days of radiotherapy. Mesenteric lymphatic vessels drain excess intestine fluid and transport fats and lymphocytes, and compromised lymphatic function is known to produce symptoms similar to those observed with radiation-induced enteropathy. Yet, virtually nothing is known about the effects of ionizing radiation on pump function of the mesenteric lymphatic vessels and their role in radiation-induced enteropathy. Recent studies investigating chronic effects of high-dose radiation have reported decreased lymphatic muscle function. However, acute effects of low-dose radiation on lymphatic muscle properties have yet to be investigated thoroughly. Therefore, the hypothesis of this study is that low-dose ionizing radiation decreases lymphatic muscle contractility. In order to test this hypothesis, we will first expose rat abdomens to low-dose radiation. Then, we will analyze the ability of lymphatic muscles to generate tension in vitro under isovolumic conditions. Upon successful completion, the study is expected to yield findings that are able to support the development of novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of enteropathy in radiotherapy patients. In addition, the study is anticipated to provide additional knowledge to supplement the current understanding of lymphatic mechanisms.
Spring 2016: Control of rodent pests using genetic engineering Full Team
Project Leader:
Dona Kanavy
kanavy@tamu.edu
Faculty Mentor:
David Threadgill, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Team Needs:
Previous laboratory experience is not required, and all science-related majors are invited to apply.
Description:
There has been a long history of genetic pest management preformed in insects, but not in mammals. This project is part of a large multidisciplinary program that aims to eradicate invasive mouse populations on islands by genetically engineering a mouse model that will have only male progeny, thus skewing the sex ratios and crashing the mouse population. Team members will design a DNA construct containing a target sequence and CRISPR genes. The construct will then be inserted into fertilized eggs and injected into pseudopregnant mice. If the construct is successfully integrated into the germ line of the developing embryos, the transgene will be passed down to subsequent generations. This team will also be applied to other rodent species through the development of stem cells lines that can be manipulated. Team members will learn skills such as sterile technique, making media, harvesting cells from mice, splitting and maintaining cells, and thawing and freezing cells.
Spring 2016: Chemo-prevention of cancer and obesity Full Team
Project Leader:
Selene Howe
syf@tamu.edu
Faculty Mentor:
David Threadgill, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
10 (Team Full)
Team Needs:
Previous laboratory experience is not required, and all science-related majors are invited to apply. Candidates must be willing to work with mice and take the required mouse handling trainings.
Description:
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors are used in the clinic as a molecule-targeted cancer therapeutic. There is evidence that treatment is most successful before cancer is established, therefore raising the question of whether this drug can safely be used as a chemo-preventative. Additional evidence suggests that EGFR inhibitors may reduce the deposition of fat reducing the incidence of metabolic syndrome. Factors that may limit the success of this drug are cardio and other toxicities. This project will be looking at the success of sub-therapeutic doses of an EGFR inhibitor on preventing spontaneous tumors in four genetically different lines of mice. The metabolic and toxicity state of mice is to be observed through a series of tests that will occur monthly. Students will clinically phenotype mice using measurements like blood pressure, cardiac ultrasounds, MRI, glucose tolerance, urine collection, and food and water consumption.
Spring 2016: Role of oxidative stress during disuse-induced skeletal muscle atrophy Full Team
Project Leader:
Faculty Mentor:
John Lawler, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Team members could earn co-authorship on abstracts and/or manuscripts.
Description:
Skeletal muscle is a dynamic tissue capable of adapting to alterations in external loading. During prolonged periods of mechanical unloading (casting, spaceflight, bedrest), loss of muscle mass and force generating capacity occurs. Our laboratory and others have identified increased levels of oxidative stress as a culprit in promoting muscle fiber atrophy and fiber-type shift during mechanical unloading. Atrophic signaling during periods of skeletal muscle disuse involves the translocation of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) from the plasma membrane to the cytosol where it activates the catabolic transcription factor FoxO3a. Our laboratory has recently show that oxidative stress directly contributes to nNOS translocation with mechanical unloading. We are currently conducting experiments that (a) seek to identify the sources (Nox2, mitochondria, sphingolipids) of ROS that trigger nNOS translocation, and (b) mechanisms by which nNOS is transported away from the cell membrane. New studies will focus on membrane repair proteins/system that move nNOS via endocytosis and an “escalator” down microtubules. Team members will have the opportunity to assist with rodent handling and tissue collection. Members of this research team will also have the opportunity to learn skills such as making various buffer solutions, staining muscle fibers (immunofluorescence and hematoxylin and eosin staining) for histological analysis, western blotting, and various other laboratory skills.
Spring 2016: Multi-scale atomistic strategy to obtain and model functional graphene (and its isomorphs) based materials in spintronics devices Full Team
Project Leader:
Shayan Hemmatiyan
shayan65@tamu.edu
Physics and Astronomy
Faculty Mentor:
Artem Abanov, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Learning atomistic modeling, co-authorship on publications opportunities to develop critical thinking, scientific and technical writing skills.
Team Needs:
Scientific reading and writing, basic knowledge in programming i.e. python and bash.
Description:
State of the art atomistic modeling is a virtual lab, which combines a wide range of materials and structures, can be utilized both pre-processing and post processing to optimize and understand experiments. In this project, first you will learn the basics of atomistic modeling in practice. Then we will carry out an extensive atomistic modeling to understand how to utilize graphene and its isomorphs in spintronics effectively.
Spring 2016: Epidemiologic aspects of Salmonella transmission among cattle and wild birds in feedlots Full Team
Project Leader:
Mary Grigar
mgrigar@cvm.tamu.edu
Veterinary Integrative Biosciences
Faculty Mentor:
Kevin Cummings, DVM, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
potential co-authorship, poster/oral presentations, and field work experience.
Description:
The role of wild birds in the ecology and transmission of foodborne pathogens is poorly understood, although recent evidence suggests that European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and other wild birds might be a source of Salmonella enterica transmission to cattle (Carlson et al., 2011; Callaway et al., 2014). Starlings and other birds congregate in huge numbers at feedlots, particularly during the fall and winter when other food resources become scarce. These birds consume large volumes of cattle feed and cause widespread fecal contamination of food and water sources on feedlots. However, it is unknown whether birds are disseminating pathogen strains and antimicrobial resistance phenotypes that are already present within the feedlot environment or if they are introducing novel pathogens and resistance phenotypes into cattle populations. There is thus a critical need to define the role of wild birds in the epidemiology of cattle-associated Salmonella strains. Our overarching hypothesis is that starlings and other wild birds pose a significant intrinsic risk of Salmonella contamination of feedlot environments and transmission of antimicrobial-resistant Salmonella to cattle, leading to increased prevalence of fecal Salmonella shedding among feedlot cattle at harvest.
Spring 2016: Thermal behavior of polymer mixtures using statistical associating fluid theory with variable range interactions (SAFT-VR) Full Team
Project Leader:
J. Leonardo Gomez-Ballesteros
leogomezb@tamu.edu
Chemical Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Perla B. Balbuena, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Co-authorship on publications about this research, develop and strengthen programming skills in MATLAB, gain knowledge and experience in thermodynamics and some of its applications in industry. Opportunity to join research group, networking opportunities, teamwork opportunities.
Team Needs:
Basic knowledge of thermodynamics and use of MATLAB is preferred.
Description:
Understanding the behavior of mixtures in terms of their thermodynamic properties provides the necessary elements to allow the design of chemical processes that maximize yield of a desired product. We use a novel equation of state (SAFT-VR) to predict vapor-liquid equilibria and thermophysical properties of polymer mixtures as implemented in a MATLAB code.
Spring 2016: Mapping treeline ecotone of Nepal Himalaya Full Team
Project Leader:
Parveen Chhetri
parveenkchhetri@tamu.edu
Geography
Faculty Mentor:
David Cairns, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
5 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Candidates will get chance to advance their GIS and RS skills. Individuals will be acknowledge with co-authorship on regional and national conferences, and resulting publications.
Team Needs:
GIS and Remote sensing skills, statistics, programing.
Description:
The alpine treeline ecotone is an important component of high altitude mountain ecosystems and plays a vital role in the life of indigenous people, conserves natural resources, maintains biological diversity, controls the geo-hydrological cycle, and provides other ecosystem benefits. However, treeline advance would fragment the current continuous expanses of alpine heath, change the distribution pattern of alpine species, increase the risk of species extinction, and change the structure and function of the alpine ecosystem. The Himalaya has one of the highest positioned treelines in the world and recent studies have indicated treeline advance due to recent temperature increases in the region. In the Nepal Himalaya, only a few scientific studies have been carried out at treeline, and there is still a lack of consistent data on treeline position, nature and dynamics. Mapping of the treeline ecotone will help to detect both the current and historical position of the treeline ecotone. It will also help to differentiate climatic, anthropogenic and topographic treeline. We will use Remote sensing (RS) and Geographic information science (GIS) techniques to address the following questions: How has the position of treeline changed in last few decades (1970s - 2010s)? What kind of structural changes have occurred in the treeline ecotone? What are the factors which control treeline position?
Spring 2016: Using YAMC cells as model to detect AhR structural activity of DHNA and its derivatives Full Team
Project Leader:
Faculty Mentor:
Stephen Safe, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Team Needs:
Previous laboratory experience is not required, and all science-relate majors are welcome.
Description:
The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a ligand-activated transcription factor that was initially identified as the intracellular protein that bound the environmental toxicant 2, 3, 7, 8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), related halogenated aromatics, and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). The AhR also binds structurally and functionally diverse ligands, such as phytochemical, microbial metabolites and endogenous metabolites. AhR plays an essential role in various tissues and is a critical regulator of inflammation, autoimmune and immune responses and is a potential drug target for treating multiple diseases including cancer. 1, 4-Dihydroxy-2-naphthoic acid (DHNA) is a bacteria-derived AhR agonist. In this project, we will use nontransformed young adult mouse colonocyte (YAMC) cells (kindly provided by Dr. Chapkin) to test the AhR-dependent anti-inflammatory activity of DHNA and DHNA derivatives. To reveal whether their effects are AhR-dependent, we will initially investigate the AhR activity induced by DHNA and derivatives, including 1-hydroxyl 2-naphthoic acid, 4-hydroxyl 2-naphthoic acid via measuring the induction of Cyp1a1 mRNA expression. In this project, the team will have the opportunity toc culture mouse hybridoma cells, treat cells with chemicals, extract RNA and perform RT-PCR. The functional gens such as inflammation related genes such as TNF-α, IL-6, IL-10 will also be investigated.
Spring 2016: Screening for lncRNAs in Rhabdomyosarcoma cells Full Team
Project Leader:
Faculty Mentor:
Stephen Safe, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Team Needs:
Previous laboratory experience is not required, and all science-relate majors are welcome
Description:
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is a rare but highly malignant cancer, and it is the most common soft-tissue tumor in children and young adults. There are two major two subtypes: embryonal RMS (ERMS) and alveolar RMS (ARMS). LncRNAs (long non-coding RNAs) are a relatively new class of RNAs that have a sequence length of 200 nucleotides but do not encode proteins. There has been a surge in publications in the past decade about lncRNAs and their important roles in cellular homeostasis and diseases, particularly in cancer. LncRNAs are potential serum biomarkers of cancer and potential drug targets for various tumors. In this project, we will screen the expression of several lncRNAs, including MALAT-1, HOTTIP, RMST, and PVT1 in at least one or more ERMS and ARMS cell lines and the role of these lncRNAs on cell proliferation, death and migration will also be investigated. As the initial step, the research team will learn techniques for culturing cancer cell lines and they will also be involved in RNAi transfection, cell counting, and apoptosis assays using flow cytometry.
Spring 2016: Development of noninvasive canine inflammatory bowel disease biomarkers Full Team
Project Leader:
Agostino Buono
ABuono@cvm.tamu.edu
Dept of Small Animal Clinical Sciences
Faculty Mentor:
Joerg Steiner, DVM, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
2 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
The student will be part of an active research group and will follow each part of the research, exploring the research field.
Team Needs:
The student should have a strong curiosity, willingness to hard-work to achieve results, and good writing. No other skills are necessary.
Description:
Canine Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a common cause of chronic gastrointestinal disease characterized by unspecific clinical signs such as anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. In human medicine, the term IBD comprises both Crohn’s Disease (CD) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC). Currently, histopathologic evaluation is needed to confirm the diagnosis of canine IBD. Histopathological examination in dogs can differentiate between different types of IBD based on cell type of infiltration: Lymphocytic-Plasmacytic Enteritis, Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis, granunolamotous colitis and suppurative enteritis. In our lab, we are currently working on several different markers of inflammation. Cytokines are small proteins released by a wide variety of cells. These proteins are an important part of the cell signaling and are able to mediate immunity, inflammation and other processes. Cytokines in feces should reflect the “status-quo” of the intestinal wall inflammation. This is a challenging project since cytokines are unstable proteins and the student team will develop a fecal extraction method that will preserve cytokines and once the extraction protocol is completed we will measure different cytokines in feces from healthy dogs and dogs affected by IBD. The identification of novel non-invasive canine IBD biomarkers will be a milestone in IBD research. It will shorten the diagnostic process, assess the type of cell infiltrates and the subsequent kind of inflammation and avoid clinical processes that could endanger the patient’s life.
Spring 2016: Mapping genetic causes of differential diet response Full Team
Project Leader:
Faculty Mentor:
David Threadgill, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
2 (Team Full)
Team Needs:
Previous laboratory experience is not required, and all science-related majors are invited to apply. Candidates must be willing to work with mice and take the required mouse handling trainings.
Description:
Previous research in our lab has shown that individuals’ response to diet is dependent upon their genetic background. Two genetically diverse mouse strains show opposite physiological responses to a high fat, high carbohydrate Western diet and a high fat, low carbohydrate ketogenic diet. We have generated an F2 cross between the strains. By measuring metabolic syndrome phenotypes in these individuals, we can map the genetic factors influencing response to diet. The team will be involved in mouse handling and phenotyping of metabolic syndrome traits. Ultimately, this will allow for a better understanding of the genetic factors controlling diet response in humans.
Spring 2016: Modelling the blood circulation in infants with a single cardiac ventricle Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Ifeanyi Anyhoa
ifeanyia@tamu.edu
Faculty Mentor:
Christopher Quick, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Participants will gain an appreciation for clinically-relevant systemic physiology, and significant contributions will earn co-authorship of a manuscript for publication.
Description:
The Fontan Procedure is a palliative surgical procedure for infants born with a dysfunctional ventricle. It allows for the pulmonary and systemic circulation to be sustained by the functional ventricle. Patients who undergo this procedure eventually suffer from inappropriate adaptive responses and have limited options for medical treatment. Investigators have tried to develop an animal model to study the Fontan circulation, but these models are unable to mimic human hemodynamic conditions. Others have developed mathematical models, but the results obtained are difficult to interpret. Therefore, the purpose of this project is to develop a simple algebraic model to predict critical hemodynamic parameters in Fontan patients, and to identify novel treatment options.
Spring 2016: Autonomous underwater vehicle Full Team
Affiliations:
Project Leader:
Judy Amanor-Boadu
jaydi4real@tamu.edu
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Andrea Strzelec, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
14 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
The opportunity to be fully funded to compete at an international competition and apply technical skills to solve real world problems.
Team Needs:
Computer and mechanical engineering students
Description:
This project involves the design and fabrication of an underwater autonomous vehicle. The project involves the consideration of a lot of factors associated with underwater vehicular movement. Some things to be considered are water tightness of vehicle, maneuverability in water considering water pressure, thruster movement and placement, and programming for autonomy. The intention of this project is to compete in the annual AUVSI Robosub competition.
Spring 2016: Exploration of polymer capsules and films for biomedical applications Full Team
Project Leader:
Victoria Albright
victoria.albright@tamu.edu
Materials Science & Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Svetlana Sukhishvili, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Hard working students will be rewarded with opportunities to present their work at a conference, earn co-authorship on publications or even become a full member of our research group.
Description:
The future of polymeric materials as biological implant coatings to prevent bacterial infection and stimulate cell growth depends on the ability to selectively trigger the release of components from the materials on demand. Our research group currently explores manipulating chemistry of polymer particles and films in order to develop polymeric materials that can deliver antibiotics and cell stimulating factors in a controlled fashion. This work will explore block copolymer micelles that are temperature responsive and correlate the ratio of block copolymer components to physical properties of the micelles as well as to their ability to encapsulate and release small molecules (i.e. antimicrobials, cell stimulating growth factors, etc.) In the future, these micelles will be deposited on substrates and tested with both bacterial and cell cultures. Students are needed to help choose better drugs to incorporate into the films, understand the optimal conditions to deposit micelles, explore encapsulation conditions for drugs into micelles and develop a method to incorporate these micelles into biodegradable matrices. The project may further evolve into developing additional layer-by-layer systems for biomedical coatings. Check out our recent work on biomedical polymer coatings that was featured in Science here:http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nn500674g as well as two of our works on micelles http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nn900655z, and http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168365913003787.
Spring 2016: Manufacturing influence on high performance polymer Full Team
Project Leader:
Ruaa Al-Mezrakchi
ruaayaseen@tamu.edu
Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Mentor:
Terry Creasy, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
4 (Team Full)
Special Opportunities:
Opportunity to get involved in an industry and academic project at the same time, and see how the industry work looks like. Get experience in lab experiments. Get opportunity to learn the process of high performance polymer. Learn how 3D printing works and get involved in the process and the design of the parts. Get some experience with the CNC and see how it works. Gain research credit hours. Enhance your resume. Increase your knowledge in polymer. Get some experience on how to run mechanical tests such as tensile, flexural, and compression tests. In addition to get some idea about how some equipment work such as the DSC and X-Ray. Get involved in the research field and gain more experience.
Description:
This project study polymer crystallization in polyaryletherketones (PEAK), a polymer family that includes PEEK and PEKK. These materials have a broad future with tremendous impact for different fields such as oil and gas exploration and aerospace structure. Our main work stands for oil and gas exploration consortium (APPEAL), which means Advancing Performance Polymer in Energy Applications (http://ptc.tamu.edu/appeal.html). In this study, we will focus on processing the high performance polymer without fillers. Then we will see the effect of adding fibers such as glass fibers, carbon fibers, and carbon nanofibers. We are going to build a new system for processing this kind of high performance polymer (PEAK) such that it will simulate the industry process. Several equipment will be used and different experiments will be run such as CNC, 3D printing, DSC, X-Ray, and SEM spectroscopy. SolidWorks will be used to design some parts. In addition, number of tests will be required which include tensile, flexural, and compression tests. The project results will have a tremendous impact on the industry process in general and the future of the high performance polymer in specific.
Spring 2016: Predictors of stability and closure of an infant ductus arteriosis Full Team
Affiliations:
Michael E. DeBakey Institute Undergraduate Research Program
Project Leader:
Humza Ahmed
haa643@tamu.edu
Faculty Mentor:
Randolph Stewart, DVM, Ph.D.
Meeting Times:
(complete)
Team Size:
3 (Team Full)
Description:
The ductus arteriosus (DA) is a muscular artery connecting the aorta to the pulmonary artery in fetuses. It normally regresses shortly after birth, but fails to close in some individuals, causing a multitude of issues ranging from pulmonary hypertension to heart failure. Although it is unknown why the DA spontaneously regresses or becomes patent (i.e., PDA), clinical investigators have identified the existence of a critical radius governing its behavior. In general, if the DA is larger than 1 mm, patients will be treated pharmacologically with Indomethacin. If it remains patent, it will be closed surgically. Three challenges remain for clinical research: 1) reducing the risk factors for PDA, 2) increasing the efficacy of Indomethacin, 3) developing patient-specific criteria for surgery. All three challenges cannot be met without first identifying the primary mechanism of spontaneous regression. There is, however, a fundamental property of adapting vessels that has been previously identified using mathematical modeling. Assuming that arteries primarily adapt to changes in endothelial shear stress leads to the prediction of two equilibrium radii. The larger of the two is always stable, and resists regression. The smaller equilibrium radius is always unstable, and constriction below this critical radius causes vessels to remodel and regress. The purpose of this project is therefore to develop a mathematical model to test the hypothesis that the patency and spontaneous regression of the DA is a manifestation of adaptation to shear stress leading to both stable and unstable equilibrium radii.
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