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Students Explore New Discoveries in Undergraduate Research Projects

October 26, 2012

             Research Project1
  Setting Up Experiment: Kelli Greenberg, a junior biomedical engineering major, examines one of the artificial tibia sections used as part of a summer research project for the Joint Replacement Surgeons of Indiana Foundation. She was among several students that worked on this project.

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's Interdisciplinary Research Collaborative (IRC) encouraged undergraduate student research projects in areas of science, engineering, and mathematics during the 2011-12 academic year.

"Students, especially at the undergraduate level, are making interesting discoveries in many exciting areas. Then, they come back, reflect on what they have accomplished, and educate others on what they have learned along the journey," stated Mark Brandt, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and IRC's co-director.

Students also completed projects that were encouraged by the Joseph and Reba Weaver Undergraduate Research Program, the Office of Academic Affairs, and academic departments, as well as being part of Research Experiences for Undergraduates, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, at other universities. Rose-Hulman Ventures provides technical expertise and laboratory space for several projects.

Major support for IRC is provided by Edwards Lifesciences, whose Chairman and CEO Michael Mussallem provided the keynote presentation at recent campus symposium.

In one project, applied biology student Nathan Wheeler helped Applied Biology and Biomedical Engineering Professor/IRC Co-Director Peter Coppinger, Ph.D., discover the existence of phytoplasma that's threatening to kill the beautiful trillium grandiflorum flower to extinction in the Midwest.

Examining the binding of anti-estrogen derivatives to the estrogen receptor protein in breast cancer therapy was chemical engineering student Katherine Moravec, Chemistry and Biochemistry Professor Ross Weatherman, Ph.D., and Research Associate Kati Shearer.

Research Project2       
In Chemistry Lab: Senior chemical engineering and chemistry double major Greg Horne worked with professor Justin Shearer on a  project that used carbon cryogels to extract solid phases.
 

 

Applied biology students Paige Cook, Kevin Farley, Kelli Greenberg, and Amanda Kingman conducted research for the Joint Replacement Surgeons of Indiana Foundation on the analysis of the proximal tibia strain response to resection alignment in partial knee. The study was assisted by JRSI's Scott Small and Applied Biology and Biomedical Engineering Professor Renee Rogge, Ph.D.

Meanwhile, the effect of footwear on the postural stability of women was studied by biomedical engineering students Audrey Niverson and Kevin Farley, with assistance from Rogge.

Applied biology student Alex Cochrane found out that melanoma cells treated with doxorubicin-loaded PLGA nano-particles display altered immunogenic phenotypes.

Chemistry and chemical engineering double majors Kaitlin Schneider and Matthew Welmers joined Chemistry and Biochemistry Professor Rebecca DeVasher, Ph.D., in studying optimized microwave assisted organic synthesis, using Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling.

Other projects covered the following topics:

  • Construction of an expression plasmid for the human estrogen receptor beta ligand-binding domain, by biochemistry students Bianca Maled and Danielle Bauhan, along with Brandt.  The trio also studied estrogen interactions, one receptor at a time.
  • A PIV study of flow past a rotating cylinder, by mechanical engineering student Jordan Chipka.
  • Numerical simulation of chromatography and dimer exchange was examined by biomedical engineering major Ted Samore, with supervision by Mathematics Professor David Goulet, Ph.D., and Brandt.
  • Studying the effect of antiestrogens on uterine cell proliferation was chemistry student Lauren Gutgesell, assisted by Weatherman.
  • Developing a new assay for assessing conformational flexibility in the estrogen receptor ligand-binding domain was chemistry major Katherine Dial and Brandt.
  • Using Carbon cryogels to extract solid phases were chemical engineering and chemistry student Gregory Horne and Chemistry/Biochemistry Professor Justin Shearer, Ph.D.
  • Electrical engineering student Thomas Foulkes and physics major John Moore conducted a study of the AC Faraday Rotation Analysis within the Iodine Clock Cycle. Serving as a faculty mentor was Physics and Optical Engineering Professor Maarij Syed, Ph.D.
  •         Research Project3
      Attention To Detail: Katherine Moravec, a chemical engineering major, examined  the binding of anti-estrogen derivatives to the estrogen receptor protein in breast cancer therapy this summer with Chemistry and Biochemistry Professor Ross Weatherman, Ph.D.
    Examining lipids, metabolism, and cell shape in caulobacter crescentus was applied biology major Alexandra Williams.
  • Biochemistry student Esther Kim was part of a team that used in vitro techniques to investigate the oxidative stress in normal and malignant hepatocytes.
  • Studying a partial ordering of cellular metabolic reactions by efficiency were mathematics major Kimberly Boucher and Math Professor Allen Holder, Ph.D.
  • Chemical engineering student Pete Vannauker and Chemistry/Biochemistry Professor Daniel Morris, Ph.D., examined the role of selenium compounds in coordinating copper (II) and decreasing oxidative DNA damage.
  • Physics student Max Verkamp joined a student research team that examined the incorporation of fluorescent dyes into polystyrene latex microspheres.
  • Chemical engineering student David Harvey assisted Weatherman in studying how the synthesis of tamoxifen conjugates through linker modification.
  • Electrical engineering major Derek Heeger assisted Physics and Optical Engineering Professors Robert Bunch, Ph.D., and Paul Leisher, Ph.D., in developing a discrete transmission-matrix method for modeling the distributed feedback arising from continuously varying refractive index profiles.
  • Chemical engineering student Caitlin Anderson studied the synthesis and application of heterogeneous catalyzed resorcinol: formaldehyde mesoporous carbon. Justin Shearer assisted in the project.
  • Emily Cottingham, a chemical engineering student, evaluated "Assay Ready" frozen cells and freshly cultured cells for cell-based neutralizing anti-drug antibody (NAb) assays.
  • Applied biology student Anna Rector studied the urinary bladder matrix as a biodegradable guide for peripheral nerve damage repair: a functional and tissue analysis. Her mentor was Jameel Ahmed, head of the Department of Applied Biology and Biomedical Engineering.
  • Chemistry student Eric Teeman joined Physics/Optical Engineering Professor Scott Kirkpatrick and Chemistry/Biochemistry's Morris in developing a low-temperature method of plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition for carbon nanotube growth.
  • Applied biology student Tanner Reeb was a member of a student team that examined the mediator complex requirement for transcription initiation regulation in S. cerevisiae.
  • Students Adam Nighswander, Alex Krug, Ben Deschaine, Robert French, Kristen Schackmann, and Devon Trumbauer developed the program "Checkmate: A Rapid Yeast Mating Type Detector" for the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition, the premier collegiate synthetic biology event. Assisting the team were faculty mentors Richard Anthony, Ph.D., Yosi Shibberu, Ph.D., and Goulet.