Round 10 GRSP Featured Scholars

The Graduate Research Scholars Program has offered research opportunities to over 226 graduate students with up to $25,000 a year (sometimes multi-year) awards under the guidance of some of Alabama’s finest research scientists. At the GRSP Campus Coordinator’s meeting in May 2015, thirty-six Round 10 GRSP recipients were chosen. Of the thirty-six awardees, twenty-two are new to the program. Congratulations to the Twenty-Two Round 10 GRSP Featured Scholars! A follow-up on previously featured scholars and current recipients can be found here.

DipenkumarBarotDipenkumar Barot
The University of Alabama in Huntsville
Alabama NASA EPSCoR, Alabama Space Grant Consortium
Objective: For my doctoral dissertation work, I plan to investigate ultra-low noise diode lasers based on optical frequency combs. I will then use these lasers to experimentally realize fiber-optic strain sensing with a strain resolution of the order of 1 femtostrain, which is a factor of 100 lower than the current state of the art.
Future Plans: After finishing my PhD, I wish to join as a postdoctoral research fellow at any good research institution. After finishing my postdoctoral research work I want to work as a research scientist or research professor.

KarimBudhwaniKarim I. Budhwani
University of Alabama at Birmingham
NSF EPSCoR
Objective: Financial and productivity costs pale in comparison to the severe human and societal toll exacted by the more than 25 million lives claimed each year by cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and cancer. Further, it is estimated that over the next 5 years, lifetime probability of developing cancer will increase to 1-in-2 for men and 1-in-3 for women. In looking to the future, therefore, new treatment strategies, including safer and more effective drug delivery modalities, and better evaluation models must be developed to alleviate costs and enhance therapies. I address this head-on with my research focused squarely on enhancing efficacy of chemotherapeutic treatment modalities while reducing side effects by narrowing the area of delivery and release (localized) of chemotherapeutics and targeting (targeted) tumor tissue based on known biomarkers or factors.
Future Plans: Having already established a successful career as a founder and CEO and having served as an international trade ambassador for the State of Alabama, upon graduation, I will create new opportunities for STEM research and application in Alabama and beyond.

SemihDincSemih Dinc
University of Alabama in Huntsville
NSF EPSCoR Co-Funding
Ojective: My objective is to develop a vision based trajectory-tracking system for mobile robots. This system will reduce the need for human intervention controlling vehicle motion.
Future Plans: My plan is to continue research in a R&D department for a University as a faculty member. I would like to develop more robust and stable robotic systems as they become more popular.

Grant AlexanderGrant Alexander
University of Alabama at Birmingham
NSF EPSCoR Co-Funding
Ojective: The objective of this project is to develop a novel cardiovascular stent coating to ultimately improve the clinical outcomes of patients who receive stents for cardiovascular disease. This will be done through dynamic studies in a physiological condition-modeling bioreactor as well as within rabbit iliac arteries.
Future Plans: My goal is to become an independent scientific investigator and to conduct multidisciplinary and translational research in the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine that has the potential for immediate beneficial impact on critical healthcare needs.

AlanHanleyAlan Hanley
Auburn University
NSF EPSCoR
Ojective: To produce Janus nanoparticles using a new synthesis method that has the potential for scalability and to use this method to produce multi-modal nanoparticles that can bond to a surface as well as attract and destroy antibiotic-resistant bacteria cells.
Future Plans: I have not yet decided on a career path following the completion of my PhD. I am ope to either a career in academia or in industry, and look forward to seeing what opportunities are presented to me when the time comes.

JeffreyCurtisKalagianJeffrey Curtis Kalagian
University of South Alabama
NASA Seed Grant
Objective: My research aims to maximize carbon dioxide adsorption in composite silica-based adsorbents for the purpose of closed cabin air revitalization in spacecraft. A silica adsorbent, SBA-15, will be impregnated with various task-specific ionic liquids to create these composite adsorbents.
Future Plans: I will complete my MS in Chemical Engineering, enroll into the DSc program in SYstems Engineering at the University of South Alabama, and continue to pursue futher research opportunities.

PetraKerscherPetra Kerscher
Auburn University
NSF EPSCoR Co-Funding
Objective: Mechanisms of observed cardiac functional changes in Timothy syndrome patients can be elucidated through the comparison of 3D developing engineered cardiac tissues created using Timothy syndrome and control patient-derived human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) lines. This project will focus on particular changes in extracellular matrix production, force of contraction, gene and protein expression, as well as functional differences in electrical signaling and calcium handling.
Future Plans: I would like to work for a pharmaceutical company to apply my experience in mammalian cell culture, biomaterials, and background in chemical engineering.

ZhitongLiZhitong Li
University of Alabama in Huntsville
USDA EPSCoR and NSF EPSCoR
Objective: Investigate the various subwavelength light trapping nanostructures such as the nano-tranches and nano-rings grating. The applications of these nanostructures are biomedical sensors.
Future Plans: Investigate the nano-trench properties with different incident angles. Investigate the metal rings grating with FDTD simulation software. Fabricate the metal rings grating by using e-beam lithography.

Penchang LiPenchang Li
Auburn University
Alabama NSF EPSCoR and NSF IGERT
Objective: Design and optimize a cost-effective and environmentally-benign biorefinery process to compensate for the depletion of petroleum-derived fossil fuels using biomass as a renewable source of energy.
Future Plans: I will finish constructing the whole biomass conversion process in Aspen Plus by using single-pass Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. Then I will compare the single-pass Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, Fischer-Tropsch synthesis with recycle, and supercritical Fischer-Tropsch synthesis.

Zachary R. LindseyZachary R. Lindsey
University of Alabama at Birmingham
NSF EPSCoR
Objective: The goal of this research is to create a multilayered thin film structure capable of emission in the mid-infrared under electrical excitation. The needed materials and structure are being grown by pulsed laser deposition and analyzed using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, atom probe analysis, x-ray diffraction, among other characterization techniques.
Future Plans: Since I joined the Department of Physics at UAB, I have been a teaching assistant for multiple sections of physics during my 4 years in the MS and PhD Physics Programs and enjoy talking with students about their future plans after finishing their degree. I have high hopes that I can play a part in reforming the educational landscape of the state of Alabama by passionately leading students to career paths in STEM fields.

Seyed Sadreddin Mirshafieyan

Seyed Sadreddin Mirshafieyan
University of Alabama in Huntsville
NSF Track 1 Research Infrastructure Improvement Grant
Objective: To pursue a PhD degree in Electrical Engineering and optical science technology
Future Plans: To obtain a post-doctoral research position in nanophotonics and find an academic research position.

Chukwuma Nweke

Chukwuma Nweke
Tuskegee University
NSF EPSCoR
Objective: To develop a cost-effective replacement for autoclave-processed carbon fiber reinforced bismaleimide (CF/BMI) composites presently used by the US Air Force and other industrial entities.
Future Plans: I am scheduled to complete my PhD studies and continue research on BMI composites.

Vertonica F. Powell-Rose

Vertonica F. Powell-Rose
Tuskegee University
NSF-EPSCoR
Objective: The main objective of this research project is to develop a bio-based nanocomposite reinforced with natural fiber that has comparable properties, i.e. mechanical and thermal, of a synthetic composite material. Further research will be performed to investigate the life cycle assessment of the developed bio-based nanocomposite.
Future Plans: I would love to work in either the automotive or other transportation based companies to incorporate my academic, as well as my research experiences in the development and implementation of ‘green materials’. Through my years of research, I feel that I have developed the necessary skills to continue to help the environment in these industries.

Justin T. Roberts

Justin T. Roberts
University of South Alabama
NSF EPSCoR
Objective: The goal of my research is to accurately characterize the molecular differences between two related by behaviorally distinct forms of breast cancer.
Future Plans: I plan to enroll in a PhD program focusing on computational biology with a medical science emphasis.

Zhichao Shan

Zhichao Shan
The University of Alabama
DOE EPSCoR
Objective: The objective of my research is to develop low cost and highly efficient electrode materials for water splitting with solar energy.
Future Plans: My future plans are to obtain a PhD degree and pursue a career in the area of renewable energy.

Jennifer SherwoodJennifer Sherwood
The University of Alabama
NSF EPSCoR Co-Funding
Objective: The objective of this project is to evaluate the potential of ultrathin iron oxide nanowires for use as positive contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Iron oxide nanoparticles as MRI contrast agents could potentially replace the current, toxic, commercially available contrast agents.
Future Plans: After graduating with a PhD in chemical and biological engineering, I plan to continue my education by pursuing a post-doctoral position and eventually pursue a career in academic research.

Wesley SimsWesley Sims
Alabama A&M University
NSF EPSCoR
Objective: The objective of this research is to demonstrate the feasibility of a proposed light-activated biomolecular immobilization technique for sensing biomolecules, including toxins, on polymeric surfaces.

Yuxi SunYuxi Sun
University of Alabama at Birmingham
NSF EPSCoR Co-Funding
Objective: The objective of my research is to develop microfluidic based approaches to accomplish cell sorting to enable rapid and activation-free cell separation.
Future Plans: After completion of my doctoral education, I intend to pursue a career in academic in one of the Alabama Institutions in Biomedical Sciences/Engineering.

Abubaker TarekiAbubaker Tareki
University of Alabama in Huntsville
NSF EPSCoR
Objective: To develop a platform of tunable components in the terahertz regime using liquid crystal (LC).
Future Plans: I plan to obtain a post-doctoral research position for 1-3 years after getting my PhD, and then find permanent research or teaching position.

Jason M. Tedstone

Jason M. Tedstone
The University of Alabama
NSF EPSCoR Co-Funding
Objective: To design the optimal polymer membrane(s) to absorb carbon dioxide from post-combustion flue gas.
Future Plans: I plan to finish my doctoral degree and teach in high school or college.

Xiaoqing WangXiaoqing Wang
The University of Alabama
NASA EPSCoR
Objective: Develop relationships between process parameters and part properties in additive manufacturing of inconel 718 alloy.
Future Plans: To obtain a PhD degree and pursue a career in advanced manufacturing engineering.

 

Yi ZengYi Zeng
Auburn University
DOE ESPCoR
Objective: The focus of my research is to study nanoscale heat conduction of the Nanostructure Enhanced Phase Change Materials (NePCM) and enhance its thermal properties.
Future Plans: I would like to join a company or university which can support my research on the theory and application of nanoscale heat transfer.

 

 

 

 

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