Round 11 GRSP Featured Scholars

Celebrating 10 years of the Graduate Research Scholars Program! The Graduate Research Scholars Program has offered research opportunities to 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 2016, thirty-six Round 11 GRSP recipients were chosen. Of the thirty-six awardees, twenty-three are new to the program. ¬†As of December 2016, the GRSP has assisted in the accomplishment of 145 PhDs and 48 Master’s. ¬†Congratulations to the Twenty-Three Round 11 GRSP Featured Scholars! A follow-up on previously featured scholars and current recipients can be found here.

untitledJanine Antalffy
Alabama A&M University
NSF EPSCoR Co-Funding, Center for Forest Ecosystem Assessment (CFEA)
Objective: Through this research I intend to quantify gene flow among populations of the White-browed Laughingthrush (Garrulax sannio), identify patterns of morphological variation among populations of G. sannio and along environmental gradients, and identify potential periods of range expansion, contraction and isolation through contemporary and paleo-distribution modelling.
Future Plans: Upon completion of my M.S. program I intend to seek a PhD position in the field of evolutionary biology, ecology and biogeography so that I can continue to conduct research as a professional.

Fariborz Bayatuntitled
University of South Alabama
NSF EPSCoR
Objective: This research intends to offer a novel modeling method by taking advantage of numerical techniques in order to analyze and optimize the properties and behaviors of a newly developing Z-aligned nanofiber-stitched carbon fiber reinforced polymer composite material.
Future Plans: Composite materials have been more widely used in different aircraft structures in recent years. After the completion of my Master’s degree, I would like to work for an aerospace company and utilize my skills of composite materials in the aerospace field.

untitledLisui Bao
Auburn University
USDA 2015-67015-22907 and USDA 2015-67015-22975
Objective: To deliver the first publicly available YY catfish genomic resource and platform for researchers and lay the foundation for further downstream analysis of mechanism involved in sex determination and differentiation in channel catfish.
Future Plans: As a prospective aquaculture genomics researcher, I plan to pursue a career in genome research in Alabama after graduation, beginning with a goal of further training in bioinformatics and statistical genomics.

Jinnan Chenuntitled
University of Alabama in Huntsville
NSF EPSCoR Co-Funding
Objective: The goal of this research is to investigate wideband perfect light absorbers covering visible and near-infrared solar optical radiations.
Future Plans: I plan to continue my PhD studies and work on optics and photonics.

untitledJackson Cunningham
University of South Alabama
NASA EPSCoR
Objective: The objective of this work is to understand how novel adsorbent materials can be used to separate CO2 from air in closed environments in the presence of water. As a result of this objective, I will measure binary water and CO2 adsorption isotherms, and have constructed a multicomponent adsorption equilibrium device to complete this task.
Future Plans: My current plans are undecided as to whether I will enter industry after completing my Master’s degree or continue my studies and research. My research has been enjoyable, and I have learned that I really enjoy instrumentation and would like to work on improving process technologies.

Sarthak Dasadiuntitled
University of Alabama in Huntsville
NASA EPSCoR
Objective: In this project, I will use the deep Chandra observations of a spectacular cool core in 3C88 to study the shock, X-ray cavities and Super Massive Black Holes (SMBH) feedback. The system also hosts precessed radio jets misaligned with the X-ray cavities, which provides a hint on an important mechanism for SMBHs to achieve more uniform heating to the surroundings.
Future Plans: My goal is to become an independent researcher and continue research in the field of high energy astrophysics.

untitledDaniel Depperschmidt
The University of Alabama
NASA EPSCoR
Objective: Lean combustion in gas turbine engines for aerospace applications to achieve required low emission standards is inherently susceptible to thermoacoustic instabilities which result in dangerous pressure oscillations. My research investigates a passive mitigation technique to prohibit the development or reduce the propagation of these instabilities using an additively manufactured porous insert.
Future Plans: I plan to further my research using PIV, PLIF and chemiluminescence diagnostic techniques to investigate the flow field of a rotating detonation engine (RDE). This developing engine concept operates as a pressure gain combustion process, which can allow for higher efficiencies of energy generation.

Ferdous B. Finkleauntitled
Auburn University
NSF EPSCoR
Objective: Use engineered tissue to develop scalable and high-throughput pharmaceutical testing platforms for developing cardiomyocytes.
Future Plans: Upon receiving my PhD from Auburn University, I plan to find a job in industry working in biotechnology or pharmaceutical manufacturing in the state of Alabama.

untitledIwo Gross
Alabama A&M University
NSF EPSCoR
Objective: Using harmonic radar, a novel telemetry system, I will examine the postpartum space use of dispersing maternal and neonatal copperheads in order to identify critical snake nesting and nursery habitats. Further application and development of these methods could address the ecological role and characteristics of the elusive neonatal snake cohort, and how it is impacted by prescribed burning and thinning forestry practices.
Future Plans: I plan to continue academic research following my MS degree in a PhD or joint DVM-PhD degree program, with a focus on herpetofaunal ecology and conservation.

 

Vincent Hembrick-Hollomanuntitled
Tuskegee University
NSF EPSCoR
Objective: The objective of this project is to convert eggshell waste into Calcium Silicate nano particles that can be used in scaffolds for potential tissue engineering purposes. These nano particles will be developed using industrially scalable techniques such as ball milling and sintering and will be analyzed through X-Ray Diffraction, X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy, along with other characterization techniques.
Future Plans: After completion of my Master’s Degree I plan on continuing my education to receive my PhD.

untitledSharniece Holland
The University of Alabama
NASA EPSCoR
Objective: To utilize quantitative analysis and grain boundary engineering tools to help improve selective laser melting (SLM) processing design with enhanced material properties, particularly, establish a connection between the extreme processing conditions of SLM, Inconel 718 with its grain boundary network characteristics to improve creep properties.
Future Plans: After my doctoral studies I plan to teach college.

Lei Huuntitled
The University of Alabama
NSF Co-Funding
Objective: The objective of this proposed PhD research is to develop a biomedical Instrument for Alabama Universities as well as other national schools of Robot-aided, cognitive virtual rehab for Automatic Physical training of Individuals with Disabilities (iRAPID).
Future Plans: I will obtain a post-doc position in either my PhD Advisor’s lab or Dr. Brown’s lab (at UAB). After a post-doc, I plan to seek a full-time position in Alabama biomedical companies.

untitledChemar Huntley
Tuskegee University
NSF-EPSCoR
Objective: To incorporate functionalized cellulose in order to increase its hydophilicity, hydrophobicity, and uniform distribution within a thermoplastic-polymer matrix, as well as to increase the separation of thermoplastics for recyclability purposes.
Future Plans: I would like to pursue a career as a chemist at the FDA, or as a research professor specializing in materials science and engineering.

Valeria Kinguntitled
University of South Alabama
NSF EPSCoR Co-Funding
Objective: We have recently uncovered evidence suggesting snoRNAs play previously uncharacterized, yet strikingly significant roles in cancer pathology. The goal of my research is to fully define the contribution of a particular small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA-93) in breast malignancy.
Future Plans: I plan to pursue a PhD in genetics following the completion of my M.S. in Biology and become an independent scientific researcher.

untitledSebastian Kirmse
University of South Alabama
NSF EPSCoR
Objective: The goal of this research is to use acoustic emissions for characterization of fracture mechanisms, such as matrix cracking, delimitation and fiber failure, in carbon fiber composites reinforced with carbon nanofiber z-threads during mechanical loading. Those results can then later be used for structural health monitoring (SHM) or predictive failure modeling.
Future Plans: After graduation, I plan to continue working on composite materials. My preferred fields would be the automotive, aerospace, or other manufacturing areas to further implement carbon fiber composites.

Yanxiao Mauntitled
The University of Alabama
NSF EPSCoR
Objective: The objective of my research is to develop an ultramicroelectrode to study the electrocatalytic properties of single nano particles with combined methods of electrochemistry and dark field scattering microscopy.
Future Plans: I plan to work as an independent researcher in one of the top universities in Alabama and continue to contribute my energy to the research in renewable energy.

untitledMaggie McCormack
University of Alabama at Birmingham
NSF EPSCoR Co-Funding
Objective: Microbiomes are essential to the overall health of several organisms including both animals and plants. My research aims to elucidate the molecular communication between plant cells and leaf microbiomes to understand how these relationships are mutually beneficial.
Future Plans: After graduating from UAB with my PhD, I plan to pursue an industrial career in plant biology.

Md Easir Arafat Paponuntitled
The University of Alabama
NSF EPSCoR
Objective: Currently, plastic parts made by 3D printing using FDM technology show inferior structural performance and poor dimensional accuracy in comparison to similar objects manufactured by conventional methods. This is mostly due to a higher percentage of void formations arising from undesirable bead spreading architectures and contact angles in the final FDM product. The objective of this research is to develop efficient computational process model algorithms and product designs to improve the performance of FDM products by minimizing void formations and maintaining dimensional accuracy.
Future Plans: On completion of my PhD in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics, I intend to work as a researcher either in the aerospace industry or at an educational institution. I believe, my education and research experience would thoroughly prepare me to meet the demands in my field.

untitledVijaya Rani
University of Alabama in Huntsville
NASA EPSCoR
Objective: My objective is to develop rigorous analytical and computational models to predict combustion instabilities in gas turbines.
Future Plans: I wish to pursue post-doctoral studies after completing my PhD and continue in academia as a professor.

Rajdeep Shakyauntitled
Auburn University
USDA EPSCoR
Objective: The focus of my research is to develop biofuels from algal biomass and make algal biorefinery economically and technologically sustainable.
Future Plans: After the completion of my PhD, I am open to a career in either industry or academia. I look forward to the opportunities that come in the future.

untitledFarooq Syed
Tuskegee University
NSF EPSCoR
Objective: The aim of this research is to understand the nanoscale behavior and mechanical properties of functionalized CNT reinforced epoxy using molecular dynamic simulations.
Future Plans: Following completion of my degree, I plan to pursue a career in research and development in Alabama.

 

Armin VahidMohammadiuntitled
Auburn University
NASA EPSCoR
Objective: The objective of this research is to synthesize polymer based nano composites with high dielectric properties that incorporate 2D sheets of titanium carbide (Ti3C2) as fillers. My focus is mainly on functionlization of titanium carbide nano sheets, controlling their size and improving their dispersion in the polymer matrix. Using highly conductive Ti3C2 nanosheets with high temperature stability and excellent mechanical properties as fillers can result in flexible dielectric composites that can be used for a variety of electronic applications such as energy storage, pulsed power capacitors, and actuators.
Future Plans: I like doing research and exploring advanced science in my field, however, alongside that I am also interested in developing real market products that people can use in their daily life. I have not yet decided to pursue a career in academia or industry after completion of my PhD.

untitledMohammad Zaheeruddin
Tuskegee University
NSF EPSCoR
Objective: To enhance the fatigue performance of the carbon fiber reinforced composites exposed to seawater by incorporation of Graphene nano platelets and Montmorillonite nanoclay binary nano particles into polymer matrix for marine applications.
Future Plans: To pursue an interdisciplinary doctoral degree in the field of design and engineering and conduct research to make positive contributions to society.

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