Tag Archives: research

Preparing for the International Space University

Josh D'Urso

Josh D’Urso,
Senior, Aviation

Athens, OH 22 November 2014

This week at Ohio University, some distinguished professors from the International Space University (ISU) visited to get their curriculum finalized for next summer. That’s when Ohio University will be hosting the ISU Space Studies Program.

I didn’t realize how big of a deal this was until I did a little research and saw that last year’s ISU was held in Montreal, Canada. Countries from around the world bid on this program and try and have it held in their country, state, or university and Ohio University won the 2015 bid. The program will be held on campus from June 8th to August 7th. Students from around the world apply to this program. Last year’s program attracted 122 participants representing 32 countries.

When I met some of the professors this week they were from all over the world including Germany, France, Canada, India and more. One of the members from the ISU team that I met was named John Connolly. John was a great individual with an even better background. He has 28 years of experience with NASA and he has been a member of ISU for 22 years leading the ISU’s Space Studies Program. John’s specialties include human and robotic space mission design, human spacecraft design, and space systems engineering.

I did not find out about the Space Studies Program being held at OU until this week and it has been in the works for two years now. I am so proud of my University and of the all the people who put in so much time and dedication into bringing such a big program to my school. This is great publicity for the University and I think its going to be a great experience for our school and faculty to work side by side with distinguished individuals from around the world.

Internship at Electro Science Lab

Daron DiSabato

Daron DiSabato,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 17 December 2013 – Over the past summer I completed an internship at the Ohio State University Electro Science Laboratory where I worked on a graduate level research project for the U.S. Navy. The project dealt with designing and building a code division multiple access (CDMA) cellular communication transceiver which was more power efficient, more cost effective, and had a smaller package size than current models in production.

The project was still in the early stages of design when I joined the team, and we began working on the analog front-end of the receiver. The first job I had was to run simulations of the circuitry in PSpice and AWR Microwave office to verify that the proposed designs would work before we purchased components and built the device. Over several weeks I was able to gain some great experience working with the software. We ran simulations using various different chips and circuit components. The ones that performed the best in simulation were the ones that we selected to be implemented in the design.

The second job I had during this project was to order the selected circuit components and build prototype breadboard circuits in the lab. I spent the next several weeks running various tests and fine-tuning the circuits to make sure they were performed to the expectations observed in the software simulations. After settling on the most optimum circuit design, my final job was to design the printed circuit boards that would be used in the actual device. This was the most difficult part of my interesting but also the most exciting. I used the industry standard PCB layout software, Cadence Allegro, and it had a very steep learning curve. Despite the challenge of learning the software, I was able to design two printed circuit boards for the device, which I have shown in the attached pictures.

PCB Design
PCB Design

Finally after four months since I completed the internship, they are finally printing the circuit boards I designed. I can’t wait to go back and see them in action spring semester!

Undergraduate Research in Breast Cancer Detection

Claire Hall

Claire Hall,
Junior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 11 November 2013 – The spring semester of my sophomore year I applied through my Advisor for an Undergraduate Research Assistant position in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department. I had the privilege of being hired under
Dr. Monica Burdick
to help in her cancer therapeutics and diagnostics research. Currently I help with one of her projects in collaboration with two other researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. The research concerns identification of proteins that target specific ligands on breast cancer cells. Ultimately the research would be used to detect and or combat early metastasis, the spread, of breast cancer cells.

This great position, provided by federal funding Dr. Burdick received for research, has given me the opportunity to learn a great deal about standard experiments and procedures used in research and the industry today for biomedical and biomolecular engineering. I will someday be able to take this knowledge and experience into a co-op or my first job after graduation. It has also given me a chance to not only learn from Dr. Burdick, but also her graduate students and other undergraduate students. I feel it has also helped me to apply the knowledge from research to my classes and vice versa.

Undergraduate research is a fantastic way for students to get involved and gain valuable experience in a field while still taking classes.

Summer as a Lab Rat

Colton Moran

Colton Moran,
Senior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 17 September 2013 – This past summer I spent some of my time working here at Ohio University doing research under Dr.Sunggyu Lee. The SEAM (Sustainable Energy and Materials) lab was a great place to learn and for me was an amazing opportunity to become familiar with alternative energy methods.

I have to admit that at first I was overwhelmed by the pure volume of technology that I had no idea how to use. With time I began to understand the equipment I was working with and after the initial phase of getting to know where I was working, I was able to do research on some really neat projects.

The largest project I worked on was building a super-critical hydrogenation unit from the ground up. the project began when I was asked to help facilitate a customer’s need and based on Dr. Lee’s idea, we went with a hydrogenation process to try and accomplish the task. Since the process is at super-critical conditions for hydrogen (super-critical involves relatively high pressures and temperatures, depending on the material) I built the unit inside a 1/8″ steel cabinet. The main components I designed were a heat exchange, a reactor, safety pressure releases and a ventilation system. It took some time but It was a lot of fun to start from just an empty cabinet to what now looks like a highway of pipes and valves.

I am still working on the hydrogenation unit to this day and I plan on doing so throughout the Fall semester. So not only am I getting my academic education, I get the chance to learn some real life lessons. Just last week I was running pressure test and found out something quite interesting. I had a septum which allows for liquid injection or gas sampling without exposing the system to the surroundings.

The septum is not built to be able to withstand pressure and of course my reactor was under relatively high pressure. I had a back pressure regulator before the septum to reduce it to atmospheric pressure but I overlooked something very important. I have a valve right after the septum that switched the flow from a testing port to the vent.

Well, when I designed it, that made sense, but it turns out I have some things to learn about design. When the valve was turned–no matter how quickly–the pressure built up in the section of pipe with the septum and “BAM!”, like the sound of a cannon, the septum blew and shot across the lab. Needless to say it scared me quite nicely and now I have to go back and tweak my design. But that is what I love about research; you are constantly learning new lessons–lessons that will stick with you, at least in my opinion, much easier than a lecture would.

Overall I am glad I started research in the SEAM lab and who knows, it might just be what drives me to go to grad school.

Chemical Engineering Research Opportunities

Emily Blaha

Emily Blaha,
Junior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 22 October 2012 – Last year I decided to pursue undergraduate research opportunities to help me narrow down what I want to one day do in my career. Many students look for co-ops and internships in order to gain relevant experience before graduation, but undergraduate research is also an excellent way to gain experience during the school year. At Ohio University and the Russ College, many professors are willing to employ undergraduate students in their labs. I am lucky to have had the chance to work in two very different labs, each with their own unique
atmosphere.

During my sophomore year I held a position in Dr. Monica Burdick’s biomolecular engineering lab, which is located in the Academic and Research Center (ARC). Her research includes the adhesion of tumor cells and metastasis of cancer. I worked in Dr. Burdick’s lab for my entire sophomore year, and at the end I presented my research at the university-wide Research and Creativity Expo. This year, I switched labs and am currently working in the Sustainable Energy and Advanced Materials (SEAM) lab with Dr. KB Lee. His research is focused on polymers and alternative energy.

Through these lab positions, I have the chance to apply the science and engineering principles from my classes, which helps me to better understand what I am being taught. I have learned how to use a diverse range of machinery and equipment. Also, I have met many graduate students, and they are all very willing to help the undergraduates and answer any questions, whether they are about the lab or just school in general.

Research may not be the right fit for everyone, but I really enjoy it. I like learning outside of the traditional classroom setting.

Summer Research in Pavement Design

Erica Toussant

Erica Toussant,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH dd Month 2012 – The years at OU have come and gone so fast, and it’s hard to believe I’m already a senior. Though I am just beginning my fourth year, I actually have 1.5 years left until I can graduate. Nevertheless, last spring I knew the summer ahead was the optimal summer to get a feel for what graduate school may feel like because it’s a lot different than the undergraduate years. I am still a little torn between wanting to be done with school and going straight on to grad school and getting it over with in a very short year and a half. So, for the summer of 2012, I got into one of the many research projects professors offer to students and worked on an assignment with one of my civil engineering professors.

I had no idea what to expect. The research I worked on was this huge project that Ohio University has to create a catalog for the concrete pavement design in New York. The college bought a software package and has a one-year license to use it freely, so I spent a good amount of my summer learning and working with the DarwinME–Pavement Design program. I became very familiar with New York and the LTPP sites of the whole New England Region, along with Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. The program takes into consideration traffic, climate, and pavement design to predict the IRI value and the percentage of cracking and faulting the concrete should have at certain years in its design life. All the information of the outputs from each run has to be compared. The summer was not long enough to get to that point.

I can’t say that I am the biggest fan of conducting research, but I can see that it is important that research is done. As engineers, we cannot improve standards and design unless we are researching and testing theories. As a student, research was a way for me to learn more about pavement design.