Tag Archives: research

Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment

Joshua Greenlee

Joshua Greenlee,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 28 November 2016

One of the greatest decisions I have made with my time at Ohio University is getting involved in undergraduate research. I began the spring semester of my freshman year at the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment (ISEE), working with another undergraduate student researching and developing a cost-efficient way of precipitating out harmful cations in fracking water.

After the completion of this project, I began a new project at ISEE testing the pyrolysis of coal in a fluidized bed to produce tar, which would later be treated with different chemicals and polymers to produce asphalt binder. Both projects gave me excellent undergraduate research experience and improved my independence, as each project required the responsibility and work ethic typical of a graduate student.

For the past year, I have worked in Dr. Goetz’s lab at OU studying the efficacy and toxicity of a novel compound in the treatment of ovarian cancer. I previously worked with a graduate student on this project, but after he graduated I was left to finish the project independently. If all goes well, I should be authored on a publication about this research by the end of the academic year.

Overall, my experience has led me to realize that I was made to pursue a career in academic research. It also helped direct me into figuring out what type of a field I wanted to pursue after graduation. If I never would have started researching as an undergraduate, I may never have discovered my affinity for cancer research, or research in general for that matter. If you are interested in participating in undergraduate research with a professor, I would encourage you to send them an email expressing your interest. I’m sure glad I did!

SWE Conference

Caroline Wilson

Caroline Wilson,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 6 November 2016

From October 26th to 29th, I had the privilege of attending WE16, the national conference for the Society of Women Engineers in Philadelphia, PA. We drove two vans to Philadelphia on Wednesday morning, and left early Saturday.

I had been to a SWE conference before—the regional conference in Cincinnati last spring—but this was a whole new ballgame. WE16 advertises itself as being the world’s largest conference and career fair for women in engineering and technology. It did not disappoint.

At the regional conference last spring, there were sessions to go to about LinkedIn, interviewing, and a few other topics. They were definitely interesting, but the sheer quantity of sessions at the national conference could not even be compared. There were sessions about anything you could possibly want to learn: in one day, I attended a panel about working while raising a family, a talk about presenting research as women in science; a presentation about advocating for diversity; and a session about unconscious bias.

The SWE conference is the kind of event that young women entering engineering dream of: thousands of poised, accomplished, determined women all gather in one place to celebrate each other’s accomplishments and help other women reach the same heights.

On the second day of the conference, I tried my hand at the SWE career fair. The breadth of companies which were represented was impressive—everyone from Google to Honeywell to Merck was in attendance. I was actually selected for interviews by two companies that morning: IBA Proton Therapy and Boston Scientific. Both went really well, and I was so grateful to have been able to speak with companies from the biomedical engineering field.

After the interviews, I had the opportunity to present my research in the WE16 Rapid Fire Undergraduate event. The title of my presentation was, “Novel Small Molecule Inhibitors of Inflammation Prevent Saturated Free Fatty Acid-Induced Inflammation Associated with Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Human Hepatocytes.”

This particular event was unique because some of the presentations were based on research projects, and some were based on internship experiences. I liked the breadth of topics that were addressed because of this set up: young women presented about everything from Harley Davidson motorcycles to weather patterns across the United States and their impact on heating and cooling bills.

I was so honored to represent my university, and in particular the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, at a national level. The entire national conference was the most amazing experience, and I know that experiences like it can completely change careers for the young women (and men) who are lucky enough to attend it.

SCOPE Laboratory

Quintin Fettes

Quintin Fettes,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 2 October 2016

Another research opportunity at Ohio University has brought me closer to the goals and aspirations I once had as a kid. I’d always wanted to be a doctor, so that I could help sick people get better; I’d always wanted to make the first true Artificial Intelligence, like Arnold in the second Terminator movie; and I’d always wanted to be a professional Athlete.

My research in Artificial Intelligence started during Spring Semester of my Sophomore year. I reached out to one of my professors at Ohio University to study machine learning, a sub-field of Artificial Intelligence. The next semester, I was offered a research position in the Smarthealth Laboratory working with Dr. Marling and Dr. Bunescu, where we write AI programs to help patients with Type 1 Diabetes manage their condition. Ultimately the work will help these patients live more comfortably and safely.

It was here that I realized OU had given me the opportunity to apply my unique skills as a Computer Science major to help people. I’m not a physician, but I still have the feeling that my 8-year-old self is proud.

My latest research project was awarded to me by the Russ College Undergraduate Research Fund. I’m now able to research with Dr. Vigo in the SCOPE laboratory. Here, we work on the mathematical modeling of human conceptual behavior. In other words, my job is to help apply mathematics to computers to help them form concepts in the same way that a human would. It’s a long way from the science fiction AI, but I don’t think I’ve disappointed my younger self.

In short, Ohio University has taken what I thought was a decision to only be a computer scientist, and it’s opened my eyes to the cross-disciplinary work that will help me contribute to almost all of the fields I had once intended. Now, I just have to make a smart robot that can hit a 450ft homerun. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity, and I hope this isn’t the last time you read about my research.

Summer Research in Germany

Caroline Wilson

Caroline Wilson,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 27 August 2016

I spent my summer doing research in the chemistry department at the University of Leipzig. For eleven weeks, I worked on a project under a PhD student which involved solid-state peptide synthesis and a novel reversible PEGylation approach.

Peptides have the potential to act as potent therapeutics, but this is often limited by their breakdown in the body. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) can be added to prevent this elimination, but it also impairs the peptide’s ability to function—thus, we worked on an approach which would allow PEG to be reversibly linked to the peptide so that its release could be controlled.

I don’t have a background in chemistry research, so this summer marked a lot of firsts for me. I was able to gain hands-on experience working with methods which I had learned about in the classroom, like liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Furthermore, I gained experiences outside of the lab which made my summer unforgettable.

Although I spent most of my weekends exploring the city with a group of international students that I met through a fellow Bobcat in Leipzig, I did have a few experiences with travelling.

Germany

In high school, I participated in the German American Partnership Program (GAPP), through which I spent a month living with a host family in Munich. This summer I was able to visit my high school exchange student, Clara, at her university in Rothenburg.

Rothenburg

We spent the weekend exploring the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage town, and catching up since it had been 5 years since we had last seen each other.

I was also able to travel to Amsterdam with my Finnish friend, Ella, for another weekend trip. The eight-hour bus rides there and back were almost unbearable, but the time we spent in the city made it more than worth the trip.

Amsterdam Canal Tour

From a canal tour (above) to an ice bar (below); from the Anne Frank House to a museum of the Red Light District, we packed as much of Amsterdam as we could into our short visit. I fell in love with the city.

Amsterdam Ice Bar

My experiences in Europe would not have been possible without the financial support of the Cutler Scholars Program. I am grateful every day to have been the recipient of such incredible generosity.

Caroline wilson

Caroline Wilson,
Junior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 18 April 2016

This past weekend I had the absolute privilege of attending the Association of American Physicians and American Society for Clinical Investigation Joint Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. The conference lasted from Friday to Sunday, and I sincerely enjoyed every minute of it.

The research project which I have been working on over the past couple of years is in collaboration with a DO/PhD student from the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine named Ashley Patton. Our project involves investigating the early development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, as well as analyzing the effect of a novel group of compounds on the progression of the disease.

Research Poster

Attending the AAP/ASCI meeting offered us the opportunity to share our work with leading researchers and emerging students in the biomedical field. I may very well have been the only undergraduate in the room for the whole weekend, but I would not have traded my experience for anything.

Ashley and I left on Thursday to allow us some time to see the sights before the conference began. We landed at 1:00 pm, and then proceeded to soak in everything that Chicago had to offer.

Chicago Bean

Over the course of our trip, we marveled at “the Bean,” sampled some famous popcorn, tried Chicago deep-dish pizza (TWICE!), trekked up and down the Magnificent Mile, traveled the Chicago River walk, ate squid ink pasta, basked in the sun in Millennium Park, and took in the incredible skyline from the tallest floor of the “Sears” (now known as the Willis) Tower.

Willis tower

It was the perfect mix of business and entertainment. The majority of our time was spent listening to presentations and panels with a group of talented speakers which included everyone from a Nobel Laureate to a former NASA astronaut.

Recently, I have struggled to identify what my path will be after graduation, but attending this conference really invigorated me because I realized that many of the most gifted minds in the world have no idea what they want to do: they follow their passions at any costs, and in this way, they succeed brilliantly in their endeavors.

I think the thing that struck me the most was a quote from a panelist on the last day. Despite being a super successful scholar and entrepreneur, he said, “I am no smarter than anyone else. The only reason that I am here is that I have been willing to fail over and over and over again.”

That was my biggest takeaway from the weekend, and I can only hope that in my life, regardless of my triumphs and trials, I can show the same strength to get back up each time I fall.

Summer Co-op Plans

Alexa Hoynacke

Alexa Hoynacke,
Junior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 24 March 2016

Its crazy to think about how there is only one more month left of my junior year. As the semester comes to a close I have been extremely busy with class, research, and work. As finals approach classes have been getting busier and busier.

Spring semester is always crazier than the fall because OU has so many great events when the weather gets better. A huge event coming up is the Student Expo, which is a university-wide research exposition. I have been working on my research project for almost 2 years now and in 2 weeks I will finally be presenting it in front of judges at the Student Expo.

Once my junior year comes to an end I will be moving back home (Cleveland area) for the summer to start my summer internship. I am extremely excited to be working with Eaton Corporation this summer.

Eaton Logo

Eaton is a multinational power-management company. I will be working as an Industrial Engineering Intern in the Operations Sector. I will be working in a team in my department and with one other intern.

I received this internship by going to the Society of Women Engineers National Conference in Nashville this past fall. I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity to go with the OU chapter of SWE to this conference. Working for Eaton has been a goal of mine for a while now so I am counting down the days till I can finally start my summer internship.

Research in the Motor Control Lab

Alexa Hoynacke

Alexa Hoynacke,
Junior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 11 October 2015

Fall semester is almost halfway done and I cannot believe how fast my junior year is flying by! This past summer I worked as a research assistant with the Motor Control Lab, which is a part of the College of Health Sciences and Professions. As a research assistant I was placed with the FLAG Study. Most of my summer was dedicated to writing and adjusting code, pilot testing, data collection, and analyzing pilot data.

A large part of the Motor Control Lab is working with virtual reality gaming to help find solutions for back pain. Here is a picture of me suited up in our motion capturing sensors and using an Oculus Rift.

Suited Up for Motion Capture

This past week has been very exciting because The FLAG study which has been my main focus for the past few months finally opened for enrollment. I cannot wait to see how the data collection process goes during these next few months.

Coming in as a freshman I would have never expected my college career to lead me towards research in biomechanics and motor control, but I very glad it did. I hope to continue with my research and pursue my Masters and possibly a Ph.D focused around biomechanics and ergonomics.