Biology

Dr. Christopher Brandon

The anti-inflammatory effects of progesterone in RAW 246.7 cells

Dr. Christopher Brandon

Dr. Christopher Brandon

This research experience will involve the characterization of the mammalian progesterone receptor (P4-R) using an array of agonists as well as antagonists for said receptor using RAW 246.7 cells maintained in culture. Specifically, in this STEC 4500 research experience, we will gain an understanding of the underpinnings of the RAW cell P4-R and its influence on the inflammatory cascade by incubation of the cells using a selection of receptor analogs in the presence and absence of exogenous inflammatory mediators. The effect of the inflammatory response will be measured by assay of nitric oxide production from these cells.

Dr. Chris Brown

Fungal diversity of leaf beetle fecal cases

Dr. Chris Brown

Dr. Chris Brown

Camptosomata leaf beetles build a nearly inclusive case around their eggs and larvae made of their own fecal material. Fecal cases protect the developing stages from predators and reduce temperature fluctuations. In the wild, fecal cases show an unexpected resilience to decay, lasting a year or more, and little to no signs of fungal growth. In the lab, however, fungi will grow from the cases. This project seeks to investigate further the composition of Camptosomate fecal cases and the microbial diversity associated with fecal cases including what prevents fungi from growing on them in the wild.

Small mammal diversity on a suburban campus

Dr. Chris Brown

Dr. Chris Brown

GGC’s campus contains several wooded areas in an otherwise urban/suburban area and offers a wonderful opportunity to investigate the effects of development on biodiversity. We propose to investigate the differences in small mammal diversity across different habitats on campus including small patches vs. large, predominately pine woods vs. predominately hardwoods, distance from development, and the area around brown-headed nuthatch boxes. We also propose to perform noninvasive mark-recapture tests which will allow population sizes to be estimated. Additional studies may include a survey of ectoparasites on the mammals captured.

Insects on the incline: Diversity of macroinvertebrates across small slopes

Dr. Chris Brown

Dr. Chris Brown

This study seeks to investigate the biodiversity of macroinvertebrates across several small slopes in the temperate forests adjacent to campus. Leaf litter invertebrates are among the most diverse organisms and show fine-scale responses to changes in microhabitat. The slopes of even small ridges and valleys might affect biodiversity of leaf litter invertebrates through one-way movement of nutrients and water as well as of large plant debris that provides shelter. Although relatively small changes, the topography at GGC allows control of most other factors such as canopy composition and abiotic factors.

Dr. Patrick Cain

Dynamic hunting tactics in jumping spiders (Family Salticidae)

Dr. Patrick Cain

Dr. Patrick Cain​

Predators are typically categorized as stalkers, ambushers or pursuers. Stalkers and ambushers use the element of surprise to obtain prey, while pursuers rely on speed and agility. While much of what we know about predatory-prey dynamics focuses on antipredator adaptations of prey, less is known about how predators can change tactics while actively stalking prey. We will investigate how predators, specifically jumping spiders (Family Salticidae), might alter their stalking behavior to maximize the likelihood of obtaining prey, focusing on variables such as prey type and orientation.

Dr. Melissa Caspary

Plant Pollinator Networks of the Coosa Prairies

Dr. Melissa Caspary

Dr. Melissa Caspary

The purpose of this project is to characterize bee pollinators associated with the Coosa Prairie plant community complex to determine monolectic, oligolectic, and polylectic species interactions to determine species associations that are critical to the persistence of the native prairie plant network. Rarity of plant species in the Coosa Valley Prairies likely corresponds to rarity in their associated pollinators. The findings from this research effort will be critical for natural resource managers who are trying to sustain remaining populations and important in understanding ecological community networks in specialized habitats.

Plant Pollinator Networks of the Granite Outcrops and Blackland Prairies in Georgia

Dr. Melissa Caspary

Dr. Melissa Caspary

This project is designed to characterize bee pollinators associated with the Blackland Prairie and Outcrop plant community complex to detect monolectic and oligolectic species interactions and determine species associations that are critical to the persistence of the native prairie plant network. The rarity of plant species in prairie and barren systems is expected to correspond to an associated rarity in pollinators, as has been demonstrated in other prairie community systems. This research effort will focus on rare and endemic associate rare flora species like the Georgia aster (Symphyotrichum georgianum) and the confederate daisy (Helianthus porter). The findings from this research will be critical for natural resource managers who are trying to sustain remaining populations and important to understanding ecological community networks in specialized habitats.

Dr. Pratima Darr, Dr. Wendy Dustman

White Nose Syndrome: Investigations of a Deadly Fungus and its Community Members

This research centers on White Nose Syndrome (WNS), a disease that has decimated hibernating bats in North America.  In the past we have used an insect model to study pathogenicity of the causative agent of this disease: Pseudogymnoascus destructans.  We have also attempted to culture the fungus from around hibernating bats at White River Cave in Rockmart Georgia.  P. destructans has been identified by PCR analysis of samples collected from bat muzzles at this site by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. In our ongoing work we hope to characterize a variety of the microbial flora of this community in order to better understand the context for this debilitating disease.

Dr. Maria Fernandez, Dr. Jill Penn, and Dr. Mia Malloy

Brown-headed Nuthatch (Sitta pusilla) Conservation

This project’s goal is to provide information into the genetics, behavior and population trend of the brown-headed nuthatch (BHNU, Sitta pusilla) as part of a national effort to combat the decline of this bird species endemic to Southeastern United States. The project encompasses three areas of study: behavior, diversity and genetics. Students may choose to participate in their area of interest as available.

Avian DNA analysis

This project’s goal is to provide information into the genetic diversity of passerines (song birds) in Gwinnett county. Species include Brown-headed Nuthatches, White-breasted Nuthatches, Carolina Chickadees, Northern Cardinals, Carolina Wrens, House Wrens, Myrtle Warblers, Swamp Sparrows and Ruby-crowned Kinglets.

Dr. Riccardo Fiorillo

The effects of Alloglossidium progeneticum on agonistic behavior in its host, the crayfish Procambarus spiculifer

Dr. Riccardo Fiorillo

Dr. Riccardo Fiorillo

The parasite Alloglossidium progeneticum infects the antennal glands of its host, the crayfish Procambarus spiculifer.  Crayfish use antennal glands to excrete nitrogenous waste and other chemical compounds.  Studies have shown that crayfish often excrete the contents of these glands when competing with other individuals for food, refuge, or mates.  We are interested in determining if/how infection with this parasite affects crayfish behavior and whether it can potentially alter the outcome of competitive interactions among individuals.

Helminth parasites of the Invasive Mayan Cichlid, Cichlasoma urophthalmus, from southern Florida

Dr. Riccardo Fiorillo

Dr. Riccardo Fiorillo

We are studying the worm parasites of the Mayan Cichlid, Cichlasoma urophthalmus in the Satilla River in Southeastern Georgia. We will characterize the helminth community of this invasive host and examine the relationship between host age, sex, size and parasite community richness and diversity.

Dr. Bagie George

Using invertebrates as bioindicators of urban stream health

Dr. Bagie George

Dr. Bagie George

Certain invertebrates are only found in pristine streams, while other combination of invertebrates serve as indicators to polluted streams. It is the aim of this study to assess the health of various urban stream habitats focusing on those adjacent to the GGC campus. Stream chemistry data in combination with invertebrate data will be used to indicate the level of health of a water systems and the level of pollution presently found on our immediate ecosystem.

Dr. Latanya Hammonds-Odie

Impact of the Biology Program on the Development of Career Readiness Skills

Dr. Latanya Hammonds-Odie

Dr. Latanya Hammonds-Odie

A faculty member and 2-3 students will work as team to establish a process by which data will be collected on the current status of all of the biology program graduates, using social media and institutional contact information. In addition, graduates will be invited to participate in a research project, exploring the connection between transferable skills self-reported as learned while a student at GGC and the same skills used in the graduates’ current position. Students will be engaged in all aspects of this project from exploring relevant science education research, experimental design, data collection analysis, and dissemination of research findings.

Dr. Elisabeth Javazon, Dr. Shoshana Katzman

Analyzing the immune response of fish living in different tributaries of the Chattahoochee River

Pollution in the tributaries to the Chattahoochee River affects a large number of resident organisms. Changes in water quality may alter the immunological environment of the fish depending on the species and amount of pollution.  We will examine the innate and/or adaptive immune systems of the redbreast sunfish (Lepomis auritus) and snail bullhead catfish (Ameiurus brunneus) caught from three different streams.  We would like to combine our data with the data gathered by other researchers at GGC studying the gut microbiome and parasitic infection to analyze the impact that pollution may have on fish species and the ecosystem in northern Georgia.

Dr. Sharon Keller

Investigation of the functional role of a phospholipase C gene in Trypanosoma brucei using a ribozyme to degrade mRNA

Dr. Sharon Keller

Dr. Sharon Keller

The glmS gene from Bacillus subtilis encodes a glutamine-fructose 6-phosphate amidotransferase that generates glucosamine 6-phosphate (GlcN6P). A regulatory element in the 5’ UTR of this gene acts as self-cleaving RNA when GlcN6P is present. Inserting this gene into the 5’ or 3’ UTR of a target gene will silence it when GlcN6P is produced. We will use this approach to elucidate the function of a phospholipase C (PLC) gene in Trypanosoma brucei. Previous in vitro studies showed this enzyme can hydrolyze phosphatidylinositol 4, 5 bisphosphate to diacylglycerol (DAG) and inositol 1, 4, 5 trisphosphate (IP3 ), both important second messengers.

Dr. James Russell

The Evolutionary Ecology of Parasitism

Dr. James Russell

Dr. James Russell

According to the Red Queen hypothesis, life is a continuous game of cat and mouse. But in life’s game the cat never catches the mouse and the mouse never quite gets away. The Red Queen hypothesis is used to describe co-evolutionary relationships between parasites and their hosts, where parasites evolve ways to infect hosts and hosts evolve compensatory defenses to parasitism. Our research is based on investigating the various manifestations of parasitism in the natural world. From intracellular bacterial parasites to trematode worm infections in snails our research investigates the biodiversity and evolutionary relationships of parasites and their hosts.

GGC Campus Urban Forestry

Dr. James Russell

Dr. James Russell

The Campus Urban Forestry Initiative working in partnership with the Campus Tree Committee seeks to elevate the visibility and health of the urban forest on the GGC campus and surrounding community. The urban forests improve the quality of life for those living on and near the GGC campus by filtering air, reducing smog formation, preventing erosion, supporting local wildlife, and sheltering building from the heat and cold. This initiative also seeks to raise awareness through campus and surrounding community outreach and education. Research projects will assist with the development of a campus tree inventory, canopy coverage and carbon offset calculations.

Continental Divide Biodiversity and Gene Flow

Dr. James Russell

Dr. James Russell

Gwinnett County is bisected by the southeastern continental divide that separates water flowing to the Gulf of Mexico and water flowing to the Atlantic Ocean. GGC is currently working with the Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation department to sample animal species in county parks on either side of the continental divide. How do animals navigate the divide and the obstacles within each watershed? Testing hypotheses related to animal migration patterns, we will be collecting animal samples, estimating biodiversity values, and extracting DNA for genetic analyses of gene flow between and within watersheds.

Dr. Peter C. Sakaris

Effects of habitat fragmentation on connectivity of redbreast sunfish populations in an urban watershed

Dr. Peter C. Sakaris

Dr. Peter C. Sakaris

Human activities in urban watersheds have resulted in the fragmentation of local streams. Fragmentation of stream habitats has occurred through the construction of dams and roads, extreme bank erosion leading to sedimentation and fallen trees, habitat degradation, and zones of poor water quality. Our main objective is to study how habitat fragmentation has affected the connectivity of fish populations in an urban stream. We hypothesize that fragmentation has restricted the movement of fishes and has led to the isolation of subpopulations throughout the system. Our project will employ field mark-recapture techniques to test this hypothesis.

Regional effects of land use on growth of brown bullhead catfish in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Dr. Peter C. Sakaris

Dr. Peter C. Sakaris

Limited information exists regarding the effects of human land use on the growth patterns of ictalurids. Urban and agricultural runoff can alter the trophic status of local waterbodies, which can potentially influence the growth of fishes. The main goal of this project is to assess the environmental impacts of runoff on a broader regional scale. Specifically, we will examine the effects of anthropogenic activities on brown bullhead catfish growth, Ameiurus nebulosus, throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Analysis of ontogenetic shifts in diet habits of the invasive blue catfish from the Altamaha River in Georgia

Dr. Peter C. Sakaris

Dr. Peter C. Sakaris

We will investigate ontogenetic shifts in food habits of the non-native blue catfish, Ictalurus furcatus, in the Altamaha River, Georgia, and assess the potential impact of the blue catfish on native fauna in the system. The blue catfish was first documented in the Altamaha River in early 2000s, and Georgia-DNR biologists are concerned that this species has expanded and become increasingly invasive over time. We hope that our findings will inform management decisions related to the control of this invasive species in the Altamaha River.

Growth variation of nonnative trout along a regulated section of the Chattahoochee River

Dr. Peter C. Sakaris

Dr. Peter C. Sakaris

Nonnative trout species are regularly stocked below Bufurd Dam on the Chattahoochee River. However, limited data exists on the growth patterns of these fishes. We hypothesize that growth rates of trout will increase as one moves away from the dam to downstream locations. Effects of altered flows are potentially dampened as distance from the dam increases. We aim to compare the age and growth of trout populations along a disturbance gradient along the Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam.

Dr. Mark Schlueter

Measuring the Benefits of Wildflower Plots to Boost Native Bee Abundance in Georgia Apply Orchards

Dr. Mark Schlueter

Dr. Mark Schlueter

Due to Colony Collapse Disorder, honeybees are in decline throughout the United States. Native bees are the best alternative to honeybees, since they are already present in the local environment. In the following study we will assess the use of wildflower plots in boost native bee abundances. We will also examine which species are the most abundant to determine the best candidates to supplement the honeybees in commercial agriculture. By establishing a strong network of native bees in Georgia agriculture, we can make Georgia Agriculture more secure and sustainable.

An Assessment of Diversity and Abundance of Mammal Predators in Rural, Suburban, and Urban Parks in Georgia

Dr. Mark Schlueter

Dr. Mark Schlueter

The following study surveys mammalian carnivore diversity in Georgia’s piedmont forests.  Human settlements and man-made structures have impacted wildlife abundance and diversity.  The purpose of this study is to assess mammalian carnivore species diversity and abundances in forests located in urban, sub-urban, and rural sites. How successful are urban and suburban parks in providing useful habitats for carnivores?  The project utilized Digital infra-red trail cameras.  A variety of species will be targeted and have been previously seen on the cameras including: whitetail deer, opossum, squirrel, rabbit, armadillo, grey and red fox, raccoon, coyote, bear, and bobcat.

An Assessment Temporal Size Variation in Bumblebees Found in North Georgia Agricultural Areas

Dr. Mark Schlueter

Dr. Mark Schlueter

This study examines the differences in bumble bee (Bombus impatiens) queen and worker size and carpenter bee (Xylocopa virginica) size over the growing season (March-September).  Bee size significantly varies over the growing season for the bumble bees; newly hatch worker bees that emerge late in the season are half the size of the bees emerge early in the season.  Special camera microscopes will be used to accurately measure (1) forewing surface area, (2) hindwing surface area, (3) head, (4) thorax , (5) abdomen size.  Special equations will be used to calculate pollen load limits of the bee as well.

Measuring Native Bee Abundance and Diversity at the Research Orchard at GGC

Dr. Mark Schlueter

Dr. Mark Schlueter

Agriculture is a key component in the economy of the United States, producing $400 Billion worth of goods. Nearly one-third of all agricultural produced in the world is pollinated by bees. Bees pollinate nearly every fruit, nut and vegetable. Apis mellifera (honey bee), the chief pollinator used in commercial agriculture, has been in decline. Reliance on a single species for the pollination of a significant portion of commercial agriculture can be dangerous. One alternative to using honey bees as the main commercial pollinator is native bees.

In the following proposal, an experimental fruit orchard will be created on the campus of GGC. This orchard will serve as an important resource to engage and expose students to agricultural research methods, provide first-hand experiences with beneficial and pest insects. STEC-4500 students will be involved in (a) research sampling design, (b) sampling methods, (c) sample processing and basic insect identification, (d) data analysis, and (e) documenting their results. Students focus on both beneficial and pest insects, as well as fruit production rates.

Dr. Mark Schlueter, Dr. Patrick Cain

Examination of Antlion Feeding and Ecological Behaviors

Antlions (Order Neuroptera) are voracious insect predators. Antlion adults live for only a month; whereas the larva stage last for several years. Antlion larvae dig pits to trap ants or other small prey. They fiercely devour their prey and fling their drained carcasses out of their pits. Antlions have many unusual characteristics such as not having an anus and never defecating, aggressive predator tactics, and being able to survive a long period without food. The antlion larva is often called a doodlebug because of the winding, spiraling trails they leave in the sand while relocating to a new area to make a new pit.

Dr. Elizabeth Sudduth

Effects of beaver activity on urban streams and wetlands

Dr. Elizabeth Sudduth

Dr. Elizabeth Sudduth

Beavers are expected to alter impacted urban stream channels by creating dams that reconnect the stream to its floodplain, which would also increase microbial processes and improve water quality.  By altering stream channels and restoring riparian wetlands, beavers would also create habitat for other organisms, especially macroinvertebrates and amphibians.  We will deploy and maintain instream and audio data loggers and collect stream and wetland water samples that will be analyzed in the lab to test the hypothesis that restoration by beaver activity can be more effective than modern, constructed restoration techniques at improving downstream water quality in an urban watershed.

Dr. Fengjie Sun

A phylogenetic study of the perennial, endemic Apiaceae Subfamily Apiodeae of western North America based on novel plastic DNA sequences

Dr. Fengjie Sun

Dr. Fengjie Sun

Question: How do we improve the estimation of the phylogenetic relationships of a group of Rocky Mountain Umbelliferae/Apiaceae, the carrot family (~200 species)?

Hypothesis: We will use both molecular and morphological characters.
 
Methods: We will score morphological characters and collect DNA sequences of these plants.
Anticipated results: We will generate a satisfactory classification of this group of plants.

Impact: The phylogenetic results obtained will be an extremely important reference for systematists, ecologists, and conservation and evolutionary biologists.

Evolutionary study of RNA based on phylogenetic investigations of structural evidence

Dr. Fengjie Sun

Dr. Fengjie Sun

Question: How do we study the evolution of RNA structures? 

Hypothesis: We will study the evolution of RNA structures using the tools of phylogenetic, evolutionary biology, and bioinformatics.

Methods: We apply the award-winning approaches that embed RNA structure and function directly into phylogenetic analysis to search for evolutionary patterns and processes in the structure of several functional RNA molecules. RNA structural features are treated as ordered, multi-state characters and polarize the transformation for one character state to another by invoking an evolutionary tendency towards molecular order.

Anticipated results: We are to identify the processes driving the evolution of RNA structure.

Dr. Jennell Talley

Determining correlations between personality traits, risk-taking behaviors and the serotonin gene

Dr. Jennell Talley

Dr. Jennell Talley

Recent research into the biological underpinnings of personality and behavior has suggested that polymorphisms in specific genes (e.g. the type 4 dopamine receptor, the serotonin transporter, etc.) are correlated with both the novelty seeking personality trait and risk-taking behavior.  Novelty seeking can be defined as a predisposition, need, or desire for new and varied experiences through disinhibited behavior, including potentially dangerous activities such as extreme sports, drug use, or unprotected sex (Cloninger, 1987; Cloninger et al., 1993).  This project is designed to examine the relationships between genetic variants, personality, and risk-taking, and risk-assessment in human participants.

Dr. Rebekah Ward, Dr. Lee Kurtz, Dr. Wendy Dustman, Dr. Sharon Keller

Production conditions affect on Salmonella load in chicken eggs

Food poisoning linked to microbial contamination is a serious problem across the world. However, much of this contamination can be attributed to poor food handling practices. Eggs, however, can “inherit” microbial contamination from the mother bird during development. These bacteria, Salmonella species, can colonize the egg and, without proper cooking, infect a human host after consumption. Here we investigate the different conditions that may affect the bacterial load in chicken eggs.

Contamination in South Asian egg delicacies and the effect of preservation conditions

Food preservation techniques are an ancient cultural practice that express both culinary tastes and basic public health precautions. From the Icelandic Hakarl to the Korean Kim Chi, these methods often have found creative means of microbial growth control. Here we investigate the microbial composition and load of two traditional South Asian eggs – the Century egg and salted duck eggs. We will evaluate two common causes of food born illness: Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella species. These data may inform consumer choices and cooking precautions for these foods.

Dr. Rebekah Ward, Dr. Lee Kurtz, Dr. Wendy Dustman, Dr. Sharon Keller, Dr. Adrienne Cotrell-Yongye

Air Hand Dryers and Bacterial Spread

Are air dryers better for the environment by not using paper towels, or do they contribute to the spread of bacteria across the bathroom they are used in? This project exams three questions:

  • Do air dryers increase the bacterial numbers on hands?
  • Do they change the types of bacteria found on hands? 
  • Do they cause an increase in specific bacteria being spread throughout the bathroom?

The Effects of pH Level, Sugar, and Oxygen on Porphyromonas gingivalis Adhesion

The oral colonizing of the bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis is dependent upon the adhesion to the host. These pathogenic bacteria are associated with periodontal disease. Conditions, such as the pH level, amount of sugar and oxygen, can affect the adherence of these bacteria to solid surfaces. Porphyromonas gingivalis adherence will be assessed while varying pH level, sugar and oxygen.

Levels of Short Chain Fatty Acid Production in Commonly Represented Gut Bacteria

Regulatory T cells in the human intestine are responsible for modulating the gut’s immune response by preventing an over activation of other immune cells responsible for inflammatory responses. Previous studies have shown that short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) produced by commensal bacteria in the gut microbiome can signal with human T regulator cells. This SCFA signaling has been seen to increase regulatory T cell efficacy in the microbiome. Student researchers will identify some common bacterial species found in the human microbiome and determine their relative amounts of SCFA production in culture.

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Biology and Chemistry Collaboration

Dr. Cindy Achat-Mendes, Dr. Robert Haining

Cellular and Behavioral Mechanisms of Nicotine’s Neuroprotective Effects

Dr. Robert Haining

Dr. Robert Haining


The role of nicotine in learning and attention in both healthy humans and in diseased states is a controversial topic due to the potential benefits of this highly maligned chemical. Clinical trials are currently underway for example to examine the therapeutic utility of nicotine in managing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and cognitive and movement disorders associated with Parkinson’s disease. At the cellular level, it has also been shown that nicotine has neuroprotective effects by preventing neuronal death following toxicity and insult. The mechanisms by which nicotine is neuroprotective is unknown. Both ADHD and Parkinson’s disease involve the depletion of dopamine and recent studies have shown a putative nicotin. Thus, our working hypothesis is that nicotine’s therapeutic effect is directly related to its influence on dopamine release from dopaminergic neurons. To test this hypothesis, experiments in this STEC 4500 project will examine nicotine-induced dopaminergic behaviors in zebrafish and nicotine-induced dopaminergic release in neuronal cultures.

Dr. Matthew Schmolesky and Dr. Jennell Talley

A behavioral genetics approach to understanding personality traits and risk-taking behaviors


Recent research into the biological underpinnings of personality and behavior has suggested that polymorphisms in specific genes (e.g. the type 4 dopamine receptor, the serotonin transporter, etc.) are correlated with both the novelty seeking personality trait and risk-taking behavior. Novelty seeking can be defined as a predisposition, need, or desire for new and varied experiences through disinhibited behavior, including potentially dangerous activities such as extreme sports, drug use, or unprotected sex (Cloninger, 1987; Cloninger et al., 1993). This project is designed to examine the relationships between genetic variants, personality, and risk-taking, and risk-assessment in human participants.

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Chemistry

Dr. Derek Behmke, Dr. Joseph Sloop, Dr. Benjamin Shepler, Dr. Cynthia Woodbridge, Dr. Thomas Gluick

Development and Assessment of Cognitive Load Theory based Problem Set in General Chemistry


Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) attempts to minimize the short-term memory load while maximizing the memory available for transferring knowledge from short-term to long-term memory. There are three types of load, intrinsic, extraneous, and germane. Implementation of CLT problem sets into general chemistry courses, attempts to minimize intrinsic and extraneous load by breaking down multistep problems into smaller, individual steps for the students. Using a static fading approach over several questions, students weave all the steps together to solve the entire problem. Students working on this project will be involved in the creation, implementation, and assessment of the CLT problem sets.

Dr. Patrice Bell, Dr. Chantelle Anfuso

Development of Several Laser Spectroscopic and Thermodynamic Experiments for Physical Chemistry II (CHEM 4202K)

Several advanced physical chemistry laboratory experiments are required for implementation of CHEM 4202K, Physical Chemistry II, planned for Spring 2016 enrollment. The experiments in this course will explore nonideal conditions of chemical systems via experimental and theoretical frameworks. Three experiments are listed below:

  1. Thermal Imaging of Heat Transfer – Bilateral Study of Study Perception of Heat Flow and Experimental Design of Thermodynamic Systems
  2. Raman Scattering of Green Laser Light Using a Spectrometer Coupled with CCD
  3. HeNe Laser to Generate Atomic Emission Spectra of Certain Atoms Using a Spectrometer Coupled

Dr. Neville Forlemu

Fine tuning ligands to selectively target glycolytic enzymes from parasitic organism responsible for Malaria and Chagas disease: A molecular modeling approach

Dr. Neville Forlemu

Dr. Neville Forlemu

Recent advances in the arena of molecular recognition have identified glycolytic enzymes as possessing tremendous moonlighting capabilities. A number of studies have reported the involvement of glycolytic enzymes in serious neuronal disorders such as Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. These enzymes are also become important targets of drug development, e.g., antimalarial agents, drugs for sleeping sickness and chagas disease (prevalent in central and South America, Africa and other tropical areas of the world). The proposed project will used molecular dynamics and docking methods to selectively inhibit glycolytic enzymes of trypanosomes and plasmodium as opposed to the human enzymes.

Dr. Thomas Gluick

Chemical Analysis of Local Water Resources

Dr. Thomas Gluick

Dr. Thomas Gluick

The student will be tasked to identify and analyze the inorganic and organic content of water resources in Gwinnett and neighboring counties. The student and instructor will sample local water resources including rivers, wells, and drinking water. The student will learn how to use standard analytical techniques, including atomic spectroscopy to analyze water. The student will also evaluate the suitability of assays designed to test water purity that may be used in CHEM 1211K and CHEM 1212K STEM projects.

Dr. Robert Haining

Explore alternative model systems of studying Neuromelanin

Dr. Robert Haining

Dr. Robert Haining

Neuromelanin is a pigment normally found in human brain tissue. It is highly concentrated in certain areas such as the substantia nigra, where it plays an as-yet undetermined role in the storage and transmission of the neurotransmitter dopamine. The profound loss of neuromelanin during the latter stages of Parkinson’s made this disorder known as the disease of the white brain over 300 years ago, yet we still know very little about its function. The major roadblock to our understanding lies in the relative unavailability of suitable model systems. That is, ethical considerations prevent the study of this pigment in its natural habitat, i.e., the human brain. This project is intended to explore alternative model systems that are readily accessible to most research and teaching institutions.

Models Systems for the Study of Human Neuromelanin

Dr. Robert Haining

Dr. Robert Haining

The long term goal of the research project involves the study of the role of the pigment neuromelanin in human neurons. Given the impracticalities of using human tissues, much of the project is devoted to exploring alternate model systems which will give us insight into the possible endogenous function(s) of neuromelanin. One predominant feature of melanins is their reported capacity for binding toxins. As such, when dopaminergic neurons age and naturally accumulate pigment melanin, they also become more susceptible to toxic insult through toxin sequestration and accumulation.

Dr. Rebecca Kalman

Extraction of pesticides from crops and soil using the QuEChERS method

Dr. Rebecca Kalman

Dr. Rebecca Kalman

Pesticides are globally used to control harmful weeds and prevent insects from damaging crops. This research project will focus on determining the best extraction methods and analysis techniques to evaluate the uptake of pesticide into the crops. The researcher will apply pesticide to crops at various stages of their growth. The QuEChERS method will be the primary extraction technique that will be evaluated. Analysis will include HPLC-UV and GC-MS.

Dr. Michael Kirberger

The roles of metal ions in neural activity and neurotoxicity

Dr. Michael Kirberger

Dr. Michael Kirberger

The purpose of this project will be to first conduct a comprehensive statistical analysis of proteins that bind or interact with essential metals (e.g., Mg2+ and Zn2+) as well as toxic metals, including Hg2+. These data will then be used to compare structural differences observed in protein metal-binding sites (bond lengths, angles, coordination number and geometry, etc.) and further extended to subsequent analyses of structural changes in metal-binding proteins found within neural pathways. This research is designed to improve our understanding of the roles of essential and toxic metals in molecular toxicity and neurodegenerative disorders.

Dr. Seungjin Lee

Sustainable water reuse and waste management by recycling nutrients

Dr. Seungjin Lee

Dr. Seungjin Lee

Valuable nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium from various sources are discharged to water bodies which causes water pollution and a net loss of the nutrients. Currently, urine is collected and treated together with feces using the same transportation and central treatment system. There is increasing interest in the specific unit processes for unit source separation and treatment for nutrient recycling and the reduction of the size and load of water treatment. To this end, this study focuses on the following two parts:

Part A: Synthesis of Hydrogels

  • Synthesis of hydrogels with varying compositions
  • Characterization of the synthesized hydrogels, including the absorption/swelling and adsorption/desorption

Part B: Separation/Filtration of Nutrients

  • Separation of hydrogels by filtration for reuse
  • Development of prototype of nutrients adsorption column

Bench-scale production of biodiesel using GGC waste oil/grease and its characterization

Dr. Seungjin Lee

Dr. Seungjin Lee

Following up previous research on the investigation of the properties of GGC waste cooking oil and grease for potential biofuel production since 2015, the next phase of the biodiesel project will include bench-scale production of biodiesel using GGC waste oil/grease and its characterization as a source of fuel for campus transportation. A participating undergraduate student will engage in real-world environmental research to generate renewable fuels with subsequent chemical and physical analysis using a suit of instrumentation currently available on campus. This project will be conducted in collaboration with other students and faculty in the environmental research cluster.

Quantitative analysis of the interaction forces between foulants and membranes

Dr. Seungjin Lee

Dr. Seungjin Lee

Reliable management of water resources and a secure supply of quality water have become one of the most crucial health concerns. As most water sources required conventional filtration, other enhanced filtration technologies emerged and membrane separation processes have been replacing conventional treatment and undergoing continuous improvement toward wider application. Membrane fouling is, however, an inevitable problem and one of the greatest hurdles in membrane processes. Surface chemistry finds its crucial role in identifying the nature of the interactions between contaminants and membrane surfaces, and such interactions can be estimated using Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM).

Dr. Xiaoping Li

Assay and compare Trolox Equivalent Antioxidant Capacity (TEAC) with UV spectrometer for energy drinks

Dr. Xiaoping Li

Dr. Xiaoping Li​

Students' primary goal in this project is to assay and compare Trolox Equivalent Antioxidant Capacity (TEAC) with UV spectrometer for energy drinks, including coffee, tea and other energy beverages. Students might also assay and compare the caffeine content in these energy drinks with SPE and GC/MS techniques.

Dr. Xiaoping Li, Dr. Sharon Guan

Pesticide analysis in drinking water and beverages using multiple separation and identification techniques

Pesticides have become ubiquitous environmental and human health hazards. Regulatory and public concern over pesticide residues in water supplies has been increasing. This project involves a qualitative and quantitative analysis of some of the most widely applied pesticides and its degradation products in various real-world samples (water and soft drink) with multiple separation/detection techniques, including Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometer (GC-MS), High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), and Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA).

Dr. Ajay Mallia

Design and study of metal nanoparticles embedded molecular gels

Dr. Ajay Mallia

Dr. Ajay Mallia

Preparation of metal nanoparticles with specific size and shape and organizing them into two- and three-dimensional structures may find potential applications in optoelectronic devices.  In the present project molecular gels that can act as templates to generate metal nanoparticles will be explored. Molecular gels have been defined as semi-solid like materials that are composed of a liquid and low concentration of a molecular gelator. The student will synthesize molecular gelator using multi-step organic synthesis and study the templating effect on the preparation of metal nanoparticles. Homologues of some gelator molecule may also be synthesized to understand the structure-property correlation. The student will be expected to determine the range of liquids that are gelated by the gelator and determine the gel melting temperature and stability of gels.

Dr. Ajay Mallia, Dr. Joseph Sloop

Synthesis and studies of ninhydrin based ring systems


For over hundred years ninhydrin has been used for the detection of amino acids and amines. Because of its versatile structure, ninhydrin has been also used to generate wide variety biologically active of heterocyclic compounds. Present project has two broad goals:

  1. synthesis of fluorinated heterocyclic ring systems will be study the structure and property correlations. 
  2. synthesis of ninhydrin based soft materials by coupling with suitable flexible alkyl chains and study the self-assembling and gelation properties.

Dr. Josh Morris

The synthesis of conducting polymers with biological oxidants

Dr. Josh Morris

Dr. Josh Morris

The central goal of this research project is to synthesize conducting polymers with unique properties through the use of biological oxidants. Conducting polymers have applications in a wide range of modern technologies including solar cells, light emitting diodes, and electronic paper. By generating these polymers with a wide range of biological catalysts their properties can be optimized for their use in these diverse technologies. The biological oxidants used in this project provide a naturally occurring range of structural diversity that may allow for the creation polymers with unique properties.

Dr. Michael Morton

Comparison of different methods for making Iron-Gall ink and systematically studying aging and/or environmental effects on the ink

Dr. Michael Morton

Dr. Michael Morton

Iron-gall ink recipes have been handed down since ancient times and it was the ink of choice for documentation from the medieval times to the twentieth century.  Iron gall ink is primarily made from tannin (most often extracted from galls), vitriol (iron sulfate), gum, and water.  Because the tannin is extracted from a natural product, amounts vary based on source and thus, the nature of the ink varies.  We will systematically study different recipes to compare the resulting quality of the ink produced.  Since these inks are also acidic, we will also study the corrosive effects of the ink over time and under different environmental condition.

Dr. Julia E. Barker Paredes, Dr. Richard Pennington

Synthesis, Classification and Reactivity of Diaminomaleonitriles-Based Ligands and Various Metals

Drs. Pennington and Paredes are currently in the process of using organic chemistry to form ligands for potential catalysts.  These ligands will be organic in nature and are highly conjugated systems that may then bind to different metallic centers.  Once bound, the metals centers will be tested for activity in organic oxygenation reactions.  Catalysts involved in oxygenation reactions may be used in fossil fuel desulfurization, bleaching, in pharmaceutical manufacture and additional areas of science.

Dr. Sang Hyuck Park

Conduct authentic environmental research projects

Dr. Sang Hyuck Park

Dr. Sang Hyuck Park

This project provides the students with authentic environmental research experience involving greenhouse gas (GHG) removing technologies. CO2 separation technologies based on Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) will be used, because of ts simple operation, low corrosiveness, and overall low cost, which is fitting for an Undergraduate Research Experience (URE) project at GGC. The main objectives of this project include 1.) improving students’ research and leadership skills through participation in rigorous environmental research; 2.) enhancing critical thinking and problem-solving skills; and 3.) creating an environmental research initiation group at GGC for future environmental research collaboration.

Analysis of GGC Dining Operations Waste Oil and Grease for use as Biofuel

Dr. Sang Hyuck Park

Dr. Sang Hyuck Park

This research launches a long term, interdisciplinary STEC4500 investigation of waste oil and grease from campus dining operations to jump-start development of a faculty/student environmental research cluster. Initial project personnel expertise spans disciplines (Khan, nanoscience; Park, environmental engineering; Pursell, chemical physics; Zimmermann, environmental toxicology) and maximizes opportunities for students in the new academic programs of chemistry and environmental science, as well as students from biology, plus young investigators from GSMST, to engage in authentic research on the waste cooking oil and grease generated through GGC dining operations.

Production of Biodiesel from GGC Dining Waste Oil and Grease and Assessment of the Economic and Environmental Viability of the Biofuel Production

Dr. Sang Hyuck Park

Dr. Sang Hyuck Park

This research launches a long term, interdisciplinary STEC4500 investigation of waste oil and grease from campus dining operations to jump-start development of a faculty/student environmental research cluster. In 2015, GGC STEM Mini-Grant allowed the initiation of a collaborative investigation of the properties of GGC waste cooking oil/grease for potential biofuel production. In fall 2017, the bench-scale production of biodiesel using GGC waste oil/grease and its characterization will be conducted as the second phase of the biofuel project, and the cost-benefit analysis of using reclaimed cooking oils as a source of fuel for campus transportation will be performed as well.

Dr. David Pursell

Chemical Analysis of Campus Ecosystem during Intense Construction Activity

Dr. David Pursell

Dr. David Pursell

Students will conduct chemical analysis of anthropogenic contaminants on the campus ecosystem. Initial work is heavy metal analysis of soil, plants, and aquatic life at several locations on campus with the intent of tracking migration of metals through the campus ecosystem before, during and after construction.

Dr. Benjamin Shepler

Computational Chemistry Studies of Thermochemistry and Reaction Dynamics

Dr. Benjamin Shepler

Dr. Benjamin Shepler

Research in the Shepler group focuses on increasing our fundamental understanding of why and how molecules react the way they do. To do this, we study the underlying physics that controls all chemical behavior. Specifically we use quantum mechanics to model molecules and chemical reactions. This is accomplished by carrying out large-scale calculations using powerful computer software packages running on GGC’s high performance LINUX computing cluster, Ursus. No prior knowledge of physical or computational chemistry is required, as long as the student is interested in learning more about these exciting areas of chemistry.

Computational study of the reaction F + CH3NH2

Dr. Benjamin Shepler

Dr. Benjamin Shepler

A recent study of the energetics of the reaction between atomic fluorine and methylamine (CH3NH2) indicate this reaction may have interesting and unusual properties. In this project the chemical dynamics, the motions of atoms/molecules over the course of a chemical reaction, will be studied for F + CH3NH2 using computational chemistry methods. Students will have the opportunity to learn a variety of computational chemistry techniques and run the calculations on GGC’s high performance computing cluster.

Computational investigation of cyclic diketones

Dr. Benjamin Shepler

Dr. Benjamin Shepler

The proposed project is a continuation of an ongoing theoretical study of the keto-enol tautomerization of fluorinated cyclic diketones.  The reaction will be investigated by characterizing the two isomers, the transition state separating them, and the reaction path with accurate ab initio calculations.  The effects on the reaction of changing the ring size, replacing fluorine with other halogens, and solvent effects will be investigated.  Results of the calculations will be compared to experiment.

Dr. Joseph Sloop

Synthesis, characterization and analysis of indanone derivatives

Dr. Joseph Sloop

Dr. Joseph Sloop

This project involves both classical and modern synthetic approaches to prepare a variety of fluorinated indanone derivatives. Products obtained from these syntheses will be characterized by spectroscopic methods.  Follow-on investigations planned include bioactivity assessments, structure-activity relationship studies, and efficacy studies of selected derivatives for use in latent fingerprinting protocols.

Fluorination of Aromatic Amine Derivatives: An Efficacy Study

Dr. Joseph Sloop

Dr. Joseph Sloop

Fluorination methodologies of selected aromatic and heteroaromatic amine derivatives as well as bicyclic acetylsulfonamides using Selectfluor® will be examined. Reactant ratios and reaction conditions will be varied so as to provide optimum product yields. A comparative study of aromatic reactivity toward Selectfluor® and other fluorinating agents in these molecules will be conducted to determine selectivity trends for aromatic, heteroaromatic and heterocyclic rings.

Synthesis, characterization and analysis of fluorosulfanilamide derivatives

Dr. Joseph Sloop

Dr. Joseph Sloop

This project involves both classical and modern synthetic approaches to prepare a library of fluorinated sulfa drug derivatives. Products obtained from these syntheses will be characterized by spectroscopic methods.  Follow-on investigations planned include bioactivity assessments, structure-activity relationship studies, and efficacy studies of selected derivatives for use in antimicrobial testing protocols.

Dr. Mai Yin Tsoi

Analyzing the potential effects of an interdisciplinary class project on the beliefs and views of ITEC students

Dr. Mai Yin Tsoi

Dr. Mai Yin Tsoi

Students will use qualitative research methods to analyze the potential effects of an interdisciplinary class project on the beliefs and views of ITEC students. The student must be able to effectively use statistical analysis, type dictations at moderate to fast speeds, and conduct literature searches on related topics and findings. As well, the student will be expected to conduct student interviews, classroom observations, and surveys to collect qualitative and quantitative data. It is expected that the student will exhibit strong work habits, self-motivation, and self-direction.

Dr. Mai Yin Tsoi, Dr. Mary Beth Anzovino

Analysis of Student Errors in Specifications Grading Oriented Courses

Specifications grading is a methodology by which students show proficiency of specific course objectives through repeated assessments. The research project will investigate how errors on quizzes change over time and what relationships can be found between errors and class perseverance and performance. Student researcher will analyze statistical data, employ qualitative analysis techniques, and create concept maps of themes within data.

Dr. Omar Villanueva

Development of Redox-active Ligands that Promote Environmentally-sustainable Catalysis at First-row Transition Metal Ions

Dr. Omar Villanueva

Dr. Omar Villanueva

Recent emphasis in chemical research has been placed on discovering new methods that can produce alternative fuels, remove environmental pollutants, and reduce harmful by-products that contribute to global warming, as breakthroughs in these areas are needed to address the Nation's environmental and energy challenges.  To achieve these goals, chemists are capable of controlling the structure and reactivity of transition metal catalysts through fundamental studies involving catalyst design.

Dr. Cynthia Woodbridge

Computational Chemistry – environmental, inorganic, and biological applications

Dr. Cynthia Woodbridge

Dr. Cynthia Woodbridge

Density Functional Theory (DFT) is a fast, accurate method for solving computational problems. DFT methods are applied to metallocenes to evaluate their potential as CVD sources, an aptamer to evaluate its potential as a sensor, and transition metal oxides in order to determine whether they can be used to remediate environmental toxins. Students working on these projects will learn about DFT methods, surface science, group theory, and normal mode analysis.

Dr. Kathryn Zimmermann

Measurement of Hazardous Air Pollutants and Policy Analysis with Regard to Environmental Justice in Atlanta Metropolitan Region

Dr. Kathryn Zimmermann

Dr. Kathryn Zimmermann

This is a collaborative project between SST and SLA which will focus on the measurement of gas-phase hazardous air pollutants using passive air sampling techniques. Measurements of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and polychlorinated biphenyls will be taken at up to seven sites selected by students based on community demographic parameters such as income, percent minority population, level of education, and percent of linguistic isolation. The concentration of pollutant analytes will be compared to demographic data to investigate the presence of environmental justice issues in the Atlanta metropolitan region and Lawrenceville, Ga.

Synthesis and Characterization of Biodiesel from Waste Oil and Grease from the GGC Chick-fil-A Restaurant

Dr. Kathryn Zimmermann

Dr. Kathryn Zimmermann

Students synthesize biodiesel from waste oil and grease collected from the Chick-fil-A restaurant in Building A. After producing the biodiesel, students develop fuel blends by combining biodiesel with commercial diesel fuel and then characterize the blends using standard instrumental and physical techniques. The blended fuels are then tested in the Pursell Group diesel generator. Once the fuel is generated, our research will focus on sampling and characterizing the biodiesel emissions using GC-MS, ICP-MS, and AFM.

Physical and chemical characterization of biodiesel emissions and atmospheric particles using atomic force microcoscopy (AFM)

Dr. Kathryn Zimmermann

Dr. Kathryn Zimmermann

Physical and chemical characterization of biodiesel emissions and atmospheric particles using atomic force microcoscopy (AFM). Students will sample ambient particles or biodiesel emissions using an impaction sampler, then characterize the size and morphology of single particles using the AFM.

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Chemistry and Information Technology Collaboration

Dr. David Kerven, Dr. Derek Behmke, Dr. Robert Lutz

3-D Modeling in the Chemistry Curriculum


Drs. Kerven, Behmke and Lutz are part of a team developing new and innovative means of incorporating the growing trends of 3-D technology and animation to model chemical structures. The end goal is to empower students in class by having 3-D model technology in the classroom on a tablet, mobile device or other augmented reality apparatus. This project will involve researching appropriate software applications and identifying the appropriate means of making the interface user-friendly.

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Environmental Science

Dr. Maribel Fernandez, Dr. Jenna Andrews-Swann

Local Landscapes: Human-Environment Engagement in Gwinnett County

This interdisciplinary, collaborative CIP project intends to help Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation and Department of Water Resources (DWR) assess the impact of different styles of outreach efforts on people’s attitudes and behavior towards urban green spaces and biodiversity in Gwinnett County. The goal is to measure the effectiveness of current outreach measures and assist county offices in their efforts to improve outreach and engagement.

 

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Exercise Science

Dr. Karla Caillouet, Dr. Brandon Doan

The Effect of a Technology-Based Health Education Intervention on Physical Activity Levels among Participants in a Worksite Wellness Program

The purpose of this project is to determine the effect of a health education intervention on physical activity levels among participants in a local health department’s worksite wellness program. The health education intervention will include an instructional presentation focused on exercise in the workplace. The intervention will also include text messaging as a mechanism to encourage physical activity and to provide exercise suggestions throughout the work week. The impact of the health education intervention will be determined through the evaluation of participants’ physical activity levels pre- and post-intervention.

Dr. James B. Crabbe

Does HRV that covaries with CRF translate to Stressors?

This research will investigate whether changes in heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) demonstrated at rest as a result of changes in cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) translate to similar changes in HR and HRV during and in recovery of other physiological and psychological stressors.

Dr. Brandon Doan

Testing Muscle Oxygenation and its Relation to VO2, Heart Rate, and Lactate

Dr. Brandon Doan

Dr. Brandon Doan

Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) has been investigated as valid and reliable for measurement of muscle oxygenation and exercise intensity (Shibuya and Tanaka, 2003). Advancements in NIRS technology are resulting in more portable and non-invasive systems creating new opportunities for improved assessment of physiological measures during exercise. Our proposed research will investigate the relationship of muscle oxygenation of a particular NIRS device, the Moxy, to more established physiological and exercise performance measures such as VO2, heart rate HR, and blood lactate concentration. The Moxy is a novel NIRS device recently validated to reliably measure local oxygen saturation (SmO2) and total hemoglobin (THb).

Dr. Brandon Doan and Dr. Jeff Pasley

Time-of-day Influence on Postural Control for Concussion Diagnostics


This research will investigate the effect of time-of-day on postural control. Balance, or postural control, is used as one method for diagnosing mTBI and informing return-to-play decisions for concussed athletes. Often, athletes are baseline tested on a particular postural control assessment and then re-tested following possible mTBI. Neurocognitive function and postural control have been shown to have diurnal variation in individuals. However, diurnal variation has not be investigated or quantified on postural control specific to concussion protocols. The results of this investigation will inform practitioners as to the importance of controlling time-of-day between baseline and post-injury testing.

Dr. Karen Perell-Gerson

Perception of EXSC as a Transfer Option by Pre-Nursing Students at GGC

Dr. Karen Perell-Gerson

Dr. Karen Perell-Gerson

The purpose of this study is to compare the transfer rate to EXSC majors of students awaiting admission into the nursing program pre- and post- a short information session on career choices in exercise science, before and after they have completed either Anatomy and Physiology I or II (BIOL 2451/2K) or Microbiology of Allied Health Professions (BIOL 2516K).

Dr. Lauren Tapp

Investigating the perceived value of health and fitness assessments in adults

Dr. Lauren Tapp

Dr. Lauren Tapp​

The perceived value of health and fitness assessments will be investigated in order to determine why individuals decide to partake or avoid complimentary health and fitness assessments.

Correlation of functional flexibility, agility, and balance in the adult population

Dr. Lauren Tapp

Dr. Lauren Tapp​

The purpose of this project is to investigate the relationship between functional flexibility, balance, and agility in the adult population.

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Information Technology

Dr. Evelyn Brannock

Exploring a cutting-edge I/O device

Dr. Evelyn Brannock

Dr. Evelyn Brannock

The Leap Motion Controller is a kinesthetic interface that captures how a user naturally moves their hands. The Interaxon Muse is a headband that provides accurate, real-time feedback on brain wave information. The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset that provides 3D visual fidelity in an immersive field of view.

Student participant/s in this research project will the following:

  • Synthesize current available literature about a particular device
  • Examine uses for this alternative device
  • Understand the Java SDK for Developers provided for the device
  • Locate, scrutinize and implement some sample implementations (in Java) for technology

Dr. Evelyn Brannock, Dr. Robert Lutz

Immersive Reality Investigative Experience

This project will involve researching best practices for utilizing immersive technologies, such as the faceshift software application and recording with a dummy head microphone. Additional “internet of things” (IoT) integrations will also be considered as appropriate, such as Leap Motion and Interaxon Muse BCI devices.

Dr. Kairui Chen

The Role of Big Data Technologies in Modern Day Retail

Dr. Kairui Chen

Dr. Kairui Chen

This project will research big data technologies that major retail companies have implemented over the past 20 years. The major companies that are going to be studied are Wal-Mart, Amazon, Sears and Target. This research will help analyze the trends of revenue and margins of each company after they implemented a certain big data technology. Each company will be compared to each other and this will help determine whether the big data technology hurt or helped the company. It will also help determine the major risks and benefits of big data technologies.

Dr. Cengiz Gunay

Mobile application development to be used at the STaRS event poster judging

Dr. Cengiz Gunay

Dr. Cengiz Gunay

The undergraduate research project will consist of the development of a mobile software application to be used at the Science and Technology and Research Symposium (STaRS) which will be held on April 11th, 2017. The core purpose of the mobile application is to assist the faculty members who will be judging the STaRS event in the facilitation and management of the grading data produced and to provide a resource for the students to track their presentations progress. The client for this project is the STaRS planning committee.

Investigating impact of synaptic inputs in seizure studies

Dr. Cengiz Gunay

Dr. Cengiz Gunay

Constructing computational single neuron models for simulating realistic behavior for investigating seizure tendency in fruit flies. Goal of the present project is to develop models for synaptic inputs in the current neuron model from using the Neuron simulator, using the Python scripting language. The research project would require quantifying analysis results from experimental data and replicating it in the computer model. There are both programming and biological analysis tasks in this project.

Ethical implications of Amazon’s inside-home delivery policy

Dr. Cengiz Gunay

Dr. Cengiz Gunay

With Amazon quickly developing new delivery systems to get packages to customer homes, their new strategy allows employees access to enter customer homes. This research project will investigate the ethical questions, potential risks and development of this delivery system.

Assisting Returning Citizens: A Proposed Resource Development Partnership of GGC and GGRA

Dr. Cengiz Gunay

Dr. Cengiz Gunay

Students enrolled in this section of STEC 4500 will be participating in a continuation of the 2017–2018 Pilot Community Innovation Project (CIP). The CIP Team will work towards the development of a solution to a problem of interest identified by a community partner organization, Greater Gwinnett Reentry Alliance (GGRA).

Along with faculty and an external advisor from the GGRA, students will work on creating a web portal within the GGRA non-profit organization’s website to provide a database of available community resource providers and services enabling greater availability to GGRA partners and law enforcement participants.

Dr. Kamal Kakish

Electronic and Mobile Commerce Systems

Dr. Kamal Kakish

Dr. Kamal Kakish

Design, build, and implement live e-Commerce and m-Commerce systems.

E-Commerce and Mobile Payment Systems

Dr. Kamal Kakish

Dr. Kamal Kakish

In this study I’d like to build on Dr. Kakish’s previous student who studied mobile payments in STEC 4500 and expand on his findings. I’d like to find out why his findings were the way they came to be and what options are in the future. I’d also like to re-assess his finding and compare his statistics from a year ago to research that I will be doing, as technology is the fastest developing discipline.

Peer-to-Peer Payment Systems

Dr. Kamal Kakish

Dr. Kamal Kakish

This research project will involve investigating and learning about several different peer-to-peer payment applications available on mobile platforms, how they work, and what some security issues are with such applications. With a deeper understanding of how each application truly works, I can delve further into how the different applications take into account the security of information. This research will allow me to find out which application might be best for usage regardless of current market share. Upon finding subtle differences in each different application, a questionnaire can be formulated focusing on these differences.

Data Science and Big Data Analytics

Dr. Kamal Kakish

Dr. Kamal Kakish

This research project will involve investigating the significance of Data Science and Big Data Analytics (DSA) in the 21st Century economies, and how it relates to GGC's course and program offerings. This research study will attempt to answer the question of why it could be essential for GGC to offer students a career path in DSA. As with other untested GGC programs, this research will analyze the feasibility of offering a GGC/SST minor in DSA, and ultimately evaluate the need for a multi-discipline (ITEC/MATH/MIS) major.

Leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Advance Adaptive Pedagogy

Dr. Kamal Kakish

Dr. Kamal Kakish

This research will investigate how artificial intelligence (AI) could be utilized to advance the current capabilities of adaptive teaching (AT), adaptive assessment (AA) and adaptive learning (AL).

Dr. Anatoly Kurkovsky

Simulation for GGC sustainability

Dr. Anatoly Kurkovsky

Dr. Anatoly Kurkovsky

GGC received a $3,000,000 grant from the USA industry to support the College’s academic activities with the newest ARENA simulation technology. Dr. Kurkovsky is planning to create a set of small interdisciplinary research projects for GGC students related to various aspects of GGC sustainability.

Potential directions of the simulation projects:

  • Case studies of sustainability and the benefits of simulation technology for chemistry, biology, math, business and IT
  • GGC sustainability systems analysis for student enrollments, educational resources, dining resources, parking facilities and cyber infrastructure

Dr. Shuhua Lai

Developing and Implementing Website for Real Applications Using PHP, HTML and MySQL

Dr. Shuhua Lai

Dr. Shuhua Lai

PHP is a popular programming language and is widely used in website building. HTML is the webpage design front-end language and MySQL is the back-end database system. By combining the three, students can develop and implement dynamic and professional websites. In this project, we plan to design and build a useful web site with real applications. The topic of the website could be a web forum, a shopping cart, an online information management system or any E-commerce system. In order to successfully implement this project, students need to use their program skills, database knowledge and information security technology.

Developing and Implementing Web-based Games/Animations/Applications Using JavaScript

Dr. Shuhua Lai

Dr. Shuhua Lai

JavaScript is a web-based dynamic programming language. Alongside HTML and CSS, JavaScript is one of the three core technologies of World Wide Web content production. It is used to make webpages interactive and create online programs, including video games and animations. Almost all websites employ it and there are plenty of job opportunities related to JavaScript.

In this project, we plan to design and develop a web-based game, or an animation, or an application using JavaScript and other web technologies. In order to successfully implement this project, students need to use their programming skills, interface design knowledge and web development technologies.

Dr. Sairam Tangirala

Exploring an autonomous toy robot-car

Dr. Sairam Tangirala

Dr. Sairam Tangirala

With a recent surge in the development of autonomous vehicles, the skills obtained from designing, building and testing an autonomous vehicle have become sought-after in the logistics industry. In this project, we'll develop a prototype of a toy-sized self-driving vehicle, installing a controller like Arduino or Pi to collect sensor data, perform calculations and make driving decisions.

The project needs two students pursuing a mathematics or information technology major with interests and skills in electronic circuitry, soldering and programming in Python/Java.

Dr. Shuting Xu

Cyber Security Training and Competition Environment

Dr. Shuting Xu

Dr. Shuting Xu

Using the Internet has become an integral part of life in the modern world. It is very important for GGC students to master some cyber security knowledge, not only to protect their own vital information in the cyber world, but also to preserve the community security and national security.

In this project, we will set up an environment for hands-on cyber security training for both IT majors and non-IT majors. To stimulate students’ interest in learning cyber security knowledge, we plan to hold a GGC collegiate security competition. After the environment has been set up, we can also offer security training to GGC faculty and staff.

Dr. Xin Xu

Building Web Applications to Support Non-Profit Organizations

Dr. Xin Xu

Dr. Xin Xu

In this project students will research and evaluate tools and technologies that are currently used to develop web applications.  Students will then apply these technologies to develop a web application for a non-profit organization.

Dr. Yaquan Xu

Creating an e-Commerce Web site using PHP and MySQL

Dr. Yaquan Xu

Dr. Yaquan Xu

In this project, students will learn how to integrate knowledge from ITEC courses (ITEC-3350 e-Commerce, ITEC-2201 Digital Media, ITEC-3200 Intro to Database and ITEC-3300 Information Security) to create an e-commerce website using PHP and MySQL.

Project Objectives for Students

  • Create a safe server environment and database.
  • Use secure transactions and prevent common vulnerabilities.
  • Design scalable sites that are easy to maintain.
  • Build administrative interfaces.

Dr. Sean Yang

We Are Protector

Dr. Sean Yang

Dr. Sean Yang

We Are Protectors is a research project to learn how to protect IT systems from today's hostile IT environment. As technology is enhanced, attacks on IT systems is also increased dramatically. Without properly implemented protection, computing systems that support our daily business and life are in peril.

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Mathematics

Dr. Kodwo Annan

Modeling Drug Resistance in Human Colorectal Cancer

Dr. Kodwo Annan

Dr. Kodwo Annan​

Over the decades, many improvements have been made to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of cancer development and prevention. However, the mortality rate of cancer is still high due to the complexity of the disease and drug resistance. The dynamic and complex nature of cancer and its resistant to drug can be captured by mathematical modeling approach. The model incorporates cellular processes of tumor growth, drug dynamics, and immune response to help understand the drug resistance by the tumor at the molecular level. Our aim is to use mathematical modeling approach to observe and capture colorectal cancer progression and therapy at a multiscale perspective in order to elucidate personalized treatment procedures for the disease.

Modeling Drug Resistance in Human Lung Cancer

Dr. Kodwo Annan

Dr. Kodwo Annan​

Over the decades, many improvements have been made to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of cancer development and prevention. However, the mortality rate of cancer is still high due to the complexity of the disease and drug resistance. The dynamic and complex nature of cancer and its resistant to drug can be captured by mathematical modeling approach. The model incorporates cellular processes of tumor growth, drug dynamics, and immune response to help understand the drug resistance by the tumor at the molecular level. Our aim is to use mathematical modeling approach to observe and capture lung cancer progression and therapy at a multiscale perspective in order to elucidate personalized treatment procedures for the disease.

Price Processes of Data Bandwidth Trading in Current Market

Dr. Kodwo Annan

Dr. Kodwo Annan​

With the explosive increase of the internet and its continually emerging applications, ability to provide data has become more and more important. The supply and demand of the bandwidth capacity has grown rapidly and much more demanding. In this project, we model the price processes of bandwidth forward contracts using asset pricing theory. We first model the price processes with geometric Brownian motion and then with a jump-diffusion process. The parameters of the geometric Brownian motion will be estimated with a linear regression data while that of the jump-diffusion are estimated with maximum likelihood method. The model can be used to give estimates for the future change in the price of existing bandwidths use as well as in predicting prices of new bandwidths where trading do not exist at the moment.

Malaria Transmission Dynamics by Mathematical Models

Dr. Kodwo Annan

Dr. Kodwo Annan​

Malaria continue to be a great threat to humans in the endemic regions in terms of morbidity and mortality. Mathematical modeling of the spread of malaria has an increasing influence on practice and theory of the disease control and management. This project focuses on the 1) etiology of the disease, 2) disease control and treatments, 3) transmission dynamics from infected to susceptible individuals and within a community by mathematical models, 4) analysis of models’ existence and stability of local and global disease free equilibriums, and 5) Analyzing the disease persistence and endemic equilibrium. Mosquito population was sub grouped into susceptible, latent, and infectious classes.

Time-Scale Analysis of Malaria Transmission in Human-Mosquito Population

Dr. Kodwo Annan

Dr. Kodwo Annan​

Malaria continue to be a great threat to humans in the endemic regions in terms of morbidity and mortality. The complexity of the disease’s zoonotic nature makes it clinically impossible to understand fully the mechanism in which the disease spreads. For example, the tendency for malaria patients to become resistant to clinical methods makes many malaria patients temporarily asymptomatic parasite carriage. Also, the latencies in malaria infection process and their impact on the disease dynamics are not fully understood. This project explores a more realistic modeling approach in which 1) the re-infected asymptomatic individuals affect the disease transmission, and 2) the latent individuals become infectious. Epidemiological threshold of the model will be established. Also, the evolution of possible time-scale events for model transition from non-endemic to endemic will be analyzed. Knowing the time to develop asymptomatic status may be essential in planning control and eradication strategies.

Dr. Jamye Curry

Detecting differentially expressed genes in diseases using a rank based two-sample statistical test

Dr. Jamye Curry

Dr. Jamye Curry

In this project, data analysis will be implemented using statistical techniques to detect differentially expressed genes in heterogeneous diseases. To search for disease-related genes, a rank based two-sample statistical test is applied to detect genes that are differentially expressed between the case subjects and the control subjects. Gene-expression data will be used alongside statistical software to search for those disease-related genes obtained in an experiment.

A rank-based Cramér-von-Mises-type statistical test for two-samples

Dr. Jamye Curry

Dr. Jamye Curry

In this project, we study two rank-based formulations of univariate two-sample distribution-free tests. The first test statistic is the average of between-group distances of ranks, where the other test statistic is the difference between the average of between-group distances of ranks and the average of within-group distances of ranks. We study the properties of the two-sample test statistic and will extend the formulation of each test to the multivariate case.

Dr. Keith Erickson

Predictive Lap Timing in Auto Sports

Dr. Keith Erickson

Dr. Keith Erickson

The availability of telemetry data opens a variety of analysis opportunities to improve racing performance in auto sports.  A key metric in racing is the lap time, which depends on a variety of factors including the race line and vehicle performance. Predicting lap times in real time offers significant advantages to a driver, but is susceptible to error due to noise in sensors and performance variability. Using data from a variety of tracks, we will build and analyze algorithms in the programming language R for optimizing race lines and accurately predicting lap times.

Modeling Peristalsis

Dr. Keith Erickson

Dr. Keith Erickson

Peristalsis is the wavelike contractions that occur in circular muscles, notably of the digestive tract. In the small intestine, these contractions push food down and aid in absorption. Peristalsis is dysfunctional when abnormal contractions, like spasms and paralysis, occur. Peristaltic pumps have been engineered to isolate and protect the inside of tubing for applications where a sterile barrier is required. The goal of this project is to build mathematical models to examine structure, function and dysfunction in peristaltic motion and to build a peristaltic pump to examine physical constraints and validate models.

Dr. Keith Erickson, Dr. John Gallucci

Pursuit-Evasion with UAV


In a pursuit-evasion problem, one or more pursuers attempt to capture one or more evaders. Some popular variations include cops and robbers or zombies and humans, but a more practical application is the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in search and rescue. The aim of this work would be to explore an existing problem, model, or application with the goal of expanding, and possibly implementing, the algorithms. An understanding of differential equations or probability and statistics is required.

Control Theory of UAV


Control theory deals with the behavior of dynamical systems, systems that evolve over time, and how those systems can be modified by the feedback from the systems output, like when a driver steers to correct a drifting car on the road. Newtonians physics give us a system of differential equations that determine the dynamic behavior of an unmanned aerial vehicle in flight. The goal of this project is explore the control individual and swarms of quadcopters. We will investigate and implement control algorithms to analyze their stability. An understanding of differential equations and numerical methods is required.

Dr. Boyko Gyurov

Water Quality of Rivers and Related Applied Mathematical Projects

Dr. Boyko Gyurov

Dr. Boyko Gyurov

  1. To develop the translation of material in fluid model and use it to implement in water quality studies;
  2. To develop coupled advection-diffusion model of water quality with two interacting components;
  3. To use closed forms of the models in item 2 (above) to measure water flow and compare the computations against other water flow models;
  4. To theoretically “play” with changes of the chemical reactions modeling in the system developed in item 2 (above) and study the changes to the computed results with the different formulas.

Dr. Hank G. Harmon

Inverse Limit Spaces

Dr. Hank G. Harmon

Dr. Hank G. Harmon

This is an investigation into the nature of inverse limit spaces in topology: What do their bases look like? What similarities do they have with other spaces? What axioms do they satisfy? To what spaces are they homeomorphic? What are their applications to dynamical systems? And, finally, what important questions remain unanswered?

Dr. Ekaterina Nathanson

A comparative analysis of the Henstock Integral and the Riemann Integral

Dr. Ekaterina Nathanson

Dr. Ekaterina Nathanson

In traditional course of Real Analysis, the students study the Riemann integral and its properties.  It is well known that the Riemann integral in not fully satisfactory. For example, many important functions are not Riemann integrable. This project will study a different kind of an integral – the Henstock integral. The definition of the Henstock integral is just a modification of the definition of the Riemann integral, but the change makes the Henstock integral significantly more powerful. The project will focus on conducting a comparative analysis of the Henstock integral and the Riemann integral.

Dr. Andrei Olifer

Reputation-Based Peer Review in a Network Community

Dr. Andrei Olifer

Dr. Andrei Olifer

Internet is flooded with inaccurate information. Reliable evaluation of information becomes increasingly important. In the model considered, documents are submitted and evaluated by community members. To evaluate a document, evaluators are selected randomly from all the members with probabilities that are greater for members with higher reputation. Reputation of a member increases if a document submitted by the member is evaluated as an authentic one. Otherwise the reputation decreases. The goal is to explore upon what conditions the system has a stable regime in which the majority of submitted documents are correctly evaluated as authentic or non-authentic.

Modeling learning-induced changes in the hippocampus

Dr. Andrei Olifer

Dr. Andrei Olifer

Learning changes the strength with which neurons affect other neurons via neural transmission across the synapses that connect neurons. The strength of the presynaptic neural population’s effect on the post-synaptic population can be measured by the size of the electrical response, the evoked potentials, that result in the postsynaptic potential when the presynaptic population is electrically stimulated. Such electrical recordings show that learning-induced changes occur in population neural transmission [1]. The aim of the project is to elucidate the biophysical ways in which the observed learning-induced changes could arise in the hippocampus, a brain area critically important for episodic memories.

Dr. Junkoo Park

Refinement of Elastic Network Model for Protein Structures

Dr. Junkoo Park

Dr. Junkoo Park

I propose to pursue research on the analysis of refinement of Elastic Network Models for biological structures. The goal of this study is to refine a non-homogeneous Gaussian Network Model and apply it to protein structures. Studying the structural fluctuation is essential in protein modeling and the fluctuations can be analyzed theoretically. The Elastic Network Model has become an important tool to analyze the fluctuation. Through the model, one can compute predicted fluctuations. Our goal is to build a mathematical model which has a higher correlation between the predicted fluctuations and experiment data.

Dr. Daniel Pinzon

Graphs that are Intrinsically Linked with an Unused Vertex

Dr. Daniel Pinzon

Dr. Daniel Pinzon

A graph is made up of finite number of vertices connected by edges. It can be used, for example, to model a computer network, business competitiveness, organic molecules, etc. A graph is intrinsically linked if every embedding of the graph in three-space contains a nontrivial link, that is two closed paths that don’t touch. This project will study graphs that are intrinsically linked where the link doesn’t include every vertex. The goal of this project is to enumerate and classify these graphs.  Since you can encode a graph as a matrix, this is a computational project using extensive programming, linear algebra and abstract algebra.

Tangles: the topology of DNA

Dr. Daniel Pinzon

Dr. Daniel Pinzon

If the nucleus of a cell is the size of a basketball, then the DNA inside is roughly the width of fishing line, 120 miles long! The DNA becomes “knotted”, winding itself inside the nucleus. A problem arises when enzymes wish to act on the DNA, for example, for replication. It would be very inefficient (and there is no room!) for the DNA to completely unwind itself, so it just “untangles” a section at a time. This project is in the field of knot theory and studies the mathematical structure of knots and tangles to help understand this complex process.

Matrix representations of graphs

Dr. Daniel Pinzon

Dr. Daniel Pinzon

A graph is a finite number of points connected by edges. It can be used, for example, to model a computer network, business competitiveness, organic molecules, etc. You can represent this graph as a matrix. We can create algebraic structures whose “multiplication” is the combination of graphs in interesting ways. This undergraduate research project will explore the effect that combining graphs have on the determinant and other matrix properties and how manipulating the matrix affects the graph and algebraic structures.

Computational Analysis of Graphs

Dr. Daniel Pinzon

Dr. Daniel Pinzon

A graph is a finite number of points connected by edges. It can be used, for example, to model a computer network, business competitiveness, organic molecules, etc. You can represent this graph as a matrix. We can create algebraic structures whose “multiplication” is the combination of graphs in interesting ways. This undergraduate research project will use the computer mathematics software Mathematica to write programs to analyze graphs and their corresponding matrices. We will explore the effect that combining graphs have on the determinant and other matrix properties and how manipulating the matrix affects the graph and algebraic structures.

Modeling Decision-Making

Dr. Daniel Pinzon

Dr. Daniel Pinzon

This project uses computer simulations and differential equations to model decision-making in a variety of areas such as risky prospects, normative messaging, pollution and other economic topics. We will learn the similarities and differences in modeling decision-making in different situations and delve deeply into one area. We will program in R or similar programming language and create a model using discrete differential equations that goes beyond those that are found in the literature.

Dr. Daniel Pragel

A Study of the RSA Encryption Algorithm

Dr. Daniel Pragel

Dr. Daniel Pragel

RSA is a public key encryption algorithm. This project will explore the history and the mathematical basis of the RSA algorithm. We will also study related issues, such as finding efficient algorithms to test primality and compute the prime factorization of large integers.

Dr. Liang Sun

2-D Mathematical modeling of capillary supply region

Dr. Liang Sun

Dr. Liang Sun

This project includes mathematical modeling of 2-D substrate diffusion and consumption in a tissue capillary bed. Solutions are to be investigated for a circular or rectangular supply region. A matching technique is usually used to analytically solve such problems with regular domain boundary, in which the solution can be expanded into terms with unknown coefficients. Furthermore, some simple geometrical compartments (triangular or hexagonal) can be utilized to for implementation. This project will focus on processing of math modeling, implementing equations and analyzing possible analytical or numerical solutions. Understanding of Calculus and basic human biology is required.

Dr. Marty Thomas

Sports analytics: the meeting of mathematics and sports

Dr. Marty Thomas

Dr. Marty Thomas

My present research is investigating the impact in how the National Hockey League (NHL) treats tie games. Because approximately 25% of NHL games end in ties, the point system that is used has implications for which teams make the playoffs to vie for sports’ ultimate prize, the Stanley Cup. This project will provide the student with the opportunity to work with probability models and creating simulation models on the computer.

Music and Mathematics Harmonizing Together

Dr. Marty Thomas

Dr. Marty Thomas

Although music and mathematics seem like two different worlds (the artistic versus the scientific), music possesses many features (e.g., tone, rhythm) that can be expressed mathematically. Lying beneath the songs we enjoy we can find ratios, algebra, sets, frequencies and many other things we can quantify. This mathematical ability allows us to compare and contrast songs in an objective fashion. We can even use mathematics to compose our own songs.

NHIS Analysis of Hypertension Prevalence Across Native and Non-Native Hispanic Populations

Dr. Marty Thomas

Dr. Marty Thomas

Using 2004–2017 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data, the study will identify the impact of nativity and region of origin on the prevalence of hypertension among Hispanic adults in the United States. In addition, the study will further explore the impact of acculturation based factors on the prevalence of hypertension among Hispanic adults in the United States.

Dr. Livinus Uko

Siamese Magic Squares

Dr. Livinus Uko

Dr. Livinus Uko​

A magic square of order p is a p×p array with non-repeated entries from the set {1,2,…, p2} such that all rows, columns and diagonal entries have the same sum. A 2013 paper by Uko and Sinclair (“A simple formula for De La Loubere’s magic square method.” The Mathematical Scientist, Vol. 38, pp. 1-6) proved that the popular Siamese method for generating odd-order magic squares can be obtained from the formula: mij = 1+[(i+2j-2) mod p ]+p[(i+j+(p-3)/2) mod p ].

However, a derivation of the formula is not given in the paper – it was simply written down and analyzed. The purpose of this project is to obtain an intuitive derivation of this formula, thereby obtaining a second alternative proof of its validity as a magic square generating formula.

 

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Physics

Dr. Lior Burko

Spin-orbit coupling effects in self-force integrated orbital evolution

Dr. Lior Burko

Dr. Lior Burko

One of the promising prospective sources for the ESA planned e-LISA mission, is the gravitational waves emitted by extreme mass ratio binary inspirals, specifically a stellar mass black hole orbiting and eventually falling into a supermassive black hole. The gravitational waveform would depend on the parameters of the system. We have calculated before the gravitational waveform for two non-rotating black holes in the extreme mass ratio case, for a smaller binary member in a quasi-circular orbit. If the smaller member has spin angular momentum, the waveform is expected to be modified at the same order as the conservative self-force effect, or the second order dissipative effect. The goal of the proposed research is to analyze data from numerical simulations to investigate the problem’s parameter space, and quantify the importance of the effect.

Wave extraction in a gravitating spacetime

Dr. Lior Burko

Dr. Lior Burko

Extraction of gravitational waves from a simulated spacetime is a notoriously hard problem for a number of reasons. Mostly, there is no fixed background on which the waves propagate. Instead, the waves are a manifestation of the dynamics of spacetime. It is especially hard to distinguish between the non-radiative part of spacetime, and the dynamic part thereof. The problem is manifested mathematically by the freedom to rotate the null tetrad on which we project the Weyl scalars. Similar problems were solved when only the electric part of the Weyl tensor is non-vanishing. The purpose of the proposed research is to investigate a simple problem that includes, in addition to the electric Weyl curvature, also a non-vanishing magnetic part. The tools needed are: Linear algebra (eigenvalue problems) and computer algebra (specifically Maple).

Projectile motion with drag

Dr. Lior Burko

Dr. Lior Burko

The project is to use computational and experimental methods to model projectile motion in air.

Dr. Neelam Khan

Characterization of III-V Compound Semiconductors by AFM

Dr. Neelam Khan

Dr. Neelam Khan

Students will investigate the growth processes and characterization of III-V compound semiconductors of emerging importance such as hexagonal boron nitride (hBN), scandium nitride (ScN) and boron phosphide (BP). Atomic force microscope (AFM) will be employed to investigate the surface topography, nature of defects, grain size, nature of crystal faceting and physical properties of these semiconductors. This project also involves a collaboration with researchers in the Chemical Engineering Department at Kansas State University.

Dr. Tae Song Lee

Find Life on Earth! Rocker-Bogie Earth exploration Rover (R-BEAR)

Dr. Tae Song Lee

Dr. Tae Song Lee​

Do you remember the Mars rover, Sojourner? Yes, it was the first Mars exploration robot developed by JPL. The original and genius work of JPL mechanical engineers was the rover’s wheel mount system called rocker-bogie. All three Mars rovers have used this genius wheel system.

The main objective of this project is to employ the rocker-bogie system on the R-BEAR robot. The rocker-bogie system consists with six wheels, has no spring or axles for each wheel, and most importantly climbs obstacle three times higher than the wheel size. R-BEAR explores a cordoned-off and predefined safe area on the GGC campus and collects environmental samples.

Humanoid InMoov (HIM); Human-Machine Bio-Interaction

Dr. Tae Song Lee

Dr. Tae Song Lee​

In recent years, human-machine interactions are rising topics among electro-mechanical engineers and bio-scientists. The proposed research topic will be highly useful for the students who are interested in orthopedic and neuroprosthetics researches in the future. This research starts with building a forearm, hand, and fingers of InMoov humanoid robot (Langevin, 2012) under 3D printer. Six servos will be mounted to control five fingers and wrist. Arduino will be utilized to control servos. Following the basic understanding of finger control via simple programs, we will investigate an EMG muscle sensor to control servos directly with human forearm muscles.

HIM: Second Stage

Dr. Tae Song Lee

Dr. Tae Song Lee​

Currently, two electro-mechanical hands and forearms are ready. During the second stage, we will work on interactions between muscle sensors and finger-wrist actuators (6 servo motors). To control the actuators, we are planning to employ two different approaches (muscle and computer controls). Data will be collected and analyzed for further study.

Phase Lock Loop Project

Dr. Tae Song Lee

Dr. Tae Song Lee​

A phase lock loop (PLL) is an electronic circuit system that generates an output signal related to the phase of an input signal. We are interested in a phase in a time (frequency) difference. An internal clock of a RTL-SDR (RTL2832U) receiver has varying degrees of accuracy with a very unusual clock frequency (28.8 MHz). Because of the unusual clock speed, it is unreliable to use it for astronomy interferometry research. The inaccurate 28.8 MHz internal clock can be replaced to a precise 28.8 MHz clock with a 10 MHz rubidium source or a GPS disciplined oscillator (GPSDO).

Dr. Tae Song Lee, Dr. Lior Burko

Dipole antenna radio telescope construction (Radio JOVE)


We are planning to build a radio telescope. The radio telescope consists of two dipole antennae and two 20 Mhz receivers from NASA Solar & Planetary Radio Astronomy for Schools. First, we will build two dipole antennae in a large open area (e.g., top of parking deck). Second, the signals from two dipole antennae are combined via a power combiner/splitter. The combined signals are injected to 20 Mhz receiver.

Dr. Kelly Patton

Study of Superfluid Density

Dr. Kelly Patton

Dr. Kelly Patton

Superfluity, an analog of superconductivity, is an exotic state of matter, which flows without viscosity. Under an imposed rotation, a superfluid can nucleate vortices. These vortices form a regular pattern or lattice.  The project involves studying this lattice structure for systems where the superfluid density is inhomogeneous. This is of direct interest to current experiments involving so-called ultracold atomic gases. Knowledge of the underlying physics isn’t necessary, but as this will mostly be a numerical project, some familiarity with numerical methods and programming will be highly useful.

Dr. Sairam Tangirala

How important are shadows in the smaller world of polymers?

Dr. Sairam Tangirala

Dr. Sairam Tangirala

Do shadows have any effect on their surrounding? Probably yes, in processes where objects grow with time. For example, in a forest with growing trees, one is aware of taller trees casting shadows that affect the growth of surrounding shorter plants. What happens if our world were much smaller, about the size of about several thousands of interacting molecules? This project shall attempt to study this scenario by introducing the art of using computer programming to model, visualize, and study the effect of shadowing during polymer growth process. The student shall use C programming language to simulate and study various growth processes in the “smaller world”. A student with an interest in computer visualizations, an experience with C programming language, and a mathematical background (through Calculus II) would find this project interesting.

Dr. Sairam Tangirala, Dr. Tae Song Lee

Interfacing and programming a Teachmover robot arm


This project will use a personal computer to interface and program a mechanically operated Teachmover robot arm. The project will lead to learning, understanding and programming of the Teachmover robot in its serial interface mode. A library of high-level computer language functions will be developed to operate the robot arm and to execute movements that are used in the game of chess. After a computer based library of functions are developed, the programming environment and the written library will be ported to a portable Raspberry Pi computer to develop an “independent” on-board system that controls the robot arm.

Vision (visual, IR, and UV) based robot


There are so many ways that a robot understands its surrounding. Especially, a vision system can open up many new opportunities comparing to sonar, simple IR sensor or even LIDAR. One of the project objectives is how to utilize a Pi NoIR camera. Since it can be used under wide frequency ranges (visual, IR, and UV), information from the camera will be processed for judging distances and avoiding obstacles under visual light, navigating dark area and detecting photosynthesis of trees under IR, and detecting harmful UV light. This work extends to a considerably complex scaled project by adding sonar and LIDAR.

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