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    Summer Research Program

    Faculty Research Mentors

     

    FACULTY MEMBER:

    Dr. Richard Bastian
    Lecturer

    DEPARTMENT: Mathematics

    E-MAIL: rbastian@monmouth.edu

    RESEARCH PROJECT TITLE & DESCRIPTION

    1. Comparing Complication Rates in 3 Surgical Procedures for Repairing Torn ACL's in Dogs.
    Consulting project in conjunction with Garden State Veterinary Specialists. Statistical analysis and interpretation of data.

    2. Comparing Treatments for Periodontal Disease in Dogs.
    Consulting project in conjunction with Red Bank Veterinary Hospital. Statistical analysis and interpretation of data.

    3. A Model Relating Obesity with Spinal Injuries in Dogs.
    Consulting project in conjunction with Red Bank Veterinary Hospital. Statistical analysis and interpretation of data.

    4. Predicting the Yield of NJ Vineyard Grapes (Collaboration with Dr. Pedram Daneshgar in Biology).
    Statistical design, data collection & analysis (types of tests, sample sizes, power, effect sizes, etc.) needed to answer research questions about the new MU vineyard and its use by the NJ wine industry.

    5. Carbon Sequestration in Bahamian Mangrove Trees (Collaboration with Dr. Pedram Daneshgar in Biology)
    Statistical analysis (types of tests, sample sizes, power, effect sizes,  etc.) needed to answer research questions about Bahamian mangrove trees' ability to store carbon dioxide.

    6. Macrobenthic Species in Bahamian Mangrove Ecosystems (Collaboration with Dr. John Tiedemann in Biology)
    Design and statistical analysis (types of tests, sample sizes, power, effect sizes, etc.) needed to answer research questions about the abundance, diversity, & distribution of invertebrates living among Bahamian Mangrove Trees.

    7. Measuring Changes in Student Achievement & Beliefs during University Science Courses (Collaboration with Dr. Iglika Pavlova in Chemistry).
    Statistical analysis of changes in student achievement and attitudes, including changes in beliefs in the face of scientific evidence.

    8. PCB Levels in Bluefish in New Bedford, Massachusetts Coastal Waters.
    Consulting project in conjunction with Sandy Hook NOAA Lab. Statistical analysis of a prior study by Dr. Ashok Deshpande to determine if further conclusions are possible.

    9. Measuring Teacher Effectiveness with High Performing High School Students.
    Consulting project in conjunction with a local high school principal. Statistical design & analysis (types of tests, sample sizes, power, effect sizes, etc.) needed to answer questions about how to measure teacher effectiveness in schools where students are already highly motivated and proficient at taking standardized tests.

    10. The Effect of Normalizing Data on the Outcomes of a Latent Variable Change Analysis using Structural Equation Modeling in R.(Collaboration with Dr. Stacey Lauderdale in the School of Education).
    An exploration of the technique of latent change analysis in structural equation modeling, using the R programming language.

    PLEASE NOTE: This faculty member is not accepting high school students.

    FACULTY MEMBER:

    Dr. Shirley Crenshaw
    Instructor

    DEPARTMENT: Chemistry and Physics

    E-MAIL: screnshaw@monmouth.edu

    RESEARCH PROJECT TITLE & DESCRIPTION

    Investigation of chlorinated polyaromatic hydrocarbons in the environment, and their interaction with bovine serum albumin 

    Halogenated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (HPAHs) are primarily man-made environmental toxins. Many chlorinated PAHs (Cl-PAHs) are known or suspected to be carcinogenic. Due to the lack of commercial availability, the toxicity on biological macromolecules, such as bovine serum albumin (BSA), has been limited. However, there have been many environmental studies done in Japan where they measure HPAHs such as Cl-PAHs in air, water and sediments. Thus, I am interested in 1) assessing the environmental Cl-PAHs found in water and sediments in New Jersey and 2) the interaction of Cl-PAHs with biological macromolecules.

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    FACULTY MEMBER:

    Gil Eckert
    Instructor

    DEPARTMENT: Computer Science and Software Engineering

    E-MAIL:  geckert@monmouth.edu

    RESEARCH PROJECT TITLE & DESCRIPTION

    Baseball simulation in Python

     This project will require gathering real-time MLB statistics, converting them to meaningful algorithms and functions, then programming a simulation in the Python language.  An iterative process will be utilized to arrive at the most realistic result.   No prior knowledge of Python programming will be necessary.

     


    FACULTY MEMBER:

    Dr. Martin Hicks

    Assistant Professor

    DEPARTMENT: Biology

    E-MAIL: mhicks@monmouth.edu

    RESEARCH PROJECT TITLE & DESCRIPTION

    Development of gene transfer strategies for the delivery of RNA therapeutics to the tumor microenvironment

    We are developing novel gene transfer vectors to deliver the genetic sequences of RNA therapy molecules that target the expression and function of tyrosine kinase receptors (TKR). Current strategies include 1) anti-sense RNA therapy to alter TKR pre-mRNA splicing, 2) anti-sense RNA therapy to effectively degrade and block TKR expression 3) and effective delivery of RNA aptamers to block TKR activation.


    FACULTY MEMBER:

    Robert Kelly
    Adjunct Professor

    DEPARTMENT: Computer Science and Software Engineering

    E-MAILrkelly@monmouth.edu  

    RESEARCH PROJECT TITLE & DESCRIPTION

      Shelter Management System

    The Monmouth University Multi-purpose Activity Center is used as a shelter in disasters like Superstorm Sandy. This transformation should be matched with an information system to manage the MAC as a shelter. This project examines what this system should be and build a key portion of it in prototype form. We will work as a team to explore the use of two emerging technologies to enable a cutting edge solution. We will take this as far as our innovation and insights allow. This will be fun. Students interested in this project should have one or more of the following skills:

    Some coding experience preferably in Java or some version of C

    Some database experience

    The ability to take a system perspective

    The ability to learn a new technology deftly

    The ability to work in a team

    Intellectual curiosity

    The ability to learn from failure

    High School students are encouraged to apply to this project.  

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     FACULTY MEMBER:

    Dr. Dmytro Kosenkov
    Assistant Professor

    DEPARTMENT: Chemistry and Physics

    E-MAIL: Dmytro Kosenkov

    RESEARCH PROJECT TITLE & DESCRIPTION

    Designing Next Generation Solar Cells: Modeling Energy Transfer in Biological Chromophores

    Mechanisms of energy transfer in biological molecules will be investigated to find new efficient ways of solar energy conversion into electricity and environmentally friendly fuels. Molecular modeling software based on novel quantum-mechanical methods will be used to obtain detailed molecular-level knowledge of the key mechanisms of light capture by biological and organic molecules—chromophores. High performance/supercomputing systems will be employed to carry out the simulations.

    PLEASE NOTE: This faculty member is not accepting high school students.

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    FACULTY MEMBER:

    Dr. Cathryn Kubera
    Assistant Professor

    DEPARTMENT: Biology

    E-MAIL: ckubera@monmouth.edu

    RESEARCH PROJECT TITLE & DESCRIPTION

      1. Cellular Calcium Signaling Following mTOR Perturbation

    Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a protein that plays a number of important roles during development as a regulator of protein translation, cell growth and proliferation.   This study will examine the role of mTOR during neuron process extension and migration, and its relationship with cellular calcium.  During formation of the neuronal circuitry in the cerebellum, the granule cell neurons must extend T-shaped axons that remain near the brain surface while the cell body migrates to the inside of the brain.  Specifically timed intracellular calcium elevations are required in granule cells to trigger migration to the interior.  Calcium is also required for steering growth cones during process extension.  Increasing mTOR activity in granule cell precursors in culture leads to increased neurite length and complexity, suggesting that there may be altered calcium signaling in cells with dysregulated mTOR.  Electroporation of mTOR-activating plasmids and pharmacology will be used in cultured granule cells to manipulate mTOR.  Then cellular calcium levels will be tracked using indicator dyes and time-lapse fluorescence microsopy.   Calcium activity in cells with normal mTOR function will be compared to cells with altered mTOR function to facilitate determination of how mTOR impacts intrinsic calcium signaling while driving changes in neurite complexity.

    The Role of GABA in Neuronal Precursor Proliferation

     In regions of neurogenesis like the subventricular zone, the neurotransmitter GABA has been shown to control the rate of proliferation in stem cells.  In granule cell culture, application of GABA has also been shown to stimulate proliferation.  However, whether GABA regulates granule cell precursor proliferation in vivo is unknown.  In this project, constructs to knock down GABA receptor expression will be electroporated into the developing chick embryo brain. Neuronal proliferation will be assessed by injecting BrdU, which will be incorporated into the DNA of dividing cells.  After several days brains will be stained for BrdU, and fluorescence microscopy will be used to assess proliferation levels in the cerebellum for each experimental condition.

     
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    FACULTY MEMBER:

    Dr. Zachary Kudlak
    Assistant Professor

    DEPARTMENT: Mathematics

    E-MAIL: zkudlak@monmouth.edu 

    RESEARCH PROJECT TITLE & DESCRIPTION

    Systems of Rational Difference Equations with Nonconstant Coefficients 

    In this project, we will investigate the limiting behavior of solutions of systems of difference equations with nonconstant coefficients. Difference equations can be used to model many natural phenomena, such as a population of organisms, and natural phenomena may depend on varying factors, such as temperature, which changes periodically according to the seasons of a year.  A complete project description may be viewed here.

     

     

    FACULTY MEMBER:

    Dr. Kayla Lewis

     Assistant Professor

    DEPARTMENT: Chemistry and Physics

    E-MAIL: klewis@monmouth.edu

    RESEARCH PROJECT TITLE & DESCRIPTION

    1. What is the fate of the “Hot Jupiter” planet HD 209458b?

    The planet HD 209458bis similar to our Jupiter, but 50 times closer to its parent star than the Earth is to the Sun and 30% larger(due to expansion because of the increased heat). It is thought that gravitational interactions cause such planets to spiral into their host stars, but HD 209458 has a strong magnetic field that may affect the results of these interactions, and this effect has not be taken into account in previous studies. Through a combination of simple pencil-and-paper modeling and numerical simulations, we will include this new effect and clarify the fate of HD 209458b.

    2. The physics of the salt water heat pipe in underwater volcanoes.

    At high temperature seafloor hydrothermal systems, i.e., underwater volcanoes, water flows through fractured rocks that are adjacent to magma. Even though pressures are extremely high in this environment, the seawater is heated past its boiling point, splitting into high salinity liquid and low salinity vapor phases. Understanding the fluid dynamics of this process is vital for understanding the chemical compositions and temperatures of fluids that eventually vent from the ocean floor above the magma chamber. How will the violent phase separation processes below affect vent fluids? How much salt will be stored in the crust below? We will use pencil-and-paper (analytic) and computational modeling to answer these questions and more.

     

      PLEASE NOTE: This faculty member is not accepting high school students.

      



    FACULTY MENTOR

    Dr. James P. Mack

    Professor

    DEPARTMENT: Biology

    E-MAIL: mack@monmouth.edu

    RESEARCH PROJECT TITLE & DESCRIPTION

      Topical Preparations of Essential Oils in Carriers Oils to Combat Multidrug Resistant Bacteria.

    Wintergreen and Cinnamon essential oils and Methylglyoxal (found in Manuka Honey) will be combined with carrier oils in various dilutions to determine their efficacy in inhibiting the growth of two hospital-acquired multidrug resistant bacteria using the Kirby–Bauer disk-diffusion method. The bacteria to be tested are: Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Gram negative) and Methicillin - resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) (Gram positive).

     

    PLEASE NOTE: This faculty member is not accepting high school students.


      

     FACULTY MEMBER:

      Dr. Tiffany Medley

    Lecturer

    DEPARTMENT: Biology

    E-MAIL: tmedley@monmouth.edu

    RESEARCH PROJECT TITLE & DESCRIPTION

    Investigation of a newly discovered oyster reef in an urban waterway; the East River, New York

      The Eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, is a species that has been nearly eradicated from the Hudson River Estuary due to past poor water quality.  Local groups have begun oyster restoration projects to help reestablish the species but have been limited due to regulatory obstacles of developing projects in restricted New Jersey and New York waters with concerns in public consumption and the costs of policing efforts. 

    Despite the hardships of restoring oysters to the estuary, a natural wild subtidal oyster reef was discovered in the waters near Castle Hill Park in the East River in the summer of 2014.  This research will consist of investigating this reef via boat and land:

    1.     Using side scan sonar to delineate the extent of the reef.  This work will consist of surveying the reef via boat and utilizing side scan sonar and underwater video to delineate the extent of the reef.  The information will be imported into ArcGIS to visually depict the area of coverage.

    2.     Field Assessment of the reef.  Field work will consist of documenting organisms in and around the reef and conducting transect studies to estimate the abundance of oysters.   Oysters will also be collected and analyzed in the laboratory.  Oysters will be shucked, their shells will be measured and biomass weighed.  Statistical analyses will be done to determine significant differences in shell weight, biomass weight and shell height in the sampled locations in comparison to oysters collected in 2014.

     

    PLEASE NOTE: This faculty member is not accepting high school students.

     


    FACULTY MEMBER:

    Dr. Greg Moehring
     Associate Professor

    DEPARTMENT: Chemistry and Physics

    E-MAIL: gmoehrin@monmouth.edu

    RESEARCH PROJECT TITLE & DESCRIPTION

    Physical and Chemical Studies of Rhenium Polyhydride Complexes 

    Certain rhenium polyhydride complexes have been shown to transform small organic molecules. In our work, we are examining both the physical and the chemical properties of such compounds. We aim to examine three distinct aspects of rhenium polyhydride compounds.

      1.       Examination of the solution rearrangement of eight-coordinate compounds using both lanthanide shift reagents and chiral lanthanide shift reagents.The goal of this work is to better characterize the rearrangement of such compounds.

    2.       Extend the results of our work with lanthanide shift reagents to prepare bimetallic compounds where the two metals move, in a coupled periodic fashion, through two different electronic and steric environments. The goal of this work is to prepare and study a new class of heterogeneous catalysts for transformations of small organic molecules.

    3.       Activate certain C-H bonds on saturated carbon centers through catalytic reactions at rhenium polyhydride centers.The goal of this work is to develop new routes for the activations of C-H bonds at saturated centers.    

       

    PLEASE NOTE: This faculty member is not accepting high school students


    FACULTY MEMBER:

    James A. Nickels
    Marine Scientist

    DEPARTMENT: Urban Coast Institute

    E-MAIL: jnickels@monmouth.edu

    RESEARCH PROJECT TITLE & DESCRIPTION

    Water Quality and Level Monitoring and Mapping in Coastal New Jersey

    Ongoing project involves maintenance and operation of real-time water quality and level meter network, field collection of data in coastal lakes and Barnegat Bay, continued mapping and survey work in coastal lakes , bays and streams using Side scan sonar, ROV's and multibeam sonar. (Will work directly with Oyster Reef Project).

    PLEASE NOTE: This faculty member is not accepting high school students


    FACULTY MEMBER:

    Dr. Jonathan Ouellet

    Assistant Professor

    DEPARTMENT: Chemistry and Physics

    E-MAIL: jouellet@monmouth.edu

    RESEARCH PROJECT TITLE & DESCRIPTION

      1. Selection of an RNA Aptamers Against an Oncometabolite

      2.  Selection of an RNA Aptamers Against Glucose

      3.  Development of Ribozyme Activity Quantification Without Radiolabeling

      4.  RNA Structure of Ebola Virus Untranslated Regions

    RNA aptamers are single-stranded nucleic acids with two essential properties: they bind specifically and tightly to their cognate target (usually a small molecule). The analogy would be of a glove that fits perfectly on a hand. Billion of random-sequence oligonucleotides can be selected over several cycles of precise selection to yield a few potent aptamers via a technique called SELEX (Systematic Evolution of Ligands by Exponential Enrichment); an artificial in-vitro selection. These nucleic acids are great candidates as biosensors to sense the presence of peptides or metabolites in cells. SELEX techniques using the hammerhead ribozyme will be used for two different projects.

        1.  One is to develop an aptamer that would bind tightly and specifically to a metabolite only present in cancer cells. A specific type of cancer produces a metabolite normally absent in normal cells. The detection of this metabolite may prove an early cancer detection application as well as a potential for treatment.    

       2.  The second project is to develop an aptamer to sense glucose.Such a biosensor may have application in research(test a medium culture for glucose) up to future human health diagnosis(new non-enzymatic way to monitor blood sugar).

    The main molecular biology techniques for these projects involve PCR, transcription, ribozyme cleavage,reverse transcription,cloning, DNA and RNA separation on polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and agarose gels.  

    3.  Ribozymes are RNA enzymes with the frequent catalysis activity of phosphodiester bond cleavage. Their cleavage activity is measured by quantifying the ratio of cleaved to total RNA. The gold standard of ribozyme activity quantification is to label the RNA substrate with the radioactive phosphorus isotope 32P. Heavy regulation, safety and cost are major concerns when working with radioisotopes. Over the recent years, brighter nucleic acid dyes have been developed to stain RNA and DNA in gels. This project involves the testing of the various dyes to evaluate the detection sensitivity via ribozyme activity.

    4.  The Ebola Virus is an RNA virus of approximately 19000 nucleotides. As for most RNA viruses,most of its genome is used to encore proteins as well as having regions at both extremities that do not encode for proteins. These  Untranslated Regions (UTRs) are commonly used by viruses to regulate their virulence. Better understanding of the  Ebola virus UTRs will help toward the molecular biology understanding of this virus. This project involves the labeling of RNAs with fluorophors and perform RNA degradation probing experiments to determine the secondary structure of each RNAs.   


    PLEASE NOTE: This faculty member is not accepting high school students. 


    FACULTY MEMBER:

    Dr. Michael A. Palladino
    Dean, School of Science
    Professor

    DEPARTMENT: Biology

    E-MAIL: mpalladi@monmouth.edu

    Research Website:  http://bluehawk.monmouth.edu/mpalladi/Student%20Research.html

    RESEARCH PROJECT TITLE & DESCRIPTION

    Cellular and molecular responses to testicular torsion injury. Antimicrobial properties of male reproductive organs.

    PLEASE NOTE: This faculty member is not accepting high school students.



    FACULTY MEMBER:

    Dr. William Schreiber

    Chair and Lecturer

    DEPARTMENT: Chemistry and Physics

    E-MAIL: wschreib@monmouth.edu

    RESEARCH PROJECT TITLE & DESCRIPTION

    1.     Analysis of volatile materials using GC/MS/MS

    2.     Preparation of ligands for use in inorganic chemical research.

      3.    Development of new and improved Organic Chemistry laboratory experiments 

     

      1.      The Department recently acquired a powerful GC/MS/MS (Gas Chromatograph coupled with triple quadrupole mass spectrometer), which gives us new analytical capabilities.  We will explore uses of the new instrument for both research and classroom activities.  This work will be carried out in collaboration with Dr. T. Tongesayi.

    2.      Alkyl aromatic ligands will be prepared using appropriate methods of organic synthesis.  This work will be done in collaboration with Dr. G. Moehring, whose group will then explore their chemical interaction with rhenium complexes.

    3.      Methods of organic synthesis will be explored to develop interesting new experiments to be used in our organic chemistry laboratory courses. We will also investigate existing laboratory procedures where difficulties have been noted or where there are opportunities for optimization.

    PLEASE NOTE: This faculty member is not accepting high school students.


    FACULTY MEMBER:

    Professor John Tiedemann
    Assistant Dean and Director of Marine and Environmental Biology

    DEPARTMENT: Biology

    E-MAIL: jtiedema@monmouth.edu

    RESEARCH PROJECT TITLE & DESCRIPTION

      Understanding the Physiology and Behavior of Angled and Air Exposed Striped Bass Using a Rapid Assessment Approach

    The next initiatives in our Stripers for the Future campaign will be to assess the physiology and behavior of angled and air exposed striped bass.  Air exposure causes gill layers to collapse and gill filament adhesion which is stressful to fish.  The duration of air exposure influences recovery time of released fish and can lead to impairments in swimming performance as well as mortality.      

    To develop recommendations on maximum time-out-of water for striped bass intended to be released, we are designing and implementing a study that allows us to quantify post-release behavioral responses of fish resulting from varying periods of air exposure.  The goal of this project is to develop recommendations that can be disseminated to anglers on maximum time out of water for striped bass intended to be released.



    PLEASE NOTE: This faculty member is not accepting high school students.

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     FACULTY MEMBER:

    Dr. Tsanangurayi Tongesayi
    Associate Professor

    DEPARTMENT: Chemistry and Physics

    E-MAIL: ttongesa@monmouth.edu

    RESEARCH PROJECT TITLE & DESCRIPTION

    Innovative nanoparticles for environmental chemical separations and remediation

    The sustainable use of nanoparticle-based technologies requires a complete understanding of the fundamental properties and the public health and ecological impacts of the particles. Such an understanding is particularly important because the properties and behaviors of nanoparticles are fundamentally different from those of their bulk counterparts. The proposed project, therefore, seeks to study the properties and potential environmental impacts of gold and iron oxide nanoparticles, with the ultimate goal of developing efficient and sustainable technologies for environmental chemical separations and remediation.

     

                                                                        PLEASE NOTE: This faculty member is not accepting high school students

         



    FACULTY MEMBER:

    Dr. Jiacun Wang

    Chair and Professor

    DEPARTMENT: Computer Science and Software Engineering

    E-MAIL: jwang@monmouth.edu

    RESEARCH PROJECT TITLE & DESCRIPTION

     

    Hand Gesture Recognition

    Hand gesture recognition and control can be a more convenient way for some users to interact with computers than using keyboard or mouse. In this project, students will learn how Leap Motion devices work, and then design and implement a software system that allows users to interact with computers with their own defined hand gestures.

     


    FACULTY MEMBER:

    Dr. Cui Yu
    Associate Professor

    DEPARTMENT: Computer Science and Software Engineering

    E-MAIL: cyu@monmouth.edu

    RESEARCH PROJECT TITLE & DESCRIPTION

      Social Networking for Study or Work 

    There are many social networking systems. People use them mostly to share information, make friends, get connected and etc., but very few are strictly for study or work. In this project, we will make a special system to demonstrate how social networking can be carefully designed and implemented just for 'good' purposes, without worrying about wasting time or getting addicted.