Associate Professor, Biology/Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy Program
Assessing Climate Impacts on Maritime Tree Species Using Dendrochronology
The project will focus on assessing the impacts rising atmospheric CO2 annual climate and climate change on growth of trees found in maritime forests. Maritime forests represent climax communities in dune succession and are often very old. The biological literature is very limited when it comes to how maritime tree species have responded to climate change and major storm events. A helpful tool to assess these impacts is the use of dendrochronogical methods, which is the study of tree rings. In temperate climates, annual rings form in most tree species and these rings are often highly correlated with changes in annual climate and pulses in resources, thus they can be useful in assessing the impacts of climate change and tropical storms.
PLEASE NOTE: This faculty member is not accepting high school students.
Associate Dean, School of Science
Sampling Insect Populations in an Ecologically Disturbed Area
Planned research involves sampling insect populations on the shores of Whale Pond Brook between the Atlantic Ocean and Monmouth University campus. The scientific goal is to establish a baseline for comparison with areas that have been proposed to be “restored” with native plants and to compare with the one area planted with native plants on Elinor Lane. This baseline data would be used to design ecology exercises for the general education curriculum and possibly to contribute to student project based learning in collaboration with planned restoration projects.
Assistant Professor, Biology/Marine and Environmental and Policy Program
Assessment and Inventory of New Jersey Coastal Fisheries.
Coastal waters of New Jersey and New York act as essential nursery grounds and migratory hotspots to numerous commercially and recreationally important finfish and elasmobranch species. The purpose of this study will be to examine the biology of these local resources with work largely focused on tagging recreational finfish/elasmobranch species through traditional and electronic tagging as well as examining predator-prey dynamics through diet. Work will also include analyzing previously collected fisheries data using Microsoft Access Databases and GIS (Access and GIS experience preferred but not necessary).
Assistant Professor, Biology
Biological engineering, generation and evaluation of gene transfer vectors for the delivery of RNA therapeutics to the tumor cell microenvironment
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common central nervous system (CNS) malignancy, is characterized by overexpression of a specific class of membrane bound receptors, tyrosine kinase receptors (TKR). Upon activation, TKRs lead to growth and proliferation of tumor cells. Current prognosis for GBM patients receiving standard care is approximately fourteen months. GBM tumors, protected by the blood brain barrier grow aggressively extending into healthy tissue. Our novel approach is to develop a delivery system using DNA that encodes anti-sense RNA molecules. These RNA molecules are designed to alter the processing and pre-mRNA splicing of the TKR mRNA transcripts, rendering them ineffective and non-active. This has the potential to reduce the growth and proliferation of GBM cells and may lead to a novel therapy for GBM.More specifically, our Lab works on the biological engineering, synthesis and testing of novel gene transfer vectors directed against genes up-regulated in cancer, specifically glioblastoma multiforme. Our strategy is to deliver the genetic sequences of RNA therapy molecules that target the transcripts of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK). Ultimately, the RNA therapies modify the expression and function of RTKs. Current strategies include 1) anti-sense RNA therapy molecules to alter TKR pre-mRNA splicing 2) anti-sense RNA therapy to effectively destabilize and block TKR expression 3) and effective delivery of RNA aptamers to block TKR activation
High School students are encouraged to apply to this project.
The role of GABA signaling in fetal alcohol syndrome
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) create significant social, economic, and medical burdens for the several million Americans that have these conditions. In addition to having mental disabilities, individuals with FAS often have motor impairment and coordination deficits that are due to cell death-related abnormalities in the cerebellum. This project will examine the role of alcoholism-related genes like the GABA receptor subunits during cerebellum development. A chicken embryo model will be used to study timing of gene expression in relation to alcohol exposure, and determine patterns of cell death in the cerebellum. This will facilitate understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the progression of FAS.
Development of Topical Emollients of Essential Oils and Methylglyoxal to Combat Multidrug Resistant Bacteria in Healthcare Settings
Essential Oils including cassia, cinnamon, thyme and methylglyoxal (found in Manuka honey) will be combined with carrier oils (lanolin, jojoba and olive oil) to form emollients in various dilutions to determine their efficacy in inhibiting the growth of multidrug resistant bacteria using the Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion method. The bacteria to be tested include: Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumanni and Extended Spectrum Enterobacteriaceae (ESBL).
PLEASE NOTE: This faculty member is not accepting high school students.
Marine Scientist, Urban Coast Institute / Biology
Assessing Coastal Lakes in Monmouth County
Participants will work to help design and implement through field work an assessment program for coastal lakes including water quality monitoring, sediment sampling and hydrographic surveys (depth and debris mapping). This is a pilot program and will focus on select coastal lakes in Monmouth County. Participants will also have the opportunity work with local NGO’s and researchers at other academic institutions. Additional work will involve water level mapping and field /vessel support for other projects.
Environmental adaptation in wild house mice
The house mouse (Mus musculus domesticus) is one of the most widely distributed mammals and one of the most widely used genetic model organisms. Nevertheless, relatively little is known about genetic variation in natural populations. Recently, house mice have expanded their range in association with humans establishing populations in a variety of novel habitats, including most of the Americas. While this expansion has made them notorious as exotic, invasive pests, it also provides an exceptional opportunity to study the genetic basis of evolutionary change over short time scales. My research is focused on connecting adaptive variation at the organismal level to specific genetic changes, with the goal of understanding how populations adapt and, in particular, how selection acts on complex, quantitative traits. This summer, my lab will be focused on two different approaches 1) using computational methods to characterize genetic structure in natural populations and to identify genes and regions that are responding to environmental selection and 2) establishing colonies of live mice to investigate the traits that have enabled house mice to adapt to so many different climates. Please indicate on your application if you are interested in Project 1, Project 2, or both. Project 2 will require handling live mice and IACUC training. Students interested in continuing their research during the school year are especially encouraged to apply.
PLEASE NOTE: This faculty member does not accept high school students.
Specialist Professor, Biology
Use of Pomegranate Juice Extract and Apple Extract to Treat and to Inhibit Inflammation in Cancers of the Oral Cavity and Glioblastoma
The link between inflammation and cancer has been extensively studied. The use of nutraceuticals, any products derived from food sources with extra health benefits, have been found to have possible anti-inflammatory properties. We want to see if pomegranate juice extract and apple extract had inhibit the inflammatory process in cancers of the oral cavity and the brain.
PLEASE NOTE: This faculty member is not accepting high school students.
Instructor, Chemistry and Physics
A Computational Insight into Oxazole-Based Macrocycle Ligand Binding to DNA
The current project is focused on computationally-aimed selection of small organic molecules – ligands– that have shown a potential as anti-cancer drugs with low toxicity. Specifically, various oxazole-based macrocycles will be considered. Different molecules of this class, depending on their structure and substituents, bind highly selectively to certain DNA forms (e.g., double-helix, parallel, anti–parallel, G-quadruplex and mixed–type hybrid structures). Therefore, such oxazole-based macrocycles can be selected for optimal binding to specific DNA forms, and subsequent targeted inhibition of telomerase in cancer cells. Computational chemistry tools, such as quantum chemical and molecular dynamics methods will be used for a comprehensive survey of interactions of a set of oxazole–based macrocycle molecules with various DNA forms. The simulations will be performed at the high-performance computer systems available at Monmouth University.
Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Physics
Modeling Energy Transfer in Light Harvesting Proteins: The Role of Molecular Vibrations
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.
Associate Professor, Chemistry and Physics
Structural and hydrogen exchange investigations of seven-coordinate rhenium complexes
While coordination number seven is relatively uncommon for coordination complexes it is the preferred coordination number for organometallic complexes of the transition metal rhenium in its +3 oxidation state. This project follows up on our successful investigations of hydrogen exchange properties of eight- and nine-coordinate rhenium polyhydride complexes and our structural investigations of the eight-coordinate systems. One aim of this work is to examine the intramolecular exchange of hydride ligands among different coordination sites in the seven-coordinate systems as well as to examine the intramolecular exchange of hydride ligands with hydrogen atoms from other ligands or the intermolecular exchange of hydride ligands for hydrogen atoms from small molecules within the same experimental system. A second aim of this work is examine the structure and rearrangement of these seven coordinate systems. The overall goal of the work is to identify useful or interesting properties of these seven-coordinate systems with regards to their rearrangements and their ability to activate small molecules.
The project entails the synthesis of new compounds that contain unsymmetrically substituted ligands, ligands that include a chiral center, and chelating ligands. By reducing the symmetry of the seven-coordinate complexes with such ligands we should be able to study the rearrangements and exchanges that occur by variable temperature NMR spectroscopy. Modelling of the spectra at various temperatures will allow for the determination of the thermodynamics properties of the rearrangements and exchanges.
PLEASE NOTE: This faculty member is not accepting high school students
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Physics
Cloning and Characterizing RNAs binding an Oncometabolite and binding glucose
Continuing the selection (initiated by previous undergraduate students) within a random pool of selected RNAs binding an oncometabolite (or glucose), the core of this summer’s project is to isolate the various RNA aptamers by cloning their DNAs into plasmids. Functional assays as well as RNA probing of the positive candidates will identify the core of the RNA used to bind the oncometabolite (or glucose). Considering the high potential for cancer diagnosis and treatment (or for diabetes) using this RNA, its characterization and secondary structure elucidation will provide critical data to publish this project.
Radiometric fluorescence measurements to monitor riboswitch activity in bacteria
When studying gene expression, several controls are usually required to establish if a new reporter system is properly working. In order to make this system easier, we are in the process of developing a riboswitch reporter system where a single promoter would initiate the transcription of mCherry (fluorescent red), the riboswitch and finally GFP (fluorescent green).
This ratiometric fluorescent reporter will be later used when the aptamers from the previous projects will be transformed into riboswitches.
Non-radioactive kinetics measurement of RNA self-cleavage
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 a DNA-cleaving DNA activity.
Microplastics and the Biogeochemistry of Toxic Metals in the Aquatic Environment
The main goal of this project is to study mircoplastics in the aquatic environment with respect to their origin; chemical and physical properties; mobility; surface reactivities; and surface biogeochemistry of adsorbed chemical pollutants. Microplastics are comprised of synthetic polymer products manufactured as additives in various consumer products such as hand, facial, and body cleansers; small pieces from degrading industrial and domestic polymer products; polymeric fibers released by washing of synthetic clothing and plastic abrasion during dishwashing; and preproduction pellets that are used in plastic production. They occur in various shapes that include spheres, fibers, and fragments. They enter the aquatic environment primarily via improper waste disposal, insufficient waste management, and urban runoffs. In the aquatic environment, microplastics harbor microbes and adsorb chemical pollutants. As a result, microplastics can introduce pathogenic organisms and chemical toxicants from wastewater to the less contaminated freshwater and marine habitats. They can also enter food webs through filter feeders.
Adjunct, Computer Science and Software Engineering
Noninvasive Indicators of Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) from Big Data
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a difficult clinical diagnosis to make. The most definitive test is an invasive liver biopsy. Mining electronic health records and bariatric surgery patient records may identify less invasive indicators or the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The research will be done in three phases. Phase 1: Data collection, exploration, and preparation. Phase 2: Application of unsupervised and supervised machine learning to discover potential predictors of NAFLD. Phase 3: Predictive model validation
Specialist Professor, Computer Science and Software Engineering
IT Lab Assistant Applicant Website and Database
Students will design and implement a project that will streamline the processing of applications for IT Lab Assistants. The current application will be used as a guide to creating an online form. When the form is submitted, it will be stored in a database. Reports that can be used in the scheduling process will be generated. A stretch goal is to create a proposed schedule based on a set on constraints.
Students with web design and database experience are preferred. Others without experience are also encouraged to apply. Please include a description of your web and database experience when applying for this position, including any courses and hands-on projects. If you are interested in only one aspect of this project (e.g. web or database), please specify.
Adjunct Professor, Computer Science and Software Engineering
Mixed Reality Technology in the Real World
Using a phased implementation model; provision and develop an in-store retail experience using augmented reality, projection mapping and possibly holographic imagery where a client/shopper engaging experiences. This project can form as the model and module for future building of augmented and mixed reality in-store customized experiences.
Professor, Computer Science and Software Engineering
Emergency Healthcare Service Workflow Modeling and Analysis
A health emergency is a situation that poses an immediate risk to health and life and requires urgent intervention to prevent its worsening. Emergency healthcare service is a real-time service, where timeliness is critical to mission success. Workflow management technology has received considerable attention in the healthcare filed in recent years for the automation of both intra- and inter-organizational healthcare processes. However, more work on the timeliness analysis of emergency healthcare is needed. This research will explore the use of time Petri nets in emergency healthcare service modeling, timing performance assessment and resource requirements analysis.
Associate Professor, Computer Science and Software Engineering
Experiment of Building an Innovative Computer Powered Tool or Software System
There are so many people who rely on the internet to get information for study and work. However, not everyone can make the best of their screen time. In this project, we will conduct research to develop tools to help people better manage their time and usage on the computers, tablets, smart phones, etc.
High School Students will be considered if they have programming experience.
Statistical Consulting Projects will include:
1. A Model Relating Obesity with Spinal Injuries in Dogs: Consulting project in conjunction with Red Bank Veterinary Hospital. Statistical analysis and interpretation of data.
2. Hemangiopericytoma in Dogs: Consulting project in conjunction with Garden State Veterinary Specialists. Statistical analysis and interpretation of data.
3. Educating Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Implementation of Professional Development within the State of New Jersey (collaboration with Dr. Stacy Lauderdale, Monmouth University School of Education. (Exploration & Implementation of statistical analysis techniques for these data.
4. Analyzing Small Sample Data from Genetics Experiments Relating to Brain Cancer (Collaboration with Dr. Martin Hicks in Biology): Exploration of statistical techniques for analyzing small sample data.
5. Analysis of Data from Experiments on Brain Cell Disorders in Mice (Collaboration with Dr. Catherine Kubera in Biology): Exploration of advanced statistical analysis techniques for these data.
6. Salinity Gradients in the Bahamas (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 effect of salinity on mangroves in the Bahamas.
7. Fish Tagging Experiments on Sturgeon (Collaboration with Dr. Keith Dunton in Biology): Consulting project analyzing migration patterns of sturgeon.
Assistant Professor, Mathematics
A difference equation is a recurrence relation
where f is a function, and x0, x-1, …, x-k are initial conditions. Difference equations are useful when studying many natural phenomena, such as populations of organisms. For example, xn might represent the population of a species at time n. Naturally, the population at the next period in time will somehow depend on the current population, and perhaps the past population.
We are interested in studying the boundedness character of solutions, as well as the existence of equilibria and periodic solutions, and the stability of such behaviors.
Often times an environment does not remain constant over time. Consider, for example, the effect that changing seasons might have on a population. We are motivated to investigate the behavior of solutions of nonautonomous difference equations, and in particular, those for which the difference equation is defined periodically. In other words, we will consider a difference equation such as
xn+1 = fn (xn, xn-1, ...xn-k)
where there is some integer p such that for all n,
fn+p = fn.
We will investigate several rational functions with the potential for interesting results. Rational functions are particularly interesting, because they have been used in biological models, such as May's host-parasitoid model and the Beverton-Holt model.