Available Internship: African Campus

African Campus is offering an opportunity for undergraduate students of all levels to become a member of the Oceans Research Unit in Mossel Bay, South Africa.

The renowned Oceans Research Internship offers a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity for students to gain hands on practical training in conducting research on South Africa’s marine mega-fauna, including the great white shark. Interns join our scientists daily on their research expeditions to conduct groundbreaking research and experiments involving Mossel Bay’s sharks and marine mammals.

Being a part of this internship, students will gain valuable insight and training in the latest research techniques and seamanship to equip them with the skills necessary to be a successful marine biologist.

If you feel that this opportunity is something that you may be interested in, please check out the link below or contact Dr. Gary Walker at grwalker@ysu.edu.


Tau Beta Pi Holding Engineering Futures Sessions

Tau Beta Pi will be holding Engineering Futures Sessions again this year. The event will take place from 9am-2pm on February 10th. It is helpful for all students. The students will learn presentation skills and there will be problem analyzing sessions.

These are the given descriptions of each session:

Analytical Problem Solving

  • The Problem-Solving Process
    • Learn a structured process for problem-solving. Each step of the process requires two basic activities in order to perform it successfully: generating ideas through brainstorming and choosing the best idea to implement.
  • Creative Thinking
    • Participate in creative thinking exercises.
  • Identifying and Implementing the Problem Solution
    • Learn how to reduce a list of potential solutions and selecting the best idea(s) using specific evaluation techniques. Learn techniques to facilitate decision-making.

Effective Presentation Skills

  • The fear of public speaking
    • Learn and practice techniques for overcoming the fear of speaking in public.
  • Formal presentation preparation
    • Learn the “do’s and dont’s” of oral presentations. Create and deliver team presentations.

For additional information and to sign up for the events, please contact Tau Beta Pi President Tayah Turocy at tdturocy@student.ysu.edu.

Biology Research Series: Dr. Thomas Diggins

Dr. Thomas Diggins is a Professor of Biological Sciences at YSU. He has a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Political Science from Kent State University, a Master’s of Science Degree in Environmental Science from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and a PhD in Biology from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

He teaches several classes at YSU like Stream Ecology, Ecology of Lakes, Biometry, Dendrology/Forest Ecology, Ichthyology, Field Ecology, the Senior Capstone course, and he is the Introduction to Biology 2 lab coordinator.

Dr. Diggins also does research outside of his classroom duties. He focuses on ecosystem to regional-scale ecology, mainly concentrating on river, steam, and riparian systems.

“Much of my research is centered on a series of exceptional Lake Erie tributary stream corridors in western New York State,” said Dr. Diggins.

By using these tributary stream corridors, Dr. Diggins has been able to focus his research to find the interplay between hydrology, geology, and riparian forest ecology. He is also focusing on the roles of external disturbances in the environment versus developmental processes of forests and the influences of an organism’s habitat on its community stream organisms.

Dr. Diggins’ research has both “pure science” and applied science aspects. On the pure science aspects side, him and his team seek to better understand the internal and external dynamics of what are some of the most diverse ecosystems in the temperate zone. The applied science aspects him and his team use tend to seek to inform stakeholders involved in management and conservation of such systems.

Dr. Diggins primarily wants to focus on conservation of ecosystems.

“I have been conducting field research in the Zoar Valley Canyon (a New York State-owned parcel of ~3000 acres) of western New York from about 15 years now, and the work of my students and I proved crucial to a long-running and ultimately successful citizen campaign for preservation of >1000 acres of incomparable old-growth forest,” said Dr. Diggins.

To contact Dr. Diggins and learn more about his research, students can email him at tpdiggins@ysu.edu or they may stop by his lab or office at any time he is there.

Recent Publication: Dr. Snow Balaz, David Bernand, & Research Group

Title: “Support structure effect on CO oxidation: A comparative study on SiO2 nanospheres and CeO2 nanorods supported CuOx catalysts”

Authors: Shaikh Tofazzel Hossain, Yazeed Almesned, Kefu Zhang, Elizabeth T. Zella, David T.Bernard. Snjezana Balaz, & RuigangWange

Date Published: January 15, 2018



The effect of support reducibility and reduction treatment was studied in SiO2nanospheres and CeO2 nanorods supported CuOx (0 ≤ x ≤ 1) catalysts on CO oxidation. CuO nanoparticles were impregnated on SiO2 nanospheres and CeO2nanorods using thermal decomposition method and then the samples were oxidized in air at different temperatures (400–600 °C). The sample oxidized at 400 °C was also further reduced under hydrogen atmosphere to compare the effect of reduction treatment on the catalytic activity. Detailed XRD, Raman, H2-TPR, and CO oxidation analyses were carried out to understand the effect of CuOx-support interaction and different CuOx species on the catalytic performance. Compared to SiO2 nanospheres supported CuOx catalysts, both CuO/CeO2 and reduced CuOx/CeO2 catalysts exhibited superior catalytic performance in terms of CO conversion and low-temperature hydrogen consumption. The enhanced activity of CeO2 nanorods supported CuOx catalysts was correlated strongly to the surface defects on CeO2nanorods and interfacial structures.

Several STEM Faculty Members Receive Research Professorship Award

Several STEM faculty members have been awarded a Research Professorship Award for the 2018-2019 school year. We would like to congratulate all the faculty that received this award. We hope you do great things in your research efforts!

Below is the list of STEM faculty who received the award, along with their research interests:

  • Christopher Arntsen, Chemistry; “Prediction of Band Gaps in Novel Materials Using Stochastic GW” — Awarded 6 Hours
  • Jonathan Caguiat, Biological Sciences; “Cloning and Sequencing of Three Penicillin Resistance Genes from Stenotrophomonas maltophilia OR02” — Awarded 6 Hours
  • Kyosung Choo, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering; “Single Bubble Collision on a Heated Surface” — Awarded 9 Hours
  • Pedro Cortes, Civil/Environmental & Chemical Engineering; “Development of novel fiber metal laminates based on continuously reinforced 3D printed composites” – Awarded 9 Hours
  • Thomas P. Diggins, Biological Sciences; “The Eastern Deciduous Biome in the 21st Century – Forests of Unintended Consequences” – Awarded 6 Hours
  • Douglas Genna, Chemistry; “Synthesis of Stable Silyl Rh(III)-hydride complexes for alkene functionalization reactions” — Awarded 9 Hours
  • Jai K. Jung, Civil/Environmental and Chemical Engineering; “Determination of Soil Secant Modulus for Soil-Pipe Interaction” – Awarded 9 Hours
  • Lucy Kerns, Mathematics & Statistics’ “Statistical Approaches for Assessing Adverse Health Effects of Chemical Mixtures” – Awarded 6 Hours
  • Alina Lazar, Computer Science and Information Systems; “Efficient Clustering Algorithms for Real-time Streaming Data” – Awarded 9 Hours
  • Holly J. Martin, Civil/Environmental and Chemical Engineering; “Bonding Polyetherimide to Magnesium to Improve Corrosion Resistance” – Awarded 9 Hours
  • John Martin, Mechanical Engineering; “Exploring Applications and Benefits of 3D Printed Ceramic Shells for Investment Casting Using the XJet” – Awarded 6 Hours
  • Suresh Sharma, Civil/Environmental & Chemical Engineering; “Investigating Salinity Variation across the Marsh Basin Using Coupled Hydrodynamic and Watershed Model for Ecological Benefit” – Awarded 9 Hours
  • Feng Yu, CSIS; “Developing a New Index Structure for Fast Columnar Data Processing in Out-of-Core Environment” – Awarded 9 Hours

Students in Math & Biology Attended Research Presentation Conferences

Within the past month, Dr. Gary Walker of Biological Sciences and Dr. Alicia Prieto Langarica of Mathematics and Statistics took their student teams to present research at conferences. Keep reading to see what they did!


Undergraduate Biology Students

In December 2017, Dr. Gary Walker, Professor and Chairperson of Biological Sciences at YSU, took undergraduates from his research team to the American Society for Cell Biology conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The students who were in attendance were Angela Mossor, Victoria Silvis, and Nicholas Osborne.

The students presented information on myogenic cells.

This is the abstract from their study:

Myogenesis is a tightly regulated process resulting in the sequential change in gene expression leading to the expression of muscle cell specific proteins. During the process of myogenesis the basic units of contraction, sarcomeres, are assembled into to the extremely precise structures that provides for the slide filament mechanism of muscle contraction. This study examined the timing of expression of a number of muscle specific proteins that are relevant to myogenesis/sarcomerogenesis over the course of myotube development, using C2C12 mouse myogenic stems cell in culture. Using quantitative PCR, titin expression and specifically expression of the cardiac specific isoform, N2-B, was studied. The expression of several myosin isoforms was also examined. In addition to these sarcomeric components we also looked at the expression of myogenic transcription factors and the cell cycle regulator of the G2/M phase transition (cdk1). At the onset of myogenesis (confluency and lowered growth factors) the expression of cdk1 as well as a transitory increase in the myogenic transcription factor MyoD. In this study we have taken two approaches assessing gene expression in myogenesis and sarcomere genesis, normalized to the expression of GAPDH (expression relative to the cell) or actin (expression relative to the sarcomere assembly). Gene expression after re-exposure of myotubes to high serum was examined.

Pictures are attached with information on their study.

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Math Students Present Research at Conference in San Diego

Dr. Alicia Prieto Langarica took several mathematics students with her to the Joint Mathematics Meeting in San Diego at the beginning of January. The students that attended to present their research were Lexi Rager, Marina Pavlichich, Natalie Halavick, Sara O’Kane, Leah McConnell, Theoni Kasamias, Elise Eckman, and Leah Bayer.

Here is what each student presented:

Lexi Rager and Marina Pavlichich presented: “Helping Students Make Wise, Data-Driven Academic Decisions.”

Theoni Kasamias presented: “Climate Change and its Impact on the Migratory Patterns of Ficedula Hypoleuca and Anser Bachyrhynus.

Natalie Halavick, Sara O’Kane, and Leah McConnell presented a poster entitled “Analyzing New Health Care Placement of Mercy Health Facilities.”

Elise Eckman presented: “Evaluating Kostant’s Multiplicity Formula.”

Leah Bayer presented: “Modeling the effects of crayfish invasion and drought on hypothetical crayfish population dynamics.”

Below are pictures from their time at the mathematics conference.

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Faculty Faction: Dr. Coskun Bayrak

Dr. Coskun BayrakWith great excitement, we would like to introduce the new Chairperson of the Computer Science and Information Systems Department, Dr. Coskun Bayrak.

Dr. Bayrak has a unique background. He was born in Gumushane, Turkey but was raised in Trabzon, Turkey. Geographically, Trabzon is in the northeastern part of Turkey on the coast of the Black Sea.

Dr. Bayrak finished his high school education in Turkey and completed his degrees at Maximilian University in Munich, Germany, Slippery Rock University, Texas Tech University, and Southern Methodist University. Even though he attended several universities, he kept a common interest in Computer Science, leading to each of his degrees reflecting that interest.

Dr. Bayrak first started teaching at the University of Texas at Dallas. He then progressed to teach at Benedict College in South Carolina, Troy University in Alabama, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and now Youngstown State University.

“After so many years in academia as a research-intensive faculty, coordinator, and chair, it was time to put the knowledge and experience to good use,” said Dr. Bayrak. “I felt like it was time to take advantage of the opportunity at YSU where I could pay back to society.”

As the new Department Chair for CSIS, Dr. Bayrak hopes to make the existing CSIS programs amongst the best in the state. He wants to provide selective educational environments where students can be trained to excel in the real world. He would also like to strengthen undergraduate and masters programs in CSIS and create PhD programs as well.

“I want to develop a competitive, fruitful learning environment and an efficient work environment to CSIS students and faculty in the department,” said Dr. Bayrak. “I would also like to address issues on campus with timely communication and resource management.”

In his short time at YSU, Dr. Bayrak has already made a tremendous impact. He oversees an independent study course and mentors six students within the Choose Ohio First program. He is also working on two grant proposals for NSF and NIH. In addition to these tasks, he keeps a busy schedule with his collaborations with the Honors program, STEM program, and International Affairs Office. He is also adamantly pushing to build relations with local industry, forming an advisory board, and working with area high schools to create stronger relationships with them.

“It has been only 4 months, but I feel like I have been here for 4 years,” said Dr. Bayrak. “I love the atmosphere and the people I work and interact with.”

In his free time, Dr. Bayrak said that he loves to read, write, plant, restore, play soccer, and go fishing. What an awesome man!

Want to meet with Dr. Bayrak? Students may schedule an appointment to meet with him, or stop by every Friday from 12:00pm-1:00pm where they can “Meet the Department Chair” and ask him any questions they may have. He also has an open-door policy, so if students can catch him, Dr. Bayrak encourages that they come to him with any questions or concerns. His office is in Meshel Hall, Room 339A. He is also reachable by email at cbayrak@ysu.edu or by phone via 330-941-3134.

STEM Professional Services Offering Students Career Service Events

Looking for a way to get your feet wet in a STEM career field? The College of STEM has you covered! There have been several events created for STEM students to meet employers, learn how to be successful while searching for jobs, and learn the specifics for various companies who hire a tremendous amount of YSU students. Every event is open to students who are interested in internship/co-op or full-time job opportunities. There is no registration to participate.


How to Be Successful at an Expo

  • Multiple information sessions will provide you with the knowledge you need to be successful at an expo. Below are the dates, locations, and times of each session:
Dates Time Presenter Company Location
Monday, January 22, 2018 12:00pm-1:00pm Chad Thorne Simmers Crane Lincoln Building, Cafaro Suite, Room 510
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
3:30pm-4:30pm Danielle Lanterman Dearing Compressor Moser Hall, Room 2400
Wednesday, February 14, 2018 3:30pm-4:30pm TBA TBA Moser Hall, Room 2008
Thursday, February 15, 2018 12:00pm-1:00pm Chris Allen Vallourec USA Corp. Lincoln Building, Cafaro Suite, Room 510


Interviewing for Success – From Student to Professional and Beyond – A STEM Interviewing Prep Workshop

  • Come out on the dates listed below and get tips to help your interview run smoothly from STEM Professional Services.
Date Time Location
January 22, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm Moser Hall, Room 2400
January 29, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm Lincoln, Room 202
February 5, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm Ward Beecher, Room 6029
February 5, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm Meshell Hall, Room 338
March 29, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm Moser Hall, Room 2400


Spring 2018 Internship and Co-op Workshops

  • There will be several sessions where students can come and find out ways to land the internship or co-op they are interested in!
Date Time Location
January 18, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm Meshel Hall, Room 338
January 25, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm Ward Beecher, Room 6029
February 1, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm Lincoln, Room 510
March 26, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm Moser Hall, Room 2400

College of STEM Spring Expo 2018

  • Thursday, Febraury 22, 2018 from 12pm-4pm at Stambaugh Stadium Gymnasiums
    • Companies Seeking Science Majors for Internship/Co-ops and Full-time Opportunities:
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        Slideshow picture postions can be found on the Handshake Database

    •  ACA Engineering, Inc. ~ Ajax TOCCO Magnethermic Corporation ~ AK-Steel—Butler Works ~ Autosoft Inc. ~ Baird Brothers Fine Woods ~ Butech Bliss~ Cafaro~ CMI Industry Americas Inc. ~ Columbia Gas (NiSource) ~ Columbiana Boiler Company ~ Commercial Metal Forming (CMF) ~ Component Repair Technologies ~ CT Consultants ~ Dearing Compressor~ DFAS ~ Defense Research Associates, Inc. ~ Drund ~ AND MANY MORE!

For more information on any of these events, contact STEM Professional Services at stem.jobs@ysu.edu.


Student Spotlight: Alexis Fisher

Alexis FisherYSU STEM loves to highlight student achievements and experiences! Please email us about students who have accomplished great things at STEMNews@ysu.edu so we can get the word out about our exceptional students!

Alexis Fisher is a Biology major who will also be receiving a Chemistry minor. She has done amazing things at YSU that haven’t gone unnoticed!

Recently, Alexis was chosen by the Center for Animal Research and Education, or CARE, as an intern for the Spring 2018 semester. CARE is located in Bridgeport, Texas.

The Center for Animal Research and Education is a non-profit organization dedicated to education, research, rescue, and long-term care for exotic animals.

“As an intern at CARE, my duties are to help with daily operations of the facility,” said Alexis. “This includes checking water buckets for the cats throughout the day, feeding our lemurs and coati, and giving medications to cats that require special supplements.”

Alexis will be performing different tasks daily.

“At CARE, the cats are fed a diet consisting of whole animals like horses and cows, and the larger cats (lions and tigers) are fed every four days. The smaller cats (leopards and cougars) will be fed every four days as well, but they receive smaller amounts of food in the form of chicken,” said Alexis. “Between feeds, we will clean enclosures and replace bedding for the cats.”

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“Everyday at CARE is a little different, but it keeps the work exciting,” said Alexis. “Most of the cats have been rescued and are now provided a much better quality of life at the facility.”

We are so proud of your accomplishments, Alexis!

To see yourself or someone you know featured as our student spotlight, please email us at STEMNews@ysu.edu. We love hearing about our students doing great things!


Recent Publication: John Martin & Anna Martin

John Martin, an Assistant Professor of Engineering Technology, published this article in June 2017 with assistance from Anna Martin of Kent State University.

Title: “Work In Progress: The Effects of Embedded-Formatting Applied to Statics”

Authors: John Martin and Anna Martin



Worked examples have been shown to be very effective in order to reduce cognitive load (Carol 1994), however there are many instances where worked examples may be ineffective. One instance is where a worked example may contain a number of unique pieces of information, each being incomprehensible to the learner in isolation, therefore the learner must mentally integrate each piece in order to understand the instructional material. A classic example of this is having a picture of a graph consisting of lines and then separately below having a list of equations for each line. There is a need for the learner to mentally integrate the two different sources of information, which asserts an increased burden on cognitive load therefore stifling the learning process. This is what is referred to as the split-attention effect (Sweller 1998). One way that has been shown to alleviate this problem is the use of embedded-formatting (Mayer 1990). Embedded formatting is where the unique portions of information are physically integrated with one another in order to reduce cognitive load. So, for example the graph with line equations described earlier could be shown where the equations are displayed on the graph directly next to the line that it is defining, so that the reader does not have to integrate the two mentally – it can be done visually.

Statics is typically the first core engineering course civil and mechanical engineering students take, therefore much of the information in this class is novel to the learner. Worked examples are often used in textbooks and are very useful, but they generally consist of a free-body diagram (FBD) and then a separate list of accompanying equilibrium equations for that specific FBD. This requires the learner to mentally integrate the two novel sources of information in order to make sense of the worked example, which can cause cognitive overload or an overload on working memory. This study will focus on identifying the effectiveness of using embedded-formatting with regards to engineering Statics worked examples.

For this study a quantitative quasi-experimental pretest-posttest study will be utilized to gain a better understanding of the effects of applying embedded-formatting to worked examples of Statics problems on student learning. Students within two separate engineering Statics courses will be considered, where the first groups/class will be given worked examples utilizing embedded-formatting and the second group/class will be given traditional worked examples as part of their instructional material. Additionally, a subjective measure of cognitive load will be used to quantify between group cognitive loads, while a posttest will measure student learning of the topic in general. The instructional technique will serve as the independent variable consisting of two groups; while the engineering concept knowledge of Statics, along with the subjective cognitive load scores will serve as the dependent variables to be measured using multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA).

Recent Publication: John Martin & Anna Martin

Mr. John Martin, an Assistant Professor of Engineering Technology, published this article in June 2017 with assistance from Anna Martin of Kent State University.

Title: “Work In Progress: The Effect of Partially-Completed Worked Examples Applied to Statics”

Authors: John Martin and Anna Martin



Traditionally, instructional strategies used for teaching engineering subjects revolve around a scaffolded type framework, where problems are solved in-class by the instructor whom provides guidance to students that are simultaneously engaging in the problem solving with the instructor. This type of learning strategy is based off of a guided problem-solving approach. After a number of problems are solved in this manner the next step is usually to assign problems for the students to solve entirely on their own, taking away all the instructor support from the problem-solving approach. Research suggests that entirely removing all guidance too soon generally results in a situation where student learning must then rely on randomness. This is where the learning process is accomplished by randomly combining elements of information and then determining which combinations are effective (Sweller 2004), which is very inefficient.

This type of learning technique is very common within engineering subjects, as well as many other subjects and is based off of what is sometimes referred to as discovery learning (Bruner 1961). Research has suggested that making use of partially-completed worked examples can reduce cognitive load by decreasing the burden on working memory (Carrol 1994, etc.), in turn leaving more memory capacity to acquire knowledge. In partially-completed worked-examples learners are given a problem where certain portions of that problem are missing and they are required to fill in the missing steps. Implementing this instructional strategy can serve as a bridge between fully guided problem-solving and completely unguided problem solving. Adding the use of partially-completed worked examples to fill the gap between worked examples and independent problem solving has proven to be very effective in prior research (Paas 1992).

This study will examine the effectiveness of implementing partially-completed worked examples when directly applied to the field of Statics. This study will specifically examine whether or not the use of partially-completed worked examples create a more efficient and complete learning process when learning Statics.

We will utilize a quantitative quasi-experimental pretest-posttest study to gain a better understanding of the effects of partially-completed worked examples of Statics problems on student learning. Students within an engineering Statics course will be divided into two groups, where the first group will be given partially-completed worked examples along with traditional problems, where they are to solve the partially completed problems first and then the traditional problems afterwards. The second group will be given only traditional problems to solve. Additionally, a subjective measure of cognitive load will be used to quantify between group cognitive loads, while a posttest will measure student learning of the topic in general. The instructional strategy will serve as the independent variable consisting of two groups, while the engineering concept knowledge of Statics, along with the subjective cognitive load scores will serve as the dependent variables to be measured using multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA).

Firm student understanding of fundamental courses such as Statics is crucial for their success in subsequent courses, and is also vital in providing solid background knowledge to appropriately comprehend more advanced topics. In order to maximize the learning process a clearer understanding of how the role of guidance during problem solving impacts student learning is necessary. This study hopes to shed light on the way in which instructional delivery impacts learning of engineering concepts.

Recent Publication: John Martin

Mr. John Martin, an Assistant Professor of Engineering Technology, published this article in November 2017.

Title: “Exploring Additive Manufacturing Processes for Direct 3D Printing of Copper Induction Coils – Symposium on AM: Novel Applications session.”

Author: John Martin



The production process of creating custom induction coils is often a tedious and time-consuming procedure, which is largely due to the fact that the coils are created by hand for the most part. Generally each coil is a specialized size and shape depending on customer requirements so there is very little repeatability involved in the production process of these products. This paper looks at the practicality of printing copper induction coils that could provide appropriate material properties, such as electrical conductivity. The paper also focuses on which printing method(s) might be the most efficient and/or practical. There has been little research done on the 3D printing of copper material compared to other metals such as steel, and the majority of research that has occurred focuses on material properties; mainly thermal conductivity. This study focuses on the practicality of the printing of the physical shapes, specifically a hollow curved or spiral shape. The most common and successful method that has been used thus far utilizing additive manufacturing (AM) for the production of copper parts is investment casting, where the mold is created using AM. While this method has merits, it isn’t a directly printed part. Also successfully casting a hollow curved or spiral shape would be extremely difficult and likely not practical. Induction coils can take on a seemingly unlimited amount of shapes and sizes. However, typically there tends to always be two main characteristics for a coil, those are: some type of hollow tubing is utilized for water cooling, and the existence of curved paths. These two characteristics in combination present some difficult hurdles regarding the physical printing of the part. Another major difficulty is the fact that the final material must be very dense in order to afford the superior electrical conductivity properties, which standard copper used for electrical purposes has. The main processes inspected for this study are powder bed fusion, namely selective laser melting, selective laser sintering, electron beam melting as well as direct energy deposition, using either powder or wire for the material feed. After considering all the various techniques for applying additive manufacturing to create induction coils, the selective laser melting process seemed to be the most practical and showed the most promise.

Biomedical Research Series: Dr. Diana Fagan

Dr. Diana Fagan

Within the Department of Biological Sciences at Youngstown State University, there are many areas of research being explored by faculty and students alike. In a monthly series, we will highlight faculty research that covers various aspects of biomedical efforts from DNA to bacteria, fungi, and more.

Dr. Diana Fagan is a Professor of Biological Sciences at YSU. She is a microbiologist and immunologist. Her background in research is primarily with antibodies and cell culturing. Her research has led her to multiple recent collaborations.

One of these collaborations is with Dr. Pedro Cortes, an Associate Professor of Civil/Environmental and Chemical Engineering. He approached Dr. Fagan with his interest in producing Nano sensors that can sense explosives. She has assisted him by using a system called phage display where viruses that infect bacteria are tested for their ability to bind specifically to molecules of interest. The phage having peptides on their surface that bound to the molecules of interest are then removed from the culture for use and the phage is then reintroduced into the bacteria to continue replicating itself. Following this, the phage binding and specificity are tested using an antibody method called an Eliza that will cause a color change if the molecules are properly bound. Researchers can then take the peptide and purify, sequence, and test it for its ability to bind to molecules in a pure form.

After Dr. Fagan completes this process, she gives the peptide to Dr. Cortes. He coats the nanofiber with that peptide. An electric current goes across fiber when it encounters the bound molecules. If it binds it will give you a signal.

Dr. Fagan and Dr. Cortes have used proteins that bind to molecules in blood to test their sensors. They have found that when blood is introduced early in the testing, the Nano sensor will send a signal faster than when blood is not present immediately.  The purpose of this research is to potentially use a patch that can be put in military personnel or police uniforms so if they are shot and bleeding, a signal will be sent at a distance for people to know where to go to aid the wounded.

Dr. Fagan also uses the same research in collaboration with Dr. Cortes to detect explosives using the sensors.

The same methods are being used by graduate students in Dr. Fagan’s lab to produce peptides that bind to Staphylococcus aureus, the bacterium that causes Staph infections. With this research, she and her team of graduate students can find a way to potentially kill the bacterium.

As an additional project, Dr. Fagan uses adult mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow to find a faster solution to wound healing. Recently, she has used the mesenchymal stem cells in rat models. She started this process by growing stem cell cultures from rat bone marrow. Surgeons from St. Elizabeth Hospital perform surgery on the rats at Youngstown State University. Before closing the incision, her team divides the rats into groups. One group received platelets on the incision. The second group received stem cells and platelets on the incision, and the third group received nothing. The rats were then allowed to heal for 4-8 weeks and then were sacrificed. Using a cutting tool, Dr. Fagan and her research team cut part of the rats’ abdominal tissue into chunks. They conducted histology and collagen synthesis tests.

Dr. Hazel Marie, an Associate Professor of Manufacturing Engineering, used a machine to pull the tissue to test the strain on muscle until it tears. As compared with rats that were untreated, it was found that rats who received only platelets had two times stronger skin, and those who received both platelets and stem cells had three times stronger skin. She is improving this research by using the process of phage display so that she may find individual molecules made by the mesenchymal stem cells that can be used as a potential artificial system for wound healing.

You can see poster publications from her team on the various topics, below.

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For more information about her research, you can contact Dr. Diana Fagan at dlfagan@ysu.edu.

STUDENTS: It’s Time to Fill Out Scholarship Applications!

Attention STEM students!!

Looking for a way to lower your student debt? Applying for scholarships is the best way!

Take some time over break and fill out these applications! The deadline is February 1st for all scholarships applicable to the 2018-2019 school year.

You can apply for all YSU Foundation Scholarships and STEM Scholarships through the Scholarship Application. You can find the website here where you can apply using your YSU credentials.

Need help filling out the application? Click here for a step-by-step tutorial.

Incoming STEM students who are residents of Ohio may also apply to the Choose Ohio First Scholarship Program. To read more about this program, please visit the Choose Ohio First website here.

Student Spotlight: Brian Duricy

Brian DuricyYSU STEM loves to highlight student achievements and experiences! Please email us about students who have accomplished great things at STEMNews@ysu.edu so we can get the word out about our exceptional students!

Brian Duricy is a fourth-year mathematics and economics major with a political science and philosophy minor.

Currently, Brian does not do any research, but he hopes to start with a faculty member next semester. He is really interested in cryptocurrencies and statistical applications.

As a high school student, Brian has taken college in high school classes at Kent State University. He has also taken a transient class at Kent in Fall 2016. His first semester of college was spent at the University of Pittsburgh before coming to YSU.

“I love that you aren’t pigeon-holed to a specific field in STEM. I will never feel bored in my majors because statistics can be applied to anything. One week I can work with physics-related topics, the next I could be working with mathematics,” said Brian. “I also really love the flexibility at YSU so I can have two majors and two minors comfortably.”

This past month, Brian participated in the ethics bowl at YSU. The ethics bowl consists of multiple cordial arguments based on descriptive cases. A team’s coaches come up with broad-based ethics questions pertaining to each case that is designed to help the team get used to the main points of the case and what they could potentially be asked in competition. Seven minutes are given to the team to answer each question presented to them by the judge. Everyone on the team is given a part to answer. These parts consist of introductions, main points, and objections.

For this ethics bowl, Brian was the objector. His main duty in the competition was to come up with ways the other team may approach his team’s case and say they were wrong. The opposing team then had 5 minutes to respond to Brian and his team. The match continues after this with the opposing team presenting their case.

“What I really love about ethics bowl is that you get into a lot of discussions that you know are ethical or not ethical, but until you sit down and really think about them, you don’t get the understanding behind why they are ethical or unethical,” said Brian.

For the remainder of the match, Brian was also responsible for responding to the opposing team alongside his teammates.

“The things I have learned in my mathematics logistics classes really prepared me for ethics bowl because of the thought process the classes instilled in me,” said Brian.

Brian is also a member of the Actuarial Science Club and Moot Court.