Faculty Faction: Dr. Kevin Disotell

Dr. Kevin Disotell

“The Ohio State University Career and Internship Fair at The Ohio Union in Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. “

Dr. Kevin Disotell is a professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at YSU. He holds a BS and PhD in Aeronautical & Astronomical Engineering from The Ohio State University, with the primary focus of aerodynamics.

“While I was a doctoral candidate at Ohio State, I served as an instructor for a technical elective—helicopter aerodynamics—which was my first teaching experience in the classroom,” said Disotell. “It was also a good experience to balance teaching and research duties.”

After his experiences at OSU, Dr. Disotell began his career in the aerospace industry. He was able to contribute to programs and research efforts at NASA.

“I came to YSU from NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia. Langley was established as our nation’s first civilian aeronautics laboratory, and it was an honor to be part of the 100th anniversary of the center’s opening this year,” said Disotell. “So many amazing achievements in aerospace history have roots at Langley. Having also worked in product development at Ford Motor Company in Michigan, I feel quite fortunate to have been part of such iconic organizations with tremendous histories.”

Dr. Disotell knew that giving college-level students the backgrounds for an aerospace degree would allow them to also experience what he had. Dr. Disotell’s interests in teaching at YSU arose because he could contribute to quality degree programs while also helping YSU to be a national model for public education value. Having been raised in Boardman, Disotell knew how important the university was to the area, so he wanted to be part of the university’s momentum.

“I look forward to creating an integrated teaching and research space in the fluid mechanics laboratory of Moser Hall,” said Disotell. “A key piece of this transformation is a new research-grade wind tunnel that we will build alongside our instructional tunnels. Being in a state of aviation pioneers and in the middle of our country’s Fluid Power Belt, it is important that we offer excellent training in fluid mechanics.”

This semester you can see Dr. Disotell if you are part of the mechanical engineering program or if you are taking Thermodynamics I or Fluid Dynamics. For now, these are the classes that he teaches, but he hopes to acquire more variety of classes next semester.

In his short time here, Dr. Disotell has already started to make an impact at YSU. He has been involved in the effort to create a new student branch for the American Institute of Aeronautics (AIAA) on campus. This new student organization will open new doors for students with career interests in the aerospace field. The organization will work to provide its members professional connections. You can read more about the AIAA branch here.

Dr. Disotell has also expressed an urge to improve several components on campus for YSU engineering students.

“One of my goals is to help expand quality research opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students with our work in the laboratory,” said Disotell. “Getting hands-on experience helps drive innovation and will prepare our students to enter the workforce in the aerospace sector, which continues to see global growth in economic value and manufacturing output. Ohio is a leading supplier to the aerospace industry.”

It is great to know that Dr. Disotell is aiming for the stars here at YSU.

“My favorite pastime is baseball. An ancestor of mine, Gene Desautels, played professional baseball as a catcher around the time of WWII,” said Disotell. “He was teammates with the famous hitter Ted Williams in Boston, and also played for Cleveland among other teams.”

Doesn’t Dr. Disotell sound like an amazing professor? For more information about AIAA or to contact Dr. Disotell for any reason, you can email him at kjdisotell@ysu.edu. Due to renovations, Dr. Disotell has a temporary office in Moser Hall 1460. His office will change after the second-floor updates are completed.

Recent Publication: Dr. Jack Min & Dr. Feng Yu

Dr. Xiangjia “Jack” Min, Associate Professor in Biological Science, in collaboration with Dr. Feng Yu, Assistant Professor in Computer Science and Information Systems published a research article in Current Plant Biology in July 2017.


Title: “Comparative landscape of alternative splicing in fruit plants”

Authors: G Sablok, B Powell, J Braessler, F Yu F, XJ Min



Alternative splicing (AS) has played a major role in defining the protein diversity, which could be linked to phenotypic alternations. It is imperative to have a comparative resolution of AS to understand the pre-mRNAs splicing diversity. In the present research, we present a comparative assessment of the AS events in four different fruit plants including apple (Malus domestica), grape (Vitis vinifera), sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), and woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca), using spliced mapping of the expressed sequence tags and mRNA sequences. We identified a total of 2039 AS events in apple, 2454 in grape, 1425 in orange, and 631 in strawberry, respectively. In this study grape displayed the maximum number of genes (1588) associated with the splicing, followed by apple (1580), orange (1133) and strawberry (444). Transcripts mapping analysis shows that grape plant has relatively larger intron sizes than introns in other fruit species. The data provide a basis for further functional characterization of the genes undergoing AS and can be accessed at Plant Alternative Splicing Database (http://proteomics.ysu.edu/altsplice/plant/).

Full article link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214662817300439

Recent Publication: Dr. Mark Womble

“Sex and regional differences in rabbit right ventricular L-type calcium current levels and mathematical modeling of arrhythmia vulnerability.” Experimental Physiology 102 (7): 804-817, 2017.


*A figure from this paper was used as the cover illustration for the July 1 edition of this journal.


New Findings:

What is the central question of this study?

Regional variations of ventricular L-type calcium current (ICa-L) amplitude may underlie the increased arrhythmia risk in adult females. Current amplitude variations have been described for the left ventricle but not for the right ventricle.

What is the main finding and its importance?

Adult female rabbit right ventricular base myocytes exhibit elevated ICa-L compared with female apex or male myocytes. Oestrogen upregulated ICa-L in cultured female myocytes. Mathematical simulations modelling long QT syndrome type 2 demonstrated that elevated ICa-L prolonged action potentials and induced early after-depolarizations. Thus, ventricular arrhythmias in adult females may be associated with an oestrogen-induced upregulation of ICa-L.

Previous studies have shown that adult rabbit left ventricular myocytes exhibit sex and regional differences in L-type calcium current (ICa-L) levels that contribute to increased female susceptibility to arrhythmogenic early after-depolarizations (EADs). We used patch-clamp recordings from isolated adult male and female rabbit right ventricular myocytes to determine apex–base differences in ICa-L density and used mathematical modelling to examine the contribution of ICa-L to EAD formation. Current density measured at 0 mV in female base myocytes was 67% higher than in male base myocytes and 55% higher than in female apex myocytes. No differences were observed between male and female apex myocytes, between male apex and base myocytes, or in the voltage dependences of ICa-L activation or inactivation. The role of oestrogen was investigated using cultured adult female right ventricular base myocytes. After 2 days, 17β-estradiol (1 nm) produced a 65% increase in ICa-L density compared with untreated control myocytes, suggesting an oestrogen-induced upregulation of ICa-L. Action potential simulations using a modified Luo–Rudy cardiomyocyte model showed that increased ICa-L density, at the level observed in female base myocytes, resulted in longer duration action potentials, and when combined with a 50% reduction of the rapidly inactivating delayed rectifier potassium current conductance to model long QT syndrome type 2, the action potential was accompanied by one or more EADs. Thus, we found higher levels of ICa-L in adult female right ventricle base myocytes and the upregulation of this current by oestrogen. Simulations of long QT syndrome type 2 showed that elevated ICa-L contributed to genesis of EADs.


Information regarding the authors:

YSU Faculty: Dr. Mark D. Womble (Department of Biological Sciences; senior author) and Dr. Jozsi Z. Jalics (Department of Mathematics and Statistics; contributing author).

YSU Students: At the time that this research was performed, Zane M. Kalik (lead author) was an undergraduate Biology student, Joshua L. Mike (contributing author) was an undergraduate Mathematics and Chemistry student, Moriah Wright (contributing author) was an undergraduate Mathematics student, and Cassandra Slipski (contributing author) was a Biology graduate student.

CSIS Professor and Student Participate In Summer Research Project

Dr. Lazar and Zackary Harnett at Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryDr. Alina Lazar, Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, and her student Zackary Harnett traveled to the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab this summer.

They joined efforts with the lab as part of the Scientific Data Management Group. Dr. Lazar and her student, Zack, were sponsored by the Department of Energy through the Visiting Faculty Program. They worked closely with the Energy Technology Area on a research project titled “Sequence Cluster Analysis for Identifying Long-term Lifecycle Trajectory Patterns.”

This research project was performed to further study the relationship between life-cycle patterns and decisions or choices (such as the choices of purchasing a home, owning a car, or investing in new technologies). Dr. Lazar and Harnett assisted the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab to show the wide availability of mobile devices and sensors that are connected to the internet. They collected research in data sets to model long-term user behavior of both test variables.

The research Dr. Lazar and Harnett assisted with observed sequence data representations, as well as several methods designed to test similarity algorithms. Methods to test these algorithms can range from classical approaches to a system called Optimal Matching. The methods used can then display what it would take to overcome the issues present between life-cycle patterns and decisions. It can also use strategies to model real sequence data to identify life-long behavior and produce descriptive self-explanatory visualizations even in the presence of disturbances and missing values.

Dr. Alina Lazar is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems. She completed her PhD in Computer Science in 2002 from Wayne State University. She specializes in several areas like data analysis, algorithms, and data mining.

Biomedical Research Series: Dr. Michael Butcher

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. Michael Butcher is an Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at YSU. He earned his PhD in Zoology from the University of Calgary. Afterward, he completed a two-year NSF post-doctoral fellowship at Clemson University before becoming a full-time professor at YSU.

At YSU, Dr. Butcher conducts three different types of research with assistance from multiple graduate and undergraduate students. The main focuses of his laboratory research are the mechanical properties and shape of limb bones, fiber architecture and force production in the limb muscles, and development of muscle fiber types. His most recent work involves studies of muscle form and contraction activity in tree sloths.

Every other year, Dr. Butcher has traveled to The Sloth Sanctuary in Limón, Costa Rica. This gives him the opportunity to study species of two-toed and three-toed sloths.

On his most recent trip, he and his research team visualized live muscle contractions of the sloths using implanted fine wire electrodes. They recorded muscle activity while sloths performed combinations of walking, climbing, and hanging exercises. In addition, Dr. Butcher and his team conducted very detailed dissections on cadaver sloths to learn about their muscle architecture.

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“What we do is take geometric measurements of the muscles,” Butcher said. “For example, how long is the muscle belly, how long are the muscle fibers, at what angle are the muscle fibers? Then we apply a couple basic calculations.”

They could then estimate the force, power, and torque (strength) properties of sloth muscles. Dr. Butcher considers this approach to the study of muscle form and function “simple, but elegant.”

To understand his research interests, it is important to know some of the unusual characteristics of a sloth.

“Why a sloth?” Dr. Butcher was asked. “Because they’re old and interesting mammals that do something really different from what humans are capable of doing.”

In a sloth’s body, there is only about 24% muscle mass. Dr. Butcher and his students are finding that their muscles have a high tolerance for lactic acid and rarely fatigue, unlike skeletal muscles in humans. Much to his surprise, Dr. Butcher is also learning that sloths primarily use anaerobic mechanisms to allow them to conserve energy and resist fatigue. This contributes to a sloth’s ability to hang from tree limbs for extended periods of time.

Other factors that relate to the strength and stamina of sloths are lower body temperature, lower metabolism, and slower digestion than most placental mammals.

“Sloths also have a network of blood vessels in their forearms that lowers the temperature of the muscles,” Butcher said. “This allows the muscles to remain strongly contracted for gripping branches while using energy at a slower rate.”

With these distinctive characteristics, sloths can conserve a tremendous amount of energy. For this very reason, Dr. Butcher finds sloth research remarkably insightful.

Dr. Butcher does not simply perform research to learn more about muscle structure-function in sloths, but rather to give further evidence of the performance range of muscles, in general. He wants to continue studying how muscles are put together and how they work, as functionality is diverse for animals depending on their lifestyle.

While this research has medical applications such as bioengineering artificial muscles and limbs, Dr. Butcher remains committed to fundamental science where his findings contribute towards education in the scientific community, future textbooks, and enhancement of the courses that he teaches at YSU.

Dr. Butcher stresses the immense contribution from his students. He believes that they are vital to his research efforts. To further his studies in primitive mammals Dr. Butcher plans to travel to Argentina this fall to investigate muscle properties in rare species of armadillos.

Biomedical Research Series: Dr. Gary Walker

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 new monthly series, we will highlight faculty research that covers various aspects of biomedical efforts from DNA to bacteria, fungi, and more.

Dr. Gary Walker is a professor and chairperson of Biological Sciences at YSU. He obtained a PhD in Biological Sciences from the Wayne State University of Michigan. He began graduate school with an interest in becoming a developmental biologist with focus on cell division and later in stem cells.

His interest in biomedical research began decades ago but recently changed direction when he collaborated with a local neurologist, Dr. Carl Ansevin. They wrote several papers together and heavily researched muscle proteins. Now he is mainly focusing on the basic molecular programming of muscle tissue with anticipation that he can eventually engineer a functional muscle.

Dr. Walker is currently studying the growth of muscle cell cultures to advance the fundamental understanding of muscle development and function. In addition, he is interested in tissue engineering, specifically 3D-printed structures, which will be used primarily for therapy purposes.

Given his research background, one of his goals is to create functional muscles. To create a 3D-printed tissue structure, Dr. Walker grows myoblasts in cell cultures that are then mixed with a bio gel. The bio gel aides in the suspension of the cells and maintains the 3D structure throughout the printing process. A computerized 3D fluid printer is then used to create a specific geometric structure allowing the “tissues” to transfer to culture vessels so that the myoblasts can grow.

“As you can see, these myofibers form in all sorts of directions,” said Dr. Walker. “So you can’t make a functional muscle because in a functional muscle all these fibers have to be aligned parallel.”

In the end, once the cells are understood and a live tissue is formed, Dr. Walker wants to tinker with the geometry of the tissue, making it more like a standard muscle tissue.

Once the structure is fit for usage in medical procedures, his personal hope for the 3D-printed muscle tissue is to benefit trauma patients and those who experience muscle diseases. This research project has tied together his love of growing cells and researching how functional tissues are formed. The project is also a great way to show the transition between basic and applied knowledge.

There is great potential for this research and Dr. Walker could be an important part of this advancement of biomedical technology.

Recent Publication: Biology Student, Faculty, and Staff

Thomas DR, Chadwell BA, Walker GR, Budde JE, Vandeberg JL, Butcher MT. “Ontogeny of myosin isoform expression and prehensile function in the tail of the gray short-tailed opossum (Monodelphis domestica),” Journal of Applied Physiology, May 2017. DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00651.2016

Former YSU biology student Dylan Thomas authored this paper in collaboration with faculty and staff from YSU, Ohio University, and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. The paper was submitted in July 2016 and was accepted and published in May 2017 by the American Physiological Society.


Terrestrial opossums use their semi-prehensile tail for grasping nesting materials as opposed to arboreal maneuvering. We relate the development of this adaptive behavior with ontogenetic changes in myosin heavy chain (MHC) isoform expression from 21 days to adulthood. Monodelphis domestica is expected to demonstrate a progressive ability to flex the distal tail up to age 7 months, when it should exhibit routine nest construction. We hypothesize that juvenile stages (3-7 months) will be characterized by retention of the neonatal isoform (MHC-Neo), along with predominant expression of fast MHC-2X and 2B, which will transition into greater MHC-1β and 2A isoform content as development progresses. This hypothesis was tested using Q-PCR to quantify and compare gene expression of each isoform to its protein content determined by gel electrophoresis and densitometry. These data were correlated with nesting activity in an age-matched sample of each age group studied. Shifts in regulation of MHC gene transcripts matched well with isoform expression. Notably, mRNA for MHC-Neo and 2B decrease, resulting in little-to-no isoform translation after age 7 months, whereas mRNA for MHC-1β and 2A increase, and this corresponds with subtle increases in content for these isoforms into late adulthood. Despite the tail remaining intrinsically fast-contracting, a critical growth period for isoform transition is observed between 7 and 13 months, correlating primarily with use of the tail during nesting activities. Functional transitions in MHC isoforms and fiber type properties may be associated with muscle ‘tuning’ repetitive nest remodeling tasks requiring sustained contractions of the caudal flexors.

Faculty Publication: Dr. Jim Andrews

Daniel Wehrung, Elaheh. A. Chamsaz, James H. Andrews, Abraham Joy, and Moses O. Oyewumi, “Engineering Alkoxyphenacyl-Polycarbonate Nanoparticles for Potential Application in Near-Infrared Light-Modulated Drug Delivery via Photon Up-Conversion Process,” Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology 17, 4867-4881 (2017). 

This publication describes the results of experiments primarily done at NEOMED, but also at YSU’s Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, using nano-crystals to convert near infrared light to ultraviolet light. Typically, ultraviolet light is difficult to apply as a form of medical phototherapy due to its harmful effects to other tissues. Using the materials studied in this paper, the primary exposure would instead be to infrared light that is then converted to ultraviolet at the site of the phototherapy for localized treatment. This work was led by Daniel Wehrung as part of his successful PhD dissertation work at NEOMED under the supervision of Dr. Moses Oyewumi in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Dr. Andrews assisted with experiments at YSU as part of this study.


Photoresponsive delivery systems that are activated by high energy photo-triggers have been accorded much attention because of the capability of achieving reliable photoreactions at short irradiation times. However, the application of a high energy photo-trigger (UV light) is not clinically viable. Meanwhile, the process of photon-upconversion is an effective strategy to generate a high energy photo-trigger in-situ through exposure to clinically relevant near-infrared (NIR) light. In this regard, we synthesized photon upconverting nanocrystals (UCNCs) that were subsequently loaded into photoresponsive nanoparticles (NPs) prepared using alkoxyphenacyl-based polycar- bonate homopolymer (UCNC-APP-NPs). UCNC loading affected resultant NP size, size distribu- tion, colloidal stability but not the zeta potential. The efficiency of NIR-modulated drug delivery was impacted by the heterogenetic nature of the resultant UCNC-APP-NPs which was plausibly formed through a combination of UCNC entrapment within the polymeric NP matrix and nucleation of polymer coating on the surface of the UCNCs. The biocompatibility of UCNC-APP-NPs was demonstrated through cytotoxicity, macrophage activation, and red blood cell lysis assays. Studies in tumor-bearing (nu/nu) athymic mice showed a negligible distribution of UCNC-APP-NPs to retic- uloendothelial tissues. Further, distribution of UCNC-APP-NPs to various tissues was in the order (highest to lowest): Lungs > Tumor > Kidneys > Liver > Spleen > Brain > Blood > Heart. In all, the work highlighted some important factors that may influence the effectiveness, reproducibility biocompatibility of drug delivery systems that operate on the process of photon-upconversion.

Faculty Publication: Robert J. Korenic

Robert J. Korenic, Associate Professor, Civil and Construction Engineering Technology, presented a paper entitled “Youngstown State University ‘Gateway Project’ Rain Garden Design Upgrades.” The paper was presented at the Engineering Sustainability Innovation and the Triple Bottom Line Conference on April 10, 2017 in Pittsburgh, PA. This is a national conference affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering and the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation.

Robert J. Korenic



The Youngstown State University (YSU) “Gateway Project,” completed several years ago, was a large scale grounds and facilities project intended to upgrade several campus buildings and the grounds surrounding these facilities. Many of the upgrades utilized Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) sustainable design criteria. Included in these upgrades was the installation of bioswale and rain garden areas intended to help manage storm water runoff from new parking facilities. While the bioswales are functioning as intended, the rain garden has never maintained plant life and is not functioning to manage storm water runoff. Phase one of this research involved testing the hydraulic conductivity of the soil in the garden, sampling the soil for its pH and identifying the soil stratification in the garden by digging test pits. This document will recap the results of that research and build on those results by specifying how the rain garden can be rebuilt in order to properly manage the storm water runoff.

Faculty Publications: Nguyet Nguyen

Paper Title: “Hidden Markov Model for Portfolio Management with Mortgage-Backed Securities Exchange-Traded Fund” was published on the Society of Actuaries website in April. This project was funded by the finance research grants from SOA, from June 2016-June 2017.



The hidden Markov model (HMM) is a regime-shift model that assumes observation data were driven by hidden regimes (or states). The model has been used in many fields, such as speech recognition, handwriting recognition, biomathematics and financial economics. In this paper, we describe HMM and its application in finance and actuarial areas. We then develop a new application of HMM in mortgage-backed securities exchange-traded funds (MBS ETFs). We begin with a primer on the hidden Markov model, covering main concepts, the model’s algorithms and examples to demonstrate the concepts. Next, we introduce some applications of the model in actuarial and financial areas. We then present applications of HMM on MBS ETFs. Finally, we establish a new use of HMM for a portfolio management with MBS ETFs: predicting prices and trading some MBS ETFs. Data, algorithms and codes generated in this paper can be used for future research in actuarial science and finance.

Paper Title: “Using the Hidden Markov Model to Improve the Hull-White Model for Short Rate”, a collaboration work with Thomas Wakefield, YSU, and Dung Nguyen, Ned Davis Research Group, was accepted to publish in the International Journal of Trade, Economics and Finance.

Recent Publication: Abdullah Kuraan, Stefan Moldovan, Kyosung Choo

Abdullah M. Kuraan, Stefan I. Moldovan, Kyosung Choo, “Heat transfer and hydrodynamics of free water jet impingement at low nozzle-to-plate spacings,” International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 108 (2017) 2211-2216.


In this study, heat transfer and hydrodynamics of a free water jet impinging a flat plate surface are experimentally investigated. The effects of the nozzle-to-plate spacing, which is equal to or less than one nozzle diameter (H/d = 0.08–1), on the Nusselt number, hydraulic jump diameter, and pressure at the stagnation point are considered. The results show that the normalized stagnation Nusselt number, pressure, and hydraulic jump diameter are divided into two regions: Region (I) jet deflection region (H/d ⩽ 0.4) and Region (II) inertia dominant region (0.4 < H/d ⩽ 1). In region I, the normalized stagnation Nusselt number and hydraulic jump diameter drastically increase with decreasing the nozzle-to-plate spacing, since the stagnation pressure increases due to the jet deflection effect. In region II, the effect of the nozzle-to-plate spacing is negligible on the normalized stagnation Nusselt number and hydraulic jump diameter since the average velocity of the jet is constant, which means the jet deflection effect disappears. Based on the experimental results, new correlations for the normalized hydraulic jump diameter, stagnation Nusselt number, and pressure are developed as a function of the nozzle-to-plate spacing alone.

Faculty Faction: Dr. Eric MacDonald

Eric MacDonald

photo credit: YSU News Center

Dr. Eric MacDonald is a professor of electrical engineering and YSU’s Friedman Chair in Engineering. He holds a BS, MS, and PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

He worked as a professor at the University of Texas at El Paso for 15 years after leaving industry as a chip designer. He created microprocessors for products including computers and game systems and he worked for companies like IBM and Motorola.

In 2003, Dr. MacDonald teamed up with a mechanical engineer at UTEP to experiment with the mixing of 3D printing and electronics, which was almost unheard of at that time.

“So you could make a ball that’s a circuit board for instance, or you could make a prosthetic hand,” said Dr. MacDonald. “We ended up getting a lot of interest from NASA and the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, the intelligence community even.”

He had strong ties to Youngstown before he even considered coming here to teach.

“In 2011, President Obama in his State of the Union address basically said that he was going to invest in manufacturing by setting up institutes, the first of which was additive manufacturing… and it came to Youngstown,” said Dr. MacDonald.

A grant from this institute based in Youngstown brought him and Dr. Brett Conner together for collaboration.

Dr. MacDonald was very interested in coming to Youngstown through a recent endowment. He is now the first Morris and Phyllis Friedman Chair in Engineering at Youngstown State University.

He plans to continue his hands-on research with 3D printing and electronics while also incorporating Youngstown’s history of metal manufacturing.

Last semester, Dr. MacDonald published a paper in the journal Science along with former colleague Ryan Wicker of UTEP. Science is a highly prestigious magazine and it is very difficult to be accepted for publication.

A frequent traveler, Dr. MacDonald has been to many different countries all over the world. Even so, he still thinks Ohio is a beautiful place to live.

STEM Faculty Awarded Research Professorships

In accordance with the YSU-OEA Agreement, at least eighteen faculty members shall be designated “Research Professors” each year. The language in the agreement specifies that:

“The Research Professorship Committee may award a minimum of six (6) hours to a maximum of nine (9) hours; the total number of hours distributed will be no less than 162 hours.”

Proposals from thirty-two faculty members, submitted for research professorships, were reviewed and evaluated by a seven-member committee. Graduate faculty members representing all six colleges were on the committee which awarded 22 research professorships for the 2017-2018 academic year. Congratulations to the research professors.

Research Professorship Committee
Dr. Rebecca Badawy
Mr. Michael Hripko (Chair)
Dr. Daniel Keown
Dr. Mary LaVine
Dr. Susan Lisko
Dr. Dolores Sisco
Dr. Tom Wakefield

STEM Research Professors

Dr. Snjezana Balaz, Physics and Astronomy – Awarded 6 Hours
“Investigation of Charge Transfer in Organic Interfaces”

Dr. Ganesaratnam Balendiran, Chemistry – Awarded 9 Hours
“Role of Fibrates and Like Molecules in Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases”

Dr. Kyosung Choo, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering – Awarded 6 Hours
“Heat Transfer Enhancement of Steel Pipe”

Dr. Douglas Genna, Chemistry – Awarded 9 Hours
“Removal of Common Water Contaminants using Select Porous Materials”

Dr. Johanna Krontiris-Litowitz, Biology – Awarded 9 Hours
“Inserting Quantitative Literacy into the Human Physiology Lab Curriculum”

Dr. Xiangjia Min, Biological Sciences – Awarded 6 Hours
“Expanding the plant alternative splicing database”

Dr. Moon Nguyen, Mathematics and Statistics – Awarded 6 Hours
“Ohio Extreme Weather Forecast using Hidden Markov Model”

Dr. Jae Joong Ryu, Mechanical Engineering – Awarded 9 Hours
“Influence of biochemical environment on synovial lubrication and surface wear of prosthetic knee joints”

Dr. Bonita Sharif, CSIS – Awarded 9 Hours
“An eye tracking experiment summarizing API elements using code and documentation”

Dr. Suresh Sharma, Civil/Environmental and Chemical Engineering – Awarded 9 Hours
“Investigating Temporal and Spatial Variability of Flow and Salinity Level in the Mentor Marsh Watershed”

Recent Publication: Biology Faculty & Students

STEM faculty members on the paper: Xiangjia “Jack” Min, Feng Yu, Chester Cooper
STEM graduate students:  Brian Powell, Vamshi Amerishetty, John Meinken
STEM undergraduate student: Geneva Knott

Powell B., Amerishetty V., Meinken J., Knott G., Feng Y., Cooper C., and Min X.J., 2016, “ProtSecKB: the protist secretome and subcellular proteome knowledgebase,” Computational Molecular Biolog 6(4): 1-12.


Kingdom Protista contains a large group of eukaryotic organisms with diverse lifestyles. We developed the Protist Secretome and Subcellular Proteome Knowledgebase (ProtSecKB) to host information of curated and predicted subcellular locations of all protist proteins. The protist protein sequences were retrieved from UniProtKB, consisting of 1.97 million entries generated from 7,024 species with 101 species including 127 organisms having complete proteomes. The protein subcellular locations were based on curated information and predictions using a set of well evaluated computational tools.  The database can be searched using several different types of identifiers, gene names or keyword(s). Secretomes and other subcellular proteomes can be searched or downloaded. BLAST searching against the complete set of protist proteins or secretomes is available.  Protein family analysis of secretomes from representing protist species, including Dictyostelium discoideum, Phytophthora infestans, and Trypanosoma cruzi, showed that species with different lifestyles had drastic differences of protein families in their secretomes, which may determine their lifestyles. The database provides an important resource for the protist and biomedical research community. The database is available at http://bioinformatics.ysu.edu/secretomes/protist/index.php.

Recent Publication: Dr. Jai K. Jung

Editors’ Choice – Canadian Geotechnical Journal – December 201

Jai K. Jung, Thomas D. O’Rourke, Christina Argyrou“Multi-directional force–displacement response of underground pipe in sand,” Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 2016, 53(11): 1763-1781.

This paper is part of a Special Issue entitled “Pipeline geotechnics”.


A methodology is presented to evaluate multi-directional force–displacement relationships for soil–pipeline interaction analysis and design. Large-scale tests of soil reaction to pipe lateral and uplift movement in dry and partially saturated sand are used to validate plane strain, finite element (FE) soil, and pipe continuum models. The FE models are then used to characterize force versus displacement performance for lateral, vertical upward, vertical downward, and oblique orientations of pipeline movement in soil. Using the force versus displacement relationships, the analytical results for pipeline response to strike-slip fault rupture are shown to compare favorably with the results of large-scale tests in which strike-slip fault movement was imposed on 250 and 400 mm diameter high-density polyethylene pipelines in partially saturated sand. Analytical results normalized with respect to maximum lateral force are provided on 360° plots to predict maximum pipe loads for any movement direction. The resulting methodology and dimensionless plots are applicable for underground pipelines and conduits at any depth, subjected to relative soil movement in any direction in dry or saturated and partially saturated medium to very dense sands.