Biomedical Research Series: Dr. Jill Tall

Dr. Jill Tall

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. Jill Tall is an associate professor of Biological Sciences at YSU. She earned her BS degree in biomedical science from Arizona State University and her PhD from Kent State University and NEOMED in biomedical science, with focus on neurobiology and pharmacology. Dr. Tall also completed a post-doctoral program at John Hopkins in anesthesiology researching how our diet effects bodily pain.

After her schooling, Dr. Tall brought her pain research with her to YSU until she paused her research in 2010 to have her children. She resumed research in 2012 where she twisted her research into a clinical perspective.

Through the course of her research at YSU, Dr. Tall has experimented with emergency room patient satisfaction. With the help of her students, Dr. Tall set up a research study that surveyed a group of patients as they came into the emergency room, asking questions like why they thought they were there, what they wanted the doctor to know, and what medication or treatment they thought they might need. Her research study was primarily designed to address the issues of emergency room backup.

“Anything that can help decrease the time in the emergency room is a hot topic for researchers,” said Dr. Tall.

The results of her study found that there were no significant differences between patients who were surveyed and patients who were not.

“This indicates that the emergency room gridlock is not specifically from the staff and physicians. Perhaps other hospital-related issues, like backup in the lab, radiology, and time to get a patient a bed on a floor, are slowing the process.,” said Dr. Tall.

However, the results suggested that all patients were fairly satisfied with their experiences at the emergency room regardless of the prior survey.

Dr. Tall has also developed a clinical research certificate program at YSU. In Spring 2017, there were 5 students who graduated with the completion of her certificate program. This program follows a student’s regular BS degree and allows undergraduates to get exposure in clinical research. The program is also included on each student’s transcript, setting them apart in the competitive job field.

The program consists of an inexpensive phone study, followed by research and data collection from patients at a hospital. This year, students will be receiving data from St. Elizabeth patients.

“Students truly get the complete research study experience,” said Dr. Tall.

There were two students in last year’s program that really stood out to Dr. Tall. Students Isaac Pierce, a medical school attendee at Ohio University and Andrew Whipkey, a student at NEOMED impressed Dr. Tall immensely.

“They always went above and beyond with any task I had for them,” said Dr. Tall. “They genuinely enjoyed the program and they always took the lead.”

This semester, Dr. Tall currently has 9 undergraduate students that assist her. For her research expenses, Dr. Tall received a grant from Ohio University Heritage of Osteopathic Medicine. She obtained this grant from a study she did on the effects of emergency transportation backboards.

In the future, Dr. Tall wants to create more connections with other medical organizations. She also wants to attract other science majors to her certificate program because, regardless of their major, they will receive hands-on experiences that will set them apart from their competition. She feels that the best part about YSU is the research opportunities that are present for students as opposed to bigger universities.

To contact Dr. Tall about her research or her certificate program, email her at jmtall@ysu.edu or visit her office in Ward Beecher, Room 4026.

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.

Abstract:

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.

Abstract:

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.

Alumni Spotlight: Michael Bellas

Michael BellasMichael Bellas graduated from YSU in May with a major in chemistry and minor in geology. He actually changed majors three times before finding his place in the chemistry department.

While at YSU, Michael made the most of the resources available to him. He worked on quite a bit of research with Dr. Genna and presented at YSU’s QUEST, the Pennsylvania-Ohio Border Section of the American Chemical Society at Westminster College, and the University of Akron’s Ohio Inorganic Weekend.

Interdisciplinary research is emphasized in the STEM College at YSU, and Michael has firsthand experience in this kind of research.

“This research often involved collaboration between departments (Chemistry, Physics, and Geology) as well as local industry, notably the Materials Research Laboratory in Struthers,” said Michael.

Michael was also very involved outside of the classroom, claiming membership in Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Alpha Lambda, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and the YSU student chapter of the American Chemical Society (treasurer). He also worked on campus in the Center for Student Progress.

Currently Michael is interning at the University of Michigan in Dr. Melanie Sanford’s lab. In the fall he will begin working toward his PhD from the University of Michigan while undoubtedly pursuing more research opportunities.

“I am not really sure what I will do after that- whether I’ll end up in academia or industry,” said Michael. “I just want to do chemistry and have fun, that’s about the most honest answer I can give you!”

While reflecting on his time at YSU, Michael explains that he was given the best opportunities because the size of the STEM College is just right.

“The STEM program is large enough that I had access to the very same equipment being used at top 10 universities, like Columbia and Northwestern, yet small enough that the faculty could give me the hands on attention that fostered my success,” said Michael.

Check out Michael’s first publication in Inorganic Chemistry!

Michael K. Bellas, Joseph J. Mihaly, Matthias Zeller, and Douglas T Genna, “Anion-Cation Mediated Structural Rearrangement of 3-Dimensional Interpenetrated Metal-Organic Frameworks,” Inorganic Chemistry 2017, 56, 950-955.

Transforming the Future: Chemistry Graduate is Princeton-Bound

Tyler PabstTyler Pabst is a recent graduate from YSU with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a minor in mathematics.

A truly dedicated student, Tyler has been heavily involved in the Honors College and has also served as a trustee and treasurer for the University Scholars Program. Working in the Center for Student Progress and volunteering for a number of non-profit organizations in Youngstown further enriched his experiences during his time at YSU.

“I started college as a Biology major with the intent to go to medical school,” said Tyler, “but when I took organic chemistry the summer following my freshman year, I really fell in love with it and started thinking about becoming a scientist.”

After committing to chemistry, Tyler immediately became involved with Dr. Genna’s research group. This research led him to present results as far as Seattle, and he hopes to publish a full paper soon. Though his research was quite distinct from most of the other research in Dr. Genna’s group, it has left an impact.

“My work has also given rise to some new project ideas that the group will pursue in the future,” said Tyler.

Tyler will be attending Princeton in the fall to begin working on his PhD. He aspires to become a professor and lead his own research groups. For now he continues to work in the lab on organometallics research that may lead to publishing an in-depth paper.

Many YSU STEM students have expressed surprise and gratitude toward the availability of professors and research opportunities for undergraduate students, and Tyler is no exception.

“I think it was very valuable that, even as a 19-year-old undergrad who didn’t yet fully understand what I was doing, I could be trusted to just dive in to research,” said Tyler. “I think we’re in a sweet spot in terms of resources and accessibility of those resources.”

This commentary from Tyler sums it all up:

“I’ve thought recently about how I, as a high school senior who committed to YSU because it was my cheapest option, would react to the idea that I was headed to Princeton for a PhD in chemistry.  In all honesty, I did not expect to grow as much as I have in these four years, or to get such a world-class education, or to be in the position that I find myself in now.  I consider myself fortunate to be a YSU penguin at the best time ever to be one.  Our chemistry department is sending recent graduates to Notre Dame, Michigan, and Princeton this summer for PhDs.  I have friends going into engineering doctoral programs at UC-Berkeley and Yale, and still others working for Tesla, GE, and Google.  I’m so excited to see the amazing things YSU students do for years to come; I don’t think there’s any doubt that we’re trending upward.”

We at YSU STEM congratulate Tyler on his accomplishments, wish him the best at Princeton, and look forward to hearing about his future successes.

Recent Graduate Jenna Wise Awarded NSF Fellowship

Jenna WiseJenna Wise, a recent computer science and mathematics graduate, has been awarded a 2017 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. 2,000 STEM students nationwide were awarded out of a pool of more than 13,000 applicants.

The fellowship program recognizes students for their academic efforts while pursuing a research-based, graduate-level degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

Jenna’s name may sound familiar to many because of her strong presence here at YSU:

  • Webmaster and former president of Pi Mu Epsilon
  • President and former vice president of the Association for Computing Machinery–Women
  • Tutor at the Mathematics Assistance Center
  • Student researcher in the Software Engineering Research and Empirical Studies Laboratory (CSIS Department under Dr. Sharif)
  • 2016 Barry Goldwater Scholarship recipient
  • Author and co-author of several math and computer science publications

With many activities and accomplishments under her belt, Jenna has already compiled an impressive resume through all of her hard work.

She has worked on NSF-funded research in the past, including her eye-tracking research with Dr. Sharif which was also the basis of her senior project.

Jenna is spending her summer as an intern for IBM Research before attending Carnegie Mellon University for her PhD studies in the fall.

Check out this article from YSU News to read more about Jenna and her award.

View details about the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program here.

Student Research: QUEST & STEM Showcase

QUEST

QUEST is a unique university sponsored forum for undergraduate and graduate students to:

  • Present scholarship to the community
  • Share acheivements and creations
  • Hone conference presentation skills
  • Receive University recognition for accomplishments

Examples of past QUEST submissions include:

  • Results and finished products of scientific research
  • Musical scores
  • Engineering designs and analyses
  • Panel discussions of social, political, and economic issues
  • Poetry readings
  • Honors and senior theses
  • Study abroad experiences

QUEST presentation

Three graduate presentations were selected to present at Best of Quest; two of them were STEM students:

  • Sarah Springer (College of STEM)
    • Anion controlled synthesis of partially halogenated In-derived metal-organic frameworks
  • Jennifer Moore (College of STEM) 2017 Best of QUEST Winner
    • Tuning the substrate specificity of the glutathione transferase GstB from Escherichia coli via site-directed mutagenesis.

One undergraduate project from each college was selected to present at Best of QUEST; two were selected from STEM as a tie:

  • Antonio DiSalvo, Mark Plant, Elizabeth Urig (College of STEM) (tie)
    • Optimized Rim for Spring Tires
  • Vincent Dell’Arco, Jared Fink (College of STEM) (tie)
    • Automatic Tong Mechanism Senior Design Project

A complete program for QUEST 2017 can be found here, which includes abstracts for the projects.


STEM Showcase

The STEM Showcase is an annual event highlighting our students and the projects they have worked hard on all year.

On Saturday, April 22, 2017, students set up posters, tables, experiments, prototypes, and finished projects in Moser Hall so that guests could examine the students’ knowledge and effort. Facilities were available for touring including the Center for Innovation in Additive Manufacturing, YSU’s bragworthy 3D printing lab.

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Third Annual STEM Honors Convocation

On Monday, April 24, undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in STEM programs were recognized for their hard work in the classroom as well as in the community. Congratulations to all students who were honored with scholarships, memberships, and other awards to celebrate their success!

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University Awards

Clarence P. Gould Honor Society

Membership awarded to students on the basis of academic achievement and breadth of academic courses

Leah Bayer
Jonathon Burns
Andrew Morgan
Tyler Pabst
Dusti Pilkington
Elizabeth Rogenski
Amanda Seidler
Cassandra Shaffer
Andrew Whipkey

Theodore P. and Evelyn H. Chengelis Memorial Scholarship

Awarded to an outstanding undergraduate student of Hellenic heritage who will matriculate to medical school

Ellianna Hoff

O’Horo Family Scholarship in Engineering

To an upper-division student enrolled in the engineering program and a resident of Mahoning, Trumbull, or Columbiana County

Joshua Robinson

Woodrow Wilson Legacy Scholarship

Awarded to Woodrow Wilson High School graduates or descendants pursuing an undergraduate degree

Zachary Jacobson

Shorty and Elba Navarro Scholarship

Awarded to a student of Hispanic descent, with a minimum 2.5 GPA, who is a resident of Columbiana, Lawrence, Mahoning, Mercer, and Trumbull counties

Adam DeMarco
Diego Antonio Mendel

Dr. Earnest and Doris Perry Diversity Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to an African-American student with a minimum 2.4 GPA who has graduated from a high school in the Mahoning Valley

Janessa Rich

William H. Farnell Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to a worthy and financially needed student who is a graduate of Poland Seminary High School, Struthers High School or any high school from the Mahoning Valley

Montana Gessler

Shorty and Elba Navarro Scholarship for Students in Education, Nursing, Science, Technology, or Mathematics

This scholarship is awarded to a student of sophomore ranking or higher, who is majoring in Education, Nursing, Science, Technology or Mathematics, who has a minimum 2.5 GPA that is a resident of Columbiana, Mahoning, or Trumbull county.

Bruno Serrano

Undergraduate Awards

Douglas Faires Outstanding Student in Mathematics and Statistics Award

Awarded for outstanding academic achievement in the study of Mathematics and Statistics

Monica Busser
Kyle Gumble
Gabrielle Van Scoy

B.J. Yozwiak Mathematics Award

Awarded to a senior majoring in Mathematics who has demonstrated outstanding academic performance

Jenna Wise Continue reading “Third Annual STEM Honors Convocation”

Staff Spotlight: Jason Walker

Jason WalkerDr. Jason Walker, Additive Manufacturing Research Scientist, has been working under Dr. Conner in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering since November 2016.

Earlier in 2016, it was announced that YSU would be partnering with the Air Force and other research centers to work on a grant-funded project involving additive manufacturing. With this new project came the need for additional personnel.

Walker majored in both mechanical engineering and aerospace engineering at Case Western Reserve University before earning his PhD in biomedical engineering from the University of Toledo. He completed his postdoc in the Department of Plastic Surgery at Ohio State University.

“I am the technical lead on the metal additive manufacturing efforts,” said Walker. “Within the scope of the grant it’s mostly applied research—making and validating parts for the Air Force using 3D printing.”

Walker explains that he’ll be working closely with Friedman Chair Dr. Eric MacDonald as well as several students in the materials science PhD program.

“Eric MacDonald and I are looking at process monitoring of these 3D printing manufacturing processes,” he said. “We want to put a bunch of high-speed cameras and thermal cameras in them, and video record everything that’s happening in real time.”

The project is set to end in March 2018. Walker has expressed the possibility of becoming an engineering professor in the future, so maybe we won’t be saying our goodbyes next year.

Like a true engineer, he enjoys tinkering with things in his spare time, including vintage motorcycles.

For more information on the grant-funded project, read these resources from The Business Journal, WKBN, and the Tribune Chronicle.

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.

Abstract:

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 Publications: John Martin

John Martin, an assistant professor of engineering technology at Youngstown State University, has recently presented for the American Society for Engineering Education and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Martin holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical engineering and his research area is in engineering education.

Work in Progress: The Effects of Concurrent Presentation of Engineering Concepts and FEA Applications”, Martin, J., Martin, A., Proceedings of the 2016 ASEE Annual Conference and Expo, New Orleans, LA, June, 2016.

“CFD Analysis Comparing Steady Flow and Pulsatile Flow through the Aorta and its Main Branches”, Martin, J., Proceedings for the 2016 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition, Phoenix, AZ, November, 2016.