Visiting Fulbright biochemical engineer to speak: Bio-inspired look at energy and environment issues

What: “A bio-inspired journey through some research challenges of energy and environment,” a lecture by Dr. Ramkrishna Sen, Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Columbia University.

When, where, etc: Tuesday April 15, 2014, 11 a.m. to noon, Fort IRC, Room 410. There is no charge for the workshop.  Fulbright campus representatives and interested faculty are encouraged to attend.  To reserve a seat please email Brendan McKennedy.

Background: Dr. Ramkrishna Sen is an associate professor in the Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India. He is currently working as Fulbright Visiting Faculty in the Department of Earth & Environmental Engineering, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering & Applied Sciences at Columbia University.

Dr. Sen is a biochemical engineer by training and profession. He has been engaged in R&D in energy and the environment and healthcare. His team has been working on the process development and optimization for antitumor, broad-spectrum antimicrobial and biofilm-disrupting biosurfactants of marine bacterial origin; biosurfactant-enhanced remediation of heavy metals and polyaromatic hydrocarbons; biosurfactant-mediated MEOR and nano-particle synthesis; bioethanol from lignocellulosic biomass; biodiesel from microalgal lipid and non-conventional vegetable oils and algae based CO2 capture & sequestration (CCS) from flue gas coupled with waste water treatment.

The Outreach Lecturing Fund allows Fulbright Visiting Scholars who are currently in the United States to travel to other higher education institutions across the country.  Each year some 800 faculty and professionals from around the world receive Fulbright Scholar grants for advanced research and university lecturing.  The fund allows these scholars to share their specific research interests; speak on the history and culture of their home country; exchange ideas with U.S. students, faculty and community organizations; become better acquainted with U.S. higher education; and create linkages between their home and host institutions and the Council for International Exchange of Scholars.

The metallic biomaterials revolution will be televised and it’s going to be on tonight, actually, on UNC-TV

Screenshot of UNC-TV webpage with video

Watch it tonight on UNC-TV or why not watch it now by clicking the picture to go to the network’s website.

UNC-TV is offering viewers of “North Carolina Now” an inside look at the revolutionary developments being fomented in the Engineering Research Center for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials.  Next-generation implantable medical devices … bioresorbable magnesium alloys … A&T faculty and student researchers … great stuff.

The report will air tonight on the program, which is on at 7:30 on UNC-TV stations across the state.

But those of us who live in the 21st century and are no longer accustomed to waiting around for TV shows to come on can watch it now at the UNC-TV website.  Note: The video works just fine on most browsers (including Android, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari), but your results may vary on Firefox or the Lotus Notes Browser.

 

Clean-energy developer Adewuyi, other faculty honored with 2014 Research Excellence Awards

A nationally recognized pioneer in clean-energy development has been named Senior Researcher of the Year at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

Over a career of more than 25 years, Dr. Yusuf “Debo” Adewuyi has skillfully fused chemical engineering and environmental science to explore new dimensions of energy production, including the use of nanoscale materials and sound-wave technology for pollution control.

Dr. Adewuyi is one of five individual researchers and one research team selected this year for N.C. A&T’s highest research honor, the Research Excellence Awards. In addition to Dr. Adewuyi, the honorees are:

  • Dr. Justin Zhan, Department of Computer Science, Outstanding Junior Researcher;
  • Dr. Stephanie Kelly, Department of Business Education, and Dr. Lifeng Zhang, Department of Nanoengineering at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, co-winners of the Rookie of the Year award;
  • Dr. Salil Desai, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Intellectual Property Award; and
  • The NSF CREST Bioenergy Center, Interdisciplinary Team Award.

They were chosen from a field consisting of faculty members selected as researchers of the year by their colleges and schools. The winners and nominees will be honored Friday April 11 at the annual Celebration of Faculty Excellence.

Details on the winners follow the jump.

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Third annual Innovation Challenge brings out creative, high-tech thinking from undergraduates

Student Michael Baker and tech transfer director Louis Judge

Innovation Challenge winner Michael D. Baker III is congratulated by Louis Judge, N.C. A&T director of technology transfer.

Undergraduates come to college with a lot to learn, but many are already well prepared for one challenge: innovative thinking.

At N.C. A&T this year, the third annual Innovation Challenge produced ideas from 20 teams and individual undergraduates. A total of 43 students participated.

The panel of judges awarded first place to Michael D. Baker III, a junior from Raleigh, for a zero-emission, self-powered vehicle. The concept brings existing technologies together in a novel way to power a vehicle with no internal combustion engine. The first-place prize was an iPad.

Second place went to three sophomores – Mariyah Pressley from Newport News, Virginia; Maya Whitlow, from Germantown, Maryland; and Kendrea Young, from Houston, Texas – for “The SMART Bed,” a twin-, full-, queen-, or king-size bed that would include a variety of built-in systems for personal productivity and relaxation. Each second-place winner received a mini-projector.

Third place was awarded to Kevin Compton, a sophomore from Mebane, N.C., for “The Chameleon,” an electronic system that could render military vehicles virtually invisible. The third-place prize was $75.

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N.C. A&T social work researcher aids UN agency with study of unaccompanied child refugees

Cover of UN reort on unaccompanied child refugeesAmong the distressed peoples of the world, few groups are more vulnerable than refugees.  And among refugees, few are more vulnerable than children, especially children on their own, without families.

Since 2011, the United States has experienced a surge in the number of unaccompanied children coming from Central America’s Northern Triangle – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – and Mexico. In fiscal 2013, there were more than 40,000. More than 21,000 came from the three Central American countries, compared to 4,000 in 2011.

With the cooperation of the United States, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees set out to learn why. The result was a report, released this month, “Children on the Run: Unaccompanied Children Leaving Central America and Mexico and the Need for International Protection.”

“While recognizing a significant contextual difference between the situation in Mexico and in the Northern Triangle of Central America, the common denominator is that all four countries are producing high numbers of unaccompanied and separated children seeking protection at the southern border of the United States,” the report says.

“UNHCR’s research was to ascertain the connection between the children’s stated reasons, the findings of recent studies on the increasing violence and insecurity in the region, and international protection needs.”

The project was a daunting one. To get a statistically meaningful sample, hundreds of children needed to be interviewed. Then the data from the interviews needed to be analyzed.

For help with that analysis, the U.N. agency consulted with Dr. Maura Busch Nsonwu of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, an assistant professor of social work and interim director of the social work bachelor’s degree program in the Department of Sociology and Social Work.

Dr. Nsonwu has worked with the U.N.’s refugee agency on a number of projects over the past three years.  Her research focuses on refugees and human trafficking.  She had conducted qualitative studies, so she had the necessary expertise. But this study had two dimensions unlike anything she had encountered.

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Undergraduate Research Symposium, April 11

Flyer for 4/11/2014 Undergraduate Research Symposium

Click on the flyer for more information or to go to the registration page.

Academic units name 14 top researchers for 2014, first stage in Research Excellence Awards process

Fourteen top faculty members have been named researchers of the year by their colleges and schools at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. All are automatically nominated for the university’s top research honors, the annual Research Excellence Awards.

The honorees are a diverse group, representing 13 academic disciplines in seven colleges and schools, including the Department of Nanoengineering of the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering. The one department with multiple nominees this year is the Department of Computer Science.

In addition, one interdisciplinary project was nominated for the Research Team Award.

The Research Excellence Awards will be presented at a dinner on Friday April 11 in the Alumni-Foundation Event Center on campus.

This year’s nominees:

Senior Researcher of the Year

  • College of Arts & Sciences: Dr. Yuh-Lang Lin, Department of Physics
  • College of Engineering: Dr. Yusuf Adewuyi, Department of Chemical Engineering
  • School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences: Dr. Lijun Wang, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design
  • School of Business and Economics: Dr. Lemuria Carter, Department of Accounting
  • School of Education: Dr. Phoebe Butler-Ajibade, Department of Human Performance and Leisure Studies

Outstanding Junior Researcher Award

  • College of Engineering: Dr. Justin Zhan, Department of Computer Science
  • School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences: Dr. Jenora Waterman, Department of Animal Sciences
  • School of Education: Dr. Nichole Smith, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Rookie of the Year Award

  • College of Engineering: Dr. Kaushik Roy, Department of Computer Science
  • Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering: Dr. Lifeng Zhang, Department of Nanoengineering
  • School of Business and Economics: Dr. Stephanie Kelly, Department of Business Education
  • School of Technology: Dr. Mahour Mellat-Parast, Department of Applied Engineering Technology

Intellectual Property Award

  • College of Engineering: Dr. Salil Desai, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences: Dr. Shengmin Sang, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and the Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies

Research Team Award

  • Nominated by the College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Business and Economics: NSF CREST Bioenergy Center