Category Archives: Faculty

A&T and UNC-CH researchers launch investigation into triple-negative breast cancer’s link to viral RNA

Researchers at N.C. A&T and UNC-Chapel Hill have been awarded a grant to investigate a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer. The team will work to determine the role of viral factors in the virulent nature of triple-negative breast cancer.

Triple-negative breast cancer represents 15% to 20% of breast carcinomas. It is prevalent in younger women, African American women, and in women with BRCA1 gene mutations. This type of cancer is very aggressive, has a poor prognosis, fails to respond to conventional therapy, and appears in many forms. The causes and molecular basis of this cancer are currently unknown, though multiple factors, including viruses, may be involved.

Specifically, this pilot study will investigate the prevalence of three particular types of viral genetic material in triple negative breast tumors and determine what role these passenger virus genetic materials play in the cancer’s malignant properties and survival.

The study will be led by Dr. Perpetua Muganda, professor of biology at N.C. A&T. The team will include Dr. Scott Harrison, assistant professor of biology at A&T; Dr. Dukka KC, assistant professor of computational science and engineering at A&T; and Dr. Jan Prins, professor of computer science at UNC-CH.

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Work on space ‘ice,’ inter-satellite communication wins Space Grant honors for two A&T researchers

Two new North Carolina A&T engineering professors have been honored by the North Carolina Space Grant program. Dr. Trisha Sain has been awarded the 2014-15 North Carolina Space Grant Award, and Dr. Fatemeh Afghah has received the N.C. Space Grant New Investigator Award.

headshot of Dr. Sain

Dr. Trisha Sain

Dr. Sain is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering. Her award will fund a research project titled, “Numerical modeling of constitutive behavior of ice at high strain rates.”  The study will focus on the development of a constitutive model for capturing high-rate response of “ice,” potential harmful debris that can damage aircraft and space structures.

Her research focuses on integrated computational materials engineering, including characterization of novel nanocomposite hydrogels, constitutive modeling of polymer nano-composite, computational modeling of curing kinetics and curing induced damage in thermosets under large deformation, mesoscale simulations of TiN thin film growth and 3D TiN nanostructures, and biomimetic material design.

She joined A&T last September. She had been a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Michigan, Department of Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering.

head shot of Dr. Afghah

Dr. Fatemeh Afghah

Dr. Afghah is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering,  She won the new investigator award for her research in inter-satellite communications in autonomous small satellite networks.

She is the director of Wireless Networking (WiNet) Laboratory in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Her research focuses on wireless communications, dynamic spectrum sharing, game theory optimization, and biomedical data analysis.

Dr. Afghah also came to A&T last fall. she received her Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Maine in 2013.

The New Investigators Program is designed to strengthen North Carolina’s aerospace-related research infrastructure by providing start-up funding to early-career faculty conducting research aligned with NASA’s strategic research.

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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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

Two next-generation N.C. A&T stars honored

Mr. Judge and Dr. Graham, two outstanding young professionals

Louis Judge III (left) and Anthony Graham, N.C. A&T’s two winners of the 2014 40 Leaders Under 40 Award

An advocate for young black men and an advocate for entrepreneurs are two young professionals at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University who have been recognized among the 2014 “40 Leaders Under 40” in the Piedmont Triad by The Business Journal.

Dr. Anthony Graham, chairman of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and Mr. Louis Judge III, the university’s director of technology transfer, received their awards February 20.

Details on both follow the jump.

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A&T Research Excellence Award nominations open

Group photo: the 2013 winners

The 2013 Research Excellence Award winners: (top row, left to right) Dr. Justin Zhan, Dr. Paula Faulkner, Dr. Osei-Agyeman Yeboah, Dr. Lifeng Zhang, and (front row, left to right) Dr. Inez Tuck, Dr. Kelly Graves, Dr. Rosalyn Lang-Walker, and Dr. Schenita Davis Randolph.

North Carolina A&T’s most outstanding researchers are recognized each April with the Research Excellence Awards.  For 2014 there again are five categories:

  • Senior Research of the Year: Recognizing outstanding research and/or creative activity by tenured faculty members who have been at the university at least three years.
  • Outstanding Junior Researcher of the Year: Honoring tenure-track faculty members in at least their third year of service at A&T and who are currently involved in research and show promise of making a significant contribution to their field.
  • Rookie of the Year: Recognizing the work of a tenure-track faculty member in his or her second year of service at N.C. A&T.
  • Intellectual Property Award: Recognizing researchers’ work to disseminate, commercialize or publish intellectual property created in the course of their research or creative activity.
  • Interdisciplinary Team Award: Honoring research projects that break down the traditional boundaries of academic disciplines.

Deadlines and key dates:

  • Departments must submit all nominees to to colleges and schools by close of business Monday February 24, 2014.
  • Colleges and schools must submit all of their nominees to the Division of Research and Economic Development by close of business Monday March 3.
  • Winners will be announced Tuesday, April 1.
  • Winners will be recognized at the Research Excellence Awards dinner  on Friday April 11.

Click here for details, including eligibility, guidelines, and nomination forms.

The new relationship between editors, freelancers: unexplored territory for A&T journalism researchers

As newspapers depend more on freelance journalists to produce content for print and online publications, a study by two North Carolina A&T researchers examines the pros and cons of the newspaper editor and freelance journalist relationship in the digital age.

The study was conducted by Kim Smith, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, and Emily Harris, M.A.J., a lecturer in the department and advisor to the award-winning A&T Register student newspaper. The researchers found no studies in the literature focusing on the editor/freelance journalist relationship in the digital age.

Such a study is important because of the dramatic changes taking place in the newspaper business. More newspapers are downsizing their full-time news staffs as print readership and ad revenues decrease, while online readership and ad revenue increase. Unable to hire full-time reporters to provide content for print and 24-hour online publications, some newspapers are forced to hire freelance (part-time) journalists, who get paid by story and receive no benefits.

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