Category Archives: STEM

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Speakers set for Spring Biology Seminar Series

Researchers from Carnegie-Mellon University, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and N.C. State University highlight the schedule for the Department of Biology’s spring seminars.

The series begins next week on Wednesday, January 30, with Dr. Teresa L. Leavens, Research Assistant Professor, North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, speaking on the development of physiologically based pharmacokinetic models for drug delivery toward specific diseases.

The weekly seminars are held on Wednesdays in Barnes Hall, Room 224, from noon to 1 p.m.

Click here for the full schedule.

3 gifts to get girls interested in engineering

GoldieBlox

GoldieBlox (photo from Co.EXIST.com)

Seasonal STEM-oriented advice from Fast Company’s Co-EXIST.com:

3 Gifts To Get Girls Interested In EngineeringIt’s never been easy being a female in the world of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Part of the problem is the dearth of females in these fields–a problem that begins early on in school when girls are discouraged from pursuing them. A crop of programs have popped up to change the ratio of girls in STEM, including Girls Who Code and SMU’s Engineering Camp For Girls. But why not give interested young girls a chance to explore the world of science and engineering at home–even if they’re not interested in K’NEX and Erector sets? (And yes, we know that plenty of girls are interested in those things). We’ve come up with a handful of gifts designed for the girl geek in your life.”

N.C. A&T Bioenergy Center awarded $5 million to make advanced biofuel production more affordable

An interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has launched a five-year, $5 million project to make the production of advanced biofuels more efficient and affordable.

The NSF CREST Bioenergy Center’s goal is to make biomass a more viable source of renewable energy by developing the basic science and technology that will make energy conversions more efficient and costs more affordable.

The center is conducting fundamental research toward the development of advanced thermochemical biomass conversion technology to produce liquid transportation fuels and hydrogen.

The project is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program.

The center’s research will specifically target the production of high quality synthesis gas from biomass gasification, nanocatalysts for the conversion of syngas to bioethanol, and the production of high purity hydrogen for fuel cell applications.

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3 diverse new research projects at N.C. A&T explore blood-brain barrier, risk management, wheat bran

Three new research projects at N.C. A&T aim to explore the weakening of the blood-brain barrier in  Alzheimer’s disease patients, to apply risk management to supply chain logistics, and to find a way to make dietary fiber taste better.

The projects are the first ones funded at A&T for each of the three principal investigators. All were funded in October.  They were among 29 new or continuing projects receiving external funding during the month, totaling more than $10 million.

The complete list of projects receiving external sponsored funding in October

The projects are (click the links for one-page summaries):

  • “Brain pericyte and amyloid-beta peptide interaction,” Dr. Donghui Zhu, Department of Bioengineering, $142,000, National Institutes of Health. One hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease is a compromised blood-brain barrier  characterized by significant reductions in critically important pericyte cells on the exterior walls of endothelia.  Our long-term goal is to determine the role of brain pericytes in the development of Alzheiner’s disease and to develop drugs to preserve pericytes functioning in Alzheimer’s patients.
  • “Understanding Risks and Disruptions in Supply Chains and their Effect on Firm and Supply Chain Performance,” Dr. Mahour Mellat-Parast, Department of Applied Engineering Technology, $200,000, National Science Foundation. This project provides the first comprehensive view of managing risks and disruptions within supply chains in different industries with respect to the stage and scope of the risk. As such, it facilitates the formation and establishment of an integrative discipline (risk engineering/risk management) utilizing engineering, technology, and management foundations.
  • “Modification of Wheat and Corn Brans by Microfluidization Process,” Dr. Guibing Chen, Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies, N.C. Research Campus, $299,000, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Numerous studies indicate that dietary fiber plays a protective role against obesity, but it’s difficult for anyone eating a typical Western diet to consumer adequate fiber.  Research is needed to improve sensory properties of high-fiber foods and to enhance the fiber ingredients’ nutritional value. We propose to modify physicochemical and nutritional properties of wheat and corn brans using a microfluidization process. This technique will significantly improve palatability and nutritional value.

Dean Coger on engaging women in STEM fields

Dean Robin Coger

Dean Robin Coger

In the November 2 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education, several scholars and experts are asked why more women aren’t entering STEM disciplines, especially engineering and computer science. Heading up the list: Dr. Robin Coger, dean of the N.C. A&T College of Engineering:

“I have observed that the decision to pursue a STEM major is based on two factors: (1) personal capabilities and preparedness to succeed; and (2) desire to pursue that discipline. I believe that success in attracting more women (or individuals from underrepresented demographic groups) into the STEM fields depends on how well our institutions address both those components.”

For Dean Coger’s full comments, click the link above. To read about N.C. A&T’s success in attracting female students to engineering, see the Fall 2011 edition of Evolution magazine.

5 major new research projects at N.C. A&T

An array of new research, education and community engagement projects at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University will result in new services for young victims of trauma, research on preventing colon cancer, and a new joint program in astronomy to be conducted with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  New programs in social computing and bioengineering are also under way.

Five  of the top new research projects funded recently at North Carolina A&T:

The complete list of projects receiving external sponsored funding in September

STEM: A naturally fascinating world for kids

University day at A&T: This little girl was fascinated by the visible electromagnetic spectrum

Saturday was University Day at A&T. From the Department of Physics page on Facebook, this future physicist was fascinated by the visible electromagnetic spectrum.

Undergrads: Research event next week highlights summer and graduate school opportunities

2012 MORE-STEM Fair Flier

Click for flyer.

A&T undergraduates with an interest in research will have a chance next week to explore summer opportunities and graduate schools and to practice their presentation skills.

The university’s research training programs are collaborating to host the first  MORE-STEM Fair (Maximizing Opportunities in REsearch promotes interest in Science Technology Engineering and Math Careers).

The event will be held Tuesday, October 2nd, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Barnes Hall auditorium.  It will highlight summer research program and graduate school opportunities, with these institutions represented:

  • Baylor University,
  • Duke University,
  • Emory University,
  • Johns Hopkins University,
  • National Institutes of Health
  • University of Maryland Baltimore County,
  • University of Massachusetts,
  • University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill,
  • University of North Texas,
  • Virginia Commonwealth University, and
  • Wake Forest University.

On Wednesday, October 3rd, students in the research training programs  will present their scientific posters from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Atrium of Barnes Hall.

A&T’s research training programs are the:

  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP Talent-21),
  • Integrative Biomathematical Learning Enhancement Network for Diversity (iBlend)
  • Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC),
  • N.C. Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (NC-LSAMP), and
  • Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE).

For further information, contact John Patterson, Department of Biology, 336 285-4000.

U.S. report on public research universities: ‘Diminishing Funding & Rising Expectations’

Cover of National Science Board report "Diminishing Funding and Rising Expectations"

Click image to see the entire report.

The National Science Board has taken a look at the future of U.S. public research universities, and the view is grim:

“In the 2012 edition of Science and Engineering Indicators (Indicators), the National Science Board (Board) reported a substantial decline over the last decade in per student state appropriations at the Nation’s major public research universities. This policy companion report to Indicators 2012Diminishing Funding and Rising Expectations: Trends and Challenges for Public Research Universities, highlights the importance of these universities to the local and national economies, rising public expectations for these institutions, and the challenges posed by recent trends in enrollment, revenue, and expenditures.

“In the wake of increasing enrollment and costs and declining per student state appropriations, the Board is concerned with the continued ability of public research universities to provide affordable, quality education and training to a broad range of students, conduct the basic science and engineering research that leads to innovations, and perform their public service missions.”

The National Science Board is the governing board for the National Science Foundation.

The full report is here.