FY17 Submitted Proposals

The United States is a science superpower, but we do a poor job of educating our diplomatic corps about science. Opportunities to use science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine (STEMM) to create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community are missed because of this lack of cross-training. Creating a science diplomacy, case-study database from which first principles can be extrapolated is a necessary step in solving the challenge of embedding a culture of science and technology throughout the United States Department of State. Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Medicine (STEMM) are well defined fields that have yet to be integrated with the practice of Diplomacy.

The PI’s idea is to develop strategies to functionalize both silicate and boro-silicate-based bioactive glasses with BPs and study their effect as stimulants for bone growth. Bioactive glass scaffolds with BP stimulant can be a game changer since it will combine the beneficial effects of BPs in enhancing gap filling and osteoconduction with the bio-compatibility of the bioactive glasses.  

The objective of this proposal is to develop a novel technique, based on DNA “bottom-up” self-assembly, to engineer a smart drug delivery carrier for cancer chemotherapy. In particular, we will investigate the size and shape dependency of DNA nanostructures to improve the drug delivery efficiency, and reveal the mechanism of cellular uptake of this new type of DNA vesicles.

We explore an entrepreneurial feasibility of a miniature greenhouse platform that can conduct high-throughput screening of corn seed varieties that exhibit strong root penetrating force into rooting medium (e.g. soils) to develop high-yield crops. Current practice in the crop biotech sectors largely relies on the potting germination setup. With this traditional setting inherently requiring a long evaluation process, mechanical stress cannot be discerned from water stress since water content inevitably affects soil compaction. We develop a tabletop-size device to house an array of corn seedlings based on inexpensive 3-D printing and helical springs to impose mechanical stress against the roots without water stress. Since seedlings are especially vulnerable to environmental stress, early vigorous growth is a critical target for crop selection. A prototype is expected to be a niche biotech product for rapid initial screening (~100 seeds/day) toward high-yield crop breeding.

The idea is initiating an innovative learning center in the Missouri S&T campus that is equipped with various portable digital devices that can be used by students and faculty for digital oriented learning activities. Such a learning center fosters an innovative and productive environment for faculty and students by incorporating interactive eBooks and educational apps into classrooms. This enables faculty to modify conventional methods of teaching to enhance student learning and retention while also increasing their productivity. Educators can take advantage of interactive features offered by apps to engage students in class activities. The proposed center can be considered as a bookless library in which physical books are replaced with eBooks. Students can check out tablets for studying and focused practice in and out of class. The proposed center can enable educators to provide students with the skills that students need to thrive in today’s (and tomorrow’s) world.    

We propose to build a computerized learning system for upper level high school and college students using formal concept analysis and machine learning. The online learning system will use the newest advances in augmented and virtual reality to immerse a distance learner in a virtual classroom where he/she will be able to learn as if he/she were on campus. The online learning system will take a page full of calculations that a student would normally write to solve a problem, and parse it. The online learning system will point out exactly where a student has made an error and direct them from there on. The online learning system will use a student's peers' understanding in aid of their own understanding. We are different from Pearson Labs, Wiley Plus, Blackboard, and Canvas because instead of a binary (correct or incorrect) response to an answer we can help the student get back on the right track and receive more partial credit. No other system uses augmented and virtual reality.

The objective of this application is to develop a new kind of biodegradable passive RFID chips utilizing bioactive glass materials and seek their commercial possibility. Bioactive glasses are a class of materials that react when in contact with aqueous media. This glass is used as the main structural material for the requisite device proposed.

We are requesting funds to sponsor a preliminary trip to Martinique for two full-time Residential Life staff members in January 2017. We are collaborating with Dr. Audra Merfeld-Langston, Interim Chair for Arts, Languages, and Philosophy & Associate Professor of French, to create a three credit hour Global Village course. This course will expand the faculty-led study abroad program on campus by offering a course focused on global experiences that culminates in a study abroad trip to Martinique in January of 2018.

This course is unique and innovative in that it is being developed as a part of two Residential Life learning communities. Students who reside in the Global Connections & Entrepreneurial learning communities will be invited to enroll in this course and participate in the trip to Martinique. We will maximize our collective expertise as educators to develop curriculum that engages students inside and outside of the classroom.    

We will Integrate facilities and create protocols for in vivo mice studies of radioactive nanomaterials for cancer treatment at Missouri S&T. We will also demonstrate the integration. The facilities to be integrated are a newly created mouse colony (Biology Department), radioactive nanoparticle production (Missouri S&T Nuclear Research Reactor, MSTR), and detection and visualization of radiochemicals in mice (Nuclear Engineering). The new integrated facilities will provide the capability to test radionuclides (and combination radionuclides) made in-house for cancer treatment. The new facility provides us with a strategic advantage that we will use to submit proposals for exploratory new treatments to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in collaboration with Washington University. The treatments may include radioactive multicomponent nanoparticles (acute and chronic exposure), capture therapy with boron nanoparticles, and biological pathways of functionalized nanostructures.

The aim of this project is to fabricate effective and robust adsorbent monoliths for use in gas separation processes by using 3D printing technique. With numerous advantages offered by 3D printing, we believe this technique could be utilized to fabricate novel monolithic adsorbents with controllable channel size, wall thickness and cross-sectional shapes. Most importantly, the mechanical strength of the 3D-printed adsorbents is expected to be higher than that of conventional beads or pellets. We recently fabricated zeolite monoliths and tested their adsorptive performance for removing carbon dioxide from indoor environments. The positive feedback that we received from the reviewers was very encouraging confirming the innovative approach taken for addressing the scalability issue of adsorbents. This work could provide the foundation for 3D printing of other efficient solid adsorbents like MOFs, graphene, etc.

We propose to demonstrate the scalability and robust operation of polymer-based asymmetric hollow fiber catalytic membranes for in-situ reaction and separation in continuous-flow platform for chemical transformation and high swelling resistance. The specific objectives of this study are to: (1) create and engineer the free-standing and highly porous asymmetric polyamide imide hollow fibers (PAIHFs) support; (2) create poly-dimethylsiloxane-graphene nanosheets (PDMS-GS) membrane thin layer on PAIHF support and then permanently immobilize two classes of catalysts (i.e, organocatalysis and PdNP’s) through a postsynthesis method that protect porous morphology of the support; (3) assess the effectiveness of the immobilized catalysts on AHFCM system using two model reactions. The proposed research will tackle the challenge of creating and developing CMs that would be suitable for continuous chemical transformations.   

The team has designed a portable, handheld, lab-grade DC power supply, aimed at electronics technicians, engineers, and general hobbyists, including many Missouri S&T Students.  Using high energy-density, high-power lithium batteries, our system can provide regulated DC power to an external device without tying the user to a wall outlet. While battery powered, the system has similar output capabilities to the majority of low to medium end lab power supplies. The power supply is digitally controlled and programmable, which gives it enormous potential for controllability and expandability via software which is a feature only found on high-end devices.

The charity arcade system is based off the one utilized at Stockholm Arlanda Airport and Göteborg Landvetter Airport. Like its predecessors the system will hosts a number of games that individuals can pick from and spend their pocket change on. The money can then be donated to a charity of anyone's of a committee's choosing and allows for both funds and awareness support to charities. However, this design is superior to both its predecessors because it will be of the cocktail variety and allows for more than 1 person (4 in my designs) to play therefore allowing more money to be donated. Truly this idea's best ability is to capture the culture of our community while strengthening the ties with our communities by allowing students to enjoy/relax by playing video games and aiding the community all at once.

The idea is to make clean energy through the use of the gym where humans would use bike generators (replacing the old bikes and treadmills) to produce electricity for the building/other appliances. Along with solar power, and wind power, human power should be taken advantage of for a better and cleaner Earth. 

Robotics are becoming more and more prevalent in today's world. In order for Institutions to keep up and contribute to this vast field of robotics it is crucial that robotics as a field becomes more accessible to the average person. Most robotic systems require more than one degree of freedom, often the ones implementing these systems fail to implement or develop a cost effective solution to the system they are trying create. Currently, there is no such device as a “two axis servo”. The DIVO (Differential Servo) joint is a simple two axis servo that radically reduces the complexity required to make any type of robotic system. DIVO simply makes it easy to create complex mechanical motion systems (Robotic arms, robotic snakes, multi jointed systems, general robotics applications).    

The idea is to develop low-cost, small-scale "personal mini-labs", to meet the demand for, highly effective experiential learning opportunities to supplement existing lecture courses in mechanical and aerospace engineering, first, and other disciplines later.  These mini-labs would be based primarily on open source hardware and software, and would allow students to learn on their own time without the need for brick and mortar laboratory facilities.

We would like to fund the construction of two motors for the 2017 Missouri S&T Solar Car. Specifically, we need funds to purchase magnets, stator winding, and bearings. Instead of simply purchasing electric motors, as most teams do, we are designing and manufacturing motors custom tailored to the specific needs of our car in preparation for the upcoming 2017 World Solar Challenge in Australia. A purchased motor typically costs around $12000, but by manufacturing our own we can cut costs in half. The largest revision to the motor will be the magnet arrangement, which will allow the motors to be thinner as well as capable of producing more torque.

My project would be finding a new drug substitute for methamphetamine to help those recovering from drug addictions in both adults and new born infants. I work with the PCRMC hospital in the nursery with babies who are born with drug dependences. For babies born with opiate addictions morphine is the appropriate substitute, however with methamphetamine there is no good substitute, and the closest one can be just as addictive. Since this is a widely growing epidemic, the hospitals are using morphine just to mask the pain of the withdrawal symptoms. These babies need less harmful treatment plans to help solve their dependencies. Methamphetamine has a basic structure that resembles naturally occurring amino acids. My goal is to find a synthesis of naturally occurring amino acids to give a healthier option for babies and even for adults and mothers suffering from addiction. If we can help the mothers find a medicine that won't affect the unborn child, babies can avoid dependencies.

Miner Multi-Media wants to bring virtual reality videos to the average student at Missouri S&T and to the rest of the world. Virtual reality is traditionally defined as using interactive software and body-mounted hardware to simulate a user’s physical presence in an immersive environment. We are looking for funding for equipment that will allow us to create and distribute virtual reality content for the consumption of students, faculty, staff, and prospective Miners alike. This includes a 360 camera with accessories, viewers, and computer hardware and software for creating VR content. We believe that our idea is innovative as no other service on campus comes close to providing this kind of content to Missouri S&T. Virtual reality technology is becoming increasingly more widespread and accessible and we believe that Missouri S&T should get ahead of the trend.

Waste management has been identified as an ongoing concern for livestock farms. It is common for waste management is to remove and stockpile the waste away from the areas occupied by animals. These stockpiles are known to leach nitrogen (N) and other potentially harmful elements into the local ground, and in the end, groundwater. Innovative use of biochar has been proven to reduce N loss from animal waste, enhance N mineralization in soils, improve and sustain soil quality and fertility, while increasing crop growth in certain areas. Biochar is the product of pyrolysis of a biomass feedstock at elevated temperatures in the absence of oxygen. Small farmers need alternatives to the “stockpile” system that can be accomplished with minimal change to farming tasks. A reactor can turn farm waste into biochar for the soil enhancement, odor and leachate control, and a saleable product. Feed for the reactor will be local livestock (horse, alpaca, and cow) manures and other bio-waste.

We explore an entrepreneurial feasibility of a miniature greenhouse platform that can conduct high-throughput screening of corn seed varieties that exhibit strong root penetrating force into rooting medium (e.g. soils) to develop high-yield crops. Current practice in the crop biotech sectors largely relies on the potting germination setup. With this traditional setting inherently requiring a long evaluation process, mechanical stress cannot be discerned from water stress since water content inevitably affects soil compaction. We develop a tabletop-size device to house an array of corn seedlings based on inexpensive 3-D printing and helical springs to impose mechanical stress against the roots without water stress. Since seedlings are especially vulnerable to environmental stress, early vigorous growth is a critical target for crop selection. A prototype is expected to be a niche biotech product for rapid initial screening (~100 seeds/day) toward high-yield crop breeding.

Our previous developments in smart chair and wearable design were supported by Spring’16 MST Innovation Grant, that led to: published research papers; awarded NSF STTR Phase-I project with Missouri S&T is subawardee; and ongoing two patent applications. Now this new project aims to design improved version of our smart chair and the smart multi-modal sensing wearable device. We are particularly aiming to apply them into two novel applications (with real-world impact, research novelty, and commercialization feasibility): (i) slow breathing training based sedentary people stress management with our smart chair solution; (ii) US Army new recruit performance enhancement in rifle marksmanship training with our smart wearable solution. The innovation in technology are in multi-modal sensing and novel data analytics with Machine Learning. The innovation in application are novelty and effectiveness of our solution, and lack of similar existing solutions in these two application directions.

A multifunctional catalyst ink and 3D printed porous scaffolds based on transition metal chalcogenides will be developed for applications in catalytic water splitting to generate oxygen and hydrogen fuel, as well as non-enzymatic glucose sensing. The innovation is two-folds: there is materials innovation which will lead to discovery of high-efficiency catalysts, and there is technological innovation that will probe developing of a processable catalyst ink that is compatible with roll-to-roll deposition, and can be modified to create 3D printed catalyst monolith. Specifically, the catalyst ink will be formulated by mixing selenides and tellurides of the 1st row transition elements, namely NixSey, CoxSey, MnxSey, NixCoySen, CoxFeySen, NixTey, CoxTey, NixMnySen with various carbonaceous matrix including activated carbon, and reduced graphene oxide (rGO), along with sodium carboxymethylcellulose, Triton® X100 surfactant, and acrylonitrilebutadiene based hydrophilic polymeric binder.

The PI’s idea is to develop strategies to functionalize both silicate and boro-silicate-based bioactive glasses with BPs and study their effect as stimulants for bone growth. Bioactive glass scaffolds with BP stimulant can be a game changer since it will combine the beneficial effect of BPs in enhancing gap filling and osteoconduction with the bio-compatibility of the bioactive glasses.

We plan to design, fabricate, statically test, and launch a small scale, cost effective liquid propellant rocket. Once we have accomplished this, we intend to scale up the size, make any necessary design alterations, and launch a larger vehicle. While liquid rockets have certainly been utilized throughout history, this would be a first for Missouri University of Science and Technology. In fact, there are currently only five universities nationwide that have design teams working with liquid propellant rockets; this project would make Missouri S&T’s undergraduate aerospace engineering program a member of an elite group. Furthermore, our research is in an area that isn’t commonly pursued due to the size of the initial rocket; there are aspects of liquid rocket design that are complicated by smaller dimensions. We will be forced to come up with uniquely creative solutions to some of the difficulties encountered in all stages of the rockets’ development.