2010 Research Poster Submissions
"Abnormality Detection in Medical Images;
Whitney Levine & Eric Wasserman
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Computed Tomography (CT) are medical imaging techniques which display functional processes (PET) and anatomical structures (CT) of the body. We developed a 3-D medical image viewer which combines the principles behind these two medical imaging modalities and applies image processing techniques to detect abnormalities in the images. Images are loaded into the viewer and using MATLAB Image processing Toolbox specifications and defined algorithms, we create a fine trace or outline of hotspots selected by a user. We identify and delineate the boundaries of tumors in PET/CT images in hopes of quantifying tumor size and changes over time. This fosters more accurate diagnoses and better targeted treatment for patients. We have also created a system whereby any new patient can be aligned to a generic bone structure coordinate system and abnormal hotspots can be identified which may be tumors. We defined one generic anatomical coordinate system using training data of various patient bone structures and then created a mapping of anticipated locations of expected organs and body parts in relation to the bone structure (an organ atlas). This generic mapping is overlaid on a new patient to easily identify unexpected areas in the image.
There is an assumption of some background medical knowledge in order to be able to use this interface with a level of both precision and application. Our results are the culmination of many stages of development, and all current aspects work to our specifications.
"Behavior of Nanosilica Filled Epoxies"
Epoxy resins filled with silica are used in a wide array of applications. When used in microelectronic packaging, chiefly as an underfill encaplsulant, it is critical that such epoxy resins possess low viscosity as well as high fracture toughness. Traditionally, micron-size silica fillers are used but there is much interest in the use of nanometer size fillers as the feature size on silicon chips decreases.
In this study, the rheological behavior of an epoxy resin containing nanosilica fillers was characterized in steady state shear using a Rheometerics ARES rheometer equipped with a Couette fixture. Two types of nanosilica particles were examined as potential fillers(22nm and 168nm in diameter) as well as mixtures of both. Interestingly, the unimodal formulations exhibited reduced viscosities larger than those predicted from Einstein's equation, thus suggesting significant interactions between particles. Note that shear rate studies did not reveal the presence of a yield stress nor structure formation. Bimodal mixtures of nanosilica were also explored as a possible means to reduce the viscosity for a given nanosilica content. Initial results look promising even though the nanosilica content is lower than what is traditionally used in these systems.
"Characterization of Adsorption Processes in High-Temperature CO2 Sorbents"
Michael DiRosato & Daniel Faro & Casey Parker
The proposed work aims to develop novel membrane technology for efficient, high selective high-temperature carbon dioxide and simultaneous carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide capture. Realization of high-performance membranes for such applications is widely recognized as a potentially revolutionary technology for continuous carbon capture. The research focuses on two materials: sodium oxide promoted alumina and silicalite-1. The main objectives involve synthesizing and characterizing the materials. Membranes will then be modeled, synthesized, and characterized. Success of this program should lead to novel practical and fundamental insight and, potentially, the establishment of a new paradigm for membrane based carbon sequestration.
"Directed Differentiation of Oligodendrocyte Precursor Cells Using Rationally Designed Solid State Peptide Materials"
Oligodendrocytes are neuroglial cells whose function is to support and myelinate axons in the CNS. Oligodendrocytes have been found to arise from oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) during late embryogenesis and early post natal development. A single oligodendrocyte can myelinate as many as 40 or more different axons, wrapping the axon with between 20 and 200 layers of highly modified membrane processes1. The differentiation of OPCs into myelin-synthesizing oligodendrocytes is not well understood, and research suggests that cues for differentiation involve mechanical and chemical signaling from astrocytes and neurons. Many proteins are known to be involved in the migration, proliferation, survival, and differentiation of oligodendrocyte precursors, but their specific roles are not well defined or understood. A better understanding of the mechanism through which these proteins affect the differentiation of OPCs will allow us to more effectively differentiate OPCs to oligodendrocytes, allowing us to better assess the potential for using OPCs as a neurological therapy. The cells used in this study are CG4s, a bipotential glial cell line capable of differentiating into oligodendrocytes2. Various peptide materials are being used to enhance differentiation of CG4 OPCs into mature oligodendrocytes with myelinating capabilities as well as to support mature oligodendrocytes in culture for further study.
"Evaluation of Transverse Reinforcement Requirements for Reinforced Concrete Bridge Piers in Seismic Regions"
A review of Pennsylvania Department of Transportation seismic requirements contained in Design Manual Part 4 (DM4) for bridge columns and piers was conducted to assess if changes were needed to represent the current state of practice. AASHTO LRFD 4th Ed., ACI 318-08, ATC 49, recommendations from other state departments of transportation, and published research were examined. Upon reviewing the literature, several recommendations were made. Cross-ties should be removed from columns with circular hoop or spiral transverse reinforcement. Maximum vertical spacing of transverse reinforcement in the plastic hinge region shall be decreased to 4 in. The maximum lateral spacing should remain unchanged at 14 in. for square or rectangular transverse reinforced plastic hinges. However, additional testing should be conducted to assess if lateral spacing of cross ties in the plastic hinge can exceed 14 in. without diminishing strength. Also, additional testing should be conducted to verify if vertical spacing of ties in pier walls can be reduced outside the plastic hinge length. The use of square and rectangular ties should be limited to wall type piers. For columns with a cross-section aspect ratio of 2.0 or less, square or rectangular ties should be strongly discouraged. Instead interlocking or single spiral transverse reinforcement should be used. This has been shown to enhance performance, reduce manufacturing material and labor cost, and reduce construction time while maintaining architectural requirements. Spiral reinforcement is the current standard used by many state DOTs.
"Extraction of Hydrocarbons From Clayey Formations By Direct Electric Current"
Kristen Falotico & Alla Miroshnik
Petroleum hydrocarbons that reside in geological formations is a major energy source for the United States. As accessible petroleum supplies deplete, it becomes increasingly essential to develop methods to efficiently extract less accessible oil. Oil that resides in the pore space of some less porous clayey formations can be difficult to extract. By imposing an electric field throughout the oil-bearing formation, three processes can be triggered which ultimately facilitate the transport of the oil to strategically located target wells. The three electrokinetic processes are electroosmosis, electromigration and electrophoresis. Electroosmosis is the movement of water against a charged surface in an electric field (i.e., from the anode to the cathode). The second process, electromigration, accounts for the general movement of ions in a dielectric under an electric field. Finally, electrophoresis is the movement of charged particles or colloids in a dielectric under an electric field. The process of electrophoresis explains the transport of the oil when adsorbed on the surface charged colloid particles. The efficiency of all of these processes is highly dependent on the conductivity of the pore fluid, the viscosity of the oil, and the mineral composition of the porous formation. The objective of this study is to first determine the viability and then the optimum conditions for extracting oil from clayey formations using direct electric current by varying these three parameters.
"Land Yacht Speed Record Project - Tire Research"
Edward Stilson & Luke Yoder
The initial overview of the project revealed that the tire's lift over drag ratio was crucial to the yacht's top speed due to the tire being responsible to counter the wing's massive side force. Consequently, team members spent the entire year of 2008 designing and fabricating a tire-testing rig designed to be towed behind a car's ball hitch. The rig was a equipped with a set of strain gages to measure the drag the tires were producing along with a potentiometer to measure the lateral side load of the tires. The later being made possible through the left wheel assembly having one degree of dynamic freedom perpendicular to the drag vector. This apparatus was then shipped to Lake Ivanpah, Nevada in 2009 for a weeklong research trip. Throughout the week of testing on the dry lakebed, team members tested the effects of different tire pressures, camber settings, and toe-in angles to simulate the conditions a land yacht would foresee.
This research is vital in the creation of a full scale land yacht, and gave team members a firm understanding of the effects tires have on the craft.
"Robust Power Generation Planning Under Demand Uncertainty"
Phoebe Zhimei Lai
An electric company faces the problem of generating power supply at minimum cost in presence of demand uncertainty. Insufficient capacity can lead to blackouts, while over-capacity increases costs. Traditional methods rely on a probabilistic description of uncertainty, which suffers from tractability issues. We present a robust optimization approach to the power generation problem, where we model the random demand at each time period as an uncertain parameter belonging to a known range. We further add budget-of-uncertainty constraints, which limit the maximum scaled deviation of the aggregate demands to a parameter (the budget of uncertainty) selected by the decision-maker, up to the current time period. This allows the company to adjust for its level of risk aversion. Our objective is to minimize the worst-case production cost.
Our research makes two important contributions to the literature. (i) From a modeling standpoint, robust optimization has previously shown poor performance for the type of problems we are considering because of the problem structure. We enforce problem constraints for the nominal demand and add aggregate demand constraints for which we apply the robust optimization approach. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time this approach has been suggested. (ii) From an implementation perspective, our results indicate that the width of the range forecast can be chosen to capture the shape of the demand distribution. Numerical experiments show that our robust optimization approach reduces expected cost while protecting the system against demand uncertainty.
Michael DiRosato is a chemical engineering senior at Lehigh University, originally from Norristown, PA. Michael has previously interned twice with ExxonMobil and has worked on several research projects within the Chemical Engineering department. Upon graduation, Michael will begin working full time for ExxonMobil in the Baton Rouge, LA complex. Michael also enjoys running, golfing, and playing soccer.
Kristen Falotico is a junior pursuing a dual degree in environmental and chemical engineering at Lehigh University. She is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success as well as Phi Eta Sigma, a national honorary society. Kristen was also nominated to represent the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science as a Rossin Junior Fellow. In 2009, she worked as an intern for Church & Dwight Co., Inc. in the Environmental & Safety Operations and Corporate Engineering Department. Here, she gained experience as an environmental engineer, performing a carbon footprint analysis on two of the company's plants, and also worked in the lab to explore chemical engineering.
Daniel Faro is a Senior Chemical Engineering student from Haddonfield, NJ and will soon be entering Lehigh University Masters program for environmental engineering. He is an avid musician who has studied multiple instruments since childhood, during which his interest in the sciences developed. In addition, some further hobbies include Frisbee, film, and French, which he has pursued into college. Daniel's scientific experiences include working at Temple University's Center for Neurovirology and in its Mechanical engineering Department.
Materials Science and Engineering
Adam Kohn, from Emerson, New Jersey, is a Junior Materials Science and Engineering major at Lehigh University with a minor in Japanese. For the past two years, he has conducted research in Lehigh's Center for Polymers Science and Engineering. His primary research focused on analyzing the influence of tri-block co-polymers on viscous properties of resin materials. This project resulted in a personal research project for the past two semesters on the rheological behavior of resin materials. After graduating from Lehigh, Adam intends to attend grad school for either Materials Engineering or Polymers Engineering. In addition to lab work, Adam is also a Gryphon in a sophomore residence hall, President of the Residence Hall Association, Secretary of the Student Materials Society, and a member of the Council of Student Presidents. He likes to spend his free time running on the many hills that Lehigh has to offer!
Lai, Phoebe Zhimei
Industrial and Systems Engineering
Phoebe is a senior majoring in Information and Systems Engineering. She interned at UBS Financial Services in the summer of 2009 and is a member of the Tau Beta Pi honors society. Her research is funded by a Research Experience for Undergraduates grant from the National Science Foundation. Phoebe will begin doctoral studies in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at the University of California, Berkeley on a Chancellor's Fellowship in the fall of 2010.
Computer Science and Engineering
Whitney Levine is a senior at Lehigh studying Computer Science Engineering.; Whitney has been very involved on campus with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the Varsity Rowing team and has served as a leader for both. Whitney was elected President of SWE as a junior and senior and helped to organize the club's CHOICES (Charting Horizons and Opportunities in Careers in Engineering and Science) program which encourages an interest in engineering and science among middle school girls. As a varsity student-athlete, she selected as a captain her senior year and was asked to participate in the Leadership Legacies program to help encourage a championship athletic experience on the Rowing team. Whitney's experience last summer as an intern in the technology division at Goldman Sachs allowed her to apply the many skills she has learned at Lehigh with real-world practices and she looks forward to returning there after graduation.
Alla Miroshnik is senior graduating with a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University. She is a member of Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority and served on the Panhellenic Council as the Campus Relations Chair. Alla completed a co-op with Hensel Phelps Construction Co. learning about the applications of her academic coursework to the field. She spent last spring traveling in China and studying at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. This fall, Alla will begin the M.S. Geotechnical Engineering program at Lehigh University.
Carolyn is a senior in the pharmaceutical track of the bioengineering program at Lehigh. She has worked in Dr. Jedlicka's lab for 2 years and hopes to publish some of her findings before she graduates in May. Carolyn will continue her education and the University of Minnesota next year, where she plans to pursue a PhD in Biomedical Engineering.
Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics
Edward Stilson is currently a junior at Lehigh University, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. During Edward's high school education in Minnesota he designed, fabricated, and drove two super-mileage cars to compete in a state held competition. His first, the competition's first hydraulic hybrid inspired him to build a second car his senior year obtaining a record of 999.2 miles per gallons. Following his passion for automobiles Edward has spend the last two years working for a Grand-Am Rolex series factory Pontiac race team who succeeded in winning the 2008 drivers/manufactures/team championships. During his freshman year Edward helped initiate Lehigh's Land Yacht project with the goal of breaking the 126.2mph land speed record for a wind powered craft in 2011.
Jordan Warncke is currently in his fourth year studying Civil Engineering and Architecture at Lehigh University. He spent the past two summers working as a Research Assistant for Dr. Clay Naito (Ph. D., P.E.) at the ATLSS Engineering Research Center at Lehigh University. While working for Dr. Naito, Jordan has worked on a variety of projects in the field of Structural Engineering dealing with bridge failures, seismic design of reinforced concrete columns, and crumb rubber concrete. These projects have lead to great experience that extends to the classroom. As a result of academic success, Jordan has been invited to join Chi Epsilon, the national civil engineering honor society, and will be inducted this April. Outside of the classroom, Jordan is a starting pitcher for the Lehigh Baseball team.
Computer Science and Engineering
Eric Wasserman is a senior at Lehigh University graduating in May 2010 with a B.S. in Computer Science and a minor in Design Arts. He is originally from Roslyn Heights, New York, and will be working in Manhattan at Morgan Stanley post graduation. He is also a working close-up walk around magician, working various parties and corporate events to entertain guests and amaze audiences. Some of his other interests include computational solutions to difficult problems, digital animation, music, weightlifting, physically demanding sports, and social interactions. Prior to Eric's first semester senior year, he had no experience working with or exploring medical images. However, finding new ways to facilitate detection of tumors through the use of computer science techniques is very interesting to him and he hopes to be able to publish in the near future.
Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics
Luke Yoder is currently pursuing a mechanical engineering degree in the Lehigh University class of 2011. Born in Tokyo, Japan, Yoder developed a passion for mechanical design throughout childhood as avid tinkerer and hobbyist, going on to compete in national robotic competitions such as Battlebots with self designed and built robots. He has worked as a machinist and a junior mechanical engineer at Production Robotics in San Leandro, California and in college he is deeply involved in the Lehigh University Men's Rugby Club as well as the Land Yacht Speed Record Project.