Spotlights

Lauren McGraw

OU Major: 
Geology
Research Mentor: 
Dr. Megan Elwood Madden
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project:

Traditional methods of quantitative analysis are often ill-suited to determining the bulk chemistry of high salinity brines due to their corrosive and clogging properties. Such methods are also often difficult to apply remotely in planetary environments. However, Raman spectroscopy can be used remotely without physical contact with the fluid and is not affected by many ionic brines. Developing methods to study aqueous solutes is vital to future study of brines on Mars and other planetary bodies, as they can reveal important information about modern and ancient near-surface aqueous processes. Both sodium carbonate standards and unknown samples from carbonate mineral dissolution experiments in high salinity brines were analyzed using a 532 nm laser coupled to an in Via Renishaw spectrometer to collect carbonate spectra from near-saturated sodium chloride and sodium sulfate brines. A calibration curve was determined by collecting spectra from solutions of known carbonate concentrations mixed with a pH 13 buffer and a near-saturated NaCI or NazS04 brine matrix. The spectra were processed and curve fitted to determine the height ratio of the carbonate peak at 1066 cm-1 to the 1640 cm-1 water peak. The calibration curve determined using the standards was then applied to the experimental data after accounting for dilutions. Concentrations determined based on Raman spectra were compared against traditional acid titration measurements.

Awards and/or presentations:

McGraw, L. (2016, April). Development of a Rapid, Nondestructive Method to Measure Aqueous Solutes in High Salinity Brines Using Raman Spectroscopy. Poster session presented at the University of Oklahoma's Undergraduate Research Day, Norman, OK.

Published Work:

n/a

Dylan Lindauer

OU Major: 
Biology
Research Mentor: 
Cameron D. Siler
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project:

Among the many diseases that affect amphibian populations, the fungal disease Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), also known as Chytrid, is one of the most concerning. Along with being a fatal disease, Chytrid also spreads extremely quickly and can wipe out entire populations in rapid succession. In order to protect the amphibian population, teams must conduct studies mapping where and when a disease is prevalent, and which amphibian populations are most at risk. With this information in hand, we could then begin taking solid first steps in protecting the amphibian population. Currently, three counties in Oklahoma have shown the presence of Chytrid. Combine this with the fact that surrounding states have positively tested for Chytrid at numerous sites and you begin to realize just how much work there is to be done. With that in mind, this project first proposes to test for the prevalence and seasonality of Chytrid in a manageable testing environment with possible expansion throughout the state after completion. For one year, Cleveland and Oklahoma County amphibians were tested for this disease with variables including the times tests were conducted and their location (Oklahoma and Cleveland Counties). From current data collected, Chytrid seems more prevalent during the late spring (May) and late fall (October), and less prevalent during the summer months (July and August). Additionally, Oklahoma County appears to contain a higher presence of Chytrid.

Awards and/or presentations:

Lindauer, D. (2016, April). Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) detection in Central Oklahoma. Poster session presented at the University of Oklahoma's Undergraduate Research Day, Norman, OK.

Published Work:

n/a

Alex Lay

OU Major: 
Geology
Research Mentor: 
Mike Soreghan
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project:

Sediment cores record changes in accumulation that allow for interpretation of temporal changes of the region caused by tectonics or, in recent sediments, human activities. The sediment can be analyzed to determine origin, whether it be natural deposition or human activity-induced erosion. A sediment core allows us to determine trends and changes in the local environment. The purpose of this research is to examine two sediment cores from Lake Tanganyika, near Kigoma, Tanzania, to analyze the changes in sedimentation over time. The Lake has a highly unique biodiversity and is important for studies on evolution. It has been shown that changes in the lake bottom environment, due to sedimentation, are negatively affecting the organisms in Lake Tanganyika. Our research determined a contributor to the recent change in sedimentation.

Awards and/or presentations:

Lay, A. (2016, April). Sedimentation in Lake Tanganyika. Poster session presented at the University of Oklahoma's Undergraduate Research Day, Norman, OK.

Published Work:

n/a

Redouane Laaroussi

OU Major: 
Electrical Engineering
Research Mentor: 
Liangzhong Xiang
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project:

X-ray induced acoustic computed tomography (XACT) is an imaging modality that takes advantage of the ultrasound waves that are produced by X-rays. The ultrasonic waves are received, interpreted and then converted into an image. This modality has many uses in a medical clinical setting, including imaging the breast for the detection of tumors which may be cancerous. Utilizing computerized phantoms in breast imaging research can provide a valuable tool for improving breast imaging techniques and lead to better diagnostic outcomes [1]. Therefore, there is a need for developing a 3D digital breast phantom that contains both X-ray properties and acoustic properties. We are developing new techniques to analyze digital phantoms. A series of breast CT images along the coronal plane from a patient who has breast calcifications are used as the source images. A segmentation algorithm is employed to identify breast tissues in five categories, namely the skin tissue, fat tissue, glandular tissue, chest bone and calcifications, from each CT image. Then, each tissue type is given a set of X-ray related parameters such as energy-dependent mass attenuation coefficient, and a set of acoustic parameters such as frequency-dependent acoustic attenuation coefficient and sound speed. Additionally, other parameters which are used in XACT, including the density, the thermal expansion coefficient, and the heat capacity, are also given to each tissue type.

Awards and/or presentations:

Laaroussi, R. (2016, April). 3D Breast Digital Phantom for Dual x-ray and Ultrasound Imaging. Poster session presented at the University of Oklahoma's Undergraduate Research Day, Norman, OK.

Published Work:

n/a

Michael Hughes

OU Major: 
Mechanical Engineering
Research Mentor: 
Farrokh Mistree
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project:

Through the work of several members of the Systems Realization Laboratory, models for the compromise decision support problem (cDSP) as well as multistage manufacturing processes (MMP) have been created. However, there is currently no mutual language connecting the two. The goal of this research is to create a common network of terms to connect the two problems through the creation of an ontology. The ontology will be developed first by creating a hierarchy of terms in MMPs, creating the connections between the terms as well as describing the distinct characteristics of each of the terms, and then framing the overall language within the already developed ontology for cDSP developed by the Systems Realization Laboratory. This ontology would form the basis for a larger domain connecting various problems in manufacturing processes with the cDSP, ultimately creating a knowledge base and allowing for easier and more efficient modeling and design. As stated, the focus of this ontology is the connection between a general MMP and the cDSP, and as such should enable the general development of any MMP in conjunction with the cDSP. It should be stressed that the connections being developed are focused first on one MMP model and then relating those connections to the pre-established cDSP ontology. As such, future expansion would likely be to include other models of MMPs.

Awards and/or presentations:

Hughes, M. (2016, April). An Ontological Connection between cDSP and MMP. Poster session presented at the University of Oklahoma's Undergraduate Research Day, Norman, OK.

Published Work:

n/a

Erik Holbrook

OU Major: 
Computer Science
Research Mentor: 
Kun Lu
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project:

Current methods of search and information retrieval in academic databases seek to identify links between scholars and assign weights to those links in order to provide accurate and relevant search results. These weights and links are calculated with a variety of methods, which are centered on the idea that the more times a work is cited, the weightier it should be. However, citations in academic literature can serve several different distinct functions. They can serve their respective papers in a variety of ways; for instance, some serve as supportive material to the target study while others are inserted to showcase some previous mistake or lack of information. This study seeks to set forth a singular and rigorous classification scheme, and then identify features with witch to automatically classify them using well-established machine learning techniques. These techniques will allow more accurate weighting and searching based on the classification of the individual citation. Several results are set forth herein: firstly, a justification and explanation of the different classes of citations; these are constructed in such a manner as to be unambiguous and straightforward. Second, statistical results and feature extraction details are given in order to support the features used for classification and their validity. Finally, the statistical classifying process will be presented and evaluated using clear and common methods to verify accuracy.

Awards and/or presentations:

Holbrook, E. (2016, April). Classification of Academic Citations. Poster session presented at the University of Oklahoma's Undergraduate Research Day, Norman, OK.

Published Work:

n/a

Emerson Hoagland

OU Major: 
Political Science
Research Mentor: 
Scott Robinson
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project:

This project consists of a dataset collected using coding of congressional testimonies for the specific subjects 'Climate Change', 'Global Warming', and 'Greenhouse Gas'. The testimonies pertaining to these subjects were coded on a variety of qualifiers, such as whether the witness was a scientist and whether they considered global climate change to be a threat and how. In addition to this original dataset network analysis has been employed to determine which institutions are involved in which congressional committees talking about which subjects. This final step constitutes a development on previous research which has merely tried to demonstrate aggregate opinions concerning climate change testimonies.

Awards and/or presentations:

Hoagland, E. (2016, April). Climate Policy & Congressional Networks. Poster session presented at the University of Oklahoma's Undergraduate Research Day, Norman, OK.

Published Work:

n/a

Richard Ho

OU Major: 
Biomedical Engineering
Research Mentor: 
Dr. Nollert
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project:

The human amniotic membrane (hAM) is the innermost layer of the fetal membrane. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties and adequate mechanical strength, the hAM has been clinically used to treat injuries like skin burns. However, this beneficial scaffold can be improved even further. hAM is 95% collagen fibers. One possibility is to create more chemical bonds between the collagen fibers of the hAM. This is accomplished through cross-linking, which initiates this process with a chemical or catalyst.

Awards and/or presentations:

Ho, R. (2016, April). Cross-linking of a collagen-based biometarial to strengthen its mechanical properties. Poster session presented at the University of Oklahoma's Undergraduate Research Day, Norman, OK.

Published Work:

n/a

Sergio Gomez

OU Major: 
Petroleum Engineering
Research Mentor: 
Mashhad Fahes
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project:

Understanding the rheological properties of an emulsion is necessary to determine the long term effect on oil production. Most hydrocarbon reservoirs contain water, which is produced along with oil as free water, or in an emulsion. An emulsion is a mixture of two or more liquids that are immiscible. The most common oilfield emulsion is water droplets dispersed in oil. One of the main factors to consider about emulsions is its stability, which is determined by the duration of time it takes for the immiscible liquids to separate; this can last anywhere from minutes to days to even months. The stability of the emulsion is affected by properties such as the amount of water in the emulsion, presence of resins and other emulsion stabilizing compounds, fine solid particles in the oil, temperature, droplet size and distribution among others. Emulsions can cause high pressure drops in flow lines because of its high viscosity, resulting in plugged pipes, and a multitude of other problems. These issues may result in a decrease in production or even temporary shut-down of wells. Emulsions can occur in nearly every phase of oil production from within the hydrocarbon reservoir to the petroleum refining process.

Awards and/or presentations:

Gomez, S. (2016, April). Quantifying the Effect of Temperature on Emulsion Stability and Flow. Poster session presented at the University of Oklahoma's Undergraduate Research Day, Norman, OK.

Published Work:

n/a

Jon Otto

OU Major: 
History/Social Studies Education Certification
Research Mentor: 
Dr. Jennifer Davis
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project:

For this research project, I invested research into British intellectual history, especially surrounding the period of the American and French Revolutions. The project was focused on the feelings and attitudes of the British public, government, and various intellectuals towards these revolutions that impacted Britain in such intimate ways. I drew upon various contemporary sources from leading figures of British thought, as well as the work of modern-day scholars, to determine the changes and constants of Britain during this period of intense change in the world surrounding it.

Explain what you learned or give advice to fellow students:

Looking back, I can say that this research project was one of my proudest moments, just because of the sheer volume of work and dedication I put in to learning all I could about Britain during the late eighteenth century. It was such a fun project to undertake, and if I could, I would do it over and over again.If I had to offer a word of advice to fellow researchers, it would be this: Do not be afraid to stray from your initial point of emphasis. Too often, it can be tempting to build a little box for what you think your research should end up looking like, instead of letting the information you learn guide your end result. Also, be proud of each of the papers and projects you complete, because you will not always have these opportunities.

Published Work:

Otto, Jon. OU Historical Journal 5 (Spring 2016). http://history.ou.edu/journal-2016

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