Examples of projects from previous years:

Dr. Fathi Finaish , Professor & Associate Chair
Director of the Missouri Space Grant Consortium

Dr. Finaish's research interests are quite broad in the field of AE. His work focuses in aerodynamic testing, unsteady flows, vortex dynamics in separated flows, physical and numerical flow visualizations, variable density flows and flow control. Essentially, students will be able to select an area and project that most suits their interests. Dr. Finaish serves as the advisor for the Advanced Aero Vehicle and Rocketry student design teams.

Dr. Robert Aronstam , Chair and Professor
Project has three main components: (1) Cloning synaptic proteins (receptors/G proteins/regulators) (2) Drug interactions with neurotransmitter receptors, and (3) DNA microarray analysis to analyze neurotoxic effects of nanoparticles. Students will have the option of focusing their project on neurochemical techniques for receptor characterization, molecular techniques for genetic manipulation of human signaling proteins, or genomic techniques to analyze the effects of exogenous agents on gene transcription.

Dr. Katie Shannon , Assistant Professor
Dr. Shannon's research focuses primarily on genes in yeast that, when unregulated, contribute to cancer formation. Cytokinesis is the process whereby the cytoplasm of a single cell is divided to spawn two daughter cells. The most obvious connection between cytokinesis and disease is cancer, where the uncontrolled division and growth of cells produces pathology.  In this situation cytokinesis is merely the result of  the general loss of cellular regulation and control.  However in a few cases failures of cytokinesis lead to  genetic instability by incorrect division of the chromosomes.

Dr. Melanie Mormile , Associate Professor
In addition to studying anaerobic biodegradation of contaminants that can greatly impact the environment, this project centers around studying microbial ecology of bacteria associated with environments that are hostile to life as most humans know it. This project will focus on characterizing exremophilic microorganisms isolated from hypersaline lakes in Australia. Additionally, it will focus on the study of ancient halophilic bacteria and the development of techniques that can be used to detect the evidence of bacteria entrapped in evaporite crystals. This research will not only help us understand ancient environments once present on Earth but will lead to the development of techniques that can be used to search for evidence of life on other planetary bodies.

Dr. Kimberly Henthorn , Assistant Professor
Dr. Henthorn's research group spans a broad range of applications within particle technology, but focuses mainly on the characterization and flow behavior of very small and highly non-spherical particles.  Fluid-particle flows are found in a majority of industrial processes, yet these systems are not well-understood.  Many of these processes run inefficiently and are very expensive to maintain because of the difficulty in design, scale-up, and optimization of particulate flows.  Her research group mainly uses experimental techniques to solve some of the mysteries behind the flow of solids, but is also currently developing a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model to describe entrainment and flow behavior of aggregates.

Dr. Charles Chusuei, Assistant Professor
Broadly defined, "surface scienceâ€? is the study of interfacial interactions between two or more materials and their effects on the surrounding environment.  In the context of Dr. Chusuei's research, studies focus on solid-, liquid- and gas-solid interfaces at the topmost (100Ã… or less) molecular layers. It is well-documented that very small changes in the solid surface structure can significantly influence chemical reactions. The variety and sophistication of surface analytical tools are immense. Dr. Chusuei's work this summer is focusing on practical applications of surface science, and students may get involved in any facet of the project.

Dr. Nestore Galati, Research Engineer
Center for Infrastructures Engineering Studies

Analyzing and installing structural health monitoring systems. SHM systems are battery-powered devices with embedded sensors that monitor displacement, load, strain, water-level, tilt, GPS positioning and other digitally-measurable features of historic or economically vital structures.
More information [.pdf]

Dr. Bruce McMillin

Dr. Louis Ge , Assistant Professor
The scope of work includes field and laboratory tests on the use of portable falling weight deflectometers to analyzing the quality of pavement subgrades and foundations in pre-construction stages. Testing will be conducted on various typical Missouri subgrades. Moisture contents will also be determined both in the field and lab tests to assess the subgrade modulus variation due to seasonal change.

Dr. Randy Moss, Professor
Dr. Joe Stanley, Associate Professor
Dr. Bijaya Shrestha, Lecturer
Electromagnetic Compatability Laboratory
Recent research has demonstrated the usefulness of cameras and computers to aid in the diagnosis of skin caner, especially malignant melanoma, the most deadly for of skin caner. In addition to the outlines below, there will be an opportunity to participate in imaging a variety of suspicious lesions in a dermatology clinic. Visible-light and/or infrared imaging will be explored.
For students with significant experience programming in C++, a number of projects are available. Including - but not limited to - writing programs to find shadows in dermoscopy images and specific features (for example, fingerprints) in dermoscopy images.
For students will little or no programming experience, projects include gathering, identifying and marking specific features on malignant melanoma images and mimics, using software that allows manual marking of features to work in tandem with programs designed to automate the process.
Note: While all students are invited to apply, this project is especially seeking students with programming experience and/or students with plans to go into medicine. This work supported in part by the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Joel Burken , Associate Professor
Phytoremediation (using trees to help clean up contaminated water) is effective in removing the most common groundwater pollutants such as chlorinated solvents or degreasers, paint thinners, engine cleaners, and dry-cleaning chemicals. Summer researchers will work primarily with toxicity testing, amending a variety of soils with conditioners and monitoring plant survival and growth.

Dr. Katie Grantham Lough , Assistant Professor
Failures in science and engineering in today's global arena mean gambling with billions of dollars and human lives. In partnership with the R.I.S.K. in Engineering Laboratory, Dr. Grantham Lough has several opportunities available to students designing physical experiments as well as investigating failures. She is developing a new course in "crime scene engineering" so-to-speak along the lines of the TV show "Mythbusters." Students will get to spend the summer testing and designing experiments for this new course; including work with ballistics gels, chemical reactions and more!

Dr. Fatih Dogan , Professor
Generation of electricity from biofuel cells and bacteria. A 10-gallon container of water, graphite and mud has been shown to produce enough electricity to power a light bulb at only the cost of the tank. Layers of graphite beneath bodies of water (such as Lake Michigan) have the potential to produce massive amounts of green electricity when coupled with the proper levels of bacteria and microbes. This project is a continuation of previous summer research projects. Dr. Dogan also has several side projects involving high-temperature superconductivity and related projects for summer researchers to get involved with.

Dr. William James , Professor Emeritus, Researcher
Materials Research Center
Synthesis and characterization of thin film nanocomposites via plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition. Preparing materials in a plasma (4th state of matter) can be both challenging and exciting in that compounds and composites can be made which in most cases cannot be prepared by conventional methods. Additionally, they have extremely small crystal sizes of nano (10-9m) dimensions. Students will primarily test and observe varying samples for unusual chemical, mechanical and physical properties. Students will also have the opportunity to become familiar with equipment such as scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, x-ray diffraction, x-ray spectroscopy, differential themal analysis, etc.

Dr. John Sheffield , Professor
As part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers, this project focuses on hydrogen fueled public transit buses. The team is working to establish a rural hydrogen transportation test bed to develop, demonstrate, evaluate and promote hydrogen-based technologies in a real-world environment. Current hydrogen-powered buses run at low speeds with frequent stops and starts. This team hopes to employ a fleet that can travel Interstate 44 between Rolla, Fort Wood and Lebanon at high speeds safely, practically and reliably.

Dr. Greg Galecki , Research Associate Professor
Rock Mechanics & Explosives Research Center
- Waterjet Laboratory
Researchers have demonstrated that coal comminution is possible, with waterjets, to sizes below 1 micron. This offers a new and even more promising method for producing liquid fuel that can be used for compression combustion engines. Although the waterjet has been successfully proven to be an efficient medium in coal comminution, other liquids such as alcohols, diesel fuel #2 and biodiesel are being considered for use with the jets to remove some impurities during comminution.