Brown University School of Engineering

Engineering Students Participate in 2017 Summer Research Symposium

August 3, 2017
Shirin Tooloee '18

Biomedical engineering concentrator Shirin Tooloee '18 worked with the BrainGate Summer Research program to observe and record neural activity for patients imagining using an arm for different grasp sizes and speeds.

More than 200 undergraduates gathered in Sayles Hall on August 3 and 4 to present the results of their research at the annual Summer Research Symposium sponsored by the Office of the Dean of the College. Over 30 of the posters were from undergraduate researchers from the School of Engineering or were conducted under the guidance of engineering faculty members. Many of the projects were supported by Brown’s Karen T. Romer Undergraduate Teaching and Research Awards (UTRAs).

“This opportunity gave me insight into how the scientific process works in real life,” said Naryan Murthy ’18, a mechanical engineering concentrator. “Working with researchers who have a lot more expertise than me and were there to answer questions was invaluable, and gave me a jump start on the research that I would like to turn into an honor’s thesis.”

An honor’s thesis could also be in the works for mechanical engineering’s Arianne Spaulding ’18, who worked with Assistant Professor (research) Jen Franck on determining the properties of a hydrofoil that would yield the most thrust with the least amount of power input. “Being able to explore this project so deeply and working so close with faculty is something I couldn’t have done during the school year,” she said.

Tom Skipper ’18, a biomedical engineering concentrator said, “Spending this summer in the lab solidified for me that I could do research and enjoy doing it full-time.”

Engineering student presentations included:

Biomedical engineering concentrator Joy Aso '19Biomedical engineering concentrator Joy Aso '19Joy Aso ’19 (biomedical engineering) presented a poster entitled, “Engineering Collagen Microfibers for Cardiac Regeneration.” Assistant Professor Kareen Coulombe mentored Aso, who was supported with an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA).

Elizabeth Bixler ’18 (biomedical engineering) worked with faculty mentor Eric Darling and was supported by an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award. She presented a poster entitled, “Effect of Cell Cycle on ASC Surface Marker Expression.”

Elisa Bye ’19 (biomedical engineering) conducted research with Assistant Professor Ian Wong. Her poster, “High Content Imaging Platform for Cancer Cell Invasion” was supported by the Wong Lab Undergraduate Research program.

With support from an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA), Michael Caplan ’19 (engineering) presented his poster “Distributed Chemical Sensing Networks.” Caplan was mentored by Assistant Professor Jacob Rosenstein.

Professor Brian Sheldon advised Grant Casey ’18 (mechanical engineering) on his research poster, “Image Analysis of Mechanical Degradation in Li-Ion Battery Cathodes.” Casey was supported by an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA).

Aaron Charous ’19 (engineering and applied math) presented a poster entitled “Effect of Angle-Dependent Transmittance and Reflectance on Gaussian Beams”. Charous worked with Professor Dan Mittleman and was supported by an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA).

Jocelyn Cheng ’19 (biomedical engineering) worked with Assistant Professor Jonghwan Lee and presented a poster entitled, “Advanced Methods of Retinal Imaging for Early Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease.” Cheng was supported by an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA).

Mark Hays ’18 (biomedical engineering) conducted research with Professor Leigh Hochberg and presented a poster entitled, “Task-Relevant Changes in Tuning of Motor Cortical Neurons in People with Tetraplegia Using an Intracortical Brain-Computer Interface.” Hayes was supported by the BrainGate Research Program.

Gian Ignacio '19 (left) and Assistant Professor Kareen CoulombeGian Ignacio '19 (left) and Assistant Professor Kareen CoulombeGian Ignacio ’19 (biomedical engineering) worked with faculty mentor Kareen Coulombe and Ph.D. candidate Cassady Rupert on the research poster, “Increasing Electrical and Mechanical Maturation in Cardiac Tissue through Carbon-Nanotube Hybrid Scaffolding”. Ignacio was supported by an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA).

Carly Kabelac ’19 (biomedical engineering) presented a poster entitled, “Alginate Customization for Angiogenesis in Engineering Tissue.” Kabelac was supported by an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award and was mentored by postdoctoral researcher Fabiola Munarin.

Bharath Kayyar ’19 (computer engineering) worked with Professor Harvey Silverman and was supported by an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award. Kayyar’s poster was entitled “Real-time Acoustic Source Localization Using Microphone Arrays.”

With support from Assistant Professor Kareen Coulombe and an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA), Amelia Khoo ’18 (biomedical engineering) presented her research “Vascularization and Endothelial Cell Migration in Engineering Tissue Scaffolds.”

Jessica Lai ’19 (electrical engineering) worked with Professor Harvey Silverman on her poster entitled “Developing a Recording and Analysis Device to Capture and Classify Pain vs. Non-Pain Induced Infant Audio Cries.” Lai was supported by an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award.

Anand Lalwani ’18 (engineering physics) was supported by Brown’s Institute for Molecular and Nanoscale Innovation (IMNI) and Associate Professor Rashid Zia. Lalwani’s research title was “Study of Electric-Field-Assisted Ion Migration and Phase Segregation in Mixed Halide Perovskites.”

Justin Lee ’18 (biomedical engineering) presented a poster entitled “Quantitative Analysis of Collagen in the Anterior Cruciate Ligament.” Lee was supported by faculty mentor Braden Fleming and an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA).

Working with faculty mentor John Simeral and senior research associate Marco Vilela, Alexander Lo ’18 (biomedical engineering) presented his poster, “Automated Spike Sorting and Processing.” Lo was supported by the BrainGate Summer Research Program.

Mechanical Engineering's Naryan Murthy '18Mechanical Engineering's Naryan Murthy '18Naryan Murthy ’18 (mechanical engineering) worked with Professor Leigh Hochberg and presented the research poster “Characterization of Grasp Sensory Feedback Using Brain-Computer Interface and JACO2 Robot Arm.” Murthy was supported by an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA).

Associate Professor Ian Wong mentored Zachary Neronha ’19 (biomedical engineering) in his research project, “Swarming Migration of Co-Attracting Epithelial Cells into Fractal-Like Clusters.” Neronha was supported by an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA).

Tanaya Puranik '19 (right) with Ph.D. candidate and mentor Christina Bailey (left).Tanaya Puranik '19 (right) with Ph.D. candidate and mentor Christina Bailey (left).Tanaya Puranik ’19 (biomedical engineering) presented a poster entitled, “Investigating Cholera Toxin Infection During Pregnancy Using an In Vitro Placental Model.” Puranik received an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award and worked with biomedical engineering Ph.D. candidate Christina Bailey.

Abigail Skerker ’19 (biomedical engineering) was supported by an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA) and presented the poster, “Investigating the Viability of Decoding Hind-Limb Kinematics Using Intracortical Local Field Potentials.” She was mentored by Assistant Professor David Borton.

Faculty mentors Michelle Dawson and Deepraj Ghosh supported Tom Skipper ’18 (biomedical engineering) in his research, “Alginate Hydrogels for 3D Cancer Cell Culture Applications.” Skipper was also the recipient of an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA).

Arianne Spaulding ’18 (mechanical engineering) presented her research, “Computational Fluid Dynamics for Marine Propulsion.” Spaulding was supported by faculty mentor Jennifer Franck and an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award.

Mikayla Tinus ’18 (biomedical engineering) presented a poster entitled, “The Search for Early Biomarkers of Alzheimer’s Disease.” Tinus was supported by an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award and mentored by Assistant Professor Jonghwan Lee.

Shirin Tooloee ’18 (biomedical engineering) was supported by the BrainGate Summer Research Program and worked with Professor Leigh Hochberg. Tooloee’s poster was entitled, “Real-time Decoding of Neural Signals for Actualizing Kinematics in 3D Movement with Varying Grasp Sizes and Capabilities.”

Engineering’s Neil B. Mitchell Systems Thinking Award supported Caleb Tulloss ’18 (electrical engineering) and his poster “A Prototype for Implantable Wireless Eye Orientation Tracking.” Tulloss worked with faculty mentor David Borton.

Connor Watts '19 (left) with faculty mentor Nitin Padture.Connor Watts '19 (left) with faculty mentor Nitin Padture.Connor Watts ’19 (materials engineering) presented his poster: “Solvent Engineering for One-Step Deposition of Hybrid Perovskite Thin Films.” His advisor was Professor Nitin Padture, and he was supported by both the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR-NSF) and the Institute for Molecular and Nanoscale Innovation (IMNI).

Associate Professor Sherief Reda advised the team of Myungjin Jean Lee ’19 (electrical engineering) and Jonathan Vexler ’19 (computer engineering) as they presented their research, “A Cloud-Based System to Monitor and Control Performance and Power of Computing Infrastructure.” Both were supported by Undergraduate Teaching and Research Awards (UTRA).

Summer Research Partnership: Tougaloo College's Maria Muhamad (left) talks with mentor Kareen Coulombe (center) and Brown President Christina Paxson.Summer Research Partnership: Tougaloo College's Maria Muhamad (left) talks with mentor Kareen Coulombe (center) and Brown President Christina Paxson.Engineering professors Kareen Coulombe, Angus Kingon, Nitin Padture, Brian Sheldon and Rashid Zia also mentored undergraduates from the University of Rhode Island, Tougaloo College and Wellesley College on their research posters.

More than half of the students participating in the Summer Research Symposium received support for their research through Undergraduate Teaching and Research Awards (UTRA). Generous support was also provided through several other programs including: American Physiological Society Fellowship, BP-Endure, BrainGate Summer Research Program, Brown-Tougaloo Partnership, Dean’s Award Program, Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR-NSF), Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, IBES Internal Grant, IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence-Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (INBRE-SURF), Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics (ICERM), Institute for Molecular and Nanoscale Innovation (IMNI), Leadership Alliance-Summer Research Early Identification Program (SR-EIP), Linking Internships and Knowledge (LINK) Awards, Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF REU), Neil B. Mitchell Systems Thinking Award, Research Training Group (RTG) on Integrating Dynamics and Stochastics (IDYaS), Royce Fellows, Solsbery Fellowship, Space Grant/NASA, Summer Research Assistantship in Biomedical Sciences, Summer Training in Academic Research and Scholarship (STARS) program of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, University of Georgia REU: Population Biology of Infectious Diseases, and Weiss-Sipprelle Summer Undergraduate Fellows.