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  CMNST News



Dr. Noureddine Melikechi receives Excellence Award for Youth Empowerment and Development in Africa

December 5, 2014 – Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, Dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences & Technology, and VP for Research, Innovation and Economic Development at DSU, recently received the Excellence Award for Youth Empowerment and Development in Africa at the Conference of the African Society for Engineering Management (AFRISEM), held in Istanbul,Turkey in November. This award was given in recognition of his work with the youth of his native country, Algeria. Read more here. 


CMNST Celebrates the 2014 Nobel Prizes










Above, from left to right: Dr. Thomas Planchon (Phys & Eng), Dr. Edward Dawley (French), Dr. A. Mohammad Khan (Phys &Eng), Dr. Murali Temburni (Bio Sci), and Ms. Ann Rhoads (Economics)

November 21, 2014 – On Thursday, November 20, 2014, the CMNST 2014 Nobel Prize Event was held at Delaware State University (DSU).  The College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Technology (CMNST)  sponsored this event at which five DSU faculty members presented, each in one’s own area of expertise, the research that was awarded the 2014 Nobel Prizes in the academic disciplines of: 1) literature, 2) chemistry, 3) economics, 4) physics, and 5) physiology or medicine.  The target audience was undergraduate students in CMNST, but this event was open to the entire campus community. The presenters, and the research that each presented, are listed below:

Edward Dawley, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of French, DSU:
The 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature:
Patrick Modiano
For “the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies
and uncovered the life-world of the occupation."*
Thomas A. Planchon, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physics, DSU:
The 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry:
Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell, and William E. Moerner
For “the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy."
Anne Rhoads, Lecturer in Economics, DSU:
The 2014 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences (in memory of Alfred Nobel):
Jean Tirole
For “his analysis of market power and regulation."
M. Amir Khan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Physics, DSU:
The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics:
Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and Shuji Nakamura
For “the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources.”
Murali K. Temburni, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology, DSU:
The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine:
John O'Keefe, May-Britt Moser, and Edvard I. Moser
For “their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain."
Dr. Stephen Taylor (Philosophy, CAHSS, and Professional Ethicist,CMNST) moderated the event. 
Note: *Each description is quoted from “The Official Web Site of the Nobel Prize.”


DSU Collaborates with Univ of DE on International Research Ethics Grant with National Academy of Engineering

Pictured here: (from left) Lindsay Hoffman, Ismat Shah, Robin Andreasen, Tom Powers, Mark Greene, Stephen Taylor (DSU), and Zoubeida Dagher. Not pictured: Michela Taufer and Bill Ullman. 

October 18, 2014 – Dr. Stephen Taylor, Professional Ethicist for the CMNST and Associate Professor of Philosophy for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, is part of a group of researchers from UD (lead institution) and DSU, collaborating with the National Academy of Engineering on an international research ethics project. Funded by the National Science Foundation, one of the major aims of the project is to “support the incorporation of international perspectives and resources for ethical reasoning and practice as well as social responsibility in science and engineering” (UDaily, 2014).  

Delaware State University students make a difference at the 2014 5K Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Rehoboth Beach 

October 8, 2014 – The “Hornets for a Cure” team, organized by Ms. Deidre Carter, a senior and president of the Biology Club, raised over $700 to support the Alzheimer’s Association.  Ms. Carter’s enthusiasm and perseverance led the way to motivate over 70  Delaware State University students to participate in the “Walk to End Alzheimer’s."  This was the largest team the Rehoboth walk ever had. Katie Macklin, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter said that DSU brought incredible excitement and energy to the event.  

Dr. Michael Gitcho, Biological Sciences and Alzheimer's disease researcher, was the faculty representative at the event.

Read more about the event

Fall 2014 Dean’s Distinguished Lecturer Series Speakers announced

October 1, 2014 – The Fall 2014 speakers for the CMNST Dean’s Distinguished Lecturer Series has now been released.

  • Oct. 7 @ 11 a.m. (SCN 139); 6 p.m. (SCN 139):  Dr. Jeffrey R. Johnson, Research Scientist for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover, Johns’ Hopkins University
  • Nov. 11 @ 11 a.m. (BOA 309); 6 p.m. (MLK Parlor C): Dr. Byung K. Yi, chief technology officer and executive VP, InterDigital Labs, Inc.
  • Nov. 18 @ 11 a.m. & 6 p.m. (BOA 309): Dr. Aprille Ericsson, deputy to the chief technologist, Applied Engineering and Technology Division, NASA Goddard Flight Center

For more information about any of these events or the series, in general, please visit the DDLS website. Or contact Ms. Diane Weller, dweller@desu.edu

CMNST Welcomes New Faculty and Staff for Fall 2014

September 9, 2014 – The Dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences & Technology would like to announce the following additions to the college family: Dr. Matt Bobrowsky (Dir. of Special Programs, Office of the Dean); Ms. Diane Weller (Admin. Assistant, Office of the Dean); Mrs. Faith Woodard (Academic Advisor, Academic Advisement Center); Mrs. Christine Bissette (Admin. Assistant, AMP/BTD/STARS Programs, Math Sci Dept); and Dr. Laila Girgis (Lecturer, Math Sci Dept). Read more about them here.


Professor Spends Sabbatical Immersed in Chinese Culture

Dr. Charlie D. Wilson

June 5, 2014 - In Fall 2013, Dr. Charlie D. Wilson, Associate Professor in the Biological Sciences Department, spent his semester-long sabbatical in Mainland China, immersing himself in the Chinese Culture. Looking to broaden his understanding of the history and traditions of the Chinese people, [he] "visited the Ningbo University campus weekly to visit students and friends and to interact with university students...[and] was able to secure permission to visit local middle schools and a high school to observe instruction and speak with students in small groups. He also met with over 20 students on a weekly basis as they were being tutored in English, math and science.

For Dr. Wilson, this trip was about self-betterment and becoming a more globally-aware participant at DSU. He shared in reflection of his experiences abroad, "I feel better prepared to participate in the global engagement valued by DSU as evinced by the many connections the University has fostered around the world. I hope to be viewed as a prepared and willing participant in this expansion of Delaware State University’s recognition around the world."  

SPIE Student Chapter Inaugurated at DSU

SPIE Student Chapter @ DSU Inauguration event on May 22, 2014. Members (from L to R): Mr. Z. Warren, Mr. L. Taleh, Ms. May Hlaing, Prof. R. Tripathi, Mr. Yury Markushin, Mr. Michael Williams, and Mr. Junwei Meng.

May 23, 2014 - SPIE has approved the petition of the students from the Physics & Engineering department at Delaware State University to start a ‘SPIE Student Chapter’ at DSU campus. The chapter was established on 5 May 2014 and will be conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Renu Tripathi. A webpage for our chapter's contact information has been created.

The chapter was inaugurated with its first meeting on May 22, 2014.  The following officers were elected for academic year 2014-15:

1.      President: Mr. Zack Warren
2.      Vice-President: Mr. Yury Markushin
3.      Treasurer: Ms. May H Hlaing
4.      Recording Secretary and Correspondent for DSU Chapter: Mr. Michael J. Williams

The student officers will plan activities and will receive funding for educational outreach, conference attendance, industry site visits, and hosting speakers. SPIE provides funds so that students can take charge of their own professional development.


Spring 2014 CMNST Dean's Distinguished Lecturer Series Speakers announced

March 18, 2014 - The Spring line-up for the CMNST Dean's Distinguished Lecturer Series speakers is out! Visit the web page to read more about them here!

  • Mar. 20 - Ms. Gloria Godson, V.P. Federal Regulatory Policy, Pepco Holdings, Inc.
  • Apr. 10 - Dr. Alden Landry, Co-Dir, Tour 4 Diversity; Emergency Medicine Physician, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • May 1 - Dr. Hakima Amri, Assoc. Prof., cancer treatment researcher, Georgetown Univ. Medical Center 

Download a comprehensive flier.


China Research Experience Program for LSAMP students taking applications

Delaware State University will send 10 Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM) students to Ningbo University (NBU), Ningbo, Zhejiang, China to do research in the summer of 2014. Each student will conduct research in one of STEM areas at NBU. The goal of this program is to provide DSU STEM students with valuable research experience and immerse them in the Chinese culture, thus preparing them for the future global job market. Funds for this opportunity are provided by the Greater Philadelphia Region Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (Philadelphia LSAMP) through the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the International Council of Delaware (ICD). The China Research Experience is organized by DSU LSAMP and the Office of International Affairs (OIA). Contact Dr. Mazen Shahin for more information.

Requirements to be considered for the China Research Experience:

  • Must be an LSAMP Member (Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation).
  • Must be a US Citizen or a Permanent Resident.
  • Must be a rising Sophomore, Junior, or Senior STEM major. Priority will be given to students with previous STEM research experiences.
  • Must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
  • Mandatory attendance for Pre-departure Orientations with AMP and the OIA.

Tentative dates are from May 26 to June 25, 2014. Applications due Friday, March 21, 2014.

Download a flyer here.

Printable Application is available here.


INBRE Leadership announced, Kmiec named Director of Research

January 7, 2014 - Delaware's INBRE grant leadership has undergone significant changes since the departure of Dr. Karl Steiner in August 2013. The following announcements were made: Dr. Steven Stanhope (UD) was announced as the new Principle Investigator; Dr. Cathy Wu (UD) was named Program Coordinator; and DSU's Dr. Eric Kmiec was appointed Director of Research. See complete article here.


Fall 2013 Dean's Distinguished Lecturer Series speakers announced

October 20, 2013 - The Fall 2013 lineup of speakers for the CMNST Dean's Distinguished Lecturer Series has been announced by the Dean. Join us for provocative conversations, refreshments, and good company:

  • November 7 @ 11 a.m. (technical lecture) and 6 p.m. (general public)  - 2013 National Medal of Science awardee, Dr. S. James Gates, Jr., theoretical physicist (Luna I. Mishoe Science Center South 223).
  • November 14 @ 11 a.m. (technical lecture) -  DuPont Chemical engineer, Dr. Sergio Nanita “Improving Mass Spectrometry for Accurate Chemical Measurements in Physical, Environmental and Life Sciences” (Luna I. Mishoe Science Center South 223).
  • November 14 @ 6 p.m. (general public) - State of Delaware Board of Education President and President of the Delaware STEM Council, Dr. Teri Quinn Gray, “Imperative and Possibility—STEM Education for the 21st Century" (Luna I. Mishoe Science Center South 223).
  • November 19 @ 11 a.m. (technical lecture) and 6 p.m. (general public) - Founder and National Director of the Calculus Project, Dr. Adrian B. Mims, "The African American and Latino Scholars' Calculus Project: Creating a Culture of high Academic Achievement in Mathematics" (Science Center N 139).

Click here for more information about the CMNST Dean's Distinguished Lecturer Series.


DSU Dept of Physics and Engineering joins the APS Bridge Program

September 13, 2013 - DSU is now associated with the American Physics Society Bridge Program. The Department of Physics and Engineering at DSU joins 36 other institutions in comprising a network committed to creating pipelines for underrepresented minorities into doctoral programs in physics and engineering. What this means for DSU Physics majors is access to a larger, connection network to provide a greater number of options to support those minority and underrepresented students seeking doctoral degrees in physics and engineering. Contact Dr. Hacene Boukari, Graduate Director for the Dept. of Physics and Engineering, for more information: 302-857-6511 or hboukari@desu.edu. More about the APS.


CIS Faculty member and students present in Paris

September 6, 2013 - Between the 13th and 18th of July, 2013, two undergraduate students from the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at Delaware State University, Mr. Atish Malik and Mr. Myles Johnson-Gray, together with their academic advisor, Dr. Tomasz Smolinski, attended the 22nd Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting (CNS*2013) in Paris, France.  The CNS conference is the most prestigious meeting in the field of computational neuroscience, and every year, it gathers the greatest computational neuroscientists from all over the world.  This year’s edition, which took place at the University Paris Descartes, attracted a record-breaking score of 787 attendees, and was one of the most interesting and impactful CNS meetings yet. 

At the conference, Atish and Myles presented their work performed under the tutelage of Dr. Smolinski in the form of posters titled “Multi-objective evolutionary algorithms for analysis of conductance correlations involved in recovery of bursting after neuromodulator deprivation in lobster stomatogastric neuron models” and “Hybridization of multi-objective evolutionary algorithms and fuzzy control for automated construction, tuning, and analysis of neuronal models,” respectively.  The posters were also accompanied by abstracts published in the BMC Neuroscience journal (impact factor: 3). 

Myles and Atish have been working as undergraduate researchers in Dr. Smolinski’s Computational Intelligence and Bio(logical)informatics Laboratory (CIBiL) for 18 and 8 months, respectively.  They are now both considering pursuing careers in science and applying to graduate school after obtaining their B.S. degrees from DSU.  They both admit that the opportunity to attend the CNS meeting had a significant impact on their careers plans, as the chance to present and discuss their work with some of the greatest minds of today’s neuroscience research was a truly eye-opening and life-changing experience.

Atish and Myles have been supported by the following grants: NIH NCRR 5P20RR016472-12 and NIGMS 8P20GM103446-12, NIH NIGMS RISE R25GM089669, and NSF EPSCoR 0814251.  The other students from Dr. Smolinski’s laboratory who worked on the projects presented at the CNS meeting include: Ainiah Floyd, Emlyne Forren, Parth Patel, and Kenneth Shim. (Submitted by Dr. T. Smolinski)


Dept of Energy award goes to Chemistry faculty member

September 24,2013 - Dr. Daniela Radu, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, and a member of the Renewable Energy Research and Education Center, was recently awarded a grant in the amount of $326,129 by the U.S. Department of Energy. Dr. Radu's project, entitled, "High-efficiency Ultra-Thin-film Solar Cells Prepared from Low-Cost Fe-based Solution Precursors," aims to take initial steps to begin a solar research program at DSU. In addition to research, the project will also involve the development of a solar-related course to prepare students with an interest in industrial and research-related solar applications for future employment in the field.   


Neuroscience Center receives grant to research spinal motor neuron diseases

September 9, 2013 - Dr. Melissa Harrington, professor of Biological Sciences, recently was awarded a 3-year $433,645 grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to conduct research on the development of spinal motor neurons as it relates to neurodegenerative diseases such as muscular dystrophy. Read full article.  


Innovation Grant awards go to CMNST faculty

August 31, 2013 - Four of  a total of five award recipients of the University's first-ever Innovation grants are faculty members of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences & Technology: Drs. Hacene Boukari (Physics & Engineering Dept); Gary Holness (Computer & Information Sciences Dept); Mohammad Khan (Physics & Engineering Dept); and Daniela Radu (Chemistry Dept) are principal investigators of winning proposals. The Innovation Grant award is part of the PRIDE 2020 campaign launched by the Administration, awarding seed grants of $20,000 each for initiatives focusing on strategic priorities and in alignment with University goals. Read more here.


CMNST announces new faculty

August 31, 2013 - This fall the CMNST is please to announce the addition of five (5) new faculty members to its roll: Drs. Michael Gitcho (Biological Sciences Dept); Hakeem Lawal (Biological Sciences Dept); Sokratis Makrogiannis (Mathematical Sciences Dept); Deborah Santamore (Physics & Engineering Dept); and Matthew Tanzy (Mathematical Sciences). Collectively, these individuals provide a breadth of knowledge and expertise in their respective disciplines that will further enhance the teaching and research experiences afforded our STEM students. Read all about them here.  


DSU students part of winning Cyber Challenge Competition team

L-to-R: Dr. Hongxin Hu, advisor, Trevor Newell, Ainiah Floyd, Emlyne Forren, Priscilla Wilson, Andrew Hobbs, and Dr. Marwan Rasamny, Dept Chair, CIS)

July 12, 2013 - Five DSU computer and information science majors helped bring home a 1st place win for the University at this year's Delaware Cyber Camp (part of the U.S. Cyber Challenge summer camp, held at the Wilmington University site of the Delaware Cyber Security Boot Camp, July 8-12, 2013). Priscilla Wilson, Ainiah Floyd, Andrew Hobbs, Trevor Newell, and Emlyne Forren comprised the winning team in an online challenge to exhibit skills in combating cracked passwords, server penetrations, hijacked servers and data acquisition. This event was invitation-only and consisted of the top 47 students representing the "best and brightest in Delaware's universities and colleges, selected from hundreds of applicants, said Delaware Chief Information Officer Jim Sills. Read article.


CIS Dept courseware obtains National Security Agency Certification

March 15, 2013 -  The Department of Computer and Information Sciences (Dr. Marwan Rasamny, Chair) recently received notification of approval of all courseware being offered through its department related to the following programs: Information Systems Security (INFOSEC) Professionals, NSTISSI 4011; and System Administrators (SA), CNSSI 4013 Entry Level.

What does this mean for DSU students? All students who take the certified courses are eligible to receive NSA approved certificates, which are highly desirable to employers, especially those hiring into the federal government workforce. The Information Assurance Courseware Evaluation (IACE) program of the National Security Agency (NSA) assesses the degree to which courseware from commercial, government and academic sources align with the national standards set by the Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS). Visit the CIS website.

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Awards & Honors  

Dr. Melikechi receives award from African Society for Engineering Management (AFSEM)

December 1, 2014 – 

Chemistry faculty member awarded NSF Targeted Infusion grant in Chemistry

August 20, 2014 - More congratulations go again to Dr. Cheng-Yu Lai for the $324,182 award  he recently received from NSF. The project supported by this award will create seminal knowledge related to chemistry taught in the context of green chemistry, environmental stewardship, climate change, and food security.

Societal benefits of this project include improved educational opportunities for training students to tackle tomorrow’s sustainable society challenges. The project aims to produce graduates ready to respond to an increasing need for sustainability awareness and related problem-solving capabilities. 

New NSF Major Research Instrumentation Grant arrives on DSU campus

Members of the team directing this initiative include Drs. Mukti Rana (PI), Dula Man, Wafa Amir, Hacene Boukari, and Theresa Szabo-Maas.

July 31, 2014 - A team of CMNST faculty researchers, led by Dr. Mukti Rana (Assoc. Professor, Dept of Physics & Engineering) was recently awarded a  Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant by the National Science Foundation. This Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant, awarded to Delaware State University (DSU), provides funding for the acquisition of a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). This high-resolution imaging microscope enhances the research and educational capabilities at DSU, especially for students majoring in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).  Thanks to this acquisition, DSU STEM students will gain “hands on” experience and training in this broadly-used technology. Further, the SEM is an impetus to stimulate new opportunities, and to develop new collaborative projects among DSU and non-DSU researchers.   Most particularly, it strengthens the mission of the NSF-funded Center for Research Excellence in Science and Technology at DSU: the Optical Science Center for Applied Research.

The goals of this MRI project are: (1) to develop and design novel materials for integrated circuits and their applications, (2) to assess the efficiency of (Deoxyribonucleic acid) DNA delivery systems, (3) to characterize estrogen receptor subcellular localization using teleost model systems, and (4) to characterize and probe the nanoscopic structures of diverse biopolymers. In addition, the instrument provides other capabilities such as energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy microanalysis system and electron back scattered diffractometer, which can be used to determine the elemental composition and crystallographic orientation of a specimen.  Thus, the instrument contributes to the successful realization of various ongoing research projects at DSU, including: i) the development of ultra-low power Indium Arsenic Nitride semiconductor transistors, ii) the fabrication of a nanofiber in situ electroporation chip to deliver DNA into cells, iii) the study of membrane-associated estrogen receptors in the Mauthner cell circuit of goldfish, and iv) the characterization of tubulin nanorings.


Chemistry faculty member awarded grant with U.S. Department of Energy

July 23, 2014 - Dr. Cheng-Yu Lai, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, and a member of the Renewable Energy Research and Education Center, was recently awarded a grant in the amount of $249,291 by the U.S. Department of Energy. The three-year award will fund the project titled: "Novel Silica Nanostructured Platforms with Engineered Surface Functionality and Spherical Morphology for Low-Cost High-Efficiency Carbon Capture." This is the first climate change-related research project at DSU and will contribute to reduction of carbon dioxide produced from fossil fuels.


Geophysicist faculty member receives NSF award to study elasticity of deep Earth materials at high pressure and temperatures

July 18, 2014 - Congratulations to Physics & Engineering Department professor, Dr. Gabriel Gwanmesia who received a three (3) year grant from the National Science Foundation in the amount of $300,000,  to, his own words, "...study the elasticity of deep Earth materials at high pressure and high temperature, in conjunction with synchrotron X-radiation." Combined with pertological and geochemical data, the results of the study could significantly enhance our knowledge of the mineralogical composition and structure of the deep Earth's interior.


Biology faculty awarded NSF grant to 'Expand Educational Cyber-infrastructure' at DSU

June 23, 2014 - Dr. Andrew Lloyd (pictured above at far left, with co-PIs), faculty member in the Biological Sciences Department, was recently awarded by the National Science Foundation for his proposal, "Targeted Infusion Project: Expanding Educational Cyber-Infrastructure at Delaware State University" ($399,908).

Dr. Lloyd said that the project "...will support the development and implementation of online teaching resources to enable faculty to deliver course content to students so that instructors can focus classroom time on active and problem-based learning."


SPIE Awards DSU Student Chapter President to attend conference

June 17, 2014 - Mr. Zachary Warren, an Optics Ph.D. candidate in the Optical Sciences Center for Applied Research (OSCAR) in the Department of Physics & Engineering, and newly-elected president of the recently-incepted SPIE Student Chapter at DSU, has won the ‘Officer Travel Grant Award’ (approximately $ 2,000.00) from SPIE to attend the SPIE Optics+Photonics conference in San Diego, CA in Aug. 2014.  Zach will represent DSU, participating in a student leadership conference, technical sessions, technical tutorials, and products exhibit at the conference.


Physics & Engineering Faculty Member awarded Research Technology Grant 

June 4, 2014 - Dr. Hacene Boukari, Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Engineering, has recently been awarded a $175,000 grant from the Department of Defense to acquire a fluorescence correlation spectrometer. Read a full article on his grant here


Grad Student Yuriy Markushin awarded SPIE Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship 

June 2, 2014 - DSU Optics Graduate student Mr. Yury Markushin has been awarded a 2014 Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics for his potential contributions to the field of optics, photonics or related field.

Markushin is a PhD candidate in the Department of Physics and Engineering at Delaware State University. His research is focused on design and implementation of a polarimetric scanning Laser Detection and Ranging System (LADAR). He is also a founding member and a Vice-President of SPIE student chapter at Delaware State University. “I am proud to accept the SPIE Optics and Photonics Educational Scholarship and honored to be a part of SPIE as a student member,” said Markushin. “That gave me a priceless opportunity to learn about the latest innovations and findings in the field of Optics and Remote Sensing“.

In 2014 SPIE awarded $353,000 in education and travel scholarships to 144 outstanding individuals, based on their potential contribution to optics and photonics, or a related discipline. Award-winning applicants were evaluated, selected and approved by the SPIE Scholarship Committee, Chaired by SPIE volunteer Kevin Leonard.

To date, SPIE has distributed over $3.5 million dollars in individual scholarships. This ambitious effort reflects the Society's commitment to education and to the next generation of optical scientists and engineers around the world. SPIE scholarships are open to full- and part-time students studying anywhere in the world. All scholarship applications are judged on their own merit, based on the experience and education level of the individual student. To view press releases of the Scholarship Recipients go to http://spie.org/x13360.xml.

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. The Society serves nearly 256,000 constituents from approximately 155 countries, offering conferences, continuing education, books, journals, and a digital library in support of interdisciplinary information exchange, professional networking, and patent precedent.

Article contributed by Dr. Renu Tripathi.

Dr. Murali Temburni awarded competitive NSF Research Initiation Award grant

April 28, 2014 - Dr. Murali Temburni, Assistant Professor in the Biological Sciences Department, received notification of award for funding by the National Science Foundation for his grant proposal entitled "Role of Astrocytes in the development of sychronized bursting behavior in neuronal networks." This two-yr grant funds Dr. Temburni's ongoing work in the field of neurobiology. 

Neurons communicate in the brain by firing signals called action potentials. During synchronous activity, groups of neurons in the brain all fire action potentials at the same frequency. This synchronous activity is important during brain development for neurons to recognize and link up with functionally similar neurons – thus dividing the brain into functional modules. Abnormal synchronization can also occur in the awake brain leading to epileptic seizures. Unraveling the cellular and molecular basis of neuronal synchronization is necessary not only for understanding the development of neuronal networks but also for developing meaningful therapies for epilepsy. Currently there is no effective therapy for epilepsy. Glial cells (of which astrocytes are a subset) were traditionally thought to be support cells for neurons to grow, develop and survive. However, recent evidence shows that they not only help neurons survive and form connections, but also participate in neuronal communication. The current view of neuronal communication involves a “tripartite synapse” with a pre-and post-synaptic neurons and a peri-synaptic glial cell.

This project which received an overall rating of “excellent” was conceived and developed at DSU. Dr. Temburni, a molecular biologist studying synapse formation in the vertebrate brain using the developing chicken brain as a model system, came up with the idea for this proposal at DSU in collaboration with DSU scientists. According to Dr. Temburni, this project would not have been possible without input from his mentor, Dr. Melissa Harrington, a neurophysiologist and collaborator, Dr. Tomasz Smolinski, a computational neuroscientist and support from his Chair, Dr. Leonard Davis.

Dr. Temburni’s team of researchers – Karla Sanchez, a graduate student, undergraduates, Nkoli Agbazue, Jaskirandeep Kaur and Kasey Cosden are generating exciting data which confirms their initial suspicions – astrocytes are necessary for neurons to synchronize their activity. The team is currently working on unraveling the molecular pathways involved.

This NSF funded project will also involve high school students from the Early College High School at DSU. Dr. Judi Coffield, Director of the ECHS, is part of the team and will select high school students interested in research to work in Dr. Temburni’s lab. The selected students will participate in research under the guidance from Dr. Temburni, along with their peer undergraduate mentors. According to Dr. Temburni, “catching them early” is the surest way of hooking students on scientific research – and this project will help achieve that goal.

Dr. Noureddine Melikechi and Ms. Alissa Mezzacappa receive high honors from NASA for contributions to ChemCam Instrument Dvlpmt & Science Team  

April 24, 2014 - As members of the Mars Science Laboratory ChemCam Instrument Development & Science Team, Dr. Noureddine Melikechi and his student Ms. Alissa Mezzacappa, Ph.D. candidate in Optics, have received one of NASA’s Highest Honor Awards: the Group Achievement Award.  The ChemCam team has received this award “For exceptional achievement defining ChemCam’s scientific goals and requirements, developing the instrument and investigation, and operating ChemCam successfully on Mars.”

This NASA Honor Award is presented to a number of carefully-selected teams who have distinguished themselves by making outstanding contributions to the NASA mission. 


Dr. Michael Gitcho receives Alzheimer's Association grant

Dr. Michael Gitcho pictured above with Katie Macklin, executive director for the Delaware region of the Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter

April 16, 2014 - Dr. Michael A. Gitcho, Assistant Professor in the Biological Sciences Dept , was recently awarded a research grant by the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. This award was granted into support of Dr. Gitcho's research, which focuses on a protein (TDP-43) that is critical to the normal function of the brain cell. 

When TDP-43 is altered, this results in the development of neurological diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and dementia. One of the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer's accounts for 70 to 80% of all cases and the greatest risk factor is aging.  This progressive disease slowly destroys memory, thinking, and reasoning and over time it makes even the simplest tasks impossible to do.  Currently, there are an estimated 5.3 million people aged 65 and older with the disease and it is projected that over the next 10 years there will be an additional 10 million diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. 

Dr. Gitcho and colleagues have observed that mice that are engineered to have Alzheimer-like symptoms, similar to those with Alzheimer’s disease, also have an increased level of abnormal TDP-43 (TDP-43 has been found to be altered in up to 50% of those with Alzheimer’s disease).  Dr. Gitcho is hopeful that his research will provide insights into the relationship between TDP-43 and Alzheimer’s disease which could provide us a better understanding of how this devastating disease progresses and, in turn, lead to the development of new therapeutics. 

OSCAR Student and others take 2nd place at Innovative Business Plan Competition in Washington DC

April 5, 2014 - This year a team of six (6) students from DSU’s College of Business and the CMNST’s Department of Physics and Engineering won second place at the Innovations in Social and Business Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition 2014. The competition, organized by the School of Business & Public Administration of University of the District of Columbia, took place on April 5, 2014. Students participating in the competition  represented universities and colleges in the District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The purpose of the competition was “to educate and provide an experiential opportunity to showcase the creativity of tomorrow’s business leaders.” Teams were challenged to:

  • Create business plans that addressed an identified social issue or need, using a social business entrepreneurship business model; and
  • Present business implementation plans or delivery modes that demonstrate how the plan can impact communities.

DSU’s team presented a business plan based on an interdisciplinary project that developed a sensor to assess environmental air quality at local (e.g. Kent County) and state levels. Entitled “Next-generation sensors for improving human health and urban air quality- A technology driven business model for young entrepreneurs,” the project was funded through a DSU PRIDE grant that was authored by Dr. Mohammed Khan, Assistant Professor of Physics (PI); Dr. Mukti Rana, Assistant Professor of Physics (co-PI); and Dr. Nandita Das, Associate Professor of Business (co-PI).

The project entails a prototype greenhouse gas sensor technology for environmental applications, developed in DSU’s own engineering laboratories, which will be transformed into a marketable product through a model business plan developed by DSU’s College of Business team. The goal of the project is to expose students to the critical stages of research conducted in the laboratories and the aspects of commercialization of such technologies through interdisciplinary collaboration in a unique academic setting. 

Biology student receives prestigious Arthur Ashe Award

March 27, 2014 - Accolades go to Forensic Science (biology) major and student athlete, Elaine Peete, who was recently named a 2014 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar by Diverse Issues in Higher Education. This award (created in 1992) is sponsored by the Diverse Issues in Higher Education publishing group to help recognize minority student-athletes who are competing at high levels of both academics and athletics. Named in honor of the late African-American tennis great, civil rights leader and humanitarian, Arthur Ashe, past recipients have included Super Bowl winning quarterback Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks), WNBA star and broadcaster Kara Lawson (Univ. of Tennessee), and former NBA  player Jacque Vaughn (Univ. of Kansas).

Ms. Peete will appear in an upcoming edition of the magazine honoring this year's roster of scholar-athletes, and she will also be recognized at the Awards Luncheon, sponsored by the NCAA, to be held April 10th on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.  

Recent Journal Publications by Math Sci faculty member

December 20, 2013 - Congratulations! Mathematical Sciences Assistant Professor Dr. Sokratis Makrogiannis had two (2) articles published in peer-reviewed journals, Academic Radiology and Nutrition, metabolism, cardiovascular diseases. The titles of the articles, respectively, are "Computer-aided Assessment of Regional Abdominal Fat with Food Residue Removal in CT" (co-authors: S. Makrogiannis, G. Caturegli, C. Davatzikos, L. Ferrucci); and "The Relationship between Visceral Adioposity and Left Ventricular Diastolic Function: Results from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging" (co-authors: M. Canepa, J.B. Strait, Y. Milaneschi, M. Alghatrif, R. Ramachandran, S. Makrogiannis, M. Moni, M. Davis, C. Brunelli, E.G. Lakatta, L. Ferrucci).

Dr. Melikechi Presents as Arken Scholar-in-Residence at Miami Univ.

November 7, 2013 - CMNST Professor of Physics and Dean, Dr. Noureddine Melikechi was honored as 2013 Arfken Scholar-in-Residence at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. This endowment was made as a gift from a retired Miami University faculty member in the Physics Department in 1998 to encourage weeklong visits of distinguished physicists on the campus. Scholars have the opportunity to interact with students, faculty and the public, delivering lectures, leading seminars, and working with students on research and related topics. Dr. Melikechi presented as a member of the Mars Science Laboratory at NASA. The public lecture was entitled: "Exploring Martian Rocks and Soils with Single Laser Pulses: A Wonderful Journey of Remote Analysis of a Planetary Surface."  

Faculty Awarded Grants, Honors, and Papers Published

October 5, 2013 - Commendations go to the following individuals on their recent accomplishments:

  • Dr. Hongxin Hu (Department of Computer & Information Sciences) - co-authored published paper "On the Security of Picture Gesture Authentication. View article here.
  • Dr. Pablo Suarez (Department of Mathematical Sciences) - awarded the NASA Astrobiology Minority Institution Research Support MIRS program this past summer with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 
  • Dr. Eric Kmiec (Department of Chemistry) - scheduled to be guest editor for Nucleic Acid Therapeutics journal (April 2014 edition)  

Faculty Awarded DSU CIBER-EPSCoR seed grants

February 28, 2013. Congratulations to Dr. Aristides Marcano, Chairperson, Department of Physics and Engineering, and Dr. Gour S. Pati, Associate Professor, Department of Physics and Engineering, on their recent grant awards for the 2012-2013 DSU CIBER-EPSCoR seed grants competition!

Dr. Marcano's winning proposal was entitled, "Developments of a Practical and Low Cost Photothermal Lens Spectrophotometer for Spectroscopic Characterization of Turbid Samples."

Dr. Pati's winning proposal was entitled, "Ultrasensitive Measurements of Denitrification Process in Soil Samples using an Integrated Fiber-Optic Cavity-Enhanced Sensor."

The Delaware EPSCoR RII-2-CIBER Seed Grant Program is sponsor of this multi-disciplinary competition. The Center for Integrated Biological and Environmental Research (CIBER) is located in the College of Agriculture and Related Sciences. 

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