Category Archives: Research

Research cluster co-director featured in The Washington Post

East Carolina University associate professor Alex Manda (right) conducts a direct current electrical resistivity survey on a farm in Hyde County as part of his research on saltwater intrusion in the region.

ECU associate professor Alex Manda (right) conducts a direct current electrical resistivity survey on a farm in Hyde County as part of his research on saltwater intrusion in the region. (Contributed by Diana Rashash)

A recent article in The Washington Post highlights research by an East Carolina University faculty member on the challenges facing farmland in eastern North Carolina.

Alex Manda, associate professor of geological sciences and co-director of the ECU Natural Resources and the Environment Research Cluster, is studying how saltwater intrusion negatively affects soil in the region.

Saltwater intrusion happens when salt water moves into freshwater sources, introducing saltwater to areas where a high salt content could be problematic. The article notes that a mixture of “rising seas, sinking earth and extreme weather are conspiring to cause salt from the ocean to contaminate aquifers and turn formerly fertile fields barren.”

Dawson Pugh, whose Hyde County farm is featured in the Post’s article, said that flooding and salinization on his property cost him $2 million in crops over the past five years. Now, Pugh is working with Manda to find a solution.

“Our research group is collaborating with scientists and agricultural agents from North Carolina State University to address a multifaceted problem that involves crop science, geology and hydrology,” Manda said.

Manda and his team are monitoring salt levels in soil, groundwater and surface water. Saltwater intrusion has been linked to sea level rise caused by climate change, but the article states that scientists aren’t sure how the salt winds up in fields like Pugh’s. There are a few hypotheses, including wind pushing salt water from the area’s canals and ditches into farmland or storm surge events dumping salty water on agricultural land.

Manda’s work is part of a concerted effort by ECU faculty members to put their research into practice. The university has sought to increase partnerships between researchers and the community, ensuring that the work being conducted by faculty members provides real-world benefits and applications for those in the region.

“This work is important because it highlights how ECU can engage with various stakeholders to tackle projects that are of mutual benefit in eastern North Carolina,” Manda said. “For example, farmers may benefit by finding solutions to the saltwater problem, whereas ECU may benefit by offering its students opportunities to take part in authentic research experiences.”

Learn more about the Natural Resources and the Environment Research Cluster online. Manda’s research can be found on his university blog.

 

-by Matt Smith, University Communications

Spring URCA Awards announced

East Carolina University’s Office of Undergraduate Research announced that 32 students will receive spring Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity awards.

The award provides support for faculty-mentored research and creative projects led by undergraduates in four disciplines: biomedical science, STEM, social science, and the arts and humanities.

Awards are given twice during the academic year. Students apply for the award with a defined project narrative and budget justification summary that they’ve developed in collaboration with a mentor.

Awards range from $1,500-2,000 for each project. Honors College recipients can receive up to $2,500 with support from the college. The award may go toward project materials and cost, a stipend for the student, or used for travel to conduct field or archival research. Award recipients are required to present their findings at venues including Undergraduate Day during ECU’s Research and Creative Achievement Week and the State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium held in November.

This spring’s URCA award recipients are:

  • Kirtan Amin, exercise physiology, “South Asian cancer survivors health study”
  • Rouzbeh Beig Heidari, engineering, “Using cellphone attachable microscope in identifying molds”
  • Glenesha Berryman, English and great books, “I made it up: Maps, essays, and other guides for the queer black girl”
  • Sarah Bradshaw, chemistry and public health, “Ozone inhalation impairs efferocytosis in the lung”
  • Jake Bruen, fine arts, “Untouchable”
  • Amber Chavis, biology, “The evolution of laying times in eastern bluebirds”
  • Emily Edmonds, biology, “Parasites as indicators of biodiversity in coastal shoreline habitats”
  • Claire Fabian-Bayola, biochemistry and chemistry, “Identifying key residues in 15-LOX-2 enzyme for interactions with allosteric effectors”
  • Nicholas Hill, electrical engineering, “An advanced control system for hand prosthesis for candidates with trans radial amputation”
  • Brooks Holt, nursing, “Evaluating the effect of community engagement on the impact and use of water filters in four villages in Guatemala”
  • Anan Islam, neuroscience and biology, “Protocols for evaluating enzymatic detergents”
  • Nicholas Kannarr, film and video production, “Our story”
  • Juliana Lane, film and video production, “Paranoid insomniac”
  • Nickolas Leach, film and video production, “A-L-I-E-N-S senior thesis film”
  • Jiahao Li, electrical and mechanical engineering, “Project peregrine”
  • Phoenix Little, psychology and neuroscience, “Barriers to higher education in the Latino population”
  • Olivia McBride, nutrition science and biology, “Patient interest in farm to clinic program”
  • Serena Mooney, public health studies and international studies, “Comprehensive assessment of mitochondrial energy fluxes of the flexor digitorum brevis”
  • Emma O’Brien, business management, “Eliminating barriers to youth sport in Pitt County”
  • Brooke Palmer, professional acting training and theatre for youth, “Performing in American Sign Language – ‘The magic of winter from around the world'”
  • Pujan Patel, biology and public health, “The role PGRMC1 plays in hormone metabolism”
  • Victoria Preston, chemistry, “Electrochemical analysis of methylated DNA in MS”
  • Katherine Ray, biochemistry, “Elucidation of 15-Lipoxygenase-2 and PEBP1 interactions implicated in acute renal failure”
  • Sydney Rossback, exercise physiology, “What is the significance of hand dominance in motor learning and motor control?”
  • Semiyah Sams, public health, “A qualitative analysis of health care provider roles and perspectives related to abnormal mammography results”
  • Mohammad Sarsour, chemistry, “Trace metal elements in extracted and exfoliated teeth – The ECU tooth fairy project”
  • Christopher Satterley, electrical engineering, “Design of a patient orientation monitoring system”
  • Jessica Schulte, social work, “Meals on Wheels and the well-being of seniors”
  • Haley Tailor, public health, “HPV vaccinations among black immigrants”
  • Alexander Turner, neuroscience and psychology, “Impact of prostatic radiation on bladder innervation and neuronal apoptosis”
  • Kristin Tyson, chemistry and biochemistry, “Development of novel tryptophan analogues to study and expand protein function”
  • Maddie Wells, dance performance and choreography, “Improving cardiovascular fitness in dancers through aquatic conditioning”

Learn more about the URCA awards online. For more information on individual projects, view the 2019 Spring URCA spreadsheet.

 

-by Matt Smith, University Communications

Paynter named to APLU commission executive council

An East Carolina University assistant vice chancellor has been appointed to a leadership role in a prestigious new Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities panel.

Sharon Paynter, who oversees ECU’s Office of Community Engagement and Research, has been named a member the APLU’s Commission on Economic and Community Engagement executive committee.

The commission, led by Pennsylvania State University President Eric J. Barron, was created to lead the APLU’s mission of expanding economic development and community engagement. The CECE focuses on broadening engagement through three areas including talent and workforce development; innovation, entrepreneurship and tech-based economic development; and place development through public service, outreach, extension and engagement.

Sharon Paynter

Sharon Paynter (Photo by Rhett Butler)

During her three-year term, Paynter will assist the APLU in promoting professional development, leadership and peer exchange programs, as well as contributing to federal policy issues and developing best practices for community engagement projects.

“ECU has long been recognized for its strengths in economic and community engagement,” Paynter said. “This opportunity allows us to continue to contribute to the policies, research, peer exchange and professional development initiatives that shape the ways that universities impact communities around them.”

Since 2014, Paynter has led ECU’s mission to enrich and prepare its students, faculty and staff to support a thriving future for eastern North Carolina and the world through community-engaged public service and regional transformation.

While many ECU researchers participate in traditional, knowledge-building research, community-engaged research adds an additional step by asking them to work in partnership with community members to solve local and regional problems. Paynter’s office brings together students and faculty alongside community partners to develop research questions, determine methods to investigate an identified problem, collect and analyze data, interpret the data and share the results with others.

Paynter’s office coordinates vital ECU programs including the Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy, the SECU Public Fellows Internship program, and the recently developed Rural Innovations to Strengthen Eastern North Carolina-29 Counties program.

During her tenure at ECU, the university was redesignated as a Carnegie Foundation Community Engaged Institution and has been recognized as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University by the APLU.

“Sharon’s appointment reflects the recognition by our peers of the progress being made at ECU on economic and community engagement,” said Jay Golden, vice chancellor for research, economic development and engagement. “Her work is made possible because of our deans, faculty and staff. We’re continuing to work across campus in a unified effort to improve the economic conditions of eastern North Carolina communities in conjunction with community leaders and partners.”

ECU and the Division of Research, Economic Development and Engagement recently announced the university’s latest economic development initiative – ECU’s Economic Growth Collaboratory. The collaboratory harnesses big data and data visualization to find meaningful pathways to economic growth in the region. It officially launches in March with an initial focus on value-added agriculture.

Learn more about Paynter and the Office of Community Engagement and Research online.

 

-by Matt Smith, University Communications

Exploring nightscape resources of the Outer Albemarle Peninsula

Stanley R. Riggs is an internationally recognized coastal geologist at East Carolina University, and serves as chairman of the N.C. Land of Water program. Below, he describes a project funded by a Community Collaborative Research Grant supported by North Carolina Sea Grant, in partnership with the William R. Kenan Jr. Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science, and North Carolina Space Grant.

The Milky Way.

The Milky Way. (Photo by John McCord/CSI)

The night skies within North Carolina’s Outer Albemarle Peninsula represent the largest area of public lands — over 485,134 acres, or 758 square miles — with the darkest skies along the entire U.S. Atlantic coastal system between Boston and Miami.

This unique and complex system of nocturnal environments and associated night skies rotate from the brilliant, big sky of the full moons to the inky black skies of the new moons that open the sky to a dazzling universe.

A significant seasonal variation is superimposed upon the skies’ vastness that ranges between these two extremes. Cold, crisp winter nights are dominated by the overwhelming sounds of flocks of winter waterfowl, including tundra swans and snow geese by the tens of thousands, moving from refuge lakes to farm fields, along with lonesome hoots of owls on evening hunts, howls of roaming coyote packs, and occasionally the rare red wolf.

Summer nights are hot, humid and dominated with a cacophony of insects and frogs, along with massive light and sound displays derived from the outlines of perfect thunderheads that move over the peninsula. And, of course, there is a never ending parade of morning sunrises and evening sunsets that daily provide new mosaics of sky magic.

The Outer Albemarle Peninsula, known as the OAP, has an incredible nightscape resource for the following reasons:

  1. The vast area of public wetlands is surrounded by the expansive estuarine system, all of which have minimal human activity.
  2. The “Big Night Sky” presents an ideal astronomical wonderland that is generally becoming an endangered environment in the east due to ever increasing light pollution.
  3. The 360 degree-horizon vistas provide incredible views of sun and moon rises and sets; thunderheads and dramatic lightning shows; and glorious zenith and structure of the Milky Way.
  4. As noted above, the hot, humid drone of the spring to fall nocturnal soundscape of insects and amphibians, moves into frigid winter nights with dramatic cacophony of waterfowl, owls, and wolves.
Reide Corbett speaks with East Carolina University Board of Trustees members during a meeting at the Coastal Studies Institute in Manteo, N.C.

Reide Corbett speaks with ECU Board of Trustees members during a meeting at the Coastal Studies Institute in Manteo, N.C. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

In a quest to better understand the nocturnal environment and dark skies of the region, North Carolina Land of Water (NC LOW) and A Time For Science (ATFS) designed a study to map and characterize the landscapes, soundscapes, and viewscapes of the OAP across four eastern N.C. counties. As NC LOW’s coastal and marine geologist, I am the lead investigator in this Nightscape resource project.

Other partners include: Karen Clough, community outreach coordinator for NC LOW; Emily Jarvis, executive director of ATFS; and Brian Baker, astronomer with ATFS. The project has a working partnership with Reide Corbett, an oceanographer and executive director of ECU’s Coastal Studies Institute, known as CSI.

Also, three groups of local volunteers constitute the field mapping teams obtaining nighttime observations in Tyrrell, Washington and mainland Hyde-Dare counties. The project also has developed working partnerships with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service teams at Alligator River, Pocosin Lakes, Mattamuskeet, and Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuges, along with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and N.C. State Parks.

NC LOW and ATFS are nongovernmental organizations involved in regional coastal research and science education initiatives in the northeastern North Carolina. Their missions include to:

  1. contribute to scientific understanding of the dynamic coastal system;
  2. delineate potential sustainable eco-tourism opportunities; and
  3. carry out regional K-12 and public science education programs in the region. All of their programs are framed around the unique natural resources and rich cultural history that reflect our state’s world-class coastal system enhance the quality of life of residents.
Color topography shows the North Carolina Land of Water in northeastern North Carolina’s coastal system — east of the red dashed line. The Outer Albemarle Peninsula study outlined in a black hexagon includes major portions of Washington, all of Tyrrell, and mainland Hyde and Dare counties.

Color topography shows the North Carolina Land of Water in northeastern North Carolina’s coastal system — east of the red dashed line. The Outer Albemarle Peninsula study outlined in a black hexagon includes major portions of Washington, all of Tyrrell, and mainland Hyde and Dare counties. (Map by Stanley Riggs)

Our Nightscape survey teams are comprised of scientists, educators and students that live and work in the coastal region. From June through December 2018, the teams went to their respective counties on 13 new- and full-moon nights. Combined, they tallied 161 visits to 62 sites. Broken down by county, the Nightscape data collections were: Mainland Dare: 54 visits to 14 sites; Mainland Hyde: 37 visits to 18 sites; Tyrrell: 40 visits to 13 sites; and Washington: 30 visits to 17 sites.

In addition to describing the surrounding environment, accessibility and apparent urban noise and light pollution at each site through the four seasons, researchers measure quality of the sky darkness, ambient sound and meteorological parameters.

Data from these surveys will be used to quantify and map the general nightscapes and light pollution in the OAP. This knowledge will help shape plans to protect our unique Nightscape resource, to responsibly incorporate the resource into ongoing ecotourism programs, and potentially to enable the peninsula to earn regional designation as an “International Dark Sky Place.” The Dark Sky Place title — and accompanying backing of the International Dark Sky Association — would enhance the visibility of the regional dark sky resource and foster ecotourism and sustainable economic activity in the region.

Astronomer Brian Baker (pictured) will participate in the Nightscape project’s first free public Star Party on Feb. 5 at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head.

Astronomer Brian Baker (pictured) will participate in the Nightscape project’s first free public Star Party on Feb. 5 at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head. (Photo by A Time for Science)

On Tuesday, Feb. 5, NC LOW, ATFS and CSI will host the first of three public Star Parties sponsored by the Nightscape project. The event will be from 6 to 9 p.m. at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head. The event is open and free to the public. The program will be led by several astronomers and will feature night-sky programs in a portable planetarium (regardless of the weather) along with viewing the night sky with a series of telescopes, if it is not overcast.

For more details on the Feb. 5 event, contact John McCord from CSI at 252-475-4550, or read a CSI story here.

Future programs as part of the Nightscape project will be held in Bertie County at the end of February to early March, and also in Tyrrell in April. Watch for details on those events.

Also, North Carolina Space Grant and partners across the state will be hosting a series of Star Parties as part of the North Carolina Science Festival in April. For more information on those events, go online to ncsciencefestival.org/starparty.

 

by Stanley Riggs, Distinguished Professor of Geology, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences

2019 Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy cohort announced

East Carolina University’s Office of Community Engagement and Research has announced the members of its 2019 Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy cohort.

The 2019 cohort represents 11 members from seven different ECU colleges and schools.

This year’s class includes:

  • Jihoun An, College of Health and Human Performance
  • Kanchan Das, College of Engineering and Technology
  • Jamie DeWitt, Brody School of Medicine
  • Yeliz Eseryel, College of Business
  • Cynthia Grace-McCaskey, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences and the Coastal Studies Institute
  • Suzanne Lea, Brody School of Medicine
  • Catherine Normoyle, College of Fine Arts and Communication
  • Yuliana Rodriguez-Vongsavanh, College of Health and Human Performance
  • Melanie Sartore-Baldwin, College of Health and Human Performance
  • Deby Tyndall, College of Nursing
  • Jason Yao, College of Engineering and Technology

“EOSA is an exciting opportunity for faculty to not only develop their understanding of community engagement, but also utilize their understanding with community partners, co-creating knowledge toward the progress of eastern North Carolina,” EOSA Director Alleah Crawford said. “The cohort itself allows for peer learning, networking and offers great potential for future collaborations.”

A group of ECU researchers, including 2019 Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy cohort member Jason Yao (center), discusses possible research project ideas with Sylvan Heights Bird Park Director Mike Lubbock.

A group of ECU researchers, including 2019 Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy cohort member Jason Yao (center), discusses possible research project ideas with Sylvan Heights Bird Park Director Mike Lubbock. (Photo by Paige Middleton)

Established in 2009, EOSA provides professional development and project support for community-engaged research projects. Faculty are selected to the program through a peer-reviewed process and participate in cohort-based workshops while developing a research project with a community partner. Projects result in a culture of partnership, reciprocity and high-quality scholarship across campus and beyond.

Once a cohort member’s proposal is approved by the Office of Community Engagement and Research, the faculty member receives up to $5,000 to conduct the project. Project teams include the faculty scholar, a graduate assistant, two to three EC Scholars, and a community partner.

“Dr. (Sharon) Paynter (assistant vice chancellor for community engagement and research) informed me of the opportunity to join EOSA during an event last fall,” said engineering professor Jason Yao. “I liked the idea right away. During the spring Purple and Golden Bus Tour I saw the need for engineering skills from nearby counties.

“The Department of Engineering has many experienced engineers and hundreds of trained junior engineers,” he said. “We have the capability and capacity to serve the community. It’s just the matter of someone identifying a pathway to build communication between researchers and the community. I’m happy to be the one to explore this frontier.”

While many ECU faculty members participate in traditional, knowledge-building research, community engaged research adds an additional step by asking researchers to work in partnership with community members to solve local and regional problems. Through programs like EOSA, ECU’s Office of Community Engagement and Research brings together students and faculty alongside community partners to develop research questions, determine methods to investigate an identified problem, collect and analyze data, interpret the data and share the results with others.

Past EOSA research projects have led to the development of a treehouse village in Windsor, the creation of art-based programs for at-risk teens, and the formation of health education programs for rural residents.

“With traditional academic assessment criteria, such as the number of papers published and total external dollars received, there is less emphasis on doing research and projects that truly involve community members as equal partners in the research process,” anthropology assistant professor Cynthia Grace-McCaskey said. “EOSA gives us the opportunity to take the time needed to develop projects that not only focus on rigorous research, but also emphasize the importance of conducting research that gives back to communities while addressing real-world problems.”

For more information about EOSA and other community engagement programs, visit the Office of Community Engagement and Research online.

 

-by Matt Smith, University Communications

Student research posters unveiled across campus

East Carolina University student researchers are more visible than ever thanks to new research posters placed around campus.

The posters highlight researchers in a variety of fields, including biology, biomedical physics, journalism, political science, visual arts and communications.

The posters, developed by ECU’s Division of Research, Economic Development and Engagement, include current undergraduate and graduate students, as well as alumni. The division plans to add more posters around campus throughout the year, giving students an opportunity to see the faces behind the university’s groundbreaking student-led research activities.

ECU is promoting the growth and success of student research activities around its campuses. Pictured above celebrating biology student researcher and cross country runner Julia Brown (center right) are Vice Chancellor for Research, Economic Development and Engagement Jay Golden (from left), Brown’s research partner Matthew Chilton, and Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Director Curt Kraft.

ECU is promoting the growth and success of student research activities around its campuses. Pictured above celebrating biology student researcher and cross country runner Julia Brown (center right) are Vice Chancellor for Research, Economic Development and Engagement Jay Golden (from left), Brown’s research partner Matthew Chilton, and Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Director Curt Kraft. (Photos by Matt Smith)

“We’re always looking for ways to highlight our student researchers,” said Mary Farwell, director of undergraduate research. “We thought these posters would be a good way to introduce students who are considering participating in research activities a chance to see others like themselves. Additionally, we wanted to highlight researchers outside of the traditional bench science fields to show that research opportunities are available across many disciplines.”

Posters will be on display on both main campus and the health sciences campus, ranging from Joyner Library to the Health Sciences Building.

ECU cross country runner Julia Brown is one of 10 student researchers highlighted in posters around campus.

ECU cross country runner Julia Brown is one of 10 student researchers highlighted in posters around campus.

Additionally, student researchers will be featured on bus advertisements on ECU’s 35 on-campus buses. REDE leadership believes that by increasing the visibility of researchers and their mentors, student interest in research activities will grow as well.

“The university has outlined clear goals to increase student research participation,” said Jay Golden, vice chancellor for research, economic development and engagement. “We want to double the number of undergraduate students participating in research and lead the UNC System in the number of faculty-mentored student research projects.

“Over the past year, the Office of Undergraduate Research has participated in a number of on-campus events, including Get A Clue and meet-and-greets with students,” he said. “We hope our posters continue to keep research at the forefront of our students’ minds as they prepare for life after ECU.”

Along with informational resources from the Office of Undergraduate Research and ECU’s Graduate School, the university offers awards and competitions focusing on student research. ECU’s Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity awards help with the cost of faculty-mentored research projects and range from $1,500-2,500, and students can also apply for smaller undergraduate research mini awards and conference travel awards.

“We encourage all of our students to talk to their professors about research and creative activity projects,” said Ron Mitchelson, provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs. “While research certainly includes white coats, test tubes and beakers, it doesn’t have to be limited to the lab. These posters share the unique paths each student took to begin their research journey. Maybe they’ll help jump start another student’s adventure as well.”

Visit the Office of Undergraduate Research to learn more about student research opportunities on campus.

Poster locations on campus

Poster locations on campus (Courtesy of Google Maps)

View a real-time map of poster locations on campus

 

-by Matt Smith, University Communications

Office of Undergraduate Research announces fall URCA award winners

East Carolina University’s Office of Undergraduate Research announced that 38 students will receive fall Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity awards.

The award provides support for faculty-mentored research and creative projects led by undergraduate researchers in four disciplines including biomedical science, STEM, social science, and the arts and humanities.

Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity awards are announced twice during the academic year. Students apply for the award with a developed project narrative and budget justification summary that they’ve developed in collaboration with a mentor.

Awards range from $1,500-2,000 for each project. Honors College recipients can be awarded up to $2,500 with support from the college. The award may go toward project materials and cost, a stipend for the student, or used for travel to conduct field or archival research. Award recipients are required to present their findings at venues including Undergraduate Day during ECU’s Research and Creative Achievement Week and the State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium held in November.

“The URCA award program is a long-standing tradition at ECU and is our largest single output of funds, accounting for 80 percent of the office’s budget,” said Mary Farwell, director of undergraduate research. “The Academic Council has generously provided increased support over the last several years to keep up with demand. The partnership between our office and the Honors College is a welcome change that allows a more equitable and sustainable approach to funding thesis projects.

“The quality of the research and creative projects have increased substantially since I began as director 10 years ago,” she said. “I very much appreciate faculty mentors and their hard work in supporting these student-led projects.”

This year’s URCA award recipients are:

  • Jocelyn Bayles, nutrition science, “Can food-based learning improve preschoolers vegetable intake?”
  • Lesley Benderman, anatomy and cell biology, “Investigate the role of claudin-7 in intestinal stem cell functions”
  • Hannah Black, biomechanics, “High intensity weightlifting mechanical analysis”
  • Timothy O’Quinn Boykin, anthropology, “Prehistoric artifact classification at Raven Rock State Park”
  • Joshua Butler, engineering, “3D printing patient-specific images for preoperative planning”
  • Mina Chanakira, chemistry, “Investigating protein folding stability and Cu2+ binding ability of a new class of ferroxidase from brucella spp.”
  • Katie Collins, foreign languages and literatures, “Chekhov and Shakespeare on the modern stage: two plays in one show”
  • Caleb Collins, chemistry, “Use of HPLC column retention probes to predict pharmaceutical method development direction”
  • Sean Cone, physics, “Studying the breakdown of fibrin initiated by tPA”
  • Griffin Crail-Steinbaker, Center for Sustainability and Department of Engineering, “Design and development of a frugally-engineered, low-cost energy-savings device for the built environment”
  • Connor Gerney, School of Theatre and Dance, “Twilight boy”
  • William Guiler, psychology, “Effects of a mindfulness-based stress management program for college students”
  • Danish Hasan, School of Dental Medicine Foundational Sciences, “Anti-fungal properties of berberine chloride on candida spp.”
  • Faith Heagy, biology, “Social status-dependent regulation of hypothalamic dopaminergic neurons”
  • Calie Hemgen, geography, “Planning and environment, applying data science to a dense network of precipitation observation in rural Jamaica: 2014-2015”
  • Callie Herman, kinesiology, “Does consumption of slow-releasing carbohydrates improve mental performance following exhaustive exercise?”
  • Felicia E Jaimes, nutrition science, “Matricryptins as regulators of hepatic macrophage phenotype”
  • Megan Koceja, biology, “Investigating how litter decomposition and microbial activity respond to long-term fertilization in a wetland habitat”
  • Hanna Kosnik, physiology, “High fat diet induced sex differences in bladder mitochondrial complexes”
  • Christina Larkins, kinesiology, “Clean up your health intervention”
  • Miranda Lee, physics, “Using microfluidics to study the effect flow has on fibrin properties”
  • Madison McCauley, College of Nursing, “From the students perspective: analysis of graduate students quality improvement (QI) learning outcomes using reflective strategies”
  • Erin McCullen, psychology, “Internalized weight bias and self-compassion study”
  • Jaylon Morehead, biology, “Prenatal supplementation prevents birth defects”
  • Chase Neese, foreign languages and literatures, “Linking Tsiolkovsky’s rocket science to humanities”
  • Radha Patel, biology, “Venom proteomic profiling of wandering spiders”
  • Ryan Patton, emergency medicine, “Physiology, relationship between dopamine and morphine responsiveness after spinal cord injury”
  • Morgan Phillips, biology, “Examining the role of Tpr2 in germ cell division”
  • Samantha Poppenfuse, biochemistry and molecular biology, “Toxicology screening of umbilical cords”
  • Taylor Reed, School of Theatre and Dance, “Legends of the past”
  • Sara Roozbehi, biology, “Microbial influence on zombie crab parasitism”
  • Stephiya Sabu, anatomy and cell biology, “Role of claudin-7 on intestinal inflammation”
  • Anup Sanghvi, engineering, “The effect of downstream resistance in a CABG”
  • Catherine Taylor, College of Nursing, “Function trajectory in older adults with heart failure”
  • Chelsea Thompson, health education and promotion, “Nutrition compliance among cancer patients”
  • Erin Tucci, nutrition science, “miRNA regulation of TLR4 in macrophages”
  • Bhakti Vahewala, biology, “Opsin gene expression in white stickleback”
  • Claudia Woznichak, College of Nursing, “Community engagement in a developing country.”

Learn more about the URCA awards online.

 

-by Matt Smith, University Communications

Laupus Library recognizes 119 health sciences authors

Faculty and staff from across East Carolina University’s Division of Health Sciences gathered in an annual celebration of research and scholarship Nov. 8 at the William E. Laupus Health Sciences Library’s 13th annual Health Sciences Author Recognition Awards.

The event was held at The Martinsborough at the Jefferson Blount Harvey Building and was sponsored by the Friends of Laupus Library.

Former Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences Dr. Phyllis Horns presented book author Dr. Kathleen Sitzman, professor for the College of Nursing with a Laupus Bronze medallion during a Nov. 8 celebration held at The Martinsborough at the Jefferson Blount Harvey Building in Greenville.

Former Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences Dr. Phyllis Horns presented book author Dr. Kathleen Sitzman, professor for the College of Nursing, with a Laupus Bronze medallion during a Nov. 8 celebration held at The Martinsborough at the Jefferson Blount Harvey Building in Greenville. (Photos by Michelle Messer)

“Part of the joy in being a librarian in the health sciences is supporting and partnering with the talented faculty and researchers in our health professions schools and colleges,” Laupus Library Director Beth Ketterman said. “Laupus Library is in the unique position to contribute to the success of each author in this room, whether through our leadership in providing the highest quality health information, or through our services and support throughout the research lifecycle.”

Dr. Greg Kearney, associate professor in the department of public health was one of 50 authors recognized from the Brody School of Medicine.

Dr. Greg Kearney, associate professor in the department of public health was one of 50 authors recognized from the Brody School of Medicine.

This year, 119 authors published 329 qualified peer-reviewed publications including journal articles, book chapters and other creative works between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018. Six books were also published by five authors.

Former Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences Dr. Phyllis Horns presented book authors with a Laupus Bronze medallion cast to commemorate the life of William E. Laupus, the first dean of the School of Medicine and first vice chancellor for health sciences at ECU. The medallion is awarded to acknowledge and thank special friends whose generosity and support helped build the library’s collections and programs and making its services more readily available to the citizens of North Carolina.

“It is great to be able to celebrate all our authors, and I think the occasion is particularly important and especially appropriate for us to offer special recognition for our book authors,” Horns said. “What we are doing here in the division will continue to be a tradition.”

Brody School of Medicine Alumnus and Chair of the Friends of Laupus Library, Dr. John Papalas speaks about the importance of the Friends to Laupus Library and the Division of Health Sciences at ECU.

Brody School of Medicine Alumnus and Chair of the Friends of Laupus Library, Dr. John Papalas speaks about the importance of the Friends to Laupus Library and the Division of Health Sciences at ECU.

Authors from the Brody School of Medicine, College of Nursing, College of Allied Health Sciences, Laupus Library, School of Dental Medicine and the College of Health and Human Performance were recognized by name and school or college on a ceremonial display, now available for viewing on the second floor of Laupus Library.

“I was very impressed with the event and the recognition that was given to the faculty and staff authors,” said Denise Donica, associate professor and interim chair of the department of occupational therapy for the College of Allied Health Sciences. “I made it my personal goal to qualify to attend the event every year and have worked really hard to do so. I really appreciate all that Laupus Library and the Friends of Laupus Library do to support not only the College of Allied Health Sciences but the Division of Health Sciences.”

“The faculty and staff in the health disciplines have once again demonstrated a commitment to expanding the scholarly culture of ECU,” Ketterman said. “Their impressive scope of research and publishing in the last year contribute to the scholarly record of their fields and grow the reputation of the university.”

Registration for the 2018-19 author awards will begin in February. More information about the annual awards ceremony – including a complete listing of this year’s published authors – is available online at http://hsl.ecu.edu/events/hsara

Dr. Marie Pokorny and other members of the Friends of Laupus Library stand to be recognized for their sponsorship and ongoing support of the author event and other library programs.

Dr. Marie Pokorny and other members of the Friends of Laupus Library stand to be recognized for their sponsorship and ongoing support of the author event and other library programs.

 

-by Kelly Rogers Dilda, University Communications

Make-a-thon inspires innovation

East Carolina University students brought new ideas and innovations to the university’s BrainSTORM make-a-thon event on Oct. 4, offering fresh perspectives to problems that plague communities after natural disasters.

Nearly 60 students attended the seven-hour event at the university’s Innovation Design Lab, exploring problems encountered by families, businesses and first responders, and prototyping solutions to those challenges.

East Carolina University alumnus Magus Pereria tests a laser sensor that detects the depth of water at the university’s make-a-thon event. The event brought students and mentors together to develop ideas to combat challenges that arise from natural and man-made disasters.

East Carolina University alumnus Magus Pereria tests a laser sensor that detects the depth of water at the university’s make-a-thon event. The event brought students and mentors together to develop ideas to combat challenges that arise from natural and man-made disasters. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

ECU innovators developed plans to provide power through interchangeable batteries to those affected by power outages during disasters; investigated how they could collect and distribute data during disasters using existing infrastructure that could help inform emergency management decision making; and worked on sensors that could detect food spoilage during disaster events.

Senior Austin Rabah, a business management major, said he learned about BrainSTORM through one of his classes.

“This was my first time attending such an event,” Rabah said. “Because of it, I was able to come out of my comfort zone to try to help hurricane victims. I learned a lot about technology development, more specifically the actual amount of work that goes into creating items that could make a difference (in a time of need).”

The make-a-thon, hosted by ECU’s Miller School of Entrepreneurship, Innovation Design Lab, and Division of Research, Economic Development and Engagement, was broken into three sessions. During the morning session, students learned about disaster response and recovery basics during both natural and man-made disasters. The afternoon session saw students split into teams and identify potential disaster issues before building a prototype or business plan in the afternoon session.

Pereira and David Mayo, right, work on the laser sensor during the make-a-thon event.

Pereira and David Mayo, right, work on the laser sensor during the make-a-thon event.

While hurricane relief weighed heavy on the minds of many students, the prototypes developed by the participants weren’t only storm related. A major component of the event was producing solutions that could be used in many types disasters, whether they be hurricanes, floods, earthquakes or even terrorist attacks.

“I believe they learned a lot about the innovation process and how entrepreneurship can help others,” said David Mayo, a teaching instructor with the Miller School of Entrepreneurship and BrainSTORM coordinator. “One day these students may create ventures that can make an impact on their community and the world. It’s not just about making money, it’s about doing good.”

Mayo said the students worked diligently on solutions that could scale beyond just the Greenville community.

“They saw that they can make a big impact in their community by working toward solutions to tough problems, but we really wanted them to think about the big picture,” he said. “Our students can create solutions that really scale. They don’t have to just help in one or two disasters, they can be used across the globe to help a lot of people.”

Rabah agreed and hopes that in the future, even more ECU students will participate in events like the make-a-thon and share their potential ideas.

“I think the make-a-thon was extremely beneficial for all students,” Rahab said. “I really think we should market the event to everyone on campus, not just for business majors, but for everyone who might have even the slightest inclination to help.”

Learn more about how you can help victims of Hurricane Florence at East Carolina Undaunted.

The laser sensor detects the depth of water.

The laser sensor detects the depth of water.

 

-by Matt Smith, University Communications

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