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Bioengineering, mechanical engineering students take top honors at spring undergraduate research forum

From left to right, bioengineering junior Zhongyu Li, senior Janae Bradley and mechanical engineering junior Alex Dodd hold their award certificates from the Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievements Forum.

From left to right, bioengineering junior Zhongyu Li, senior Janae Bradley and mechanical engineering junior Alex Dodd hold their award certificates from the Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievements Forum.

Hundreds of students presented at MU’s annual Spring Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievements Forum, including 133 students from the College of Engineering. Two bioengineering students and a mechanical engineering student were recognized for Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Research in the Engineering Sciences category.

Bioengineering senior Janae Bradley won top honors for her poster, “In vitro investigation of a novel chitinNP-AgNP collagen template.” Bradley’s research project examines chronic wound treatment materials for diabetic patients, and she has worked on parts of the project for the last two years. She examined how crosslinking pig collagen with silver or chitin nanoparticles can strengthen the collagen for use as a wound dressing and analyzed the properties of the finished template.

“Janae is an outstanding student, and this is a well-deserved honor for all of her hard-work,” said bioengineering Professor Sheila Grant, Bradley’s faculty adviser.

Mechanical engineering junior Alex Dodd received honorable mention for his poster, “Hydrophilic and hydrophobic nanostructures and their effect on heat transfer in oscillating heat pipes.” This research, which he began last summer, looked at advancing the efficiency of oscillating heat pipes (OHP) by adding either hydrophobic (water resistant) or hydrophilic (water mixable) nanostructures to the surface of the OHPs. Dodd said as a result of the research, his team identified areas for further investigation.

His adviser is mechanical engineering Professor Hongbin “Bill” Ma.

Bioengineering junior Zhongyu Li also was an honorable mention recipient for her poster, “Rapid culture-based detection of Mycobacteria using multi-frequency impedance measurements.” Her research paired her with four other students this spring to try to develop a technique that would cut the time it takes to detect bacteria in blood samples from tuberculosis (TB) patients. Li said the aim is to find a detection method that is quicker than current, culture-based detection methods and to make the technique applicable to more diseases.

Her adviser is bioengineering Associate Professor Shramik Sengupta.

In addition to the student awards, Computer Science Department Assistant Professor Prasad Calyam was nominated for the Outstanding Undergraduate Mentor Award. The student-nominated award is presented to two undergraduate research mentors each year.

The spring undergraduate forum allows undergraduate researchers campus-wide to showcase their work. The awards ceremony recognizes the top posters in six categories, as well as other undergraduate research achievements throughout the year.