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Undergrads take their research to Albany

SUNY Provost Alex Cartwright, who also holds an appointment as professor of electrical engineering at UB, meets with UB students Matthew Falcone and Lily Talal at the Undergraduate Student Research and Creative Activities Forum held in Albany. Photo: Tim Tryjankowski

By LAURA HERNADNEZ

Published March 3, 2016

“I think the future of New York State is in great hands with these great young minds.”
Tim Tryjankowski, director
Center for Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities

Two UB undergraduates found themselves on a mission last week in Albany: to show SUNY leaders that their investment in student research is money well spent.

Matthew Falcone and Lily Talal presented their research to SUNY leaders at the biannual SUNY Undergraduate Student Research and Creative Activities Forum, held Feb. 24 at the Legislative Office Building. They were accompanied by Tim Tryjankowski, director of UB’s Center for Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities (CURCA).

The forum celebrates undergraduate research by inviting two students from each of the SUNY campuses to present their work to members of the New York State Senate and Assembly, as well as representatives of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and SUNY administrators, including Chancellor Nancy Zimpher.  

SUNY is educating and training the next generation of researchers in a multitude of fields,” Tryjankowski says. “State support is crucial in allowing for a top-tier, yet affordable university education. By bringing the ‘results’ — the tangible research outcomes and discoveries to our elected officials — a strong case is made to elicit more support from Albany.”

Falcone, a sophomore double majoring in environmental and civil engineering, presented research titled “Design of Parabolic Solar Trough for Empowered Sustainable Water Treatment in Developing Countries.” The aim of the project was to develop the most efficient parabolic solar trough design that can disinfect water in developing countries and during emergency conditions.

Falcone’s mentor on the project is James Jensen, professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering.  

“This year we hit a home run with Matthew Falcone,” Tryjankowski says. “His project hits home with legislative leaders, not only because of its international outreach, but locally there are implications of this work, he says, noting that the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, “makes New York officials take notice of Jensen and Matthew’s work.”

“UB is at the forefront of examining and providing solutions to our basic need for clean water,” Tryjankowski says.

Talal, a freshman studying biomedical sciences, presented her research, “The Acute Effect of Shiitake and White Button Mushrooms on Postprandial Lipemia and Lipid Peroxidation,” with her mentor Peter Horvath, associate professor of exercise and nutrition sciences. Their work focuses on developing a treatment strategy to reduce the risk of cardiometabolic diseases. They have been focusing on mushrooms and how the fungi could improve dyslipidemia — an abnormal amount of lipids in the blood — by being a dietary substitution for meat.  

“I think the future of New York State is in great hands with these great young minds,” Tryjankowski says. “I am thrilled to have these two UB undergraduates representing our campus.”