2017-2018 Cohort

2017-2018 Cohort

Rhea Fernandes

Pursuing MS, Electrical Engineering

Rhea Fernandes.

"My research goal is to demonstrate that terahertz graphene anti-dot array metasurfaces integrated with gold disks for field enhancement can lead to sensitive detection of biomolecules. My project involves design, simulation and fabrication of the devices and characterizing absorption spectra of biomolecules adsorbed on the devices."

Nikhila Nyayapathi

Pursuing PhD, Electrical Engineering

Nikhila Nyayapathi.

"I enjoy working with sensing and imaging technology for interdisciplinary applications. My research is in the area of photoacoustics, which is a combination of optics and ultrasound, for biomedical imaging. I am currently developing a prototype system to screen women for breast cancer, especially those with dense breasts."

Vicky Zheng

Pursuing PhD, Computer Science

Vicky Zheng.

"Everyday, we are learning more about the role of microbes in our world. Microbes affect every aspect of our society ranging from agriculture to an individual’s mental and physical health. My research is in developing efficient tools to study these microbes that are compatible with mobile devices."

Valeria Prieto

Pursuing MS, Civil Engineering

Vicky Zheng.

"Although not currently involved in research, I hope to use the rapidly developing research-based knowledge I have gained in my graduate courses on the design of earthquake-resistant structures. In the near future, I hope to be given the opportunity to apply this knowledge to design such structures, especially in areas largely affected by seismic activity."

Cressa Ria Fulong

Pursuing PhD, Chemistry

Cressa Ria Fulong.

"I work on applying the host/guest properties of self-assembled metal-organic materials for organic pollutant capture and gas separation."

Natalie Jay

Pursuing PhD, Biomedical Sciences

Natalie Jay.

"Vitamin D, which comes from the sun and food, is needed for overall bone health. The body needs to process vitamin D in order to use it. What I study is how vitamin D is processed and maintained at a normal level within the body."

Claudia Murillo

Pursuing MS, Civil Engineering

Claudia Murillo.

"I am pursuing a Master in Bridge Engineering at the University at Buffalo thanks to the Fulbright Program. My main goal is to learn the current methods and criteria for designing bridges in high seismic hazard zones, and to implement that knowledge in projects for my country."

Alia Lesnek

Pursuing PhD, Geology

Alia Lesnek.

"I study interactions between humans, glaciers, and climate. I use remote sensing and isotopic dating methods to reconstruct glacier change in Greenland and Alaska over the past 20,000 years, an interval that spans several well-known climate transitions and many significant events in human history."

Gabrielle Pawlowski

Pursuing PhD, Chemical Engineering

Gabrielle Pawlowski.

"Complex carbohydrate structures are essential in biology for processes such as communication between cells, helping proteins form, and can also be used to help identify the presence of potential diseases. My research is the development of a software program that automatically analyzes experimental mass spectrometry data to determine these structures."

Rachel Lim

Pursuing PhD, Biomedical Engineering

Rachel Lim.

"Photoacoustic is a hybrid imaging modality that acoustically detects optical absorption contrasts by converting light energy into sound energy. My research revolves around implementing and improving photoacoustic breast imaging as a modality to detect breast cancer for patients with dense breast tissues."

Bianca Quade

Pursuing PhD, Biomedical Sciences

Bianca Quade.

"Living things are made of cells that have gated openings which allow small molecules inside. If too many molecules get inside the cell, the cell can burst. I study the gates on cells because sometimes the gates don’t work properly and this leads to disease."

Ashley White

Pursuing PhD, Biomedical Sciences

Ashley White.

"One of the most common healthcare-associated infections worldwide, is CAUTI (catheter-associated urinary tract infection). Prolonged use of indwelling catheters can result in continuous urine colonization by bacteria and can lead to infections of the bladder, kidneys, and the bloodstream. My lab utilizes this disease model to investigate microbe-microbe interactions, host-microbe interactions, and patient characteristics that influence disease severity."

Alexandra Glathar

Pursuing PhD, Biomedical Sciences

Alexandra Glathar.

"An important process to the progression of cancer is the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) which allows cancer cells to leave the primary tumor and metastasize to other areas of the body and form new tumors. Other changes due to EMT also cause cancer cells to become more resistant to therapy which leads to poor prognosis. My lab studies this process in head and neck, breast, and skin cancer."

Shirley Xu

Pursuing PhD, Biomedical Sciences

Shirley Xu.

"Oligodendrocytes are cells that produce myelin (fatty white matter that insulates the axons for nerve function). When this production is disrupted and nerves become degraded, disabling multiple sclerosis can occur. The neurotransmitter acetylcholine has been shown to impede oligodendrocyte function but can also have non-neuronal sources, which we intend to characterize."

Ramla Qureshi

Pursuing PhD, Civil Engineering

Ramla Qureshi.

"Full-scale structural fire testing is extremely expensive. I am developing a cost-effective methodology to perform hybrid fire testing, where a building element is tested in a furnace in the laboratory, while taking into account effects from the rest of the structure through a computer simulation throughout the duration of fire."

Dominique Hickson

Pursuing MS, Computer Science and Engineering

Dominique Hickson.

"My research interests includes Computer Science Education, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning. Right now I am working to provide augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices personally tailored to the needs of individuals who do not have the ability to communicate verbally or through body language."

Ely Cuberos

Pursuing MS, Neuroscience

Ely Cuberos.

"My research has been focused on characterizing changes in demyelinated rodent brains, driven by Theiler’s Murine Encephalomyelitis Virus (TMEV), using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). I quantified fractional anisotropy (FA) changes in white matter brain structures. DTI is an emerging imaging technique for revealing pathological changes in multiple sclerosis (MS). TMEV, a mouse model of MS, is an immune-mediated chronic demyelinating disease of the central nervous system initiated by an intracerebral injection of virus. TMEV progression has not yet been characterized by DTI FA. We measured FA changes using high field MRI scanning in order to understand how different structures are affected by TMEV longitudinally."

Zhasmina Tacheva

Pursuing PhD, Operations Management and Strategy

Zhasmina Tacheva.

"My work examines the structural and relational embeddedness of organizations in supply chains, sustainability alliances, and the market network in general. By investigating firms' positions in these different types of networks, I try to demonstrate the importance of being connected to others in terms of performance and learning (descriptive research), show what the market will likely look like in the future by modeling future interorganizational interactions (predictive research), and make a case for why companies should engage in initiatives beyond their own boundaries (prescriptive research)."

Warda Azad

Pursuing BS, Industrial Engineering

Warda Azad.

"I am currently collaborating with a team of engineering students to develop a Filter Pressure-Drop test machine for Precision Plus, a vacuum pump manufacturing company. My role involves creating a cost analysis chart for all the parts needed, researching where to order those parts, calculating how much to order and when to order, understanding the limitations of making such a pump filter and whether to make it in-house or to outsource it. Then I am to provide a fabrication plan for said machine for their existing pumps to give them tangible results to strike comparisons between their filters and their competitors."

Ashwini Aher

Pursuing MS, Electrical Engineering

Ashwini Aher.

"I had worked on thesis titled 'Comparison of Vocal Tract Shape Estimation (VTSE) Based on Autocorrelation, Covariance, Lattice and Formant Frequencies.' In this thesis, I had recorded speech signal from different age group children and using that signal I had, estimated vocal tract shape. Estimated vocal tract shape has applications in development of speech training aids, vowel production, spoken word recognition, speaker recognition. Now I am studying Machine Learning."

Anjula Kosswattaarachchi

Pursuing PhD, Chemistry

Anjula Kosswattaarachchi.

"The development of efficient, low-cost electrical energy storage (EES) technologies is imperative for the incorporation of renewable energy sources into the electrical grid. Redox Flow Batteries (RFBs) have gained momentum in recent years as large scale rechargeable EES systems addressing the issues associated with unreliability of scalable sources of energy. Despite a lot of attractive features, broad-scale implementation of RFBs is hindered due to lack of suitable charge-carriers. The primary goal of my thesis project has been to develop new charge carriers for RFBs using molecular-level design principles guided by electrochemical analysis to address stability, solubility, and energy density."

Nuwanthi Suwandaratne

Pursuing PhD, Chemistry

Nuwanthi Suwandaratne.

"Solar hydrogen production through water splitting is a clean and efficient way to address ever-increasing energy demand and to overcome the catastrophic effects of CO2 emissions. In my research, we demonstrate quantum dot/nanowire (CdSe/β-Pb0.33V2O5) heterostructure catalyst as a promising candidate for photoelectrochemical water-splitting."

Janel Abbott

Pursuing MS, Chemical Engineering

Janel Abbott.

"My research focuses on utilizing nonprecious metal based catalysts for the electrolysis of water. Specifically, I am optimizing the cathodic electrocatalyst material used to break water into oxygen gas. The research has the potential to lower the costs associated with fuel cells and other renewable energy devices."

Sasheen Hamilton

Pursuing PhD, Biophysics

Sasheen Hamilton.

"My career focus is to improve the potential of photodynamic therapy (PDT) as a standard treatment modality for patients with locally advanced aggressive cancers. PDT is a minimally invasive method that involves the application of a photosensitizer (PS) that is activated by laser light delivered to the targeted tumor cells. Upon activation, the PS creates oxidative products inside each tumor cell that leads to cell death and destruction of the tumor."