PONTES Research Opportunities

How to apply:

5

Adrian Buganza (abuganza@purdue.edu)

BME
Adrian Buganza Tepole

Research Interests

Computational Mechanics, Machine learning, Computational Biology

Topics of Potential Projects

Pressure ulcer modeling: finite element models of skin, and how it deforms creating ischemia, and subsequent inflammation and wounding.

Embryo morphogenesis: finite element models of zebrafish embryo development, how the embryo gets its shape over time.

Student Requirements / Skills Needed

  • Programming skills (good Matlab, or Python skills, alternatively Java or C++ experience would be good)
  • Mechanics of materials (basic stress analysis)
  • Finite element modeling (basic use of commercial software like Abaqus or Ansys)
12

Brandon Boor (bboor@purdue.edu)

CE
Brandon Boor

Research Interests

air pollution, aerosol science, indoor air physics and chemistry, building ventilation, HVAC filtration, human exposure assessment, nanoaerosols, bioaerosols, air quality instrumentation and sensors.

Topics of Potential Projects

  • Project 1: evaluating building ventilation filter performance.
  • Project 2: characterizing early-life exposures to chemical contaminants in dust.

Student Requirements / Skills Needed

Experience with MATLAB or similar software preferred, undergraduate coursework in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat/mass transfer, air quality engineering, organic chemistry, etc.

2

Craig Goergen (cgoergen@purdue.edu)

BME
Craig Goergen

Research Interests

The mission of the Purdue University Cardiovascular Imaging Research Laboratory (CVIRL) is to advance imaging techniques to study disease progression and improve detection and treatment across a broad spectrum of medical conditions, ultimately enhancing the quality of human life. Under the guidance of Dr. Craig Goergen, we have previously been focused on developing imaging techniques to study both cardiac and vascular disease, but current efforts take a more expansive approach, including research projects from cancer to diabetes. Non-invasive imaging aids our group in the development of technologies that will positively impact the clinical care of patients.

Topics of Potential Projects

Murine cardiac imaging and strain mapping, abdominal aortic aneurysm fluid structure interaction modeling, and/or wearable device development for prediction of preeclampsia or viral infections.

Student Requirements / Skills Needed

Possible skills:

  • Matlab familiarity
  • rodent handling
  • passion for research
  • good in a team environment
19

David Warsinger (dwarsing@purdue.edu)

ME
David Warsinger

Research Interests

Energy water nexus, renewables, nanoengineering, thermofluids.

Topics of Potential Projects

Further, advances in nanotechnology, material science and artificial intelligence allow for new avenues to improve the widespread implementation of desalination and water purification technology. Our projects include applications to water treatment hybridized with renewables, novel membrane materials, thermofluids, photocatalysis for remediating pathogens, HVAC membranes, and more. More info: www.warsinger.com

Student Requirements / Skills Needed

Applicants should have an interest in thermodynamics, water treatment, and sustainability. Applicants with experience in some (not all) of the following are preferred: experimental design and prototyping, manufacturing, Python, LabView, EES, MATLAB, 3D CAD Software, & Adobe Illustrator. Rising Juniors and Seniors are preferred.

4

Elsje Pienaar (epienaar@purdue.edu)

BME
Elsje Pienaar

Research Interests

Computational biology of infectious diseases, computational tools in education

Topics of Potential Projects

Development and analysis of computational models for a variety biomedical systems including viral and bacterial infections.

Student Requirements / Skills Needed

Prior coding experience and familiarity with ordinary differential equations

18

Fabio Ribeiro (fabio@purdue.edu)

ChE
Fabio Ribeiro

Research Interests

Catalysis, renewable fuels and chemicals

Topics of Potential Projects

A range of solid materials, including metals, oxides and zeolites, and carbons, are used as catalysts for upgrading shale gas and renewable biomass feedstocks into transportation fuels and chemicals. However, improved catalyst materials that are more active, selective and stable are needed to valorize shale gas and renewable biomass resources in commercially viable technologies. These aspects of catalytic performance are linked to their bulk and atomic-scale properties. This project will involve developing catalyst synthesis techniques, and applying state-of-the-art characterization methods for bulk and atomic structure (X-ray diffraction, spectroscopy, microscopy), and methods of catalyst evaluation. Please learn more about our projects and goals in the NSF Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources (CISTAR) at www.cistar.us.

Student Requirements / Skills Needed

General Chemistry Level Lab Experience

22

Fu Zhao (fzhao@purdue.edu)

ME
Fu Zhao

Research Interests

Environment friendly design and life cycle engineering, applications of bio-based materials in manufacturing, fast and low-cost detection of pathogenic microorganisms, biomass thermo-chemical upgrading for liquid and gaseous fuel

Topics of Potential Projects

Project title: Sn-Bi Alloy: A More Environmentally Friendly Solder?
Research mentors: Carol A. Handwerker, Fu Zhao (Faculty), Tai-Yuan Huang (PhD student)

Solder plays an important role in electronics manufacturing. Traditionally, tin-lead (Sn-Pb) alloy was the most commonly used solder. Since lead is highly toxic, i.e., even a small amount can be detrimental to human health, Sn-Pb solder was largely phased out in the early 2000s. The dominant solders used globally are in the Sn-Ag-Cu alloy system, melting at approximately 217˚C. These solders are used to join components to circuit boards at temperatures as high as 250˚C. These high processing temperatures lead to high thermal stresses and large warpage of both components and boards, which combine to cause manufacturing defects. To eliminate these problems, researchers have been investigating lower melting temperature solders that can, therefore, be used at lower processing temperatures. The leading candidate is based on tin-bismuth (Sn-Bi) alloys which melt near 139˚C. It has been shown that adding small amounts of other metals (Ag, Cu, Sb, In, Ni) can improve the mechanical properties of these alloys to make them almost as reliability as Sn-Ag-Cu alloys.

This project will answer the question whether Sn-Bi solder has better environmental performance than Sn-Ag-Cu solder. The question is critical for the wide adoption of the new Sn-Bi solder as companies are facing ever increasing pressure to disclose the environmental footprint of their products. The widely used life cycle assessment methodology will be used and extended as very likely dynamic modeling is needed – current level of bismuth production may not meet the demand from wide adoption of Sn-Bi solder. Sn-Bi solder composition and performance data will be provided by an industrial partner. Currently there is no student working on the project, but we have a PhD student who has been working on life cycle assessment of rare earth elements and other minor metals. The REU student will be supervised by the two faculty members and the graduate student and focus on developing a life cycle inventory of bismuth production. Given the relatively low abundance of bismuth we expect that Sn-Bi recycling could become a key factor in determining its environmental performance. Therefore, the REU student will also conduct a literature survey to suggest possible recovery and recycling methods for Sn-Bi solder. Research findings will be communicated to our industrial partner and presented at a technical conference. The REU student has the opportunity to work in a dynamic interdisciplinary environment, and gain new perspective of system thinking.

Student Requirements / Skills Needed

Minimum qualifications

  • introduction level thermodynamics
  • general chemistry
  • familiar with Excel
  • good reading/writing skills

Desired qualifications

  • basic understanding on life cycle thinking
  • some exposure to mining and extractive metallurgy
  • basic understanding on environmental toxicity
11

George Chiu (gchiu@purdue.edu)

ME/ECE
George Chiu

Research Interests

Mechatronics, dynamic systems and control, additive manufacturing, digital printing and imaging systems, motion and vibration control and perception, human motor control.

Topics of Potential Projects

Integrate image based inkjet deposition control - design and implement an image-based inkjet deposition control system for functional printing and drop-on-demand of cells and biomaterials. The project will involve design, manufacturing and integration of the imaging system with inkjet printhead as well as the model and controller design and deployment of the system to existing research printers around the campus.

Student Requirements / Skills Needed

Experience with system dynamics and feedback control and familiar with video image capture and image analysis, Labview, and 3D printing.

10

Guillermo Paniagua (gpaniagua@purdue.edu)

ME
Guillermo Paniagua

Research Interests

Turbines, turbomachinery, Measurement techniques, Propulsion

Topics of Potential Projects

Develop new turbine concepts for clean propulsion:

  • study fundamental problem of fluid mechanics in internal flows
  • performing detailed experimental measurements
  • detailed computational analysis of all the experimental sensors and quantify their distortion in the flow field
  • uncertainty quantification of experimental and computational data

Student Requirements / Skills Needed

Mandatory:

  • Matlab/Python
  • Fundamental courses on Fluids

Nice to have:

  • Introduction to CFD
  • Courses with Prof. William Roberto Wolf at CAMPINAS
16

Jacqueline Linnes (jlinnes@purdue.edu)

BME
Jacqueline Linnes

Research Interests

Infectious diseases are a major cause of death and disability throughout the world. Research in the Linnes Lab focuses on using state of the art microfluidic and paperfluidic technologies to prevent, detect, and better understand the pathogenesis of these infectious diseases. The Linnes Laboratory at Purdue University has openings for Undergraduate Research Assistants to design and translate paper-based point-of-care diagnostic devices. These projects will enable the design and translation of paper-based diagnostic platforms for low-cost and robust device manufacturing at scale.

Topics of Potential Projects

  1. Scale the manufacturing of paper-based point-of-care diagnostics devices using robotic automation tools such as 6-axis robots and Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm (SCARA) robots. The student will learn about robotic automation and develop strategies to reduce the number of manual interventions and errors during the fabrication process of paper-based diagnostic devices.
  2. Optimize the power consumption and functionality of thin film heaters that are part of the point-of-care diagnostic devices fabricated in the lab. The student will optimize the heater design to lower the energy consumption, and develop a system capable of turning on the heaters using a smartphone as the power source. They will also have the opportunity to be involved in testing biological reactions and pathogen detection incubated using the heaters.

Student Requirements / Skills Needed

  • Enrollment in engineering or technical field undergraduate degree
  • Knowledge or interest on programming, electronics design, manufacturing and automation techniques
  • The student should be highly motivated to work in a highly cooperative, interdisciplinary, and productive translational research environment
  • The student should be resourceful and take initiative to succeed
  • interest in health and diagnostic disease detection
8

Jeffrey Greeley (jgreeley@purdue.edu)

ChE
Jeffrey Greeley

Research Interests

Molecular modeling of surface and interfaces to understand and predict how solid catalysts promote desired reaction pathways.

Topics of Potential Projects

  • use of first principles calculations to relate the atomic structure of metal alloy surfaces to the catalytic properties of the alloys for production of useful fuels from shale gas. Prediction of new catalysts for these reactions using kinetic theories and machine learning.
  • first principles, molecular-level study of how solid oxide electrocatalysts convert ethane to ethylene. Formation of kinetic models of these reactions, and prediction of improved catalysts for the reaction.

Student Requirements / Skills Needed

  • working knowledge of engineering thermodynamics
  • interest in learning principles of surface kinetics and reactions
  • interest in working with molecular simulation codes
7

Julie Liu (julieliu@purdue.edu)

ChE
Julie Liu

Research Interests

Protein-based biomaterials for application in tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, and surgical glues.

Topics of Potential Projects

  1. In Vitro Tissue Model for Drug: In collaboration with industry, develop models of human tissue for drug screening.
  2. Cartilage Tissue Engineering: Investigate material properties that promote new cartilage formation and protect cartilage matrix from degradation in an inflamed environment.

Student Requirements / Skills Needed

Preference for students with background in materials development and characterization and/or cell culture and assays.

21

Monica Prezzi (mprezzi@ecn.purdue.edu)

CE
Monica Prezzi

Research Interests

Ground improvement, foundation engineering, retaining structures, foundation instrumentation, soil behavior

Topics of Potential Projects

Response of bridge foundations to loading, Use of digital image technique to study the behavior of foundations tested in a calibration chamber, instrumentation of retaining structures and foundations

Student Requirements / Skills Needed

Knowledge of geotechnical engineering

1

Nan Kong (nkong@purdue.edu)

BME
Nan Kong

Research Interests

Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering Public health data science; public health systems engineering; systems optimization and control; compressive population health

Topics of Potential Projects

Latin America has been plagued by the mosquito species Aedes aegypti since the 1970s, introducing diseases such as Dengue (DENV), Chikungunya (CHIKV), and Zika (ZIKV). In this study, we will utilize data from the established surveillance system to analyze sociodemographic and environmental factors and their contribution to DENV, ZIKV, and CHIKV risk, with the purpose of informing epidemic prevention. In addition, we will study the community logistics and implementation issues regarding the environmental health surveillance and develop stochastic dynamic programming models and corresponding solution methods to cost-Effective profiling of prevalence for these diseases.

Student Requirements / Skills Needed

  • already had courses statistical data modeling
  • basic R/Python or Matlab coding.
  • good experience on statistical and data mining toolboxes, e.g., Scikit-Learn in Python.
  • preferable, some experience on analyzing spatial data for statistical correlation
  • ideally, majored in mathematics, computer science, Industrial and systems engineering.
20

Nusrat Jung (nusratj@purdue.edu)

CE
Nusrat Jung

Research Interests

Architectural engineering, environmental sensing, building disinfection, contaminant mass transport in indoor atmospheres, volatile organic compounds, zero emissions buildings, net-zero energy buildings, environmental assessment of buildings, modular and prefabricated tiny homes, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

Topics of Potential Projects

The objective of this project is to utilize state-of-the-art proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) to evaluate emissions and exposures of volatile chemicals in buildings. My group is investigating volatile chemical emissions from consumer and personal care products, disinfectants and cleaning agents, and building and construction materials. You will assist graduate students with full-scale experiments with our PTR-MS in our new Purdue zEDGE Tiny House and process and analyze indoor air data in MATLAB. Link to video on zEDGE: https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/stories/2020/Stories%20at%20Purdue/new-purdue-lab-provides-tiny-home-for-sustainability-education.html

Student Requirements / Skills Needed

Preferred skills: experience with MATLAB, Python, or R. Coursework: environmental science and chemistry, physics, thermodynamics, heat/mass transfer, and fluid mechanics.

6

Rajamani Gounder (rgounder@purdue.edu)

ChE
Rajamani Gounder

Research Interests

Catalysis, renewable fuels and chemicals

Topics of Potential Projects

A range of solid materials, including metals, oxides and zeolites, and carbons, are used as catalysts for upgrading shale gas and renewable biomass feedstocks into transportation fuels and chemicals. However, improved catalyst materials that are more active, selective and stable are needed to valorize shale gas and renewable biomass resources in commercially viable technologies. These aspects of catalytic performance are linked to their bulk and atomic-scale properties. This project will involve developing catalyst synthesis techniques, and applying state-of-the-art characterization methods for bulk and atomic structure (X-ray diffraction, spectroscopy, microscopy), and methods of catalyst evaluation. Please learn more about our projects and goals in the NSF Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources (CISTAR) at www.cistar.us.

Student Requirements / Skills Needed

General Chemistry Level Lab Experience

15

Rakesh Agrawal (agrawalr@purdue.edu)

ChE
Rakesh Agrawal

Research Interests

  • Electrification and Decarbonization of the Chemical Industry
  • Energy and Sustainability
  • Process Design, Simulation, and Optimization

Topics of Potential Projects

Ethylene is one of the most important building blocks of the chemical industry. Its global market was estimated at ~160 million Tons in 2020 and it is forecast to reach ~210 million Tons by 2027. Between 1.0 and 1.6 tons of CO2 are emitted per ton of Ethylene produced. This means Ethylene production accounted for around 0.47-0.75% of the world’s total carbon emissions in 2020, estimated at 34 billion tons. The U.S. has set a course to reach net-zero emissions economy-wide by no later than 2050. This makes it imperative to decarbonize Ethylene production.

Ethylene is mainly produced by Steam Cracking (SC), where hydrocarbons transform into ethylene in the presence of steam at high temperatures. SC normally implements hydrocarbon combustion to produce the necessary energy for reaction. This is the main reason why SC emits so much CO2. The NSF Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources (CISTAR) is currently researching the coupling of SC with renewable electricity. This would allow a significant reduction of CO2 emissions during SC.

As part of its research, CISTAR carries out detailed Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations. This allows evaluating the impact of fluid behavior during reactions. As part of the Brazil Bridges (Pontes) Program, CISTAR is interested in recruiting one student to support the CFD simulations. The goal is to evaluate the performance of the different reactor geometries considered, as well as propose potentially attractive new configurations. The student would work under the supervision of Dr. Rakesh Agrawal and would be guided by the Ph.D. student Edwin Rodriguez. Additional information about Dr. Rakesh Agrawal research group can be found at the Rakesh Agrawal Research Group website.

Student Requirements / Skills Needed

  • No previous experience with CFD simulations is necessary. However, it is advisable the student has a strong motivation for computer simulations and solid knowledge of Chemical Engineering Principles.
  • Experience in Aspen Plus and Ansys Fluent could be very beneficial
  • Additional experience using Hysys, MATLAB, Mathematica, VisualBasic Blender, Unreal Engine, Inventor, or AutoCAD could also be of help
17

Rakesh Agrawal (agrawalr@purdue.edu)

ChE
Rakesh Agrawal

Research Interests

The fabrication of high efficiency, solution-processed photovoltaics. This includes solution-phase nanomaterial synthesis, scalable thin film coating methods, optoelectronic characterization, and semiconductor device manufacturing.

Topics of Potential Projects

Fabrication of metal chalcogenide semiconductors by solution-based methods is a promising route to inexpensive and high-throughput manufacturing of photovoltaic devices. However, these methods often rely on simple metal salts (such as metal halides, nitrates, or acetates) as precursors, and the anions in these salts can lead to impurities in the final product. To bypass this challenge, researchers have developed chemistries that allow for the dissolution of metal and metal chalcogenide precursors through a reactive dissolution that produces a soluble complex with metal-sulfur bonding. While this is suitable for the synthesis of metal sulfides, similar routes for metal selenides are lacking.

In this project, we investigate a new and facile route to directly produce soluble metal polyselenides and the application of these complexes as solution-phase precursors for metal selenide synthesis. Researchers will crystallize the metal polyselenides and utilize X-Ray Diffraction to determine the exact structure of the complexes. Additionally, researchers will utilize these precursors to make metal selenide thin films for application in solar cells. In this work, researchers will gain experience in chemical synthesis, thin film fabrication, and materials characterization, while learning how these concepts can be applied to photovoltaics.

Student Requirements / Skills Needed

General Chemistry Level Lab Experience

9

Rodrigo Salgado (rodrigo@ecn.purdue.edu)

CE
Rodrigo Salgado

Research Interests

  • Geomechanics
  • Computational geomechanics
  • Offshore foundations
  • Renewable energy infrastructure
  • Material point method
  • Digital image correlation

Topics of Potential Projects

  • Geomechanics
  • Computational geomechanics
  • Offshore foundations
  • Renewable energy infrastructure
  • Material point method
  • Digital image correlation

Student Requirements / Skills Needed

Some coding ability would be helpful. Some knowledge of instrumentation would also be helpful. Basic knowledge of soil mechanics is required.

3

Tamara Kinzer-Ursem (tursem@purdue.edu)

BME
Tamara Kinzer-Ursem

Research Interests

Computational Biology, Modeling of Biological Systems, Protein Engineering, Point of Care Diagnostics

Topics of Potential Projects

  1. Investigations into the dynamics of protein signaling in neurons and cardiac cells
  2. Development of point-of-care assays for detection of disease
  3. Labeling new protein synthesis to investigate disease progression

Student Requirements / Skills Needed

Experience with microfluidic systems, molecular or synthetic biology, proteomics, or python programing or control systems.

13

Thomas Siegmund (siegmund@purdue.edu)

ME
Thomas Siegmund

Research Interests

Mechanics of Materials; Fracture Mechanics; Biomechanics

Topics of Potential Projects

  • Topic 1: Fracture of assembled structures. Using LEGOs a building blocks investigate the fracture response of built-up structures and investigate effects of crack tip constraint on the effect of specimen size on fracture.
  • Topic 2: 3D printing bone structures for visualization of microscale damage in bone. Transfer 3D medical images to 3D print files, manufacture specimens for visualization of bone damage.
  • Topic 3: Create flat vault structures based on the Penrose tiling. Design and manufacture (3D print), and by experiments, determine the mechanical properties of such systems.

Student Requirements / Skills Needed

Students ideally should have taken courses in mechanics of materials, finite element analysis. Interest in working with materials, CAD is useful.