Purdue University
Purdue University

HS-STEM Career Development Program

2007 Recipients

Tyshia Gwin - Biological Sciences

Advisor: Dr. David Sanders
Research Description: Tyshia, an undergraduate student, is working with the E3 glycoprotein of the Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus (VEE), which is transmitted through a mosquito vector. Although there have been extensive studies on the virus, there is no approved vaccine or treatment. There has been much concern of VEE use as an incapacitating bioterrorism agent. The E3 protein, when it is associated with the E1 and E2 proteins, which are responsible for entry of VEE into cells, acts as a natural inhibitor of viral penetration into cells. Solving the structure of the E3 glycoprotein and determining its mechanism of action could potentially lead to synthesis of inhibitory molecules that could combat the virus if an outbreak occurred.

Rachel Suzanne Beard - Virology

Advisor: Dr. Erik Barton
Research Description: Gammaherpesviruses (γHV) cause various types of cancer in immunocompromised individuals. Due to the species specificity of human γHV, studying the human diseases caused by these viruses is difficult. Murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV68) provides a working animal model to study these viruses in each stage of the viral life cycle. Her research focuses on elucidation of a Type I Interferon (IFNαβ function during latency of γHVs using the MHV68 system. This information can be used to provide new methods of treatment for these viruses and ideally bring about the prevention of the cancers caused by these viruses.

Nwokedi C. Idika - Computer Science

Advisor: Dr. Bharat Bhargava
Research Description: The focus of Nwokedi’s research is to demonstrate the usefulness of the attack graph for dynamic network environments. An attack graph shows a network administrator all the known ways an attacker may leverage interdependencies among vulnerabilities to violate some set of security policies.

Kyle Montgomery - Electrical Engineering

Advisor: Dr. Jerry Woodall
Research Description: In an effort to aid the rapid response and mitigation of power loss in disasterstricken regions, a high efficiency solar cell would be of use for providing sufficient power from a small-area device. The primary method for increasing efficiencies in solar cells is through a multijunction cell. In this design, several semiconducting materials are stacked together–each one responding to unique portions of the solar spectrum. A key to boosting the efficiency of the multijunction cell is the integration of a high band gap solar cell in the 2.3 - 2.5eV region, which targets high energy photons and would be the top-most cell in the stack. Kyle’s research is focused on the design, growth, and fabrication of a new high band gap solar cell utilizing zinc selenide and gallium arsenide.

Daniel Richardson - Mechanical Engineering

Advisor: Dr. Robert Lucht
Research Description: Lasers can be used to detect specific chemicals and track concentration levels. Daniel is focusing on a technique called Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Spectroscopy (CARS) using ultra-short (femtosecond) pulses of light. This technique could be used for explosive, chemical, and biological threat detection.