Dover, DE, United States

Delaware State University

www.desu.edu
Dover, DE, United States

Delaware State University , is an American historically black, public university located in Dover, Delaware. DSU also has two satellite campuses located in Wilmington, Delaware, and Georgetown, Delaware. The university encompasses six colleges and a diverse population of undergraduate and advanced-degree students. Wikipedia.

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Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: CRII CISE Research Initiation | Award Amount: 174.99K | Year: 2016

Increasingly medical devices are dependent on software and the wireless channel for their operations, which also pose new vulnerabilities to their safe, dependable, and trustworthy operations. Medical devices such as implantable insulin pumps, which are in wide use today, continuously monitor and manage a patients diabetes without the need for frequent daily patient interventions. These devices, not originally designed against cyber security threats, must now mitigate these threats. This project examines security vulnerabilities in these implantable medical device systems and offers new insights and understanding to protect these devices and prevent their misuse by users and abuse by hackers.

Specifically, this research addresses how to detect and defend against man-in-the-middle and replay attacks between the glucose sensor and the insulin pump or monitor device held by patients. Detection of such an attack is addressed via a personalized model to calculate and recognize abnormal glucose levels. To remotely secure the dosage setting over a wireless link, a bio-key based on personalized parameters unique to each patient with diabetes mellitus, is used. Authentication is carried out via an acoustic-based fingerprint scheme coupled with voice pattern recognition technology. A mixed acoustic and radio wave-based secure channel in an artificial pancreas is being developed to test and validate this approach. While this project focuses on glucose sensors and insulin pumps, these security schemes can be applied broadly to other wireless medical devices. This project is being carried out at Delaware State University, a historically black college or university, and leverages collaborations with the University of Pennsylvania and University of Alabama to design a secure wireless insulin pumping system, and will support diverse undergraduate and graduate students for two years. The research results will also be used to design and implement course materials on cyber-physical systems security and will help train students to become tomorrows cyber security professionals.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Digitization | Award Amount: 72.72K | Year: 2016

In light of the increasingly urban future of our planet, a thorough understanding of the biological processes at work in urban areas is necessary for the continued survival of Earths inhabitants, including humans. The first step in that understanding is to know what thrives, survives, or perishes in cities, now and in the past. The Mid-Atlantic Megalopolis (MAM) Project begins this study by looking at vascular plants, with the digitization of roughly 700,000 herbarium specimens from eleven institutions, including public and private universities, state agencies, arboreta, museums, and botanic gardens, in the urban corridor from New York City to Washington, D.C. As the largest, oldest, and most populated urban corridor in the U.S., this area and its flora present a unique opportunity for the study of urbanization, particularly given its rich herbarium collections, containing specimens collected over the last 400 years. The data mobilized in this effort will help us achieve a better scientific understanding of living urban systems, a critical need for urban planners, restoration ecologists, environmental engineers, (landscape) architects, and conservationists engaged in creating more sustainable and better designed cities, including the constructed and restored natural environments of our urban areas.

Digitization of each specimen in the MAM Project will result in a high resolution image, a databased record of collection metadata, and a georeferenced point, all of which will be made publicly available online. Building on already successful regional programs, the MAM Project will partner with schools, universities, botanical clubs, and the general public to crowd source databasing efforts and to recruit citizen scientists to help build urban floras online, enabling not only increased digitization efficiency, but educational and research opportunities as well. The MAM Project also includes new developments for data cleaning and standardization in Symbiota, which will expedite the use of digitized specimen data for research, and new reporting features which will advance digitization workflow and project management. This award is made as part of the National Resource for Digitization of Biological Collections through the Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections program, and all data resulting from this award will be available through the national resource (iDigBio.org).


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: HIST BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIV | Award Amount: 225.07K | Year: 2015

NONTECHNICAL SUMMARY
The Division of Materials Research and the Division of Human Resource Development contribute funds to this award. It supports theoretical research and education aimed at understanding a particular kind of defect in crystalline diamond where a nitrogen atom replaces a carbon atom and an adjacent carbon atom site is unoccupied. This NV center traps electrons in a small region where they occupy a quantum state with angular momentum - in a sense it appears as though the electronic state is spinning. Control of the quantum state of the NV center is a route to performing computation through the manipulation of quantum mechanical states - quantum computing.

The PI aims to study NV center interactions with various impurities and contaminants in diamond. By elucidating how undesirable quantum mechanical effects may be minimized, the research may lead to advances in ultra-high resolution imaging and magnetic field detection. The PI will use formal theoretical methods and computer simulations, to investigate the mechanism of stability and loss of coherence - the deterioration of a quantum state. The resulting models will be compared with the experimental results of collaborators at Harvard and Delaware State University.

This award also supports the education of a graduate student and two undergraduate students at Delaware State University, one of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The students will benefit from exposure to modeling, mathematical calculations, programming, and data analysis techniques, and will have opportunities to interact with other researchers at the Institute for Theoretical Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics at Harvard. The PI will develop a new graduate course incorporating various many-body physics techniques and results from the research. Analysis algorithms developed in this project will be distributed to the greater scientific community through freely available user-developed code libraries. The research results will also be incorporated into a scientific presentation at the Physics Open House, an outreach activity held annually on the Delaware State University campus to promote science in the vicinity.

TECHNICAL SUMMARY
The Division of Materials Research and the Division of Human Resource Development contribute funds to this award. It supports theoretical research and education aimed to advance understanding and controlling the stability of nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers due to structural defects and contaminants.

The PI aims to develop a theoretical framework for understanding NV center interactions with various impurities and contaminants. The research will concentrate on three specific objectives:

(1) Interactions of NV centers having various surface terminations with water molecules covering the surface. The PI will develop a model to calculate the stability of the NV center at various depths from the surface and to predict the probability that the NV center will be neutralized and that a nitrogen atom will migrate to the surface.
(2) Interactions with bulk substitutional atom impurities. The PI will determine how the impurity population distribution changes at various implantation energies and temperatures, and will calculate the decoherence rate of a NV spin in a dilute spin bath of substitutional atom impurities.
(3) Line broadening in electron spin resonance spectra. Line broadening reduces the sensitivity of magnetic field detection in NV-based devices. The PI will determine the cause of line broadening and will develop a scheme to minimize it. By elucidating how undesirable quantum mechanical effects may be minimized, the present research may lead to advances in ultra-high resolution imaging and magnetic field detection.

The PI will use analytical and numerical methods, including computer simulations, to investigate the mechanism of decoherence. The resulting models will be compared with the experimental results of collaborators at Harvard and Delaware State University.
This award also supports the education of a graduate student and two undergraduate students at Delaware State University, one of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The students will benefit from exposure to modeling, mathematical calculations, programming, and data analysis techniques, and will have opportunities to interact with other researchers at the Institute for Theoretical Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics at Harvard. The PI will develop a new graduate course incorporating various many-body physics techniques and results from the research. Analysis algorithms developed in this project will be distributed to the greater scientific community through freely available user-developed code libraries. The research results will also be incorporated into a scientific presentation at the Physics Open House, an outreach activity held annually on the Delaware State University campus to promote science in the vicinity.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: CROSS-EF ACTIVITIES | Award Amount: 700.00K | Year: 2016

The long-term objective of this research is to uncover the cellular mechanisms involved in activity-dependent modification to the excitability of neurons in the spinal cord that control motor function, i.e., spinal motoneurons. Understanding how spinal motoneuron output properties can be modified by increased as well as decreased activity is a fundamental challenge with implications that span from athletic training to rehabilitation and advanced prosthetics. The project serves to generate a quantitative understanding of how persistent activation of motoneurons modulates the neurons intrinsic excitability and how this effect, in turn, influences the neurons output to drive muscle contraction. Motoneurons have long been thought to function simply as relays from motor commands to muscle activation. However, growing evidence demonstrates that these neurons can undergo significant modification (plasticity) that can change the relationship between input and output. Recent work with motoneurons demonstrates that plasticity in intrinsic electrical properties might be important for learning in the motor system. The goal of this project is to determine how prolonged activation, as occurs with sustained walking, changes the intrinsic excitability of motorneurons. Alongside experimental studies, the project includes the development of detailed computational models of spinal motoneuron activity before and after persistent activation that are based on but also guide the experimental work. Delaware State University is a Historically-Black, primarily undergraduate institution, with an enrollment that is >75% African-American. Thus, a broader impact of this project is the training of students who are members of under-represented groups. Trainees are exposed to a comprehensive research environment, including technical approaches representing state-of-the-art electrophysiological and computational neuroscience, as well as given career guidance, training in writing and communication, and exposure to grant proposal writing to foster the students professional development as scientists.

Mechanisms of synaptic plasticity have been intensively studied in the central nervous system, but the potential for plasticity in neurons intrinsic properties has received little attention. The goal of this project is to understand the plasticity of spinal motoneurons and to determine how prolonged activation, as what occurs with sustained walking, changes their intrinsic excitability. The project involves the application of electrophysiological, immunohistochemical, and pharmacological methods in mouse spinal cord slices. The overarching hypothesis is that alteration of KCNQ/Kv7.2 channel function and changes in axonal initial segment properties are the primary mechanisms of adaptation of spinal motoneurons to prolonged network activation, and that activation of excitatory synaptic inputs is required for these changes. The project includes the development of detailed computational models of spinal motoneuron activity before and after persistent activation, exploiting a multi-objective evolutionary algorithm approach capable of matching multiple selection criteria simultaneously and of generating entire collections of neuronal models. The computational models are based on experimental measurements, and the models in turn generate experimentally testable hypotheses. Thus, experiments and simulations are closely intertwined in this project.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: HIST BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIV | Award Amount: 399.97K | Year: 2015

The Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) through Targeted Infusion Projects supports the development, implementation, and study of evidence-based innovative models and approaches for improving the preparation and success of HBCU undergraduate students so that they may pursue STEM graduate programs and/or careers. The project at Delaware State University (DSU) seeks to create the Cyber Infused Mathematics Initiative (CIMI) to establish inverted classes for introductory mathematics courses using a student-centered approach that blends online mastery learning and in-class inquiry-based instruction within a scientific problem solving context. Currently, 89% of freshmen students at DSU place into a non-credit, developmental mathematics course. Not being able to take the introductory mathematics and other gatekeeper courses reduces student persistence and retention. The main goal of the CIMI is to improve retention of STEM students, particularly between the freshman and sophomore year by creating a supportive culture of active learning.

The project seeks to transform mathematics instruction at DSU to improve students learning outcomes and engagement with STEM topics; to increase the passing rate of STEM freshman enrolled in College Algebra; to increase the number of students retained in STEM majors from the freshman to sophomore year; to increase the number of students who graduate in STEM majors; and to develop a cadre of interdisciplinary faculty committed to implementing best practices in the teaching of introductory mathematics. Mathematics and science faculty will collaborate first to revise the College Algebra course which serves the majority of entering STEM freshman. They will then adapt the approach to Trigonometry and Calculus I, the mathematics courses STEM students take after completing College Algebra. This project will produce an empirically based model that bridges the gap in student preparation between developmental and college-level mathematics coursework, as well as link professional development with changes in instructional practices and students mathematical practices at the college level. The project will examine undergraduate students mathematics learning and achievement in the context of a historically black university, where 81% of the undergraduate students are from racial and ethnic groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM. The project is guided by an on-going evaluation.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: OFFICE OF MULTIDISCIPLINARY AC | Award Amount: 286.82K | Year: 2016

The National Science Foundation uses the Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) funding mechanism to support exploratory work in its early stages on untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas or approaches. This EAGER project was awarded as a result of the invitation in the Dear Colleague Letter NSF 16-080 to proposers from Historically Black Colleges and Universities to submit proposals that would strengthen research capacity of faculty at the institution. The project at Delaware State University aims to examine the feasibility of increasing the output energy in ultra-short laser pulses by over 100 times via the Stimulated Raman Backscattering (SRBS) technique. If this project succeeds, it could transform ultra-high intensity lasers, which in turn would have great technological and scientific impact. The project will strengthen research capacity and provide educational opportunities to students in the area of plasma physics. This project is funded by the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences.

An alternative to the present chirped pulse amplification for high power laser is the Stimulated Raman Backscattering (SRBS) scheme, where a resonant interaction in plasma coherently mediates energy transfer from the long pump into the much shorter seed. The backscattered short seed should undergo simultaneous amplification and compression, and since plasma is impervious to optical damage and has unique dispersion properties, its power can grow to extraordinary levels. Feasibility of SRBS lasers was demonstrated theoretically and experimentally. Still, despite some progress over the past decade, the maximum amplified pulse energy was limited to milli-joule levels due to early saturation. This project addresses obstacles in SRBS through an integrated theoretical, computational, and experimental approach, and aims to develop a solid theoretical understanding of the underlying mechanism for the early saturation, verified by simulation and confirmed with experiments; develop a scheme to overcome the saturation limit and prove that the saturation barrier can be resolved; and demonstrate how a coherent, single spiked, and single cycled petawatt laser pulse can be generated via a moving soliton cavity in a millimeter-long plasma.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: HIST BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIV | Award Amount: 98.59K | Year: 2015

The National Science Foundation uses the EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) funding mechanism to support exploratory work in its early stages on untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas or approaches. The project at Delaware State University aims to integrate research and education to establish the foundation for a new research direction in plasmonic semiconductors, and for validating an educational approach by promoting innovative research to undergraduate chemistry students. The research will explore a paradigm shift in plasmonic materials by investigating ternary and quaternary chalcogenide semiconductor nanostructures for their plasmonic effects in the infrared region. The projects progress and methodology will be captured in a course designed to train students in innovation and creative thinking in research.

Recent research reports indicate that nanostructured semiconductor particles could exhibit potent plasmonic effects in the near infrared region that could impact dramatically their light-matter interaction. A plethora of semiconductor materials, both oxides and chalcogenides, have been thoroughly investigated for their photovoltaic properties and therefore their preparation methods are readily available. The proposed project seeks to synthesize and explore plasmonic effects in germanium chalchogenides, CuGeS2 and Cu2ZnGeS4, using the previously reported CuInS2 nanorings as models for the synthetic approach. The findings of these unprecedented studies will be applied to a large number of chalcogenides. The knowledge generated in the area of chalcogenide semiconductors could lead to developing novel devices in the field of infrared detectors for applications in areas such as personal protection or food safety.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: HIST BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIV | Award Amount: 350.00K | Year: 2015

The Historically Black Colleges and Universities - Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) provides support to design, implement, and assess strategies that can lead to comprehensive institutional efforts to increase the number of students receiving undergraduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and enhance the quality of their preparation by strengthening STEM education and research at HBCUs. The project at Delaware State University seeks to change the equation for science and mathematics by focusing on introductory mathematics and science courses and the critical transition from the freshman to the sophomore year. The project focuses particularly on the College Algebra course, a preparation course for Calculus, since currently 89% of first time, first year students at Delaware State University place into a no-credit, developmental mathematics course.

Activities that are part of this project are: a virtual summer bridge program focusing on mathematics for all incoming freshmen declaring a STEM major; study hall for all freshmen STEM majors; and research opportunities for freshmen and sophomore STEM majors. The activities are built on pilot results from previous projects and on intervention models shown to be effective at Delaware State University. The project will be guided by an on-going evaluation and external and internal steering committees.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: CENTERS FOR RSCH EXCELL IN S&T | Award Amount: 999.24K | Year: 2015

The Historically Black Colleges and Universities Research Infrastructure for Science and Engineering (HBCU-RISE) activity within the Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program supports the development of research capability at HBCUs that offer doctoral degrees in science and engineering disciplines. HBCU-RISE projects have a direct connection to the long-term plans of the host department(s) and the institutional mission, and plans for expanding institutional research capacity as well as increasing the production of doctoral students in science and engineering. With support from the National Science Foundation, Delaware State University (DSU) will implement comprehensive strategies designed to expand DSUs research and educational capability in an effort to broaden the participation of underrepresented groups in the Applied Chemistry doctoral program and growing the diverse STEM workforce. The HBCU-RISE program at DSU will enhance the research infrastructure in Materials Chemistry, increase faculty recruitment and increase the number of Ph.D. courses offered. This project has the potential to be a model for increasing the number of minority students pursuing STEM degree programs and careers and addressing the lack of minority faculty members in the discipline of Materials Chemistry.

The goal of the proposed project is to develop advanced nanomaterials for renewable energy applications while strengthening DSUs research and educational capability in the Department of Chemistry by: 1) focusing on catalytic nanomaterials synthesis and characterization toward energy applications; 2) providing faculty development to foster growth in material chemistry research areas; and 3) developing new courses in materials chemistry and a network of material scientists in Delaware. The HBCU-RISE program will leverage resources through partnership with other NSF-funded programs on campus, and serve as a model for successful partnership among HBCUs and thus contribute to the White House Materials Genome Initiative. The proposed project will contribute to the institutional transformation and is aligned with the institutions strategic plan and initiative of becoming a research-intensive university and increasing and sustaining excellence in research.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING | Award Amount: 99.79K | Year: 2016

1645287
Khan

The development and applications of low-cost, portable air-quality sensors to measure gases and particulate pollutants has grown significantly in the past several years. This need is further elevated by poor and deteriorating air quality and related health concerns experienced in urban regions throughout the world, in both the developed and developing countries. This EAGER proposal aims at developing a citizen science program to study the impact of air-pollution, and, a basic understating of factors that influence local and regional air-quality by broad dissemination of sensor technology to the local communities and to the general public. A novel aspect of this air monitoring citizens science program is that it brings together various organizations, communities with diverse background of participants and volunteers.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapor are the three of the most important greenhouse gases with impact on the radiative forcing on earth with diverse sources of emissions. Among several of the anthropogenic sources of emissions, a few are: fossil fuel combustion, agricultural soil management, landfills, and fugitive emissions from natural gas. Therefore, as a part of technological development part of this project the PI will design and develop a low-cost, portable, highly precise and user-friendly sensor porotypes to simultaneously measure carbon dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide and water vapor. There are two goals of this program: 1. design and develop technologies that enable low-cost and user-friendly operation of air-quality monitoring sensors, and, 2. develop a comprehensive program to enhance environmental awareness by infusing these technologies to key stakeholders by partnering with local schools, environmental agencies and organizations in the state of Delaware. This air monitoring citizen science program involves several stakeholders and participants from local environmental agencies, local organizations, schools, hospitals and health services in the state of Delaware. The program will empower communities towards better understanding of tools and technologies of monitoring systems, basis understanding of air quality and pollution, and its local and global impact. Several components of citizens air monitoring program will integrate into current programs from partner organizations which includes school rain garden project, green buildings, vehicle ant-idling campaigns and awareness campaigns of impact of air quality on children?s health. Finally, the program will greatly enhance capacity and capabilities of Delaware State University, an HBCU institution, by developing innovative sensing technologies for low-cost, portable next-generation air monitoring sensors.

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