Beaumont, TX, United States
Beaumont, TX, United States

Lamar University, often referred to as Lamar or LU, is a comprehensive coeducational public research university located in Beaumont, Texas, United States. Lamar confers bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees and is classified as a Doctoral Research University by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education. Lamar has been a member of The Texas State University System since 1995 and was previously the flagship institution of the now defunct Lamar University System. Wikipedia.

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Tran Q.-N.,Lamar University
BMC Medical Genomics | Year: 2013

Background: One of the most common causes of worldwide cancer premature death is non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) with a very low survival rate of 8%-15%. Since patients with an early stage diagnosis can have up to four times the survival rate, discovering cost-effective biological markers that can be used to improve the diagnosis and prognosis of the disease is an important clinical challenge. In the last few years, significant progress has been made to address this challenge with identified biomarkers ranging from 5-gene signatures to 133-gene signatures. However, A typical molecular sub-classification method for lung carcinomas would have a low predictive accuracy of 68%-71% because datasets of gene-expression profiles typically have tens of thousands of genes for just few hundreds of patients. This type of datasets create many technical challenges impacting the accuracy of the diagnostic prediction. Results: We discovered that a small set of nine gene-signatures (JAG1, MET, CDH5, ABCC3, DSP, ABCD3, PECAM1, MAPRE2 and PDF5) from the dataset of 12,600 gene-expression profiles of NSCLC acts like an inference basis for NSCLC lung carcinoma and hence can be used as genetic markers. This very small and previously unknown set of biological markers gives an almost perfect predictive accuracy (99.75%) for the diagnosis of the disease the sub-type of cancer. Furthermore, we present a novel method that finds genetic markers for sub-classification of NSCLC. We use generalized Lorenz curves and Gini ratios to overcome many challenges arose from datasets of gene-expression profiles. Our method discovers novel genetic changes that occur in lung tumors using gene-expression profiles. Conclusions: While proteins encoded by some of these gene-signatures (e.g., JAG1 and MAPRE2) have been showed to involve in the signal transduction of cells and proliferation control of normal cells, specific functions of proteins encoded by other gene-signatures have not yet been determined. Hence, this work opens new questions for structural and molecular biologists about the role of these gene-signatures for the disease. © 2013 Tran; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: I-Corps | Award Amount: 50.00K | Year: 2017

The broader impact/commercial potential of this I-Corps project will derive from an adhesion measuring instrument that accurately quantifies adhesion measurements. Currently, adhesion forces are largely measured qualitatively. The potential introduction of the instrument into the market will make changes in products quality and the time it takes to develop new products that rely on precise adhesion forces. There are a multitude of potential application areas in the automotive, aerospace, chemical, petroleum, environmental, and medical fields. The irritation of eyes due to the usage of contact lens happens mainly because of the poor adhesion between the lens and the tear drop. The instrument can help the contact lens industry develop contact lenses with better adhesion to the tear drop and therefore reduce the irritation to the eye and prolongs comfortable wear time. Successful implementation of the instrument will enable the industry speed up the development of new products, and build more reliable processes by reducing or eliminating development errors.

This I-Corps project will identify the key value propositions of a novel adhesion measuring technology for customer segments across several application areas. Key strategic partners and major competitors within the general areas that align with this technology will be investigated. The intellectual merit of this project lies in the new knowledge that will be obtained regarding product development needs for adhesion measurements that will enable development of more sophisticated products that rely on precise adhesion forces. The centrifugal adhesion balance (CAB) instrument will potentially upgrade the adhesion measuring approaches from qualitative estimates to exact quantifiable values. This direct measurement of the adhesion is achieved by using a combination of centrifugal and gravitational forces. This combination allows the CAB to produce and measure forces needed for the liquid to detach from the solid. The ability to manipulate forces acting on a liquid drop to obtain accurate measurements of adhesion forces makes CAB a potentially desirable tool for industrial research and product development.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Materials Eng. & Processing | Award Amount: 121.11K | Year: 2014

Friction, lubrication, and wear between two moving surfaces in contact with one another are important in applications ranging from car engines to non-stick coatings. Typically, when two surfaces are pressed together with increasing force, the lateral force required to slide the two surfaces apart increases. Recent work has discovered cases where this is not true, i.e., as the two surfaces are pressed together with increasing force it becomes easier to slide the surfaces apart. This unexpected behavior has been observed in the case for some liquids sliding in contact with select solid surfaces. Since liquid lubrication on solids is a critical component of many systems (i.e., oil lubricating a car engine), understanding this effect could be of great benefit technologically and to society. The goal of this project is to better understand the behavior of liquid drops on surfaces and to develop a better method for predicting the forces exerted on a liquid-solid surface when it is in motion. A new property for describing the interaction of has been proposed, namely interfacial modulus. The work will be used as the basis for a number of educational outreach activities to high school students and to provide research experiences for undergraduate students including a focus on students from under-represented groups.

Tribological science teaches that lateral frictional force increases as the contact area between two surfaces increases and that frictional force is proportional to normal force. However, recent work by this research group has uncovered a system that violates this basic principle. It has been demonstrated that for some liquids on a solid surface, lateral force decreases with normal force despite the fact that the contact area between the two surfaces increased. The discovery was enabled by a new instrument, the Centrifugal Adhesion Balance (CAB), that allows for independent control and measurement of the normal and lateral forces for two surfaces in contact. A systematic study will be conducted whereby the relationships between surface chemical and physical properties to the interfacial modulus and to surface damage will be established for a set of model fluid/solid systems. Surface roughness is expected to be a critical parameter and a range of nanostructured surfaces are included in the study.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 124.89K | Year: 2014

PI: Tadmor, Rafael
Proposal: 1428398
MRI: Development of a Compact Instrument for Measurements of Retention forces in a Controlled Environment


The main goal of this proposal is to develop a new Centrifugal Adhesion Balance (CAB) model that includes temperature and humidity controls in one compact unit to enable evaluating their effect on drop retention force, and allow a systematic study of surface robustness from CAB measurements. This will make the CAB applicable to new systems, and significantly enhance its use by other researchers.

The problem of drops on surfaces has wide industrial implications related to contact lenses, eye drops, inhalation drugs, and cosmetic industry as well as implication in phenomena like deformable particles and nanotechnology. Roughness plays a crucial role in wetting properties of many surfaces in nature, and can be used to control the wettability of a surface. In some applications, it is useful to retain the drops on the surfaces, for example in the case of water-based herbicides, or in heat exchanger surface, or when trying to retain a spill. In other applications, it is desired that the drops slide off the surfaces as in oil extraction from porous rock and self-cleaning surfaces. The interest in self-cleaning surfaces is being driven by the desire to fabricate such surfaces for satellite dishes, solar energy panels, photovoltaics, exterior architectural glass, and green houses.

Technical Description

Theories initiated by Shanahan and de-Gennes and confirmed experimentally using the CAB show that a central parameter in relating normal to lateral forces is a shear modulus that corresponds just to the outmost layer of the solid surface, termed here interfacial modulus, . This property describes the surface resilience to conform its outmost layer to a liquid drop in contact with it, and is expected to be a strong function of the temperature and relative humidity. The new CAB will enable temperature and humidity controls and thereby allow measurements that lead to understanding of the influence of these parameters on for different systems. Science is also lacking in understanding of the physics related to nano-structured surfaces, and its relation to the ability of such solid structures to conform to the liquid above them. These systems are particularly sensitive to humidity and temperature. Biological surfaces are also extremely sensitive to temperature and humidity. The proposed instrument will enable systematic study of these systems.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Campus Cyberinfrastrc (CC-NIE) | Award Amount: 376.92K | Year: 2016

Lamar University is introducing a Science DMZ designed to efficiently achieve higher levels of performance, reliability and predictability for critical STEM science research projects and address next generation big data research needs. The proposed cyber infrastructure provides connectivity to state and national high performance computing facilities, including those supported through the NSF/XSEDE program, from multiple research locations across campus. Lamar University faculty research includes, but is not limited to, biology, chemistry, environmental science, electronic systems, biomedical diagnostics, natural disasters, engineering, and high performance computing and data analysis.

The dedicated Science DMZ provides transformative capability for both research and educational programs by interconnecting research intensive areas on campus to one another through a 10G fiber backbone while removing obstacles to efficient data flows between research laboratories and external collaborative computational and analytical facilities. The new design provides multiple 10Gbps-routed ports, DMZ switches for link consolidation and aggregation, a high performance data transfer node, and a Perfsonar node for performance monitoring and testing. In addition, the optical fiber network is upgraded to single-mode fiber connections for research-intensive areas along with distribution and access layer switching to provide 10G capacity.

The new network also provides broader impact benefits to graduate and undergraduate students by incorporating project design and operation into classroom lecture, student engagement in intensive computational and data driven research and independent student research efforts.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 525.00K | Year: 2016

The Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) award for Lamar University (LU) supports acquisition of a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) with capabilities that include high resolution imaging, electron diffraction, spectroscopic and compositional analysis. The TEM will promote fundamental and applied scholarly research activities in the areas of nanomaterials, energy storage, energy harvesting, water and air quality, catalysis, functional materials, biomaterials, and materials and bio sciences; as well as broaden the research and collaborative opportunities for faculty. More importantly, it will enhance an in-depth understanding of the structure-property-performance correlations of material systems from the micro to nano level while providing insights to the fundamental science through experimental observations. In addition, the undergraduate and graduate students from the College of Arts & Sciences and College of Engineering at LU will receive TEM-specific education encompassing advanced microscopy, electron diffraction, electron-material interactions, materials physics and chemistry, bio imaging, X-ray based chemical composition analysis of material systems, and nanoscience and nanotechnology. Undergraduates will receive TEM operational training through course curricula and research projects; whereas graduate students will undertake a full course (long semester) with applied learning through hands-on training. The TEM will benefit several courses offered across the campus for science and engineering students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. It will also enrich the research and educational training of all the students expanding their contemporary skills and increasing opportunities in education, research and industry careers. The TEM at LU will also improve faculty inter- and multi-disciplinary collaborative opportunities within the University as well as other Universities and the industries. It will very well serve the research and educational needs of many nearby Colleges and Universities, and also the local chemical, materials, and oil and refinery industries. It will enhance the visibility of LU for scholarly activity in the local/global research and educational communities, and industries and help in recruiting and retaining high quality students and faculty. The TEM will play a highly stimulating role in K-12 outreach programs and expand the role of LU in the Southeast Texas through STEM activities by providing exposure of a TEM as a nanoscience/advanced microscopy tool to the middle and high school students, and underrepresented minority students, and teachers augmenting their interest and participation in STEM related education and projects.

With this MRI award, LU will procure a TEM with a resolution capability of 0.2 nm (for lattice) and 0.38 nm (for point image). This acquisition enables interdisciplinary research across engineering and science disciplines to study the structure-property-performance correlations from micro to nano level in the fields of energy storage, catalysis, air and water quality, polymers, ferroelectric materials, nanocomposites and biomaterials research. These research investigations will help in overcoming some of the important bottlenecks in catalysis, energy storage materials performance, green synthesis, chemical, bio and natural sciences through structural and compositional analysis. Most importantly, it will provide an edge over tailoring the structures and thereby the functional properties of materials at different length scales accordingly. It is also anticipated to boost the opportunities for design of new material systems ranging from micro to nano size with a close controllability over their size, structure, porosity, composition and physio-chemical properties. High resolution capability of the TEM is also very critical to gain insights into the arrangements of atoms, planar and porous structures in catalysts, supercapacitor and battery electrodes, hydrogen storage materials, and ferroelectrics. The energy dispersive x-ray analysis (EDX) detector with a capability of elemental mapping in conjunction with a scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) will provide chemical composition and dispersion of phases at the atomic level and enhance the understanding of their role in effective functionality in catalysis, electrochemical and biological/biomedical performances etc. This high end research capability will also bridge the research between engineering and basic sciences, and open up the opportunities for faculty/students to work on complex projects that are broader in scope. Currently, several on-going projects that will benefit with this TEM include -(i) Processing and characterization of nanomaterials for battery and supercapacitor electrode applications, (ii) Synthesis and characterization of nano catalysts for CO2 sequestration and biofuel production, (iii) Processing and analysis of biogenic nanocomposites and fibers for drug delivery, biosensor and optoelectronic applications, (iv) Green synthesis of nanoparticles within phototrophic organisms, (v) Chemistry-Microstructure-Mechanism studies of Polymer/Carbon Nanocomposites for environmental and biological applications, (vi) Structural characterization of H-bonded Nano ferroelectrics, (vii) Nano-textured dustophobic coatings for solar cell applications, and (viii) Development and characterization of biologically active nano engineered particles.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: RES EXP FOR TEACHERS(RET)-SITE | Award Amount: 545.38K | Year: 2016

This Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) in Engineering and Computer Science Site, entitled, Incorporating Engineering Design and Manufacturing into High School Curriculum, at Lamar University (LU) Beaumont, will provide opportunities for STEM high school teachers from underserved school districts in Southeast Texas to engage in cutting-edge advanced engineering design and manufacturing research and develop curriculum modules based on their research. Advanced design and manufacturing is an industry with growing opportunities for creating the next generation workforce. Given the many petrochemical, manufacturing and military operations in the Beaumont-Port Arthur area the research topic is of high economic impact to the region. LU is uniquely located amongst the local manufacturing and petrochemical industry in the Beaumont-Port Arthur area and it is anticipated that the project will help strengthen education in design and manufacturing, and ultimately help the workforce to be more competitive. Research projects include: advanced design and manufacturing, including computer-aided design and manufacturing, computer-numerically controlled machining, 3D printing, laser marking and micro-machining; sustainable microelectronics manufacturing and design; intelligent sensor technology in building materials design; computational fluid dynamics (CFD) assisted design in industrial applications; and synthesis, simulation, and manufacturing of legged robotics. This research experience will help teachers to develop and implement innovative curriculum by translating cutting-edge research in advanced design and manufacturing into high school classrooms, strengthen education in design and manufacturing, enrich the professional development of future leaders in STEM education, result in innovative STEM curriculum and stimulate the interest of high school students in scientific inquiry and engineering. The project will positively influence the learning and career paths of young students, especially those from underserved districts and underrepresented groups in Southeast Texas for years to come and contribute to a technology-savvy workforce.

Over a three-year period, this RET Site will offer an intensive 6-week summer research program to a total of 36 STEM high school teachers. They will join faculty mentors and their research teams in performing cutting-edge advanced engineering design and manufacturing research and developing and implementing innovative high school curriculum based on their research that meets Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards. The RET Site program will also include workshops, seminars, field trips to local industry, teacher project and course module presentations and extensive follow-up activities during the academic year. Dissemination of the project outcomes will be through LUs RET website, conference and journal papers, and alumni and students in the largest domestic online Masters Program of Educational Leadership at LU.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH | Award Amount: 625.30K | Year: 2015

This project will provide scholarship funding for students pursuing bachelor degrees in industrial or mechanical engineering. Three cohorts, a total of 36 scholars, will be served in this five-year project. Students selected will be academically talented mechanical or industrial engineering students with financial need. The scholarships will be complemented by academic support including mentoring, tutoring, and undergraduate research opportunities. The program will help to recruit and retain industrial or mechanical engineering students, and will reduce the graduation time of these students. The program will allow Lamar University to offer scholarships to directly address an area of national concern: maintaining US competitiveness in industry. Scholarships for academically strong engineering students, who may not otherwise be able to afford college, have an impact on the number of engineering graduates prepared to help national, regional, and local companies.

Lamar University is known as one of the most economically and racially diverse universities in the West. More than forty percent of the student population is from groups currently underrepresented in engineering. In the past decade, the number of African-American students has more than doubled and the number of Hispanic students has tripled. The diversity present at Lamar provides an opportunity to broaden the participation of groups currently underrepresented in engineering fields. This program will target students from sophomore to senior years and provide the support needed to help insure degree completion. Support activities will include enhanced academic advising, career advising, academic support through supplemental tutoring, peer monitoring and undergraduate research opportunities. Resources from engineering professional societies will be engaged to help scholars to pass professional exams. Student engagement will be enhanced by the formation of an engineering learning community. The project will address not only the intrinsic difficulties of degree completion when faced with financial instability, but also the difficulties that engineering students experience as they decide upon a career in an engineering discipline. Project results will provide information on the effectiveness of continuous intervention in retaining low-income engineering students and will contribute to the development of the best practices for retaining low income and talented students in engineering.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: SPECIAL PROJECTS - CISE | Award Amount: 216.00K | Year: 2014

This project, acquiring equipment to advance real-time in situ monitoring of data related to water quantity and quality, aims to develop Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) to
- Obtain measurements of temperature, water dissolved oxygen, water depth, flow rate, and pH value spatially and temporally with high resolution and accuracy;
- Apply WSN-collected real-time, large-scale heterogeneous data to develop, calibrate, and validate water quantity and quality models, to characterize interactions among water resources, climate changes, and human impact to provide more accurate prediction for water sustainability management under different scenarios; and
- Compile and distribute regional and national measurements and design a database/online repository.
Hydrologists, water resource scientists, and water resource engineers will utilize the WSN-framework with the expectation of
- Deriving understanding of complex interactions among water resource, global climate change, and human impacts from data inference;
- Utilizing the research results to provide effective and economic solutions for sustainable water resource management;
- Providing a current water quantity and quality database and online repository for others to increase collaboration.

The instrumentation enables the collaborative application of technologies to water resource management research advancing understanding of complex problems to optimize consumption of limited water under different climate conditions. It also contributes to establish an appropriate environment to broaden students knowledge and research experience, and encourages participation of underrepresented minorities/women, Furthermore, research results will be integrated into the curricula in CS and water resource education, as well as introduced to a large number of low-income and minority students within their communities in grades 6-12.

Tadmor R.,Lamar University
Soft Matter | Year: 2011

We review the subject of drops on surfaces from the early days of Young through the concept of line tension (line energy) and the equations of Furmidge and Dussan to the more modern Shanahan-de Gennes approach and the equations and experiments that emanated from them. The force approach and line energy approach seems mutually exclusive, but we reconcile them using the Shanahan-de Gennes approach. © 2011 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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