DeKalb, IL, United States
DeKalb, IL, United States

Northern Illinois University is a public research university located in DeKalb, Illinois, United States in Chicagoland, with satellite centers in Hoffman Estates, Naperville, Rockford, and Oregon. It was originally founded as Northern Illinois State Normal School on May 22, 1895, by Illinois Governor John P. Altgeld as part of an expansion of the state's system for producing college educated teachers. Douglas Baker was named the university's twelfth president in May, 2013.The university is composed of seven degree-granting colleges and has a student body of 25,000 with over 225,000 alumni. Many of NIU's programs are nationally accredited for meeting high standards of academic quality, including business, engineering, nursing, visual and performing arts, and all teacher certification programs. It is one of only two public universities in Illinois that compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association at the highest levels of all sports, Division I. NIU's athletic teams are known as the Huskies and compete in the Mid-American Conference. Wikipedia.

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Blackstone N.W.,Northern Illinois University
Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences | Year: 2013

According to multi-level theory, evolutionary transitions require mediating conflicts between lower-level units in favour of the higher-level unit. By this view, the origin of eukaryotes and the origin of multicellularity would seem largely equivalent. Yet, eukaryotes evolved only once in the history of life, whereas multicellular eukaryotes have evolved many times. Examining conflicts between evolutionary units and mechanisms that mediate these conflicts can illuminate these differences. Energy-converting endosymbionts that allow eukaryotes to transcend surface-to-volume constraints also can allocate energy into their own selfish replication. This principal conflict in the origin of eukaryotes can be mediated by genetic or energetic mechanisms. Genome transfer diminishes the heritable variation of the symbiont, but requires the de novo evolution of the protein-import apparatus and was opposed by selection for selfish symbionts. By contrast, metabolic signalling is a shared primitive feature of all cells. Redox state of the cytosol is an emergent feature that cannot be subverted by an individual symbiont. Hypothetical scenarios illustrate how metabolic regulation may have mediated the conflicts inherent at different stages in the origin of eukaryotes. Aspects of metabolic regulation may have subsequently been coopted from within-cell to between-cell pathways, allowing multicellularity to emerge repeatedly.

Naredla R.R.,Northern Illinois University | Klumpp D.A.,Northern Illinois University
Chemical Reviews | Year: 2013

Organic chemists have developed a vast array of synthetic methodologies based on carbocationic intermediates. A series of carbocationic reactions have been described by Yoshida's group in which the 'cation pool' strategy is used. This is accomplished through the use of irreversible, oxidative reactions under non-nucleophilic conditions. The carbocations then react with nucleophiles in a second step. This method is analogous to the preparation of carbanionic reagents such as Grignard or organolithium species, generally as a concentrated solution, and this is followed by electrophilic trapping of the carbanion. Using the cation pool method, oxidative C-H bond dissociation provides a good route to diarylmethyl carbocations. The Yoshida group has also developed a combined electrochemical-chemical oxidation route mediated by alkoxysulfonium ions. An innovative method for generating carbocations has been described by Li and coworkers in which 1,3-dicarbonyl groups are used as leaving groups.

Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 224.70K | Year: 2015

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be to reduce the risk of health impairments and disabilities for infants caused by high noise levels. The proposed WCIANR system can dramatically reduce the educational and public health cost by reducing hearing impairment, cognitive disorders, learning disabilities, and acute vital sign variability of NICU infants. For example, the lifetime educational cost and the lifetime cost of hearing loss have been estimated at $115,600 to $175,000 per child. The average total cost is around $2.1 billion per year. In addition, parental bonding is critical in a child's life because this first relationship determines the biological and emotional ?template? for all future relationships. The proposed WCIANR system can provide these vital bonding opportunities for NICU infants and their parents and improve infants? language development. Communicating with NICU babies can also benefit the new mothers in preventing postpartum depression and improving bonding. In addition to infant incubators, the proposed ANR system is applicable to any commercial industry where hearing protection is necessity to prevent people from hearing injury and loss, such as automotive industry, mechanical fabricating industry, medical equipment industry, mine industry and aviation industry. This Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) Phase I project seeks to demonstrate the feasibility of a wireless communication integrated active noise reduction (WCIANR) system for the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) environment, combining an improved active noise reduction (ANR) capability with a wireless unattenuated voice pass through function to permit communication with an infant. Traditional ANR systems cannot be applied directly to incubators without modification due to complicated noise models in the NICU. The NICU environment has multiple unexpected noise sources both inside and outside the incubators. The proposed system would combine feed-forward and feedback ANR systems to generate a larger zone of silence, offer deeper noise attenuation, and operate in complex noise environments. The proposed ANR system should reduce the level of the noise at the infant?s head by 20-25dB. In addition to reducing the unwanted noise reaching the infant, the WCIANR system will facilitate the two-way wireless communication between the infant and his or her parents and caregivers.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: POP & COMMUNITY ECOL PROG | Award Amount: 200.00K | Year: 2016

Ecosystems carry out a wide range of processes, including services that benefit people such as providing clean air, water, pollination of crops, and productive soils. These processes depend on diverse communities of plants, animals, and other organisms with a wide variety of traits - characteristics of plants and animals that shape how they interact in ecosystems. Human activities that shift communities, such as ecosystem degradation and restoration, have the potential to alter ecosystem processes. This project will examine how management actions in a restored grassland shape the species and trait compositions of plant and animal communities and the ecosystem processes that these species drive. Results will provide guidance on how land managers can maximize the benefits of ecosystems to nature and to society. Collaborations with the research site managers will allow education and outreach opportunities to members of the public who visit the site, including class field trips, and the project will train both graduate and undergraduate students in the practice and communication of science.

This project will examine the community and ecosystem function consequences of changes in environmental context resulting from three landscape-scale management actions: reintroduction of megaherbivore grazers (bison), large predator removal, and application of prescribed fires in restored tallgrass prairies. It will advance knowledge of community-trait-function relationships by including consumers in interactions spanning entire food webs and expanding to a relevant landscape scale. Researchers will measure both traits and ecosystem function changes resulting from management actions in two food web modules. The first module includes plants and herbivores (insect and small mammal) and their impacts on primary productivity and litter decomposition through changes in plant traits and herbivore foraging specialization and the degree to which herbivores use a wide variety of food resources (niche breadth) as measured by stable isotopes. The second module is dung decomposers and their effects on soil processes (carbon and nitrogen cycling and decomposition rates) through changes in morphology, foraging strategies, and phenology. Results will reveal how the trait composition of communities mediates the relationship between environmental context and ecosystem function. Ultimately this research will lay the groundwork for studies manipulating the species- and trait-composition of consumer communities. Further, by performing this work in a restored system and in concert with managers, it helps close the loop between researchers and natural resource managers.

Northern Illinois University | Date: 2016-07-12

An electrochromic device comprises (i) a conductive layer, (ii) an electrochromic material, on the conductive layer, (iii) an electrolyte, on the electrochromic material, and (iv) a counter-electrode, on the electrolyte. The conductive layer has a surface roughness factor (SRF) of at least 10, and the conductive layer comprises a semi-metal.

Northern Illinois University and Beryllium | Date: 2016-03-09

Antibacterial and antimalarial IspF inhibitor compounds and compositions are described. Methods include administering described compounds and compositions to treat bacterial or parasitic infections and to inhibit parasite or bacterial growth.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: ELEMENTARY PARTICLE ACCEL USER | Award Amount: 277.28K | Year: 2015

This award will provide support for a group with one PI, a postdoc and two graduate students to work on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, a particle physics laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland. The LHC is a large, complex machine that accelerates protons to unprecedented energies, allowing for discovery of elementary particles more massive than any yet observed. One of the LHCs primary objectives was to find the Higgs Boson, the last particle in the historically successful Standard Model (SM) that accounts for much of the interactions of particles forming the visible matter in the universe. Though doubts linger, many physicists believe the new particle is the Higgs Boson long predicted by the SM. Nevertheless, more careful measurements of its rarer decay modes need to be made. Surprises are possible, and could result from effects beyond the SM that are yet to be discovered. This project will focus on efforts to do this by looking at events that pair a Higgs boson with another particle. Searches for extremely rare processes as will be sought in this effort require the use of sophisticated software and computing tools, modern machine learning techniques, data mining and the use of complex statistical tool kits. These skills are useful not only in particle physics and other STEM fields, but also outside of academia and the research world as companies, non-profits and governmental organizations across the country look to the large data sets newly available from social media and computing databases to provide better products and more useful services to customers and

The proposal supports work to be done in Run2. This is about to begin at the full energy potential of the LHC of 13 TeV, almost twice that in Run1 and twice the energy ever studied with precision before. This group will focus on events with a Higgs Boson accompanied by either a t quark, a t-tbar pair or another Higgs. The PI has expertise in such analyses in Run1 that may allow him some advantage in dealing with different conditions likely to occur in Run2. The group will be working on the ATLAS fast tracker (FTK) that will allow new triggers that might allow the events of interest to be found more efficiently.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: Accelerator Science | Award Amount: 370.00K | Year: 2015

Beaming energy (i.e. matter) and information (i.e. data) in a most efficient way has inspired science and science fiction equally. In 1960s, lasers were invented allowing us to beam energy and information via light beams having its internal constituents almost perfectly ordered and working as a team. Lasers are intrinsically cool, made possible by clever tricks invented by atomic scientists and engineers. To date this feat has not been achieved by beams of charged particles such as electrons which are produced in a very hot, restless state by the mechanisms used to extract them from materials. The electrons embedded in most materials have to overcome a tremendous barrier and climb up and beyond an energy hill which they remember and which they vent off literally by being very unruly, restless and jittery upon their release. A typical electron beam produced in todays laboratories is very hot indeed, comparable to the surface of the sun. This research will develop special and precisely patterned structured materials with features a thousand times smaller than the width of human hair (e.g. carbon nanotube- or Graphene-based structures), immersed in a very high electric field allowing the electrons inside the material to tunnel through the barrier hills effortlessly without climbing them, thus making the released electrons colder and ordered, traveling together in a single file so-to-speak, as a beam of electrons that is so cold that it will act like a particle laser beam. Complex theoretical and computational modeling of designer emitters will go hand-in-hand with state-of-the-art fabrication of such delicate and precise structures and their subsequent testing for performance in the laboratory. Once produced, special effort will have to be made to allow the electrons to remain cold while gaining speed and energy as a beam.

The particular research and development will depend on a collaboration of Northern Illinois University (NIU) with major national and international laboratories and their facilities such as the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (FNAL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Cambridge Graphene Centre (CGC) and US industries. Specially designed samples will be prepared in collaboration with ANL and CGC facilities and will be tested at NIU/FNAL specially designed test facility. The research will open up new areas of scientific investigation and their societal/industrial applications e.g. compact x-ray lasers for ultra-fast science, novel computational possibilities based upon a single quantum of charge and spin, three dimensional rapid electron-beam printing of complex unique structures of industrial and medical interest, compact portable sources of light for lithography of novel nano-structures for the electronic chip industry. The activity will inspire inclusive collaboration between scientists, engineers and technologists in research and education and integrate academia, national laboratory and industry for knowledge-based economic wealth creation, integrating the local and national education and outreach programs at NIU inclusive of diversity, minority education and training goals.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: EDUCATION AND HUMAN RESOURCES | Award Amount: 139.30K | Year: 2016

This REU site will engage students in research related to water resource management issues in the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. Science and engineering undergraduate students will work with faculty mentors from Northern Illinois University, Northeastern Illinois University, and the Yucatán Center of Scientific Research on projects related to groundwater recharge, groundwater contamination and public health, and groundwater geophysics. The goals of this REU site include: develop scientific skills in the field and laboratory, install in students a global perspective of water resource issues, develop communication skills in the participants, and develop appreciation for international scientific collaborations. The student projects will be interconnected to better understand the water issues in Yucatán within a cultural and historical context. Because the research project is in Mexico and encompasses a cultural aspect, it is expected that students interested in the region will be attracted to apply. In addition to carrying out research, the participants will produce materials for online platforms to share information with the public, make presentations in Mexico to local officials about the research findings, and publish the results in open access journals.

During an eight-week period, the program will provide a high quality research environment and mentoring to a diverse group of 8 undergraduate students that may not otherwise have the opportunity to be engaged in scientific activities in an international context. The summer experience will consist of: (1) two weeks at Northern Illinois University where participants will define the research they will pursue in the field, participate in ethics training, discuss the relationship between culture and water issues in Yucatán, receive safety and travel information, and virtually meet the team members from Mexico; (2) the next four weeks will be spent in Mexico sampling and collecting field data; the participants will stay in local neighborhoods, away from the tourist areas to gain more in-depth appreciation for the culture. During this period, participants will be working side by side with Mexican scientists and students; and (3) the last two weeks participants will return to Northern Illinois University to continue with data analyses and synthesis.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: ELEMENTARY PARTICLE ACCEL USER | Award Amount: 560.00K | Year: 2015

One of the major intellectual achievements of the 20th century was the development of the Standard Model (SM) of particle physics. This model succeeded in classifying all of the elementary particles known at the time into a hierarchy of groups having similar quantum properties. The validity of this model to date was recently confirmed by the discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the CERN laboratory near Geneva Switzerland. However, the Standard Model as it currently exists leaves open many questions about the universe, including such fundamental questions as to why the mass of the Higgs boson has the value it has. To answer these questions it is necessary to go beyond the present picture of the Universe described by the Standard Model to the next phase of development, Beyond the Standard Model (BSM). Investigations in BSM physics probe such questions as why matter dominates over anti-matter in the Universe, the values of the masses of the fundamental constituents of matter, the quarks and the leptons, the size of the mixings among the quarks, and separately among the leptons, and the properties of dark matter. This project, which uses the Mu2e detector at Fermilab, will search for BSM physics through the precision measurement of the energy of electrons produced by the decay of muons. The broader impact of this work, in addition to contributions to the scientific collaborations, includes student engagement at Northern Illinois University, public outreach and service, and technology development through generation of patents and the development of technology usable for medical imaging. Undergraduate and graduate students from both physics and engineering participate in all aspects of this research. Technology developed by the R&D program has expanded techniques available for calorimetry and is currently being used for Mu2e and for a second generation proton tomography device, and has led to two patents with a third under consideration.

Searches for evidence for new physics beyond the Standard Model can be addressed through direct searches at the Energy Frontier at High Energy Colliding Beam Facilities such as the LHC and through a complementary technique of indirect searches at the Intensity Frontier, in experimental measurements of rare processes such the subject of this award, the decay of a muon into an electron. In the SM such a decay is very rare, but certain BSM physics models, such as SuperSymmetry(SUSY) , predict a higher rate of this decay. In this award, the researchers will use the Mu2e detector at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (FNAL). This experiment uses a very intense beam of protons to produce a muon beam which traverses a series of magnets and impinges on a target where the muons are stopped and are captured by Aluminum atoms in the target. After a short period of time, the muons then decay to electrons and if the decay is a direct decay to an electron (with no neutrino) the electron has a unique characteristic energy. The challenge of this experiment is to measure the electron energy very precisely. If the electron energy distribution is correct, it will show evidence of the direct muon to electron decay and provide evidence that there is BSM physics.

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