Lowell, MA, United States
Lowell, MA, United States

The University of Massachusetts Lowell is an urban public research university in Lowell, Massachusetts, United States, and part of the University of Massachusetts system. With more than 1,100 faculty members and nearly 17,000 students, it is the largest university in the Merrimack Valley and the second-largest public institution in the state behind UMass Amherst.The university offers 120 bachelor's, 39 master's and 33 doctoral degree programs, including nationally recognized programs in science, engineering and technology. Academically, UMass Lowell is organized into six schools and colleges: College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social science; College of Health science; College of science; the Francis College of Engineering; the Graduate School of Education; and the Manning School of Business. Wikipedia.


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Patent
University of Massachusetts Lowell | Date: 2017-03-22

The embodiment described herein are related nanoemulsions comprising botulinum toxins, surfactant and oil. In one embodiment, the nanoemulsions are prepared by high pressure microfluidization and comprise a particle size distribution exclusively between 10 and 300 nm. The nanoemulsions contemplated by the present invention are useful for the cosmetic and medical treatment of muscular contracture states. For example, botulinum toxin may relax facial muscles such that skin wrinkles become smoother and less noticeable. Further, the present invention contemplates a cosmetic formulation that may be self-administered, for example, in the privacy of ones home and without medical supervision.


Park J.,University of Massachusetts Lowell | Yan M.,University of Massachusetts Lowell
Accounts of Chemical Research | Year: 2013

Graphene, a material made exclusively of sp2 carbon atoms with its π electrons delocalized over the entire 2D network, is somewhat chemically inert. Covalent functionalization can enhance graphene's properties including opening its band gap, tuning conductivity, and improving solubility and stability. Covalent functionalization of pristine graphene typically requires reactive species that can form covalent adducts with the sp2 carbon structures in graphene. In this Account, we describe graphene functionalization reactions using reactive intermediates of radicals, nitrenes, carbenes, and arynes. These reactive species covalently modify graphene through free radical addition, CH insertion, or cycloaddition reactions.Free radical additions are among the most common reaction, and these radicals can be generated from diazonium salts and benzoyl peroxide. Electron transfer from graphene to aryl diazonium ion or photoactivation of benzoyl peroxide yields aryl radicals that subsequently add to graphene to form covalent adducts. Nitrenes, electron-deficient species generated by thermal or photochemical activation of organic azides, can functionalize graphene very efficiently. Because perfluorophenyl nitrenes show enhanced bimolecular reactions compared with alkyl or phenyl nitrenes, perfluorophenyl azides are especially effective. Carbenes are used less frequently than nitrenes, but they undergo CH insertion and C=C cycloaddition reactions with graphene. In addition, arynes can serve as a dienophile in a Diels-Alder type reaction with graphene.Further study is needed to understand and exploit the chemistry of graphene. The generation of highly reactive intermediates in these reactions leads to side products that complicate the product composition and analysis. Fundamental questions remain about the reactivity and regioselectivity of graphene. The differences in the basal plane and the undercoordinated edges of graphene and the zigzag versus arm-chair configurations warrant comprehensive studies. The availability of well-defined pristine graphene starting materials in large quantities remains a key obstacle to the advancement of synthetic graphene chemistry. © 2012 American Chemical Society.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: CLIMATE & LARGE-SCALE DYNAMICS | Award Amount: 453.81K | Year: 2016

Extreme precipitation and its related impacts, especially flooding, result in significant loss of life, property and infrastructure damage, transportation disruption, and storm water pollution, and have economic costs of more than $8 billion per year for the US. This project will undertake fundamental research into understanding the causes of extreme precipitation in the Northeast US. This is the most economically developed and densely populated region of the country. Improved model representation of these processes is a crucial step in the overall goal of improving forecasts and projections of these high-cost events, thereby mitigating their impacts.

Processes that cause extreme precipitation over daily to weekly periods in the Northeast US will be identified. The ability of current climate models to reproduce these processes will be examined. The two motivating questions are: What types of storms cause extreme precipitation in the Northeast? Do current models correctly reproduce these storms types and their relationship to extreme precipitation? Using observational data, storm types associated with extreme precipitation will be identified by applying advanced analytic techniques. Characteristic patterns in the jet stream and other storm features that occur in association with extreme precipitation will be identified. This analysis will then be undertaken on the climate model output to identify the storm types that are produced in the models and compare the modeled types to the observed types. The differences will be highlighted for use in model development and for providing context for model forecasts and projections. The physical processes by which the extreme precipitation are generated within each storm type will also be investigated. The relative strength of different factors that are known to influence precipitation, such as the amount of moisture in the lower atmosphere, will be examined within each storm type. After the key factors are identified, their influence will then be further tested in a regional, high resolution model by changing the strength of individual factors and examining how the modeled precipitation changes in response.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Secure &Trustworthy Cyberspace | Award Amount: 400.00K | Year: 2016

Online security relies on communication protocols that establish trust and authentication. New protocols are created regularly, such as when Software-as-a-Service companies expose their software through new Web services. In the ideal case, network engineers and protocol experts collaborate to develop a protocol: one responsible for its efficiency and the other for its security. Unfortunately, this ideal is rarely realized. Protocol experts are rare and their techniques are too complicated for solo network engineers to use, who instead just follow informal best practices. As a result, most of these protocols end up with security problems. This research investigates an automated protocol expert that provides the network engineer with the service normally given by the human protocol expert. The availability of this open-source expert will broadly impact the trustworthiness of cyberspace by increasing the security and reliability of the online services that use it.

The PI will construct this expert after three technical advances: first, a new security property specification language based on protocol goals, as opposed to the details of the operation of a protocol, for use by network engineers; second, a new theory of protocol construction based on the composition of disjoint authentication protocols with restrictions from linear logic used to limit the sharing of sensitive information; and third, a theory of protocol optimization based on the attack calculus already used to prove that protocols are secure. These three new theories advance their respective sub-fields and coalesce into the necessary foundation for the automated protocol expert.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Cyber Secur - Cyberinfrastruc | Award Amount: 515.86K | Year: 2016

The rehabilitation of stroke patients is a long but critical process for their long-term wellness. Monitoring patients with wearable sensors and web cameras can support at-home rehabilitation by reducing the risk of events such as accidental falls and inappropriate dietary intake. Such sensor-generated live data streams about patient status and activities are processed at data centers for real-time analytics, helping healthcare professionals to respond to patients needs quickly and effectively. Since the data streams may contain electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI), they must be protected so that transmission and usage conform to security and privacy regulations, such as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and applicable state laws. Therefore, it is important to investigate advanced networking and computing technologies to meet these security requirements, which are critical for bringing sensors and data analytics from research to clinical environments.

This research plans to address the security challenges in transferring and processing patient related sensor data by developing a Secure Transport and REsearch Architecture for Monitoring Stroke Recovery (STREAMS), a technical proof-of-concept implementation, to secure end-to-end sensor data streams using secure software defined networking and elastic compute and storage resources. STREAMS will be the first prototype of a secure network architecture to provide advanced data analytics-based healthcare to stroke patients in a realistic clinical environment. This project addresses issues in securing heterogeneous sensory ePHI patient data. It captures the workflows of patient data analysis and defines a role-based security enforcement framework to apply access policies. A Secure SDN controller will be designed to authenticate, identify, and direct encrypted data streams to ensure the data streaming over the network are HIPAA compliant, provide guidance in provisioning of compute resources at the cloud, and apply the most appropriate decryption algorithms based on the role of users, priority, types and source of the sensor data stream, as well as network conditions. A generalizable secure hardware and software architecture collects, encrypts, decrypts, stores, transports, analyzes, and maintains the integrity and availability of the data from these multimodal sensors to enable them to be fused using analytics algorithms to learn about patient activities that are highly relevant to stroke recovery. The highly interdisciplinary project team consists of healthcare professionals, medical researchers, computer scientists, IT staff, engineering staff, and industrial partners.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ENERGY FOR SUSTAINABILITY | Award Amount: 519.12K | Year: 2016

The production of fuels and chemicals by sustainable processes is one of key technological challenges of the 21st century. Carbon dioxide gas generated by power generation or industrial processes is a potential source of carbon for fuels and chemicals production. However, carbon dioxide is not very reactive, and no viable technologies for its conversion into fuels and chemicals presently exist. The goal of this product is to convert carbon dioxide and water to fuels and chemical using plasma-enhanced solar energy. In the proposed process, solar energy heats the carbon dioxide gas to the high temperatures needed to increase its reactivity. The heated gas is then converted into plasma, also known as an electrically charged gas, using electrical energy. It is reasoned that the plasma state of the gas will enhance the rate of carbon dioxide conversion. The process is potentially sustainable and has a low carbon footprint because it uses waste carbon dioxide and abundant solar energy, where electricity needed to generate the plasma is provided by solar photovoltaic cells. The project will also develop instructional carts for demonstrating energy and sustainability topics inspired by this research to a broad audience that includes Hispanic K-12 students in the Lowell, Massachusetts area.

The overall goal of the proposed research is to develop a fundamental understanding of a new process for synthesis of chemical and fuels from carbon dioxide and water using concentrated solar energy to drive the reaction thermochemistry and non-equilibrium plasma to enhance the chemical reaction kinetics. Plasma-Enhanced Solar Energy (PESE) combines solar thermochemistry and plasma science principles. The project will experimentally and computationally investigate PESE for carbon dioxide, water, and methane decomposition and reforming. The research will test the hypothesis that the molecular excitation produced by free electrons in plasmas increases solar photon absorption leading to enhanced chemical reaction kinetics. Towards this end, the proposed research will seek to understand non-equilibrium energy transport phenomena characteristic of free electron and photon systems, with particular focus on processes with comparable photon and electron energy fluxes. To support the research plan, new reactor systems equipped with solar energy receivers and non-equilibrium electrical discharge capability to flowing gas will be developed and characterized. Reactor experiments spanning the ratio of solar to electrical energy inputs will be performed at scalable process conditions. New fluid flow and chemical kinetics models for non-equilibrium energy transport will be derived and experimentally validated. The research outcomes seek to reveal the specific pathways of energy conversion during PESE processing and quantify the efficacy of plasma enhancement. Additionally, the research outcomes are relevant to other fields where electron and photon transport have essential roles, such as laser materials processing, semiconductor manufacturing, and combustion enhancement. The educational goal of the project is to engage students, from middle school to graduate level, on global energy sustainability topics. To enable the proposed education program, interactive demonstration carts for the modular teaching and learning of energy engineering & sustainability will be developed and assessed.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: I-Corps - Sites | Award Amount: 99.97K | Year: 2017

This project establishes an I-Corps Site at the University of Massachusetts Lowell
(UMass Lowell). The Site builds on existing programs while establishing/strengthening existing collaborations with The University of Massachusetts Medical School, University of Massachusetts Boston, and Middlesex Community College. Activities of the site will include: training teams, nurturing and mentoring teams, awarding grants for customer discovery, and facilitating follow-on support.

NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Sites are NSF-funded entities established at universities whose purpose is to nurture and support multiple, local teams to transition their technology concepts into the marketplace. Sites provide infrastructure, advice, resources, networking opportunities, training and modest funding to enable groups to transition their work into the marketplace or into becoming I-Corps Team applicants.

Some of the strengths that this institution brings to the I-Corps Site Program are: UMass Lowell has a percentage of 1st time in college students that is significantly higher than most private universities; the programs that will be associated with the I-Corps Site have a track record for attracting women and minorities into their programming; a clear methodology for tracking and evaluating team success is provided that captures various aspects of performance and other programmatic characteristics; and, based on the description of existing programs and initiatives at the institution, there appears to be adequate resources in place to carry out the proposal. The project plans to engage a wide variety of institutional partners while also targeting women, first-generation students and students of color for participation in the Sites program. The potential to realize broader impacts is a definite strength of the proposal.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Cooperative Agreement | Program: | Phase: ADVANCE | Award Amount: 1.63M | Year: 2016

The ADVANCE program is designed to foster gender equity through a focus on the identification and elimination of organizational barriers that impede the full participation and advancement of women faculty in academic institutions. Organizational barriers that inhibit equity may exist in areas such as policy, practice, culture, and organizational climate. The ADVANCE Institutional Transformation (ADVANCE-IT) track supports the development of innovative organizational change strategies within an institution of higher education to enhance gender equity in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines.

The University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) will implement a set of strategies designed to create an academic environment that supports gender equity so all faculty can achieve their highest potential. The UML project will focus on disrupting interpersonal and institutional microaggressions (casual belittling of socially marginalized groups made by individuals that intend no offense and are likely unaware of causing harm) that undercut productivity and well-being. The project includes three related studies of microaggressions at UML that will add to the knowledge base on the phenomenon and effective interventions to mitigate the negative impacts of microaggressions.

According to UNL, research suggests that microaggressions have a powerful, cumulative negative impact on individuals who experience them and impacts their access to support and advancement. The ADVANCE-IT program at UML will implement strategies to: (1) disrupt microaggressions, (2) promote alternative interactional patterns, and (3) address targeted aspects of the organizational context that can breed bias. These strategies address issues ranging from institutional procedures to interpersonal interactions. Activities include an information campaign and bystander training as well as comprehensive transparency and accountability initiatives to establish detailed procedures for committee decision making, workload distribution, and college and department-level self-assessment and action planning. The research studies will also further develop the research method of collecting journal data for studies of this nature.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Materials Eng. & Processing | Award Amount: 398.81K | Year: 2016

Renewable energy sources such as solar energy, geothermal energy, and wind energy require effective and efficient thermal storage systems. Latent heat storage is an approach which can be accomplished using certain kinds of materials, including those known as Phase Change Materials, which have the ability to store energy at near constant temperature. However, most Phase Change Materials have unacceptably low thermal conductivities, and therefore their applications for high power, transient, and large-scale renewable energy systems are significantly limited. This award supports the study of a manufacturing process to synthesize and embed a nanoscale metallic network into phase change materials, taking advantage of the high thermal conductivity of the metallic network, to significantly improve thermal performance of Phase Change Material-based energy storage systems. This new type of Phase Change Materials would impact the renewable energy storage industry and diverse applications such as flexible electronics, electronic cooling, and smart textiles. The knowledge acquired from this project will also contribute to other industries such as medical, automobile, food processing and semiconductor packaging. The integration of fundamental research together with the educational efforts will advance engineering education and promote this new and exciting field of science at the high school senior and college freshmen levels.

The objective of this research is to synthesize and study interrelationship among structures, processing and thermal properties of a novel phase change material embedded with a soldered metallic nanowire network. The major issues in nanoparticle-dispersed phase change materials include the settlement during melting-solidification cycling, and high interfacial thermal resistance of particles. The research is focused on fundamental issues in exploiting the new phase change material, such as soldering of nanowire-to-nanowire, nanowire-to-sidewall surface, and interactions between magnetic field and nanowires in phase change material fluids. A combined approach involving both modeling and theoretical analysis, and well-designed sets of experiments will be adopted to understand the relationships between network structure, processing parameters such as magnetic field strength, nanowire loading, spacing and size of magnetic pads, soldering temperature, and the resulting thermal properties of the new phase change material.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Cyber Secur - Cyberinfrastruc | Award Amount: 500.00K | Year: 2017

The New England Cybersecurity Operation and Research Center (CORE) is a collaboration between cybersecurity researchers and networking experts from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and Information Technology (IT) support personnel and leadership from the Office of the President of University of Massachusetts (UMass), who work together to improve the security of under-resourced institutions in New England and providing a model of a regional approach to cybersecurity. The project leaders have built long term partnerships with local IT and cybersecurity-related organizations and consortia, which enable the project to reach beyond academia and affect the cybersecurity of the general public. Finding qualified cybersecurity personnel is a challenge faced by campuses and businesses across the nation. One major goal of the CORE center is development of the cybersecurity workforce in New England. The project directly addresses this need, providing a template for other regions to follow. The project offers internships, assistantships, and co-ops for students to work in the security operations and research center and obtain hands-on training in cybersecurity operation and research. The researchers incorporate the outcomes of the project into courses on computer and network security and privacy, mobile computing, wireless networks and digital forensics. They have a track record of accepting female and minority students into research groups, and consciously and actively encourage students from traditionally underrepresented groups to join this project.

The researchers have established an open cybersecurity program at UMass, which guides customers through a sequence of steps and selects security controls and technologies from both proprietary solutions and free open source solutions, considering the budget of the institution or enterprise that wants to protect their assets. In the UMass cybersecurity program, these assets go through the UMass controls factory. The input of the factory is unmanaged assets with weak security controls or without any controls. The output is a suite of managed assets with strong security controls, thus ensuring campus environments have robust cybersecurity protection. The researchers have applied the UMass open cybersecurity program to the UMass network and assets, which are monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This project expands the services including security consulting, security operations and security training/education to other local institutions and companies, and performs research on emerging threats, trends and defense based on the collected data. To sustain the operation, the CORE center provides services at affordable rates.

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