Callarotti R.C.,University of Turabo
Sustainability | Year: 2011
We model the low frequency electrical heating of submarine methane hydrate deposits located at depths between 1000 and 1500 m, and determine the energy return on energy invested (EROI) for this process. By means of the enthalpy method, we calculate the time-dependent heating of these deposits under applied electrical power supplied to a cylindrical heater located at the center of the reservoir and at variable depths. The conversion of the produced water to steam is avoided by limiting the heater temperature. We calculate the volume of methane hydrate that will melt and the energy equivalent of the gas thus generated. The partial energy efficiency of this heating process is obtained as the ratio of the gas equivalent energy to the applied electrical energy. We obtain EROI values in the range of 4 to 5, depending on the location of the heater. If the methane gas is used to generate the electrical energy required in the heating (in processes with a 33% efficiency), the effective EROI of the process falls in the range of 4/3 to 5/3. © 2011 by the authors.
Bhattacharyya P.,University of Turabo |
Bishayee A.,Signal Sciences
Anti-Cancer Drugs | Year: 2013
Ocimum sanctum Linn., commonly known as 'Tulsi' or 'Holy Basil', is considered to be the most sacred herb of India. Several anatomical parts of O. sanctum are known to have an impressive number of therapeutic properties and accordingly find use in several traditional systems of medicine, such as Ayurveda, Unani, and Siddha. Scientific investigations have shown that O. sanctum has a plethora of biological and pharmacological activities. The presence of an impressive number of phytoconstituents in O. sanctum could explain its exceptional beneficial effects. Although several recent articles provide an overview of the various pharmacological properties of O. sanctum, the use of this herb for either prevention or therapy of oncologic diseases has not been exclusively and critically discussed in the literature. The present review critically and comprehensively examines the current knowledge on the chemopreventive and therapeutic potential of O. sanctum. The review also examines, in detail, the biochemical and molecular mechanisms involved in the antineoplastic effects of O. sanctum. Finally, we discuss the role of synergy, current limitations, and future directions of research toward the effective use of this ethnomedicinal plant for the prevention and treatment of human cancer. © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Lodge D.J.,U.S. Department of Agriculture |
Cantrell S.A.,University of Turabo |
Gonzalez G.,U.S. Department of Agriculture
Forest Ecology and Management | Year: 2014
Fungi are important for maintaining fast rates of decomposition in low quality tropical leaf litter via immobilization and translocation of limiting nutrients from sources to sinks and conserving nutrients after disturbance. Tropical trees often have low nutrient to carbon ratios. Disturbances such as hurricanes and logging transfer a large mass of green leaves with high nutrient concentrations to the forest floor, but the associated opening of the canopy dries the litter, inhibiting basidiomycete fungi that play critical roles in lignin degradation and nutrient conservation. We conducted a replicated block factorial experiment designed to disentangle the individual and interactive effects of canopy opening and green debris deposition on phosphorus (P) content, mass loss and fungal connectivity in decomposing leaf cohorts in subtropical wet forest in the Luquillo Mountains of Puerto Rico. Though green leaves had higher P concentrations they did not decompose significantly faster than senesced leaves. Mass loss differed among treatments after 14, 40.5 and 53. weeks decomposition. Mass loss at 7. weeks was predicted by P concentration at 7. weeks; mass loss in senesced leaves at 14. weeks was predicted by abundance of fungal connections between the senesced litter cohort and forest floor at 7. weeks. Fungal connectivity and P accumulation at 7. weeks and mass loss of senesced leaves beginning at 14. weeks were significantly different from and lower in plots with trimmed canopy and no debris than in the untrimmed plots with debris. Litter moisture was previously found to be significantly lower under open than closed canopy, and we found that moisture was a significant predictor of fungal connectivity in both senesced and green leaves. Deposition of green leaves ameliorated the inhibitory effect of canopy opening on fungal connectivity between litter cohorts by retaining moisture; consequently fungal connectivity and mass loss in senescent leaves did not differ between the Trim. +. Debris and the control treatments. Phosphorus content of senesced leaves increased significantly by 7. weeks in both trimmed and untrimmed plots with added green debris and in the control plots. Based on mass balance calculations, both the underlying forest floor and overlying green leaves likely contributed P to the decomposing senesced leaf cohort. Fungal translocation of P through hyphal connections between litter cohorts explains some of the changes in P content. Though fungi were important in conserving P, most of the P that was likely leached from green leaves was not retained in the litter layer. © 2014.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 117.43K | Year: 2013
With this award from the Chemistry Major Research Instrumentation Program, Professor Rolando Roque-Malherbe from Universidad Del Turabo and colleagues Agustin Rios, Anastacio Emiliano and Cesar Lozano will acquire an automatic high pressure physisorption analyzer. The proposal is aimed at enhancing research and education at all levels, especially in areas such as (a) metal organic frameworks for methane storage; (b) Prussian blue analogues for small molecules separation from gas flows; and (c) pore size augmented nitroprussides for carbon dioxide storage.
A high pressure physisorption analyzer takes advantage of the very weak attractive interactions between molecules, which arise from so-called van der Waals interactions. In general, high pressure is applied to a gas in contact with a solid substrate. As the pressure increases, the gas molecules are attracted to various degrees by the substrate. Under appropriate conditions, these weak interactions allow separation of gases. If additionally the pores of the substrate are manipulated, the interactions may increase and such solids may be used to store gases. Useful examples are those of carbon dioxide, which may contribute to global warming and may serve as feedstock for chemical reactions under concentrated conditions.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ENERGY FOR SUSTAINABILITY | Award Amount: 10.00K | Year: 2011
This award will provide partial support for the workshop titled ?The World Alliance on Turbulence and Wind Energy?, to be held at the Universidad del Turabo in Puerto Rico during February of 2011.
The stated objectives of the workshop are to 1) Promote international collaborations between the United States, Europe and Australia; 2) Indentify major pressing questions on turbulence and wind energy; 3) Promote technology transfer by means of collaborations with industry and via creation of an Incubator in Puerto Rico on Renewable Energy; 4) Demonstrate the connection between fundamental knowledge with applications in wind energy; 5) Promote graduate studies for underrepresented students in the area of wind energy and turbulence; and 6) Establish the ?First World Wall-Turbulence Meeting? with the purpose of building an international collaboration to address key questions in turbulence and wind energy.
The workshop will uniquely address the following scientific, engineering, and energy policy topics at intersection of atmospheric turbulence and wind energy: 1) Design and Optimization; 2) Grid Integration, Economics of Wind Energy, and Policy; 3) Offshore Wind Energy; 4) WE Arrays and their Effect on the Micro-climate; and 5) Atmospheric Boundary Layer and High Reynolds Number Flows.
The workshop has the potential to promote innovation for wind energy in an international context, and is designed to inspire graduate students, particularly from under-represented groups, to pursue interdisciplinary study in science and engineering topics at the nexus of atmospheric science and wind engineering. Towards this end, the workshop will aim to have more than 50% of student participants from under-represented groups.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Fellowship | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 124.50K | Year: 2010
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: AERONOMY | Award Amount: 105.02K | Year: 2014
This project by a consortium of six institutions describes an initiative, named QBUS, to participate in the international QB50 cubesat network.
QB50 is an international network of 50 CubeSats for multi-point, in-situ measurements in the largely unexplored lower thermosphere. Led by the Von Karman Institute (VKI) of Belgium, the QB50 project is predominantly funded from a FP7 Grant by the European Union (EU) and includes international participation from more than 30 countries. The idea behind the project is that the EU grant will supply the science instruments and a joint launch for all 50 satellites, which will be provided by participating teams that will secure their own independent funding for CubSat production and ground station operation. The plan for QB50 is that all 50 CubeSats will be launched together in 2015-2016 on a Shtil-2.1 from Murmansk in northern Russia into a circular orbit at 320 km altitude, inclination 79º. Due to atmospheric drag, the orbits will decay and the CubeSats will be able to explore all layers of the lower thermosphere without the need for on-board propulsion, down to 90 or 100 km, depending on the quality of their thermal design. It is expected that the network will spread around the Earth (in a single orbit plane) providing a range of spacing and temporal revisit times. The lifetime of the CubeSats from deployment until atmosphere re-entry will be less than three months. Each QB50 satellite is required to carry one of three standardized sensor packages: a plasma package, a neutral package or a composition package. The plasma package is based on a miniaturized Langmuir probe providing plasma density, the neutral package measures the atomic and molecular Oxygen density, and the composition package is an Ion-Neutral Mass Spectrometer (INMS).
The partners of the QBUS consortium (3 research universities, one Hispanic minority undergraduate university, and 2 national laboratories) all have significant CubeSat and Ionosphere-Thermosphere (IT) science experience. The QBUS team will build 4 identical 2U CubeSat flight units based on a joint design, with participating members providing various components of the usual satellite functions (attitude determination and control, uplink and downlink telecommunications, power subsystem including a battery and body-mounted solar cells, on-board data handling and storage by a CPU). Of the three available options, the QBUS team has been approved by the QB50 project to fly the INMS sensor built by the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL). This instrument will measure atmospheric composition via abundance determination of neutral atomic O, molecular O2 and N2. QBUS as part of QB50 offers a unique opportunity for dense and distributed in-situ measurements of the most poorly characterized state parameter: neutral and ion composition from 100-320 km. The project will use measurements from QBUS, QB50, and complementary ground-based observations to characterize and understand how compositional changes are created by energy inputs, propagated and ultimately equilibrated within the IT system. Specifically, it will be possible, for the first time, to quantify the effect of composition changes (primarily O/N2) on electron density changes across temporal scales (minutes to months) and spatial scales (10-s km to global).
The project constitutes a particularly creative and cost-effective approach. The multi-university and national Laboratory solution proposed entails partners sharing and leading by their specific strengths. Efficiency of numbers and division of labor by experience will result in tremendous program costs savings. In addition, QBUS constitutes substantial leveraging on the international QB50 project. As a result of U.S. funded participation in QB50 the entire U.S. science community will have the opportunity to access the full constellation dataset from QB50. The QB50/QBUS program also serves as impetus for unprecedented coordination between NSF-sponsored facilities and instruments for in-situ and ground based campaigns to enable IT discovery. The project has tremendous educational impacts. It will directly support the training of the next generation of instrument engineers and geoscientists at 4 universities (one of which is minority serving) in the consortium, expecting to provide around 200 students hands-on involvement in the development, testing and operations of the QBUS CubeSats. It will facilitate additional student participation across the United States and internationally through use of derived data products from the entire QB50 mission.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: IUSE | Award Amount: 50.00K | Year: 2014
The goal of this sequence of workshops is to create a community of faculty engaged in the delivery of active, hands-on courses in all the universities in Puerto Rico that offer Electrical Engineering. Faculty participants will be trained on active learning pedagogies through the use of the Mobile Hands-On Studio in the classroom. The participants in the workshop have committed to transforming their courses with mobile hands-on learning activities. The workshops will be offered by two experienced developers of the Mobile Studio who have successfully offered similar workshops in the past. The first workshop in the Fall of 2014 will introduce hands-on classroom activities using an Analog Discovery board. By the end of the first workshop the participants should have the capacity to start transforming their Spring 2015 courses with a few mobile hands-on learning activities. The second workshop, to be offered in Spring of 2015, will provide a forum to share and discuss initial impressions after having experimented with a transformed classroom. More advanced pedagogical activities will also be presented. To increase the ease of initial implementation, Analog Discovery boards and parts kits will be distributed to each participating institution to provide a seed from which to start growing the course transformation. The boards will be loaned to students at the beginning and returned by the end of each semester.
The workshop organizers have retained a well-known engineering education researcher who will assess the success of the workshop itself in terms of the formation of a community of scholars and the diffusion of active learning pedagogies. These workshops have the potential to have an impact on society at many different levels. First, the project includes a research component that has the potential to contribute to our knowledge of how engineering education innovations diffuse. Second, the project is a state-wide level partnership between all the engineering institutions in Puerto Rico. It will directly improve the training and development of Hispanic faculty members in STEM and indirectly improve Hispanic student learning.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ICER | Award Amount: 28.14K | Year: 2015
The progress of science in the United States is dependent on the development of a future STEM workforce that is well-trained, highly effective, and enriched through participation of the diverse talent of the nation. This award is being used to support a week-long strategic planning workshop that will bring together faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students from the Universidad del Turabo, Universidad Metropolitana, and University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences, with additional participants attending from government and private sector organizations within Puerto Rico. The goal of the collaborative effort is to develop sustainable education and research pathways into the marine and coastal sciences for Hispanic students.
The objective of this workshop is to develop novel educational models, or adapt existing ones, that are necessary for building a comprehensive coupled geoscience education and research program at minority serving institutions in Puerto Rico. The overarching goal is to create a pathway to STEM success that will lead to an increase in the number of underrepresented students from minority serving institutions participating in geoscience-relevant disciplines and careers, as well as increase geoscience literacy. The workshop is bringing together new and existing Puerto Rico partners in government, academia, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector to discuss and develop an educational framework for creating a new linked academic year and summer research curriculum. The workshop agenda consists of a two-day symposium and strategic planning meeting followed by 5 days of fieldwork and seminars. Participants will include UT,UMET and UMCES faculty, 12 undergraduates and 5 graduate students. The field/seminar components are designed to help identify areas of mutual strength among the collaborators, to inform strategies for developing an effective and sustainable multiyear undergraduate science education and research curriculum at institutions in Puerto Rico, as well as test the efficacy of potential research programs with new and existing partners. Extensive evaluation and assessment of the workshop processes and outcomes will help to document opportunities and barriers for achieving the goals of the workshop.
News Article | October 23, 2015
From wet chemistry to computer simulations, this year's Materials Processing Center-Center for Materials Science and Engineering Summer Scholars are engaged in MIT research projects targeting stronger materials, more efficient drug delivery, and catalysts for biofuel production. "I'm really interested in putting the molecular pieces together to make a functional drug delivery mechanism," says Hope College chemistry major Lisa Savagian, who is working this summer in the lab of Paula T. Hammond, the David H. Koch Professor in Engineering and head of the Department of Chemical Engineering. Her project involves synthesizing layer-by-layer films with gold nanorods that release a drug when exposed to near infrared light. Alexander Constable, a Pennsylvania State University junior majoring in materials science and engineering, is studying aligned-carbon nanotube carbon matrix nanocomposites in associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics Brian L. Wardle's lab. Constable will use X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy to characterize chemical bonds. "We are hoping to get a better understanding of the cross-linking behavior and microstructure of carbon nanotubes in pyrolytic carbon," Constable says. "Specifically, we want to understand these properties as we increase the volume fraction of carbon nanotubes, hopefully yielding a significantly harder and tougher carbon-based composite material for aerospace applications." Katharine Greco is working under chemical engineering Assistant Professor Willliam A. Tisdale on hybrid semiconductor nanocrystals. She will be growing quantum dots with a cadmium selenide core, a cadmium sulfide inner shell, and a zinc sulfide outer shell, then characterizing them using X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy. "My goal for the summer is to accurately model the structure of these dots based on the characterization data. This is important because the interactions between the core and shell change the photoluminescence and thermal conductivity properties of the nanocrystals," says Greco, who just completed her junior year at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The long-term goal of the project is develop synthesis techniques to tune the properties of quantum dots so the same nanocrystals can be used for applications such as LEDs and solar cells. Rowan University chemistry and physics major Olivia Fiebig is working in assistant professor of chemical engineering Bradley Olsen's lab on how the microscopic structure of elastin-like polypeptide sequences in block copolymers affects the macroscopic properties of thermoresponsive protein hydrogels. Her project will determine the effect of amino acid substitution on macroscopic behavior. She is learning how to grow E. coli cells and extract proteins to make the hydrogels. "It's definitely new for me and a good experience," Fiebig says. Stephen Gibbs is working in chemical engineering Professor Michael S. Strano's lab to understand chemically driven, nanotube-guided thermopower waves. Gibbs, a University of Florida chemical engineering major, explains that applying fuel along a carbon nanotube fiber and initiating a reaction on one end, creates a reaction front, or "thermopower wave," which results in a voltage along the fiber that exceeds values predicted by thermoelectric models. This technology might provide strong pulse energy signals from nanoscale devices. Nathan Zhao, who studies physics and mathematics at Columbia University, is investigating inherent stability of nanocrystalline composites in associate professor of materials science and engineering Michael J. Demkowicz's group. Copper-niobium multilayered metals are of particular interest because of their high strength and resistance to radiation damage. Zhao will simulate properties at metal-to-metal interfaces using phase-field and Cahn-Hilliard equation methods. Rutgers University materials science and engineering major Zhenni Lin is working in David H. Koch Professor of Engineering Michael J. Cima's lab on synthesizing and characterizing solid-state magnetic resonance imaging contrast agents. These biocompatible solid-state contrast agents can be used to measure pH internally. Lin's work will include characterizing the contrast agent through time-domain nuclear magnetic resonance, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Other Summer Scholars and their lab affiliations are: Bartholomeus Machielse in the lab of Juejun (JJ) Hu in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Jonah Sengupta in the lab of Karl Berggren in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Jahzeel Rosado Vega in the lab of Markus J. Buehler in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Mariely Caraballo Santa in the lab of Ronald G. Ballinger in the departments of Nuclear Science and Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering; and Lena Barrett in the lab of Yuriy Román in the Department of Chemical Engineering. The 12 college interns were selected from among 156 applicants for the program run jointly by the Materials Processing Center and the Center for Materials Science and Engineering. Students chose their projects from among 21 faculty presentations after three days of presentations and lab tours June 8-10. The program runs through Aug. 8. Machielse, a University of Pennsylvania physics student, will be contributing to Hu's mid-infrared spectrometer work. Sengupta, who studies electrical engineering at the University of Maryland, will work with postdoc Amir Tavakkoli on using mechanical vibration to control self-assembly of block copolymer thin films. This work will require both thermal annealing and solvent annealing while at the same time using controlled vibration. A mechanical engineering major at the University of Turabo, Rosado Vega will study wave propagation in spider webs using simulation of proteins. Caraballo Santa, who also studies mechanical engineering at the University of Turabo, will learn how to model naval submarine shafts. Her work is part of a project to double the time between inspections for submarine rotor shafts. Barrett, a Lehigh University chemical engineering and business information systems double major, will be running one-pot batch reactions with beta-structured Lewis acid catalysts and altering various parameters to determine optimal reaction conditions for the production of neopentyl glycol, an industrially important intermediate. "Ultimately, we would like to uncover a more economical method to run this reaction," Barrett says. The Materials Processing Center and the Center for Materials Science and Engineering sponsor the nine-week summer research internships through the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates, which is supported under the NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers program (grant number DMR-1419807). Summer Scholars will present their research results at a poster session on Wednesday, Aug. 5.