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Tackling the Global Antibiotic Crisis

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Alexander Menke Chemistry & Biochemistry
Advisor(s): Eric Simanek Chemistry & Biochemistry

Dating back to 1550 B.C., ancient civilizations used moldy bread and medicinal soil to treat infections and wounds. Today, antibiotics are commonly used to treat bacterial infections. Salvarsan, the first antibiotic, was developed in 1910, followed by penicillin in the late 1920s. However, the widespread use of antibiotics and limited research has resulted in the emergence of antimicrobial resistance, posing a global threat. To address this, developing new antibiotics is crucial. Vancomycin, a potent antibiotic isolated in 1955 and synthesized in the late 1990s, is a target for this purpose. Despite its effectiveness, vancomycin is challenging to produce, with yields not exceeding 5%. Thus, this project aims to create a structure in four steps, with a yield greater than 50% that resembles vancomycin’s iconic 3-D bowl shape.


Conjugating Folic Acid to Platinum Nanocrystals on Silicon Nanotubes for targeting breast carcer.

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Leonardo Ojeda Hernandez Chemistry & Biochemistry
Advisor(s): Jeffery Coffer Chemistry & Biochemistry Giridhar Akkaraju Biology

Platinum compounds play an important role as anticancer agents. Their ability to bind to DNA in the nucleus (by a process known as intercalation within DNA base pairs) result in DNA damage and cell death. Unfortunately, these platinum-containing compounds lack specificity toward cancer cells and attack normal healthy cells that results in significant side effects as a consequence (loss of hair, nausea, among others).
Our group has developed a method to incorporate platinum on the surface of our silicon Nanotubes using (3-Aminopropyl) triethoxysilane (APTES) as a functional arm to the Nanotubes. The Silicon nanotubes have attracted great attention in applications relevant to diagnosis and therapy, owing in part to its biocompatibility and biodegradability in cells.
Once inside the cell, platinum is released slowly, thus allowing an interaction with DNA. Our previous results using this technology showed significant toxicity on a type of cancer cell known as HeLa. While these findings are promising, specificity has not yet been achieved.
Cancer activates signaling pathways that translates on overexpression of specific proteins/receptors. Particularly, folate receptors (FR) are present in 90-98% of ovarian, prostate, uterus, breast, as well as some adenocarcinomas. FR expression is very limited in normal cells and generally not accessible to blood flow which makes it a suitable and promising system to target cancer. These receptors are glycopolypeptides that present high affinity for folic acid (FA).
A viable strategy has been identified, involving the conjugation of a molecule known as glutathione to act as a linker to the surface of the silicon-based platinum nanoparticles through N-Hydroxysuccinimide (NHS) activation, followed by substitution with folic acid.
The cellular evaluation of this material shown high cytotoxicity against Hela cells and selectivity, in compare with material without Folate.


Activity-Structure Relationship: Partition Coefficients of Triazine Macrocycles Predicts their Conformation

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Casey Patterson-Gardner Chemistry & Biochemistry April Cannon Chemistry & Biochemistry
Advisor(s): Eric Simanek Chemistry & Biochemistry

Peptidomimetic macrocycles are of ever-growing interest to the field of pharmacology as candidates for inhibiting supposed "undruggable" sites (such as protein-protein interactions). An important property of pharmacophores within drug development is the partition coefficient (often expressed as logP or logD), which measures the ability of a molecule to partition between aqueous and organic media, effectively expressing the ability for a drug to diffuse into a cell from the bloodstream. Our group has previously synthesized several amino acid-containing triazine macrocycles through facile three-step procedure yielding folded, sometimes dynamic, macrocycles in good yields. With six additional macrocycles, including two aromatic side chains and proline, a trend in logD values has emerged, allowing for the rapid prediction of the macrocyclic conformation per its respective logD values. Each macrocycle is folded, but the extent of triazine-triazine overlap, side chain van der Waals interactions, and shielding of its central proton is reflected in the divergence of the macrocycle's logD from a central trendline. Ability to predict the macrocycle's logD values via additive atomistic or fragment-based programs is also shown to reveal this divergent trend. Structure of these triazine macrocycles was elucidated through proton and nOesy/rOesy NMR.


Showing Big Pharma Where to Look for New Drugs: Developing New Models for Determining whether Large Molecules are Orally Available

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Gretchen Pavelich Chemistry & Biochemistry
Advisor(s): Eric Simanek Chemistry & Biochemistry

In the world of drugs, the chemical property that is most important is logP, the predictor of whether a drug can be taken orally and cross the cell membrane. Pharmaceutical companies will not explore molecules with logPs that are outside the ideal range. But what if predictions are wrong? The rules for predicting logP are based on small molecules, but the industry is moving towards large molecule drugs. This poster looks at synthesizing models of large molecule drugs (ring-shaped molecules called macrocycles) to determine if the logP of large molecules can be predicted. Synthesis of a hydrophobic macrocycle shows that the industry predicted logP failed. New prediction methods are needed. To develop these methods, additional macrocycles were made to serve as models for prediction. These molecules also allow us to explore another avenue in drug design challenge another paradigm in drug discovery. Pharmaceutical companies avoid hydrophilic functional groups because of ill predictions about logP. Combining these hydrophilic groups with predictable hydrophobic groups will make the molecule's logP acceptable. That is, by design, the undesirable hydrophilic group is balanced with the desirable hydrophobic group to bring polar groups through the membrane. Overall, the work will allow for a wider range of molecules to be considered for potential drug design.


Computational Prediction of Isoelectric Point (pI) and Acidity (pKa) of Pyridinophane Macrocycle Derivatives using Density Functional Theory

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Minh Nhat Pham Chemistry & Biochemistry
Advisor(s): Benjamin Janesko Chemistry & Biochemistry

Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between free radical activities, including those of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and the body’s natural antioxidant mechanism. To help restore this balance, the Green research group at TCU has developed tetradentate pyridine-containing cyclen macrocycles capable of simultaneously carrying out various modes of antioxidant activities. As drug candidates , these molecules need to be further modified with different functional groups to fine-tune their activities and pharmacological properties, resulting in a large library of up to hundreds of derivative structures. Isoelectric point (pI) and acidity (pKa) play a vital role in assessing the membrane permeability of these molecules. Given the size of the library, experimental determination of these values is an unnecessarily time-consuming endeavor. Using the state-of-the-art Density Functional Theory (DFT), this project aims to 1) show how pI values of any molecules in this library can be predicted with reference to a desired value and 2) predict the pKa of different acidic sites on these multifunctional molecules. This can potentially shed light on the effects of covalent modifications on pI and pKa values, and with further optimizations, can be applied to a virtual screening protocol for any libraries of drug candidates.


Effect of HEPES on Lysozyme Crystallization from Metastable Protein-Rich Droplets

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Jenny Pham Chemistry & Biochemistry Shamberia Thomas Chemistry & Biochemistry
Advisor(s): Onofrio Annunziata Chemistry & Biochemistry

Protein crystallization is regarded as a more economically sustainable strategy for achieving protein purification compared to traditional downstream processing chromatography. However, protein crystallization is not a well understood process and still relies on empirical protocols. This work examines the rational design of protein crystallization for lysozyme, a model protein, by exploiting the formation of metastable protein-rich droplets by liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS). Specifically, sodium chloride, which is a salting-out agent, is used to induce LLPS, while 2-[4-(2-hydroxyethyl)piperazin-1-yl]ethanesulfonic acid (HEPES) is a salting-in agent used to modulate LLPS conditions. It was found that HEPES enhances protein crystallization from protein-rich droplets. This effect can be explained by examining the relative shift of the LLPS boundary with respect to crystal solubility in the temperature-composition phase diagram. This work suggests that LLPS-mediated protein crystallization may be enhanced in the presence of salting-in agents.


Effects of a Secondary Pyridine Ring Substitution on Electronics and SOD Activity of Pyridinophanes

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Katherine Smith Chemistry & Biochemistry David M. Freire Chemistry & Biochemistry Magy Mekhail Chemistry & Biochemistry Timothy M. Schwartz Chemistry & Biochemistry
Advisor(s): Kayla Green Chemistry & Biochemistry

Oxidative stress is caused by the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the body and is
a key player in many maladies, including neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Superoxide dismutase (SOD) metalloenzymess are capable of transforming the common ROS molecule
superoxide (O2) into less toxic species such as H2O or O2, thus protecting the body from harmful reactions of
superoxide. Synthetic metal complexes have shown promise as SOD mimics and can be effective alternatives
to therapeutic dosing of SOD enzyme for oxidative stress. In this work, we present a series of 12-membered
tetra-aza pyridinophanes (Py2N2) and the corresponding copper complexes with substitutions on the 4-position
of the pyridine ring. The SOD functional mimic capabilities of the Cu[Py2N2]Cl series were explored using a
UV-Visible visible spectrophotometric assay. Spectroscopic, potentiometric, and crystallographic methods were
used to explore how the electronic nature of the 4-position substitution affects the electronics of the overall
complex, and the SOD biomimetic activity of each complex’s activity as a SOD mimic. This work is an initial
step toward developing these Cu[Py2N2]Cl complexes as potential therapeutics for neurological diseases by
mimicking SOD’s capabilities and protecting the body from oxidative stress.


Towards a Sustainable Future: Modular and Efficient Syntheses of Squaraine Dyes for Biomedical and Energy Applications

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Daniel Ta Chemistry & Biochemistry Jeanne Favret Chemistry & Biochemistry Ernesto Rodriguez Chemistry & Biochemistry
Advisor(s): Sergei Dzyuba Chemistry & Biochemistry

Squaraine dyes are a class of small luminescent molecules with diverse applications in physical sciences, medicine, and engineering. Although widely used, the current synthetic approaches are neither modular nor environmentally friendly. Therefore, this poster will present our efforts to develop facile, diverse, and efficient synthetic methods for squaraine dyes, based on green chemistry and sustainability principles.


Yield of protein crystallization from metastable liquid-liquid phase separation

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Shamberia Thomas Chemistry & Biochemistry
Advisor(s): Onofrio Annunziata Chemistry & Biochemistry

Yield of protein crystallization from metastable liquid-liquid phase separation
Aisha Fahim, Shamberia Thomas, Jenny Pham, Onofrio Annunziata

The high demand in pharmaceutical and biotechnological products has motivated the need for economically sustainable alternatives to chromatography for protein purification. One promising alternative for protein purification is protein crystallization. However, protein crystallization is a complex, not well understood process. In our previous work, a new strategy for enhancing protein crystallization from metastable protein-rich droplets was examined. This requires the use of two additives. The first additive (inducer) promotes liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) in a protein aqueous sample. The second additive (modulator) alters the composition of droplets and their thermodynamic stability. A protocol for determining yields of LLPS-mediated protein crystallization was developed. This protocol was used to examine the effect of various inducer-modulator pairs on crystallization of lysozyme, a model protein.


Site Specific Incorporation of Unnatural Amino Acids into Proteins Through Evolution of a Leucyl-tRNA Synthetase

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Joel Umana Chemistry & Biochemistry
Advisor(s): Youngha RYU Chemistry & Biochemistry

There are a wide variety of unnatural amino acids whose properties could be used to study the structure and function of proteins and create proteins with enhanced or novel functions. The purpose of this research is to develop a method to add unnatural amino acids to proteins via site-specific modification. This is done through aminoacyl tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) which are proteins that attach the correct amino acid to its corresponding tRNA. The loaded tRNA then transports the amino acid to the ribosome where it is incorporated into an elongating protein. Usually, aaRSs have editing domains that remove any amino acids that the synthetase is not specific to. To solve this problem, we have paired Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum leucyl tRNA synthetase (MLRS) with a removed editing domain with Halobacterium sp. NRC-1 leucyl tRNA to incorporate unnatural amino acids into proteins in Escherichia coli. The binding site of MLRS has been identified, and we have created millions of MLRS variants by randomizing the five amino acids in the binding sites. Using genetic screening procedures, we have identified variants with larger binding sites, and we are currently testing for successful incorporation of unnatural amino acids like dansyl-DAP into the z-domain model protein.


Integrated Hydrogel-Porous Silicon Structures for Non-invasive Biosensing

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): George Weimer Biology
Advisor(s): Jeffrey Coffer Chemistry & Biochemistry

Integrated Hydrogel-Porous Silicon Structures for Non-invasive Biosensing

There is great demand for non-invasive, dynamic sensors that assay bodily fluids such as sweat and interstitial fluid. Utilizing the supportive structure of hydrogels, the semiconducting character of porous silicon (pSi) membranes, and the biodegradability of both materials can ideally create a unique biosensor for the chemical analysis of human analytes.
Hydrogels are water-infused, biodegradable polymer networks. They make cheap and environmentally friendly materials that interface well with human skin. Alginate/Acrylamide hydrogels are particularly useful because of their uniquely malleable yet supportive structure. These characteristics make them an ideal medium for supporting pSi membranes and simultaneously assimilating into a wide range of tissues.
Porous silicon is utilized to measure and conduct electrical signals throughout the hydrogel system. Porous silicon is a highly porous form of the classic semiconductor common to nearly all modern electronic devices. These membranes exhibit measurable current values as a function of voltage, which we will use to detect bioelectrical stimuli such as the concentration of physiologically relevant ion species such as sodium, potassium, and calcium.
The focus of recent experiments is centered on integrating pSi membranes into various aqueous environments and hydrogels to test how variations in ion concentration affect the flow current as a function of applied voltage. Porous silicon membranes are fashioned into diodes upon the attachment of 0.25mm diameter copper wire using silver epoxy (the contact is annealed at 100℃ for ten minutes to improve ohmic behavior). In a given experiment, an electrochemical cell is created by placing two pSi membranes parallel each other 2-3 mm apart. Ten microliters of water are pipetted carefully in between the membranes and current is recorded as the voltage is swept from zero to five volts. Deionized water alone was highly resistive and current flow was relatively low with a baseline measurement of ~6 uA at 5 V. Additions of NaCl ions (1.37M) to the aqueous environment increased the current magnitude to 30-40 microamps. Carrying out this measurement in a hydrogels matrix results in a much larger measured current, with an average of two-three milliamps when a five-volt bias is applied.
Varying the concentration of ions in hydrogels has provided new challenges as they are highly water soluble but disintegrate rapidly after a couple of tests are performed. Improvements in the next research phase are anticipated with incorporation of acrylamide into the hydrogel network that will slow down the degradation of the hydrogel in aqueous environments, thereby providing a longer window for electrical measurements.


Fabrication and Characterization of BiVO4-Based Electrodes for Use in Photoelectrosynthetic Applications

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Jacob Wortley Chemistry & Biochemistry
Advisor(s): Benjamin Sherman Chemistry & Biochemistry

Light-driven reactions, such as those utilized in photoelectrosynthetic applications, focus on capturing and transferring light energy to drive chemical reactions. For this purpose, light-active semiconductor materials are used, such as BiVO4, α-Fe2O3, and WO3. In our previous work, we tested BiVO4 electrodes to drive an organic reaction: oxidation of benzyl alcohol to benzaldehyde in the presence of a TEMPO (2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine) catalyst. In this study, we are interested in a coupled heterojunction between WO3 and BiVO4 as it provides several advantages over its individual components. These two semiconductors' type II band alignment allows electrons from photoexcited BiVO4 to be transferred into WO3 and holes to accumulate at BiVO4. This process also ensures a decreased charge carrier recombination that otherwise is a pitfall of WO3 and BiVO4, thus improving the performance of the photocatalytic system. Experimentation with light absorption techniques such as UV-Vis and incident photon-to-current efficiency (IPCE) was conducted to understand better why these coupled materials exhibit higher photocurrent density. In the UV-Vis technique, the band gaps of the materials can be determined. Likewise, IPCE is a method that provides information about the efficiency of light energy convergence to chemical energy. By relating the proportion of incident light energy power to the total current produced by the WO3¬-BiVO4 photoanode, photoanodes can be compared using a ratio of energy input to output. This means that photoanodes exhibiting a high IPCE % are losing less energy to alternative chemical processes and, thus, are more efficient at driving photoelectrosynthetic reactions. To test the effect of WO3 on energy conversion efficiency, IPCE experiments were run for the following sample types: WO3 only, BiVO4 only, and WO3-BiVO4. Comparing IPCE values for previous BiVO4 photoanodes with the new coupled materials, it is clear that adding WO3 with BiVO4 increases the conversion of light energy into chemical energy. Our results demonstrated how coupled materials (WO3-BiVO4) generate higher current densities upon illumination for the consecutive application toward driving photoelectrosynthetic reactions.


An Asset Management System for Increased Efficiency and Accountability

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Matthew Bolding Computer Science Joey Flores Computer Science Zyler Niece Computer Science Emma Sanders Computer Science
Advisor(s): Krishna Kadiyala Computer Science

Chalk Mountain Service, LLC. is a trucking company whose business is transporting raw materials, such as fracking sand, to various oilfield sites in and around west Texas. With over 1,300 assets in their fleet, they’re presented with a number of logistical problems, like optimizing a driver’s time to make as many trips between drill sites and raw material depots as possible in a day. Such routing and scheduling applications must have accurate data—the assets are either in or out of service and their location—to schedule sensible routes.

Should an asset break down in the unforgiving terrain of west Texas, the appropriate employee should have the ability to take note of such an incident so that routing and scheduling applications have correct, up-to-date data. The company’s current solution allows for any user to make changes to any asset, regardless of authorization status. Inconsistencies in assets’ statuses can lead to an employee having to manually intervene in the scheduling process, which decreases the company’s overall efficiency. Additionally, their current application is not mobile-friendly, but a sizable portion of users nevertheless interface with the current website from their phones.

The company’s expectations come in either one of two forms: a website and a companion app or a reactive website that can be used on a desktop or mobile device. The application shall use CRUD—create, read, update, and delete—methods to keep track of the assets, and the application shall provide different users with different access levels with Active Directory authentication. We have created a reactive website that can be used from either a desktop environment or mobile one, and our implementation of their requirements exists as a three layer architecture: a Microsoft SQL Server database, a backend developed in NodeJS, and a React front end. To make the deployment as simple as possible, we did not pursue developing the application on cloud providers; the application depends on a connection to an in-house SQL server and Active Directory service both of which cannot be accessed outside their intranet and are critical to the application’s functionality.


Instructional Equity Observing Tool

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Sam Callan Computer Science
Advisor(s): Krishna Kadiyala Computer Science

The Instructional Equity Observing Tool is an online video/audio analysis tool that is geared towards assisting the teachers and faculty of educational institutions in analyzing and understanding how their interaction with students translates into real learning. Our platform is meant to replace the current, manual method of analysis that many teachers/instructors perform to try and quantify different metrics about their teacher-student interaction. Instructors have expressed desire to view metrics such as the time the teacher talks during a lesson, what is the response time of students to those questions, and other data points such as the types of questions being asked (as categorized by Bloom’s Taxonomy). Quantifying these instructional variables helps these instructors more accurately understand the areas that they are strong in, and more importantly, the areas in which they can be more interactive with the students as to allow them to better absorb the lessons being taught. With the help of our tool, we can allow teachers to quickly and efficiently gather this data about each of their lessons so that data driven changes in teaching techniques is possible, and moreover, so that teachers can identify potential vectors of ineffective instruction.
The process for using this application is for a user to login/sign-up for our site, then they will proceed to upload either an audio or video file to the designated location. Our tool will then take that video/audio file and execute a customized API call to AssemblyAI ( that transcribes this file into text. We then perform specialized data manipulation operations on the transcript to generate all the different metrics and display them in an easy-to-read format that the user can then scroll through and analyze the results. The user will also have the option to save this report that is generated as a pdf, which they or an administrator role will be able to access and view again at a later time.
Our application is hosted using Amazon Web Services (AWS) and utilizes many different functionalities that this service provides. AWS manages our authentication and authorization, user account management, and report storage functionalities. Our current system does not use its own machine learning model and instead offloads transcription to the AssemblyAI API, however this could be updated in the future with the addition of large datasets for training. A specifically trained machine learning model in this case could provide a more accurate categorization of questions and a more flexible tool that could eventually make predictions or suggestions to the user on the best ways to improve their teaching methods.


Open Planner

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Shawn Fahimi Computer Science Thuong Hoang Computer Science
Advisor(s): Bingyang Wei Computer Science

Open Planner is a web application designed to meet the increasing need for college students to have a way to more easily organize and access major
assignment/exam dates across all courses during busy college semesters. Open Planner seeks to ease agenda making for students by parsing uploaded student syllabi for major assignment/exam dates and generate a personalized calendar the student can access from his/her account upon sign-up and syllabus upload. Once they have access to their personal calendar, students will be able to add events, delete and modify existing events, and customize their course calendars, giving them fast access to a customized and modifiable calendar without the time demanding task of looking through course syllabi and adding major dates one by one.

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Native Meteorites

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Alberto Gaucin Computer Science
Advisor(s): Bingyang Wei Computer Science

Indigenous communities have a deep-seated understanding of the importance and sacredness that their land has in their daily lives (native; they have a deep sense of place. The primary objective of Native Meteorites (NaMe) is to amplify the work of the Native Earth | Native Sky (NENS) program by recognizing the critical importance of free-choice learning in STEM education and providing a different lens through which STEM can be made culturally relevant for students in Native American nations.
This project focuses specifically on meteorites found on the lands of the three Oklahoma Native American tribes participating in NENS and provides a concrete example of the cultural relevance of planetary science and STEM, utilizing concepts that are deeply rooted in a sense of place. The goal of this project is to increase the interest and participation of an underrepresented important people group in the national STEM workforce, as well as provide an example of the relevance of place-based STEM education for all individuals.
This project consists of an interactive map, which displays where relevant meteorites landed; and also provides supplementary resources for education. Members of the NaMe project will develop STEM resources that focus on meteorites found on Native American Lands. This will be unlike other free-choice learning because this interactive map caters specifically to indigenous peoples’ learning styles.
In collaboration with Native American individuals, the team designed the site layout, content, and imagery to be as inclusive and considerate as possible. The product of this project ultimately caters to an audience that is quite underrepresented– so we used conscious software development in the website-building process.
The interactive map feature of this site will increase the interest and participation of an underrepresented important people group in the national STEM workforce, as well as provide an example of the relevance of place-based STEM education for all individuals.


BMW Performance Horse Database

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Chirayu Jain Computer Science Madison Gresham Computer Science David Hanft Computer Science Jerry Wu Computer Science
Advisor(s): Bingyang Wei Computer Science

The system to be is BMW Performance Horse Database, also referred to as BMWPHD. The client is Brooke Wharton with BMW Quarter Horses. The purpose of her company is to breed and raise horses for reining and reined competitions. Currently this field faces the issue that horse data is spread over multiple different platforms that do not communicate with one another. With that, the main objective of BMWPHD is to create a user-friendly searchable database for the task of finding and ranking horses for breeding, buying, and determining show schedules. The users of this application include fans, riders, coaches, judges, and investors in the sport. The hope is to not only bring more fans to the sport through the easy access to data, but also improve the level of competition so that the horses can be bred stronger and therefore perform at a higher level within the sport. On the technical side, the system will be implemented with the following technologies: the frontend will use Vue.js, the backend will be implemented in Java Spring Boot, the database will be built in PostgreSQL. The final version of the application will be deployed on Heroku.


Chinese Learning Platform

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Bao Nguyen Computer Science Quynh Dong Computer Science Vipul Lade Computer Science Chase Lennartson Computer Science
Advisor(s): Bingyang Wei Computer Science

The Chinese Learning Platform(CPL) is a program to help students to learn the Chinese language. This platform will be used by both students of these ages attempting to learn Chinese as well as by the teachers who will use the platform as a teaching tool to help those students. As it is a teaching tool, the main motivation behind it is educational, with the hope to support students in learning the Chinese language, and in the future, this will be expanded to learning various other languages using the same CPL. The platform hopes to help these students utilize a textbook created by CPL, and will also include features that will help the students listen, read, write, and speak in the language they are learning.


Keepsake Project SRS Presentation

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Lucas Raynor Computer Science
Advisor(s): Krishna Kadiyala Computer Science

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for families to stay connected, especially those separated by distance. Keepsake is a software product that was developed with the aim of helping families bridge the gap by enabling them to share stories and memories across generations. The platform provides a secure and private space where family members can record and post audio content that can be accessed by their loved ones anytime, anywhere via cloud storage.

Keepsake offers an intuitive user interface that is accessible to users of all ages, making it easy for them to navigate and listen to the audio content. By hosting the platform on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Keepsake provides a reliable and scalable solution for storing and retrieving audio files/posts across the years. The platform is designed to ensure that each family's audio files are separate and private from other family audio files, offering complete privacy to users.

To get started with Keepsake, users can easily join their families and start recording and uploading audio files. The platform allows for organization and sharing with specific family groups, making it easy to share stories and memories with those who matter most. Keepsake is a powerful tool for connecting families across generations, providing accessibility, convenience, and security for families of all sizes and backgrounds.


Zero Order Testing Fixture

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Joshua Brown Engineering
Advisor(s): Sue Gong Engineering

A Novel Zeroth Diffraction Oder Light Intensity Measurement System
Typical optical measurement system requires all pieces and parts to be attached to the optical board that can be inconvenient if the devices to be tested need to be changed frequently. We designed a new measurement system that overcomes the inconvenience associated with the conventional design . The measurement system we created is centered on a large 90 degree holding fixture that allows the device under test to lay flat on the board with two adjustable alignment bars to fix its position for easy access and removal. The light source and light receiver of the power meter are anchored on the vertical holding rack. The holding rack is slotted so that the locations and angles of the light source and light receiver can be adjusted independently that enables multiple degrees of freedom for the measurement system.


The Importance of Power Quality

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Daniel Lopez Engineering Chelsea Boh Engineering Sam Busa Engineering Nhu Le Engineering
Advisor(s): Morgan Kiani Engineering

Power quality is the compatibility between the voltage that comes out of an electrical outlet and the power load that is being plugged into it. A power load (also known as electrical load) is any electrical device that needs to be plugged into a larger power grid to run, such as televisions and microwaves.
Different devices require different power loads to run at full efficiency and while electrical systems are capable of handling newer power loads, they are currently set to work with older ones as well. This may cause some side effects on power quality in the system. In this project, we investigate how to improve the power quality in the system caused by an inductive older load.


Generating Diffraction Pattern Images Using a Phase Light Modulator Developed by Texas Instruments

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Rick Lowry Engineering Nathan Gilly Engineering
Advisor(s): Sue Gong Engineering

MEMS based phase light modulator (PLM) is a device developed by Texas Instruments and is similar to the micromirror device but uses vertically actuated mirrors instead of rotating mirrors. This paper will explore methods to optimize the diffraction pattern images produced by the PLM.

One method that will be explored includes benchtop optical setups. The incident angle of the laser with respect to the PLM array and the specific components such as beam expanders and apertures improve the performance of the PLM. Other areas of exploration are the Increased electrodes that actuate the mirrors allowing for higher bit resolution. A MATLAB algorithm using the Gerchberg-Saxton method will be used to retrieve the phase information from an image. We will explore ways to improve the holographic image quality through algorithm changes.


Air Quality Measurement Comparison using Common Cellphone Apps for Homes using Indoor Wood Burning Ovens

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Sean Mulrow Engineering
Advisor(s): Jim Huffman Engineering

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 3 billion people use indoor fires using solid fuels such as biomass, coal, and wood. Studies by the WHO indicate over 3 million deaths per year along with multiple health concerns for these families. This research is determining the effectiveness of using a common cellphone app and filter paper to measure the indoor air quality of these homes. This will include a statistical comparison between two cellphone apps using filter paper collected from rural homes in Nicaragua that use indoor wood burning ovens. The filter papers are composed of papers from many homes before and after a ventilation system was installed.


Electromagnetic wave propagation through closed metal systems

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Sam Rajnarayanan Engineering Harmann Singh Chhabra Engineering
Advisor(s): Stephen Weis Engineering

A Faraday cage is an enclosure to shield electromagnetic fields from entering or exiting the cage. While metals with high electrical conductivity are expected to effectively demonstrate the operation of a Faraday cage, preliminary observations of a sealed cast iron cylinder allowing Bluetooth signals to be transmitted between a smartphone and wireless earbuds across it suggested the need for further research into electromagnetic wave propagation through closed metal systems. This research aims to utilize Bluetooth connectivity tests through sealed metal cylinders made of cast iron, aluminum, and stainless steel to analyze the working of Faraday cages, explore related material properties, and isolate possible reasons for the conflict in expected behavior when the electromagnetic transmission is detected through such cages. The research methods included conducting Bluetooth connectivity tests with different cylinder orientations and analyzing the strength of the transmitted and received Bluetooth signal. The key findings of this study suggest that material properties, spatial orientation, and the strength of the electromagnetic source influence the transmission of electromagnetic waves through sealed metal cylinders. The implications of these findings suggest potential exceptions to a common electromagnetic phenomenon and provide insights for future research.


Developing a Robust Testing System for Evaluating Texas Instrument’s Phase Light Modulator Devices

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Rigoberto Santillan Engineering
Advisor(s): Sue Gong Engineering

Texas Instruments is developing a new micro-optical-electro-mechanical device called phase light modulator (PLM). The TCU senior design team developed a robust testing system that can expose 20 PLM devices to different light sources with the capability of monitoring the temperature and light intensity at each device location. The system design and construction of the testing system will be presented. In addition, the selection and operation of LEDs, temperature and light sensors, as well as the optical components that are needed for the light source and sensors will be discussed.