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Current Projects

Check out the list of current projects being conducted at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

UT Projects

Beyond Lithium–Exploring Earth-Abundant Sodium Ion Batteries

Faculty Mentors: Jacqueline Anne Johnson and Russell Lee Leonard
Summary: The objective of this research is to achieve a greater understanding of the functionality of electrochemically active glasses for energy storage applications and the effects of composition, size, and structure. The researchers’ overall goal is the development of solid-state sodium ion batteries that are safe and sustainable.

Validation of Topology Optimization for On Demand PropeAdversarial Machine Learning Applications in Cybersecurity

Faculty Mentor: Anahita Khojandi
Summary: Develop neural networks and machine learning algorithms trained and tested with adversarial machine learning to determine performance accuracy before and after training with adversarial data.

Ultrafast Laser Micromachining

Faculty Mentors: Lino Costa and Trevor Moeller
Summary: The undergraduate researcher will work on the development and characterization of materials micromachined using ultrafast lasers.

Predicting Supplier Lateness for Low-volume High-value Supply Chains

Faculty Mentor:  Hugh Medal
Summary: Develop a machine learning model for supplier performance as well as predicting if/when a manufacturer will no longer be available. The project will consist of collecting historical data and using it to develop and test machine learning models.

Microbe Hunting on Ice–Interrogating the Molecular Underpinnings of Extremophile Microbe Potential

Faculty Mentor: Jill Mikucki
Summary: The Mikucki Lab aims to better understand the unique enzymes and molecules produced by Antarctic Extremophiles. This student project would use traditional microbial cultivation techniques and numerous ‘omics approaches.

Fibers and Composite Manufacturing

Faculty Mentor: Uday Vaidya
Summary: The Fibers and Composites Manufacturing Facility is the home to IACMI-The Composites Institute with strong ties to industry R&D and product development. Work is dependent upon skill level, from becoming familiarized with composites intermediates such as discontinuous and continuous fibers, mats, pellets, and flakes, to the optimization of helmets designs and understanding the workings of a ballistic gas gun.

Studies of Energy Storage and Conversion Devices and Components

Faculty Mentor: Thomas Zawodzinski
Summary: Research on studies of energy storage systems and/or their components.  This lab group develops and characterizes new materials, such as advanced electrolytes and electrodes, for electrochemical systems such as batteries and fuel cells.

Friends, Enemies, Frenemies? Microbial Interactions at the Ocean’s Surface

Faculty Mentor: Erik Zinser
Summary: Laboratory culture-based investigation of how competition and symbiotic interactions drive the dynamics of the mixed assemblage of microbes using the most abundant photosynthetic organism in the open ocean, Prochlorococcus, and the associated heterotrophic bacteria.

Comprehensive Strategies for Battery Thermal Management, Fast Charging, And Thermal Runaway Prevention

Faculty Mentor: James Simonton
Summary: Conducting battery cycling experiments at high charging and discharging rates and low/high temperature to investigate Li-ion battery performance and understand the controlling electrochemistry under extreme conditions. In addition, developing reduced model for Li-ion battery from impedance measurement, and testing battery thermal runaway under abusing conditions, such as local heating, internal short circuit, and nail penetration to investigate the thermal safety limits and thermal runaway chemistry.

UNCC Projects

Mitigating Frost Action with Engineered Water Repellency

Faculty Mentor: John Daniels
Summary: This project is intended to clarify the fundamental mechanisms of frost action while endeavoring to mitigate them through engineered water repellency. Findings have the potential to dramatically extend the service life of infrastructure while introducing engineered hydrophobicity as a novel method for soil improvement.

Indoor Geospatial Localization Using AI and Scavenged Sensing Data

Faculty Mentor: Lei Zhu
Summary: Sensor data fusion and integration, generating accurate and reliable trajectories based on the geospatial localization data, and real-time big data analysis in regards to geospatial localization technology.

Analyzing the Benefits of a Haptic Shared Control Framework for Controlling a Semi-Automated Ground Vehicle

Faculty Mentor: Amirhossein Ghasemi
Summary: This project aims to design an experimental platform in the form of a ground vehicle by equipping it with a motorized steering wheel, Lidar, GPU, and camera sensors. A set of algorithms will be needed to use the onboard sensors’ data to navigate the vehicles through multiple obstacles while delivering visual cues to the human driver.

Label-Free Microscopy

Faculty Mentor: Rosario Porras-Aguilar
Summary: The goal of the project is to harness optical properties of nanomaterials to obtain high-contrast images in label-free microscopy. This project will characterize two liquid crystal materials to measure the absorption coefficients and verify the liquid crystal’s birefringence.

Human Physiology Modeling with BioGears of Hyper- and Hypo- Baric Environments

Faculty Mentor: Elizabeth Smith
Summary: This project focuses on human physiology engines, such as BioGears that provide the ability to simulate the response of the human body to various environmental conditions, injuries, and medical interventions. This work will focus on hyperbaric and hypobaric environments as well as extreme cold as they relate to Navy applications.

Quantifying Protein-Protein Interactions of Chemokines Via Microscale Thermophoresis

Faculty Mentor: Irina Nesmelova
Summary: This project will use microscale thermophoresis to quantify protein-protein interactions within a group of signaling proteins called chemokines, which are widely involved in many normal physiologic and pathologic inflammatory processes. This work is specifically interested in a set of chemokines known to be major players in cancer.