ARISE 2017 Colloquium Venue 1: RH-215

Fidelis Izekor, Marko Henien

  • Lab: Soil Mechanics Lab
  • Faculty: Prof. Magued Iskander
  • Mentors: Abdelaziz Ads, Linzhu li
  • Time: 10:00 am – 10:20 am


Existing piles require an unsustainable increment in size to support the loads imposed by of present day structures. New piles called smart Thriving Friction by Extruding Gear (TFEG) can curb the size required using fins attached to the ends of the piles. They are installed using a unique technique; first, they are driven into the ground like regular piles, however unlike modern piles hydraulic fluid is sent through the smart TFEG. The hydraulic fluid forces the fins out and locks the pile into place. The fins are believed to increase the capacity of the piles. The purpose of this study is to investigate how the fins function and locate the ideal arrangement of fins. The soil used in this project is transparent soil formed by using mineral oil having a refractive index matched with the fused quartz refractive index. The mineral oil is a blend 68% puretol-7 and 32% Krystol-50 to reach to require refractive index, which equal to 1.4585. The fused quartz dispersing into the oil from a small distance of approximately 25 mm to decrease the air bubbles within the sample. Prior studies demonstrate that the transparent soil is very similar to the soil the piles would be inserted in. However, unlike to regular soil it is not opaque and we can in this manner watch the piles behavior once implanted in the transparent soil. As a pullout force is applied, to reproduce this present reality stresses, we will observe the diverse piles reactions. Image of soil movements as the pile movement will captured. After a computer analysis, we will better have the capacity to measure the conduct of the smart TFEG. We will likewise have decided the best pile in opposing the upward force. With this data, the smart TFEG innovation could be completely used in the development of new and potentially existing structures.

Aziza Kurbonova

  • Lab: Molecular Anthropology Lab
  • Faculty: Prof. Todd Disotell
  • Mentor: Dr. Andrew Burrell and Amber Trujillo
  • Time: 10:50 am – 11:00 am


All organisms shed DNA into the environment they inhabit. DNA persists over time in soil, water, and even the air. This “environmental” DNA, or eDNA, can be extracted from environmental samples and sequenced, allowing us to identify what organisms are present in a habitat. We will be experimenting with several different methods of extracting eDNA and generating 16s rRNA sequences to identify all organisms present in a sample. Several bioinformatic approaches will be used to identify known organisms and to classify unknown sequences.

Yeji Lee, Tasneem Ibrahim

  • Lab: Chromosome Inheritance Lab
  • Faculty: Prof. Andreas Hochwagen
  • Mentor: Viji Subramanian
  • Time: 10:30 am – 10:50 am


Meiosis, a process central to sexual reproduction, allows organisms to pass their genome (DNA) to the next generation. Mistakes in meiosis are the leading cause of infertility, spontaneous fetal loss and birth defects. Controlled DNA breakage and repair are integral to completion of meiosis and for preventing mistakes during this process. Our research aims to uncover novel mutations that affect DNA repair during meiosis using baker’s yeast as a model organism. These studies take advantage of the fast growth and comparatively simple genome of yeast. Because meiosis is conserved from yeast to humans, our research will provide a better understanding of meiosis in humans.

Lamiha Rahman

  • Lab: Flow Chemistry with Microsystems Laboratory
  • Faculty:  Prof. Ryan Hartman
  • Mentor: Tianyi Hua
  • Time: 10:20 am – 10:30 am


DNA origamis are nanoparticles of DNA self-assembly structures. DNA origamis of varying size and complexity are constructed and studied in literature. This new approach of building nanostructures of various functional properties exhibits a wealth of promising applications. The unique selectivity of DNA base pairs is the key to the robustness and accuracy of this process. This project investigates the DNA origami structure with the help of computer-aided design and drafting software as well as 3D printing technology. 3D printed DNA origami brings us a new site of view to study this fine structure, leading to a better understanding of the DNA folding mechanism.

Alexander Leon

  • Lab: CUITS Center for Urban Intelligent Transportation Systems
  • Faculty: Prof. Joseph Chow
  • Mentor: Diego Estuardo Correa / Gisselle Diana Barrera
  • Time: 11:20 am – 11:30 am


This study aims to investigate the impact of the emerging app-based for-hire vehicles on the taxi industry through quantitative analyses of Uber and taxi demands in New York City (NYC), investigating trends among one of the largest transportation systems in the world. Though there are new modes of transportation, taxis, managed by the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC), remain a critical player for commuters to get around the city. With the rapid growth of app-based car services like Uber and Lyft, the for-hire vehicle industry is changing dramatically. This research will aim to address some interesting questions like what motivates people to use certain modes of transportation over others, what factors impact the decision to use ride-sharing. Additional analyses include if Uber is being used for first-mile/last-mile problems in the outer boroughs or if pickups/drop-offs are clustered near subway stations?

Ariadna Paltis, Naomi Horsford

  • Lab: Music and Audio Research Lab (MARL)
  • Faculty: Prof. Juan Pablo Bello
  • Mentor: Charles Mydlarz, Mark Cartwright
  • Time: 11:00 am – 11:20 am


Noise pollution is a major issue for urban residents since 90% of them are exposed to excessive noise levels that exceed Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) guidelines. Therefore, the Music Audio Research Lab (MARL) has endeavored upon this huge urban noise monitoring initiative. MARL is attacking this issue through The Sounds of New York City or SONYC Project that includes the development and deployment of advanced, low cost acoustic sensors and web apps to connect to citizens in order to aid the identification of sounds throughout the New York City area. In terms of the the great amount of processing power these advanced sensors, this sets SONYC apart from other solutions. In terms of these sensors being cost effective, the lost cost of each sensor makes the network scalable to large developments. These sensors will soon be equipped to identify and report the types of sounds heard in their environment. This data is then processed through a cyber-infrastructure that can aggregate and visualize the information gathered. Data visualization helps scientists and key city agencies such as the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to determine the best pathway to tackling the noise pollution dilemma in New York. By identifying locations that produce the most noise, city officials and other private corporations would instate regulations to minimize the amount of noise and the effects of it. In the near future the hope of living a more peaceful life in the city could become a reality.

Lakshta Kundal

  • Lab: Dynamical Systems Lab
  • Faculty: Prof. Maurizio Porfiri
  • Mentor: Tommaso Ruberto, Daniele Neri, Rana El Khoury
  • Time: 11:30 am – 11:40 am


In behavioral studies, automated tracking systems increase efficiency and accuracy; however, occlusions may bias the tracking. Occlusions are a phenomenon that occurs when multiple targets are located relatively close to each other such that the software cannot distinguish between the unique identity for each fish. To overcome occlusions, tagging experimental subjects with colorful implants is a viable solution. In this project, we will investigate the impacts of tagging on the social behavior of zebrafish, an important animal model for studying behavior. We propose the development of a uniquely-defined tracking algorithm to calculate the average intensities of each fish to develop a distinct identity for each fish that is tracked, as well as the development of a color-based tracking toolbox, which will therefore maintain their identities throughout the experiments.

Etta Harshaw, Zofia Caes

  • Lab: Primate Hormones and Behavior Lab
  • Faculty: Prof. James Higham
  • Mentor: Rachel Petersen, Alex DeCasien
  • Time: 11:40 am – 12:00 pm


In order to understand how humans evolved such large brains, we need to investigate the genetic variation underlying species differences in brain size. To do this, we will examine genes associated with human megalencephaly (abnormally large, malfunctioning brain) and/or macrocephaly (abnormally large skull, not necessarily malfunctioning brain) across more than 20 primate species. More specifically, we will test each gene for evidence of positive selection, which would indicate that changes to that particular gene were favored throughout evolutionary time. We will also test for relationships between selection pressure and brain size across primates. Finally, we will sequence these genes in species whose genomes have not yet been sequenced.