ARISE 2017 Colloquium Venue 4: RH-207

Ye Cheng Zheng

  • Lab: Developmental Genomics Lab
  • Faculty: Prof. Chris Rushlow
  • Mentors: Patrice Delane, Shawn Huang
  • Time: 10:00 am – 10:10 am


Transcription factors can activate target genes by binding to specific binding sites in their regulatory elements. Zelda is a key transcription factor that is distributed uniformly throughout the embryo and binds to CAGGTAG motifs to activate downstream target genes. Zelda is referred to as the zygotic genome activator because it activates many of the genes transcribed in the early embryo. There are two types of Zelda target genes. Class I genes are transcribed uniformly throughout the embryo like Zelda. Class II genes are transcribed in specific spatial domains established by the patterning morphogens. In this study we will characterize a set of putative Class I genes. Previous work has established that they are highly down-regulated in the absence of Zelda, however, the timing of expression – when they are turned on and when they are turned off – has not yet been characterized. Using in situ hybridization techniques, we will analyze when and where they are expressed in early embryos. In addition, using genome-wide data of RNA Pol II binding and chromatin accessibility we will compare genomic features of Class I and II genes to better understand these different types of Zelda target genes, which will lead to a greater understanding of how Zelda, and other genome activators, function in early development.

Maria Giraldo

  • Lab: Hominin Skeletal Morphology Lab
  • Faculty: Prof. Williams, Scott A.
  • Mentor: Prang, Thomas Cody
  • Time: 10:10 am – 10:20 am


The evolution of upright posture is a key transition that occurred in hominoid (ape and human) evolution, one that set the stage for the evolution of bipedal locomotion in hominins (members of the human lineage). The vertebral column, and especially the lumbar vertebrae, experience loads from the upper body and transmit weight to the pelvis during upright posture. Human lumbar vertebrae clearly demonstrate numerous weight-bearing features related to bipedalism, and those of great and lesser apes varyingly possess a more limited set of features related to weight-bearing during upright posture. Several fossil apes from the Miocene epoch are thought to be adapted to upright posture, but perhaps not to the same degree as living apes. Using 3D models generated from an optic scanner, we measure cross-sectional features of lumbar vertebrae and quantify their 3D shape in hominoids, Old World monkeys, and New World monkeys to generate a framework in which to compare and interpret lumbar vertebrae of three Miocene hominoids, Ekembo, Morotopithecus, and Pierolapithecus. Our comparative study will allow us to test the degree to which these species engaged in upright locomotor behaviors and perhaps shed light on when and how many times upright posture evolved in hominoid primates.

Rana Mohamed, Caitlin Schroeder

  • Lab: Applied Dynamics & Optimization Lab
  • Faculty: Prof. Joo H. Kim
  • Mentor: William Peng, Carlos Gonzalez
  • Time: 10:20 am – 10:40 am


The technology behind robotic systems is advancing each and every day as robotic systems continue to become more popular. However, robots become less useful when batteries are used inefficiently. This issue can be combatted by the implementation of better motion planning, which requires no change in battery design. Our method of motion planning is based on State of Charge (SoC) estimation using real time Kalman Filtering. We will conduct experiments with a two degree of freedom robotic arm and the DARwIn-OP humanoid robot, both powered by rechargeable lithium-ion polymer batteries. Our research involves using arm bending trials with the robotic arm and walking trials with DARwIn-OP. The results of these experiments can lead to more energy efficient design in future exoskeletons, extending their battery life to benefit paraplegics and other users who rely on such devices to restore mobility.

Nana Bonsu

  • Lab: CATT Center for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications & Distributed Information Systems
  • Faculty: Prof. Shivendra Panwar
  • Mentor: Fraida Fund, Thanos Koutsaftis
  • Time: 10:40 am – 10:50 am


Wireless networks have transformed the way we interact with technology, and applications that rely on wireless connectivity permeate every aspect of life. However, as the next generation of wireless networks is still under development, novel applications that take advantage of their new features aren’t being developed, since the network infrastructure to support them is not yet widely available. In this project, we implement an application that runs on and takes advantage of the capabilities of 802.11ad, a future iteration of WiFi operating at 60 GHz frequencies and with much higher data rates and lower latency than current networks. It is our belief that this will encourage further development of applications that use advanced network technologies.

Connie Tsang, Jason Cheung

  • Lab: Future Building Informatics and Visualization Lab (biLAB)
  • Faculty: Prof. Semiha Ergan
  • Mentors: Ahmed Radwan, Zhengbo Zhu
  • Time: 10:50 am – 11:10 am


Effects of the indoor environment on neuroscience has been known but not well understood. Previous works investigating the effects of the indoor environment on neuroscience has found a correlation between architectural design features and human responses. However, these studies have primarily been conducted via subjective surveys. Quantifying these responses can lead to improved design of indoor environments that maximize human performance and wellness. Conclusions from previous research allowed the identification of four main sensations and their corresponding architectural features. Sensations with influence on psychological states are restorativeness, sense of stress and anxiety, sense of aesthetics/pleasure, and approach motivation. Respectively, examples of architectural features include the presence of windows, lighting level, symmetry of objects, and interior color coding. The goal of this research is to objectively determine the effects of design features on these sensations. Two contrasting models have been designed for each sensation to contain either all positive or all negative features. Body area sensor networks were developed to capture physical changes in subjects that reflect the tested sensation. Electroencephalogram headsets (EEGs), electrocardiograms (ECGs), electromyography units (EMGs), facial expression emotion recognition technology, and eye tracking technology are used to quantitatively measure conditions such as skin conductivity, rapid eye movement, and blood pressure. Human subjects are introduced to the virtual environments for a sensation in a random order and instructed to complete tasks in both positive and negative environments. The measured data between the positive and negative environments are then compared to understand the effects from the architectural features.

Tyrone Davis

  • Lab: OSIRIS Offensive Security, Incident Response and Internet Security
  • Faculty: Prof .Nasir Memon
  • Mentor: Toan Nguyen
  • Time: 11:10 am – 11:20 am


Traditional authentication methods such as typing text passwords are problematic on smartphones due to their small screen and the lack of a physical keyboard. In this work, we will develop new, secure and convenient user authentication methods for smartphones. Our approach is to authenticate users based on their behavioral biometric models built from rich sensor data on smartphones. We will conduct user studies to evaluate the security, reliability and usability of our proposed methods.

Radhika Goyal, Kilala Vincent

  • Lab: Protein Engineering & Molecular design
  • Faculty: Prof. Jin Montclare
  • Mentor: Andrew Olsen
  • Time: 11:20 am – 11:40 am


Organophosphates (OPs) are a class of compounds that comprise many commercial pesticides and military-grade nerve gas agents. OPs inactivate acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme in the nervous system, by binding to their active sites, which leads to accumulation of acetylcholine and subsequent hyper-stimulation of nerve synapses. It has been demonstrated that phosphotriesterase (PTE) enzymes are capable of neutralizing these chemicals. In this project we will synthesize and characterize new PTE enzymes that can protect human bodies and the environment from OPs.

Ashley Diaz

  • Lab: OSIRIS Offensive Security, Incident Response and Internet Security
  • Faculty: Prof. Nasir Memon
  • Mentor: Kevin Gallagher
  • Time: 11:40 am – 11:50 am


The introduction of mobile computers has revolutionized the availability of evidence in investigations. The prevalence of smart devices with digital cameras has granted the average citizen the ability to capture evidence of important events, such as criminal activity or police misconduct, with the click of a button, benefiting police, journalists, and other investigators. In this project, we begin the development of the eWitness evidence capture application, an application for android phones that allows individuals to take authenticated photographs. That is, each photograph taken by the eWitness application cannot be edited without being detection, making it tamper evident. In addition, photos taken by the eWitness application will have their spatio-temporal aspects attested for. In other words, the date and location that a photo was taken cannot be forged by an adversary.

Richard Guang

  • Lab: CMML Composite Materials and Mechanics
  • Faculty: Prof. Nikhil Gupta
  • Mentors: Ashish Kumar Singh
  • Time: 11:50 am – 12:00 pm


Light weight syntactic foams are materials with hollow particles dispersed in them. They exhibit high strength to weight ratios and offer weight saving potentials in many applications. Using 3D printing to manufacture parts made out of polymer based syntactic foams instead of the conventional polymers is drawing much attention. But the cost and material recyclability of syntactic foams is no fully understood. In this project, the recyclability of HDPE and fly-ash syntactic foam will be studied by extruding the foam three times through a filament extruder and measuring the breakage of hollow particles.