Category Archives: Research and Sponsored Programs

Noted Molecular Geneticist Georgia M. Dunston Featured Symposium Keynote Speaker March 30

Address officially Kicks off 37h Annual University-Wide Research Symposium

DunstonNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. Georgia M. Dunston, the founding director of the National Human Genome Center (NHGC) at Howard University (HU), and Director of Molecular Genetics in the NHGC, will be the featured keynote speaker officially opening the University-Wide Research Symposium Monday, March 30.

The keynote address is free and open to the public, and will take place in the E.T. Goins Recital Hall, located in the Performing Arts Center on the main campus, beginning at 2 p.m.

Now in its 37th year, the symposium will take place at the University March 30-April 3. The Research Symposium serves as a foundation to provide students with authentic experiences in presenting their research before advancing to regional, national and international research symposia, and prior to professional careers.

Georgia M. Dunston, Ph.D., is professor and former chair of the Department of Microbiology, Howard University College of Medicine; the founding director of the National Human Genome Center (NHGC) at Howard University (HU), and director of Molecular Genetics in the NHGC.

Dunston received a Bachelor of Science degree degree in biology from Norfolk State University, a Master of Science degree in Biology from Tuskegee University, and Ph.D. in Human Genetics from the University of Michigan. She performed post-doctoral work in Tumor Immunology at the National Institutes of Health in the Laboratory of Immunodiagnosis, National Cancer Institute.

Dunston is an established investigator, nationally and internationally known for genetic research on human leukocyte antigen (HLA) polymorphisms in African Americans.  Her research on human genome variation in disease susceptibility has been the vanguard of current efforts at Howard University to build national and international research collaborations focusing on the genetics of diseases common in African Americans and other African Diaspora populations.

She served on the National Advisory Council for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; the Genetic Basis of Disease Review Committee for the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences Review Committee on Human Genome Diversity Project. Under Dunston’s leadership, the NHGC has been instrumental in bringing multicultural perspectives and resources to an understanding of knowledge gained from the Human Genome Project and research on human genome variation.

Dunston currently co-leads a newly formed biophysics research and development group at Howard University that is exploring functional aspects of common variation and population genetics from first principles of thermodynamics and statistical physics (i.e., “genodynamics”). Her passion is building community-academic partnerships that connect the African Diaspora to the global genome revolution in knowledge on health and human identity. Her research addresses the power of genome variation and population diversity in decoding the Genome Story: From human origins, migrations, adaptation, and transformation to liberation.

For more information on the Research Symposium, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/research/or contact Nannette Carter Martin, co-chair at 615.963.5827, or Tamara Rogers, co-chair at 615.963.1520.


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37th Annual University-Wide Research Symposium set for March 30 – April 3

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Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Takes Mobile Biodiesel Demonstration Unit On the Road March 9-26

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University Cooperative Extension program will take the Mobile Biodiesel Education Demonstration (MBED) trailer on the road this spring, making stops across Tennessee March 9-26 in an effort to provide people across the state with an up-close look at the biodiesel production process and educational information on real-world production scenarios.

Dr. Jason de Koff (center), assistant professor of agronomy and soil sciences at TSU, shares bioenergy research with visitors recently. The mobile demonstration lab will be on display throughout the year beginning March 9. (courtesy photo)
Dr. Jason de Koff (center), assistant professor of agronomy and soil sciences at TSU, shares bioenergy research with visitors recently. The mobile demonstration lab will be on display throughout the year beginning March 9. (courtesy photo)

According to Dr. Jason de Koff, assistant professor of Agronomy and Soil Sciences, the production of biodiesel fuel from vegetable oil is a viable process that can replace traditional fuel used in existing diesel engines.

“The process can go a long way toward helping ease the financial burden of fuel costs,” said de Koff, who is leading the tour. “It is possible [farmers] could become totally self-sufficient in diesel fuel use.”

Accompanying Dr. de Koff to provide specific expertise will be Mobile Biodiesel team members Chris Robbins, Extension associate for farm operations; Dr. Prabodh Illukpitiya, assistant professor of Natural Resource and Energy Economics; and Alvin Wade, associate Extension specialist for Community Resources and Economic Development.

The workshops will include discussions on the following topics:

  • Introduction to Biodiesel Production
  • Feedstocks for Biodiesel Production
  • Biodiesel Production Demonstration
  • Economics of Small-Scale Biodiesel Production
  • Federal Assistance Programs for Biodiesel Production

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Date and locations for the March workshops include:

Date: Monday, March 9
Time:  6 p.m. (dinner provided)
Location: Fayette County Fire Training Room / 18 North Hiawatha Street / Somerville, Tennessee
Registration Contact: Jeffrey D. Via / 901-465-5233 or jvia@utk.edu

Date: Thursday, March 12
Time: 11 a.m. (lunch provided)
Location: East Tennessee Livestock Center / 2121 U.S. 11 / Sweetwater, Tennessee
Registration Contacts: John Goddard / 865-458-5612 or jgoddard@utk.edu or Jonathan Rhea / 423-442-2433 or jrhea@utk.edu

Date: Thursday, March 19
Time:  6:30 p.m. (dinner provided)
Location: Franklin County Extension Office / 406 Joyce Lane / Winchester, Tennessee
Registration Contact: John Ferrell / 931-967-2741

Date: Thursday, March 26
Time: 6 p.m. (dinner provided)
Location: Dyer County Extension Office / 151 Everett Ave. / Dyersburg, Tennessee
Registration Contact: Tim Campbell / 731-286-7821

To register to attend, contact Dr. Jason de Koff at (615) 963-4929 or jdekoff@tnstate.edu.

A USDA NIFA Capacity Building Grant funds TSU’s Mobile Biodiesel Education Demonstration.

 

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

10th Research Forum for the Arts draws largest crowd, most participants

This year's winners for the Research Forum for the Arts included (l-r) Kendra Thompson, Barris Johnson, and Tyla Daniels. (courtesy photo)
This year’s winners for the Research Forum for the Arts included (l-r) Kendra Thompson, Barris Johnson, and Tyla Daniels. (courtesy photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Students from the departments of Art, Communications and Music at Tennessee State University had the opportunity to present individual works research and scholarly inquiry to fellow students and faculty Nov. 18 during the 10th Research Forum for the Arts.

“So much of what students produce in their classes in these departments is creative in nature such as a play, performance or exhibit,” said Dr. Terry Likes, Chair of the department of Communications. “This forum is a way to showcase the research conducted in these disciplines.  Our turnout was the biggest and best to date.”

Seven undergraduate and two graduate students gave oral presentations in the Recital Hall at the Performing Arts Center before moving to the rotunda for judging of nearly 30 poster presentations.

Several faculty members from each department served as judges, including Adam Key from communications, Kerry Frazier from the department of music, and Samuel Dunson from the art department.

The winners received prize money for the competition, and included $100 to the best graduate student oral presenter, $100 to the best undergraduate student oral presenter and $50 to the best poster presentation.

This year’s winners were:

  • Best Graduate Student Presenter: Barris Johnson, Music, “The Music of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition”
  • Best Undergraduate Student Presenter: Kendra Thompson, senior, Communication Studies, “What’s Your Style: Communication Styles of Adults without Siblings”
  • Best Poster Presenter: Tyla Daniels, senior, Mass Communication, “#HBCU?”

The Research Forum is sponsored annually by the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research.  For more information, contact Nannette Martin, Office of Sponsored Programs and Research at nmartin@tnstate.edu.

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Using Hubble Space Telescope, Team Including TSU Astronomers Develop Most Detailed Exoplanet Weather Map

In this artist's illustration, the Jupiter-sized planet WASP-43b, orbits its parent star in one of the closest orbits ever measured for an exoplanet of its size -- with a year lasting just 19 hours. (illustration courtesy of NASA, EAS, Z. Levay)
In this artist’s illustration, the Jupiter-sized planet WASP-43b, orbits its parent star in one of the closest orbits ever measured for an exoplanet of its size — with a year lasting just 19 hours. (illustration courtesy of NASA, EAS, Z. Levay)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When it comes to understanding the stars and galaxies, scientists at Tennessee State University continue to play key roles in major discoveries and breakthroughs.

Just this week, TSU astronomers Gregory Henry and Michael Williamson were part of a team of astronomers that announced they had made the most detailed map ever of the temperature distribution of an exoplanet’s atmosphere, and traced the amount of water vapor it contains.

Both results were made from data collected using instruments on board the Hubble Space Telescope. The planet targeted for both of the investigations was the hot-Jupiter exoplanet referred to as WASP-43b.

TSU operates a unique array of robotic telescopes located in the Patagonia Mountains of southern Arizona that have gained international recognition for the research programs they have accomplished, including the discovery of planetary systems around other stars in 1999.

In their latest effort, Henry and Williamson, working on a study headed by Jacob Bean, of the University of Chicago, used one of the TSU automated telescopes to make a long series of nightly measurements of the planet’s host star’s brightness.

Gregory Henry
Dr. Gregory Henry

“The planet’s host star is some 70 percent smaller and cooler than our own sun, but, like the sun, exhibits the coming and going of cooler regions on its surface called starspots,” said Henry, who headed the team in the 1999 discovery of a new planetary system. “These starspots are analogous to the dark sunspots seen on the sun and that come and go with the 11-year sunspot cycle.”

He said the starspots cause continuous, subtle changes in the brightness of the star.  To enable the construction of an accurate temperature map of the planetary atmosphere, the calibration of the Hubble Space Telescope measurements of the planet’s atmosphere must include the effects of the star’s changing brightness.

“The WASP-43b result is indeed interesting, given that this planet is unique among the nearly 2,000 known exoplanets in that it has the shortest period of revolution around the star: only 19 hours.  This period defines the length of the planet’s year, compared to 365 days for our earth,” Henry said.

“Our observations are the first of their kind in terms of providing a two- dimensional map of the planet’s thermal structure,” added Kevin Stevenson, also of the University of Chicago. “These maps can be used to constrain circulation models that predict how heat is transported from an exoplanet’s hot day side to its cool night side.”

To make the map more detailed, the team also measured the water abundances and temperatures at different longitudes. To do this, Henry and his colleagues took advantage of the precision and stability of Hubble’s instruments to subtract more than 99.95 percent of the light from the parent star, allowing them to study the light coming from the planet itself — a technique called emission spectroscopy. By doing this at different points of the planet’s orbit around the parent star, they could map the atmosphere across its longitude.

“We have been able to observe three complete rotations — three years for this distant planet — during a span of just four days,” explained Bean. “This was essential in allowing us to create the first full temperature map for an exoplanet and to probe its atmosphere to find out which elements it held and where.”

Finding the proportions of the different elements in planetary atmospheres provides vital clues to understanding how planets formed.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU College of Engineering Research Focus Prepares Graduates for Employment; Receives $1 Million DHS Grant for Data Sciences Study

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The College of Engineering is aggressively pursuing research in strategic areas that complement the engineering curriculums and prepare graduates for careers in emerging areas for employment and entrepreneurship.

One of those emerging areas is the field of Data Sciences and Analytics, a key focus of the college, which, according to Dean S. Keith Hargrove, meets the “huge” industry demand to manage “big data” and helps businesses optimize their operations to meet the needs of their customers.

“We have responded to this industry demand with the development of advanced courses, industry partners, and qualified faculty to create a curriculum for this discipline and concurrently conduct research for cyber-security, analytics, and data storage,” Hargrove said.

Graduate student Adrian Parker develops multi-physics simulation models for lithium ion batteries and uses special equipment for battery devices. (courtesy photo)
Graduate student Adrian Parker develops multi-physics simulation models for lithium ion batteries and uses special equipment for battery devices. (courtesy photos)

Adrian ParkerThis effort has yielded positive results, he noted. Recently, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security awarded the College of Engineering a $1 million grant to develop an integrated research and education program in data analytics. The award will be implemented in two phases over a period of six years.

Dr. Martene Stanberry, assistant professor of Mathematics, and Dr. Sachin Shetty, assistant professor of Electrical Engineering, will manage the program by combining their expertise and experience in cyber security and control systems research, as well as leveraging resources and facilities already available to them under the TIGER (TSU Interdisciplinary Graduate Engineering Research) Institute, directed by Dr. Hargrove.

Also, another team of researchers in the college has received funding to examine ways to improve the life of batteries. The team, including Drs. Lizhi Ouyang, Landon Onyebueke, Mohan Malkani and Hargrove, received $150,000 from the Naval Engineering Education Center of the U.S. Navy Sea System Command, and $80,000 from the Crane Naval Warfare Center in Indiana. The team will conduct multi-physics modeling of lithium ion batteries, and perform testing of electro-chemistries for performance and reliability. Also a part of the TIGER Institute, the project will involve undergraduate and graduate students.

Under the DHS program, the thrust of the study will involve the development of data analytic approaches for anomaly detection in critical infrastructure, that are based on the prior work of the faculty in scalable machine learning and optimal control systems, Hargrove said. He added that the education thrust would enhance the existing undergraduate Mathematical Sciences and Electrical and Computer Engineering programs through curriculum enhancement, student recruitment and retention, outreach, and collaborative relationships with DHS Centers of Excellence, industry, federal labs, and academia. Students will receive training in statistical analysis, machine-learning methods, and cloud computing and storage technologies used in manipulating, storing, and analyzing cyber data.

According to Hargrove, the need to capture, store, manage, and interpret massive amounts of data for decision making in today’s high-tech environment, is expected to grow exponentially within the next decade.

“The spending in ‘big-data’ is projected to increase from $27 billion from 2012 to $55 billion by 2016,” the dean said, adding, “It is therefore our responsibility to help train and educate a diverse workforce to enter these emerging career fields.”

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

After 44 years, TSU Engineer and Administrator Michael Busby “Retiring with a Great Deal of Joy”

Micheal Busby, former educator, administrator and interim associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs, retired June 30 from TSU after nearly 44 years of service. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)
Micheal Busby, former educator, administrator and interim associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs, retired June 30 from TSU after nearly 44 years of service. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Even with the development of a widely recognized astronomy program that saw the construction of a robotic observatory center, and the detection of a planet orbiting another star – all under his watch – Michael Busby is not jumping at any credit for a mounting of scientific advances at Tennessee State University.

“I have been fortunate to work with some very talented and gifted people who made these things possible,” said Busby, who retired June 30 from TSU after nearly 44 years as an engineer, professor and administrator.

“It’s been a rewarding experience. I owe Tennessee State University so much to have been put in positions where I did not only use my talent but was given opportunities to work with some very incredible people and administrators to help us achieve so much,” Busby said.

Recounting his years at TSU, Busby, 69, was visibly emotional when he talked about the satisfaction he received when the University gave him his first “big career break” to join the faculty in 1972, not long after earning a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Tennessee.

“Although I had a job working for a company briefly after I left UT, I found the opportunity to work at TSU and interact with so many students and other faculty to be an excellent career start,” Busby added.

He talked about many achievements, but for him what stood out the most was the opportunity to head the newly established Center of Excellence, a multidisciplinary research laboratory founded in 1986 within the state-wide Centers of Excellence program to increase the research base of Tennessee, as well as serve as a research resource for faculty and students of TSU.

“The center allowed us to advance in so many areas, collaborate with many national and international scientific and government agencies and institutions, and to develop faculty and students who are considered among the best in the nation,” Busby said.

Busby and Tennessee State University astronomer Greg Henry join Vanderbilt astronomers Douglas Hall and Frank Fekel in March 1989 at the robotic telescope site in the mountains of southern Arizona.  TSU's automated astronomy research program began as a collaborative effort with Vanderbilt astronomers to study a mysterious new class of variable stars with the robotic telescope on the right.  TSU now owns and operates 8 robotic telescopes at the Arizona site. (courtesy photo)
Busby and Tennessee State University astronomer Greg Henry join Vanderbilt astronomers Douglas Hall and Frank Fekel in March 1989 at the robotic telescope site in the mountains of southern Arizona. TSU’s automated astronomy research program began as a collaborative effort with Vanderbilt astronomers to study a mysterious new class of variable stars with the robotic telescope on the right. TSU now owns and operates 8 robotic telescopes at the Arizona site. (courtesy photo)

Under Busby’s watch, the center established an Automated Astronomy Group of faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, researchers, and support staff with automated telescopes, advanced control systems and systems identification, and applied mathematics. The automated astronomy research program began as a collaborative effort with Vanderbilt astronomers to study a mysterious new class of variable stars.  TSU now owns and operates eight robotic telescopes at the Robotic Observatory Center in the Patagonia Mountains near Washington Camp, Arizona.

On Nov. 14, 1999, a team led by TSU astronomer Greg Henry, announced the discovery of a shadow of a planet crossing a distant star. The discovery made national and international news.

“…I want America to know about your enormous contributions to research. I want every American to know that last November, Tennessee State astronomers made the world’s first direct detection of a planet orbiting another star,” then President Bill Clinton announced at the annual National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education Leadership Award Banquet in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 16, 2000.

“That was a crowning moment for the Center of Excellence and the Automated Astronomy Group…all because we had outstanding scientists and people doing what they are good at,” Busby added.

For a mechanical engineer with no specific background in astronomy, bringing the program together with the right people in place, and to achieve such prominence, speak to Busby’s “outstanding leadership and managerial genius,” one colleague said.

“His vision and management style made all the difference,” said Henry, an original member of the Automated Astronomy Group who has been with the University since Busby brought him on nearly 25 years ago.

“His genius was having the vision of what this center would be. He hired the right people, gave them what they needed and allowed them to do their work,” Henry added. “And he takes no credit for it.”

In the 26 years since its establishment, the COE has brought in more than $40 million in external funding through grants, and total faculty publications in refereed and non-refereed journals is nearly 1,300. Student support for an average 41 undergraduate and 10 graduate students per year is about $500,000.

With all of these achievements, no doubt colleagues and administrators see Dr. Busby’s departure as a “huge” vacuum being created at the University.

“Dr. Busby has been an outstanding instructor and researcher at TSU for decades,” said Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering. “His loyalty and dedication to the university is unwaverable….and his iconic presence will be missed by his colleagues and students.”

In addition to teaching and heading the COE, Busby also served in many other capacities over the years. One of his last roles was serving as interim associate vice president for Research and Sponsored Programs, a position he held until his retirement and the subsequent hiring of a new associate vice president.

The new Associate Vice President, Dr. Lesia L. Crumpton-Young, who worked with Busby for several months before his retirement, described the longtime TSU professor and administrator as providing “outstanding leadership that significantly impacted the research notoriety” of the Center of Excellence in Information Systems.

“Mike Busby has worked tirelessly to grow the research enterprise at TSU and we are truly grateful for his leadership and long-term commitment to the University,” Crumpton-Young said.

As he leaves, Busby said he is very optimistic about the future of the center and the University.

“I am very pleased with the kind of people and administrators we have in place at the institution. We have people who truly care about TSU and who want to take TSU to places it’s never been before,” Busby said.

About retirement, Busby said he is going to stay busy spending more time with his wife of 51 years, and keeping up with an engineering consultancy he has long been involved with, except this time, he will control his own time.

“I am retiring with a great deal of joy,” the Goodlettsville, Tennessee native added.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.