Category Archives: RESEARCH

SoBran CEO Amos L. Otis Featured Speaker to Close Out Research Symposium April 3

Cropped_Otis_Amos
Amos L. Otis

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Amos L. Otis, founder, president and CEO of SoBran Inc., will be the featured speaker for the Awards Luncheon and official Closing Ceremony of the University-Wide Research Symposium Friday, April 3. The event begins at noon and takes place in the Farrell-Westbrook Auditorium, located on the main campus.

Every year, 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. Now in its 37th year, the weeklong symposium will officially close April 3 as students are presented with awards for their scholarly presentations.

The 2015 Research Mentorship Award will also be presented to an honored faculty member for serving as a mentor and/or advisor to the greatest number of winning student research entries, while a new member is inducted into the Million Dollar Research Club.

Amos Otis founded SoBran Inc., in 1987 after a distinguished 21-year career as an Air Force officer. He has led SoBran from a lean start-up in the basement of his Fairfax County, Virginia, home to a $63 million dollar company with three divisions. The divisions include BioScience, Engineering and Logistics, and SafeMail® and Security. SoBran consistently appears on the Inc. Magazine “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and the Black Enterprise “Top 100 Industrial Service List.”

Throughout its growth, Otis has guided SoBran based on the foundation of the Air Force values Integrity, Service and Excellence.

Otis has been recognized for his management and entrepreneurial skills as well as his civic leadership. He was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Cincinnati Branch in 2012. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Dayton Development Coalition, and a life member of the NAACP. He has also been profiled in Black Enterprise magazine as an innovator in workforce readiness.

One of his passions is educational opportunity for deserving youths. Otis has established a number of scholarships and endowments including the SoBran/Scoman Educational Scholarship Endowment at Tennessee State University at Nashville. In Montgomery, Alabama, he established the Brenda Faye Otis-Lee Educational Scholarship at the St. Jude Educational Institute.

Otis has consulted for the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences for Post-Doctoral Programs and The National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. He is Treasurer of the Tennessee State University Education Foundation Board, and chairs its Finance Committee.

In addition, Otis chairs the Beta Nu Boule’ Education Foundation of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and he is a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.

While in the Air Force, Otis served as a Titan II ICBM combat crew commander; USAF Plant representative at Hughes Aircraft Corporation, a cost analyst for the Aeronautical Systems Division (General Officer’s staff), and comptroller for the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing (Kunsan, South Korea). He has also served as a professor of Air Science for the District of Columbia’s AFROTC Detachment at Howard University, and as program manager at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research’s Special Programs.

Otis holds a bachelor’s degree from Tennessee State University, an MBA from The California State University System, and a master’s of Military Art and Science from Air University.

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.

 

RELATED

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

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

 

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.

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.


RELATED

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

Sobran CEO Amos L. Otis Featured Speaker to Close Out Research Symposium April 3

 

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.

Tennessee State University Switching to Four-Day Class Schedule in Spring Semester 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) -Tennessee State University is moving to a four-day class schedule when school resumes for the spring 2015 semester, the University administration has announced.

Classes will be held Monday –Thursday but administrative offices and staff will still have a five-day workweek.

Officials said the change is intended to allow more time for student advising, faculty office hours, as well as free up more time for faculty and students to engage in research and grant writing.

They emphasized that the switch is to a four-day class schedule and not a four-day workweek, adding that employees are expected to be at work on Fridays.

Calling the switch a “pilot,” the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Mark Hardy, said all previous “contact hours” for courses would be maintained.

“This is an experiment for the spring semester,” he said. “If we find that it has no adverse impact on student performance and progression, we will continue it.”

He said Friday should not be misconstrued as a day-off for students.

“Once they see the benefit of having extra time to meet with faculty without interfering with class, being able to focus more time on research, and have more interactions with Student Affairs, they will embrace the idea,” the Vice President noted.

The switch, however, means longer class hours on Mondays and Wednesdays, with some classes starting earlier in the morning and some others ending much later in the evening. For instance, 50-minute classes will be extended to one hour and 20 minutes each.

The change does not affect evening and weekend classes, and it does not mean professors will be working less either. Fridays will only help them to focus more time on advising students and projects, said Hardy.

Although TSU is not the first institution in the nation to make the switch, it is the first university in the Tennessee Board of Regents system to condense classes to four days. Institutions that have adopted the change include Southern University in Baton Rouge, and Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville, Mississippi.

At TSU, students already think the switch is a great idea.

Student Government Association President Markeil Lewis has no doubt about widespread student support once they return and have been adequately informed about the switch.

“I love the new initiative of a four-day class schedule for students,” said Lewis, a senior from Stone Mountain, Georgia. “I personally found it hard through my matriculation to find the passion to actually attend class on Fridays, let alone be aware and attentive to actually learn. I do understand that we will have to be in classes slightly longer but this is something that students will accept once they understand the benefits.”

Tyrell Jones, a junior Math major from Brooklyn, New York, also “loves” the idea of the four-day class schedule, especially the benefit of an extended class hour.

“Now that means it gives teachers more time to teach and students enough time to take in the material for better understanding,” said Jones, a work-study student, who also serves as a tutor. “In many instances teachers are in a haste to cover all of their materials in 55 minutes, which does not allow enough time for questions and interaction with students. The extra time should be very helpful.”

Dr. Kimberly King-Jupiter, dean of the College of Education, said the four-day class schedule structures students’ academic experience because it offers fewer course meetings but more course time to engage students in meaningful discussion about course content.

“I am excited about the four-day class schedule,” King-Jupiter said. “Friday (or the fifth day of the week) gives faculty the opportunity to engage in discussions about or to conduct the research that enhances the quality of the instruction that they deliver in the classroom. It also helps them to engage in the type of assessment activities that are a hallmark of the University.”

Tennessee State University has continually remained on the cutting-edge of ideas and innovations that enhance student learning and success in unique ways. Last semester, the University established a digital book bundle initiative, the first in the TBR system that allows freshman students to buy “e-books” for general education classes, at savings of up to $735 per semester. The program is aimed at lowering the costs of traditional paper textbooks while ensuring freshmen have the required books the first day of class.

“We have a president who is innovative and always looking for new ways to help our students succeed,” said Hardy. “The four-day class schedule and our book bundle effort, which started last semester, are just some of the ways that demonstrate this administration’s commitment to providing an academic environment that promotes student success.”

 

 

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.

Tennessee State University Alum and NASA Engineer Receives Director’s Commendation Award for Outstanding Contribution

NASA Johnson Space Center Director, Dr. Ellen Ochoa, right; and Deputy Director Kirk Shireman, left, congratulate Ron Cobbs after presenting him with the NASA-JSC Director’s Commendation Award, during a ceremony recently in the Teague Auditorium at the center.
NASA Johnson Space Center Director, Dr. Ellen Ochoa, right; and Deputy Director Kirk Shireman, left, congratulate Ron Cobbs after presenting him with the NASA-JSC Director’s Commendation Award, during a ceremony recently in the Teague Auditorium at the center. (Courtesy photo)


NASHVILLE, Tenn.
(TSU News Service) – A Tennessee State University alumnus and NASA engineer has been recognized for outstanding contribution to the agency.

Ron Cobbs, a 1989 TSU graduate with a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering and avionics chief engineer assigned to the International Space Station operations, recently received the NASA Johnson Space Center Director’s Commendation Award.

The award, the highest honor given by the NASA-JSC administrator, recognizes the center’s civil servants with “significant” contribution toward the mission and operations of the JSC.

Last year, Cobbs’ input was helpful in identifying the cause of a space suit malfunction during a spacewalk in July. Although Cobbs was not part of the official Extravehicular Mobility Unit (space suit) investigating team, he was asked to “look into” the situation because the problem “appeared to be electrical.”

Ron Cobbs, International Space Station Avionics Chief Engineer and TSU graduate, helped NASA engineers identify the cause of a serial interface issue with a spacesuit that malfunctioned during a spacewalk on July 16. (courtesy photo)
Ron Cobbs, International Space Station Avionics Chief Engineer and TSU graduate, helped NASA engineers identify the cause of a serial interface issue with a spacesuit that malfunctioned during a spacewalk on July 16, 2013. (courtesy photo)

“I discovered that the problem was a systems problem relative to operational use of the serial port on the laptop side of the suit,” said Cobbs, after investigating the problem. As a result of his findings and recommendation, the procedures for the astronauts were rewritten and retested, subsequently leading to identifying the problem.

Saying that he is “deeply honored” to receive the Administrator’s Award from NASA-JSC, Cobbs, who has been with NASA for nearly 30 years, credits his parents and his TSU preparation for his career success.

“My parents always taught me to work hard and always do the right thing,” said Cobbs, who also holds a master’s degree in Space Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology. “They taught me to believe in myself, have faith and shoot for the moon.”

Shooting for the moon is what Cobbs has been doing since. As avionics chief engineer, his role is to ensure that engineers in the NASA Directorate adhere to the “right processes.” He also supports project managers during the design, development, test and evaluation of projects that require electronics and/or software for operational use.

“I also support Failure Investigation Teams whenever their failures or anomalies on the Space Station need to be resolved. I also sit on several Space Station program boards to provide concurrence representing engineering on all proposed forward plans and action that will be implemented,” Cobbs noted.

“Ronald Cobbs is a true example of an electrical engineering graduate with passion for life-long learning and professional growth,” Dr. Satinderpaul Singh Devgan, professor and head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said of his former student, when information came out about Cobbs’ spacesuit malfunction intervention.

Cobbs joined NASA at the Johnson Space Center immediately after graduating TSU. He has moved through the ranks from design engineer, systems engineer to now ISS avionics chief engineer.

“I think Ron Cobbs’ achievement at NASA is a great story,” added Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering.

 

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.

Breast Cancer Vaccine Developed by Tennessee State University Researcher and Colleagues Shows Promise in Preliminary Trial

Dr. Venkataswarup Tiriveedhi, a cancer and immunology specialist and assistant professor of Biological Sciences, works on cancer mechanism in his lab in Harned Hall at Tenessee State University. Tiriveedhi and a group of researchers from Washington University School of Medicine at St. Louis have come up with an experimental vaccine for breast cancer that appears to be safe in preliminary trials.
Dr. Venkataswarup Tiriveedhi, a cancer and immunology specialist and assistant professor of Biological Sciences, works on cancer mechanism in his lab in Harned Hall at Tennessee State University. Tiriveedhi and a group of researchers from Washington University School of Medicine at St. Louis have come up with an experimental vaccine for breast cancer that appears to be safe in preliminary trials. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A Tennessee State University scientist and a group of researchers from Washington University School of Medicine at St. Louis have come up with an experimental vaccine for breast cancer that appears to be safe in a preliminary trial.

According to a study published in Clinical Cancer Research, Dr. Venkataswarup Tiriveedhi, assistant professor of Biological Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, and his colleagues found that the experimental vaccine, Mammaglobin-A, was “overexpressed” in 40 to 80 percent of primary breast cancers.

Also known as MAM-A, the vaccine prompted CD8 T-cells to track and eliminate the MAM-A protein, noted Tiriveedhi. To determine the efficacy and safety of the experimental drug, he said they conducted a phase I trial involving 14 patients diagnosed with advanced breast cancer.

“The side effects from the vaccine after one year were minimal, and included rashes, tenderness, and mild flu-like symptoms,” added Tiriveedhi, who specializes in cancer and immunology.

By the one-year mark, the study revealed, roughly 50 percent of the patients showed no sign of disease progression. By comparison, only 20 percent of a similar group of 12 patients showed no signs of disease progression one year out.

The researchers, however, stressed the need for a larger and longer study, to prove the current preliminary evidence prior to its use in all breast cancer patients. They theorized that “these promising results” from initial studies could be applied not only to prevent cancer progression but also to prevent the development of breast cancer in women.

“The current one (study) is a small Phase-I trial mainly aimed at testing the safety (does no harm). But we have also found this vaccine to be highly effective against the disease. The next step is to go for larger Phase II/III studies with a higher cohort of breast cancer patients and rigorously test for efficiency, dosing, clinical outcomes, cancer stage specificity, etc.,” noted Tiriveedhi, who holds MD and Ph.D. degrees.

He called the study a “promising move forward” that is not just restricted to breast cancer, but one that can be employed in “similar strategies” to treat other cancers such as lung and colon cancers.

“The MAM-A DNA vaccine is safe, capable of eliciting MAM-A–specific CD8 T-cell responses, and preliminary evidence suggests improved PF,” the researchers concluded.

Dr. Tiriveedhi, who came to Tennessee State University about a year and half ago, started the study, “Safety and Preliminary Evidence of Biologic Efficacy of a Mammaglobin-A DNA Vaccine in Patients with Stable Metastatic Breast Cancer,” with his colleagues at Washington University before leaving to join the faculty at TSU.

 

 

 

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.

Tennessee State University, Neighborhood Groups Sign Collaborative Agreement to Provide Help for Aging Population

President Glover makes remarks minutes before the signing of the MOU in Jane Elliott Hall. Joining the president are Michael Harris, dean of the College of Public Service and Urban Affairs, left; Jim Shulman, Executive Director of the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability; President Glover; State Representative Harold Love Jr.; and Van Pinnock, of the Footprint Collaborative. (photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)
President Glover makes remarks minutes before the signing of the MOU in Jane Elliott Hall. Joining the president are Michael Harris, dean of the College of Public Service and Urban Affairs, left; Jim Shulman, Executive Director of the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability; President Glover; State Representative Harold Love Jr.; and Van Pinnock, of the Footprint Collaborative. (photos by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – In a partnership that addresses the needs of the aging population, Tennessee State University and a group of neighborhood organizations have formed a collaborative initiative that combines teaching and learning, research and service aimed to enhance the lives of seniors.

Called the TSU Footprint Collaborative, the initiative’s goal is to help seniors and organizations connect to the University’s many resources by matching their needs with the institution’s expertise and service.

In an agreement signed Thursday between TSU and the neighborhood groups, the University, through its Center on Aging Research and Education Services in the College of Public Service and Urban Affairs, will develop lifelong learning programs that include classes on civic education and duties, oral history, technology and community gardening.

According to the agreement, these services and programs, which are a result of several months of studies of seniors’ care and needs in the neighborhoods, and meetings, will begin in January 2015.

Calling the agreement a “holistic approach in addressing the needs of the growing baby boomer population,” TSU President Glenda Glover, said meeting the needs of the aging population is a local, regional and national challenge that requires immediate attention.

The president’s concern and the need for TSU to play a leading role is backed by a recent NIH report, The 2030 Problem: Caring for Aging Baby Boomers, that calls on healthcare providers, institutions and universities to ensure accessible care for the nearly 61 million projected seniors by 2030.

“This agreement puts the University in the forefront – where it should be – to help eliminate issues facing our aging population,” Dr. Glover said, pointing to TSU’s more than 25-year experience, through CARES, in addressing “elder abuse.”

She commended the effort of the late State Rep. Harold Love Sr., whose vision on the issue of elder abuse was helpful in bringing the community and the University together to develop “a more comprehensive and strategic agenda” that not only addresses the various needs of the aging population, but also helps to find “practical solutions.”

President Glenda Glover and Van Pinnock, of the Footprint Collaborative, signed the Memorandum of Understanding at a ceremony in Jane Elliott Hall on the main campus Thursday, as University, state and local officials, as well as representatives of the various neighborhood groups watch.
President Glenda Glover and Van Pinnock, of the Footprint Collaborative, signed the Memorandum of Understanding at a ceremony in Jane Elliott Hall on the main campus Thursday, as University, state and local officials, as well as representatives of the various neighborhood groups watch.

“Tennessee State University’s efforts over the past year with our Footprint Collaborative members helped us to develop a framework for today’s announcement and memorandum of understanding,” the president said.

Neighborhood groups joining TSU in the Footprint Collaborative are College Hill, Hadley Park and Tomorrow’s Hope, all within close proximity of the University.

Van Pinnock, who signed the agreement on behalf the Collaborative, along with Dr. Glover, called the event an “exciting day for the community,” noting TSU’s history as an “HBCU in the forefront of initiatives” that enhance the lives of seniors in the community.

“I am just excited to be a part of this endeavor,” Pinnock said. “We are thankful to Dr. Glover and Tennessee State University for this initiative.”

State Rep. Harold Love Jr., himself an advocate for senior care, who was among many federal, state and local officials to witness the signing, also stressed the growing need for better and improved care for the aging population, as advocated by his late father.

“More of our seniors need assistance more than ever before, and I am glad Tennessee State University is leading the way in this endeavor,” Love added.

Also making comment at the ceremony was Jim Shulman, executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability, who pointed to the state’s dismal rankings in the arrears of smoking cessation, physical inactivity, food insecurity, and many other ailments that affect the national population, especially seniors.

“We need to improve in these areas to ensure a better quality of life for our aging population,” Shulman said. “Anything we can do for our seniors that improves their living standard is important.”

Dr. Michael Harris, dean of the College of Public Service and Urban Affairs, acknowledged the work and individuals in making the Collaborative a reality.

“Dr. Glover should be commended for her vision that made this all possible,” Harris said. “It was a team effort involving CARES, the Department of Sociology and Social Work, and many others in our college including students. Our goal is to find ways to connect academic knowledge with community needs through programs that improve the quality of life for the aging population in Tennessee.”

Students, faculty, staff joined many seniors from the community for the signing in Elliott Hall.

Other officials present were: Devin Stone, assistant director of communications in the Department of Human Services; Norma Powell, deputy executive director on aging programs in the Area Agency on Aging and Disability; and Dr. Consuelo Wilkins, executive director of MeHarry-Vanderbilt Alliance.

 

 

 

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.

Tennessee State University researcher receives national excellence award for multistate water conservation project

Dr. Dilip Nandwani
Dr. Dilip Nandwani

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service)— A researcher from Tennessee State University received a national award for excellence recently for his work on water conservation.

Dr. Dilip Nandwani, associate professor of organic agriculture with the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, received the individual Award of Excellence from the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy November 3, during the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Nandwani also accepted the 2014 Experiment Station Section Excellence in Multistate Research Award on behalf of the 20 land-grant university research team involved in the study.

Nandwani served as the committee chair for the collaborative team studying how farmers can best use microirrigation systems to sustainably irrigate their land, especially during droughts and water shortages. The five-year project included agricultural engineers, plant and soil scientists, and economists conducting a variety of studies and outreach efforts across the country.

The multistate team, which worked on the project officially known as the W-2128 Microirrigation for Sustainable Water Use Project, was supported in part through USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) by the Multistate Research Fund, established in 1998 by the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act (an amendment to the Hatch Act of 1888) to encourage and enhance multistate, multidisciplinary agricultural research on critical issues. Additional funds were provided by contracts and grants to participating scientists.

“It is a great honor to be recognized at the APLU’s Annual Meeting,” Nandwani said. “This award validates our hard work over the last five years.”

Nandwani began work on the project while a member of the faculty at the University of the Virgin Islands. During the course of the five-year project, the multistate team’s research led to new microirrigation equipment and tools that are easier to install, more durable and more precise. The advances have encouraged adoption of microirrigation systems, which has led to significant economic and environmental impacts.

Highlights of the project included the University of Idaho demonstrating better crop yields with microirrigation than with center-pivot irrigation, while New Mexico State University tested and compared several models of drip tubing and emitters that could be used for inexpensive, low-pressure microirrigation suitable for small farms.

Iowa State University showed that fewer sensors, if placed correctly, could provide cost-effective, detailed maps of soil moisture content, while Oregon State University calibrated soil-water sensors to improve the precision of irrigation scheduling.

“My goal is to ensure the science we invest in leads to solutions to today’s most pressing challenges,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, director of USDA-NIFA. “One of those challenges is finding ways to feed the growing population while minimally impacting the environment. A safe, reliable supply of water is inextricably linked to food security. The five-fold increase in irrigated acres that took place during the 20th century cannot be repeated in the 21st century — there isn’t the space. Instead, we must increase efficiency of the irrigated farmland we have, and that’s what this project is doing.”

In addition to Tennessee State University, the other participating land-grant institutions included: Auburn University; University of Arizona; University of California, Davis; University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Colorado State University; University of Florida; University of Hawaii; University of Idaho; Kansas State University; Mississippi State University, University of Nebraska, New Mexico State University; Cornell University; Oregon State University; University of Puerto Rico; Texas A&M AgriLife Research; University of the Virgin Islands; Washington State University; and University of Wyoming. The universities also collaborated with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and Agricultural Research Service.

 

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.

Tyson Foods CEO Donnie Smith Wows TSU Students on Success, Corporate Culture and Leadership; Discusses Partnership Opportunities with University Officials

smith1.2
Donnie Smith, Tyson Foods President and CEO, speaks to students at TSU on Wednesday. (Photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)


NASHVILLE, Tenn.
(TSU News Service) – Developing corporate partnerships and relationships with industry leaders have been at the core of Dr. Glenda Glover’s vision since becoming president of Tennessee State University nearly two years ago.

This has included visits and talks with major corporations and businesses and invitations to their leaders to visit the TSU campus to see the kinds of preparations students are receiving to be ready for the job market.

“This is necessary not just because we want these corporations to give to the University, but it also helps to expose our students to industry’s best as well as offer them opportunities to develop job-ready skills through internships, cooperative assistantships, scholarships and employment opportunities,” Dr. Glover said.

Scholars
President Glenda Glover and Tyson Foods President and CEO Donnie Smith meet with Tom Joyner Foundation scholarship recipients following the check presentation. From left are, Bria Monk, Tyson CEO Smith, Kourtney Daniels, President Glover and David Conner. (Photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

And today, TSU students received a good dose of exposure and lecture on corporate culture and leadership when the President and Chief Executive Officer of Tyson Foods, Inc., a $42 billion, Fortune 500 Arkansas-based company, visited and spent an entire day interacting with students, administrators, faculty and staff on the main campus.

Donnie Smith, whose visit also included the presentation of scholarships to three TSU students, in a partnership with the Tom Joyner Foundation, said his visit was intended to broaden existing relationship with TSU and explore areas in which student preparation in agriculture and science are more aligned with Tyson’s needs.

“We want to continue to build the relationship deeper by developing a streamline of talents that is suited to our company’s needs,” said Smith, who added that about 12 TSU students have interned at Tyson in the last two years, while another was fully employed with the company.

In a meeting earlier in Dr. Glover’s office with senior administration members, President Glover welcomed Smith and his team, which included Holly Bourland, Corporate Recruitment Manager for Professional Employment.

The TSU team emphasized that student preparation remains the main focus of the University, “because TSU wants to have a broad footprint” on industry by putting out students with job-ready skills, and Tyson could be a major partner in that area.

“Our students are involved in cutting-edge research in many areas of agricultural production and food security that could be useful to your company,” Dr. Glover told the Tyson executives.

“We are doing breakthrough research on our campus,” added Dr. Lesia Crompton-Young, chief research officer and associate vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs. “If you see the kinds of research we are involved in you will find that we are doing things that surely correlate with what Tyson’s needs are.”

A visit and tour of the University’s new Agricultural Biotechnology Research Building provided the Tyson visitors a closer look at some of the cutting-edge research the University officials spoke about.

“This visit is a great opportunity for us,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, following a meeting with the Tyson president. “We are trying to connect student and research to corporate needs because we want our research to be relevant to the market needs.”

In a gathering with Business students, the Tyson CEO spoke about corporate leadership, understanding the needs of “team members” (employees), and how to stay ahead of the competition.

“At Tyson we like to win, but for us winning is to make great food and helping those in need,” said Smith, adding that hunger relief is a major part of what Tyson does.

On corporate culture, Smith reminded the student about what he called his five “Is” and three “Rs.”

“To be successful you must have ‘integrity,’ be ‘intelligent,’ ‘innovative,’ have ‘interpersonal skills’ and you must be ‘inspirational.’ To achieve these, you must learn to develop ‘relationships,’ be ‘resilient’ and ‘result’ oriented,” smith said.

At a luncheon with Dr. Glover, along with her Cabinet and deans, the Tyson group saw PowerPoint presentations of offerings and programs in the College of Business, and the College of Engineering.

Prior to the presentations, the Tyson chief executive presented a check for $7,500 to Briar Monk, a senior Agricultural Science major with a 3.65 GPA from Little Rock, Arkansas; Kourtney Daniels, a sophomore Food Biosciences and Technology major with a 4.0 GPA from Chicago; and David Connor, a junior Agricultural Science major with a 3.42 GPA from Birmingham, Alabama.

The money, with each student receiving $2,500, is the result of a partnership between Tyson Foods and the Tom Joyner Foundation called the TScholars Project, to offer scholarships and internship opportunities to selected students majoring in Agriculture and Business at four historically black colleges and universities. The schools, TSU, Florida A&M University, North Carolina A&T State University and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, were selected because of their proximity to Tyson company facilities.

According to the Interim Director of the Career Development Center at TSU, Tina Reed, each scholarship recipient will receive a summer 2015 internship at Tyson Foods.

Before leaving the TSU campus, the CEO also met with an array of students in different disciplines in Poag Auditorium, where he reiterated his views on corporate culture and leadership.

Other University officials who participated in meetings with the Tyson CEO and his team include: Dr. Mark Hardy, vice president for Academic Affairs; Jean Jackson, vice president for Administration; Cynthia Brooks, vice president for Business and Finance; Dr. John Cade, vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Support Services; Dr. Alisa Mosley, associate vice president for Academic Affairs; Robin Tonya Watson, assistant vice president for Institutional Advancement; Kelli Sharpe, assistant vice president for Public Relations and Communications; Laurence Pendleton, University Counsel; and Dr. Cheryl Green, assistant vice president for Student Affairs.

Also attending today’s meetings were: Dr. Millicent Lownes-Jackson, dean of the College of Business; and Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College Engineering.

 

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.