Summer 2014 Burnett Research Scholars Recipients

 

Luke Eliopoulos

Major:  Chemistry - Biochemistry Track

Faculty mentor: Dr. D.H. Miles

Project title:  Palladium Catalyzed Cross-coupling Reactions of Methyl 13-iodo-O-methylpodocarpate with Terminal Alkenes

Project summary: 
The cross coupling of podocarpate derivatives utilizing the Heck reaction with hopes of developing new lead compounds.

What is your area of research interest?
My area of research is medicinal chemistry, in particular synthesis of lead drug compounds.  I also have interest in research of diseases caused by microbes.  

How did you get started in undergraduate research?
I was persistent in asserting myself a position in my organic chemistry professor's lab. Being one of the top student's in both of my professor's sections of organic chemistry proved my competence as a chemist. 

How has the Burnett Research Scholars grant helped you achieve the goals of your research project?
Purchasing chemicals adds up in monetary cost. I have already ordered chemicals to provide a more efficient medium for my reactions to take place.

What are your future academic and professional goals?
I wish to attend dental school and pursue the field of orthodontics. 

In your opinion, what is the best thing about being an undergraduate researcher?
The challenge is what drives me. Being in such an intellectually demanding environment makes you sharp and pushes your limits mentally on how you can overcome obstacles. It is testing your real life problem solving abilities. 

 

 

Mateo Gomez

Major:  Mechanical Engineering

Faculty mentor:  Dr. Weili Luo

Project title:  The Study of Fluid Flow Patterns in Quasi One-dimensional Cell in Horizontal Temperature Gradient.

Project summary:
My project currently has to do with the flow particles in a fluid cell that has a hot an cold side. through the use of a high-speed camera and temperature sensitive paint we are able to observe the flow of particles and flow of temperature throughout the fluid cell. 

What is your area of research interest?
My area of research is fluid and solid mechanics?

How did you get started in undergraduate research?
I got started in undergraduate research because of a curiosity to different paths in which I could go to in the future with my degree. I was considering getting my doctorate and being a college professor of engineering, and since research is part of that path, I found it to be useful to get some experience to see if it would be a good choice. 

How has the Burnett Research Scholars grant helped you achieve the goals of your research project?
The funding that I received aside from helping me get materials needed for the project, has helped me with my living expenses for the summer.

What are your future academic and professional goals?
I want to graduate with my Mechanical engineering Degree once I have had an internship from NASA. In-terms of going straight to a masters degree or to a professional career I am still not sure. 

In your opinion, what is the best thing about being an undergraduate researcher?
I believe that the best thing about doing undergraduate research was getting to apply material that I learned in my classes. It was really amazing to be able to apply skills that I had learned in the past year from my different classes. 

 

 

Adam Phillips

Major:  Mathematics

Faculty mentor:  Dr. Bhimsen Shivamoggi

Project title:  GPU Acceleration for Medical Imaging Applications

Project summary:
Medical imaging applications (MRI, CT, PET, x-ray) provide non-invasive methods for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of ailments and diseases in both humans and animals. 3-D and 4-D imaging providing realistic images in real-time as well as recent advancements in imaging technologies have resulted in more complex and accurate imaging representations for medical professions, resulting in further efforts in prevention, quicker diagnosis and more precise treatment for patients. These added advantages however have a large computational cost, they require additional computing time and more computing resources, resulting in larger amounts of radiation exposure to patients as well as wait time to produce these images (affecting hospital’s efficiency, cost of operation, and patient’s peace of mind).

Graphic processing units (GPUs) commonly used for accelerating the production of computer graphics have become efficient parallel computing devices for accelerating scientific computations. GPUs possess high memory bandwidth, high computational throughput, support of floating-point arithmetic, ability to be implemented easily on any desktop computer, and have a relatively low cost per computation (compared to supercomputers, computer clusters). This project looks to analyze and optimize the implementation of GPUs to perform the computations of image processing (registration, segmentation, denoising) to accelerate medical imaging applications using NVIDIA’s CUDA. From this analysis a cost model and procedure can be established for implementing GPU computing into the medical industry.

What is your area of research interest?
Applied Computational Mathematics and Engineering Sciences: the application of computation to applied mathematics and engineering research topics. Topics such as computational biology, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), computational chemistry, parallel computing and numerical linear algebra all fall under this area of research. Among these topics my primary interests are renewable energy, biological engineering, and artificial intelligence.

How did you get started in undergraduate research?
I received an email from the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) my freshman year about a program offered during the Summer 2012 term called the Summer Research Academy (SRA). During the SRA I learned about the profusion of opportunities available as an undergraduate in research, the process of finding personal research interests, and the ability to connect with research faculty as mentors. After this program I was able to successfully reach out to faculty, find mentors and develop research projects.

How has the Burnett Research Scholars grant helped you achieve the goals of your project?
The Burnett Research Scholar grant will provide the funding for the graphics card to perform the research. High performance graphics cards for computing purposes can be relatively expensive for an undergraduate student, and the Burnett Research Scholar grant has provided ample funding to pursue this project.

What are your future academic and professional goals?
As I enter my final year as an undergraduate at the University of Central Florida (UCF), I look to apply to Ph.D. programs in Applied Computational Mathematics and Engineering Sciences. While in graduate school I intend on continuing gaining knowledge and experience related to academic research and teaching, preparing myself of the long-term goal of a career as an academic faculty member at a university.

In your opinion, what is the best thing about being an undergraduate researcher?
Opportunities. As an undergraduate researcher at UCF one has many research programs (EXCEL, RAMP, McNair Scholar, HIM), research funding (BRS, OUR Grant), research presentation (SURE, URJ, Travel Grants). As an undergraduate researcher in general one has summer research opportunities (NSF REU, DOE SULI, DHS HS STEM, and DOE Scholar) and prestigious scholarships (NSF Scholars, Fulbright, Goldwater, and Rhodes) available. Self-motivated, hard-working and modest undergraduate students will find that UCF provides many internal and external research opportunities to build future successful researchers.