2021 Fall Conference Virtual Presentations

The following is a list of virtual presentations for the 2021 MSGC Fall Conference. Make sure to subscribe to MSGC’s YouTube channel here.

View all of the Virtual Oral Presentations here

View all of the Virtual Poster Presentations here.

Virtual Oral Presentations

Title/Author(s)/AbstractYouTube Link
Enhanced self-renewal of human pluripotent stem cells by simulated microgravity

Suraj Timilsina, Graduate Student, Dept of Biological Sciences, Oakland University
Thea Krisch-Mangu, Undergrad Student, Dept of Biological Sciences, Oakland University
Schyler Wreth, Undergrad Student, Dept of Biological Sciences, Oakland University
Brook Shepard, Undergrad Student, Dept of Biological Sciences, Oakland University
Tianle Ma, PhD, Assistant Professor, Dept of Engineering, Oakland University
Luis G. Villa-Diaz, PhD, Assistant Professor, Dept of Biological Sciences, Oakland University

Physiological process impacting the health of individuals exposed to microgravity during spaceflight are documented. Ground based simulated microgravity (sug) studies provide significant outcomes to support future space expeditions such as the Mars mission and the cis-lunar station. Our investigation using a 2D-clinostat to sug revealed that several physiological processes of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) are influenced including self-renewal, telomere maintenance, differentiation, proliferation and cell cycle regulation. RNA sequencing analysis indicated that under sug the expression of pathways related to differentiation and development are down-regulated, while multiple components of the ubiquitin proteasome system are up-regulated, contributing to an enhanced self-renewal of hPSCs. These effects of sug were not replicated in fibroblasts. Together these results highlight pathways and mechanisms in hPSCs vulnerable to microgravity that can affect development and regeneration of tissues by these cells. Our findings might serve as a guide to anticipate and solve future spaceflight-based endeavors and problems related to health and tissue regeneration.
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Experiential Training of STEM Teachers

Susan Ipri Brown, Assistant Professor of Engineering Instruction, Hope College, BSE/MS Mechanical Engineering

Preparing STEM Teachers will increase the capacity to meet the quickly growing need for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education teachers in the state. Specifically, attention will be given to providing pre-service teachers exposure to effective, inquiry-based techniques for working with diverse learners and students from a range of socioeconomic and demographic backgrounds. Empowering future STEM educators to combine best practices in inquiry-based learning as well as techniques for inspiring diverse learners to enter STEM fields will significantly impact multitudes of students across those teachers’ careers. This proposal seeks funding for pre-service teacher stipends, mentoring, evaluation, and materials to support our unique hands-on training in the context of Hope College’s Summer Science Camps. Complementing in-classroom learning, this impactful experiential learning immerses pre-service teachers in STEM classroom experiences and builds a pipeline of teachers that can inspire and mentor a diverse future workforce.
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Forward Image Prediction for Environment Exploration Using Model Predictive Control

Dominic Messina, B.S. Chemical Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Wayne State University
Helen Durand, Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Wayne State University

When operating in uncertain environments, an autonomous system may need to collect more information about its surroundings in order to adequately perform the tasks required of it. As the collection and processing of visual data has become important in facilitating the interaction between an intelligent agent and its environment, using this data to predict how an environment will evolve as camera sensor positions change may enable an agent to choose from a number of potential actions. In this work, we use OpenGL to simulate the navigation of a camera near an unidentified object under model predictive control (MPC) using image predictions to determine an optimal course for collecting the data needed to identify the object.
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High School Summer Science Research Program at Eastern Michigan University

Dr. Harriet Lindsay, Professor, Chemistry and Graduate Studies and Research, Eastern Michigan University

The Eastern Michigan University (EMU) Office of Undergraduate Research and Biology and Chemistry Department faculty developed a three-week high school summer research program. High school students completing at least one science class are eligible to apply. Students are matched with faculty mentors by interests and students’ coursework. They are also partnered with EMU undergraduate mentors in the same lab. The faculty/undergraduate teams train the participants to work on an original research project. Participants present their results at a poster session on the program's last day. In summers of 2018 and 2019 we operated the program by charging fees to participate. Herein, we describe the outcomes of offering our MSGC-funded program free of charge to low income, first generation, underrepresented, and/or female-identifying high school students with an interest in science.
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Mission Design Internship

Rutvik Marathe, Dept of Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan

In summer of 2021, Rutvik Marathe was an intern at NASA Glenn Research Center. He worked in the Mission Architecture and Analysis Branch, which focused on designing spacecraft missions and the trajectories they take to reach their destination. The group works on a variety of missions, including NASA flight missions like the lunar Gateway (scheduled to launch in mid-2020s) as well as conceptual mission design for NASA’s NIAC program. As an intern in the branch, he worked on both types of missions – both flight and conceptual. Throughout the summer, he was able to learn and develop skills in mission design by working alongside the team on these missions. He was also able to do analysis to provide data and create tools for mission design, contributing to our ability to analyze the Gateway and other future missions.In summer of 2021, Rutvik Marathe was an intern at NASA Glenn Research Center. He worked in the Mission Architecture and Analysis Branch, which focused on designing spacecraft missions and the trajectories they take to reach their destination. The group works on a variety of missions, including NASA flight missions like the lunar Gateway (scheduled to launch in mid-2020s) as well as conceptual mission design for NASA’s NIAC program. As an intern in the branch, he worked on both types of missions – both flight and conceptual. Throughout the summer, he was able to learn and develop skills in mission design by working alongside the team on these missions. He was also able to do analysis to provide data and create tools for mission design, contributing to our ability to analyze the Gateway and other future missions.
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Pierce Cedar Creek Institute Digital Teacher Training Hub

Sara Parr Syswerda, PhD, Education Director, Education Department, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute
Debra Kilmartin, M.S., Volunteer, Education Department, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute

(Virtual, recorded presentation) During the 2020-2021 schoolyear, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute developed and piloted a series of virtual training modules for early childhood and elementary science teachers. These modules were focused on developing teacher content knowledge while also focusing on pedagogy skills related to the Next Generation Science Standards. Each one hour module included a core content strand, as well as science and engineering practices and cross cutting concepts. Teachers received continuing education clock hours for their participation in the modules. Initial survey data of teachers indicates that these modules were easy to navigate and applicable to their classroom teaching. Initial participation has primarily been teachers in their first three years of teaching, teachers with young children at home who can’t attend in-person trainings as easily, and early childhood teachers. The Institute will continue to develop and post professional development modules onto the website for teacher usage.
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2021 Grand River Water Quality Sampling

Allison Romanski, 2021 Grand River Water Quality Sampling, Grand Valley State University, Biochemistry, BS

Research goals include sampling at different locations and flow conditions, collaboration with wastewater treatment plants, and development of a refined Water Quality Index. In the summer of 2021, seven different reaches were sampled and over 120 samples were collected. Samples were analyzed for nitrate, total phosphate, ammonium, chloride, dissolved oxygen, biological oxygen demand, total suspended solids, E. coli, and total coliform. Field parameters included: temperature, specific conductivity, pH, turbidity, oxidation reduction potential, resistivity, salinity, and total dissolved salts.  Water samples were collected from bridges and kayaks, and were analyzed at the Allendale Wastewater Treatment Plant or in the GVSU Lab. Lab methods included: 1) HACH spectrophotometer analysis; 2) Total Suspended Solids Filtration; 3) Biological Oxygen Demand; and 4) IDEXX Colilert 2000 quanti-tray method. Ongoing sample analysis will be compared to water quality data dating back to 1968.
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The cosmic-ray positron spectrum and its implications on the properties of Milky Way pulsars

Ilias Cholis, PhD, Ass. Prof., Physics, Oakland University

Measurements of cosmic-ray electron and positron spectra at energies from a GeV to 5 TeV, as well as radio, X-ray and a wide range of gamma-ray observations of pulsar-wind nebulae, indicate that pulsars are significant sources of high-energy cosmic-ray electrons and positrons. To probe the physical properties of the high-energy emission from pulsars we generated 8000 distinctive simulations on their contribution to the locally observed cosmic-ray electron/positron energy spectra. Our models account for (a) the initial properties and time-evolution of pulsars energetics; (b) the emitted spectra of cosmic-rays from pulsars; (c) their occurrence in the Milky Way and (d) the physics of cosmic-ray propagation through the interstellar medium and the Heliosphere. I will discuss the implications that measurements from AMS-02 and CALET on-board the International Space Station and the DAMPE satellite have on the properties of pulsars and the interstellar medium.
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Koopman Operator-Based Data-Driven Identification of Tethered Subsatellite Deployment Dynamics

Waqas A. Manzoor, Graduate Student, UM-Dearborn
Samir A. Rawashdeh, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering Dept, UM-Dearborn
Alireza Mohammadi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering Dept, UM-Dearborn

Compact tether-based actuation is particularly suitable for deployment of femto-/picosatellite bodies from CubeSats using ultra-small electrodynamic tethers. Despite the unique capabilities of tethered satellite systems, control technologies for these satellites have yet to mature in several domains including system identification under unmodeled disturbances. A promising solution for identification of tethered satellite dynamics under environmental disturbances is to use data-driven online algorithms that learn the dynamics of the tethered satellite over previous orbits. To achieve this goal, this talk presents the Koopman operator associated with the tethered satellite dynamics to extrapolate future motion of a tethered subsatellite subject to unknown disturbances while being deployed from its mothership. Numerical simulations of the constructed Koopman operator-based linear dynamics versus the true nonlinear model of the tethered satellite system demonstrate the prediction capabilities of the proposed Koopman operator-based numerical algorithm for the general flight characteristics including many orbits into the future. 
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Virtual Poster Presentations

Title/Author(s)/AbstractYouTube Link
Anishinaabe Star Knowledge in the Planetarium

Dr. Shannon Schmoll, Director, Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University

This poster describes the Anishinaabe Star Knowledge Show, a Public Outreach project for the general public and K-12 students emphasizing Earth System Science. It takes the form of a 25-minute full-dome digital planetarium show and educator guide in partnership with Native Skywatchers for distribution in planetariums across Michigan and the Great Lakes Region, starting with Abrams Planetarium. Traditional Anishinaabe stories and contemporary insights about environmental changes brought on by climate change are related to Anishinaabe constellations and moons with translations in Anishinaabemowin by fluent speakers Aarin Dokum and Alphonse Pitawanakwat. The program aims to provide Indigenous elementary and middle school students with a representation of their culture in STEM with an emphasis on science and also advance the education of elementary and middle school students in Michigan with respect for Indigenous knowledge.
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Astronomical Spectroscopy: a Method for Sonification of the Cosmos

Kyle Frownfelter, Eastern Michigan University, B.S.
Roxanne Katus, Ph.D., Eastern Michigan University

Astronomical spectroscopy is undoubtedly an indispensable tool that has provided insight into the solar system and surrounding universe for centuries. Traditionally, the information conveyed by spectral analysis is most often limited to visual paradigms. An alternate medium for the bequeathal of spectral data is through the sense of audition. We seek to investigate the aural conveyance of data gathered by astronomical spectroscopy. The applications of this alternative modality are two-fold: the auditory exploration of celestial objects, and furthering NASA's strategic interests.
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Evaluations of Model Simulated Ozone and its Precursors in MUSICA-V0 Against In-situ Airborne Measurements over the Continental US

Noribeth Mariscal, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202
Yaoxian Huang, Ph.D., Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202
Louisa Emmons, Ph.D., Atmospheric Chemistry Observations and Modeling Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307
Duseong S. Jo, Ph.D., Atmospheric Chemistry Observations and Modeling Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307
Jiajue Chai, Ph.D., Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences, and Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912

Many United States regions exceed ozone air quality standards, which can negatively impact human health and the natural environment. High-resolution atmospheric chemistry models are needed to better understand ozone production in affected regions and impacts on air quality. This study focuses on ozone formation in Colorado and Michigan using MUSICA-V0 model simulations. MUSICA-V0, a configuration of CAM6-Chem, was run with a horizontal resolution of ~14 km over the conterminous U.S from May to August 2014. The simulations of ozone and its precursors (e.g., NOx, VOCs) will be evaluated with aircraft observations from NCAR’s FRAPPE and NASA’s DISCOVER-AQ Colorado conducted in the summer of 2014 over Colorado, and measurements from the Michigan-Ontario Ozone Source Experiment (MOOSE) from the summer of 2021 over metropolitan Detroit. We will refine a domain over Michigan with a ~7 km horizontal resolution in MUSICA-V0 to investigate the sensitivity of atmospheric composition to model horizontal grid resolution.
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Michigan Resources for Climate and Land-cover Change Education: Vulnerability and Justice

Samuel Bonser, Bachelors degree candidate, Student, College of Education Grand Valley State University
Elena Lioubimtseva, PhD, Full Professor, GVSU Geography and Sustainable Planning
Cody Thammavongsa, B.S. candidate, Geography senior, Grand Valley State University
Janet Vail, Ph.D., Research scientist emirita, Annis Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State University

Urban poor, people of color, immigrants, and other marginalized populations are disproportionally affected by impacts of climate change and extreme events, such as heat waves, floods, vector-and water-borne infections. These communities face critical barriers to involvement including historical disenfranchisement, as well as a sense that climate change is distant and not personally relevant. Choices about climate and land-use will continue define human vulnerability to the effects of climate change on health, safety, and livelihoods. Integration of these topics is often challenging for school teachers due to their complexity and interdisciplinary nature. The proposed project will expand on the MIRCLE materials for 6-12 grade science and social studies teachers developed by our team under this grant in 2020/21, to address vulnerability and equity. NASA LCLUC materials would be used to illustrate case studies in Michigan. Lesson plans will be created in correlation with Michigan Science Standards (MSS) and the recently revised Social Studies Standards.
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NASA Deep Space Food Challenge: Growing Sprouts and Greens with Fertilizer Osmosis

Olivia Racette (Sophomore majoring in Bioengineering and minoring in Computer Science, Oakland University School of Engineering and Computer Science)
Joanna Chang (Senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering specializing in Automotive, Oakland University School of Engineering and Computer Science)
Victoria Sutherland (Senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Music, Oakland University School of Engineering and Computer Science)

Creating food systems to supply astronauts with freshly grown food has received increased attention due to renewed efforts for long-duration space exploration. Current growing systems supply astronauts for under a year, therefore limiting missions. As astronauts prepare to travel to Mars, the possibility of receiving supplemental food decreases. In this presentation, an innovative food system is introduced, developed in response to NASA's Deep Space Food Challenge and as part of Oakland University's NSF sponsored Automotive and Energy Industrial Mentorship Research Experience for Undergraduates program. The food system is designed to grow a variety of sprouts and greens, and supply nutrients such as 265% of Vitamin K a day for an astronaut's daily recommended diet. A unique component of the food system is the integration of a fertilizer osmosis module, an energy-efficient water recovery process that produces a clean fertigation solution from waste that directly delivers to plants.
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Syngas Characteristics for Application in Micro-Scale Combustion

Sunita Pokharel, MSc Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, West Virginia University
V’yacheslav Akkerman, Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, West Virginia University
Mohsen Ayoobi, Assistant Professor, Division of Engineering Technology, College of Engineering, Wayne State University

With the increasing demands for cleaner power generation resources, it is important to explore the alternatives to conventional hydrocarbon fuels that meet such demands while maintaining the advantage of having high energy densities. Synthesized gas, also referred to as syngas, has a great potential to replace most of conventional fuels, providing high energy densities and considerably lower emission rates. It can be used in small-scale combustion-related devices, such as micro-satellite thrusters, micro-chemical reactors and sensors, or miniaturized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Syngas is commonly comprised of hydrogen (H2), carbon monoxide (CO), and methane (CH4) and the composition of these constituents varies depending on the production process and feedstock. With various constituents having various burning characteristics, syngas combustion at micro scales becomes more complicated than that of conventional gaseous fuels at conventional scales. It is therefore highly important to understand syngas combustion characteristics at micro or meso scales.
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Synthesis and Characterization of Zirconium Dioxide Nanomaterials to Catalyze Oxygen Reduction in Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Liam Diephuis, Undergrad, Engineering and Chemistry, Hope College
Dr. Natalia I. Gonzalez-Pech Ph.D, Chemistry Dept., Hope College

Existing fuel cells require platinum nanoparticle catalysts to reduce oxygen at the cathode, but platinum is too expensive for hydrogen fuel cells to be commercially viable. Zirconium dioxide is much less expensive than platinum, while still retaining enough catalytic activity and chemical stability.
The work will take place in two phases: a synthesis phase, where zirconium – titanium dioxide nanomaterials are synthesized, and a characterization phase, where these nanomaterials are analyzed and compared to existing fuel cell catalysts. During the summer research period of 2021, zirconium dioxide nanomaterials were created using multiple conditions, and the optimal synthesis method was selected to analyze during the fall of 2021 for catalytic activity and chemical stability.
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The Use of Computer Modeling to Simulate and Predict the Biodegradation of a Magnesium Alloy Fracture Plate

Victoria Nizzi, Material Science Engineering, Michigan Technological University

Medical devices are continuously changing and improving as new information is uncovered through research and experimentation. However, before any new medical device can be used in practice, it must be thoroughly tested to analyze effectiveness and possible side effects. To assist in the testing process for a current magnesium biodegradation project at Michigan Technological University, an ANSYS femur fracture plate model was created for initial software testing. The ANSYS model was developed by simulating the environment and loading cycles that the femur of a 70kg male is subjected to. The femur was then altered to represent a mid-shaft transverse fracture with a fixation plate attached. Software modeling of the fixation plate as it relates to the femur provides insight as to the life of the fixation plate, the critical stresses acting upon the plate, and possible degradation avenues.
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Towards predictive modeling of astatine compounds

James MacLean, Undergrad, Chemistry, Oakland University
Vincent T. Casetti, Graduate Student, Chemistry, Oakland University
Jacob Adamski, Undergrad, Chemistry, Oakland University
Adam D. Ayoub, Undergrad, Chemistry, Oakland University
Alexander A. Rusakov, Professor/PhD, Chemistry, Oakland University

Astatine-211 is a radioactive isotope with ideal qualities for targeted alpha-particle radiation therapy. In particular, it is promising in treating myeloid leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the types of cancer commonly occurring in astronauts due to radiation exposure. Astatine’s elusive chemistry, however, impedes progress in clinical studies. We present state-of-the-art models of small astatine molecules based on relativistic coupled-cluster and density functional theory to account for intertwined effects of spin-orbit interaction and electronic correlations. Additionally, we explore the reliability of density functional models and develop computational protocols applicable to complex molecular entities such as drug precursors to contain At-211 and make its targeted delivery efficient.
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An Algorithm for a Facility Location Problem based on the Voronoi Diagram that uses Population Density

Benjamin Jenkins Bachelors degree candidate, Student, School of Computing Grand Valley State University
Byron DeVries, Ph.D. , School of Computing, Grand Valley State University
Christian Trefftz, Ph.D., School of Computing, Grand Valley State University

Facility Location Problems are of interest for many different organizations. In this work we concentrate on a particular kind of Facility Location: The organization has several existing facilities and it wants to open a new facility. The objective is to minimize the distance that customers in a particular area have to travel to access a facility. The algorithm takes as input the locations of the existing facilities and the population density of the area of interest. Using an approximate Voronoi Diagram algorithm, the code calculates the location for the new facility that minimizes the sum of the distances that the customers need to travel.
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