Monday, August 21, 2017

OU Provides NSF Undergraduate Research Experience in Structural Biology for University Students Nationwide

--> Hunter Glover, University of Oklahoma    
The National Science Foundation Undergraduate Research Program in Structural Biology at the University of Oklahoma provides a research experience for students who do not have a program available to them at their institutions. After completing a nine-week summer program on structural biology research, 10 students from universities across the nation presented research results during the Second Annual Curiosity to Creativity Summer Symposium on July 27, 2017, at the Stephenson Research and Technology Center on the OU Research Campus.

“The REU students have really worked hard on their projects, and they have made good progress. We have ‘working lunches’ once a week and during these lunches, the students gain practice at presenting their work orally. Through these meetings, it has become abundantly clear that the students are fully engaged in their research projects and are enjoying this experience,” said OU Program Director Paul Sims.

Students participating in the 2017 summer program are:  Naaila Ali, Clarion University; Kyle Boulanger, Grand View University; Katelyn Comeau, Mt. Saint Mary’s University; Dale Conrad, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology; Matthew Finneran, Central Michigan University; Hunter Glover, University of Oklahoma; Daniel Griffith, University of Wisconsin; Ashley Kang, Grinnell College; Riya Koshy, Austin College; and Uriel Vasquez, Hamline University.

The summer program is designed to teach students skills in laboratory research, how to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, the process of science, and communicating research results to the public. Each student is paired with a mentor and assigned a research project, which varies according to the research of each mentor. The common underlying theme of all research projects though is structural biology. At the end of the program, students present their research results during a poster presentation.

For more information about the NSF Undergraduate Research Experience in Structural Biology, contact OU Professor Paul Sims at

Monday, August 14, 2017

Rural Educators Engage in Bioanalytical Engineering Research and Teaching

Five science and mathematics teachers from rural schools in Oklahoma just completed the National Science Foundation-supported summer program at the University of Oklahoma’s Center for BioAnalysis. The program is designed to improve STEM teaching in rural classrooms and increase the number of rural students who select and successfully graduate from a higher education STEM field.   

“Combining the teaching expertise of the high school teachers with the research expertise of the faculty creates a powerful synergism for producing innovative and dynamic science curricula that directly impact current issues pertinent to rural Oklahoman communities,” said Mark Nanny, director of the Rural Educators Program and professor of environmental science in the Gallogly College of Engineering.

Oklahoma rural educators selected for the 2017 summer program include: Shawn Cusack, Northwestern Technology Center--Fairview; James Hall, Hydro-Eakly; Patrick King, Geary; David Martyn, Southwestern Oklahoma State University--Weatherford; and Key Tse, OU--Norman. The program includes laboratory work, seminars on real-world applications of bioanalytical engineering, curricula development and design, and evaluation and assessment activities.

Each educator is paired with a faculty mentor over seven weeks performing cutting-edge research in           
OU laboratories. Besides learning research skills, the program also focuses on developing classroom curricula and transferring research experiences into the classroom. A workshop on writing successful proposals focuses on rural educators preparing proposals for their classroom curricula. In the final week, educators present research activities, classroom curricula and prepare a research poster for display in the classroom and OU laboratory.

While much of the current research in bioanalytical engineering focuses on medical problems, the field is a powerful tool for all areas involving biology, such as the improved production of biofuels, the impact of biofilms on the biocorro
sion of steel infrastructure in the petroleum industry and the environmental bioremediation of groundwater.

Bioanalytical engineering presents rural educators with a dynamic and vibrant field rooted in fundamental concepts of molecular biology, biochemistry, cellular biology, chemistry and physics.  Combined with engineering design methodology and application, it provides opportunities for educators to enrich their teaching of these fundamental concepts, showing their students how knowledge in these fields can directly impact critical issues related to medicine, human health, energy resources and the environment.

Among the research opportunities available to educators through this program are the design of personal anti-cancer drugs, environmental engineering, biocorrosion engineering, biofuel processing, fabrication of bioanalytical devices and advancement of computational methods. For more information about the program, contact Mark Nanny at

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

High school students build hands, bridges, drones at OU

This summer high school students from across Oklahoma traveled to the Gallogly College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma to learn engineering concepts. But they didn’t spend their time only sitting in a classroom and listening to lectures. During Boeing Engineering Days, students built, created and coded many of the engineering feats they see and use every day.

Read moreFrom the Edmond Sun

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Gallogly College biomedical doctoral alum Cortes Williams was among several Oklahomans recognized at the Biotechnology Innovation International Convention in San Diego. Along with recently completing his Ph.D., Williams was an inaugural recipient of the college's Pursuit of Excellence Award - presented by Jim Gallogly himself - and an alum of the college's Bridge to Doctorate Program. Learn more about the company he founded - NextGen Medical, providing an innovative approach to help medical professionals assess the effectiveness of cancer treatments.

Read more in two stories from

Published June 22: 
University of Oklahoma Venture Fellows test their market research mission at BIO show

Walden Elected Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education

A University of Oklahoma research associate professor and director, Susan E. Walden, has been elected to the Academy of Fellows for the American Society for Engineering Education. Walden, the first ASEE awardee from OU, has made significant individual contributions to her body of work related to diversity and inclusion in engineering education within the P-16 initiative. The fellow designation honors her scholarship and service for improving engineering education, especially in pre-college settings.

“Dr. Walden not only is a major force in enhancing diversity and inclusion of engineering students at OU, but she also is a national leader in STEM education and has published important papers that are helping other institutions drive positive change in diversity and related challenges,” said OU Vice President for Research Kelvin Droegemeier.

According to ASEE, the board of directors confers the grade of Fellow following a rigorous nomination process on members who exhibit outstanding and extraordinary qualifications and contributions to engineering and the society.

The ASEE Pre-College Engineering Education division sponsored Walden’s nomination as a fellow and also selected her to receive the Pre-College Engineering Education Meritorious Service Award at the society’s conference. The Meritorious Service Award is given to a member who has provided exemplary service in alignment with the division’s vision, mission and core beliefs and in support of pre-college engineering education efforts with the society.

“I am incredibly honored to receive these recognitions from my outstanding pre-college engineering colleagues. I gratefully acknowledge the opportunities that I have been able to pursue through the University of Oklahoma. These achievements would not have been possible without the collaboration of my current and former team members in the Research Institute for STEM Education, the Sooner Elementary Engineering and Science Clubs, and the Sooner Engineering Education Center,” Walden said.

Walden, research associate professor in the Gallogly College of Engineering at OU, also serves as director of the Research Institute for STEM Education; associate director of the Sooner Engineering Education Center; core affiliate faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences, Women and Gender Studies Program; and director of the Office of Undergraduate Research, Office of the Vice President for Research on the Norman campus.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

OU Receives Major Gift from Valero in Support of New Engineering Facility

University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren today announced a $1.5 million gift from Valero to support construction of Gallogly Hall, a new biomedical engineering building and research laboratory on OU’s Engineering Quadrangle that will house the Gallogly College of Engineering’s Stephenson School of Biomedical Engineering and new engineering labs and learning spaces. The announcement was made at the June meeting of the OU Board of Regents.

“The university deeply appreciates this generous gift from Valero to such an important new academic facility and program,” Boren said.

In appreciation of the gift, Boren has recommended to the OU Board of Regents that the new building’s lecture hall, which will be prominently located on the first floor, be named to honor Valero.

The Valero Lecture Hall will be a reconfigurable multipurpose space that may also be used as a classroom or a space to host special events. The lecture hall will easily accommodate up to 100 people and will be equipped with advanced audiovisual equipment, including 70-inch display panels, projection screens and extensive internet accessibility.

“As an OU Alumnus, I am especially proud for Valero to support the new lecture hall which will be used by students and faculty at the University of Oklahoma,” said Lane Riggs, Executive Vice President – Refining Operations and Engineering. “Valero appreciates the opportunity to assist the university in providing world class facilities for its engineering students.”

Gallogly Hall, which is set to open in fall 2019, will be home to the new Stephenson School of Biomedical Engineering. The 70,000-square-foot facility will feature classrooms, teaching and research labs, a lecture hall, collaborative learning spaces and a student project-making space. This world-class academic building and the Gallogly College of Engineering are named in honor of the leadership gift made to the college from Janet and Jim Gallogly of Houston in 2015. The School of Biomedical Engineering is named for Peggy and Charles Stephenson of Tulsa, whose resources are helping put OU in the forefront of the growing field of biomedical engineering. The school will enhance diversity in both the student and faculty ranks, increase enrollment and federal research funding and spur economic growth. It also will aid in the recruitment of top students and strengthen collaboration among OU’s three campuses.

Academic programs within the Gallogly College of Engineering’s eight areas of study are consistently ranked in the top third of engineering programs in the United States. For more information about the college, visit

Thursday, June 15, 2017

OU Researchers Develop Radar Simulator to Characterize Scattering Mechanisms of Debris Particles in Tornadoes

A University of Oklahoma research team with the Advanced Radar Research Center has developed the first numerical polarimetric radar simulator to study and characterize scattering mechanisms of debris particles in tornadoes. Characterizing the debris field of a tornado is vital given flying debris cause most tornado fatalities. Tornado debris characteristics are poorly understood even though the upgrade of the nation’s radar network to dual polarimetric radar offers potentially valuable capabilities for improving tornado warnings and nowcasting.

“With this simulator, we can explain in great detail to the operational weather community the tornadic echo from the polarimetric radar,” said Robert Palmer, ARRC executive director. “The signal received by the dual polarimetric radar is not easily understood because rain is mixed with the debris. The knowledge we gain from this study will improve tornado detection and near real-time damage estimation.”

Numerous controlled anechoic chamber measurements of tornadic debris were conducted at the Radar Innovations Laboratory on the OU Research Campus to determine the scattering characteristics of several debris types—leaves, shingles and boards. Palmer, D.J. Bodine, B.L. Cheong, C.J. Fulton and S.M. Torres, the center, and the OU Schools of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Meteorology, developed the simulator to provide comparisons for actual polarimetric radar measurements.

Before this study, there were many unanswered questions related to tornado debris scattering, such as knowing how the size, concentration and shape of different debris types affect polarimetric variables. How the radar identifies the debris is equally as important. Orientation of debris makes a difference as well as how the debris falls through the atmosphere. Overall, understanding debris scattering characteristics aid in the discovery of the relationship between debris characteristics, such as losing and centrifuging, and tornado dynamics.

OU team members were responsible for various aspects of this study. Coordination of damage surveys and collection of debris samples were led by Bodine. Field experiments were designed by team members in collaboration with Howard Bluestein, OU School of Meteorology. Electromagnetic simulations and anechoic chamber experiments were led by Fulton. The signal processing algorithms were developed by Torres and his team. Cheong led the simulation development team.

The study, “SimRadar: A Polarimetric Radar Time-Series Simulator for Tornadic Debris Studies,” will be published in the May issue of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing. This work is supported by the National Science Foundation with grant number AGS-1303685. There were significant results from the collaboration between the center and the Disaster Prevention Research Institute in Kyoto University.

An animation has been developed for the simulation of the three types of tornadic debris used in this study, which included leaves (green), shingles (pink) and boards (orange). The OU team has the ability, however, to simulate other types of debris.

Download the animation.