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COST Shines at the 2012 Texas Southern University Research Week Program

The 2012 Texas Southern University Research Week (RW) program was a rousing success complete with a record number of poster presentations and faculty oral presentations. Dr. Jason A. Rosenzweig, Assistant Professor in the Department Biology, was invited by the Office of Research to deliver the opening research seminar for the RW program describing his novel experiments characterizing bacterial virulence in a space-like environment. In addition to Rosenzweig, there was a plethora of COST representation at the TSU RW program in which COST faculty contributed to the record number of poster and oral presentations.

2012 Texas Southern University Research Week

Dr. Maruthi Sridhar Balaji Bhaskar, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Technology, was awarded 3rd place for Best Faculty Oral Presentation following his presentation entitled “Monitoring Water Quality Using Remote Sensing.” With regards to awards for poster presentation 2 COST faculty received awards. Dr. Hyun –Min Huang, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Technology, won 2nd place for his poster entitled “Is the Indoor Environment Safe for Children?” Additionally, Dr. Yuhong Zhang, Assistant Professor of Engineering Technology, won 3rd place for her poster entitled “A Study of Security Counter-measure for Cyber-Physical Systems.”

In addition to our faculty, the pride of COST, our students, also represented our college very well and received 2 awards. Christina Randall, Undergraduate Biology major, won 1st place for Student Oral Presentations with her seminar entitled “The Study of ER Stress in the P23H + RHO + Transgenic Mouse.” In addition to Ms. Randall, Shantell Phillips, Undergraduate Biology major mentored by Dr. Renard Thomas, won 2nd place for Student Oral Presentations with her seminar entitled “The Effects of Titanium Dioxide Carbon Nanotubes on Human Fetal Osteoblast Cells.”

Our COST team is compromised of outstanding students, expert faculty dedicated to pedagogy and research, and dedicated staff. Not only did our faculty and students represent the COST well but also our COST staff was a source a pride, winning three awards. Latisha Clark, Research Staff in Transportation Studies National Transportation Security Center of Excellence– Petrochemicals, won 2nd place for Staff Oral Presentations with her seminar entitled, “Petrochemical Incident Location Systems.”  Additionally, Jinhui Wang, Research Assistant Staff in Transportation Studies mentored by Dr. Qiao Fenxiang and Dr. Lei, won 1stplace in Staff Poster Presentations with his poster entitled, “Implementing Right Turn Signal Control and Signalized Intersections.” Also, Fei Tao, Graduate Research Assistant in Transportation Planning and Management  mentored by Dr. Lei Yu, won 3rd place in Staff Poster Presentations for his poster entitled, “Effects of Driving Behaviors on Vehicle Emissions: A Case Study in Houston, Texas.”




2012 COST Research Program


On April 4th 2012, the College of Science and Technology hosted their well attended college specific research program entitled, “Advancing Together Through Cutting Edge Interdisciplinary Research and How That Impacts Research Capabilities and Teaching in the COST.”

Attendees, including over 100 undergraduate COST students, were treated to two stimulating keynote presentations delivered by Dr. Bobby Wilson (Professor of Chemistry and Dr. Demetrios Kazakos (Professor of Mathematics).  Dr. Wilson traced his early career and highlighted that the bulk of his research and publications were in inter-disciplinary fields. He mentioned that, in the trajectory of his academic career, he followed strategic external funding opportunities in areas and agencies outside the narrow focus of pure chemistry. 

Dr. Kazakos highlighted his recent two year stint at NSF that allowed him to learn about the internal workings of the funding processes at national agencies such as the NIH and the NSF; he strongly encouraged other faculty to do the same. He also discussed the impact of attracting and retaining top researchers to TSU.

The keynote addresses were followed by a stimulating panel discussion in which Dr. Lei Yu (Dean of COST and Professor of Transportation), Dr. Lila Ghemri (Associate Professor of Computer Science) and Dr. Shishir Shishodia (Associate Professor of Biology) joined Dr. Wilson. Dr. Yu emphasized the importance of inter-disciplinary research, and recalled his career highlights that spanned many disciplines including Civil Engineering, Computer Programming, Safety Systems, etc. Dr. Yu also mentioned the success of TSU in obtaining the prestigious NSF CREST grant on which Dr. Wei Li (Professor of Computer Science) serves as the Project Director/PI as well as 14 faculty CO-Investigators from 6 different departments within the COST.

Dr. Lila Ghemri (Associate Professor of Computer Science) encouraged administrators to facilitate freer interaction among faculty from different departments rather than polarizing and alienating departments. In this way, Dr. Ghemri described how interdisciplinary research could really take flight.

During the panel discussion, several students expressed their difficulty in identifying research opportunities. In response, Dr. Shishodia encouraged the students to participate in varied and rich inter-disciplinary research opportunities within COST, and to seek faculty mentors in their specific area of interest.

Dr. Wilson encouragingly mentioned that all TSU students who applied early were able to find off-campus summer internships.  As a current opportunity, Dr. Li mentioned that many TSU students have already been hired and are still being sought out for the CREST project. In addition, Dr. Yu indicated that a lot of information related to student internships and various research opportunities is available online on the COST website.  The event concluded with closing remarks from the moderator, Dr. Farrukh Khan (Assistant Professor of Computer Science).

Overall, the TSU community showed strong interest in the program in which case several professors brought their entire class to attend the event.  The successful COST Research Week program was made possible by: the TSU Office of Research, Dr. Yu and the Office of the Dean, the dedicated COST Research Committee (led by Dr. Rosenzweig), the speakers and panelist participants,  and the large number of students and faculty in attendance.