2014-2015 Research Streams
Each Research Stream has a dedicated laboratory designed and equipped for its specific type of research and supervised by a team of three to five faculty members.
Weekly, each Research Stream meets to discuss its research; these are broad-ranging discussions led by faculty and instructors. These "team" meetings include lectures to provide the "big picture" and background, troubleshoot problems, and learn how to design experiments, analyze data and present results to others. FRI students learn how to talk about their research, collaborate and identify their next steps in research. Students finish the three-semester program with a public poster session displaying their results.
Beginning in 2014-15, students in FRI can participate in one of three Research Streams:
Microbiology - Biofilms
The Biofilms Research Stream will focus on surface associated bacterial communities called biofilms and their planktonic free-floating counterparts, which differ with respect to antimicrobial agents. Under laboratory conditions, biofilms can be 1,000-fold less susceptible to antimicrobial agents than their planktonic counterparts, and are extremely problematic to eradicate by conventional antimicrobial treatment strategies. Moreover, biofilms pose significant problems in medicine due to their enhanced resistance to therapeutic intervention and to immune function. The goal of the biofilm research stream is to identify and characterize factors contributing to the extreme resistance of biofilms using the biofilm model organism Pseudomonas aeruginosa and various microbiological, molecular and biochemical methodologies. Throughout the research, students will be involved in experimental design, interpretation of results, and discussion. The four-faculty team consists of Professors Karin Sauer, David G. Davies, Cláudia N. H. Marques and Jeffrey W. Schertzer in the Department of Biological Sciences. Over the last three years, this team has had research grants from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense (DOD), and various private companies, and supported 54 students, with six undergraduate students as co-authors in conference abstracts.
Chemistry-Physics for Smart Energy
The Chemistry-Physics-Materials Science Research Stream is part of an integrated campus-wide research effort that focuses on smart energy.
This interdisciplinary team of faculty consists of Professors Wayne Jones (Chemistry), Stan Whittingham (Materials Science & Engineering), Bruce White (Physics), and Louis Piper (Physics), with current funding from NSF, the US Department of Energy (DOE), the US Department of Defense (DOD) and industrial partners totaling over $2 million over three years. Students working with these faculty have current research projects on photovoltaic systems, thin film electronics, thermoelectric systems, lithium-ion batteries and super-capacitors. Over the last three years, nearly 30 undergraduate students have completed research projects working closely with teams of graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and research scientists.
The Neuroscience Research Stream will focus on the intersection between neuro-inflammation and neuro-degeneration in animal models of disease. With increasing life expectancy, the incidence of neurodegenerative disorders has exploded. Unfortunately, our understanding of the mechanisms that contribute to disorders of the brain like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease remains incomplete.
This faculty team, consisting of Professors Chris Bishop, Terry Deak and Lisa Savage, has decades of experience studying neurobiological mechanisms of disease in animal models and is perfectly situated to guide discovery-based research in this milieu. Over the last three years, this team has held research grants from several sources, including the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). This group of faculty also maintains a strong tradition of student research, and in the past three years has supported 80 students (15 graduate students and 65 undergraduate students) and published more than 25 peer-reviewed research articles with undergraduate students as co-authors.
Proposed Research Streams, 2015-16 and Beyond
Binghamton University faculty are already planning additional research streams for 2015-16 and beyond. They include:
The Biogeochemistry Research Stream will focus on sustainability of earth systems from climate change and related human and ecosystem health perspectives. We are particularly interested in microbes and their geochemical interactions with metals and other contaminants, resulting in their coupled short- and long-term impacts on physical, chemical and biological interactions. Modern and ancient oceans, the atmosphere, watersheds and wetlands provide the field sites for our studies.
This three-faculty team consists of Professors Tim Lowenstein, Joseph Graney and Thomas Kulp in the Department of Geological Sciences. Over the last three years, this team has had research grants from National Science Foundation (NSF), US Geological Survey (USGS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Colorado School of Mines, and the Colcom and Wallace Research Foundations, and has supported 30 students with 13 undergraduate students as co-authors on publications and presentations.
Image and Acoustic Signals Analysis
The Image and Acoustic Signals Analysis Research Stream is an interdisciplinary team in The Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science that will focus on research and development in multimedia, human computer interaction, acoustics and biomechanics. The team will engage students in developing new digital forensic and biometrics techniques; designing novel immersive environments that will shape future trends in human-computer interaction; developing bioacoustics, data compression and visual speech technology; and developing and testing the biologically inspired micro-acoustic sensors for hearing-impaired.
This five-faculty team consists of Professors Scott Craver, Mark Fowler, and Stephen Zahorian (Electrical and Computer Engineering), Ronald Miles (Mechanical Engineering), and Lijun Yin (Computer Science). Over the last three years, this team has had research grants from HIH Laboratory, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Air Force Research Laboratory and NSF, and supported 31 students, with six undergraduate students as co-authors.