9 Major Research Breakthroughs This Summer At Binghamton University

Posted by Ashley Zachariah on August 6, 2015

It may be summer, but Binghamton faculty are hard at work researching everything from detecting onsets of depression to understanding what makes better leaders! And national news outlets around the world, like Wired and The New York Times, are taking note. Here are just a few of the major breakthroughs Binghamton researchers have achieved in recent months.

1. Attention to angry faces can predict future depression

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Research conducted by the Psychology Department has led to startling conclusions about predicting the onset of depression. Brandon Gibb, director of the Mood Disorders Center, led the study along with graduate student Mary Woody. They found that women who focused their attention on angry facial expressions were at a higher risk for depression. Looking at the photos of music star Taylor Swift above, which one did you notice first?

2. Engineers create origami battery

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Binghamton engineer Seokheun “Sean” Choi is using the practice of origami to positively change the lives of people living in countries that typically do not have access to vital resources. The skill of paper folding that is commonly used to create paper airplanes can now be applied to make batteries. With the use of “dirty water,” or any water that has bacteria in it, this battery is made at a fraction of the cost. IFL Science reports that you can even use office paper to create this new battery.

3. Brain's reaction to certain words could replace passwords

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Professors Zhanpeng Jin and Sarah Laszlo are the co-authors of a new study that could potentially solve our frustrations with passwords. The study’s aim is to use brainwave activity to gain entry into different databases. Based on the study, our brains respond differently to words such as “FBI” or “DVD.” This “brainprint” tech could have important applications at high-secutriy locations like the Pentagon or Air Force Labs.

4. Lethal wounds on skull may indicate 430,000-year-old murder

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Rolf M. Quam, a paleoanthropologist at Binghamton University, is one of the authors of a study that may point to one of the oldest cases of murder on record and findings of primitive cemeteries. The 430,000-year-old skull was found in an underground cave system at the “Pit of the Bones” in northern Spain. In a recent interview with NPR, Quam reported that the evidence of fractures to the skull could not have happened unintentionally and must have happened while the person was still alive.

5. Tiny particles in our bodies are having a big impact

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Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Anthony Fiumera and Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Gretchen Mahler are using their “gut instincts” in a new study. The two Binghamton professors are looking into how particles of processed foods can affect our gut function. The study can help us understand various diseases linked with processed foods such as metabolic disorders and obesity.

6. PhD student sets sights on improving data-center efficiency

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Husam Alissa, a PhD student in Watson’s Mechanical Engineering Department, is trying to determine the most efficient way to sustain Binghamton’s state-of-the-art Center for Energy-Smart Electronic Systems (ES2). This data center contains large clusters of servers that power cloud-computing operations, e-commerce and more. A new cost-effective way to keep this energy running is through an “aisle containment system” that could save an estimated 30 percent of cooling energy.

7. 3D printing process could help treat incurable diseases

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Biomedical engineering professors Kaiming Ye and Sha Jin are focusing on potential diabetes treatment options by trying to “grow” a functioning three-dimensional model of a pancreas and creating new cells that produce insulin. According to Ye, the most efficient way to grow cells is on a 3D scale because our cell cultures float in a 3D environment. By creating this new printing technology, researchers can arrange the cells in a way that resembles the conditions of real human organs.

8. Women more negatively affected by breakups than men

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Craig E. Morris, a research associate in the Department of Anthropology, along with Associate Professor of Anthropology Chris Reiber, conducted a study on the effects of breakups on women and men and found that women are more negatively impacted by breakups than men. Women experience more physical and emotional pain after a breakup, but they also recover more fully than men, who simply move on.

9. Fantasy-based stories affect children's perceptions of effective leadership

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School of Management Professor Seth Spain shows us how we can use characters such as Optimus from “The Transformers” to learn about important leadership skills. Spain recently published his book Leadership Lessons from Compelling Context, which looks at leaders from all different types of works, including The Iliad, Thomas The Tank Engine, and Spider-Man.

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