Florida Poly students dominate statewide awards with environmental research

Seven of the ten science and engineering students selected to receive the prestigious Hays Travel Award are from Florida Polytechnic University.

The award, given by the Florida Academy of Sciences (FAS) Council, enables the students to attend and present their research projects at the FAS Annual Conference on March 9, 2018 at Barry University in Miami Shores.

“At Florida Poly, we always embrace and encourage students to develop their innovative ideas,” said Dr. Melba Horton, professor of Biology and mentor. “It is uplifting for faculty to see our student’s success. It’s a reflection of us as professors and as a university.”

Most of the seven winning projects focus on finding technological and scientific solutions to environmental problems in Polk County and beyond.

Some of the projects study the application of diatom, a unique species of algae taken from Polk County lakes, for renewable energy as well as agricultural, biomedical and electrical purposes. They also utilize space saving photo bioreactors for mass production of diatom species, and use its silica wall to capture and store methane gas.

Another winning project uses 3D printing to create batch reactors for treatment of waste water with UV-light to remove chemicals and other contaminants. Another study examines the utility of oxidation processes to decontaminate municipal landfill leachate, which is water percolated through waste.

“Right now we are looking for a nexus between energy, water and food,” said Dr. Sesha Srinivasan, professor of Physics and mentor of some of the winners. “How to get food security, renewable energy and clean water and air is extremely important. These projects seek solutions to these goals.”

In the medical field, another winning research creates a new algorithm to separate more accurately fetal and maternal electrocardiography signals, without noise or interference.

“Doctors need accurate information to provide appropriate treatment to their patients and save lives,” said Dr. Muhammad Ullah, professor of Computer Engineering and one of the mentors. “This research has that goal, plus it is faster, simpler and less costly.”

Florida Poly has been recognized with the Hays Travel Award in previous years, but this is the first time the University garners so many of the accolades.

“This type of recognition is extremely beneficial to the students in their professional development,” said Dr. Srinivasan. “They take advantage of the expertise faculty and it helps them as they apply for a job or graduate school.”

 

Here’s a list of the winning research projects:

–       Use of diatom, a unique species of algae taken from Polk County lakes, as an alternative source of biofuel. By Mechanical Engineer student Brian Gray of Tampa, Florida. (Mentor: Dr. Melba Horton)

–       Space saving photo-bioreactors for mass production of endemic diatom species, for agricultural, biomedical and technological purposes. By Mechanical Engineering student Sean Cloud of Brandon, Florida. (Mentor: Dr. Melba Horton)

–       Use of the diatom frustule (silica wall) to capture and store methane gas. By Mechanical Engineering student Geoffrey Doback of Brandon, Florida and Computer Science student Nathaniel Florer of Kissimmee. (Mentor: Dr. Melba Horton)

–       Creation of Batch Reactors using 3D printing for treatment of waste water with UV-light, to remove chemicals and other contaminants. By Ecieno Carmona, Mechanical Engineering student from Summerfield, Florida. (Mentors: Dr. Sesha Srinivasan and Dr. Scott Wallen)

–       Decontamination of municipal landfill leachate, which is water percolated through waste, by examining the utility of oxidation processes. By Engineering graduate student Jephté Douyon of Haiti. (Mentors: Dr. Sesha Srinivasan and Dr. Scott Wallen)

–       Creation of new algorithm to separate more accurately the fetal and maternal electrocardiography signals, without noise or interference. By Innovation and Technology graduate student Mohammad Bharmal of Pakistan. (Mentor: Muhammad Ullah)

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