College of Science Announces 2015 Undergraduate Summer Research Stipend Winners

The IIT College of Science has chosen 11 students to receive summer research funding, eight under the COS Undergraduate Summer Research Stipend program, and three under the NSF Research for Undergraduate (REU) program. The selected students will earn $5,000 for 10 weeks of research with Illinois Institute of Technology faculty this summer.

The stipends, funded primarily by the college’s board and alumni, allow students to gain invaluable hands-on research experience, explore their interests, and prepare for their future careers. Benjamin Stark, associate dean and professor of biology, said, “The College of Science puts a high priority on providing research experiences for our undergraduates. The projects proposed by this year’s awardees are substantial and sophisticated and should make these experiences very meaningful and valuable.” All of the winners were nominated by Illinois Tech faculty.

  • Rachael Affenit (CS 2nd year) and Ali Cinar, professor of chemical engineering, will be working on a multidisciplinary project that examines the potential uses of artificial intelligence in biomedical engineering applications.
  • Alyssa Bowes (PHYS 3rd year), working with Bryce Littlejohn, assistant professor of physics, and Christopher White, vice provost for academic affairs and professor of physics, will use an optical reflectance device she helped construct from scratch to characterize and model a key subsystem in the PROSPECT reactor antineutrino detector.
  • John Clark (CHEM 4th year) will work with David Minh, assistant professor of chemistry, to compare different clustering algorithms to process molecular dynamics simulation data for use in Implicit Ligand Theory (ILT)-based binding affinity calculations.
  • David Ghiurco (CS 1st year), with the help of Xian-He Sun, distinguished professor of computer science, will work on data formatting for on-demand data analysis systems.
  • Irena Grauzinis (BCHM 2nd year), under the supervision of Jialing Xiang, professor of biology, will perform genetic analysis using surgical isolating micro tissues from colon cancer tissue microarray.
  • Yishan Huang (PTC 3rd year), with the guidance of Marie Hicks, assistant professor of history, and Mél Hogan, assistant professor of communication, will research the history of birth control in China and the United States, and then design a speculative science fiction project that helps the public understand the long-term implications of birth control policy in the two nations.
  • Geet Kumar (CS 3rd year), with the help of Shlomo Argamon, professor of computer science, will work with a major industrial client (Orbitz), to build a full application using machine learning and natural language processing.
  • Xintong Li (AMAT 2nd year), along with Sonja Petrović, assistant professor of applied mathematics, will explore different ways of solving systems of polynomial equations with special structure, comparing the standard Groebner bases approach with more specialized algorithms.
  • Ekaterina Shanina (PHYS 2nd year) will work with Konstantinos Arfanakis, professor of biomedical engineering, on the Human Brain Atlas project and characterizing brain connectivity networks.
  • Iva Veseli (BIOL 1st year) and Jean-François Pombert, assistant professor of biology, will sequence and annotate various bacterial genomes for ongoing collaborations with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other parties
  • Tianci Zhu (AMAT 2nd year), along with Fred Hickernell, chair and professor of applied mathematics, will work to develop financial applications that utilize the Guaranteed Automatic Integration Library (GAIL).