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Bright work: UT research shines, sets low-bandgap perovskite solar cell world record for efficiency

With the depletion of nonrenewable energy sources and the increase of pollution, researchers have turned to finding ways to harness clean energy from cheap alternative sources.

Researchers at The University of Toledo have recently focused their investigation in the area of perovskite solar cell technology.

Dr. Yanfa Yan and his team make perovskite solar cells in the lab. Their research revealed a world record efficiency (low-bandgap) for the conversion of sunlight to electricity.

Perovskite is a compound material with a special crystal structure, according to Dr. Yanfa Yan, Ohio Research Scholar chair and UT professor of physics.

“Metal halide perovskites can effectively harvest sunlight and efficiently convert it into usable electrical power. They have the potential to be used for fabricating cheap and highly efficient solar cells,” he said. “Perovskite photovoltaic technology has attracted tremendous interest in the past several years.”

Current conventional solar cells are made out of materials such as silicon, a material more expensive than perovskite solar cells.

Yan explained that his research combined theoretical and experimental approaches to understand the fundamental mechanisms of the limitations of the perovskites and to develop processes and design new materials to overcome the limitations.

“Our ultimate goal is to help improve the energy conversion efficiencies of photovoltaic cells and solar fuel devices,” Yan said.

Dr. Yanfa Yan’s all-perovskite tandem solar cell combines two different solar cells to increase the total electrical power generated by using two different parts of the sun’s spectrum.

He and his team did just that. In fact, their research revealed a world record efficiency for the conversion of sunlight to electricity in the area of perovskite solar cell technology using less toxic lead as well as demonstrated a concept for producing an all-perovskite tandem solar cell that can bring together two different solar cells to increase the total electrical power generated by using two different parts of the sun’s spectrum.

“We reported a method that can easily be followed by other researchers in the field,” Yan said.

The research has been published in the journal Nature Energy.

“The publication of this paper in Nature Energy shows a significant recognition of our work by the peers in the field of photovoltaics,” Yan said. “We are very proud of our achievements.”

He added, “We are thankful for collaborations with colleagues in the Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization at UT.”

“Dr. Yan and his team are doing outstanding work on this promising type of solar cell, paving the way for cheaper and more efficient ways to provide clean renewable energy to meet the needs of society,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy; and Helen Luedtke Brooks Endowed Professor of Astronomy. “The faculty and researchers in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and UT’s Wright Center for Photovoltaic Innovation and Commercialization continue to lead the way in improving photovoltaic devices to address our growing energy demands through sustainable and renewable means.”

UT advocates for science research as Earth Day nears

As Earth Day 2017 approaches, The University of Toledo is hosting a series of events to connect with science enthusiasts and interested citizens of all ages about the vital role science plays in all lives.

The Northwestern Ohio Chapter of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) is co-sponsoring the March for Science in downtown Toledo along with Imagination Station this weekend to correspond with the national March for Science in Washington, D.C., in celebration of science’s contributions to society.

“Our love of science has led us to advocate for using scientific evidence to help guide public policies,” said Dr. Susanne Nonekowski, associate lecturer in the Department of Medicinal and Biological Chemistry and president of the AWIS Northwestern Ohio Chapter. “The mission of the march is to share and highlight the contributions of science and to inspire future generations to uphold the values of curiosity, free speech, free inquiry and critical thinking.”

The March for Science rally in Toledo will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 22, at International Park. The march starts at 11 a.m. Participants will walk together across the Martin Luther King Bridge and end at Imagination Station. Interactive activities, which include UT student groups presenting Asian carp, algal bloom, physics, astronomy and chemistry research, will start at 11:30 a.m. at tables outside Imagination Station.

Speakers at the 10 a.m. rally include Dr. Tom E. Brady, founder of Plastic Technologies Inc. and sponsor of the Brady Engineering Innovation Center at The University of Toledo, and Nick Dulaney, a junior studying physics at UT who recently helped discover a new star and is the lead author in a published research paper regarding the discovery.

Several UT scientists are traveling to Washington, D.C., this weekend to participate in the national March for Science, including bird expert Dr. Henry Streby, UT assistant professor in the Environmental Sciences Department and ornithologist.

“This is a critical time for science in our country and around the world,” Streby said. “Ignoring or belittling science comes at a high cost to our society and our planet in the long run.”

UT will hold its 17th annual Earth Fest Tuesday, April 18, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Centennial Mall.

The event, which is run by student organizations that include Building Ohio’s Sustainable Energy Future and the Society of Environmental Education, will focus on practicing sustainable habits and protecting the soil, water and air. Activities will include a bag and bottle swap, spring plant fair, giant Jenga, solar-powered boat races, a wind turbine, and prizes of Chipotle gift cards.

The UT Lake Erie Center will host an open house Thursday, April 20, from 5 to 7 p.m. The public is invited to experience live demonstrations, tours of the facility and a scientific poster show to learn about the wide variety of algal bloom and invasive species research being done by UT scientists. The UT Lake Erie Center is located at 6200 Bayshore Road, Oregon, Ohio.

“Water quality research at the Lake Erie Center is currently focused on the effects of excess nutrient runoff into the western basin of Lake Erie,” said Dr. Tim Fisher, geology professor, chair of the Department of Environmental Sciences, and interim director of the Lake Erie Center. “The excessive nutrients foster algae growth, some of which is toxic and known as harmful algal blooms, which is being studied by Dr. Tom Bridgeman. Dr. Daryl Dwyer’s lab works with a variety of agencies to engineer and build wetlands to remove excessive nutrients before reaching the lake.”

The UT College of Engineering will hold its Senior Design Expo Friday, April 28, from noon to 3 p.m. on the first floor of Nitschke Hall. Seniors in engineering will display and demonstrate their senior design projects.

The next Saturday Morning Science program will be Saturday, April 29, at 9:30 a.m. in Memorial Field House Room 2100 and feature the topic, “From the Stone Age to Today: Why Do Humans Love Music?” The free event is open to the public.

The Saturday Morning Science lecture series presented by the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics features presentations on a broad range of topics in science and technology.

UT to be well-represented at National Conference on Undergraduate Research

Seventeen University of Toledo students will present their projects at the 31st Annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research at the University of Memphis Thursday through Saturday, April 6-8.

These projects by UT students were chosen from more than 4,000 submissions.

Blen Keneni, left, and Branden Austin worked on finalizing their system prototype for their research on “Frequency Spectrum Sharing and Priority Assignment in Communication Systems.” They will present their work this week at the 31st Annual National Conference of Undergraduate Research in Memphis, Tenn.

“The abstracts by the UT students demonstrate a unique contribution to their field of study, providing them the opportunity to present their work to their peers, faculty and staff from all over the nation,” said Dr. Thomas Kvale, professor emeritus of physics and director of the Office of Undergraduate Research.

Branden Austin and Blen Keneni, students in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department in the College of Engineering, will present “Frequency Spectrum Sharing and Priority Assignment in Communication Systems” at the conference.

With a National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates grant, the two worked last summer and fall on a project with Dr. Vijaya Kumar Devabhaktuni, professor of electrical engineering, as their adviser.

The purpose of their project was to build an educational prototype for attracting high school seniors and college students to pursue university degrees.

“The prototype entails demonstrable hardware and software comprised of a set of communication nodes with call priorities, which are used to help educate students on future and practical implications of spectrum sharing,” Devabhaktuni said.

“Two objectives are achieved by building this hands-on prototype: Students learn firsthand the basics of communication systems, and they are taught the concept and feasibility of ‘priority’ in radio frequency device communication.”

Devabhaktuni said this research experience provided the students with techniques beneficial in their future endeavors: hardware and software design, collaborative research skills, and time and project management.

Keneni is pursuing a master’s degree in electrical engineering; she graduated with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in December. She was a senior while working on this research project. Austin is a senior undergraduate dual major in electrical and computer science engineering. 

“What I liked about this research is the freedom it gave me to be creative while it challenged my engineering skills,” Keneni said. “It gave me the opportunity to have a detailed understanding of topics related to communication, radio frequency devices, as well as hardware and software design.”

Keneni added, “This undergraduate research can be used to teach students about communication systems, and it will be a great project to present during job interviews.”

“The best part of the research for me is getting to work on challenging projects that make a difference,” Austin said. “It was great to work on a project applicable to teaching students about current and emerging technology. I gained valuable contacts in both academia and industry through research.

“This, and being selected to present our research at a national conference, opens up doors for both grad school and future employment,” he said.

Other UT students who will present their work at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, the titles of their abstracts, and faculty advisers are:

• Quinton Babcock, “Lake Erie Water Quality Survey, A Natural Treatment Option to Reduce Harmful Algal Blooms,” Dr. Kevin Egan, associate professor of economics;

• Sanskar Basnet, “Beam-Foil Measurement of the Lifetime of Ge II 4s2 4d 2D3/2 Level,” Dr. Richard Irving, research assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy;

• Jason Gonring, “Feasibility Study: Solar-Powered Electric Fencing and Hydration for the Buffalo Girls Project,” Dr. Barbara Mann, professor in the Honors College, and Richard Molyet, associate professor of electrical engineering;

• Emily Grubbs, “Women’s Involvement in the Inside Out Prison Exchange Program,” Dr. Jerry Van Hoy, associate professor of sociology;

• Wonhee Kim and Keeyong Hong, “Collaboration Art Beyond Culture,” Daniel Thobias, assistant professor of art;

• Jay Kumar, “The Effect of Nicotine on Ovarian Cancer Cells,” Dr. Deborah Chadee, associate professor of biological sciences;

• Dalal Mahmoud, “Impact of Microcystin on Pre-Exisiting Liver Disease,” Dr. David Kennedy, assistant professor of medicine;

• Batool Mehdi, “Regulation of MLK3 in Ovarian Cancer Cells,” Chadee;

• Zehra Mehdi, “The Role Maternal Reminiscing Style Plays in the Accuracy of Child Reports,” Dr. Kamala London Newton, associate professor of psychology, and Monica Lawson, graduate student in experimental and developmental psychology;

• Megan Post, “Study of Furoxans in a Murine Model of Ischemic Stroke,” Dr. Isaac Schiefer, assistant professor of medicinal and biological chemistry;

• Taylor Robbins, “Comparing the Articulatory Kinematics and Acoustic Vowel Space Between Healthy and Apraxic Speakers,” Dr. Caroline Menezes, associate professor of speech-language pathology;

• Michaela Roberts, “Centriole Remodeling and Poc1 Enrichment in Drosophila Melanogaster,” Dr. Tomer Avidor-Reiss, associate professor of biological sciences;

• Olivia Sagan, “Regulation of MLK Kinases in Ovarian Cancer Cells,” Chadee;

• Shannon Saluga, “Photoredox Catalysts and Their Applications in Organic Synthesis,” Dr. Wei Li, assistant professor of chemistry;

• Nadeen Sarsour, “Prenatal Androgen Exposure in Adult Female Wistar Rats,” Jennifer W. Hill, associate professor of physiology and pharmacology; and

• Raj Thomas, “Investigating the Role of MLK3 in Mitotic Progression of Ovarian Cancer Cells,” Chadee.

UT part of regional team awarded $4.37 million to support tech startups

The University of Toledo partnered with ProMedica, Mercy Health and Bowling Green State University to form the collaborative regional organization called NextTech to help generate high-tech jobs by supporting startup companies.

Last week the Ohio Third Frontier Board awarded NextTech a $3.75 million grant as the Entrepreneurial Service Provider for northwest Ohio for 2017-18. With matching funds from all four partners, the total amount available for NextTech’s 18-county region will be $8.7 million.

At the press conference to announce the establishment of NextTech Thursday were, from left, Dr. John Pigott, director of innovations at ProMedica; Dr. Frank Calzonetti, UT vice president of research; Dr. Michael Ogawa, vice president for research and economic engagement at Bowling Green State University; and Matt Sapara, vice president of advocacy and government relations at Mercy Health.

The Entrepreneurial Services Provider program available through Ohio Third Frontier offers a network of entrepreneurial services and capital to help accelerate the growth of early stage Ohio technology companies. Ohio Third Frontier is part of Ohio Development Agencies.

The University of Toledo will continue to help researchers launch startup companies by providing space to work and access to potential investors, as well as connecting them with business advice and patent protection.

“The University of Toledo is proud to work together through this community partnership to build technology entrepreneurship in the region,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “As a research institution, the University is fostering and developing new ideas every day to make life better. From new medical devices and therapeutic medicines to advanced manufacturing innovations and software breakthroughs, our faculty and students are coming up with creative ways to solve problems, and we look forward to inspiring more commercial success stories through UT LaunchPad Incubation and our Technology Transfer Office.”

“As anchor institutions in our communities, we are wholly committed to investing in, growing, generating jobs, creating investment capital, and strengthening our region and Ohio by fostering inclusive technology entrepreneurship,” said Randy Oostra, ProMedica president and CEO. ProMedica is the lead applicant for the project.

NextTech will be focused on helping enhance connections to assets in the region as well as access to capital and talent in an inclusive environment, including women, minority and rural populations. One key initial area of focus for NextTech is to help ensure resources are concentrated on high-potential companies that have critical business needs not currently being sufficiently addressed.

Each of the participating organizations brings an area of expertise to the project, and will have active roles in the delivery of technology commercialization services.

“This is an outstanding collaboration for northwest Ohio that will help to build a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region,” BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey said. “We look forward to leveraging our strengths in education, arts and sciences, digital arts, computer science, and data sciences to launch new businesses.” 

“As innovators in health care across northwest Ohio for 162 years, Mercy Health’s desire is to not only focus from a health-care end in creating new technologies and opportunities, but also ensure the community as a whole benefits through job creation and positioning northwest Ohio for growth moving forward,” Dr. Imran Andrabi, president and CEO of Mercy Health, said. “Mercy Health is proud to collaborate with these organizations through the Entrepreneurial Services Provider program and work together for the benefit of all who live and work here.”

NextTech will be prepared to provide services, including institutional technology commercialization, venture development services and enterprise development services, as well as cross-cutting activities like branding and marketing support. Offering these services will help develop a diverse pool of entrepreneurial talent, attract venture capital firms and other investors, and help support and enable company operations.

“The vision for NextTech is to create an ecosystem which consistently generates high-tech, high-wage jobs and opportunity in northwest Ohio,” said Dr. John Pigott, chief innovation officer for ProMedica. “The mission is to drive a technology-based startup environment through a broad and inclusive entrepreneurial community in northwest Ohio by providing intensive business commercialization services to prepare companies for funding and sustainability. “

Key agencies in the region, including the Toledo-Lucas Country Port Authority, Regional Growth Partnership, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Toledo Development Corp., are supportive of NextTech.

Biochemist studies new point of attack against dangerous stomach bacteria with help from astronauts

Research at The University of Toledo could lead to new treatments for a type of bacteria that is in the stomach of half the world’s population, causes ulcers, and is linked to the development of stomach cancer, one of the most common causes of cancer death worldwide.

And astronauts on the International Space Station played a key role in making the experiment possible.

NASA astronomer Reid Wiseman on the International Space Station held Dr. Donald Ronning’s experiment before he activated it. For six months, the protein crystals circled Earth as they grew.

A team of researchers led by Dr. Donald Ronning, professor in the UT Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, discovered a new point of attack for the bacterium called Helicobacter pylori by using neutrons to decipher how an important enzyme works in the bacterium’s metabolism.

“There are no current drugs on the market that target this special enzyme called MTAN found in the bacterium,” Ronning said. “The enzyme synthesizes vitamin K2 and is essential for the bacterium to survive.”

Most of the people who have an H pylori bacterial infection are treated with general antibiotics that are 50 years old, and in some regions of the world 30 percent of the strains are resistant to those drugs.

“It’s likely that inhibitors targeting this enzyme can lead to the development of medication specifically targeted to kill bad bacteria without harming useful bacteria or human cells in the gastrointestinal tract,” Ronning said.

The research, which was supported by a NASA grant and done in collaboration with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and the Technical University of Munich in Germany, was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. UT graduate student Mike Banco also participated in the study.

Dr. Donald Ronning, left, and UT graduate student Mike Banco held NASA patches.

The first six months of Ronning’s stomach bacteria experiment took place on the International Space Station, which orbits Earth approximately 16 times a day.

“We sent samples of the protein we were trying to inhibit on a SpaceX rocket up to the International Space Station’s microgravity environment in 2014,” Ronning said. “Astronauts activated the experiment and helped us grow the large, high-quality crystals of these proteins we needed in order to use a rare methodology called neutron diffraction.”

When the proteins were returned to Earth on a SpaceX rocket, the largest crystals were the size of a grain of rice or the width of a paperclip.

Ronning based his structural determination of the enlarged, crystallized proteins using neutron diffraction, which affords visualization of hydrogen atoms in the protein.

“The usual methods for determining three-dimensional structures of molecules, such as x-ray diffraction, don’t allow us to see hydrogen atoms and their movements that are vital to the function of enzymes synthesizing vitamin K2,” Ronning said. “Instead, we used neutron diffraction for our crystal structure analysis, which allows us to see the hydrogen atoms and shows us how they do their job in the protein. In the history of mankind, there have been 106 molecular structures solved using this technique. It’s an expanding field.”

Based on the findings, it is now possible to develop molecules that are better at blocking the enzyme’s reaction process.

“By seeing what the protein looks like in a 3D model and understanding how it functions, we have a better idea of how to create a drug to prevent that function and would kill the bacteria causing the infection in the gastrointestinal tract,” Ronning said.

Eberly Center for Women slates lunches to spotlight research

The Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women’s Lunch With a Purpose brings together students, faculty and staff to support UT’s women researchers.

All are welcome to bring lunches and hungry minds to find out what researchers are working on and to contribute to interdisciplinary discussions. The lunches are held in Eberly Center, Tucker Hall Room 0152, from 12:10 to 1 p.m. throughout the semester.

The next Lunch With a Purpose will take place Wednesday, March 22, and focus on “Being Mary Willing Byrd: Race, Property and Widowhood in Revolutionary Virginia.” Dr. Ami Pflugrad-Jackisch, associate professor of history, will discuss her research on Byrd, who became a widow in wartime and interacted with the state, the occupying military and the market in ways that were considered out of the ordinary for women of the time.

On Wednesday April 5, Dr. Karie Peralta, assistant professor of sociology, and Dr. Shahna Arps, lecturer of anthropology, will present their research, “Becoming Globally Competent Through a Community-Based Approach.” This research was not only used to develop an international field school to be used in the Dominican Republic this summer, but also demonstrates how community-based principles may guide the development of global competencies for professors and students.

“By encouraging women researchers to participate in Lunch With a Purpose, we are promoting interdisciplinary discussion, showing support, and offering critical feedback that strengthens the work being produced at The University of Toledo,” said Dr. Shanda Gore, associate vice president of the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women and the Minority Business Development Center.

Doctoral student receives award from Gerontological Society of America

Jennifer Perion, a doctoral student in the Health Education Program in the School of Population Health, received a student award from the Gerontological Society of America at its Annual Scientific Meeting for her thesis topic on “The Effect of Friendship on Malignant Social Psychology in Persons With Dementia.”

Perion chose her topic after observing dementia firsthand as her grandmother passed away from it and her mother-in-law lives with the condition.

Jennifer Perion, a doctoral student in the Health Education Program, received one of five poster awards presented to Gerontological Society of America student members. She presented her research on “The Effect of Friendship on Malignant Social Psychology in Persons With Dementia” at the society’s annual scientific meeting.

“I have observed social behaviors directed toward my mother-in-law that place her at a disadvantage and diminish her abilities,” Perion said. “I decided to research these negative behaviors and attempt to understand ways to overcome them. Friendship, which is voluntary in nature, offers opportunities for reciprocal exchanges that might help individuals feel more positive in their social interactions.”

For her research, Perion worked with the local Alzheimer’s Association, where she conducted face-to-face interviews with 10 individuals with dementia.

“I asked them about changes in their social relationships after memory loss. I then asked them about their friends and opportunities for reciprocal exchanges among their friendships,” Perion, a part-time instructor in the School of Population Health, said.

These interviews revealed five themes related to dementia and friendship, Perion said: recognizing the importance of longevity in friendship; helping one another is a normal part of friendship; feeling “alive” through the give and take in friendship; knowing somebody is there for them; and seeking security through friendship.

“A lot of focus is put on the medical and financial aspects of dementia care, but it is equally important to consider the quality of life experienced by these individuals,” Perion said. “These themes suggest that there are opportunities to improve the lives of persons with dementia by encouraging the continuation of existing friendships and providing fulfilling social experiences.”

Only five poster awards were given out by the Emerging Scholar and Professional Organization to Gerontological Society of America student members who had an abstract accepted for presentation at the conference. 

“Receiving an award from an organization that is the driving force behind advancing innovation in aging — both domestically and internationally — is a great honor,” said Dr. Victoria Steiner, associate professor in the School of Population Health and assistant director of the Center for Successful Aging. “Jennifer’s research provides insight into ways to improve the well-being of the growing number of individuals with dementia in our country. It makes me proud as a faculty member to see one of my students excel in an area that she is passionate about.”

The Gerontological Society of America is the nation’s oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education and practice in the field of aging.

Professor elected president of national organization

Dr. Ishmael Parsai, chief medical physicist in the UT Radiation Oncology Department, and professor and director of the Graduate Medical Physics Program, has been elected president-elect of the Society of Directors of Academic Medical Physics Program.

The Society of Directors of Academic Medical Physics Program is an independent organization that aims to advance the collective mission of enhancing medical physics educational opportunities in the areas of radiation oncology and diagnostic imaging.

Parsai

Parsai served as a founding member of the organization in 2008 and participated on the steering committee. Recently, Parsai was asked to run for the president-elect position, which he won after a national election. He will serve as president next year and as the chairman of the board of directors the following year.

“It is truly an honor to be selected for such a key position in our field,” Parsai said. “This position will allow me the license to survey the progress of graduate students and trainees throughout the United States and Canada. This will have a directly positive impact on our own graduate students and trainees. In our program, we will have the ability to gauge its progress compared to our colleagues nationally, which will, in turn, substantially improve our educational methodology for our students.”

With nearly 30 years as a practicing medical physicist, Parsai is a member of numerous scientific organizations and has fellowships in the American College of Radiation Oncology, the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, and the International Organization of Medical Physics.

He is also highly active in the scientific community, having published 59 peer-reviewed articles and conference proceedings in preferred journals, six book chapters and 143 abstracts. Parsai has given 73 paper and poster presentations at national or international meetings, and has authored or co-authored six patents, three of which are licensed for production by manufacturers. He also has four provisional patents in progress.

“In this new position, I believe through the exchange of information, knowledge and ideas, I will be delighted to share some of my experiences in training medical physics students with other colleagues in hopes of empowering them and the next generation of medical physicists, as well as bringing home some new ideas to further improve our own programs,” Parsai said. “My hope is to continue to significantly develop our programs locally here at The University of Toledo, and to help advance levels of education and training on the national stage.”

The Society of Directors of Academic Medical Physics Program aims to promote better coordination between academic medical physics programs; to foster establishment of best practices; to monitor production of students relative to the job market; to help new programs get started; and to serve as a voice for academic program directors.

UT undergrad discovers elusive companion star to Beta Canis Minoris

Nick Dulaney was determined to solve a galactic mystery. Why is there an unexpected, wavy edge on a disk around a bright, rapidly rotating star located 162 light years away from Earth?

The junior studying physics at The University of Toledo spent last summer analyzing 15 years of spectroscopic archive data collected at the Ritter Observatory on campus and discovered that Beta Canis Minoris, which is three and a half times larger than the sun and easily visible to the naked eye, is not alone.

Nick Dulaney, a junior majoring in physics, helped discover the star Beta Canis Minoris is actually a binary star, or a double star.

With the help of Dr. Noel Richardson, UT postdoctoral research associate, and Dr. Jon Bjorkman, professor of physics and astronomy, Dulaney found that the highly studied star featuring a disk around its equator is actually a binary star, or a double star.

“A low-mass secondary star orbits around Beta Canis Minoris,” Dulaney said. “While it’s circling the bright star, the smaller star stops the disk on the bigger star from getting too big by creating a wave in the disk.”

Beta Canis Minoris is what is known as a Be star, a hot star that rotates so fast that the material on its equator is ejected into a large gaseous disk surrounding the star.

“Nick discovered that the star was moving back and forth every 170 days,” Richardson said. “This motion is caused by the pull of the companion star and is very difficult to measure.”

Dulaney also found that the companion star tugs extra material from the disk toward it. This causes the observations to change repeatedly every time the star orbits. The student’s findings are leading new efforts by Bjorkman’s international modeling team to determine how the stars interact. 

Dulaney is the lead author on the research paper recently published in the Astrophysical Journal. He worked on the project while participating in UT’s Research Experience for Undergraduates Program sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

“This is a big milestone for me and shows that I am progressing toward building a career,” Dulaney said. “Doing this research has given me valuable experience, and I am very grateful to the National Science Foundation and The University of Toledo for the opportunity.”

“Many students don’t have similar publications until halfway through their graduate programs,” Richardson said. “As an undergraduate, Nick has shown that he is capable of collecting and analyzing data, and then communicating the results with scientists. These skills will serve him well in his future and shows the strengths of our undergraduate program at The University of Toledo.”

Dulaney started using the Ritter Observatory as a freshman and is one of nearly two dozen undergraduates making up a team that uses the observatory every clear night. The students help graduate students in making the measurements and operating the telescope.

“This student observing team is a gem for the University,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy; and Helen Luedtke Brooks Endowed Professor of Astronomy. “Nick’s project highlights how our 1-meter telescope on campus is used for both educational and scientific missions.”

Professor becomes Fellow of National Academy of Inventors

Dr. Sarit Bhaduri, professor of mechanical, industrial and manufacturing engineering in the College of Engineering, and director of the Multifunctional Materials Laboratory, has been elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. He is the first faculty member from UT to be inducted into the academy.

Being elected to be a National Academy of Inventors Fellow is a high professional distinction granted to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a substantial impact on the quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.

Bhaduri

“This award provides great recognition of Dr. Bhaduri’s success in translating his research into commercial opportunities that can provide great benefit to individuals,” Dr. Frank Calzonetti, vice president of research, said. “His ability to look for applications of his research is impressive, and this award is a signal that UT is a national leader in research and technology commercialization.”

“This recognition has an energizing effect on me for inventing newer processes and products for the benefit of the society,” Bhaduri said.

This is the third fellowship of a national body Bhaduri has been elected to, having been recognized as a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.

Bhaduri is listed as an inventor in approximately 35 U.S. and foreign patents, and has 37 applications pending. His inventions include wear resistant metallic alloys, innovative alkaline earth bone cement, antibacterial coatings, and synthesis of nanoparticles. He has strong expertise in the development of a wide array of materials used in structural applications, including orthopaedics and dentistry.

“I am excited and at the same time humbled by the fact that I will be joining a very elite group of people such as Nobel laureates and members of national academies of science, engineering and medicine,” Bhaduri said.

2016 Fellows will in inducted Thursday, April 6, at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.