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College of Science Announces 2017 Undergraduate Research Stipend Winners

The College of Science has chosen eight students to receive this year’s CoS undergraduate summer research stipends. The selected students, nominated by Illinois Tech faculty, will each earn $5,000 for 10 weeks of research with Illinois Tech faculty members this summer. The stipends are funded primarily by the College’s board and alumni. This year, two of the stipends are being specifically funded by a grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund directed by BWF board member George Langford (MS BIOL ’69, Ph.D. ’71), with the intention of providing support for undergraduate research internships for underrepresented minority students in the College of Science.

Xiaofan Li, vice dean for the College of Science and professor of applied mathematics, said, “The undergraduate summer research stipends provide students with opportunities to do frontier research with the faculty. This motivates them to learn more and to have a deeper understanding of the various courses they take at Illinois Tech, and is a precursor to graduate programs where research plays a significant role.”

  • Aislinn Davis (BIOL 4th year) and Jialing Xiang, professor of biology, are working on continued research aimed at understanding how to trigger the production of BaxΔ2 in cancer cells, which could potentially increase a tumor’s sensitivity to chemotherapy and make certain cancers more treatable.
  • Yonas Gebre (PHYS 3rd year), along with Bryce Littlejohn, assistant professor of physics, is continuing work on the PROSPECT Experiment, which is a Department of Energy funded effort to characterize antineutrinos emanating from a highly-enriched uranium nuclear reactor.
  • Miles Hood (CS 2nd year), working with Xian-He Sun, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science, is implementing a data replication engine for increased fault tolerance.
  • Philip Hossu (CS 3rd year), under the supervision of Hualong Feng, adjunct faculty in applied mathematics, is exploring automatic exploitation of symmetry for multivariate polynomial systems and developing a software package to increase the efficiency of solving these polynomial systems.
  • Christian Jones (BIOL 4th year) and Oscar Juarez, assistant professor of biology, are working on a project aimed at developing a new generation of drugs against pathogenic bacteria, targeting unique and essential metabolic pathways.
  • Ali Mahmoud (BIOINFO 3rd year) and Jean-Francois Pombert, assistant professor of biology, are building upon research Mahmoud conducted throughout the school year in which he built elaborate methods to show genetic distances using diverse visualization techniques.
  • Richard Osborn (AMAT 3rd year), along with Despina Stasi, research assistant professor of applied mathematics, and a team of undergraduate students co-led by Sonja Petrovic, associate professor of applied mathematics, will develop and publish a software package to generate random monomial ideals and other algebraic objects and continue a study of their properties.
  • Stephanie Vaccaro (CS 3rd year), with the help of Cindy Hood, associate professor of computer science, will focus on documenting the public safety communication infrastructure in Chicago and creating a measurement infrastructure for public safety communication with maximum coverage in terms of channels, given cost, and deployment constraints.

George Langford (MS BIOL ’69, Ph.D. ’71)