Engineering Students Selected to Present at PA State Capitol

Posted by on March 3, 2014 in Campus Life, Outreach & Service, Research, Students, World Class Engineering | 0 comments

Two College of Engineering students — Anthony Trezza and Nathan Deffenbaugh — will present their research at the 12th Annual Undergraduate Research at the Capitol—Pennsylvania Poster Conference in Harrisburg on Tuesday, March 11, 2014.

Nathan Deffenbaugh, biomedical engineering, will present his research project titled High Resolution Tracking of Single-molecule Kinesin Motor Proteins by TIRF Microscopy. Kinesins are intracellular molecular motors and play a critical role in mitotic spindle formation during cell division. Their dysfunction has been linked to neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s and ALS. Additionally, the role of kinesins in mitotic spindle formation makes a relevant target for anti-cancer therapies aiming to inhibit cancer cell division and proliferation. Deffenbaugh’s research uses total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy to image individual kinesin proteins, allowing discovery of different kinesin protein’s molecular mechanisms, which is critical for understanding their diverse cellular roles.

Deffenbaugh is supervised by Dr. William O. Hancock, professor of biomedical engineering.

Anthony Trezza, mechanical engineering, will present Simultaneous Localization and Mapping of Indoor Robots Using Permanent Magnetic Fields. This research is prototyping the use of low-cost, highly sensitive magnetometer technology to develop low-cost guidance systems for wheelchairs with the intent to assist amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, often known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) patients maintain mobility. As stated in Trezza’s submission, there have been long-standing dreams of using robots to provide extra functionality, care, and comfort to our living environments, offices, factories, and warehouses. But this dream is thwarted by the difficulty of a robot to know its position indoors. GPS signals cannot be reliably measured inside buildings; lighting conditions are highly variable; and modifications to the built environment for robot localization can be expensive and intrusive.

Trezza is supervised by Dr. Sean Brennan, associate professor of mechanical engineering.

The event serves as a unique opportunity for undergraduate students enrolled in Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities to showcase their research projects to an audience of Pennsylvania legislators. Participants spend the day in the Pennsylvania Capitol Building, share experiences and ideas with counterparts from other schools, and present research posters.

The Office of Undergraduate Education coordinates Penn State’s participation in the event.

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