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PRESS RELEASE
Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

NJIT Students Present Leading Research During Provostís Student Research Showcase

Students at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) work side by side with professors on the university’s most prominent research projects - projects that could lead to new technologies in fields such as biomedical engineering and cancer research. And during Provost’s Student Research Showcase on Wednesday, April 12, top students will illustrate that research with poster presentations and discussions.

The research presentations will run from 1:15-3:45 p.m. in the NJIT Campus Center Atrium. The event is free and open to the public; light refreshments will be served.

“The 45 students selected to show their research are some of the best and the brightest at NJIT, said Pricilla Nelson, PhD, NJIT provost and senior vice president for academic affairs  “Their research, done under the direction of our most prominent professors, could one day result in pioneering technologies that keep NJIT at the edge of knowledge.”

Two students were selected to be keynote speakers during lunch. 

• Sai Nudurupati, of E. Newark, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering, will discuss his applied physics research in how to separate and manipulate biological particles. The particles, immersed in fluids, are placed in a MEMS-sized microchannel and subjected to non-uniform electric fields. This method could make it easier to separate and identify deadly bacteria and viruses in the human body.  Nudurupati’s research, under the direction of Pushpendra Singh and Nadine Aubry, two professors in the mechanical engineering department, won first-prize during a recent graduate student research competition at NJIT. A paper on his research is under review and expected to be published this summer in the Journal of Physics.

• Rina Shah, of Union City, an undergraduate majoring in biomedical engineering, is developing a technique that could be used for the early detection of metastatic cancer cells. Shah will discuss a past research project she did while working as a medical research assistant in the department of pathology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. Oftentimes after the surgical removal of a tumor, cancer cells still circulate through the patient’s body, in both the circulatory system and the lymph nodes. The circulating cancer cells can spread and attach to another interior part of the body, causing metastatic cancer. Shah worked on developing a method to analyze proteins found on the cell membrane of cancer cells; the proteins are different from those found on normal cells. By locating the cells within the peripheral blood of patients, her method could lead to an early detection of metastatic cancer cells. “The technique works in earlier detection of metastatic cancer cells,” said Shah.  “My research could lead to molecular characterization of circulating cancer cells in all solid tumors. It could help design targeted therapy for the cancer patient at a much earlier level.”

Two other important interesting research projects to be displayed are these:

• Sheng Liu, of Harrison, a doctoral student majoring in applied physics, is doing research that will one day help those suffering from hydrocephalus, a disease commonly known as water on the brain. Liu, under the direction of Reggie Farrow, PhD, a research professor in the department of physics, is designing a brain shunt with flexible microcircuits that monitors fluid pressure inside the brain. For those with hydrocephalus, fluid pressure increases uncontrollably, sometimes fatally. The flexible circuits in Liu’s shunt, made from thin semiconductor films on plastic, track the pressure on the brain. The shunt, implanted in the patient’s brain, will send pressure readouts to a wireless device. If readout shows that pressure is high, doctors might have to operate. But if the pressure is low, doctors will not operate unnecessarily. “Right now, shunts that are used are dumb,” says Liu, “since they cannot tell doctors anything about the pressure inside of a patient’s brain. Sometimes if a baby cries or a child complains of pain, doctors will operate. The technology we are developing will cut down on unneeded operations and thus be a big benefit to medicine.”

• Aysegul Ergin, of Kearny, a doctoral student in biomedical engineering, is designing an optical glucometer that could radically improve the way diabetics manage their glucose levels. The device -- mounted on a pair of eyeglass frames -- will use light waves to measure glucose levels in the fluid of a patient’s eye. The device will be safer, less painful and easier to use than the methods now used by diabetics to measure and manage their blood-sugar levels. The optical glucometer will ultimately help prevent blindness and other severe complications of diabetes. Ergin’s research, under the direction of Gordon Thomas, PhD, professor in the department of physics, is supported by the New Jersey Vision Technology Center, the Pfeiffer Research Foundation, the New Jersey Commission for Science and Technology and the Hoffman Foundation.

To participate in this research day, the students, both undergraduates and graduates, had to first meet rigorous requirements. Their research must have been previously presented at technical conferences or meetings. Each student was nominated by a professor and their research reviewed by an academic committee. Only the top 45 student researchers were selected. The students’ research spans an array of fields: biomedical and pharmaceutical engineering; telecommunications and signal processing as well as solar research and nanoparticles. 

To see a list of all the research visit http://www.njit.edu/academics/provost/studentresearchshowcase/2006

Panels of judges will select the six best student projects, three undergraduate level projects and three graduate-level. The panels are comprised of NJIT professors and members of NJIT’s Advisory Board.  Directions to the campus can be found on the Visiting NJIT page of the university’s website and free parking is available in the NJIT Parking Deck. For more information contact Dana Knox, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Programs, at 973-596-5287 or by email dana.e.knox@njit.edu.

One of the nation's leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT's multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cyber-security, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $110 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com.