Graduate Student Profiles

  • Ogura, Saori
    Climate change and food insecurity have been increasing the vulnerability of rural communities. In Mazvihwa, Zimbabwe, and in the Sikkim Himalayas, the local economies have become dependent on monocultural cash crops which were devastated by drought and plant disease. My research develops a protocol to mitigate economic risks by revitalizing indigenous crops and cropping strategies to enhance climate change adaptation. This study uniquely combines an on-the-ground study of traditional plants and their uses, using a community engagement process, satellite imagery, and network analysis. By conducting drawing workshops with community members, I will develop and advance a community science method utilizing art to enhance the process of revitalizing traditional crops. By identifying common traits from studies in Zimbabwe and the Himalayas, I will co-create a model with the indigenous communities that integrates traditional land use strategies, that is widely transferable, ultimately contributing to increased food security and climate change adaptation.
  • Banerjee, Sounik
    The arrangement of granular materials before undergoing cyclic back and forth loading can have significant effects on cyclic strength degradation and eventual liquefaction in undrained condition. Historically, soil fabric has been studied using limited anisotropic parameters with spherical particles, mostly limited to mechanical anisotropy suggested otherwise. However, strong contradicting evidence exists in literature which depicts stress-strain response of granular materials for constant void ratio and confining stress as a function of initial soil fabric. This can hold true for both drained and undrained behavior of cohesion-less materials. Also, if the limited effects of specific anisotropic parameters are removed and a wide range of parameters already available in literature are used, this can provide substantial evidence of the initial anisotropic effects. In our research, the influence of geometric anisotropy in terms of particle shape and multidirectional cyclic loading are also investigated in lieu of closely resembling the ideal conditions using Discrete Element Method.
  • Mohammad, Rafiuzzaman
    Because of the Internet of Things or IoT in short, every day, more and more objects are getting online and there isn’t a single area of our life that won’t be touched by IoT devices in the next decade. Day by day, the advancement of microtechnology is enabling embedded IoT devices to perform more complex jobs written with high-level languages to get more productivity. But despite the increase of job complexity and advancement of emended devices, in terms of the “elasticity of available resources”, the IoT devices are still far more behind compared to the available resources in the cloud. Because of this, when we send programs to run on any IoT devices, we must be extra careful in terms of allocating resources, as the result of a small fraction of misallocation might be devastating, especially for the safety-critical jobs. Hence, we are in a great need for a new, efficient and fault tolerable resource management system for resource-constrained IoT devices in the forthcoming days where the classical and existing techniques won't work. My research focuses on finding a solution for this scenario.
  • Arshad, Rabe
    Supporting user mobility is considered to be an intrinsic feature of wireless networks. With the massive deployment of wireless nodes to support increasing traffic demands, there exists a number of challenges in offering streamless services to users with mobility. Such user mobility issues need to be incorporated in the capacity planning phase and there arises a need to have mobility management techniques that could minimize the effect of user mobility on the desired data rate. As a part of my PhD, I am working on such novel mobility management techniques using tools from stochastic geometry to quantify and reduce the effect of user mobility in various wireless networks.
  • Maji, Poushali
    I work at the intersection of developmental, air quality and climate implications of energy consumption in India. As a rapidly industrialising developing country, universal energy access, improved air quality and reduced carbon emissions are three key energy sector goals. I study the cross-impacts of household-level clean energy transition, regional urban-rural differences in energy use and national climate policy scenarios. At household, regional and national scales, I analyse policy options that address one or more energy sector goals but potentially impact all three areas of development, air quality and climate. Finding policy options that simultaneously address the three key areas of energy sector goals could be beneficial in addressing energy issues in an integrated manner.
  • Ma, Luyao
    Foodborne pathogens and rapid emerging antimicrobial resistance put big burdens in public health and economic growth. Antimicrobial-resistant infections are estimated to cause 10 million deaths annually and a 3.5% of reduction in gross domestic product by 2050. To tackle this problem, it is critical to understand the relevant mechanisms and develop efficient detection approaches. However, conventional methods are either time-consuming or require expensive and sophisticated equipment. Therefore, my current research interests focus on: a) understanding the molecular basis of resistance using vibrational spectroscopies; and b) develop accurate, rapid and cost-effective detection sensors.
  • Qiu, Serene Tianyou
    My research investigates the phenomenology of suicide and the progression from suicidal thoughts to suicidal acts. My project aims to describe the affective, behavioural, and cognitive experiences of different stages of suicidality and their pathways and trajectories. I am particularly interested in how people proceed from thinking about suicide to acting upon their thoughts. Drawing on psychology, philosophy, and neurocognitive science, my research explores various putative mechanisms underlying the transition from suicidal ideation to act, such as death construal, meaning making, and decision making styles. Ultimately, my research aims to improve how we understand and help people at risk for suicide.
  • Cheng, Xinyu
    We studied asymptotic behaviors of Allen-Cahn (Cahn-Hilliard type) equations, developed some numerical schemes and proved the stability and convergence.
  • Hu, Yaxi
    Food fraud is a severe global issue estimated to cost the global food industry $10-15 billion per year. While those committing food fraud set out to make economic profit, the practice can result in weakened consumer trust in government and food industries. More seriously, food fraud could pose health detriment to susceptive populations and the extraneous chemical added could be poisonous to humans. Serving as the last barrier to ensure food authenticity, reliable techniques to identify fraudulent foods are indispensable. Traditional techniques for food fraud detection are generally time consuming, complex, costly and/or require highly trained personnel, which are not ideal for the high-throughput screening required by inspection agencies and food industries. Therefore, the overall objective of my PhD thesis project is to establish innovative techniques for the analysis of food authenticity in a simple, rapid, accurate and/or cost-effective manner. I believe that the detection techniques being developed in my study will have a great potential to be adapted by inspection agencies, food industries and even consumers to better protect the authenticity and integrity of our food system.
  • Wijaya, Yanuar Philip
    In the scheme of a sustainable biorefinery, the valorization of lignin is a key factor to improve the economic feasibility of the overall process. Lignin, being a valuable by-product in the cellulosic ethanol industry, is a highly complex natural polymer that constitutes the cell walls of plant biomass, especially lignocelluloses. As the earth’s most plentiful source of organic carbon after cellulose and the only large-scale biomass source of aromatic compounds, lignin has been regarded as a promising renewable feedstock for the production of higher value chemicals, fuels, and materials. Phenol and guaiacol are the most representative monomers of lignin-derived aromatics in biomass-derived pyrolysis oils. The former is the hydrogenolysis product of the latter, and both can be converted further into cyclohexanol and cyclohexane, which have versatile applications in the industry. This upgrading process is carried out via a catalytic hydrogenation-hydrodeoxygenation reaction, either thermochemically or electrochemically. The electrochemical process, known as electrocatalytic hydrogenation-hydrodeoxygenation (ECH), can be performed without the external supply of molecular hydrogen at the milder conditions. In ECH, hydrogen must be adsorbed on the electrocatalyst surface in order to hydrogenate the organic compounds. The reduction of protons to hydrogen gas would be the undesirable reaction that decreases the current efficiency. In this work, we develop strategies to design a process with the active and stable electrocatalysts that is capable of producing high product yields at the optimum current efficiency. This research will contribute to the development of electrochemical process for sustainable energy production from renewable resources.

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