Graduate Student Profiles

  • Park, Jungsoo
    I have an interest in symbiotic relations between microorganisms, algae and plants. More specifically, my research focuses on host-associated bacterial interactions in complex microbial food webs, with the aim of understanding the signaling (functioning) molecules. Moreover, examining the interaction and function of core microbes in various environmental conditions would allow for a better understanding of the existing organisms in the ecosystem, which in turn may help with tackling global issues.
  • Yagi, Shunya
    Overall objective of my research project will focus on sex difference and the effect of estrogens on adult neurogenesis and hippocampus-related cognition in rodents. Firstly, I am looking at sex differences in cognitive flexibility and the effect of estrogens on the ability of memory encoding with examining neural plasticity and learning related cell signaling pathways. Secondly, I am looking at sex differences and the role of estrogens on adult-born neurons in the dentate gyrus of hippocampus. Thirdly, I am interested in sex-dependent, age-related cognitive decline in rats examining the ability for cognitive flexibility and the capacity of neural plasticity in aged males and females.
  • Yang, Xining (Linda)
    We have developed a new therapy that activates the resting immune cells resulting in an enhanced killing of cancer cells. Studies demonstrated that a small gene-regulatory molecule, miRNA, mediated the major effects of this therapy. Due to the conserved nature of miRNA, human immune cells can be activated by mouse-sourced therapy and vice versa. Moreover, these activated immune cells showed minimal toxicity to non-cancerous cells suggesting reduced systemic side effects. Successful development of this novel therapy may prove useful in both treating cancers and preventing the spread of existing diseases.
  • Ling, Daphne
    Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterised by hyperactivity, impulsivity, and deficits in executive functions (EFs). EFs, which are associated with a brain area called prefrontal cortex (PFC), include abilities like attention, self-control, reasoning, and problem-solving. Our brain cells communicate with each other via neurotransmitters. In ADHD, there are lower levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine (DA). Psychostimulants (or stimulants) are often used as treatment as they increase DA. Some 50% of children with ADHD are now medicated with stimulants. Yet, they often struggle in school. At moderate-to-high doses, stimulants block DA’s transporters. The striatum (a brain region associated with behavioural problems in ADHD) relies on that mechanism but PFC does not. Thus at those doses, stimulants should help the striatum function better, but not PFC. Recent animal neuroscience studies have now shown that at low doses, stimulants specifically help PFC. Given this, we reasoned that psychiatrists prescribing the right dose to help behaviour in ADHD might be giving too high a dose to help cognition. We just completed a triple-blind study where each youth with ADHD was tested once on their prescribed dose, and once on half that. Whether the full dose was given in the 1st or 2nd session was randomised. Regardless of whether the full dose was given in the 1st or 2nd session, all performed better on EF tasks when on half their dose. For my dissertation I would like to test the neural mechanism underlying this hypothesis. Using fMRI, I aim to show in youths with ADHD that at moderately high stimulant doses, the striatum works more efficiently and performance on a striatum-dependent task is better, while at a low dose, PFC works more efficiently and performance on a classic EF test is better. This is vital as understanding how the brain works on different stimulant doses could help us change the standard of care for ADHD, improving millions of lives.
  • 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.

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