Program Funds Undergrad Research in Range of Disciplines

Scholar Awards Support Studies of Dark Matter, Smartphone Security, Nutrition and More

Seventy students, representing all seven UT Dallas schools, are recipients of Undergraduate Research Scholar Awards for 2012-13.

Anthony Phung with Dr. Jason Slinker

Sophomore math and physics student Anthony Phung will work with Dr. Jason Slinker to find improved ways to test light-emitting diodes.


Awards Challenge Undergraduates

The Undergraduate Research Scholar Awards were started in 2007 to challenge and support students in independent research projects.

The awards are made on a competitive basis, and the research can be in any field as long as the research focuses on a serious, credible topic and is conducted under faculty supervision. The awards pay $500 to students, and their faculty supervisors receive $300 to cover project-related expenses.

Applications are due each year in the fall.

At the end of the spring semester, recipients of the scholarship will have the opportunity to present their research projects as part of the Exhibition of Excellence in Undergraduate Research event organized by the Office of Undergraduate Education.

The awards are sponsored by the Office of Research and will fund 62 wide-ranging projects. Research topics include dark matter, infectious diseases and security issues in smartphone applications, as well as property rights in China and food choices in low-income households.

This is the sixth year for the program.  Last year, 70 students also received awards, more than triple the 21 awards made when the program began in 2007.

“I continue to be impressed by the projects our undergraduates submit each year,” said Dr. Bruce Gnade, vice president for research at UT Dallas. “The students are doing relevant research on campus, and encouraging that work is an important part of the University’s mission.”

Anthony Phung, a sophomore math and physics major in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, is the first recipient to take part in two Undergraduate Research Scholar Awards at the same time – one is a group project, the other is a solo venture.

The group project, directed by Dr. Jason Slinker, assistant professor of physics, focuses on developing new approaches to more efficiently test light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. Phung was involved with the project as a freshman when the research group received a national award from the Society of Physics Students.

“The previous scanners we used to test LEDs told us how bright each LED was, but not necessarily the intensity of each color the devices were emitting,” Phung said. “We want to test whether we can use digital cameras to scan many LEDs at once and gather both light intensity and color information.”

Phung’s solo research project stems from an interest in mathematics he discovered while in high school.

“I developed my love of math by reading popular items and watching documentaries” about math topics, said Phung, who graduated from his Houston-area high school a year early. When he learned about Fermat’s Last Theorem, a famous conjecture that had puzzled mathematicians for more than 350 years, it helped to spark his drive toward math. The theorem was first proposed in 1637 by mathematician Pierre de Fermat, but a solution was not published until 1995.

Anthony Phung with Professor Vladimir Dragovic

Phung will also work with Dr. Vladimir Dragovic to study elliptic curves.

“The theorem is fairly simple to state, but difficult to prove,” said Phung, who said he plans to pursue postgraduate studies and a career in academia. “Even though I didn’t have much of a math background, I thought it would be cool to do math research and approach problems like that.

“I have a bit of catching up to do, but what’s great about UT Dallas is that there are so many opportunities for students, and that someone like me can come in and do this type of research.”

Working with Dr. Vladimir Dragovic, professor of mathematical sciences, Phung will use his individual Undergraduate Research Scholar Award to support his work investigating elliptic curves, a mathematical concept that is related to Fermat’s Last Theorem and that has applications in number theory, mechanics and cryptography.

Next spring, student researchers will display the results of their work during a poster competition.

Here is a complete list of student winners and their research projects:

Student Title Faculty Advisor
Carol Miu,
Duong Thao
Understanding and Improving the Food Choices and Eating Habits of Low-Income Households Julie Haworth
Zachary Adams Aerial Photo Mosaics Xiaohu Guo
George Aguirre Hydrogen Storage Mechanisms in Aluminum Hydrides Yves Chabal
Cody Akins OpNeAR LabVIEW Networking Interface Andrea Fumagalli
Armand Halbert, An-Ting Liu, Anthony Phung, Clint Naquin, Emin Bursa, Omar Hasan, Roxanne Lee, Wei-Ting Liou LED Lifetime Project Jason Slinker
Claire Barnes Using a gap-startle paradigm and other tests to assess gender differences in the development of tinnitus Lucien Thompson
Olivia Belli Determining the relative toxicity of isoforms through the analysis of immunocytochemistry of cerebellar granule neurons Santosh D’Mello
Katherine Borner Synthesis of Copper Nanowires via Electroless Nanowire Deposition on Micropatterned Substrates Amy Walker
John Charlton Highly porous electrospun carbon nanofibers from ammonium bicarbonate-incorporated polybenzimidazole as supercapacitor electrodes John Ferraris
Derek Cheng Effects of serotonin on GABAergic synaptic transmission Marco Atzori
Cyrille Chiari BaBar search for e+e- → γISRΛ+c Λ-c Joseph Izen
Monica Chintapenta Polycaprolactones Containing Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors Michael Biewer
Eunkyo Choi The Influences of Cultural Background on Social Networks Ozalp Ozer
Truc Do Characterizing the Human SIM1 Transcription Factor Protein in GT1-7 Mouse Hypothalamic Glial Cells Ernest Hanning
Rheanna English Chess, map recall, gender, and undergraduate major: A pilot study on spatial cognition Alexey Root
Tabbassaum Fayyaz Contralesional hemisphere contribution to functional motor recovery following ischemic brain damage in rats. Michael Kilgard
Shayan Ghassemi Investigating the Structure of Mitochondrial RNA Polymerase Hyunjoo Nam
Vickie Ha The Fabrication of Stainless Steel Hollow Nanofibers Using Co-Electrospinning Kenneth Balkus
Luequn Huang Application of multivariate depth and outlyingness methods for assessing the influenza virus transmissibility and for identification of potential genetic determinants Robert Serfling
Tyler Hurst Using LEGOs to Evaluate Training Transfer Ryan McMahan
Kyle Johnson A study of the role of OxyR in the regulation of the hybrid cluster protein expression in Escherichia coli Stephen Spiro
Jingwang Kim Highly efficient microinverter for photovoltaic panels Babak Fahimi
Kayla Klein Trusting Primary Care Providers Candice Mills
Aaron Kotamarti Whole genome profile of 5-Hydroxymethyl-cytosine (5hmC) Michael Zhang
Jaesung Lee Quantifying skin-electrode contact for a EEG acquisition for Brain Computer Interface system Roozbeh Jafari
Alfonso Lopez Probing Security Vulnerabilities in Smartphone Applications Eric Wong
Ryan Marcotte Self-assembling, photocurable anisotropic conductive adhesives for biomedical devices Walter Voit
VerNeil Mesecher Efficiency Testing of Pentagonal Holonomic Drive Bases Nicholas Gans
Jonathan Minnig Symbiotic Mega-Adhesives to Enhance Our Everyday Lives Gregg Dieckmann
Husain Mogri,
Sheila Dang
The Voice of Dallas Residents: An Extension to the Wholeness Index Timothy Bray
Do Nguyen Novel Metal Organic Framework Stabilized Immiscible Polymer Blend Membranes for Gas Separation John Ferraris
Xuhui Ning Passive Tumor Targeting: Comparison of Renal Clearable Luminescent Nanoparticle and a Small Dye Molecule Jie Zheng
Ibrahim Noorbhai Upstream Targets of mTOR paired with VNS Christa McIntyre
Ifeanyichukwu Ogobuiro Effect of the timing of Maternal Immune Activation on developmental behavioral phenotype: when prenatal inflammation causes autism or schizophrenia Marco Atzori
Brenden Palmer What can we learn from eSports Monica Evans
Saungeun Park Investigation on intrinsic electrical properties of graphene field effect transistors Jiyoung Kim
Shinwoong Park Terahertz Imaging Improvements and Image Quality Standard Kenneth O
Alexander Partin Transcriptome-Wide Analysis of Differentially Expressed Genes in Amygdala Subnuclei Jonathan Ploski
Bach Pham Geometry of the Crescent Valley extensional basin, North-Central Nevada, deprived from depth inversion and forward models of gravity data John Oldow
Anthony Phung Group Structure of Elliptic Curves and Selected Applications Vladimir Dragovic
Asja Radja Ultrafast exciton energy transfer of hybrid structures from nanocrystal quantum dots to J-aggregate films Anton Malko
Daniela Rodriguez Synthesis and Characterization of Semiconducting Liquid Crystalline Polymers Mihaela Stefan
Joseph Rossi Silicate-based Cathodes for Improved Safety and Performance of Li-ion Batteries Christopher Hinkle
Jonathon Shasteen Visual Attention During Threat Detection Noah Sasson
Neeraj Sirdeshmukh Least cost path analysis Denis Dean
Dale Soney Comprehensive aerodynamic modeling of ALD reactor chamber Yves Chabal
Spenser Stone A Time Series Analysis of Property Rights Reform in China Ka-Yiu Ho
Mayu Takeda Immigration as an Arrestable Offense: Colorado’s Senate Bill 90 and Racial Profiling in the Context of Probable Cause and Arrest Anthony Champagne
Xiao Tan Determination of the Role of Reactive Oxygen Species and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in a Cell Culture Model of Neurodegenerative Tauopathy Gail Breen
Sheridan Taylor J. Frank Norris: Father of the Modern Megachurch Erin Smith
Nhu Thinh Vo Debundling Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes without Sonication Paul Pantano
Todd Thompson Parallel Processing using OpenCL for FPGAs Ovidiu Daescu
Samee Vakil The Effects of Poloxamer Structure on Post-Sonication Dispersant Toxicity and Effectiveness Rockford Draper
Natasha Varughese Preparation and Characterization of ZIF-20 Mixed-Matrix Membranes for Gas Separations Inga Musselman
Anh Vu Synthesis of Gyroidal Metal Organic Frameworks Kenneth Balkus
Travis Weaver Depression's effect on Processing speed Bart Rypma
Isabella Westlauer Using Microsensors to Provide Wireless Haptic Feedback for Everyday Fall Prevention Roozbeh Jafari
Jacob White Mapping Dark Matter Mass Distributions in Galaxy Clusters Through Gravitational Lensing Lindsay King
Shawn Willett Modulating Strength of Extinction Learning via Vagus Nerve Stimulation Christa McIntyre
Justin Wong Multiplexed Detection of Biomarkers for Infectious Disease Monitoring Shalini Prasad
Sungyong You A New Analysis Tool of Post-Single Molecule Tracking for the study of Her2 trafficking Raimund Ober
Amy Zarate Implications of Histone deacetylase 7 (HDAC7) in synaptic transmission and cognition: an inquiry into mechanisms that treat neurodegenerative disease Marco Atzori


Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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