University’s ISE Center Brings Research Opportunities To Students


By: Meaghan McNichol – Staff Writer

As of fall 2017, the UDSMART Center has officially rebranded, changing its name to the Integrative Science and Engineering Center. The change was implemented after a year of planning.

While the UDSMART Center focused on research efforts in supramolecular chemistry, the ISE Center will now offer opportunities in more diverse areas of research, specifically bimolecular, biomedical and environmental research.

“The implication behind the name is that we’re specifically recognizing a wide range of research areas, with three current themes that broadly align with grand challenges for humanity,” said executive director of the ISE Center, Doug Daniels. “That’s a significantly larger scope of research than the initial center name.”

The ISE center is composed of 17 faculty members and has anywhere from 20 to 50 projects being conducted at a time. Each project differs in the number of students needed to be involved and the amount of time that must be dedicated.

“There is not a uniform path of entry or experience,” Daniels said. “Students can conduct research with a wide variety of faculty across our research clusters. Depending on the students desires and the faculty lab structure and field, those experiences could differ widely.”

The ISE Center offers opportunities for both faculty and students.

The center is currently working on a number of projects in each research cluster.

For example, in the biomedical research cluster, professor Jayne Robinson is developing antimicrobial molecules that can either be used as therapeutic antibiotics or as a treatment for biofilms in water systems.

In the bimolecular cluster, the director of the bioengineering graduate program, Kristen Comfort is developing new cellular models to bridge the in vitroin vivo gap in drug discovery.

In late Feb., Comfort won a five-year, $542,000 National Science Foundation CAREER award to better comprehend and visualize human-drug interactions through the construction of a cellular model that operates more like a human body.

Also, in the environmental cluster associate professor Umesh Haritashya is conducting remote sensing work to study potential flooding from glacial lakes in the Himalayas due to climate change.

All students on the University’s campus, especially science and engineering majors, are welcome to explore research opportunities through the center.

“Each faculty member makes their own assessment on criteria for their research teams,” Daniels said.

“From my perspective, the most important criteria is interest. It might be from majors in a department who already have a deep curiosity for that field. It might also be from students who are just interested in exploring careers in a particular area.”

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In addition to ongoing research opportunities, the ISE is going to offer a fellowship program for the summer of 2018. The fellowship will support 10 students to conduct research collaboratively with two faculty co-mentors from May 2018 through August 2018.

There will be cohort opportunities provided as well, giving students the opportunity to do things together outside of their research project.

Applications are set to open in early 2018. The center will present a list of faculty pairs who are available to take a student prior to the application, so the applicants will have the ability to select faculty teams they might join. Whether looking to get involved for a semester, through the fellowship, or for the rest of your collegiate career, Daniels advises students to know that it is never too early to seek out research opportunities and to be passionate about the work.

“Look for something that excites you, that you think provides value to yourself and the world, and that you can have fun doing on a regular basis.”

Photo Taken from ISE Center Univ. of Dayton website