UG Research Supported Projects

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I-DISC’s UG Research Support has provided opportunities for I-DISC Faculty to include undergraduates in their research. 

Probabilistic Forecasting of COVID-19 for CDC

With support from I-DISC and faculty advisor Tom McAndrews (COH), Matt Piriya (CSE ’23), Abraham Berlin (CSE ’23) and Parth Deven Ghandi (ISE Masters student) built a Vector Auto Regression model that trains on COVID-19 incident cases, incident deaths, and incident hospitalizations, producing probabilistic forecasts of all three targets of public health importance for every state in the US and of incident cases for every county in the US.  These forecasts were submitted to the COVID-19 Forecast Hub, which is monitored by public health officials at the CDC. Prof. McAndrews plans to submit forecasts for these targets every week.

Smart Underwater Sensors and Wireless Communications

Computer engineering major Alexis Soulias ’23 placed third at Lehigh’s Undergraduate Research Symposium for her work on “Smart Underwater Sensors and Wireless Communications.” Her research was supported by the I-DISC UG Research Grant awarded to her adviser, Rosa Zheng (ECE). 

Additional funding for Fall 2022 was awarded to help support Alexis Soulias to further the research integration of the wireless transmitter with the underwater sensor. In the previous semesters, she went through the training on senors, micro-controllers, and wireless communications. She also designed a basic acoustic communication system and implemented it on a micro-controller. The results have been putting in a paper which will be published in IEEE Oceans conference in Oct 2022. Alexis continues to improve the communication system and conduct field experiments.

Detangling the Mechanism of Delocalized Arene Catalyzed Triplet to Singlet Oxygen Conversion

Mechanistic understanding of reactions is critical to designing more efficient and selective chemical transformations. While experiments can be used to understand the kinetics of reactions, first principles computation is one of the only ways to capture all the intermediates or reactions and understand their physics. In this project, 3rd year chemistry major Ice Hu will computationally build a reaction mechanism for a delocalized arene (diphenyl-pyrido[2,3-g]quinoline-phenalenyl) which has been shown to bind triplet oxygen through the formation of an endoperoxide. Endoperoxides can be formed through radical-radical pairing or zwitterionic mechanisms. Discerning the difference in these mechanisms is complicated experimentally, so Ice’s calculations will be critical to untangle how chemical substitutions on the main molecule might affect the reaction mechanism. Ice will begin by using quantum mechanics to optimize the experimentally known reactants and products. Followed by extensive computational searches for reaction intermediates and activation energies required between each step. This will build on her previous work screening organic radicals for particular photophysical properties and allow her to experience a more open ended research project which has a less well defined list of tasks. These kind of mechanistic studies require not only computational attention to detail which Ice has already shown but also chemical intuition and creativity to find the best mechanism and rule out other pathways and intermediates. Successful completion of this project will prepare Ice for graduate level research and make her a much stronger candidate when she applies to graduate schools next fall. This funding will allow me to spend more time with Ice analyzing results and building chemical intuition so help insure that this project is a success in a reasonable amount of time.

This support allowed me to partially support Yue [Ice] Hu (above), during school breaks so that she could continue to make progress on this project which is difficult. Finding and analyzing transition states in quantum mechanics is an art and requires significant chemical intuition, programing ability, and time to truly solve a full mechanism
Lisa Fredin, Chemistry