Research Snapshots – Spring 2017

Advancing Smart, Connected Communities

Abdallah Khreishah, Jo Young Lee, Chengjun Liu and Nirwan Ansari are collaborating on an effort to improve the video-based traffic monitoring systems widely used today. The researchers have devised a novel, next-generation approach that incorporates wireless sensor networks, hierarchical edge-computing and advanced computer vision technology. Supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the work has a wide spectrum of potential applications, including wrong-way driving alerts, congestion detection under bad weather conditions, accident scene management support, suspect vehicle tracking, wildfire detection and alerts, and emergency evacuation. In partnership with the New Jersey Department of Transportation, multiple pilot tests of the system will be implemented on selected highway corridors.

Listening to the Ocean

Eliza Michalopoulou explores sound as it travels underwater. The end products of her work in ocean acoustics and signal processing, funded by the Office of Naval Research, are algorithms to help Navy engineers detect submarines in shallow water and may eventually be applied in next-generation systems for protecting U.S. shores against unauthorized underwater incursions. Her computational tools also can provide valuable insight into climate change and oceanic pollution.

Reducing the Threat of Biological Weapons

Edward Dreizin, whose research has been supported by the U.S. military as well as private industry, is developing and testing new metal-based nanomaterials that can be used more effectively in disabling airborne spores released by biological weapons. His work on reactive nanocomposite powders also has practical applications in energy storage materials and rocket propellants.

Setting a New Standard for Education

The Collaborative for Leadership, Education and Assessment Research (CLEAR) at NJIT, led by James Lipuma, investigates and develops tools, materials and resources to advance educational effectiveness, personalized digital learning and student success from kindergarten through college. NJIT and Dr. Lipuma’s team were invited to partner with the New Jersey Department of Education and the New Jersey School Boards Association on Future Ready Schools–New Jersey, a certification program promoting digital learning readiness. Targeting approximately 2,500 K–12 schools with 1.4 million students, Future Ready Schools–New Jersey helps school districts plan for and implement personalized, research-based digital learning strategies to prepare their students for success in the 21st century.

Remediating Contaminated Sediment On-Site

Using New Jersey’s Passaic River as a test case, Jay Meegoda is investigating an innovative approach to cleaning contaminated sediment, an environmental problem that affects many bodies of water across the United States. With funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), his research utilizes ultrasound and ozone nano bubbles, promising a more cost-effective, efficient and environmentally sustainable on-site treatment method. This new approach is also expected to minimally impact the environment and socio-economic health of the region by eliminating the need to transport and dispose of contaminated material.

Unlocking the Potential of a Renewable Biofuel

Wen Zhang is spearheading an effort to enable the sustainable production of biofuels and specialty chemicals from microalgae. In the quest for renewable fuel sources, scientists have studied the oil derived from algae for decades. Zhang’s research into efficient, scalable membrane filtration technologies for harvesting microalgae may finally unlock its potential as a commercially competitive biofuel and lead to transformative solutions that address the grand challenges at the energy-water nexus.

Using Big Data to Predict Market Volatility

Dantong Yu has developed both data-mining algorithms to detect hidden interactions, patterns and anomalies in complex systems from the climate to genetics, as well as ultrafast cloud-based data-transfer software. His latest work focuses on using time-sequence data related to stock markets and consumer sentiment to create a tool to predict financial bubbles and market volatility. NJIT’s new Ray Cassetta Financial Analysis Laboratory is a rich source of data, including temporal stock options information from the lab’s Bloomberg terminals.

Innovating Medical Diagnostics

Kevin Belfield is working at the forefront of medical innovation: the diagnostic frontier of two-photon fluorescence microscopy. This technique, currently at a very promising preclinical stage, uses nontoxic small-molecule and polymer-based fluorescent dyes, or nanoprobes, to image living tissue, with the relevant data acquired by means of an optical fiber. Dr. Belfield’s research, supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and others, significantly enhances the quality of the data that can be obtained and provides unique subcellular resolution in three dimensions. Its high-resolution, in-depth imaging of the complex process of blood-vessel formation can be a valuable clinical aid for real-time, minimally invasive monitoring of wound healing as well as tumor progression and response to anti-cancer therapies.

Training the Next Generation of Cyber Experts

NJIT’s Secure Computing Initiative (SCI), under the direction of Vincent Oria, Ali Mili, Cristian Borcea and Reza Curtmola and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), is designed to fulfill the national need for cybersecurity experts and to enhance discovery while promoting learning. In addition to coursework, students accepted into SCI will work in teams on research projects such as cryptographic solutions for securing data in the cloud and privacy protection for mobile computing, among others. The program is expected to produce scientific results and software to help the United States better protect against new cyberthreats.

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