Research Snapshots – Spring 2018

Mitigating the Effects of Invasive Species

Esra Büyüktahtakin-Toy is studying ways to reduce the negative impact of invasive species — nonnative plants, animals and other organisms whose introduction can cause economic or ecological damage to an ecosystem or to human health. With a five-year CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), she aims to create strategies to assist governmental groups, land managers, ecologists and cooperatives, among others, to better manage invasive species and formulate sound public policy. Her research approach uses mathematical modeling, optimization frameworks, game theory and uncertainty management.

Making Infrastructure Smarter

Mathew Schwartz applies the latest knowledge and technology of robotics and biomechanics to the fields of art, design and architecture. His research on smart infrastructure — planning and design strategies for the integration of autonomous vehicles like self-driving cars and drones into the built environment — may open the way for smaller personal mobility vehicles like self-driving wheelchairs that could revolutionize life for the elderly and the disabled.

Facilitating Human-Computer Collaborations

Amy Hoover develops methods for facilitating human-computer collaborations in video game design, music and sound, and art. Acknowledging that humans and computers excel in different areas of the creative process, she builds systems that harness the power and unique capabilities of each. Her research focuses on artificial intelligence systems that together with humans, collaboratively solve problems in digital and creative domains.

Focusing on Global Threats to Business

The Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Research Institute for Business, Technology, and Society at NJIT focuses on one of the most critical global challenges facing business and society today: the impact of climate change and other major disruptive events on corporate sustainability and business continuity. Through developing and applying new cognitive business and machine learning methodologies with novel business data science, visualization and analytic techniques, the Leir Research Institute will help business and industry become eco-efficient, resilient and sustainable. The Leir Research Institute under the leadership of the Martin Tuchman School of Management was established with a grant from the Leir Charitable Foundations.

Developing New Tools in the Battle Against Disease and Cancer

Sagnik Basuray, supported by a five-year CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), is developing a new biosensor to detect and monitor infectious diseases such as HIV and certain cancers. His new electrochemical-sensing nanotechnology promises to detect, identify and quantify certain biomarker proteins at very low concentrations. The improvement in selectivity and sensitivity is expected to prevent the false negatives and false positives that often occur with current biosensors. His research also may aid in the detection of opioids in water and the development of new manufacturing techniques for therapeutic drugs.

Detecting Objects Hidden Deep Under Ocean Waters

Christina Frederick is developing new mathematical and computational tools for data-driven research. Her methodology may substantially reduce computing time and costs and is applicable to a class of inverse problems — the process of reconstructing a model from data — important in scientific, commercial and defense operations. Her research, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), has scientific applications to sonar imaging and the detection of submerged objects or small features of the ocean floor.

Transforming Breast Cancer’s Diagnosis and Treatment

Xuan Li, a specialist in optical imaging, is working to improve the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer through a minimally invasive diagnostic technique. Supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute, her novel method advances optical coherence tomography — a 3D, cross-sectional imaging technology with microscopic resolution — to enable a more accurate differentiation between cancerous and normal breast tissue.

Investigating the Acceleration of Electrons in Solar Flares

Bin Chen is exploring one of the key problems in solar physics: how electrons are accelerated within solar flares. Solar flares are the strongest explosions in the solar system, and they provide sites for particle acceleration and high-energy emissions. However, the question of how this acceleration occurs remains unanswered. His latest research project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) combines two powerful numerical models to simulate the physics over a wide range of scales from the large-scale flares that produce shock waves down to the smallest scales, where the particle acceleration occurs.

Strengthening NJIT’s Role as a Resource for Inventors

The recent opening of the 9,500-square-foot Makerspace at NJIT will bring inventors and manufacturers to the campus, providing them a facility to design, build and test prototypes of their most innovative products. The state-of-the-art equipment ranges from the latest small 3D printers to large industrial machining devices, including precision measurement and laser-cutting machines. Companies can collaborate with NJIT faculty and students on research and development projects. The largest such facility serving the State of New Jersey, the Makerspace at NJIT will be a catalyst for economic growth, innovation and workforce development. The facility received $10 million in state support.

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