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KEEN Undergraduate Student Development Grants

The department of applied physical sciences is working with the KEEN program to incorporate the entrepreneurial mindset into our engineering activities. Engineers with an entrepreneurial mindset can be more successful in their careers, and it is not limited to those interested in starting a company. APS is partnering with the 1789 Student Venture Fund to provide students with a $1,500 supplement. The student supplement supports students’ entrepreneurial ideas by exploring, testing, and launching commercial startups or social ventures that include an engineering component.

To learn more information and apply, visit the 1789 Student Venture Fund site.

The 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 academic years were awarded in partnership with the Office of Undergraduate Research Consultant Team research projects. 

Supported by KEEN Engineering Unleashed

Drone Project: Seeing the Forest for the Trees

The project uses drone technology to collect forest data for research, conservation, and management. In the study, the team is flying a Phantom 4 drone over an urban forest (Mason Farm Biological Reserve) to collect aerial imagery and process it with Pix4D software and the structure from motion technique to generate orthomosaic maps and 3D point clouds of trees. The team compared heights of trees determined from drone-based data to data collected using traditional on-the-ground forest mensuration techniques.

Project Progress

  • The team has flown the drone over a test site in Mason Farm Biological Reserve to produce a map and 3D model of the landscape for preliminary testing.
  • The team has designed and 3D printed three mounts for the GoPro Fusion for field testing.
  • All testing has been promising and successful to contribute to the end goal.

Program Participants

Principal Investigators:
Dr. Geoffrey Bell and Dr. Susan Cohen
Emi Mcgeady: Senior; Environmental Sciences major
Felix Evans: Senior; Environmental Sciences major
Lennon Kuhl-Chimera: Sophomore; Communication Studies major
Jay Hampton: Senior; Information Sciences major
Crishaun Hardy: Senior Environmental Studies major

The impact of sex hormones on epithelial cell immune responses and wound repair

The Burn Lab Undergraduate Research Team (URCT) will address their hypothesis that estrogen signaling contributes to sex differences in physiological responses and outcomes after burn injury. Through a series of experiments designed to uncover how estrogen affects the ability of epithelial cells, the body’s primary barrier cells to respond to and recover from injury.

The primary aims of this project are:
1) to measure the impact of estrogen on immune responses and inflammation-induced cell death of epithelial cells;
2) to establish an in vitro model of wound healing to evaluate the consequence of estrogen signaling on barrier repair mechanisms;
3) translate these findings to human samples to identify sex-specific immune responses to burn injury.

Program Participants

Principal Investigators: Dr. Rob Maile and Dr. Shannon Wallet
Group Leader: Micah Willis
Clinician mentor: Bruce Cairns, M.D.

Bharath Biyyala: Senior; Health Policy and Management major
Delane Dixon: Senior, African American and Diaspora studies majors
Robin Ni: Junior, Biology and Chemistry majors
Parsa Pazooki: Junior, Neuroscience and Math majors
Kalyani Manian: Sophomore, Biology major

Optimization of Dental Carbon-Nanotube-based Cone Beam CT

This project will research and optimize a carbon nanotube cone beam CT (CBCT) within the UNC Dental School with the objective of producing a viable and efficient device for dental imaging.

Program Participants

Principal Investigator: Dr. Christie Inscoe

Nikhil Sriram Kabilian: Junior, Physics and Mathematics majors
Alexander Morrow: Junior, Physics major with German Minor
Korina Kempthorn: Senior, Quantitative Biology and Physics majors, Chemistry minor

From Stage to Screen: Moving the Arts Forward During a Pandemic Pause

UNC Opera students are working in tandem with engineering students to create a rig mechanism for the sets of our filmed opera project. One of the major staging elements of our opera is the use of picture frames, which will be dynamically enhanced by the implementation of a moving track for various set pieces moving in, out, and around the frames and a pulley system for the entrance and exits of the frames upwards and downwards. The purpose of this project is to research, stage, and produce an innovative film version of Mozart’s opera during the 2020 fall semester.

Program Participants

Principal Investigator: Dr. Marc Callahan

Julia Holoman: Sophomore, Music major
Kennedy Miller: Junior, Music & English and Comparative Literature majors
Julia Stamey: Senior, Communication: Media and Technology Studies & Production and English & Comparative Literature: Film Studies majors
Charlotte Dorn: Junior, Computer Science major
Ana Carvallo: Junior, Applied Mathematics & French majors