Program Funds Undergrad Research in Range of Disciplines

Scholar Awards Support Studies of Dark Matter, Smartphone Security, Nutrition and More

Dec. 4, 2012

Seventy students, representing all seven UT Dallas schools, are recipients of Undergraduate Research Scholar Awards for 2012-13.

Anthony Phung with Dr. Jason Slinker

Sophomore math and physics student Anthony Phung will work with Dr. Jason Slinker to find improved ways to test light-emitting diodes.


Awards Challenge Undergraduates

The Undergraduate Research Scholar Awards were started in 2007 to challenge and support students in independent research projects.

The awards are made on a competitive basis, and the research can be in any field as long as the research focuses on a serious, credible topic and is conducted under faculty supervision. The awards pay $500 to students, and their faculty supervisors receive $300 to cover project-related expenses.

Applications are due each year in the fall.

At the end of the spring semester, recipients of the scholarship will have the opportunity to present their research projects as part of the Exhibition of Excellence in Undergraduate Research event organized by the Office of Undergraduate Education.

The awards are sponsored by the Office of Research and will fund 62 wide-ranging projects. Research topics include dark matter, infectious diseases and security issues in smartphone applications, as well as property rights in China and food choices in low-income households.

This is the sixth year for the program.  Last year, 70 students also received awards, more than triple the 21 awards made when the program began in 2007.

“I continue to be impressed by the projects our undergraduates submit each year,” said Dr. Bruce Gnade, vice president for research at UT Dallas. “The students are doing relevant research on campus, and encouraging that work is an important part of the University’s mission.”

Anthony Phung, a sophomore math and physics major in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, is the first recipient to take part in two Undergraduate Research Scholar Awards at the same time – one is a group project, the other is a solo venture.

The group project, directed by Dr. Jason Slinker, assistant professor of physics, focuses on developing new approaches to more efficiently test light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. Phung was involved with the project as a freshman when the research group received a national award from the Society of Physics Students.

“The previous scanners we used to test LEDs told us how bright each LED was, but not necessarily the intensity of each color the devices were emitting,” Phung said. “We want to test whether we can use digital cameras to scan many LEDs at once and gather both light intensity and color information.”

Phung’s solo research project stems from an interest in mathematics he discovered while in high school.

“I developed my love of math by reading popular items and watching documentaries” about math topics, said Phung, who graduated from his Houston-area high school a year early. When he learned about Fermat’s Last Theorem, a famous conjecture that had puzzled mathematicians for more than 350 years, it helped to spark his drive toward math. The theorem was first proposed in 1637 by mathematician Pierre de Fermat, but a solution was not published until 1995.

Anthony Phung with Professor Vladimir Dragovic

Phung will also work with Dr. Vladimir Dragovic to study elliptic curves.

“The theorem is fairly simple to state, but difficult to prove,” said Phung, who said he plans to pursue postgraduate studies and a career in academia. “Even though I didn’t have much of a math background, I thought it would be cool to do math research and approach problems like that.

“I have a bit of catching up to do, but what’s great about UT Dallas is that there are so many opportunities for students, and that someone like me can come in and do this type of research.”

Working with Dr. Vladimir Dragovic, professor of mathematical sciences, Phung will use his individual Undergraduate Research Scholar Award to support his work investigating elliptic curves, a mathematical concept that is related to Fermat’s Last Theorem and that has applications in number theory, mechanics and cryptography.

Next spring, student researchers will display the results of their work during a poster competition.

Here is a complete list of student winners and their research projects:

StudentTitleFaculty Advisor
Carol Miu,
Duong Thao
Understanding and Improving the Food Choices and Eating Habits of Low-Income HouseholdsJulie Haworth
Zachary AdamsAerial Photo MosaicsXiaohu Guo
George AguirreHydrogen Storage Mechanisms in Aluminum HydridesYves Chabal
Cody AkinsOpNeAR LabVIEW Networking InterfaceAndrea Fumagalli
Armand Halbert, An-Ting Liu, Anthony Phung, Clint Naquin, Emin Bursa, Omar Hasan, Roxanne Lee, Wei-Ting LiouLED Lifetime ProjectJason Slinker
Claire BarnesUsing a gap-startle paradigm and other tests to assess gender differences in the development of tinnitusLucien Thompson
Olivia BelliDetermining the relative toxicity of isoforms through the analysis of immunocytochemistry of cerebellar granule neuronsSantosh D’Mello
Katherine BornerSynthesis of Copper Nanowires via Electroless Nanowire Deposition on Micropatterned SubstratesAmy Walker
John CharltonHighly porous electrospun carbon nanofibers from ammonium bicarbonate-incorporated polybenzimidazole as supercapacitor electrodesJohn Ferraris
Derek ChengEffects of serotonin on GABAergic synaptic transmissionMarco Atzori
Cyrille ChiariBaBar search for e+e- → γISRΛ+c Λ-cJoseph Izen
Monica ChintapentaPolycaprolactones Containing Histone Deacetylase InhibitorsMichael Biewer
Eunkyo ChoiThe Influences of Cultural Background on Social NetworksOzalp Ozer
Truc DoCharacterizing the Human SIM1 Transcription Factor Protein in GT1-7 Mouse Hypothalamic Glial CellsErnest Hanning
Rheanna EnglishChess, map recall, gender, and undergraduate major: A pilot study on spatial cognitionAlexey Root
Tabbassaum FayyazContralesional hemisphere contribution to functional motor recovery following ischemic brain damage in rats.Michael Kilgard
Shayan GhassemiInvestigating the Structure of Mitochondrial RNA PolymeraseHyunjoo Nam
Vickie HaThe Fabrication of Stainless Steel Hollow Nanofibers Using Co-ElectrospinningKenneth Balkus
Luequn HuangApplication of multivariate depth and outlyingness methods for assessing the influenza virus transmissibility and for identification of potential genetic determinantsRobert Serfling
Tyler HurstUsing LEGOs to Evaluate Training TransferRyan McMahan
Kyle JohnsonA study of the role of OxyR in the regulation of the hybrid cluster protein expression in Escherichia coliStephen Spiro
Jingwang KimHighly efficient microinverter for photovoltaic panelsBabak Fahimi
Kayla KleinTrusting Primary Care ProvidersCandice Mills
Aaron KotamartiWhole genome profile of 5-Hydroxymethyl-cytosine (5hmC)Michael Zhang
Jaesung LeeQuantifying skin-electrode contact for a EEG acquisition for Brain Computer Interface systemRoozbeh Jafari
Alfonso LopezProbing Security Vulnerabilities in Smartphone ApplicationsEric Wong
Ryan MarcotteSelf-assembling, photocurable anisotropic conductive adhesives for biomedical devicesWalter Voit
VerNeil MesecherEfficiency Testing of Pentagonal Holonomic Drive BasesNicholas Gans
Jonathan MinnigSymbiotic Mega-Adhesives to Enhance Our Everyday LivesGregg Dieckmann
Husain Mogri,
Sheila Dang
The Voice of Dallas Residents: An Extension to the Wholeness IndexTimothy Bray
Do NguyenNovel Metal Organic Framework Stabilized Immiscible Polymer Blend Membranes for Gas SeparationJohn Ferraris
Xuhui NingPassive Tumor Targeting: Comparison of Renal Clearable Luminescent Nanoparticle and a Small Dye MoleculeJie Zheng
Ibrahim NoorbhaiUpstream Targets of mTOR paired with VNSChrista McIntyre
Ifeanyichukwu OgobuiroEffect of the timing of Maternal Immune Activation on developmental behavioral phenotype: when prenatal inflammation causes autism or schizophreniaMarco Atzori
Brenden PalmerWhat can we learn from eSportsMonica Evans
Saungeun ParkInvestigation on intrinsic electrical properties of graphene field effect transistorsJiyoung Kim
Shinwoong ParkTerahertz Imaging Improvements and Image Quality StandardKenneth O
Alexander PartinTranscriptome-Wide Analysis of Differentially Expressed Genes in Amygdala SubnucleiJonathan Ploski
Bach PhamGeometry of the Crescent Valley extensional basin, North-Central Nevada, deprived from depth inversion and forward models of gravity dataJohn Oldow
Anthony PhungGroup Structure of Elliptic Curves and Selected ApplicationsVladimir Dragovic
Asja RadjaUltrafast exciton energy transfer of hybrid structures from nanocrystal quantum dots to J-aggregate filmsAnton Malko
Daniela RodriguezSynthesis and Characterization of Semiconducting Liquid Crystalline PolymersMihaela Stefan
Joseph RossiSilicate-based Cathodes for Improved Safety and Performance of Li-ion BatteriesChristopher Hinkle
Jonathon ShasteenVisual Attention During Threat DetectionNoah Sasson
Neeraj SirdeshmukhLeast cost path analysisDenis Dean
Dale SoneyComprehensive aerodynamic modeling of ALD reactor chamberYves Chabal
Spenser StoneA Time Series Analysis of Property Rights Reform in ChinaKa-Yiu Ho
Mayu TakedaImmigration as an Arrestable Offense: Colorado’s Senate Bill 90 and Racial Profiling in the Context of Probable Cause and ArrestAnthony Champagne
Xiao TanDetermination of the Role of Reactive Oxygen Species and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in a Cell Culture Model of Neurodegenerative TauopathyGail Breen
Sheridan TaylorJ. Frank Norris: Father of the Modern MegachurchErin Smith
Nhu Thinh VoDebundling Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes without SonicationPaul Pantano
Todd ThompsonParallel Processing using OpenCL for FPGAsOvidiu Daescu
Samee VakilThe Effects of Poloxamer Structure on Post-Sonication Dispersant Toxicity and EffectivenessRockford Draper
Natasha VarughesePreparation and Characterization of ZIF-20 Mixed-Matrix Membranes for Gas SeparationsInga Musselman
Anh VuSynthesis of Gyroidal Metal Organic FrameworksKenneth Balkus
Travis WeaverDepression's effect on Processing speedBart Rypma
Isabella WestlauerUsing Microsensors to Provide Wireless Haptic Feedback for Everyday Fall PreventionRoozbeh Jafari
Jacob WhiteMapping Dark Matter Mass Distributions in Galaxy Clusters Through Gravitational LensingLindsay King
Shawn WillettModulating Strength of Extinction Learning via Vagus Nerve StimulationChrista McIntyre
Justin WongMultiplexed Detection of Biomarkers for Infectious Disease MonitoringShalini Prasad
Sungyong YouA New Analysis Tool of Post-Single Molecule Tracking for the study of Her2 traffickingRaimund Ober
Amy ZarateImplications of Histone deacetylase 7 (HDAC7) in synaptic transmission and cognition: an inquiry into mechanisms that treat neurodegenerative diseaseMarco Atzori


Media Contact: Amanda Siegfried, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4335, [email protected]
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected]
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March 18, 2019