Research Poster Presentations

The Morgan State University students below will be presenting their research in our 2nd annual poster competition component of the GRIND Conference. Please learn more about this year’s judges and the criteria that the posters will reviewed by.

Nnanna Ekedebe

School of Business & Management

Poster Title: Towards Experimental Evaluation of Intelligent Transportation System Safety and Traffic Efficiency

Abstract: Traffic efficiency and safety are major hallmarks of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). To accurately validate and investigate the effectiveness of traffic efficiency and safety application of ITSs, realistic studies are highly demanded. In this paper, using real-world traffic and simulation data, we developed a realistic ITS test bed and a mobile application known as the Incident Warning Application (IWA) with the view of answering the following question: what is the traffic efficiency and safety benefits of Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communications in a realistic ITS environment? Our real-world dataset consists of six weeks road traffic data of the Maryland (MD)/Washington DC and Virginia (VA) areas from August 8th, 2012 to September 27th, 2012. Our evaluation data shows that vehicles running our IWA application show improvements in almost all of the performance metrics evaluated. Specifically, our data shows that improvements in travel time (139.89%), fuel consumption (11.77%), and environmental emissions – carbon dioxide [CO2] (11.77%), etc. can be achieved through V2I communication.

Miracle Chukwuka-Eze

School of Education & Urban Studies

Poster Title: A Community-Based Exposition: The Curious Case of 21st Century Digital Age Learning in Baltimore.

Abstract: The introduction of personal computers launched the digital age also known as information age. Digital age came with its opportunities and challenges, it has changed the way we do things, it also affected the way we learn. 21st Century Digital Age Learning brought about a more convenient way of acquiring knowledge through technology. However, it has made people over depend on technology as well as lose touch of the physical environment. Over the years, we have seen classroom instructions move from face-to-face to fully online in certain situations. Virtual learning is now a part of everyday life. Telecommunications and social media tools like Facebook, email, twitter, instagram, skype, whatsapp, reddit, amongst many others, have made the world a global village. However, computer access to students, financial implication as technology is part of school budget, frequency of computer usage alongside the appropriate screen time for an individual, cyberbullying, and policy makers’ continuous check on evidence-based guidance to ascertain proper educational digital content, are issues that have remained constant topics of discussion. Public Schools in Baltimore are not left out in the joys, opportunities and challenges of 21st Century Digital Age Learning. Digital Age Learning as it affects curriculum development, implications for assessment, professional development among school staff, collaboration with parents, state and national policies on use of technology in schools keep unfolding on a daily basis in our community.

Maisaa Alahmadi

College of Liberal Arts

Poster Title: Gender Gap in Achievement

Abstract: Gender differences in achievement across subjects and geographical areas is a longstanding concern of educators, as many studies indicate that these gaps arise in the primary grades and persist throughout the educational career. The purpose of this study is to examine if the gender gaps as shown in NAEP agree with the finding from prior research. Using both fourth and eighth-grade (2015) data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) this study computed, for each state, gender differences in mean achievement and achievement along the performance distribution (at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, and 90th percentiles). In conclusions, it was found: For reading: In both grades and most states, girls outperform boys both in mean achievement and throughout the performance distribution at the selected percentiles. For mathematics: In both grades, most states have no significant difference in mean achievement by gender; however, it was found that some significant differences favoring boys among high performers and favoring girls among low performers. For science: For grade 4, in most states there were no significant difference by gender in mean achievement and throughout the performance distribution at the selected percentiles. For grade 8, in most states high performing boys tend to outperform high performing girls.

Ahoefa Tshibaka

School of Education & Urban Studies

Poster Title: International Students’ Challenges

Abstract: Recent trends in higher education indicate significant increases in the number of international students seeking undergraduate and graduate degrees worldwide. Increasingly, international students are becoming exposed to new experiences/environments during their journey in the host country. Essentially, the transformational effect of the journey on the personal development of the international student cannot be understated. Thus, many researchers have become focused on those effects by documenting the perceptions of international students’ during their sojourn in the different host countries. Some of the literature excerpts on the challenges endured by international student’s center around the concepts of acculturation, academic, recruitment, discrimination, counseling, language, career, and mobility just to list a few (Bista & Gaulee, Recurring Themes Across Fractal Issues Facing International Students: A Thematic Analysis of 2016 Dissertations and Theses, 2017). The articles and dissertation on the different aforementioned concepts were garnered from various universities and various disciplines across the world. This literature review will focus on international students’ adjustment, academia, counseling, and policy affecting this group of individuals.


Nicole Arnold

School of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

Poster Title: The effect of socioeconomic factors on Disease Pathways: An exploration of Baltimore health disparities

Abstract: Socioeconomic status (SES) and related factors are correlated with health inequalities and contribute to health disparities. However, little is known about how SES affects gene expression in biological and disease pathways. The objective of this project is to gain insight into the genetic mechanisms that contribute to public health disparities like Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer. Our hypothesis is there will be a higher incidence of differential gene expression in inflammatory pathways due to low economic status. We used the iPathwayGuide program to examine differential gene expression in the sample population which included 54 African American and Caucasian participants if the HANDLS cohort, who are living above or below the 2004 federal poverty line. Differential gene expression patterns were assessed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from all at two points, on average 4.75 years apart. We observed that there’s reciprocal gene expression profiles in the expression of MMADHC, SDHD, SDHC, VHL, FH, HLA-DRB1, IL18, MEFV, HLA-DQB1, HLA-DQB1, FCGR3A, MYC, CD14, CCR1, TTF2, C11orf10, PRPF19, MAP3K1, CD36 and LOC647450 in multiple different comparison. We intend to further study the interaction of microRNA that are known to affect the expression of these genes in order to identify a functional mechanism of this expression patterns. This study will serve as a link to clarify the social determinants responsible for health disparities.


Somayeh Gharaie Fathabad

School of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences


Abstract: Fremyella diplosiphon is a model cyanobacterial species which has great potential as a commercial biofuel agent due to its fast generation time and ability to grow in low light intensity. Iron (Fe+2) is one the most critical requirement that affects growth and lipid production in cyanobacteria. In this study, the effect of zero-valent (nZVI) iron nanoparticles (Nanofer 25 and 25s) on F. diplosiphon growth was investigated to determine optimal concentration. Growth of SF33 and B481 strains in BG11/HEPES containing Fe-EDTA as iron source (0.5 mg L−1 Fe) was compared to that with 1.5, 5, 15, 50, 150, and 200 mg/L concentrations of Nanofer 25 and 25s. Three replicated treatments were maintained, and cultures grown for 12 days under constant shaking at 28 °C and 70 rpm, with an initial optical density of 0.1 at 750 nm. Growth at OD750 was measured at 72h intervals and data analyzed using one-way ANOVA and Tukey’s honest significant difference test. Maximal cell growth in SF33 was observed at day 12 in 150 mg/L Nanofer 25 and 200 mg/L Nanofer 25S, while in B481 maximum growth was observed at day 12 in 50 and 150 mg/L Nanofer 25 and Nanofer 25s respectively. Growth of F. diplosiphon was not significantly affected by nZVIs at 1.5 and 5 mg/L concentrations while cultures containing 15 mg/L nZVIs exhibited prolonged cell growth up to 9 days. Results of the present study indicate that zero-valent iron nanoparticles enhance growth of SF33 and B481. Future studies will aim towards enhancing total lipid yield and fatty acid production, and testing the effect of nZVIs on photosynthetic efficacy in the strains. This approach will maximize biodiesel potential of F. diplosiphon paving the way for efficient large-scale biofuel production.

Dy’mon Walker

School of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences


Abstract: Microcystin toxins produced by cyanobacteria are a global threat due to their economic and environmental impacts on human and aquatic life. In this study, the impact of salinity on cyanobacterial strains, Anabaena cylindrica (B629 and 2949) and Fremyella diplosiphon (SF33) was assessed. Cultures were grown in BG11/HEPES media for seven days, cells pelleted, transferred to fresh media supplemented with 1, 2, and 4 g/L sodium chloride (NaCl), and grown for an additional seven days. Cultures grown in salt-free media served as control. Optical density at 750 nm was measured every 24 h and growth rate calculated. Statistical significance was determined by ANOVA and Tukey’s HSD test. Cultures were sonicated and microcystin concentrations analyzed using ELISA assay. A significant reduction in growth rate was observed in A. cylindrica B629 cultures exposed to 4 g/L NaCl compared to the control. By contrast, growth rates of cultures treated with 1 and 2 g/L NaCl were not significantly different relative to the control. Growth rates of A. cylindrica 2949 and F. diplosiphon SF33 were not significantly different from the control. In addition, ELISA assays revealed that there was no significant difference (p> 0.5) in the amount of microcystin produced in all strains exposed to 1 g/L NaCl compared to the control. Our results indicate that exposure to 4 g/L NaCl significantly reduced growth of A. cylindrica B629, and microcystin concentrations were unaffected in 1 g/L NaCl. Future studies will aim to identify the impact of varying nitrogen levels and pH on growth and microcystin production in these strains. Acknowledgement: This research was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences r awards #’s UL1GM118973 and TL4GM1189742 to Morgan State University.

Amirreza Nickkar

School of Engineering

Poster Title: Developing an Algorithm for the Optimal Flexible Automated Feeder Transit Network

Abstract: This research, an algorithm for the optimal flexible feeder bus routing, considers relocation of buses for multi-stations, was developed using a simulated annealing (SA) algorithm for the future automated vehicle operation. An example was developed and tested to demonstrate the developed algorithm. The algorithm successfully handled the relocations of the buses when the optimal bus routings were not feasible with available buses at certain stations. Furthermore, the developed algorithm considered the maximum acceptable travel time for each passenger while minimizing total vehicle travelled distance. Unlike package delivery and pickup problems, each individual passenger considers his/her travel time in the feeder bus, while a transit agency considers minimizing vehicle operating costs. In order to evaluate the impact of the acceptable maximum travel time, four types of additional travel time ratio (3, 4, 5 and 6) were applied. As expected, with less additional travel time ratio, the number of used buses and vehicle travelled distance increased while passengers’ travel time decreased.

Duwan Morris

School of Engineering

Poster Title: Providing safe routes to school for elementary students in Baltimore City

Abstract: Researches shows that during recent years the number of students who walk or bicycle to school is dropped as children live far from their school. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 85 percent of children's journeys to school are made by car or school bus; only 13 percent of school trips are made by walking or bicycling. Therefore, in the past 30 years, the number of overweight or obese children between the ages of 6 and 11 has ascended from 5% to 20%. Also, the rise in car trips to schools has additional impact on growing traffic congestion and created holdup near school drop-off and pick-up lines. This often fuels aggressive driving by drivers stuck in these traffic jams. These statistics point to a growth in avoidable childhood diseases, deteriorating air quality and crowding around schools, and missed opportunities for children to grow into self-reliant, independent adults. Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Programs are proposed to reverse these movements by improving safety and promoting walking and bicycling within a collaborative community framework. It is through local champions working with a partnership of parents, schools, professionals in transportation, engineering, health, and law enforcement, that the most sustainable projects are expected to emerge. The SRTS program brings together parents, school administrators and teachers, along with other community groups and agencies, to improve the safety of children who walk, roll, or bicycle to school; provides needed infrastructure and encourages children in grades K-8, including those with physical limitations, to walk, roll, or bicycle to school safely; makes walking, rolling, and bicycling to school a safer and more appealing transportation alternative, encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle from a very early age; and facilitates projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption and air pollution in the vicinity of elementary and middle schools.

Xuejun Qian

School of Engineering

Poster Title: An Innovative Design and Implementation of the Automatic Feedback Control System for the Advanced Lab-scale Combustion System

Abstract: The automatic control system is critical to combustion system to increase combustion efficiency and hence decreasing emissions that affect the environment. The objective of this study is to design and implement an automatic feedback control system of the lab-scale combustion system in the CAESECT Lab. This feedback control system was developed for controlling the operation conditions with respect to temperature changes in the combustor. The major components including Ardunio board, two Nimbus control boards, Analog I/O option module and battery banks were used to control process of the simultaneously fuel feeding rates, primary and secondary air flow rates via control signals (0-10 volts). The control signal with fuel feeding rates and fan speeds were tested and identified for their correlation. Results indicated that the control signal of 4.5 volts to 7.5 volts is required to get desired motor speed range (0-200 rpm) and fan speed range (0-2000 fpm). The Ardunio code was also programmed to control operation conditions by using the temperature readings inside the combustion chamber. It is expected to optimize the combustion system efficiency and minimize emissions in the advanced lab-scale system by using our developed automatic feedback control system.

Raghulkumar Chandrasekaran

School of Engineering

Poster Title: The Modeling and Analysis of Thermal Performance and Heat Transfer in the Advanced Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger System

Abstract: In the present day, Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger(STHE) is the most attractive type of heat exchanger and widely used in various industries, such as industrial process, power generation, and chemical process industries because it suits the high- pressure application and harsh environment. The objective of the project is to model and analysis of thermal performance and heat transfer in advanced STHE system. In this study, steel was selected for shell materials and copper and brass was selected for tube materials. The advanced computational simulation tool, ANSYS Fluent 18.2 was used to model the STHE system along with 6 inches (in diameter) shell and 5 tubes. The constructed STHE model has meshed and thermal conditions of the STHE was analyzed with the medium of water and biomass flue gas. In addition, the experimental results from lab-scale STHE prototype were used to validate the simulation results from ANSYS models. Results indicated the heat release of the brass is lower than (about 3w) the copper in the system. Statistical analysis results from Mini-tab showed the material type is critical to increasing the thermal coefficient of STHE system.


Seyedehsan Dadvar

School of Engineering

Poster Title: Improving Crash Predictability of the Highway Safety Manual through Alternate Local Calibration Process

Abstract: The predictive methods of the Highway Safety Manual (HSM) predict crash frequency by applying uncalibrated safety performance function (SPF) and a set of uncalibrated crash modification factors (CMFs) to each location individually: Then the predicted crashes are required to be adjusted by local calibration factor (LCF) at the aggregate level (i.e., at least 30 sampled sites per SPF). Although this calibration procedure assures total predicted crashes be localized, still prediction of crashes for individual locations may suffer from aggregate localization process. An approach to locally calibrate CMFs to minimize individual location prediction errors while maintaining equality of total observed and total predicted crashes, which could eliminate the need for LCF development, was proposed to improve crash predictability of the HSM. The proposed approach was tested by applying on the data for Maryland State rural two-lane, two-way roads (R2U) and three years of crash data (2008-2010). The results of comparing prediction errors showed that the proposed method could produce smaller prediction errors than the HSM calibration method for individual locations while keeping the total number of predicted crashes equal to the total number of observed crashes. The improvement by the proposed method was statistically significant and supported the preference of proposed method over the HSM method. Application of proposed method can lead to more accurate identification of hot-spots and site-specific strategies in terms of funding allocation.

Mojeed Olamide Bello

School of Engineering


Abstract: Biomass gasifier reactor types and general performance is defined. Organizations that have published gasifier databases are listed (though databases are not all current or complete). About 90 listings obtained in a recently compiled (December 2014) database of the predominantly biomass gasification generator. Information includes company name, country, web address and the short description of the FEMA, MSU, Imbert technology, including gas cleaning system and technology status if known. Also, energy capacity and technology status are mentions when information gathered.  Renewable synthetic natural gas produced via thermal gasification.

Snehanshu Banerjee

School of Engineering

Poster Title: Impact of different work zone barriers on driving behavior on arterial roads

Abstract: This study investigates the impact of work zone barriers (cone shaped pylons, concrete jersey barriers and metal barriers) on driver behavior using a driving simulator. Although more than 50 individuals are recruited to participate in the study, complete data is available for only 45 individuals. Traffic volumes for this study was based on Level of Service (LOS) C as defined in the 6th edition of Highway Capacity Manual. The driving behavior of each participant for every tenth of a second is recorded. A single-factor ANOVA reveals that there is a statistically significant difference between the means of vehicle offset from lane center while driving beside cone shaped pylons, concrete jersey barriers and metal barriers. An additional Tukey’s Post Hoc test revealed that the difference in means is statistically significant only between concrete jersey barriers and cone shaped pylons i.e. drivers tend to move away from concrete jersey barriers as compared to cone shaped pylons. Average driver speeds are higher near concrete jersey barriers in comparison with cone shaped pylons. This is an indication of the driver’s keenness to leave the concrete jersey barriers behind as opposed to cone shaped pylons and this corresponds with prior research. Keywords: Driver Behavior, Driving Simulator, Work Zone Barriers, Cone Shaped Pylons, Jersey Barrier, Metal Barrier, ANOVA, Tukey’s Post Hoc.

Danny Brown

School of Engineering

Poster Title: Impact of level of service (LOS) on drivers, behavior

Abstract: This study investigates the effect(s) of level of service on driver’s behavior using a full-scale high-fidelity driving simulator. Over50participantsare recruited to drive through six scenarios of level of services; A through F defined in the 6th edition of Highway Capacity Manual. The driving behavior of each participant for every tenth of a second is recorded. Descriptive analysis of the data obtained as well as single-factor ANOVA reveals that as LOS deteriorates from A to F, the number of times drivers push-down on the gas/throttle pedal and the number of times the brakes are fully engaged per mile increases, while, the average extent to which the throttle is pressed; the average throttle ratio, decreases. In addition, the number of lane changes per mile per available lane increases from LOS A to F. This is an indication of driver’s eagerness to escape traffic by changing to more freely-flowing lanes. Therefore, level of aggression in drivers increases with LOS progression from A to F. Keywords: Driver Behavior, Driving Simulator, Level of Service (LOS), Highway Capacity Manual, Driver Aggressiveness, ANOVA.