Support for Affiliated Research Teams

Support for Affiliated Research Teams

In FY20 the Science Alliance introduced the Support for Affiliated Research Teams (StART) program. StART is designed to deepen the collaborative spirit between the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The program issues an annual call for proposals with two subsequent submission deadlines. Proposals are evaluated on technical merit, potential for continuing and meaningful collaborations, inclusion of graduate and undergraduate students, and the likelihood for future external funding. The first awards were announced in August, 2019.

2022 – 2023 Awards

Colleen Crouch

Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering Department

Brain Spatial Multi-omic Imaging & Analysis Protocol: Alzheimer’s Disease Proof of Concept

Mapping phenotypic signatures of the brain can be used to identify changes due to aging or disease through development of multimodal research protocol. Better understanding of the spatial heterogeneity of phenotypic changes occurring during disease progression will allow more targeted diagnosis and treatment. Using computational algorithms to integrate data, generated from mass spectrometry imaging, microscopy-guided single cell MS profiling, and spatial single-cell RNA sequencing from tissue sections of targeted brain regions to create a 3D atlas/map of a portion of the brain. Previously, these 3 techniques have not been combined previously.

Doowon Kim

Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Enhancing the Security of Connected and Automated Vehicles Ecosystem

Connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) are considered a future, intriguing technology that can change our daily lives on future roadways in terms of drivers’ safety and fuel efficiency through the communications between vehicles and infrastructures. Despite these advantages, security has not been the first priority in the CAVs ecosystem; instead, the efficiency of algorithms has always been the higher priority. Therefore, this can open up unprecedently various attack surfaces for adversaries.

Joon Sue Lee

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Topological Quantum Materials Prepared by Epitaxy

Topology, a way of thinking about objects based on their broad properties that are preserved under continuous deformations, can be applied to condensed matter physics. In the context of quantum materials, topology can explain and predict why novel electronic states emerge at surfaces/edges and interfaces with unusual properties such as spin-charge coupling and novel superconducting features, which make the topologically nontrivial materials (topological materials) exciting candidates for future device applications.

Rachel Patton McCord

Biochemistry & Cellular and Molecular Biology

Predicting and modifying cellular radiosensitivity with 3D genome folding

Radiation that damages DNA can be both dangerous to healthy tissues and used as a cancer therapeutic. To develop therapeutics that destroy cancer while minimizing damage to surrounding tissues, it is critical to understand, and even manipulate, how different cell types respond to radiation. A cell’s sensitivity to radiation is in part affected by how the DNA is arranged in 3D inside the nucleus. Iterative prediction and experiment, will reveal the relationship between 3D genome structure and cell radiosensitivity and identify structure manipulations that increase cancer susceptibility to radiation therapies.

Gila Stein

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Design Rules to Elevate Ionic Conductivity in Block Copolymer Electrolytes

Block copolymers comprised of a polymeric ionic liquid linked to a nonionic polymer are a class of “safe” electrolytes with tunable mechanical properties. Recent work has showed that ionic conductivity in these materials is significantly depressed relative to predicted values, posing a challenge for applications in energy storage. It’s believed his depression is a result of mesoscale defects that inhibit ion transport, local effects associated with molecular design, or a combination of these factors. Systematic structure function studies will provide a foundation to improve ionic conductivity through materials processing and/or molecular design.

Himanshu Thapliyal

Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

A Cross-Layer Application of Approximate Computing to Increase Noise Resilience of NISQ Quantum Circuits

Fully fault-tolerant quantum computation will take a significant amount of resources. Therefore, one of the current focuses in quantum computation is to establish the utility of small scale, error-prone, or “noisy intermediate-scale quantum” (NISQ), machines. In NISQ machines, the application of quantum gates as well as the measurement operations can introduce errors