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OSU-Tulsa News

Thursday, July 10, 2014

OSU research team awarded $750,000 NASA grant

Vaidyanathan, left, and Singh
Vaidyanathan, left, and Singh

A team of interdisciplinary researchers from OSU’s Tulsa and Stillwater campuses was recently awarded a $750,000 grant from NASA for a project to develop a composite material that will protect astronauts from radiation on space missions. The project, “Radiation Smart Structures and Materials with H-rich Nanostructured Multifunctional Materials,” was one of 15 selected for funding through the NASA Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).

The project leaders include Dr. Ranji Vaidyanathan, Varnadow Chair and OSU-Tulsa professor of materials science and engineering, Dr. Raman Singh, OSU-Tulsa Helmerich Research Center director, C.F. Colcord Chair and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and Dr. Eric Benton, OSU associate professor of physics. Dr. Victoria Duca Snowden at the Space Grant Program at the University of Oklahoma will administer the project, assisted by Dr. Madeline Baugher at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. 

Researchers are developing a material that will shield astronauts from ionizing radiation during missions to asteroids near Earth, the moon and Mars. The material could also be used in the creation of Lunar and Martian habitats. The grant will also fund summer research internships for Oklahoma college students in OSU’s materials science and radiation physics laboratories. The internship programs will target students from minority populations through a partnership with the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation.

OSU-Tulsa team wins first place in robotics competition

A team of OSU-Tulsa undergraduate engineering students took the top prize in an international robotics competition hosted in Stillwater recently. Laly Vang, James Potter and Ivan Valasiuk took first place at the fifth annual Mercury Remote Robot Challenge.

The competition featured 14 teams from around the world, including Columbia, Brazil and Mexico. Each three-person team created a robot that was controlled remotely off-site and was required to complete a series of tasks including climbing a 30-degree incline, picking and moving an object and navigating a track.

Dr. Carl Latino, associate professor of electrical engineering and the mentor for the OSU-Tulsa team, said the robot had a corkscrew and suspension system that made it superior to the competition, completing all the assigned tasks in the shortest amount of time. To view video from the competition, visit the OSU Mercury Robotics website.

Human sciences researchers receive best paper award at AAFCS conference


Dr. Michael Merten and his research partner Dr. Amanda Williams, from The University of Southern Mississippi, received the Best Paper Award for Human Development and Family Studies at the 105th Annual Conference of the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences in St. Louis on June 27.

Merten is an associate professor of human development and family science in the College of Human Sciences at OSU-Tulsa and Williams is an assistant professor in the child and family studies department of the College of Education and Psychology. The award was presented by Dr. Sharon DeVaney, editor of the Family & Consumer Sciences Research Journal.

"Romantic Relationships among Women Experiencing Obesity: Self Perception and Weight as Barriers to Intimacy" was published in the March 2013 issue of the Family & Consumer Sciences Research Journal. Results from seven focus groups with 50 women revealed that women described obesity as a barrier to both physical and emotional intimacy. Health was a protective factor if both spouses were overweight and motivated to lose weight. When there was a weight or motivation mismatch, women described more negative interactions.