NSF supports UMR CAREERs

Two UMR researchers will receive an estimated $400,000 apiece during the next five years as part of the National Science Foundation’s CAREER program, which supports promising scientists early in their careers. The program recognizes and supports the early career development of teacher-scholars who are most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century.


Chang-Soo Kim is working to understand the relationship between plant roots and their surrounding environment. His work may help unearth solutions to low crop yields and land pollution.
“The interaction between the plant roots and the surrounding media is the least understood and most challenging aspect of plant research,” says Kim, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at UMR.
His NSF funding will support Kim’s development of “horticulture-on-a-chip,” a microsystem that integrates 3-D sensor arrays with a miniature plant growth system. The device will monitor root zone oxygen distribution and could be used in nearly all aspects of root research, including metabolic engineering, plant stress physiology and plant pathology. If successful, the new microsystem would be a major technological breakthrough for root research efforts. Mehdi Ferdowsi is studying how vehicle fleets could be used to help improve the nation’s power grid.
Ferdowsi, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, envisions a future where at least 10 percent of the vehicles on the road will be hybrid cars with onboard energy storage units. When they aren’t on the road, owners could plug the vehicles into the power grid and their storage units would be used for grid regulation and peak load shaving, a technique that helps stabilize energy prices.
“It has been proven that employing energy storage systems improves the efficiency and reliability of the electric power generation as well as the power train of the vehicles,” Ferdowsi explains. “If both the transportation and electric power generation sectors used the same energy storage systems, we could integrate the two and improve the efficiency, fuel economy and reliability of both systems.”

Around the Puck

Q&A: Miners got game

What was the most memorable sports team during your time on campus? As part of his research for the S&T 150th history book, Larry Gragg, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor emeritus of history and political science, asked you to share your memories. Here are a few of your answers.

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Honoring new academy members

In October, 12 alumni and friends were inducted into Missouri S&T academies. Academy membership recognizes careers of distinction and invites members to share their wisdom, influence and resources with faculty and students. Some academies hold induction ceremonies in the fall, others in the spring.

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Boosting cyber-physical security

A wide array of complex systems that rely on computers — from public water supply systems and electric grids to chemical plants and self-driving vehicles — increasingly come under not just digital but physical attacks. Bruce McMillin, professor and interim chair of computer science at Missouri S&T, is looking to change that by developing stronger safeguards […]

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MXene discovery could improve energy storage

In spite of their diminutive size, 2-D titanium carbide materials known as MXenes are “quite reactive” to water, a discovery S&T researchers say could have implications for energy storage and harvesting applications such as batteries, supercapacitors and beyond. Their findings were published in 2018 in the American Chemical Society journal Inorganic Chemistry.

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A faster charge for electric vehicles

One drawback of electric vehicles (EVs) is the time it takes to charge them. But what if you could plug in your EV and fully charge it as quickly as it takes to fill up a conventional car with gasoline? Missouri S&T researchers, in collaboration with three private companies, are working to make speedy charging […]

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