Tobi Ore, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Geology and Geography, is a driven individual with a longstanding aspiration of contributing to the energy industry. Despite being uncertain of how he was going to accomplish this, he discovered his research niche at the intersection of machine learning and seismic interpretation upon enrolling in graduate school at West Virginia University. Currently working under the guidance of Dengliang Gao, professor of geology, Ore’s research centers around the optimization of subsurface characterization processes using machine learning techniques. Through this work, he aims to improve energy exploration efficiency, enhance understanding of earth systems and reduce carbon footprint through underground storage.
The old phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones but words shall never hurt me” does not apply to navigating the legal system.
Stephanie House-Niamke grew up watching her elders worship a god who did not look like them. A Black Christian from Appalachia, House-Niamke calls it the “White Jesus Phenomenon on Black Christians.”
Harvesting farm produce can be tedious and strenuous on laborers. This tough job can now be done by an automated system; using a gripper attached to a robotic arm. This research carried out by WVU engineering student Alexander Flasch focused on the design and development of a gripper for produce growing on trees. The robotic gripper was tested on its capability to grip varying diameters of fruits and vegetables, so that it can eliminate human labor and making harvesting automated.
WVU undergraduate researcher Madison Lindung, a forensic chemistry major, carried out a study to understand how gunshot residue particles persist over time, what activities influence the loss of GSR and what activities can produce a transfer from a shooter’s hand or clothing to a secondary surface (i.e., hand or clothing from another person).
She’s an engineer who focuses on renewable energy sources. She’s a business wiz with a zest for finance and management. And she’s an aficionado of all things pickled.
A math and science teacher in a West Virginia middle school was teaching a unit on ratios and proportions when she decided to “shift her practice and connect to students’ everyday lives,” Reagan Curtis recalled.
WVU undergraduate dental students Kayla Clark and Darcie Trotter read and heard some debate on whether toothbrushes should be stored in containers. They even stored their brushes in cases. The issue of possible bacteria growth piqued their interest and they set out to collect some solid evidence.
Zachary Ellis grew up knowing he’d one day be a Mountaineer. The Renick, West Virginia native also knew he wanted a future rooted in service to his home state. His road to WVU came via 4-H and WVU Extension, where he found the support and encouragement to follow his passion for science and research. Now, the intercollegiate biochemistry major at the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design and Eberly College of Arts and Sciences is conducting research into neurodegenerative diseases.
Do sweeteners used in electronic cigarettes contribute to tooth decay? WVU senior dental hygiene students Savannah Lahey and Megan Merritt explored the effects four of the most common ones have on growth of Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria responsible for dental cavities.
Bryan Ho grew up in Martinsburg, West Virginia, and as a young student, his Eastern Panhandle community gave him the support, resources and opportunities to succeed. He found his way to WVU with research on his mind and a desire to give back to his state. As a biochemistry major in his fourth year at the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, he’s working under research mentor Blake Mertz on his thesis, “Identifying Characteristics of Drug Molecules That Suppress Inflammation in the Body Using Computational Methods.”
West Virginia University undergraduates Bec Hyde and Elena Maddy are the creative minds behind “Audacious Women,” an Honors EXCEL dance project analyzing the rules society imposes on women and how those rules impact women’s sexuality, sensuality and sense of self.
Gloria Negrete-Lopez, assistant professor of women’s and gender studies at the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, is taking a hard look at art and how it colors perceptions of Latin American migrants. Her work addresses a range of topics including gender and feminist studies, Latinx/e studies, migration, queer and trans of color critique and culture studies. At present, she’s working on a book about the artistic and cultural work of migration activists.
Margaret Bennewitz doesn’t like unanswered questions––certainly not those of people worried about whether or not they have breast cancer.
Oluwatobi (Tobi) Odeleye is a chemical education researcher with a passion for inspiring a love of STEM fields in students. An assistant professor at the Department of Chemistry at Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, she studies the factors that influence student attitudes toward chemistry. To that end, she authored an American Chemical Society eBook, “Chemistry Student Success” and hopes to continue engaging students in the classroom.
In the summer of 2022, Amirah Mitchell started working on developing an artificial intelligence program that would understand human emotion, using deep learning approach. This was after she was given the opportunity to be a part of WVU’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience. The biomedical engineering undergraduate researcher used the opportunity to start her project on how the technology could predict the emotional state of humans, whether happy, sad, angry, etc.
While many researchers work with animal models like mice, Christopher Arnold, assistant professor in the Department of Biology at the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences studies planarians. These unique creatures, also known as flatworms, have regenerative abilities that make them ideal subjects for investigating the basis of animal regeneration.
Jennifer Sano-Franchini grew up in Hawai‘i—not a bad place to call home. The new West Virginia University Gaziano Family Legacy Professor of Rhetoric and Writing and associate professor of English completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Hawai‘i. She left the tropics and went on to pursue a doctorate in Rhetoric and Writing, with a concentration in Cultural Rhetorics, at Michigan State. From there, she took a tenure track position at Virginia Tech. In Fall 2022, she began her first semester at Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.
She choreographs breaths around kisses so actors can sing while they smooch. With costumers, she ensures bucket skirts or cowboy hats don’t impede onstage embraces. And she workshops intensively with cast and directors to establish boundaries for everyone involved in intimate scenes.
Have you ever wondered how you’d describe music to a person who is deaf? According to West Virginia University ethnomusicologist Katelyn Best, these days Deaf artists are the ones teaching everyone what music is and what it can be.
As a senior in high school, Teagan Kuzniar began her research journey after joining a West Virginia University environmental engineering lab. It was here that Kuzniar developed her passion for environmental microbiology.
Steve Davis may be a metalhead, but the West Virginia University Health Sciences Center researcher approaches public health with gentleness. His work deals with harm reduction, a strategy that minimizes the negative effects of drug use rather than insisting on abstinence from it.
Moriah Katt’s artificial model of the blood-brain barrier’s cells and vessels is like an ant farm. A working replica of the vascular system separating the brain from the body, Katt’s model allows her to see and manipulate the inner processes of that almost impermeable membrane.
In 2019, NASA chose to fund the Tandem Reconnection and Cusp Electrodynamics Reconnaissance Satellites (TRACERS), which will study the interactions between the magnetic fields of the sun and Earth. Katherine Goodrich is helping with this mission, which will launch in 2024.
A familiar face in the research and innovation circles of West Virginia University has been named executive director of student and faculty innovation.
In summer 2021, Aamer Mahmood joined the Mountaineer family as the new director of the Shared Research Facilities at West Virginia University.
Every researcher at West Virginia University has filled out a research conflict of interest form at some point before starting their projects or studies. This means that every single researcher at WVU has either indirectly or directly encountered Joy Edwards.
Across the United States, a blood-feeding parasite preys on sheep. In order to figure out the cause, West Virginia University Ph.D. candidate Denzel Middleton is monitoring two things: how parasites affect a more susceptible breed of sheep (Suffolk) and how sheep native to the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Croix) are able to build their immune systems against parasites.
Before the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in West Virginia, Geah Pressgrove pondered two questions: “What is the perception of the vaccine? How can we use these perceptions to ensure all residents get vaccinated?”
The Institutional Review Board is a step that every researcher at West Virginia University needs to take when conducting certain studies. Joseph Malcolm can help you up that step.
As a global collective, many different industries are looking at clean alternatives. Here at West Virginia University, Ph.D. candidate Minh Do, along with her colleagues in the lab of Carsten Milsmann, are working to find a cleaner approach in chemistry.