Second Year Projects
Jeremiah Johnson – Department of Microbiology
Epidemiological Study of Human Campylobacteriosis with Development of Microbial Source-Tracking Database
Campylobacter jejuni is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in the United States. Little is known about the source of these infections, but Johnson hopes his project can change that. Johnson’s JDRD project will utilize whole-genome sequencing on a diverse set of Campylobacter isolates over a six month period. Using analytic tools created in collaboration with ORNL, Johnson’s team will develop a genome database for use by public health experts to identify the sources of human infection.
Maik Lang – Department of Nuclear Engineering
Unraveling the Defect Structure in Irradiated Nuclear Materials using the ORNL Integrated Computational Environment-Modeling & Analysis for Neutrons (ICE-MAN)
Silica is an abundant glass forming material with importance in the fields of Earth sciences and nuclear waste management. Thanks to its polymorphism under varying conditions, the structural behavior of vitreous silica has been studied extensively and initial neutron scattering data has been gathered from the NOMAD instrument at ORNL. Reverse Monte Carlo modeling is the next step in interpreting the data. Lang’s JDRD team intends to collaborate with ORNL to implement the Integrated Computational Environment-Modeling & Analysis for Neutrons (ICE-MAN) to gain further insights into the behavior of glasses under extreme conditions.
Atomistic Investigation of Interfacial Transport in Aluminum Alloys
U.S. fuel economy standards have begun to promote the use of lightweight aluminum in vehicles. Unfortunately, its lack of strength, particularly at high temperatures, creates durability concerns and limits potential applications for the material. Combining aluminum with copper has become an increasingly popular method for improving its durability but the microstructural influences on the properties of these alloys are not well understood. Shin’s JDRD project seeks to investigate mass and thermal transport near microstructural interfaces to assess transport properties. He hopes to identify atomic level structural effects and develop an effective framework for their calculation and control.
First Year Projects
Probing Dynamics of Photosystem | Oligomerization Using SANS and Cryo-EM
On earth, the process of photosynthesis has had to evolve highly adaptive processes to deal with light levels that regularly fluctuate. These organisms are able to respond to changing environmental stimuli to optimize growth in highly variable conditions. Bruce’s project aims to develop an imaging platform for investigating the multiscale phenomena associated with the photoconversion process.
Jamie Coble – Department of Nuclear Engineering
Development of Capacitive Dimensional Change Sensors for Nuclear Materials Measurement
There is a critical need for sensors that provide real-time data regarding material evolution under high accelerated irradiation. One such sensor is currently under development at ORNL. Coble’s project proposes to create a complementary sensor to provide an alternate measurement modality for in-pile measurement of dimensional change.
Finite-Element Method for the Simulation of Transition and Turbulence in Weakly Compressible Flows
The simulation of fluid-dynamic transition and turbulence is a prevailing challenge in computational fluid dynamics. Coder proposes to develop a thermodynamically consistent numerical methodology for these simulations in the hopes of creating a clear path to exascale computing applications.
Next-generation Neuromorphic Coprocessor Power Consumption in the Beyond Exascale Era
The von Neumann computer architecture has been the basis for computer design for more than half a century, but in recent years neuromorphic computing has emerged as a compliment to that architecture. The primary drawback of these systems currently is the communication between elements and processing units. Dean proposes to develop a new configuration of these elements and processors to address this issue.
Seddik Djouadi – Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Robust Control Design for Power Electronics-Enabled Grid Architectures
Modern power networks are made up of classical electromechanical machines and renewable energy resources interconnected through electronic devices, resulting in characteristics that inhibit performance. Djouadi proposes the creation of a framework to maximize controllability and ensure safe system operations.
Steven Johnston – Department of Physics and Astronomy
Accelerating Quantum Monte Carlo Simulations with Machine Learning
Within the physics community, there is an intense research effort underway to integrate machine learning into advanced non-perturbative simulation methods. Johnston’s research proposes to create more efficient sampling algorithms with improved scaling via quantum Monte Carlo simulations.
Jian Liu – Department of Physics and Astronomy
Merging Phononic and Electronic Functionalities at Oxide Interfaces
Precise control of heat flow is critical in modern technology for a number of reasons. This is particularly challenging at nanoscale as electronic and devices continue to shrink in size. Liu’s project aims to explore the integration of phonic and electronic control as a method for addressing this problem.
Claudia Rawn – Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Complementary X-ray Diffraction Studies for the Characterization of Chromium Dissolution into Molten Chloride Salts
Rawn’s project seeks to leverage the Diffraction Facility at the Joint Institute of Advanced Materials to study the effects of high heat on chromium and molten salts under high heat conditions. The data uncovered may help advance the understanding of the fundamental science behind the depletion of chromium in alloys.
Sarah Werner – Department of Microbiology
Mining GWAVA for Key Factors Shaping Microbiome Structure
Recent studies have demonstrated a clear overlap in the internal microbial communities among plants, the interactions of which contribute to root microbiome composition. Werner’s project aims to identify and test predictions to define a new role for the bacteria Streptomycetacea in the root microbiome.
Steven Wilhelm – Department of Microbiology
Microeukaryotes and Their Viruses : Uncovering Their Hidden Role in One of the Largest Terrestrial Carbon Sinks
In the last two decades, it has become clear that microbes drive nearly all of the major biogeochemical processes on the planet, including activities within microbiomes that range from individual multicellular organisms to entire ecosystems. Wilhelm aims to statistically determine which viruses infect which cells in a microbiome, outside of lab culture efforts, and extend that information to functional processes.