2023 Science and Engineering Lecture Series 

PiperSpeaker: Sundari Ramabhotla, Department of Engineering, Jacksonville University

Title: Energy Management in Microgrids

Abstract:  A microgrid, an emerging technology in the electric power systems, has various benefits due to the implementation of distributed energy sources along with the loads. A microgrid utilizing the wind energy, solar energy, combined heat and power, natural gas generator, diesel generator, and battery storage is considered in an islanded mode of operation. The economic dispatch optimization is implemented using a reduced gradient algorithm to optimize the Operation and Maintenance cost in the islanded mode of the microgrid. The cost of each energy source is evaluated for every hour of the day using MATLAB code. Then, the availability of each energy source in the microgrid is evaluated. The results obtained are validated by comparing the Operation and Maintenance cost and the availability of each energy source in the microgrid. The optimal solution is achieved by considering the change in wind forecast and battery energy storage profiles.

Bio: Dr. Sundari Ramabhotla joined the faculty of Jacksonville University in August 2022. She received her Ph.D. from Texas Tech University in 2015, MS from California State University in 2010 and BS from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in 2007 all in Electrical Engineering field. Her research is based on microgrids, renewable energy, power systems, and sustainable energy. She performed post-doctoral research studies at Texas Tech University working on advanced research of power systems and microgrids. She has 5 years of teaching experience in Electrical Engineering at various universities before joining JU. She is a Senior Member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a Life Member of Society of Women Engineers.

MaryGraceSpeaker: Mary Grace I. Galinato, Department of Chemistry, Jacksonville University

Title:  Systematically Influencing Function and Optical Properties in Porphyrin Proteins by Fine-Tuning their Active Sites

Abstract: Porphyrin proteins are ubiquitous in nature, as they are present in bacteria, plants, and mammals. The structural nature of the pigments or co-factors in these proteins has evolved to fully optimize the function of the biomolecule. This presentation explores the structure-function relationship in proteins from various organisms studied throughout the speaker’s career, focusing on their optical spectroscopic properties and electronic structures as guiding parameters. In particular, the enzymes that will be discussed are Cyt P450cam, myoglobin, and human serum albumin complexed with heme, and their function in reacting with NOx species (e.g. nitrite reduction) or oxidizing sulfur-containing compounds (e.g. oxidative desulfurization). Key sites in the structure of the protein are systematically fine-tuned, and their spectroscopic and kinetic properties are investigated. Results from this work provide a foundation for designing enhanced catalysts based on the nitrite reductase or desulfurase activities of porphyrin proteins.

Bio: Dr. Grace Galinato is an associate professor of chemistry at Jacksonville University. She has a B.S.in Chemistry from the University of the Philippines, and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Connecticut where she investigated the optical spectroscopic properties of polyenes and xanthophylls in light harvesting plant proteins. She was a postdoctoral teaching and research fellow at the University of Michigan and studied the electronic properties of heme proteins, while teaching general and physical chemistry. Currently, she investigates the effect of changing the protein active site on small molecule binding. Throughout her career, Grace has stayed in academia, beginning as an instructor at the University of the Philippines, to associate professor at Pennsylvania State University – Erie Campus, and now at JU. She loves teaching undergraduates and mentoring them in research. When she is not in lab, she likes playing tennis, trying different kinds of food, chatting with friends, and spending time with family. 

BlancSpeaker: Evens Blanc, Viz.ai

Title: A Brief Introduction to Clinical Research Monitoring

Abstract: Billions of dollars are spent annually to conduct clinical trials. These are sophisticated operations that require involvement from multidisciplinary teams. This includes the FDA, IRB, sponsor personnel, site, and many more. Per FDA and ICH-GCP regulations, each trial needs to be monitored to ensure patient safety & data integrity. Today, I am aiming to shed a light on this niche field of “clinical research monitoring” that is perhaps unknown to you. 

Bio: Evens Blanc currently work as a Clinical Research Operations Manager at Viz.ai. Viz.ai is a biotech company that leverages FDA-approved algorithms to streamline communication and improve outcomes in stroke, vascular, and cardiology medical events. Originally from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, he moved to the US at 14 years old. He graduated from Jacksonville University in 2017 with a Biology and French bachelors degrees. After JU, he began working in clinical research operations as a clinical research associate (CRA) from 2018-2022 for both a Clinical Research Organization (CRO) and a Sponsor organization (Viz.ai). He is married to my wife for about 3.5 years, and recently welcomed their beautiful baby girl. He Is currently attending the MBA program at SMU to obtain his masters in Business Administration with a focus in strategy and operations. 

MuratSpeaker: Josh Derbabian, Department of Mathematics, Jacksonville University

Title: Fractal Characteristics of Newton’s Method Applied to the Cosine Function

Abstract: Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales. Nature is full of these fractals and we can see them in rivers, plants, and even the human body. Derived from recursion, we can generate these images sometimes in very simple ways. This talk will look at the geometry of fractals and explore where these images are found in mathematics.

Bio: Josh Derbabian is currently an instructor of Mathematics at Jacksonville University. He received both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts from Jacksonville University. Having attended SELS lectures many times as a student, Josh is excited to return now as a speaker.



DiniusSpeaker: Paul Dinius, Department of Engineering, Jacksonville University

Title: The Charge of Command- Leading Engineering, Technical and Tactical Nuclear Powered Submarine Teams in Arduous Environments

Abstract: The safe and effective operation of US Nuclear Powered Submarines is one of the most demanding missions in the US Department of Defense.  Submarine crews are high performance teams that must operate in unusually arduous conditions, in port and at sea, to ensure the safe operation of a nuclear propulsion plant and extended months-long operations when deployed. These teams must often make split-second decisions that impact the lives of the crew, the safety of the submarine, and the outcome of national security missions. This discussion will provide my perspective of how to successfully lead complex teams and build a culture of excellence. The presentation will be made through the lens of life onboard a submarine and provide the audience with several vignettes, to include extensive shipyard maintenance, crew conduct, arctic operations, hurricane sorties, shallow water operations, and overseas deployments. These vignettes will focus on my submarine experiences, including command of a submarine, and how these lessons may apply or translate to leading other technical or engineering teams.

Bio: Dr. Dinius joins the JU Engineering faculty as a retired CAPTAIN after more than 30 years in the US Navy. He most recently served as Chief of Staff-Submarine Group TEN, responsible for 5,000 Sailors and 8 nuclear-powered submarines in Kings Bay, Georgia. During his distinguished career, he successfully developed and executed submarine force strategic mission/vision while serving on five nuclear-powered submarines and having commanded the fast-attack submarine USS HELENA (SSN 725). Dr. Dinius has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Norwich University, a MS in Mechanical Engineering from University of Oklahoma, a Masters in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University, and a DBA from Apollos University.  He holds certifications from the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program and is a Registered Professional Engineer in Mechanical Engineering.

AlasammaniSpeaker: Abdallah Alsammani, Department of Mathematics, Jacksonville University

Title: The Dynamical Analysis of the Hepatitis B Virus Infection Model

Abstract: Mathematical modeling of population and transmission dynamics of infectious diseases provides a strong understanding of the virus dynamics, which helps to prevent or reduce the impact of infectious diseases. This presentation discusses the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) infection model in three approaches: autonomous, nonautonomous, and stochastic. The solution properties (existence, uniqueness, and positiveness) and stability analysis will be discussed. Finally, the numerical simulations of each case are provided to support and illustrate the theoretical results.

Bio: Dr. Alsammani is an assistant professor of data science at Jacksonville University. Before joining JU, he did postdoctoral training at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the University of Georgia. He received his Ph.D. in applied and computational mathematics from Auburn University in 2020. He did a postgraduate diploma at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics "ICTP" (2014) in  Itlay. He got his master's in applied mathematics from the African Institute for Mathematical Science  "AIMS" (2012) in Senegal. His BSc was in Mathematics at Al-Neelain University (2009) in Sudan.

NashSpeaker: Meaza Bogale, Department of Mathematics, Jacksonville University

Title: Adjoint Orbits of Borel Subgroup on Maximal Nilpotent Subalgebra of Types A and C

Abstract: I describe the adjoint orbits of a Borel subgroup on a maximal nilpotent algebra of Types A and C. Using graph representations and Un-similarity actions, I obtained new properties of the Belitskii's canonical forms. My goals are to describe elementary adjoint actions in the maximum nilpotent subalgebra n of the Lie algebra sp2n in terms of the positive root system, give a redefined version of Belitskii's algorithm and use this algorithm to describe the corresponding canonical forms on the lattice of positive roots. Finally, I will close the presentation by discussing several possible directions for future research.

Bio: Dr. Bogale is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Jacksonville University. She received B.Ed degree in Mathematics from Jimma University, Ethiopia (2005), M.Sc. degrees in Mathematics from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia (2008), Postgraduate Diploma/Pre-Ph.D.  in Mathematics, from the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy (2013), and a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Auburn University (2021). She was an instructor at Auburn university after she obtained her Ph.D. She was teaching a variety of mathematics courses and mentoring undergraduate research projects at the university level for more than 16 years. Current research interests/Areas of Specialization are on Matrix Theory, Linear Algebra, Lie Algebra, Lie Groups.

Speaker: Larry D. Sutton, LPOXY Therapeutics Zeng

Title: Science Anecdotes of a Serial Entrepreneur

Abstract: Scientists study nature to determine how it works. I see the world, our everyday world, through the lens of science. In this lecture I recount several anecdotes about how science, often underclassmen level science, has solved problems or led to inventions in my businesses. I will discuss how stoichiometry (gen chem), statistical mechanics (gen chem), and conformational changes (o chem) affects food processing. I’ll show how simple electron pushing (o chem) led to a solution to antibiotic resistance. I’ll demonstrate how using solubility constants (gen chem) mitigated an acid-base (gen chem) problem that is leading to a novel prevention for a CDC urgent priority disease. And finally, I’ll demonstrate a simple method we all can use to trap carbon from the atmosphere, then sequester it forever back into the ground.

Bio:  Larry Sutton is a first generation college student and serial entrepreneur.  First earning his associate degree with honors from Indian Hills Community College, he transferred to Truman State University where he earned his B.A. in chemistry graduating summa cum laude.  Via the University of Iowa’s Medical Scientist Training Program, he earned an M.D. and a Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry.  He completed medical specialty training in Clinical Pathology at the University of Iowa and Family Medicine at Broadlawns Medical Center.  He held faculty positions at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Department of Pathology, Benedictine College Department of Chemistry and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Department of Pathology where he was Director of Medical Microbiology at the McClellan VAMC.  In the private sector he practiced Family and Emergency Medicine.  His entrepreneurship started prior to college when he operated a construction company building homes across the southeastern Iowa region, a natural food company that achieved national distribution, exiting to a Fortune 100 company, and an antibiotic company targeting Gram-negative multi-drug-resistant infections which was backed by venture capital including investments from Merck and GSK.  Currently, he is the CEO of LPOXY Therapeutics which is developing a novel orally-administered oxygen therapeutic to prevent C. difficile infections.  Along the way he home-schooled his daughters who both received full tuition scholarships at Case Western Reserve University.


Speaker: Wei Guo, College of Engineering, Florida State University

Title: Visualization study of quantum fluid dynamics in superfluid 4He

Abstract: When liquid 4He is cooled to below about 2.17 K, it enters the so-called superfluid phase (known as He II). In this superfluid phase, He II can be regarded as a mixture of two miscible fluid components: an inviscid superfluid component and viscous normal-fluid component. This two-fluid system can exhibit fascinating quantum-fluid behaviors that are valuable for scientific and engineering applications. For instance, He II supports the most efficient heat-transfer mechanism which is called thermal counterflow; and it also allows the generation of flows with extremely high Reynolds numbers for laboratory study of the turbulence produced around airplanes and submarines. However, the lack of high-precision flow measurement tools in He II has impeded the progress in our understanding and utilizing its hydrodynamic properties. In recent years, there have been extensive efforts in developing quantitative flow visualization techniques applicable to He II. Two types of techniques based on the use of either frozen particle tracers (i.e. micron-sized frozen particles) or molecular tracers (i.e. He2* excimer molecules) have been developed. I will discuss our contributions in this field and will highlight some recent progress in imaging quantized vortices in He II. I will also discuss how our techniques can help solving practical problems in particle accelerator field.

Bio: Dr. Wei Guo is an Associate Professor of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Florida State University and the director of the Cryogenics Lab at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. Dr. Guo obtained his B.S. degree in Physics from Wuhan University in 2002 and received his Ph.D. in physics from Brown University in 2008. After graduation, he worked at Yale University as a postdoc in 2008-2010 and as a research scientist there in 2010-2012. He joined Florida State University in the summer of 2012. His research interests include quantum fluid dynamics, cryogenic heat and mass transfer, cavitation and bubble dynamics, and cryogenic particle detector and accelerator physics. His work has been supported by federal funding agencies, such as the National Science Foundation, US Department of Energy, NASA, Army Research Office, as well as national labs and industrial partners. He is a recipient of the JSPS Invitation Fellowship award and was recently selected for the Experimental Physics Investigator Award from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Rachel RhodeSpeaker: Rachel Rhode, Environmental Defense Fund

Title: Building Coastal and Watershed Resilience in Florida and Louisiana through Comprehensive Policy and Advocacy

Abstract: EDF seeks to ensure that climate resilient and healthy communities and ecosystems along coasts and rivers can thrive with water, and are safe, equitable and prosperous places to live, work and play. EDF advocates coastwide for the integration of natural and nature-based solutions. In Florida, EDF is developing and implementing locally supported solutions that engage communities from the ground up and governments from the top down by using science based solutions. In Louisiana, EDF is shaping and advancing the implementation of a bipartisan 50-year, $50 billion Coastal Master Plan to slow land loss and secure a more resilient and sustainable Mississippi River Delta through investments in natural infrastructure. Each state can learn from one another, and our success in Louisiana for more than a decade have allowed us to bring lessons learned to other states starting to tackle the same issues such as Florida. This presentation will provide an overview of climate resilience work in both states and why it matters for future generations.

Bio: As a manager for EDF’s climate resilient coasts and watersheds strategic initiative, Rachel works to build resilience for coastal communities facing unprecedented threats from climate change. She seeks opportunities for innovation and collaboration that engage communities from the ground up and governments from the top down by using science-based solutions. Committed to developing and implementing locally-supported solutions, Rachel aims to help vulnerable communities bounce forward — rather than back — from disasters and other climate change impacts. Rachel received her BA in Marine Science from Jacksonville University in 2013 and MS in Marine Environmental Science from Nova Southeastern University. Her thesis work centered on river diversions and wetland loss in the Mississippi River Delta and their associated effects on oysters.

J. LewisSpeaker: Nolan Carney,Program of Chemical Biology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Title:  Synthesis of Cardiotonic Steroids Oleandrin, Rhodexin B, and Beaumontoside

Abstract: Cardiotonic steroids are a broad group of natural products that vary in chemical functionality (ie., C17 heterocycles, oxygenation pattern, and glycoside) and biological activity. Two steroids of interest are oleandrin and beaumontoside. Oleandrin is currently obtained through extraction from Nerium oleander and beaumontoside is not commercially available, but similar in structure to oleandrin providing potential as a therapeutic. Oleandrin is of interest for its anti-viral properties including the treatment of flu like symptoms and reducing SARS-CoV-2 levels by 3000-fold in golden hamsters. Our group is particularly interested in oleandrin’s use in treating Alzheimer’s disease using its ability to cross the blood brain barrier and reducing cellular prion protein levels. We developed the first synthesis of oleandrin and beaumontoside for therapeutic investigation and accessibility through synthetic means. Future studies will allow for derivatives to be synthesized in hopes of a suitable treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

Bio:  Nolan is a 5th year PhD student from the Nagorny group. Originally, he is from Jacksonville, Florida where he attended Jacksonville University. After obtaining his bachelor degrees in chemistry and biology in 2018, he was accepted into the Program of Chemical Biology at the University of Michigan. In 2019, he joined Professor Pavel Nagorny’s group with interest in the synthesis of biologically active natural products with emphasis on cardiac glycosides. During his studies, Nolan has received an NSF GRFP honorable mention and is a recipient of the 2022 Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship.