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2013 Image of Research Finalists
Jackie Popp, Learning Sciences
Sixth grade students investigate a replica of a shaduf, a tool to draw water from the river, as part of their ongoing inquiry about what life was like for everyday people in ancient Egypt. Project READi (Reading, Evidence, and Argumentation in Disciplinary Instruction) studies how to support middle school and high school students in creating arguments from multiple sources within the content areas of history, science, and literature. In history and social studies classrooms, teachers help students "do history." History is "argument without end" (Pieter Catharinus Arie Geyl, Dutch historian), and doing history involves engaging in the investigatory and discursive practices of historians. Ultimately this entails critically examining multiple sources from the past and closely reading sources written about the past to construct historical interpretations of what happened. These practices are anything but simple and straightforward. But by continually practicing disciplinary ways of asking and answering historical questions, students hone their critical thinking skills and become active participants in the ongoing dialogue of the discipline.
Perceiving and Responding to Gender
Karen Drill, Educational Psychology
My research examines how category-based expectancies influence the way we respond to others during interpersonal encounters. I'm particularly interested the reactions we have when we meet people whose individual features and characteristics do not align with a perceiver's prior expectations.
The images above were culled from four short videos I created. Each of the videos serves as the stimulus material for a study that explores how perceivers react to a target's normative or non-normative gender appearance. In the images, salient markers of gender (e.g., makeup, suit, and tie) have been manipulated on a male and female actor to demonstrate how gender presentation influences our cognitive and affective responses.
As you view these images, consider how they affect you. What feelings do they evoke? How do they align with your beliefs about gender and gender appearance? Do your reactions differ based on which image you are viewing?
Zehra Ahmed, Architecture
"One sees a picture only in sections; always just one section at a time: thus for example the head, not the body, if it is a portrait; or the eye, but not the nose or the mouth. Therefore everything is always correct. Each deformation is correct, for exactly that reason." -Pablo Picasso
Taken at the site of Picasso's iconic sculpture in Daley Plaza, this image was part of a study titled from Dawn to Dusk for my architectural photography elective. Although Picasso never made known his intentions when gifting his sculpture to the City of Chicago, the work continued in Picasso's proud Cubist tradition of three-dimensional fragmentation and reassembly of form that was unconstrained by a single perspective.
In my study, I used triptychs to capture sections of the sculpture in morning, afternoon and evening light. As the day progressed, my focus during the photo-shoot shifted from the sculpture's geometric volumes silhouetted against the morning sky, to one-point perspectives that captured structural details in the afternoon, to this image at dusk which uses the voids and permeable sections of the sculpture to frame the context behind the sculpture. In this sense the photograph is a Cubist approach to a Cubist sculpture.
Retinitis Pigmentosa: Through the Eyes of Cindy LeDonne
Yu-hui Huang, Biomedical Visualization
Individuals with retinal degenerative diseases have a high lifetime need for ongoing patient education not only for themselves but also for others involved in their daily lives. This patient education is necessary to reduce the risk of misunderstandings and serious accidents due to the patients' gradual progressive vision loss. The purpose of this research is to address this need through the creation of a streaming public education video on a website designed to reach a geographically diverse audience of visually impaired individuals and their caregivers, providers, coworkers, families and friends.
In partnerships with the Department of Medical Education of UIC College of Medicine and The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, we have created educational videos and a hosting website to provide information on visual impairments, first person insights from persons afflicted with said conditions, and expert discussion from retinal specialists. The image is a still from the educational videos produced in Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects to simulate how individuals with retinitis pigmentosa see the world as they progressively lose their vision.
Temel Yasar, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
This image is a graphical representation of randomly oriented idle (lazy) protons sitting to be imaged with Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI).
My research is about developing new diagnostic mechanical property imaging techniques utilizing an MRI system. Although this imaging technique, which is called Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE), cannot be visualized graphically since it at least spans 4 dimensions, the starting point of magnetically polarized hydrogen atoms (protons) are rendered in this image. This image is actually just the first frame of a video file that has been created in computer environment for introducing principles of MRI to the audience who has no priori background knowledge in MRI principles.
The arrows crossing the body of red spheres, which are protons, indicates the direction of magnetic field created by the spin of proton itself. Yellow crescents on the protons are placed to make it possible to see the rotation of protons in animated version of this image.
Maria Javaid, Electrical and Computer Engineering
The goal of our interdisciplinary research is to develop an interface for older people to effectively communicate with a robotic assistant so that they can safely remain living in their home. We are devising a multimodal interface since people communicate with one another using a variety of verbal and non-verbal signals, including haptics, i.e., physical interactions. We view physical interaction as an integral component of communication, which in some cases drives the interaction between the user and the robot, and we study its relation to speech and gestures. We are mainly focused on Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) like getting up from a bed or chair, ambulating in the apartment, and preparing a meal.
The photograph shows a helper performing ADL while wearing a data glove. The data glove is developed in Robotics Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago to study physical interaction between the elderly and the helper. For the glove, pressure sensors are attached to each segment of each finger and palm, while an inertia measurement unit captures overall hand motion. The glove is connected to a processor box, which transmits the data wirelessly to the PC.
Choreographed Testing of Total Knee Replacements
Christopher Knowlton, Bioengineering
Total knee replacements are a common surgical intervention to alleviate debilitating pain at the knee, but wear of the implants has limited their longevity. Accelerated wear testing can be performed to evaluate materials and design; current standards only test walking. My research indicates that these standards do not reproduce wear in the body, and that simulating other daily patient activities, such as sitting down, standing up, walking up stairs and walking down stairs, may more accurately predict the wear of total knee replacements in the body. This image is a still taken during the filming of my entry for the 2012 Dance Your Ph.D. contest, which challenges Ph.D. students to translate their thesis research into a choreographed dance. The image shows a three-station knee simulator, represented by the three women with red knee pads, and the new inputs driving the simulator, represented by myself on the floor cycling their legs like pistons through the motions of the knee during wear testing. The dance film was a finalist in the competition and can be seen in its entirety online at https://vimeo.com/50507963.
SpiderSense: Human Augmenting for the Future
Our research draws inspiration from Comic Books, where the heroes can interpret the world using special senses. For example Spiderman feels a tingling feeling at the base of his skull when there is imminent danger, a power known as SpiderSense. We are doing research on Human Augmentics (HA); that is technologies for enhancing and expanding the capabilities, cognitive abilities, and characteristics of humans.
In the above image you can see "SpiderSense," a tactile vest that gives the wearer the ability to localize obstacles and objects by feeling the environment around him. It consists of 13 sensors, strategically placed around the body to provide full 360o coverage. Using the principals of echolocation, the sensors scan the environment for obstacles and provide distance information via variable pressure on the skin feedback. Our research focuses on experimenting with different sensor placement techniques, cognitive learning curves, and distance to pressure mapping algorithms. Wearing SpiderSense the wearer can feel threats from blind spots, and in low-light conditions. The impact of this technology is huge: Imagine walking down the street and feeling a potential attacker that is sneaking behind you, or biking down the road and sensing the incoming cars.
We are also submitting a paper for this project at the 4th Augmented Human International Conference.
Researchers: V. Mateevitsi, B. Haggadone, B. Kunzer
Photo: Lance Long
Dividing Astrocytes-Guardians of the Brain
Ying Hsu, Nairyna Constantino & Minh Tran, Bioengineering
Astrocytes are the natural guardian of neurons. If astrocytes fail to maintain proper brain microenvironment, neurons can stop firing within minutes. When the brain cells are exposed to "stress" such as the lack of oxygen during stroke, astrocytes release detoxifying enzymes in order to prolong the survival of neurons in tough conditions. The synthesis of detoxifying enzymes is controlled by a molecule, Nrf2, the activator of a powerful cellular defense mechanism.
This image captures a pair of dividing astrocytes. In the image, red proteins are GFAP, the identity cards for astrocytes. Nrf2 is labeled with green. We can see thin filaments consisting of Nrf2 bound to the actin cytoskeleton. Once the cells sense "stress," a transformation of the cytoskeleton occurs, and Nrf2 moves into the nucleus to bind to the gene, producing a number of detoxifying enzymes. This is how astrocytes offer powerful protection to neurons in the brain. My research at UIC focuses on the activation of Nrf2 in the brain by pharmaceuticals. This work was performed in the Laboratory for Product and Process Design directed by Dr. Andreas Linninger, where therapies are being developed to activate the defense mechanisms in astrocytes for curing neurological disorders.
Quantum Dots on Bench-Top
Adela Isovic, Chemistry
Quantum dots (QDs) are remarkable nanoparticles which fluoresce based on the properties of their specific size and chemical makeup. By altering the configuration, shape, or composition of a particular QD we can quantitatively 'see' the change in structure due to the shift in both QD absorption and emission. My research is focused on the novel synthesis of QD structures with innovative, practical, and impactful applications of those formations. The image provided showcases the stark visual aspect of QD size, where smaller QDs result in higher frequencies of light emitted. Set on a bench top and illuminated with UV light, the different properties exhibited are directly attributable to the exceptional control of quantum confinement with each individual sample.
Chayant Tantipathananandh, Computer Science
This image was captured in Kenya during the field trip as part of a course in computational ecology, which is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Department of Computer Science at UIC and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. My team studied two symbiotic ant species (Crematogaster mimosae and C. nigriceps) on how they help protect whistling thorn trees (Acacia drepanolobium) against a new species of parasitic midges. This image was captured during an experiment to observe the response of ants toward invading beetles. From our observation, C. nigriceps ants are more aggressive toward invertebrate invaders and trees inhabited by them are less likely to be infested by the parasitic midges. This suggests that the defensiveness of ant species might explain the differences in infestation of acacia trees by the parasitic midges.