2021 WSU Annual CGRS Abstracts

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    Understanding the physics of droplet electrocoalescence in a microtrap
    (Wichita State University, 2021-02-18) Memon, Faisal Bilal; Koppolu, Bhargav; Burugupally, Sindhu Preetham
    This work details a parametric study for merging microscale water droplets, using an electric field, in a microfluidic device. This device, titled TAP (Trapping and Assisted Pairing) is a cell handling platform for conducting cell-cell (plant cell-microbe) interaction studies for identifying symbiotic/parasitic relationships and to help plant biologists devise approaches to maximize the symbiotic functions and minimize the parasitic functions. This work stems from the big picture idea of smart and sustainable agricultural practices to meet the future global crop production demands in the era of ecosystem degradation and climate change. TAP leverages droplet microfluidics to efficiently electrocoalesce multiple pairs of droplets--one set of droplets containing individual plant cells and another set of droplets containing individual microbes--to initiate multiple cell-microbe interactions. As a first step, through numerical simulations we analyzed the physics of droplet merging and conducted a parametric study to analyze the effect of droplet/fluid properties and droplet gap on their behavior. This study resulted in the generation of a preliminary design-chart--a plot of the droplet fate (merged or non-merged) vs minimum droplet gap d--for a fixed actuation voltage (8 V) and fixed electrode gap (10 microns). We found that for successful merging of the aqueous droplets, the magnitude of the electric field strength E=V/d must be about 4.45 MV/m for γ =0.0025 N/m and about 17.8 MV/m for γ =0.04 N/m. These observations are in good agreement with the existing literature.
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    Optimizing the thermal performance of phase-change thermal management systems for utility-scale applications in Kansas
    (Wichita State University, 2021-02-18) Egbo, Munonyedi Kelvin; Hwang, Gisuk
    Unlike the conventional cooling systems, phase-change cooling systems using wicks offer reliable high and effective heat flux cooling capability. However, the thermal performance of these novel thermal management systems which find applications in both small- (e.g., concentrated heat-dissipating microelectronics) and utility-scale (e.g., power-generating plants) systems are still limited due to some technical challenges. Our research is focused on trying to understand, fundamentally, the physics behind these limitations and addressing them. We dedicate our study towards designing, fabricating, and assessing novel cooling systems that employ sintered-particle metallic wicks and take advantage of the large latent heat of vaporization of liquid coolants such as water. The state of Kansas has numerous utility-scale systems that could benefit from the outcome of this research. For example, the power stations, including nuclear and coal powered plants, such as the Wolf Creek Generating Station and the Wester-Jeffery Energy Centre, employ conventional cooling systems that reduce fuel efficiency and increase carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Therefore, employing these novel cooling systems would potentially increase fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. This is very important considering the fast-depleting energy fuel reserves and the imminent danger of global warming. The food, water, chemical, and material manufacturing industries in Kansas that require either efficient, reliable, and cheap heat dissipation and/or steam generation would also benefit from the success of this work. And finally, the aerospace industry, some of which are in Kansas, is desperately in demand of this technology, and the present study could be the answer.
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    Computerized sentence building as a treatment for aphasia
    (Wichita State University, 2021-02-18) Powell, Addison; Keese, Daphne; O'Bryan, Erin
    Acute cerebrovascular disease (stroke) is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, and those who survive are often left with significant long-term disabilities. According to Kansas Health Matters, between 2016 and 2018, 14.7 out of every 10,000 Kansans were admitted to the hospital due to stroke. Aphasia, which frequently occurs secondary to stroke, results in loss of the ability to speak freely. One cause of difficulty producing conversational speech is an impairment in the ability to build sentences. Existing treatments have shown improvement in spoken language (e.g., Thompson et al., 1997; Doyle et al., 1987), but treatments may not reach full recovery potential. People with aphasia express eagerness to find new therapy approaches to improve communication abilities and to have home therapy programs in addition to in-person therapy. There continues to be a need for effective sentence production treatments that can be easily translated into a home program. This presentation reports results from a treatment study examining whether a computerized sentence building task has therapeutic value for people with aphasia. The treatment is based on a sentence processing task known as the word maze, first developed by Freedman and Forster in 1985. Seven people with aphasia performed the task once or twice per week in forty-minute long periods for a total of 6-8 sessions. All participants showed improved task accuracy and increased scores on the Assessment for Living with Aphasia. Two participants showed an 8-point increase on the Western Aphasia Battery-R Aphasia Quotient.
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    Wheat protein-based bio-scaffold for neural regeneration
    (Wichita State University, 2021-02-18) Brice, Ryan; Yao, Li
    Spinal and peripheral nerve injuries are common in both civil and military environments and are primarily the result of transection injuries or burns. In the majority of nerve injuries, the nerve ends cannot be directly sutured. Biomaterial conduits can act as a bridge to connect two damaged nerve ends together, providing channels to guide nerve growth. In the proposed project, we fabricated a novel multichannel neural conduit with a hybrid composition of collagen and wheat glutenin (WG) for nerve repair and regeneration. Collagen is a common biomaterial that mimics a microenvironment suitable for neural growth. However, collagen materials have weak mechanical properties. The WG component in the proposed neural conduit can increase its mechanical strength. In this project, a WG-collagen neural conduit has been fabricated and a number of studies are performed to characterize the mechanical, molecular, chemical, and biocompatible properties of the neural conduits. Because gliadin is toxic to animal tissue, the glutenin will be extracted from the wheat gluten and the gliadin component will be removed. Our preliminary study by western blotting showed that gliadin has been effectively removed from WG. Adult human astrocytes (HA) were cultured on top of WG-collagen and shown to support cell growth. The outcome of our study indicates that the neural conduit is suitable to be grafted into the injured rat nerve to investigate nerve regeneration and functional recovery.
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    A survey of Kansas speech-language pathologists' knowledge and confidence regarding literacy intervention
    (Wichita State University, 2021-02-18) Chavira, Judydiana; Marble-Flint, Karissa J.; Parham, Douglas F.; Novak, Colleen; Mason Cramer, Katherine
    The connection between spoken and written language has been well established in the research literature. Spoken language is a crucial component in supporting the development of reading and writing. For the past 19 years, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) have had a role in providing literacy services. SLPs are trained in the areas of speech, language, and communication. Their knowledge and expertise regarding spoken and written language qualifies SLPs to intervene in the area of literacy. However, SLPs report that they are still not completely confident in providing services. A recent report indicated Kansas' students are not at grade level in reading and writing. This is alarming, as literacy is integral to be successful in college and the workplace. If literacy intervention is not provided, students will not be prepared to meet the demands necessary to contribute to the flourishing development of the economy in Kansas, as they will not have the necessary skills required when entering the workforce. The current study aims to (1) assess Kansas school-based SLPs' knowledge and confidence with providing literacy services through the distribution of an online survey and to (2) understand how to best serve children with written language disorders in public schools. This study replicates a published survey. Participants were recruited through the state association for Kansas SLPs. Preliminary results indicate SLPs could benefit from professional development about literacy intervention for high schoolers. This survey research project will inform future studies and professional development opportunities for Kansas SLPs in the area of literacy intervention.