2015 UWill Discover Undergraduate Research Conference – winners

WINDSOR, ON – Congratulations to the 2015 UWill Discover winners and all our participants! UWill Discover, our first annual campus-wide undergraduate research conference, took place Tuesday, March 24th, 2015 in the CAW Centre and Dillon Hall. Students presented their creative ideas, research, and innovations. Please see below for a selection of some of the winners’ brief research ideas. Complete list available on the UWill Discover website. 10730972_10153048307941281_1282221248651442650_n
  • Disciplinary First Prize $250: Odette School of Business
Name: Claudia Cheng Major: 2nd year Honours Business Administration Co-op Faculty: Dr. Zhenzhong Ma 19089_10153048302186281_3314910885279300395_n Research Topic: Innovation for sustainability: Antecedents for technological innovation in China China is one of the most important emerging markets and has a great potential to become the next economic superpower with its world second largest GDP and fast economic growth. Yet it remains unclear how sustainable its economy could be in the turbulent world economy. This research proposes that technological innovation can help sustain China’s economic development and then examines China’s unique cultural environment and institutional context that might affect Chinese companies in different ways in innovation. Propositions are developed to explore the potential impact of a variety of antecedent factors for technological innovation in China. The examination of the relationship between institutional constraints and technological innovation, along with the comparison of the effects of various factors on innovation will help explore the unique characteristics of Chinese culture and facilitates multinationals’ entry into the Chinese market.
  • Faculty of Science 1st place (tie)
Name: Melissa Mathers Major: Honours Physics with Thesis student 20692_10153048303021281_2996045450353664326_n copy 4 Research Topic:  Tuneable Light Enhancement in Thin-Film Solar Cells Using Gold Nanoparticles This project uses gold nanoparticles to increase the efficiency of thin-film silicon solar cells, which are a cheaper alternative to traditional solar cells.  By changing the size and spacing between the nanoparticles, physicists are able to tune the wavelength at which light enhancement occurs.  In this research, the optimal size and spacing configuration was determined for optimal light enhancement, and thereby current generation, in a thin-film silicon solar cell.
  • Faculty of Science 1st place (tie)
Name: Daniel Tarade Major: Arts and Science Major 20692_10153048303021281_2996045450353664326_n copy 2 Research Topic: What I presented on was the naturally occurring anti-cancer compound, combretastatin A4 (CA4), as well as two novel, structurally simplified analogues. I showed that, for the first time ever, that structurally simplified analogues can possess anti-cancer activity. My work was conducted as a part of my fourth year thesis in the Chemistry & Biochemistry department. My research supervisor was Dr. Pandey. I am an Arts and Science major, with a major concentration in Biochemistry with thesis and a minor concentration in communications, media, and film.
  • Faculty of Science 3rd place
Name: Cody Caba Major: fourth-year honours biochemistry (with thesis) The Research Group of Dr. Bulent Mutus 10983353_10153048304656281_1662732883854021808_n Research Topic: Protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) is a five-domain protein-thiol oxidoreductase part of the thioredoxin superfamily of enzymes.  PDI is primarily localized in the endoplasmic reticulum of eukaryotic cells, but may be found to be secreted from cells as well as on cell surfaces.  Physiologically, PDI plays important roles in proper protein folding as well as such processes as nitric oxide transport in vasculature.  Its catalytic activities include redox state-dependent chaperone activity, disulfide isomerization, and thiol-disulfide redox.  Of particular importance to this work is the oxidoreductase activity of PDI mediated by thea and a’ domains, each of which contains a -CXXC- active site motif.  Recently described is the potential catalytic role of a neighbouring lysine residue, extending this motif to be recognized as -CXXCK-.  The current study is to investigate the impact of active site point mutations of these lysine residues of interest via substitutions to glutamic acid.  Kinetic studies will be performed using the fluorogenic probe dieosin glutathione disulfide, a pseudo-substrate for PDI.  Deviations from wild type should give indications as to the catalytic role of a neighbouring lysine residue in its proposed ability to enhance the nucleophilicity of the respective vicinal cysteines.  This may add to the mechanistic insight to both PDI’s oxidoreductase activity as well as its potential regulation in vivo.  
  • Blue Sky Competition (Sponsored by EPICentre):
1st place : Let’s Park Team members: Codie Bouliane (Business Admin -Finance) Foad Karimian (Business Admin –Marketing & Strategy) Hayden Freker (Business Admin -Marketing) Sanah Malik (Business Admin -Strategy & Entrepreneurship) 10313379_10153048296441281_7306846079197700229_n Our mobile app called “Let’s Park” provides a list of parking spaces available in the area you are driving. It is posted by homeowners if their driveways available. “Let’s Park” will make easy for drivers who wish to park but cannot find street parking or want to avoid expensive parking garage tickets. 2nd place: Coloured Harvest Team members and majors: Farzana Afrin (Master’s student in Biochemistry) Fahmida Afrin (Undergraduate student in Civil Engineering) 11050228 Our idea for the Blue Sky Competition is a genetically modified cotton plant which will grow coloured cotton instead of regular white cotton. This can be done by inserting flower pigmentation genes into the cotton genome. By producing coloured cotton we can avoid using synthetic dyes to colour the cotton fibers. This means that waste from these synthetic dyes will not be produced and released into the environment. It will also cost manufacturers less in the long run since they do not have to purchase dyes and go through the process of dyeing fibers. Our group consists of Farzana Afrin (Master’s student in Biochemistry) and Fahmida Afrin (Undergraduate student in Civil Engineering) and our group name is the Coloured Harvest. 3rd place: OneStrand Team Members and Majors: Fatin Majumder (Computer Science) Laura Zixia (Business) Meghan Fowler (BFA Acting) Jordan Casey (Business and Computer Science) 11083855_10153048305666281_656206304666157763_n OneStrand is a method that utilizes hair as a resource to produce a product instead of destroying it and releasing the gases into the atmosphere. The main concept is to collect the hair for free while providing a good name for the participating hair salons. With this good name, these salons will give their customers incentive to continue coming back and invite others. Our company breaks down the hair into compost and provides it to local farmers and retailers. The founders of OneStrand are still deciding on what the next step will be for the company, but implementing the concept is quite lucrative. Our group has enjoyed the research and creating the idea. The best part would have been making the video. Blue Sky Viewers choice winner – Quick Coffee Team Members and Majors: Moaaz Elsayed (Mechanical Engineering) Mohammed Gouda (Mechanical Engineering) Coffee Quick.jpg
Quick Coffee is a portable electric hot drink maker that can produce a hot beverage within minutes. As coffee is a huge industry in Canada (2/3 of Canadians drink around 3 cups daily), having a portable coffee maker can open a new market to consumers. Customers will no longer have to wait in long lines at coffee shops nor wait at home for their coffee to brew. Quick Coffee is a revolutionary solution that will provide coffee or any other hot beverage to go as long as water and coffee/pods pods are available. This product’s unique feature is that it can use any tea or coffee pods from any brand (K-cups), or tea/coffee mix from home. Enjoy your drink instantly anywhere with Quick Coffee!

Submitted by Bora Lee, EPICentre Student Ambassador.