Colorado Higher-Education Interdisciplinary Program - Colorado State University GK-12 Program: A multi-disciplinary research and teaching program in biomedical engineering for discovery and understanding of cell communication

2010-2011 (Year 2) Graduate Fellows

Steve Benoit

Steve Benoit
Second-Year Fellow, Mathematics

I am currently a Ph.D. student in the Mathematics Department at CSU. Before I came to CSU, I earned degrees in Physics and Electrical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. After graduating, I spent twelve years in industry working as a programmer and systems architect, and started a number of small companies in Michigan and Colorado. Now I'm back in the academic world, hoping to move in to a career in science research.

I am the lead software developer for CSU's PACe Program, an online system for delivering pre-calculus mathematics to undergraduate students. The program serves several thousand students each semester, providing video lessons, homework assignments, pre-tests, proctored exams in a secure testing center, and web access to all course materials and reports. My Masters research focused on a technique for desalination of seawater, and my doctoral research is divided between modeling molecular structures and modeling cell migration in the developing brain.

I am married, with one son, and two Basset hounds. I enjoy carpentry, brewing, medieval history, and historic combat martial arts.

Highlights from Year One
I had the chance to work with two great teachers and several different classes, including Algebra, Pre-Calculus, Biology, Anatomy, and a fun class called Magic to Science that teaches science and history with magic tricks, using lots of fire, wild chemical reactions, and experiments.  I tried to bring in new experiments that relate to math where students take measurements then use math to analyze what they saw.

Cherelle Bishop

Cherelle Bishop
First-Year Fellow, Chemistry

I am currently working to obtain my doctorate in analytical and materials chemistry at Colorado State University. I work for Dr. Melissa Reynolds where I am working to create a biodegradable polymer that is capable of releasing nitric oxide. This project allows use of my previous research experience in organic synthesis as well as my passion for analytical instrumentation. My role in the biosensor project will be to lend expertise about the function and detection of nitric oxide, as well as to provide materials that will be necessary for the calibration of these chips. I completed my BSCh at the University of Denver, where I was involved with Science Club and Making of a Scientist. These two programs allowed me to share my passion for chemistry with middle school and high school students while performing exciting demonstrations that illustrate fundamental chemistry relationships. I am very excited to be involved with GK-12 and to have an opportunity to excite future scientists again.

Zach Cashero

Zach Cashero
Second-Year Fellow, Computer Science

I received my Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Toledo.  During this time, I did five internships to get more than two years of experience in the work field. This is an important part of my background because it gave me a different perspective to be able to see all of the concepts I learned in school applied in real-world situations.  It also gave me the chance to travel around and left me with many unforgettable experiences and good friends.

I am now pursuing my Master's degree in Computer Science at Colorado State University will be in my third year. My research focus is Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and applying computing to biological applications. In the coming year, I will be working on a project called Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI) that analyze a user's EEG signals in order to develop assistive technologies for disabled patients. You can check out the project web page with my advisor, Dr. Chuck Anderson, here ( http://www.cs.colostate.edu/eeg/index.html ). There are also many interesting YouTube videos online of BCIs in action.

The algorithms that I develop in order analyze the EEG signals can be applied to the biosensor data. The main goal is to extract the meaningful features from the signal and ignore all of the noise.

Highlights from Year One
- Initial analysis of calibration data for biosensor
- Developed optimization algorithms for circuit design
- Created a cool scaled down biosensor project with Scott Kindt for the high school classroom

Allen Chen

Allen Chen
Second-Year Fellow, Electrical and Computer Engineering

I am a second year graduate student in Tom Chen's group at Colorado State University working on my M.S. in Electrical Engineering.  My research focus is on analog and mixed-signal integrated circuit design.  My role on this project is to help design the front-end and back-end integrated electronics of our biosensor chip.  Our circuits will try to capture the pA currents generated from the electrode arrays and output a digital signature useful to the biologists.  Since the electronics will be part of a biological system, we are shooting for ultra-low power and low-noise in our circuit designs.

I am really into sports, especially hockey.  I love playing hockey, and following Maple Leafs and Avalanche hockey.  I also watch a lot of football and follow the Denver Broncos like a fanatic.  Besides sports, I am a technology junkie and my weakness is cool electronics and gadgets.

Highlights from Year One
- Designed ultra-low voltage 512kb SRAM array
- Developed analog circuit design optimization techniques using linear programming
- Began work on low-voltage, low-noise preamp
- Paper accepted for EuroMicro Digital System Design 2010 Conference in Lille, France.  (A. Chen, R. Hoppal, and T. Chen, "On CMOS Memory Design in Low Supply Voltage for Integrated Biosensor Applications " )
- Paper accepted for ISVLSI 2010 in Greece.  (A. Chen, R. Hoppal, and T. Chen, "Fast Evaluation of Analog Circuits Using Linear Programming" )
- Worked with Kara Quinlan at Rocky Mountain High School with her Physics and AP Physics classes.

Matt Duwe

Matt Duwe
First-Year Fellow, Electrical and Computer Engineering

My name is Matt Duwe and I'm an Electrical Engineering graduate fellow at CSU. My main focus is on studying chip design from both the analog and digital perspective. On the digital side, I am currently working on a transistor level 32-bit adder and multiplier, which will serve as the core of the Digital Signal Processing unit on our chip. On the analog side, I'm designing a potentiostat, which is the electronic control circuit for the electrodes on the biosensor chip.

Outside of the project, my biggest passion is probably sports. I'm a fan of all the Denver sports teams, with my favorite being football. I just got Broncos season tickets finally this year so I'll be at all the games. I also enjoy playing sports like football, basketball, golf, and skiing. I go up to the mountains 10-15 times a year to ski and my favorite resorts are Keystone and Copper. My favorite runs are the double blacks and bowls at Copper.

Megan Easterly

Megan Easterly
Second-Year Fellow, Chemistry

I am a third year graduate student in Chuck Henry's group at Colorado State University working on my PhD in analytical chemistry. I am one of twelve members in the group. Our group focuses on creating biosensors and micro-fluidic devices. Most of the research in the group is to build measurement devices that are able to observe the interaction between chemistry, biology and the environment. My part of the research is to build an electrochemical device that is going to be able to observe nitric oxide (NO) in the brain. So far in the group I have fabricated electrodes to detect caffeine in coffee along with working on an enzyme based electrode to detect glucose.

My favorite part about science is how interdisciplinary it is. I especially love how biology and chemistry are so closely related therefore I love using chemistry techniques to detect biologically relevant compounds, which is why I got chose to work with Chuck. I enjoy learning about the biomedical research that is currently going on. I also enjoy reading up on how chemistry is being used to detect chemicals that are polluting our air, soil and water.

Krystle Frahm

Krystle Frahm
First-Year Fellow, Molecular Biology

Krystle Frahm received her bachelors in Psychology and Master's in Health Psychology from Texas State. She is currently in her third year in the Cell & Molecular Biology PhD program in the Tobet Laboratory. Her current research focuses on vascular development in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus. She is also working on characterizing an in vitro model for visualizing ovulation in live ovary slices. She is looking forward to further understanding the work being generated by the chemistry and engineering departments on the biosensor chip. She is also eager to enhance the content knowledge of her teacher in the high school as well as improve in her ability to communicate science. When not working in the lab, she enjoys spending time with her dog Max and seeing all that Colorado has to offer.

Matt Stratton

Matt Stratton
Second-Year Fellow, Biomedical Sciences

Matt Stratton is a graduate student at Colorado State University in the Cell and Molecular Biology PhD program working under the tutelage of the esteemed Dr. Stuart Tobet. His current research focuses on the development of the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus. This is a grouping of specialized neurons in the brain that regulate various functions including food intake and stress response. Commonly used techniques in his research include fluorescent video microscopy and immunohistochemistry. Matt graduated from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pa with a Bachelors degree in Biology (2001) and received a Masters degree in Zoology and Physiology from the University of Wyoming (2006).