Congratulations to Our 2020-21 NASA REU Participants

2020-21 NASA REU – Hybrid Model

In spite of not being able to have a Summer 2020 REU due to COVID-19, NASA REU is moving forward for 2020-21 with REU for a 10 week period beginning October 1, 2020.The following UAB students have been selected to participate in this fascinating hybrid REU model.  We want to recognize and congratulate them.

Rachel Day is a UAB Junior
Major: Physics
Mentor: Dr. Andrei Stanishevsky, Physics

Hannah Blansett is a Junior at UAB
Major: Materials Science & Engineering
Mentor: Dr. Vinoy Thomas, Material Sciences and Engineering

Brita is a UAB Senior
Major: Physics
Mentor: Dr. Cheng-Chien, Physics
Ishmael James
Ishmael is a Senior at UAB
Major: Physics
Mentor: Dr. Ryoichi Kawai, Physics

NASA Fall 2020 Research Experiences for Undergraduates

NASA – Alabama Space Grant Consortium

Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) Program

Hybrid and Remote Undergraduate Research Experiences in Materials Research

University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)

NASA-Alabama Space Grant Consortium (ASGC) program at UAB is inviting applications for a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program during Fall-2020 and Spring-2021 from students that are currently enrolled at UAB. We offer REU-projects in five research clusters: (1) computational materials research/machine learning (2) materials under extreme conditions (3) materials for energy applications, (4) materials for sensors and laser applications, and (5) biomaterials for implants, tissue engineering and drug delivery applications. This REU experience will be offered in a hybrid model which will include fully remote participation for computational research projects and partly remote and partly on ground lab experiences for experimental research projects within the constraints of social distancing and other laboratory safety measures. The undergraduates will carry out the analysis of data generated in their research projects in a fully remote fashion and make Zoom presentations on completed research to faculty mentors and other undergraduates participating in this program.

The program will offer flexible working hours during Fall-2020 and Spring-2021 (staring October 1, 2020 and ending February 28th, 2021). The program will pay $5,000 over the entire work period involving 400 hours of remote/hybrid research with a faculty mentor at UAB.

For program information contact program director Yogesh Vohra ( and for application questions contact program coordinator Charita Cadenhead (

The application deadline is September 15th, 2020. Apply using the following web-site.

2019 REU Bryce Coyne Attends Photonics West Conference

Photonics West Conference 2020

Bryce CoyneAttending the SPIE Photonics West conference in San Francisco was an incredible experience that shed new light onto my research and the filed of optics and lasers that I was previously unaware of. This was my first academic conference that I had attended and being a talk presenter made it feel even more like jumping into the deep end of a pool. The first couple days the scale of the conference was quite overwhelming, with the events spanning three conference halls and multiple hotels in the area. I was able deal with the nerves that I had going into my presentation using some meditation skills I have acquired through collegiate baseball. Going over my talk with my research advisor it came to my attention how important it is to be as accurate as possible when discussing my research in the professional setting. I had previously presented this research in August of 2019 to fellow undergraduate physics researchers and mentors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. At Photonics West my talk would be under significantly more scrutiny than in the undergraduate setting. The pressure resulted in me having to know the ins and outs of all aspects of my talk. Post-talk questions also brought to light a couple aspects of my research I has not previously thought of. For most, I was asked about potential utilization of the InP crystal analyzed for laser applications going forward which could have real merit and possibilities. This would turn my summer research project into a large-scale project similar to a dissertation.

At the conference I was also able to attend a four-hour course on laser fundamentals with the emphasis being placed how the private laser sector discusses and buys/sells laser systems. The course in addition to providing new information allowed me to think about private optics companies which may be a field I have interest getting into in my future.

The conference also had a large exhibition for companies to showcase new technologies that they have developed. Companies ranged from small photonics start-ups to large companies such as ThorLabs and M2. Personally, walking about the exhibition hall and discussing products and jobs with exhibitioners was more insightful than sitting in on talks. I was able to relate skills and tools that I have developed in the lab to what others are doing in private sectors. To me the exhibition hall was the hidden aspect of science that is an accumulation of academia. Up to this point in my life, education has been the end goal but I now a new perspective of where my education may lead me to. And Photonics West was a great intersection of academics presenting talks and posters while companies showcase their technologies. Overall, the conference was a challenge I had to face in presenting and getting over fears along with a great opportunity to see how much insightful and interesting stuff is going on in optics. I am incredibly humble and grateful to be given this opportunity to present and attend the conference and I hope to continue to make the most of the opportunity that I was given.

Now Recruiting for 2020 NSF REU Program

Research Experiences for Undergraduates 2020

We are now accepting applications for undergraduate students from around the country to participated in our 10-week National Science Foundation (NSF) supported Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program in “Experimental and Computational Materials Research”. We offer a broad range of interdisciplinary materials research experiences to undergraduate students with diverse backgrounds in physics, chemistry, applied mathematics, and engineering. Stipend for the 10-week period is $5000. Housing will be provided to non-local participants. Application Deadline: March 15, 2020. If students have any questions about logistics, housing, and travel arrangements, they may contact Charita Cadenhead, our Program Coordinator at (205) 975-8076 or via e-mail at

2020 REU Recruitment Poster

REU Brian Davis Selected for BMES 2018

Brian Davis Presented Poster at 2018 BMES

Brian Davis Morehouse CollegeCongratulations to Brian Davis for being selected to present his poster at the 2018 Biomedical Engineering Society, October 17-20 in Atlanta, GA.

Abstract Title: Cardiac Magnetogenetics: Noninvasive Control of the Heart
Authors: Brian Davis, Lufang Zhou, Patrick Ernst

Brian’s poster presentation is scheduled for Saturday, October 20 in the from 9:30am – 1:00pm.

You’ll find more information about the BMES on their website.

REUs Tour Birmingham’s Innovation Depot

Dr. Joel Dobbs Leads Tour of Innovation Depot

Dr. Joel Dobbs, Instructor at UAB School of Business (Management, Information Systems and Quantitative Methods) was kind enough to give the REUs a tour of Birmingham’s Innovation Depot.  Dr. Dobbs also presented at one of our seminars this year.  His topic: Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Both the seminar and the tour were a delight and helped to shed new light on how students should approach their careers.  One of the big take aways from the seminar and the tour, per Dr. Dobbs, is that students should approach their careers with the mindset of an entrepreneur.  What a great way plan for an exceptional career path.

Below are photos from the tour featuring participants as well as a sample of some of the features and businesses housed in the Depot.

REUs Visit UAB Graduate Fair

2017 Graduate Fair

There is a lot of graduate programs to explore at UAB and our 2017 REUs had the opportunity to talk with program representatives in a variety of disciplines at UAB.  The Graduate Fair was deemed a success by our REUs and they felt that they learned a great deal about their options (whether here at UAB or elsewhere.

REUs Participate in UAB 2017 Summer Expo

Live From the 2017 Summer Expo

We are so proud of Class of 2017 REUs and the outstanding work that they did in the lab, their PowerPoint presentations, research papers and of course showcasing the culmination of their hard work at the 2017 Summer Expo.  A huge part of our program is the experience of presenting their research to a broad audience. The annual Expo gives them just such an opportunity to share that knowledge through being well prepared to explain their work and answer questions posed to them by judges and other Expo attendees.

2017 REUs Working in Their Labs

REUs in Action

The Research Experiences for Undergraduates at UAB ended on July 21, 2017, but not without capturing remnants of a successful 10 weeks working along side of UAB faculty mentors and grad student mentors.  Take a look at these photos of the REUs in the labs with theri mentors.

Congrats to Nicolas Merino, Sabrina Siu and Sherilynn Knight

2017 Summer Expo Winners

(l-r) Sabrina Siu, Nicolas Merino, Sherilynn Knight

Congratulations to Nicolas Merino,  Sabrina Siu and Sherilynn Knight.  Nicolas, Sabrina and Sherilynn, three of our REU participants won 1st and 2nd place winners in Engineering and Physical and Applied Sciences at this year’s 2017 Summer Expo.  Their 10-week research experience at UAB was sponsored by National Science Foundation (Grant Number DMR # DMR 1460392) – Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) award to UAB

First place winner in Physical and Applied Sciences, Nicolas Merino’s presented a poster titled “Theranostic Systems of Polymers and Tannic acid for Ultrasound Therapy Drug Release.”  Nicolas is a Junior at Georgia College & State University.  He spent 10 weeks working in Dr. Eugenia Kharlampieva’s lab in the Chemistry Department along with her graduate student Aaron Alford.  As always, special thanks to Dr. Kharlampieva and Aaron for their commitment to the REU program.

Second place winner in Physical and Applied Sciences, Sabrina Siu presented a poster titled “Solid-state Reaction Synthesis of Gd:BaZrO3 for the Production of Pulse Laser Deposited Thin Films for Fuel Cell Applications.” Sabrina is a senior at University of Florida (Gainesville).  This year she was mentored by Dr. Renato Camata’s (Physics) lab along with his graduate student Eric Remingtong. Dr. Camata has had a long standing commitment of mentoring participants in our REU program and we certainly thank and appreciate his dedication.

REU participant Sherilynn Knight won 2nd place in Engineering category for her poster  titled “Retrieval Analyses of Wear and Debris in Oxidized Zirconium Total Knee Arthroplasty.” Sherilynn is a Sophmore at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.  She worked in Dr. Alan Eberhardt’s (Biomedical Engineering) lab this summer along with graduate student Thomas Ballard. Dr. Eberhardt is among the ranks of our longstanding REU mentors and as with all of our mentors, we value his continued support.

The Physics NSF REU program has been in continually in existence since 1997 and that’s an accomplishment that Program Director, Dr. Yogesh K. Vohra is quite proud.  Again, congrats to our winners and much success to all of our 2017 participants.