2015 Year in Review: Kettering University Research News

Kettering University faculty members continued to strengthen the University’s national reputation as a premier applied research institution in 2015.

Dr. Veronica Moorman, faculty member in the Department of Chemistry/Biochemistry, and Dr. Ron Tackett, faculty member in the Department of Physics, secured Kettering University’s seventh and eighth Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grants from the National Science Foundation since 2012. Those eight NSF-MRI grants are more than any university in Michigan has received over that stretch and is among the most of any university in the country.

Dr. Ron Tackett
Dr. Ron Tackett

More 2015 Research News

Cold Jet, a company specializing in environmentally sustainable cleaning, surface preparation and transport cooling solutions, has made use of the unique expertise that Kettering offers among its student body. The company has been working with Dr. Charles White, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering faculty emeritus, and four students to determine the impact of using dry ice blasters to clean mold cavities and vents for part manufacturers. Read more.

Kettering University and the City of Flint are at the forefront of the next technological revolution in American cities through the national US Ignite initiative. Read more.

Experience, persistence and knowledge of the subject matter paid off for Loi Huynh when he, as an undergraduate senior, presented a paper at a national haptics conference in the fall of 2014. Read more.

Dr. Thomas Ngniatedema, faculty member in the Kettering University Department of Business, partnered with researchers from Kent State and West Liberty University to publish an article that models the improvement of the delivery process in supply chains. Read more.

Kettering University was well-represented by faculty who presented at the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters Conference. Read more.

A number of faculty at Kettering University are actively engaged in finding a cure for cancer without the troubling side effects of radiation and chemotherapy. The alternative treatment, led by Dr. Prem Vaishnava from the Department of Physics, involves injecting magnetic nanoparticles in the tumor tissues and exposing it to an oscillating magnetic field to generate heat thereby killing the cancer cells. Students Nathaniel Mosher and Emily Perkins-Harbin are attempting to help with design and implementation of magnetic nanoparticles for such a treatment. Read more.

Dr. Michelle Ammerman with student Elyse Hossink.
Dr. Michelle Ammerman with student Elyse Hossink.


An endowment in honor of longtime Kettering University Professor G. Reginald Bell is providing research co-op opportunities for students. Read about the first Bell Interns, Elyse Hossink and Mia Jonascu.

Dr. Uma Ramabadran and Dr. Gillian Ryan in the Department of Physics are partnering with Warmilu, an Ann Arbor startup that is attempting to provide incubated blankets to villages in India that lack electricity. India has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world which is partly due to the lack of electricity in rural villages. Read more.

From food and animal waste and sewage to chicken excrement, you never know what you will find in the laboratory refrigerators in the Applied Biology and Chemical Engineering labs where a team of Kettering University researchers are trying to make the process of creating energy from waste more efficient with the addition of glycerol, a byproduct of soybean crop processing. Read more.

With support from the Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee, Dr. Jonathan Wenzel, assistant professor of Chemical Engineering at Kettering University, is attempting to speed up the process of making biodiesel - a renewable fuel that is made using predominantly soybean oil in the United States, but can be made from animal fats and other vegetable oils. Read more.

Lab manager Jennifer Rivet and Lab specialist Michael Stogsdill are on a mission to reduce hazardous and toxic wastes in the Chemistry and Biochemistry department to help create more environmentally friendly lab practices on campus. They are achieving a more sustainable campus by reducing the overall quantity of waste, altering the types of waste created and creating better practices to separate hazardous materials. Read more.

Kettering's Physics Department turned 20 this year.
Kettering's Physics Department turned 20 this year.


Just 20 years after the Physics program launched at Kettering University, the department has already achieved remarkable accomplishments that distinguish it from any other program in the country. Read more.

Dr. Lisandro Hernandez de la Peña, assistant professor of Chemistry at Kettering University, was invited to speak at the Energy Materials Nanotechnology (EMN) Meeting on Quantum Technology in April. The conference, hosted by the Chinese Academy of Science Institute of Semiconductors, was held in Beijing, China. Read more.

The roof of Thompson Hall served as the setting for an experiment in solar power by Kettering University’s Green Engineering Organization (GEO). Read more.

Research being conducted in Kettering University’s Advanced Power Electronics Lab is aimed at helping electric vehicles overcome a significant hurdle in gaining widespread acceptance -- charging time. Read more.

Elements of computer graphics, haptics, robotics and healthcare are being combined in Dr. Giuseppe Turini’s Computer Science Lab to help develop software tools that simulate surgery for doctors in pre-operative planning, intra-operative navigation, and surgical training. Read more.

The inevitable future of driving is autonomous vehicles according to Dr. Diane Peters, assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering at Kettering University, but the challenges hindering this potential reality are currently numerous. Read more.

Researchers in Kettering University’s Advanced Power Electronics Lab (APEL) have become a go-to resource for global companies seeking innovations in electric vehicle (EV) charging technology. The latest collaboration is with HELLA, a globally positioned company that develops and manufactures lighting technology and electronic products for the automotive industry. One such product is the Level-2 EV charger. Presently, level-2 EV chargers on the market have three-stage design -- converting AC grid voltage to 400 VDC, inverting this DC to high frequency AC to feed the transformer, and then rectifying AC to DC again to charge the battery. Assuming that each stage of that process leads to about a 2 percent loss of overall power, the overall wall-to-battery efficiency is 94 percent. Read more.

The acceptance of electric vehicles is becoming increasingly common, and the Innovation Center at Kettering University is serving as the home to research of a critical element to mass proliferation of EVs -- the battery. Read more.

The cajón is known for producing a wide range of sounds and timbres from a simple wood box, with guitar strings tucked inside that rattle when the box is struck by the player's hand. A student-led research thesis in Kettering University’s Acoustic Lab is examining how properties of the cajón can be studied to optimize this Latin percussion instrument. Read more.

A partnership between Kettering University and Shin-Etsu Chemical Co. was recently renewed for another year, bringing the total funds for the four year project to over $500,000. Shin Etsu is a major global chemical and silicones supplier based in Japan that is collaborating with Dr. Mary Gilliam and Dr. Susan Farhat in the Chemical Engineering Department. Read more.

Dr. Kevin Bai, associate professor of Electrical Engineering at Kettering University, has been selected as the new Robert Bosch Professor of Electrical Engineering. The Robert Bosch Endowed Professorship was established in 1986 by Robert Bosch, LLC, and is awarded to faculty in recognition and support of outstanding research in Electrical or Mechanical Engineering at Kettering University. Read more.

Dr. Farnaz Ghazi-Nezami
Dr. Farnaz Ghazi-Nezami


Dr. Farnaz Ghazi-Nezami has expanded her doctoral research on energy aware manufacturing operations. Traditionally, energy cost is considered fixed during the manufacturing process which leads to it being ignored. However, Ghazi-Nezami is attempting to alter that mindset. Read more.

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Dr. Gianfranco DiGiuseppe, Mechanical Engineering faculty, with a grant for about $200,000 to continue his research in nanomaterials for solid oxide fuel cell applications. The grant will provide funding for one graduate and one co-op student for the next 18 months. Read more.

Four Kettering students - Andrew Rapin ‘14, Sean Commet ‘14, Adam Monroe ‘14 and Joshua Hendley ‘14 - approached Dr. Ahmad Pourmovahed, Mechanical Engineering faculty member, months before the start of their senior capstone course,  MECH 521 Energy and Environmental Systems Design. They had an idea to work together on a project that could potentially enhance the efficiency of wind turbines. Read more.

Dr. Diane Peters, Mechanical Engineering faculty at Kettering University, in partnership with the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching at the University of Michigan, has been awarded a three-year  $367,094 grant from the National Science Foundation to study engineering education at the collegiate level. Read more.

A collaboration that stretches across continents in the western hemisphere between Kettering University and the University of Brazilia in Brazilia, Brazil, is fueling non-invasive cancer research related to magnetic nanoparticles on both campuses. Since 2007, Dr. Aderbal Oliveira from Brazilia has collaborated with Dr. Prem Vaishnava at Kettering on how best to construct and manipulate magnetic nanoparticles for cancer treatment. They published their first paper together in 2009. Read more.

Scientific literature and popular science agree - green teas’ antioxidant properties make it important for disease prevention. Scientists have isolated the benefit to an abundance of polyphenolic compounds, also known as catechins, including epicatechin (EC), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (EGC) and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Organic chemistry faculty member Dr. Montserrat Rabago-Smith, inorganic chemistry faculty member Dr. Lihua Wang and biochemistry faculty member Dr. Veronica Moorman at Kettering University are taking the next step to determine exactly how the presence of catechins may provide preventative benefits for cancer and cardiovascular disease. Read more.

When Nelson Wang ‘12 was in need of a lab and research collaborators to develop a prototype of his company’s state-of-the-art Electric Vehicle charging technology, he found them in a familiar place -- the Advanced Power Electronics Lab (APEL) at Kettering University. Wang -- currently a Ph.D. candidate in Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) -- co-founded his company, CZAR (Carbon Zero Advanced Research) Power, in 2014. The company is currently developing charging technology that is bidirectional in power flow and accepts inputs from solar power to charge EVs or other battery systems without fossil fuels. Read more.

Dr. Lihua Wang
Dr. Lihua Wang


In bulk, gold is often an adored object of beauty with deep-seated cultural significance across the globe. But at a microscopic level, elemental gold’s properties may have inspiring biomedical applications for drug delivery during cancer treatment. Dr. Lihua Wang, associate professor of BioInorganic Chemistry, is currently examining the unique properties and potential applications of gold at Kettering University. Read more.