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Faculty Research

The Faculty Research Committee plays an essential role in supporting faculty and students as they explore their research interests. Our talented and dedicated faculty makes great contributions to the global community through their research, while also training future generations to continue and expand upon their work

DR. HACENE BOUKARI

DELAWARE INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Designation: Associate Professor in Physics
Department: Physics and Engineering

Research Highlights: Since joining DSU, Dr. Boukari has been working on establishing a recognized research program at the interface between biological/biomedical sciences, on one side, and physical sciences, on the other. The motto: physics rigor and its successes meet current biological and biomedical challenges. His research interests have focused on understanding biomacromolecular interactions and nano-transport phenomena in complex systems, and their roles in biological functions as well as diseases. His research group has been developing and applying novel optical-based methods and imaging techniques to probe and characterize the structural and dynamic properties of biomacromolecules and biopolymers under different conditions, especially when they are embedded within host environments such as live-cells, hydrogels, and tissues. In addition, his research group is developing physics-based models, advanced mathematical tools, and efficient computational codes to assess and quantify these properties, providing a fundamental understanding of the properties and paving ways for designing appropriate therapeutic approaches and drug delivery systems. Under this theme they have been investigating the rotational and translational processes at nanoscale of various fluorescent nano-probes diffusing in water-soluble polymeric systems. These results indicate the significance of the interplay between the size of diffusing particles and the mesh size of the host polymeric system in understanding transport phenomena at nanoscale. These results also bring into light a different approach in understanding biological systems.     

Research Funding and Recognition: Dr. Boukari’s research is funded by several major government agencies: National Science Foundation, NASA, National Institutes of Health, National Nuclear Security Administration (Department of Energy), and Department of Defense. In 2015 Dr. Boukari was awarded the DSU Faculty Excellence Award for Research. He also received the DSU PRIDE Innovation Award to establish an interdisciplinary computational laboratory.

 

DR. SAMUEL B. HOFF

COLLEGE OF ARTS, HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
Designation: Professor and Director of Law Studies

Research Highlights: Dr. Hoff is an established scholar and expert in his field. At DSU, he is a six-time recipient of annual Faculty Excellence Awards, including two for teaching (1996, 2005), one for research (1992), two for Service (2000, 2010), and one for Advising (2012).

Dr. Hoff has published over 300 book chapters, professional articles, and book reviews in edited books and scholarly journals. Just to mention one of his more recent achievements, he completed his latest manuscript, GITMO’s Folly: Torture, Trials, and Tribulations of U.S.

Detention Policy in the Wake of 9/11. This study was the result of several years of research using primary documents, including the 2014 U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report on torture tactics employed against detainees during the George W. Bush administration. The manuscript was presented at the George W. Bush Presidency Conference at Hofstra University on March 26, 2015.

Research Funding and Recognition: Dr. Hoff is the recipient of several national fellowships in the area of foreign, military, and national security policy, including a 1994 Military History Fellowship from the U.S Military Academy at West Point, a 1995 fellowship from the University of Virginia National Security Law division, a 2003 People to People Ambassador award for travel to Cuba, and a 2004 Exxon Mobil Faculty Fellowship for travel to Vietnam among others. Moreover, his opinion columns are regularly solicited by and published in the Delaware State News and the Wilmington News Journal. As a renowned expert on American presidency and politics, he is also regularly requested by leading presses, including Oxford University Press, and journals like National Social Science Journal to review manuscripts submitted to them. He has chaired and presented his research in many conferences. Dr. Hoff is an active, prolific and exemplary scholar.

Outside academia, Dr. Hoff served in three staff positions with the U.S. Congress between 1978 and 1986, and that speaks volumes for his recognition.

DR. MINGXIN GUO

COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE AND RELATED SCIENCES
Designation: Professor in Soil and Water Management
Department: Agriculture and Natural Resources

Research Highlights: One of Dr. Guo’s research areas is bioenergy and biofuels, focusing on biofuel development and bioenergy education. The goal is to enhance environmental sustainability through promoting bioenergy production and utilization. Specifically, the program aims to develop farm-based technologies for converting agricultural byproducts into quality biofuels, to optimize bioenergy cropping systems, and to provide bioenergy and sustainability training to students and educators. Substantial endeavors have been implemented to explore practical, sustainable technologies for producing biochar, bio-oil, biodiesel, and biogas from various organic residues and to prepare future professionals with the cutting-edge science of bioenergy and bio-products.

Through years of research and education efforts, most efficient transesterification methods for generating biodiesel from vegetable oil, yellow grease, and animal fats were identified. Quality biochar and bio-oil products were obtained from plant debris and animal manure through optimized pyrolysis, and intensified bioenergy and bio-products training workshops were offered to teachers. The training activities were mentioned in the USDA Blog. The research results were presented at national academic meetings and published in scientific journals (e.g., Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis; Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews). A book entitled “Agricultural and environmental applications of biochar: Advances and barriers” is in press by Soil Science Society of America.

A future plan is to realize a self-fueling mobile pyrolysis unit capable of directly converting crop residues to biochar and bio-oil in the field.

Research Funding and Recognition: Funding for the bioenergy and biofuels research and education was mainly through the five-year USDA-NIFA competitive grant from 2011 to 2015 to establish a systems-perspective bioenergy & bio-products training program to teachers. Dr. Guo is the recipient of the Faculty Excellence Award in Research/Creativity in 2013.

DR. DANIELA RADU

COLLEGE OF MATHEMATICS, NATURAL SCIENCES AND TECHNOLOGY
Designation:
Assistant Professor in Nanotechnology  
Department: Chemistry

Research Highlights: Dr. Radu is interested in nanoscience and is leading a vibrant research program centered on applications of nanomaterial—minuscule structures existing on a billionth of a meter scale. Various structures and shapes have been investigated in our laboratory in the context of applications at the interface with materials science, physics and biology. Her research team specifically focuses on three major research directions: solar research, biomedical applications and nanomaterials toxicity. Solar research is focused on materials that are both sustainable and amenable to solution processing, that is, provide the ability to “print” the solar panels in their entire form, by literally spray-painting them on flexible metallic substrates. Her team fabricated device prototypes and tested their efficiency. This type of technology would bring the solar industry into the commodity arena, and would potentially lead to massive reduction in fossil fuel needs. Her biomedical focus is on smart sensing and features devices that enable interrogation of cell-cell interaction in different biological systems. Her team is developing sensing nanostructures that operate in simulated body environments. The unique aspect of this research is that it enables temporal and spatial resolution of cellular phenomena. This technology has a large demand for applications in molecular detection of disease. Her interest in nanomaterials toxicity stems from the very fact that her team is employing them on a daily basis in our laboratory. Nanomaterials are becoming ubiquitous in many aspects of STEM research because of the special chemical, optical, electrical, structural, or biological properties that their macro-level counterparts do not possess. Since nanotechnology is progressing at such a fast pace and nanomaterials are being integrated into consumer products, it is important that we fully understand the implications for their ultimate and unavoidable release into the environment. Recent complaints in regard to consumer products from cosmetic industry such as sunscreens, different skincare formulations etc. containing nanoparticles like titanium dioxide, zinc oxide or silver, among others, reflect the need for a thorough investigation of these types of engineered nanoparticles in respect to their toxicity. We fabricate nanomaterials by chemical and mecano-chemical methods and investigate their toxicity in tissue culture.

Research Funding and Recognition: Dr. Radu’s research is funded by four major government agencies: National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, and United States Department of Agriculture. Dr. Radu has also obtained prestigious intramural awards: DSU PRIDE Innovation Award, DSU-Professional Development Award, DSU-Center of Teaching and Learning Award and CMNST Junior Faculty Research Excellence Award.    

Dr. CARLOS M. RODRIGUEZ

COLLEGE OF BUSINESS
Designation:
Associate Professor of Marketing and Director of the Center for the Study of Innovation Management, CSIM
Department: Business Administration

Research Highlights: Dr. Rodriguez’s research interests are in the areas of design and implementation of strategic alliances and international joint ventures, process and market entry strategies, new product development, cross-cultural and strategic marketing management, relationship marketing, network design and inter-organizational management, international market research, marketing modeling and analytics, and business-to-business operations. Currently he is engaged in several research projects.

One area of his research expertise is product design and innovation. He studies the implementation of marketing analytics and modeling to product and service design. His recent book entitled “Product Design and Innovation: Analytics for Decision Making,” published in 2016, discusses decision-making tools at the intersection of Marketing, Design, and Analytics. Most managers, product designers, and marketing professionals lack a clear understanding of the quantitative tools and algorithms to assist them in the product development process and its related decision making process. Managers learn the analytics involved in the creative process, design thinking framework, and emotional design, from capturing the voice of the customers through the final prototyping stage.

In collaboration with Dr. Gwarlann de Kerviler, Dr. Rodriguez is working on “The impact of luxury branding on the self-expansion in emergent adulthood markets.” This study measures the impact of the DNA luxury brand structure on customer experiences and how consumers select a self-efficacy resource brand orientation or self-identification processing brand equity as perspective and their final impact on self-concept and brand engagement.

A third project entitled “Charged Behavior, Risk Management, and Innovativeness in New Product Development NPD Teams” has as its main purpose investigating two critical factors that impact new product development NPD team innovativeness: charging behavior and risk perception and their role as mediators between team characteristics and team innovativeness. The study explores the knowledge, skills, and processes as antecedents of these mediators and proposes and tests a comprehensive model of their impact on NPD team innovativeness. The study will contribute better understanding of the determinants of team innovativeness in new product development efforts, the incidence and relevancy of group processes and competencies required to foster innovation.

A recent project entitled “JBBM: Theme Reflections One Year Later, A Design View of B2B Marketing Field” has been published as leading article in the Journal of Business to Business Marketing. This research reviews the major sources of value creation and its product design activities and processes, planned obsolescence and destruction, the customization-standardization dilemma, and the understanding of the dynamics in product design teams, particularly the embedded relationships, the nature of cooperation within, and the invested social capital. The study provides research orientations to the study of business to business markets such a review of the ontology in the discipline, decision making orientation, conceptual rigor and relevancy, methodology recommendations, interfaces and competitive environment, and product design.

Research Funding and Recognition: Dr. Rodriguez serves as member of several editorial and review journal boards: Reviews Editor for the International Marketing Review based in the U.K. and member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Business to Business Marketing (USA), Journal of Business and Leadership (USA), Journal of Management, Economics, and Social Sciences (Lithuania), Advances in Business Research (USA), Revista de Administracao Contemporanea (Brazil), Journal of International & Interdisciplinary Business Research (USA), Amity Journal of Marketing (India), Journal of Higher Education & Research (Australia), Decision Sciences Journal of Innovation Education (USA), Iranian Journal of Management Studies (Iran), and Forum Empresarial (Puerto Rico).