Recent Faculty and Department Highlights

Dr. Viji Sitther, Associate Professor of Biology, has recently published the following papers:

  • Sitther, V., Tabatabai, B., Enitan, O.,and Dhekney, S. 2018. Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of Camelina sativa for production of transgenic plants. Journal of Biological Methods. 5: e83.
  • Tabatabai, B., Chen, H., Lu, J., Giwa-Otusajo, J., McKenna, A., Shrivastava, A., and Sitther, V. 2018. Fremyella diplosiphon as a biodiesel agent: Identification of fatty acid methyl esters via microwave-assisted direct in situ transesterification. Bioenergy Research. DOI: 10.1007/s12155-018-9919-y.
  • Sitther, V., Garrido Haro, P. A., Molineros, J. E., Garzon, C. D., and Jiménez-Gasco, M. M. 2018. Genetic diversity of apple- and crabapple-infecting isolates of Venturia inaequalis in Pennsylvania, United States, determined by microsatellite markers. Journal of Forest Pathology. DOI.org/10.1111/efp.12405.

She also has a non-provisional patent application, "Composition and Method for Enhancing Photosynthetic Efficiency of Microorganisms." (June, 2018)


Dr. Richard Damoah, Lecturer in the Department of Physics, has been awarded a Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship for his project, "STEM Research Involving Earth Observation Data and its Analysis for Climate Change Monitoring in West Africa." Dr. Damoah will carry out his collaborative research project with Dr. Sharon Sappor at All Nations University College in Ghana. Dr. Damoah's research applies observations (remote sensing and in-situ), global 3D models (CCM and CTM) and radiative transfer models to quantify the impact of atmospheric pollutants on air quality and climate. He is also interested in the interactions between climate and human health.

The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program, now in its fifth year, has selected 43 African Universities in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda to host 55 African-born scholars to build partnerships between home and host universities and address priority needs at host universities and countries. The program is funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York and managed by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in collaboration with United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa) in Nairobi, Kenya, which coordinates the activities of the Advisory Council.

The visiting Fellows will work with their hosts on a wide range of projects that include controlling malaria, strengthening peace and conflict studies, developing a new master's degree in emergency medicine, training and mentoring graduate students in criminal justice, archiving African indigenous knowledge, creating low cost water treatment technologies, building capacity in microbiology and pathogen genomics, and developing a forensic accounting curriculum.

Designed to increase Africa's brain circulation, build capacity at host institutions, and develop long-term, mutually-beneficial collaborations between universities in Africa and the United States and Canada, the successful initiative has now awarded a total of 335 Fellowships since its inception in 2013. (May, 2018)


Dr. Farin Kamangar, Associate Dean and Professor of Biology has recently published five papers (March, 2018):

  • "Hot Tea and Esophageal Cancer," in Ann Intern Med. doi 10.7326/M17-3370. A study following over 450,000 participants for a median of 9.2 years, finding a significantly increased risk of esophageal cancer among users of alcohol and tobacco who drank hot tea.
  • "Feasibility of Mass Screening for Colorectal Cancer Using Fecal Immunochemical Test in Iran," in Arch Iran Med. 2017;20(12):723-725. http://aimjournal.ir/Abstract/aim-1873. An invited editorial on the feasibility of colorectal cancer screening in Iran using the current health infrastructure.
  • "Prospective Epidemiological Research Studies in Iran (the PERSIAN Cohort Study): Rational, Objectives, and Design," in American Journal of Epidemiology, https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwx314. A paper on the methods of a new cohort study with 180,000 participants.
  • "Association Between Socioeconomic Status and Tumor Grade Among Black Men with Prostate Cancer," in Journal of the National Medical Association, Vol. 110, Issue 1, Feb. 2018, pp. 53-57. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnma.2017.06.019. A paper on prostate cancer disparities.
  • "Improving Participants' Retention in a Smoking Cessation Intervention Using a Community-based Participatory Research Approach," in Int J Prev Med. 2017 Dec. 19;8:106. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijpvm.IJPVM_303_17. A paper from the CEASE Project comparing the differences in retention when smoking prevention efforts are offered in community settings vs. clinic settings. 

Dr. Birol Ozturk of the Physics Department has published a paper, "Individually grown cobalt nanowires as magnetic force microscopy probes," in Applied Physics Letters. SCMNS Physics Department co-authors include: Drs. Abdellah Lisfi and Yucheng Lan (faculty), Drs. Sabin Pokharel and Ilyas Unlu (postdoctoral researchers), Joshua Samba (graduate student), and Shuaa Alotaibi (graduate alum). (February, 2018)


Drs. Pankov, Cai, Kemajou-Brown, Zhang, and N'Guerekata of the Mathematics Department have published papers in a special issue of the International Journal of Evolution Equations in memory of Professor Zhikov. Drs. N'Guerekata and Pankov are co-editors of the issue. (January, 2018)


Dr. Kendra Pleasant of the Mathematics Department has won the Best Speaker award for her presentation during the Haynes-Granville-Browne Session of Presentations by Recent Doctoral Recipients at the 2018 Joint Mathematics Meetings. The award includes funding to participate in a one-week workshop at participating mathematical sciences institutes. (January, 2018)


Dr. Gaston N'Guerekata has published a new book, Generalized Fractional Programming, with Nova Science Publishers. (November, 2017)


Dr. Elisabeth Kemajou-Brown of the Mathematics Department won a $75,000 subaward from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory for her project, "Modeling and Estimation in Urban Transportation Networks." (November, 2017)


Dr. Gabrielle McLemore has published an article, "Microwave Heating of Crystals with Gold Nanoparticles and Synovial Fluid under Synthetic Skin Patches," in ACS Omega. (September 2017)


Dr. Yucheng Lan's new book, Advanced Thermoelectrics: Materials, Contacts, Devices, and Systems, has been published by CRC Press. (September 2017)


The School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences has been awarded a grant from Johns Hopkins University to support Extreme Science Internships and Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments research projects for Dr. Kadir Aslan, Dr. Yucheng Lan and Dr. Birol Ozturk. (July, 2017)


Dr. Hongtao Yu has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the Office of Naval Research for his project, "Recruiting and Mentoring a Materials Science Faculty at Morgan State University." (July, 2017)


Dr. Lisa D. Brown has been awarded a $249,544 grant from the National Science Foundation for her project, "PERSIST - Pathways to Enhance Retention of Students in Science to Transition." (June, 2017)


Three SCMNS faculty have been granted Morgan State University's ASCEND Center for Biomedical Research Awards (April, 2017):

  • Mathumathi Rajavel, Ph.D., "Deciphering Phage Resistance Mechanisms for Intelligent Design of Phage Therapy"
  • Mingchao Cai, Ph.D., "Numerical Simulation of Brain Edema Using Poroelastic Models"
  • Md Rahman, Ph.D., "Developing a Retrieval-based Diagnostic Aid for Automated Melanoma Recognition"

Dr. Mingchao Cai has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the NSF for his project entitled, "Research Initiation Award: Fast Solvers for Variable-Coefficient Poroelastic Models." (April, 2017)


Professor Gaston N'Guerekata's manuscript, Spectral Theory for Bounded Functions and Applications to Evolution Equations, has been accepted for publication by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. (April, 2017)


The Traveler's Companies have awarded a grant of $322,000 in support of the Travelers EDGE program at SCMNS and the Pipeline Access to Actuarial Science program. (March, 2017)