RIT hosts workshop on unmanned aerial systems Oct. 28
Remote Sensing

Oct. 25, 2016
Susan Gawlowicz

Rochester Institute of Technology will host a workshop on unmanned aerial systems and the technological advances that are shaping this rapidly evolving field.

RIT’s first “Systems and Technologies for Remote Sensing Applications Through Unmanned Aerial Systems,” or STRATUS 2016, Workshop will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 28 in Louise Slaughter Hall, rooms 2210-2240, on the RIT campus. Pre-registration is $25 in advance and $35 on the day of the event. Students attend free.

This workshop will bring together academics, industry representatives and domain specialists to share perspectives on UAS, or drones:

  • to monitor cyanobacterial blooms;
  • to monitor freshwater environments;
  • to detect white mold on snap beans and map corn yield;
  • to advance the technology and integration of drone platforms on sensors; and
  • to understand the impact of drones on business and imaging policy implications.

“Low-cost, easy-to-use drone platforms have created an explosion of applications,” said Carl Salvaggio, professor in RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, workshop sponsor and exhibits chair. “Generating imagery is not the same as generating information. We’re interested in how to best use this technology in order to provide us with new and improved information that will help us learn more about the world we are observing.”

Salvaggio and David Messinger, director of the Center for Imaging Science, lead the UAS imaging research group, an RIT signature research area. RIT’s drone research group, which is a member of the Property Drone Consortium, advances UAS-based remote sensing across different application areas, such a precision agriculture and infrastructure monitoring, including buildings, bridges, pipelines and power utilities.

“The UAS Center goal is to act as a ‘technology bridge’ between the user community and the technology providers,” Messinger said.

The STRATUS workshop is made possible, in part, by a $3,400 grant from the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society won by Emmett Ientilucci, research professor in RIT’s Center for Imaging Science and general chair of the workshop.

“This award, along with the financial support of Pictometry, allowed us to keep registration fees low, waive fees for students and provide an award for the best student paper,” Ientilucci said. “It is our intention that this becomes an annual workshop.”

RIT and Headwall Photonics contributed additional support for the event.

For more information about the STRATUS 2016 Workshop, contact Emmett Ientilucci at Emmett@cis.rit.edu.

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Original Source: University News

RIT professor organizes international symposium on ‘Global Women of Light’ Oct. 17 Program is part of the Optical Society’s centennial meeting

story photo

Professor Jie Qiao

Oct. 7, 2016
Susan Gawlowicz

Rochester Institute of Technology is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Optical Society (OSA), locally and nationally, with a symposium featuring women scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs working in optics and photonics.

RIT associate professor Jie Qiao, founder and chair of WiSTEE Connect (Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Entrepreneurship), collaborated with the OSA Foundation to organize the international symposium “Global Women of Light.” The program is part of the Frontiers in Optics: The 100th OSA Annual Meeting and Exhibit/Laser Science XXXII conference, Oct. 17-21 at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. Registrationfor the free event is open to professionals and students.

“The goal of ‘Global Women of Light’ is to build a sustainable community of women across academics and industry, and shine light upon women’s careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and entrepreneurship,” said Qiao, symposium chair and moderator, and associate professor in RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science.

The symposium will feature more than 20 international women entrepreneurs and leaders in STEM fields who will contribute to discussions on Intersecting Science and Entrepreneurship, a Work Smart Salary Negotiation Workshop and three roundtable discussions. Attendance is anticipated to exceed 100 women and men from 18 countries and 60 institutions, according to Qiao.

Speakers will include Christine Whitman, chair of the RIT Board of Trustees and CEO of Complemar Partners Inc.; Carmiña Londoño, program director for the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Centers Programs and fellow of SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics; Elizabeth Rogan, CEO of OSA; and Janet Fender, Chief Scientist and Scientific Advisor to the Commander, Air Combat Command, United States Air Force and past president of the OSA.

The conference is intended to benefit women at different career stages. Lauren Taylor, a Ph.D. candidate in imaging science at RIT, looks forward to the professional insights from women established in their field.

“WiSTEE Connect and ‘Global Women of Light’ serve as unique ecosystems through which I can grow into a strong, accomplished woman scientist, learning through the obstacles encountered and overcome by highly accomplished women in the intersecting fields of STEM and entrepreneurship,” Taylor said.

Qiao formed WiSTEE Connect in 2013 to promote women leadership in science, technology, engineering and entrepreneurship and to assist women in gaining regional and global connections and recognition.

Qiao gained a reputation in 2007 in the field of ultrafast lasers and optical metrology with landmark research that led to the world’s first 1.5-meter coherently phased-grating compressor, achieving kilojoule, picosecond laser pulses. Currently, her Advanced Optical Fabrication, Instrumentation and Metrology Laboratory in RIT’s Center for Imaging Science produces fundamental research on theoretical modeling and experiments of using ultrafast lasers for photonics and optics fabrication. Her research also investigates an innovative optical differentiation wavefront sensor for freeform metrology, phase imaging and adaptive optics for astronomical imaging and laser systems.

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Original Source: University News

Student Newsmakers

Alexandra Artusio-Glimpse, a Ph.D. student in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science from Phoenix, was offered a National Research Council Postdoctoral Associateship to work at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. She will begin the three-year fellowship in September.

Taylor Wolf, a fourth-year biochemistry major from Norwich, N.Y., presented a poster and a talk on “Drug Quality Assurance for Tuberculosis Medication,” at the National Undergraduate Research Symposium at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., on July 15-16. She seeks to develop a test to detect substandard and counterfeit tuberculosis medications.

Claire Finnerty, a second-year biomedical sciences and public policy major, and Tayler Ruggero, a second-year criminal justice and public policy major, were awarded a Diplomacy Summit Scholarship from Rochester Global Connections to attend the U.S. Department of State’s regional summit, Women’s Empowerment: Keys to Leadership, June 1 in Albany, based on work at a study abroad in Rwanda.

Noreen Gallagher, a graduate student in environmental science, presented her paper, “Isolation of Bacteria from Lake Waters Associated with Wastewater Effluents Capable of Degrading Various Pharmaceuticals,” at the International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology in Houston from June 4-11.

Adam Kaufman, a fourth-year game design and development major, was selected for the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship College Student Congress. The week-long program, in Lexington, Ky., brings students together with lawmakers to discuss the importance of applying the art of compromise to their work.


Aug. 28, 2016
Susan Gawlowicz

Student Newsmakers

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Alexandra Artusio-Glimpse, a Ph.D. student in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science from Phoenix, was offered a National Research Council Postdoctoral Associateship to work at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. She will begin the three-year fellowship in September.

Taylor Wolf, a fourth-year biochemistry major from Norwich, N.Y., presented a poster and a talk on “Drug Quality Assurance for Tuberculosis Medication,” at the National Undergraduate Research Symposium at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., on July 15-16. She seeks to develop a test to detect substandard and counterfeit tuberculosis medications.

Claire Finnerty, a second-year biomedical sciences and public policy major, and Tayler Ruggero, a second-year criminal justice and public policy major, were awarded a Diplomacy Summit Scholarship from Rochester Global Connections to attend the U.S. Department of State’s regional summit, Women’s Empowerment: Keys to Leadership, June 1 in Albany, based on work at a study abroad in Rwanda.

Noreen Gallagher, a graduate student in environmental science, presented her paper, “Isolation of Bacteria from Lake Waters Associated with Wastewater Effluents Capable of Degrading Various Pharmaceuticals,” at the International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology in Houston from June 4-11.

Adam Kaufman, a fourth-year game design and development major, was selected for the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship College Student Congress. The week-long program, in Lexington, Ky., brings students together with lawmakers to discuss the importance of applying the art of compromise to their work.

Elizabeth Grese, a second-year international hospitality and service management student, received the Pedro Cruz Scholarship ($1,000) from the Rural & Migrant Ministry in recognition of her leadership and contributions to Colleges Against Cancer and volunteer work with Rochester’s Hope Lodge.

Mario Saucedo-Espinosa, a microsystems doctoral student, received the 2016 Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar award, given by the Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Society in recognition of a Best Paper based on his work in microfluidics.

Nicholas Nenni, a master’s student in sustainable engineering, presented his paper, “Life-cycle and Economic Analysis of End-of-Life Strategies for Spent Coffee Grounds,” at the Industrial and Systems Engineering Research conference in Anaheim, Calif., May 21-24.

Kevin Cooke, a Ph.D. candidate in the astrophysical sciences and technology program, won sponsorship from the American Astronomical Society to attend the Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering workshop in Washington D.C., April 17-20. He learned about the federal science funding process and met with the science policy advisors for Sens. Booker, Menendez and Schumer.

Elizabeth Bondi ’16 (imaging science) won the Best Paper Award and $1,000 for “Calibration of Unmanned Aerial Systems imagery inside and outside of shadows for improved vegetation index computation” at the SPIE Commercial and Scientific Sensing and Imaging conference in Baltimore April 17-21.

Raj Rengarajan, a Ph.D. candidate in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, presented “Modeling of forest canopy BRDF using DIRSIG” at the SPIE Commercial and Scientific Sensing and Imaging conference in Baltimore on April 21.

Lei Fan, a Ph.D. candidate in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, presented “Tensor subspace analysis for spatial-spectral classification of Hyperspectral data” at the SPIE Commercial and Scientific Sensing and Imaging conference in Baltimore April 17-21.

Shagan Sah, a Ph.D. student in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, won Best Student Poster for his research on “Graph Theoretic Approach to Convolution Neural Networks” at the 2016 IEEE Rochester Joint Chapters Meeting April 19.

Natalia Dempsey, a third-year criminal justice and public policy major from Syracuse, N.Y., won a certificate of achievement for a research paper from the New York State Assembly, where she completed a 10-week internship on May 11.

Smith Agyingi, a fourth-year biomedical sciences major from Rochester, presented a poster on “Susceptibility to Sickle Cell Co-Morbidities is Regulated by Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in the TOLLIP Gene” at the Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego April 2-6.

Cody Cummings and Christine Kim, chemistry students at RIT/NTID, won the best analytical chemistry research award in April at the American Chemical Society’s Research Symposium, Rochester section, for the research they conducted with faculty David Meiggs, Morgan Bida and Todd Pagano.

Hailie King, Adam Pirro, Sondus Bellow and Zachary Trombley, all hospitality and tourism management students, were selected for the prestigious Marriott Voyage global leadership development program in April to train the next generation of hospitality and service professionals.

Kristina Punzi, a Ph.D. student in the astrophysical sciences and technology program, participated in a Congressional Visits Day sponsored by the American Astronomical Society in Washington, D.C., on March 16.

Preethi Vaidyanathan, Ph.D. student in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, won best paper for “Fusing Eye Movements and Observer Narratives for Expert-Driven Image-Region Annotations” at the Symposium on Eye Tracking Research and Applications in Charleston, S.C., March 14-17.

Saddam “Sam” Alrobaie, Fatima Zara and Kim Callahan, third-year biotechnology majors, presented a poster on “Spent Coffee Grounds as a Viable Feedstock for Biofuels Production and Usable Byproducts” at the National Conference for McNairs Scholars and Undergraduate Research at the University of Maryland on March 10-13. They are research students in RIT professor Jeff Lodge’s biotech lab in the Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences. Alrobaie and Zara are McNair Scholars.

Claire Ryan, a fourth-year psychology major from Glenview, Ill., presented a poster on health literacy and deaf college students at the Student Research Forum of the National Conference in Health Disparities in Washington, D.C., on March 1.

Emily Berkson and Tim Gibbs, graduate students in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, presented a poster on “Statistical Distribution of Spectral Anomalies in Varied Scene Content” and “NEFDS Contamination Model Parameter Estimation of Powder Contaminated Surfaces,” respectively, at the Conference on Data Analysis hosted by Los Alamos National Laboratory in Santa Fe, N.M., March 2-4.

Jacqueline McGraw, a fourth-year game design and development student, has been chosen as a 2016 International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Foundation Women in Games Ambassador. As part of the program, she received an all-access pass to the Game Developers Conference March 14–18 in San Francisco.

Three members of Tiger Tales Toastmasters won during the Toastmasters Area 22 Club Contests on Feb. 20. Alex Turner won the first place and Abdul Saboor Mobariz won second place in the International Speeches Contest. Corey Wilson won first place in the Table Topics Contest.

Mike Terzo Jr., a third-year environmental sustainability, health and safety major, received the Howard Freckleton and Roy Hamel Endowed Scholarship Award from RIT Ambulance for being active in the fire department and EMS service in the community. He has been an active member in the Rush, N.Y., Fire District since 2006 and was named captain in January.

Computer science students Gregory Goh, Victoria Sardelli, Matthew Ku and Orens Xhagolli took third place at HackBU, a hackathon hosted Feb. 13–14 at Binghamton University. Their project, Chalk, is a smart schedule maker.

Heather Williams, a second-year Motion Picture Science major from Watertown, N.Y., won second place in Rumba, first place in Swing and third place overall in Newcomer Rhythm at the Cornell Classic Dancesport Competition on Oct. 17. She is a member of the RIT Ballroom Dance Club.

Fulbright Scholars from RIT and the University at Buffalo met in Watkins Glen State Park on Oct. 4 for a social event to bring scholars from different universities together. The event was organized by RIT Fulbright Scholars Association club with help from International Student Services in collaboration with the Fulbright Young Professionals Network - Western New York/North Western Pennsylvania Chapter.

Quintina Frink, a fourth-year chemical engineering student, won the 2015 Susan L. Costa Memorial Scholarship, given to students for academic achievements and campus leadership. Frink is parliamentarian for NTID’s Student Assembly, serves in the Hands of Fire ministry and as RA at the university. She is from Arlington, Ohio.

Thomas Close, undergraduate student, chemical engineering, Gaurav Tulsyan, graduate student, materials science, and Christiaan Richter, assistant professor, chemical engineering, co-authored “Reversible oxygen scavenging at room temperature using electrochemically-reduced titanium oxide nanotubes” in Nature Nanotechnology.

Chaitanya Mahajan, engineering doctoral student, received the Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Conference/Manufacturing & Design Div. 2015 Student Best Paper Award for “3D printing of carbon fiber composites with preferentially aligned fibers.”

Alvaro Rojas, industrial engineering and imaging science doctoral student, won the 2015 Imaging Science & Technology association’s Itek Award for his paper, “Exploring surface defects on EP-based 3D-printed structures.” It will be published in the Journal of Imaging Science & Technology.

Derek Kreider and Jacob Klaus, industrial and systems engineering students, placed second in the Simio Student Simulation Competition 2015, hosted by the IIE Annual Conference in June. Their entry on shipping container order, delivery and management was among 70 collegiate design entries.

Engineering students Geni Giannotti, Megan Ehrhart, Noah Schadt, Tyler Leichtenberger, Jared Green and Adam Podolec won second place for their project, Soft Ankle-Foot Orthotic, in the undergraduate design competition at the Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering and Bio-transport Conference in June.

Chantel Charlebois, a third-year biomedical engineering student, won the Rochester Engineering Society's Keith W. Amish Memorial Scholarship, for $1,000, given to recognize academic excellence in a developing technology or energy-efficiency related fields and campus leadership. She is from Jericho, Vt.

Melissa Mendoza, a third-year biomedical engineering student from Hollis, N.Y., had a research article, “It’s a non-dialysis day—Do you know how your patient is doing? A case for research into inter-dialytic activity,” published in the international journal Blood Purification.

Annette Tavernese, a graduate student in secondary education of students who are deaf or hard of hearing, won first place in the graduate student oral presentation category at the Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM in Washington, D.C. Tavernese is from Brick, N.J.

Joey Bingham, a business major from Franklinville, N.J., and Tyler DeVore, a biomedical engineering major from Boonton Township, N.J., were members of the ice hockey team that participated in the 18th Winter Deaflympics in Russia, March 28–April 5.

Kathleen Tigue, a fourth-year game design and development major, and Jackie Wiley, a third-year game design and development major, were two of 20 women to win Microsoft’s “Are You A Game Changer?” contest. They each received an all-access pass to the Game Developers Conference, March 2–6 in San Francisco, and a VIP ticket to Xbox’s Women in Gaming Awards Luncheon at the conference.

Katie Pustolski, a fourth-year game design and development major, was selected as a 2015 International Game Developers Association Foundation (IDGAF) Intel Scholar and will receive an all-access pass to the Game Developers Conference, March 2–6 in San Francisco.

Jonathan Bowman, a fourth-year game design and development major, was a Gold Winner in the Game Narrative Summit’s 2015 Student Narrative Analysis Competition and will receive an expo pass to the Game Developers Conference, March 2–6 in San Francisco.

Jackie Bergin, a third-year advertising and public relations student, received the Charles S. Smith Scholarship from the Rochester chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. The scholarship helps students attend public relations conferences. RIT students have earned seven of the last eight Smith scholarships.

Victoria K. McGowen, a third-year motion picture science student, and Matthew Ross Donato, a fourth-year motion picture science student, received the Louis F. Wolf Jr. Memorial Scholarship at the annual Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers conference in Los Angeles. The scholarship is designed to help students studying in motion pictures and television, with an emphasis on technology.

JD Harper, a Master of Architecture student, was named recipient of the American Institute of Architects New York State Student Award for notable contributions and accomplishments by a student member of the American Institute of Architecture Students. There are more than 4,500 architecture students in New York state.

A cappella group Eight Beat Measure received a place on the Varsity Vocals Best of Collegiate A Cappella 2015 album with their recording of “Talk Dirty,” originally performed by Jason Derulo. Download the song for free.

Jie Yang, a Ph.D. student in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, won the Best Remote Sensing Paper for “A Combined Approach for Ice Sheet Elevation Extraction from Lidar Point Clouds,” co-written with John Kerekes, professor in the Center for Imaging Science, at the IEEE Western New York Image Processing Workshop held at RIT on Nov. 7. Yang is a resident of Suizhou City, Hubei Province, China.

Selene Chew, third-year computational mathematics major in the College of Science, won the overall Best Paper Award for “Normalized Cuts with Soft Must-Link Constraints for Image Segmentation and Clustering,” co-written with Nathan Cahill, associate professor in the School of Mathematical Sciences, at the IEEE Western New York Image Processing Workshop held at RIT on Nov. 7. Chew is a resident of Ithaca, N.Y.

Chelsea Wiedman, a fourth-year biochemistry student, and Matt Loiacono, a fourth-year student in applied mathematics and networking and system administration, were recognized at Tutor Con, hosted at RIT on Oct. 4. They are active participants in the College of Science Learning Assistant Program.

Alexander Triassi and Matthew Wheatley, fourth-year biotechnology majors and lead authors, published “L,L-diaminopimelate aminotransferase (DapL): a putative target for the development of narrow spectrum antibacterial compounds,” in the Sept. 26 issue of Frontiers in Microbiology with Michael Savka and André Hudson, professors in RIT’s Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences; alumnus Han Ming Gan, Monash University Malaysia; and Renwick Dobson, University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

Megan Bernilla, an international studies major at NTID, taught English at Jorge Otte School for the Deaf in Santiago, Chile, for a co-op July 29 through Aug. 22.

Franly Ulerio Nunez, a laboratory science technology major at NTID, presented “Fingerprinting the Biochemical Make-Up of Fruits Available to Migratory Birds via Multidimensional Fluorescence and Chemometrics” at the 2014 national meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco on Aug. 11.

Tia Canonico, a fourth-year illustration major; Sally-Rose Craigin, a fourth-year ASL-English interpretation major; Katie Bonfiglio, a fourth-year ASL-English interpretation major; and Kristen Cummings ’13 (psychology) were awarded scholarships by the Alpha Xi Delta Foundation.


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New FAA Drone Rules Could Boost Commercial Use
Remote Sensing

Professor Carl Salvaggio featured in WXXI article and video

Jul. 27, 2016
Sasha-Ann Simons

RIT professor Carl Salvaggio conducted a UAS flight to collect data for precision agriculture studies. (Credit SASHA-ANN SIMONS/WXXI NEWS)

On a cloudy summer morning, Rochester Institute of Technology professor Carl Salvaggio and a student from the school’s Center for Imaging Science stood in an open Pittsford field, eyes fixed on the sky. They were flying an unmanned aircraft system — also known as a drone — with the help of a longtime pilot. 

The trio took the DJI S900 n-copter on a series of 20-minute test flights, to check how well its sensors and six high-definition cameras can provide aerial imagery for precision farming. Salvaggio moved to a table off to the side, using a computer loaded with data-tracking software. He set up a small monitor on a tripod next to him to get a closer look at the airborne drone. Its short voyage would help the researchers assess the health of the vegetation.

“If we’re trying to give a farmer important information about the health of his crop, unless we can calibrate the imagery in every shot to make sure that it’s going to be given exactly the same information every time, he’ll get false data,” said Salvaggio.

The devices provide a level of detail that is much greater than methods of the past, such as satellite imagery or pictures taken from aircrafts. During one test run, Salvaggio’s UAS captured data from about 400 images.

“As the grass looks more and more bright in the infrared, that means it’s healthier. If there’s water stress, the infrared brightness will diminish,” he said.

The Federal Aviation Administration has released a set of highly anticipated rules that take effect in late August. Users say the guidelines add welcome structure to the practice and will boost commercial drone use.

The 600-plus pages of new regulations require drone operators to keep the unmanned aircraft within sight, avoid flying it over people, operate only during daylight and pass a written exam every two years. The rules also require the remote pilot conduct a preflight inspection and fly the drone no higher than 400 feet.

“I don’t think the FAA is in the business of trying to keep people out of this market. I think they just want to know who’s in there, and they want to know what platforms they’re operating,” said Salvaggio.

Salvaggio, who has only four months of experience with drones, said they’re easy to use. That’s part of the reason commercial industries around the world are increasingly looking to them for remote sensing.

The machines also are fairly low-cost — one like Salvaggio’s runs for nearly $1,500 — and allow them to collect information in real time. Drone use is expected to change the game in farming, law enforcement, defense, insurance inspection and many other industries, according to Fortune magazine. But Salvaggio and other users said the rapid development in technology has led to problems, like unexpected crashes.

“They are not 100 percent reliable. They’re going to fall out of the sky,” said Salvaggio.

In Canandaigua, Brian Pitre’s business office is lined with various types of drones. He co-founded SkyOp LLC, a UAS education company, three years ago. The company offers a college-level how-to course on flying drones. The course, which costs about $1,500, provides students with hands-on instruction, a computerized flight simulator and their own small drone for training purposes. Pitre said drone popularity has skyrocketed since he got involved in the industry.

“Today we have eight colleges that are our partners and we’ve expanded out of New York state,” Pitre said.

He expects the recent FAA update will spark a continued set of regulations, giving even more control to remote pilots. 

“The aviation planning committee is now working on the next set of rules that they’re going to put out. That’s going to address some additional things like the ability to fly beyond visual line of sight, flying over crowds and nighttime flying,” said Pitre.

Growth of the industry prompted RIT to apply for a $1 million grant for drone research. With the funds, the multi-disciplinary team, which includes Salvaggio’s imaging science students, has set up a UAS laboratory. They are identifying ways to integrate drone technology to serve even more commercial needs, such as water quality monitoring.

“We’re currently working with some folks out on Owasco Lake and trying to map the algal blooms that are forming on that lake. We can map the algae, do some computations and figure out how much fertilizer has run off from the farms around that area.”

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Original Source: WXXI News

Smaller stars pack big X-ray punch for developing planets RIT scientist leads study

Young stars much less massive than the sun can unleash a torrent of X-ray radiation that can significantly shorten the lifetime of planet-forming disks surrounding these stars.

This result comes from a new study of a group of nearby stars using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes. Rochester Institute of Technology astronomer Joel Kastner led the study.

Kastner’s team found evidence that intense X-ray radiation produced by some of the young stars in the TW Hya Association (TWA), which is about 160 light years from Earth, has destroyed disks of dust and gas surrounding them. These disks are where planets form. The stars are only 8 million years old, compared to the sun’s four-and-a-half billion years. Astronomers want to learn more about systems this young because they are at a crucial age for the birth and early development of planets.

Various research groups have been exploring whether high-energy radiation from young dwarf stars might help “blow away” their planet-forming disks, said Kastner, professor in RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science.


Jun. 13, 2016
Susan Gawlowicz

“We were able to take advantage of the TW Hya Association stars, which are some of the nearest known young stars, to make progress—and the answer seems to be an emphatic ‘yes!’” Kastner said. “At the same time, it seems that the lowest mass stars have such wimpy radiation fields that their disks can survive for a surprisingly long time.”

Another key difference between the sun and the stars in the study involves their mass. The TWA stars in the new study contain between about one-tenth to one-half the mass of the sun and also emit less light. Until now, it was unclear whether X-ray radiation from such small, faint stars could affect their planet-forming disks of material. These latest findings suggest that a faint star’s X-ray output may play a crucial role in determining the survival time of its disk. These results mean that astronomers may have to revisit current ideas on the formation process and early lives of planets around these faint stars.

Using X-ray data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton observatory and ROSAT (the ROentgen SATellite), Kastner’s team looked at the intensity of X-rays produced by a group of stars in the TWA, along with how common their star-forming disks are. They split the stars into two groups to make this comparison. The first group of stars had masses ranging from about one-third to one-half that of the sun. The second group contained stars with masses only about one-tenth that of the sun, which included relatively massive brown dwarfs, objects that do not have sufficient mass to generate self-sustaining nuclear reactions in their cores.

The researchers found that, relative to their total energy output, the more massive stars in the first group produce more X-rays than the less massive ones in the second. To find out how common planet-forming disks in the groups were, the team used data from NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and, in some cases, ground-based spectroscopy previously obtained by other teams. They found that all of the stars in the more massive group had already lost their planet-forming disks, but only about half of the stars in the less massive group had lost their disks. This suggests that X-rays from the more massive stars are speeding up the disappearance of their disks, by heating disk material and causing it to “evaporate” into deep space.

In previous studies, astronomers found that 10-million-year-old stars in the Upper Scorpius region, another star-forming group, displayed a similar trend of an increase in the lifetime of disks for lower mass stars. However, the Upper Scorpius work did not incorporate X-ray data that might offer an explanation for this trend, which is one reason why this new study of the 8 million-year-old TWA is important. Another reason is that theoretical models of the evolution of planet-forming disks generally predict that the lifetimes of disks should have very little dependence on the mass of the star. The new results for the “puny” TWA stars point to the need to revisit disk evolution models to account for the range in the X-ray outputs of very low-mass stars.

In searching for planets outside of our solar system, many astronomers have focused their efforts on observing stars less massive than the sun, like those described here. Such stars may offer some of the best targets for direct imaging of exoplanets in the so-called habitable zone, the star-to-planet distance range where liquid water could exist and life may eventually flourish. These low mass stars are also attractive targets because they are relatively faint and planets in their habitable zones should be easier to detect and investigate.

These results appear in The Astronomical Journal. The authors of this paper are Joel Kastner from RIT; RIT alumnus David Principe ’14 (astrophysical sciences and technology), now at Universidad Diego Portales; Chile; Kristina Punzi, Ph.D. student at RIT; Beate Stelzer at INAF Palermo, Italy; Uma Gorti at SETI Institute; Ilaria Pascucci at University of Arizona; and Costanza Argiroffi at INAF.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandra's science and flight operations.

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CIS Freshman Wins Prestigious Writing Award
Student Stories

First year Imaging Science student Kevin Kha honored for writing excellence by College of Liberal Arts

Apr. 29, 2016
Greg Livadas

RIT’s College of Liberal Arts honored student achievement in writing on Friday with the presentation of the 2016 Henry and Mary Kearse Distinguished Lecture and Student Writing Award Ceremony.

“This is our big event of the year where we honor students in each of our programs who have done some outstanding writing in classes in the College of Liberal Arts,” said Dean James Winebrake. “It really allows us to recognize and celebrate the good work of our students.”

Winebrake also said the awards are also a good reflection of the faculty.

“There’s not a prouder moment in a faculty member’s career than to see one of their students win an award like this,” he said.

It was the 36th year the awards have been presented. Faculty committees in each department within the College of Liberal Arts select student awardees from a variety of disciplines whose work embodies the ideals and standards of excellence, creative endeavor and scholarship.

This year’s Kearse Award recipients are:

  • Natalie Paskoski, a fourth-year advertising and public relations major from Finksburg, Md., representing the School of Communication, with “Bein’ the Girl in a Country Song.”
  • Avanelle St. Bernard, a fourth-year criminal justice major from Brooklyn, N.Y., representing the Department of Criminal Justice, with “Title IX: Sexual Misconduct.”
  • Michael Guesev, a second-year economics major from Scarborough, Maine, representing the Department of Economics, with “Wex, Inc.: Strategic Position and Future Projects.”
  • Maria Nadeau, a first-year biochemistry major from Lancaster, N.H., representing the Department of English, with “My Favorite Place.”
  • Melissa Fanton, a fourth-year museum studies major from Henrietta, N.Y., won two awards: representing the Department of History with “The Cornerstone of Peace: Peace, War and Post-War Politics;” and representing the Department of Performing Arts and Visual Culture with “Guerilla Girls: The Difficulty of Maintaining Objectivity.”
  • Rafael Lopez, a fifth-year software engineering major from Katy, Texas, and Sarathi Hansen, a fifth-year computer science major from East Elmhurst, N.Y., representing the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, with “The First Day of My College.”
  • Alexander Flavin, a second-year double major in biochemistry and philosophy, from, Conneautville, Pa., representing the Department of Philosophy, with “Hume in Japan.”
  • Brian Palamar, a third-year political science major from Webster, N.Y., representing the Department of Political Science, with “The Weakest Branch: An Auxiliary Precaution, Publius’ Account of the Judiciary and Judicial Review.”
  • Ciara Lutz, a third-year psychology major from Webster, N.Y., representing the Department of Psychology, with “The Knee-Jerk Reaction: Automaticity and Attention in Modified Stroop Tasks.”
  • Matthew Anauo, a first-year electrical engineering major from Elba, N.Y., representing the Department of Public Policy, with “Rethinking Third-Party Doctrine for the Digital Era.”
  • Kevin Kha, a second-year imaging science major from Chili, N.Y., representing the Department of Science, Technology and Society, with “Pollen Essay.”
  • Brianna Larson, a fourth-year double major in international and global studies and political science, from Stockton, Mo., representing the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, with “In Defense of the Syrian Refugee: Assessing Actual vs. Perceived Risk in Syrian Resettlement.”

The awards were created in 1980 thanks to a donation from Henry J. Kearse, founder and president of the construction firm H.J. Kearse Inc., and his wife, Mary, a longtime member of RIT’s Nathaniel Rochester Society.

Also, the Stanley McKenzie Endowed Writing Prize for first-year students, funded by and named for RIT’s former provost and member of the English department, was awarded toEthelia Lung, a new media design major from Hong Kong, whose essay “Nurturing Discipline,” earned her first place. Second place was awarded to Corinne Green, a game design and development major from Los Gatos, Calif., who wrote “Timed Writing Assessments: How They Are Useless.”

This year’s distinguished lecturer at the ceremony was David Swiencicki Martins, director of the University Writing Program and associate professor in the Department of English, who spoke about “The Liberal Arts: An Invitation to Revise” at the ceremony.

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Original Source: University News

Two RIT students win Fulbright fellowships as international scholarships continue to soar Victoria Scholl, Yasmeen Smalley-Norman among 16 students to be recognized at event today


As yet another demonstration of Rochester Institute of Technology’s continuing ascendance when it comes to global learning experiences, an RIT student and alumna have won prestigious Fulbright fellowships for the 2016-17 academic year and 14 others have been awarded international scholarships.

All will be recognized this afternoon, when the Office of the Provost hosts its second annual Global Learning Symposium and reception from 3 to 5 p.m. in the atrium of the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences.

Established in 1946, the Fulbright prize is one of the most prestigious in academic circles and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, promoting cultural exchanges with more than 140 countries.



Apr. 28, 2016
Rich Kiley

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The winning Fulbright students are:

  • Victoria Scholl, a fourth-year imaging science major from RIT’s College of Science and a motion picture science major from the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences (CIAS).
  • Yasmeen Smalley-Norman, who graduated in 2013 with a BFA in photojournalism from CIAS and a BS in biomedical photographic communications, with minors in environmental science and journalism.

“One of the goals of the RIT strategic plan is to develop practices and opportunities that emphasize the importance of global engagement among our students, faculty, partners and alumni,” said Jeremy Haefner, RIT provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “Our Fulbright students and all of our international scholarship winners—together with the faculty who have facilitated these experiences—represent the growing global learning experiences we’re continuing to shape both here at RIT and in many countries abroad.”

Scholl, a native of Hudson Valley, N.Y., will work in partnership with scientists at the University of Zürich and plans to apply airborne light detection and ranging technology (LiDAR) processing methods to large regions across Switzerland and adapt them for optimal individual tree detection over a 12-month period. LiDAR allows for efficient forest surveying. These findings may then be applied to other forests around the world as a step toward understanding, forecasting and solving global climate change issues.

Smalley-Norman is the vice president and 3D modeler at The Hydrous, a nonprofit organization dedicated to modeling coral reefs. Originally from Houston and now a resident of Dover, N.H., Smalley-Norman will produce 3D models and photographs to map coral species in the Philippines. Her work will be used to scientifically identify species and update the CoenoMap, a web-accessible map-oriented database of corals in the Philippines. The models will also be used to calculate coral surface area to better understand growth during climate change.

Scholl and Smalley-Norman are among more than 1,900 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2016-2017 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. student program.

It is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries. It is the largest exchange program in the country and provides funds for American students to live in another country for one year to teach English, conduct research or earn a graduate degree.

Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 360,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

RIT was named a top producer of Fulbright students among master’s institutions for 2015-2016. The university has had six awardees in the past three years. The Fulbright competition is administered at RIT through the RIT Global Office. Similarly, 40 international students from 25 countries attended RIT this year through the Fulbright Foreign Student Program.

For further information about the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, go to http://eca.state.gov/fulbright or contact the Office of Academic Exchange Programs at 202-632-3238 or fulbright@state.gov.

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Finding hidden text in historical documents
document restoration

Mar. 21, 2016
Susan Gawlowicz

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Roger Easton, professor of imaging science, is the go-to guy for imaging cultural artifacts in various states of deterioration. He and his students have enhanced manuscripts all over the world. (Photo courtesy of A. Sue Weisler)

The direction of RIT professor Roger Easton’s research changed in 1998 when a manuscript scholar working for Christie’s of New York came to the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science with a palimpsest in her backpack.

Underneath the text of a 12th-century Christian prayer book lay the erased 10th-century transcriptions of mathematical treatises written by Archimedes in the third century BCE. The palimpsest, or overwritten book, was bound from random pages of discarded manuscripts scraped clean. Copies of Archimedes’ writings had wound up in a medieval recycling bin.

The erased manuscripts in the palimpsest include the only extant copy of Archimedes’ Method of Mechanical Theorems and the only version of his best-known work, On Floating Bodies, written in the original Greek. The Christie’s scholar wanted a sampling of images from the seven treatises for the auction catalog, and she needed the RIT team to disentangle and enhance the undertext.

Easton spent one day that August imaging the manuscript with the late Robert Johnston, archeologist and retired RIT dean of the then-College of Fine Arts. Their collaborator, Keith Knox, then a scientist at Xerox Corp., helped. His sister-in-law at Christie’s had referred the scholar to the group.

They captured a sample of images from the manuscript under ultraviolet and infrared light and processed the information to reveal text and diagrams containing Archimedes’ concepts.

The manuscript sold at auction for $2 million and spent a decade under conservation at the Walters Art Gallery, now Museum. The preservation of Archimedes’ treatises—and other important historical and philosophical writings recovered on the palimpsest—culminated in a 2011 symposium and exhibition and a two-volume catalogue of images enhanced largely by Easton and Knox.

The project gained RIT entry into an inner circle of scholars and conservators. Today, Easton is the go-to guy for imaging manuscripts, maps, musical scores and other cultural artifacts in various states of deterioration.

Demand for the digital recovery of historical artifacts has taken Easton to Egypt, England, France, Germany, the Republic of Georgia, Italy and India to image documents too precious and fragile to move.

He and his students have enhanced religious manuscripts found in a back room at St. Catherine’s Monastery in Mount Sinai, Egypt, the African diaries of Victorian explorer David Livingstone and the 15th century Martellus Map, which may have influenced Christopher Columbus. Discover magazine ranked the multispectral imaging of the Martellus Map at Yale University as No. 74 in its list of the top 100 science stories of 2015. Chet Van Duzer, an independent scholar, led the project.

“The Archimedes palimpsest was the driving force that showed people what could be done and also taught us how to do it,” said Easton, a professor of imaging science. “We had to learn how to collect the data better and process it. The Archimedes is arguably the most significant surviving manuscript in the history of science.”

Urgent need

Spectral imaging recovers faded or erased text by capturing details about the ink and the parchment at different wavelengths. And because different wavelengths of light convey information unique to that spectrum, traces of iron ink, for instance, appear one way in infrared light, another way in ultraviolet, and, perhaps, not at all in visible light. Multispectral imaging collects the different information and recombines them into composite spectral signatures.

Easton uses the near-infrared wavelength to reveal ink in darkened or charred parchment and the ultraviolet wavelength to enhance the visibility of faded text with fluorescence. Instead of reflecting light, a document imaged under ultraviolet absorbs and re-emits light, making the parchment glow beneath the ink.

The collaborator’s imaging system has evolved since the early days of the Archimedes project. The current setup includes a 50-megapixel digital camera, a spectral lens that provides a sharp focus from near ultraviolet to near infrared wavelengths, and different panels of light emitting diodes in 12 bands of color. The camera has optical filters that allow illumination of the object with one color and imaging with another.

“War and climate are the two biggest threats to these documents,” Easton said. “Mali rebels burned the public library in Timbuktu, while ISIS did the same in Mosul (Iraq). There is an urgent need to preserve and document and to have multiple repositories of data.”

One of his collaborators, Gregory Heyworth, a humanities professor at the University of Mississippi, estimates that Europe alone has 60,000 manuscripts in need of attention.

Easton thinks the number is modest. The overwhelming amount of work to be done is compounded by the lack of trained people to do it, he said.

“The Archimedes took us 10 years. That was one manuscript, 177 leaves. It had lots of issues. Then, 161 palimpsested manuscripts at St. Catherine’s Monastery. We started out planning for 135, but we found more during the imaging over the course of the five-year project.”

A happy accident

The emerging field of spectral imaging of historical documents gives RIT an opportunity to capitalize on its imaging expertise and become an international leader and a resource in this area, said David Messinger, director of the Center for Imaging Science.

“We could develop new imaging modalities and new image processing tools and techniques that could be transitioned to the teams that go out into the field,” Messinger said. “Funded graduate students could be doing the cutting-edge research and permanent staff could support both the students and people outside RIT.”

Already students are making a difference.

During work on the Archimedes palimpsest, Kevin Bloechl ’12, ’14 (imaging science) developed processing techniques that Easton now applies to every new project. The story is one of Easton’s favorite anecdotes.

At the time, Bloechl, then a first-year student, asked Easton for something to do over the 2008 winter break instead of bagging groceries. Easton had just received an email from the curator at Walters Art Museum asking him to spend his holiday working on a section of the Archimedes palimpsest the scholars wanted to read. Easton handed the project to Bloechl.

“I said, ‘Here. Go do this,’ figuring he wouldn’t have any luck,” Easton said. “Within four hours, he stumbled upon it. With those images we were able to recover the text that was completely invisible to our normal methods. The scholars described the results as ‘miraculous.’”

Bloechl used one color image composed of red, green and blue light generated by fluorescence from the ultraviolet illumination. The text became legible to scholars after processing those three bands of the color image.

“It was the red-green-blue difference where the text was but only in this one undertext,” he said. “This was a commentary on Aristotle’s ‘Categories’ that was part of the palimpsest.”

His breakthrough changed Easton’s approach. From then on, Easton always imaged the color of the ultraviolet fluorescence. The manuscript absorbed the ultraviolet and emitted light mostly in the blue, some in the green and a little in the red, Easton explained.

Bloechl describes his contribution as a happy accident.

“The pages of the palimpsest had been imaged under illumination at various wavelengths, and all of these wavelengths were being used in processing,” he said. “I forgot to include all of the wavelengths on one attempt. This yielded the initial results that I’d come up with, and noticing improved results, I continued to use this processing over a full page of the palimpsest.”

David Kelbe ’10, ’15 (imaging science) is another student who has advanced the science of imaging historical documents. Kelbe, now a research scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, introduced principles of remote sensing to the statistical analysis of different spectral colors. His techniques analyze the different brightness and wavelengths of light and recombine them to accentuate the contrast of the undertext, he explained.

“Remote sensing has benefited from huge amounts of resources and development over the last decades for the intelligence community,” Kelbe said. “The cultural heritage domain doesn’t have that expertise, but we can bring the same methods and technology to this domain and there is a lot of potential there.”

Kelbe will continue teaching scholars in Vienna and Athens to image documents they wish to recover. He is also ensuring continuity at RIT by teaching his techniques to fourth-year imaging science undergraduates Liz Bondi and Kevin Sacca.

Sacca is exploring solutions for scholars with his senior project. He is developing an inexpensive portable imaging system for scholars to use on site. Sacca will demonstrate a prototype of his imaging-software tool kit at the Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival on May 7. Easton looks forward to Sacca’s results.

Messinger sees the potential to connect the dots among the College of Science, the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, the College of Liberal Arts’ museum studies and digital humanities and social sciences programs, and the Cary Graphic Arts Collection in The Wallace Center. Steven Galbraith, curator of the Melbert B. Cary Jr. Graphic Arts Collection, proposed and championed the idea.

This fall, a new Laboratory for Imaging of Historical Artifacts was established by the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science with $300,000 from the Chester and Dorris Carlson Charitable Fund. The laboratory will position RIT to advance the science behind imaging historical documents and train more people.

“With the number of manuscripts that need imaging, we need many more systems and many more groups out there doing this work,” Easton said. “We need tech-savvy scholars who can image documents and affordable, user-friendly equipment for them to use. And we need to close the loop between scholars and scientists. It’s really an example of how the humanities and the sciences can work together.”

Past projects

Cultural heritage objects imaged:

  • Palimpsests (erased and overwritten manuscripts)
  • Archimedes palimpsest 10th century
  • Syriac-Galen palimpsest ninth century
  • St. Catherine’s Monastery (“New Finds” project administered by the Early Manuscripts Electronic Library)
  • David Livingstone’s African diaries
  • Scythia, 11th century palimpsest, from the National Library of Austria
  • Codex Vercellensis (“Codex A”)
  • Les Eschéz d’Amour (The Chess of Love), a 31,000-line, 14th-century French epic poem damaged in 1945 during bombing raids on Dresden


  • Vercelli Mappamundi c. 1220
  • Waldseemüller Cosmographica Universalis 1507
  • Martellus World Map c. 1491

Coming up

Roger Easton will present his research this year at several forums. He and collaborator Keith Knox will present the keynote address at the Imaging Science and Technology Society: Digital Archiving Conference at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., April 20, and participate in a forum about the Syriac Galen palimpsest in Philadelphia April 29-30.

Robert Johnston’s legacy

RIT’s foray into the spectral imaging of historical documents was initiated in the 1990s by the late archeologist Robert Johnston, a former dean of RIT’s College of Fine Arts and director of the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science from 1992-1994.

He was among the first to suggest the use of digital imaging technology to decipher the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient Jewish texts that hold clues to the development of Christianity.

RIT’s contributions were featured in documentaries produced by British Broadcasting Corp. and the Discovery Channel celebrating the 50th anniversary of the scrolls’ discovery.




Scholars were unable to read the cartouche on Henricus Martellus’ World Map until Roger Easton processed the images.

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Original Source: University News

NIH study seeks to improve quality-of-life measure for deaf and hard-of-hearing people RIT leads $1.6 million study to enhance disability and outcomes research

Mar. 28, 2016
Susan Gawlowicz

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Poorna Kushalnagar

Improving the health of the deaf and hard-of-hearing population through accessible patient-reported outcome measures is the goal of a $1.6 million National Institutes of Health-funded study, led by Rochester Institute of Technology.

Researchers and providers will, for the first time, have a tool for assessing their deaf and hard-of-hearing patients’ health-related quality-of-life outcomes in American Sign Language. Resulting data will lend new insights in patient outcomes research and improve prevention and treatment models for the underserved deaf and hard-of-hearing population, said Poorna Kushalnagar, a health psychologist and research associate professor in RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science.

Patient assessments evaluate symptoms, well-being and life satisfaction, as well as physical, mental and social health. Surveys designed for English speakers present a language barrier for many users of American Sign Language and accessible services, Kushalnagar said.

She and her colleagues at Northwestern University, University of Arkansas Little Rock and Gallaudet University have developed a new profile based on the standard Patient Reported Outcome Measurement Information System, or PROMIS, used in clinical outcomes research. The team modified the PROMIS domains to reflect the experiences of deaf and hard-of-hearing people in English and ASL. The resulting PROMIS-Deaf profile has undergone rigorous cognitive testing with deaf and hard-of-hearing adults and is being used to gather data from a nationwide sample.

A large sample of 650 participants will allow researchers to analyze data from several subgroups within the deaf and hard-of-hearing population, such as by hearing-level, language, gender, ethnicity, race and identification with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gay community.

“This project will yield the largest, most representative quality-of-life data set on deaf and hard-of-hearing adults with early deafness,” said Kushalnagar, director of the Deaf Health and Communication and Quality of Life Center in RIT’s Center for Imaging Science.

The NIH grant and supplemental research funding supports three undergraduate researchers and a post-baccalaureate diversity fellow at RIT, as well as a graduate assistant researcher at the University of Arkansas Little Rock.

Kushalnagar’s team includes David Cella, chair and professor of medical social science in the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, and Samuel Atcherson, associate professor of audiology at the University of Arkansas Little Rock.

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Original Source: University News