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Story Tips: Engineering Students Pursue Cutting-Edge Research

Building a computer-guided submarine. Testing a potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Creating digital models of the heart. Conducting gene-therapy experiments.

These were among the demanding research projects undertaken over the past year by undergraduates in the G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering at The Johns Hopkins University. These students were among the 50 who received up to $2,500 each to design and pursue projects through The Provost's Undergraduate Awards For Research and Excellence.

The opportunity to be involved in important research is one of the distinguishing characteristics of an undergraduate education at Johns Hopkins. About 80 percent of the university's undergraduates engage in some form of independent study during their four years here, often in primary research projects alongside top scientists in their fields.

Following are some story tips based on a few of this year's Provost Award projects:

A Robotic Submarine

Two seniors majoring in mechanical engineering sunk their $2,500 research awards into a project that sinks literally.

Omar Alquaddoomi, 20, of Glendale, Calif., and Adam Morris, 21, of New Albany, Ohio, used their grants to help a team of Johns Hopkins students design and build a small robotic submarine to represent the university in an international competition for underwater vehicles, held last August in Panama City, Fla.

About six months earlier, biophysics major Joshua Apgar, 21, of Newton, Mass., had learned about the event and recruited Alquaddoomi, Morris and several other students to construct a Hopkins entry. "We spent about a month designing it," Apgar recalls. "We only had time to build it once. There was not enough time or money to re-do the project if it didn't come out right. It forced us to come up with some very creative solutions."

For example, the sub's motors were actually designed for fishing boats. The students also modified and used some circuitry made for rem
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Contact: Phil Sneiderman
prs@jhu.edu
410-516-7160
Johns Hopkins University
7-Apr-1999


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