Where can you find someone researching how to turn solid waste into fuel? Discovering how to charge a cell phone on a camping trip? Piloting innovative programs to train aspiring principals on core leadership skills? Mississippi Public Universities.
Mississippi Public Universities are a hotbed of innovation, where faculty, students and staff are working diligently throughout the laboratories, classrooms and centers to find solutions to Mississippi’s most pressing problems.
“Innovation is a way of life on the campuses of Mississippi Public Universities,” said Dr. Hank M. Bounds, Commissioner of Higher Education. “We are so pleased that Governor Bryant has proclaimed November as ‘Mississippi Innovation Month’ and provided us with a wonderful opportunity to showcase innovative efforts at our universities and across the state.”
The goal of Mississippi Innovation Month is to draw attention to Mississippi’s innovative businesses and institutions, encourage economic development and accelerate development of Mississippi’s innovation economy. Mississippi Public Universities bring in more than $400 million annually in research and development, leading to cutting-edge industry advancements, new industries, quality jobs and higher wages.
“The ongoing research, development and innovation at Mississippi Public Universities fuel Mississippi’s economy,” said Governor Phil Bryant. “I appreciate all the universities do to help attract, retain and assist business and industry in our state.”
Technology-related innovations will have a tremendous impact on the daily lives of all Mississippians.
· Jackson State University’s DISCOVER MS (Disaster, Incident and Situational Collaborative Operational Virtual Environment Resource for Mississippi) provides critical data to emergency managers by providing the right data at the right time to enable first responders to find missing people and make better decisions during disasters. DISCOVER MS has successfully used its cell phone and mapping technology to help find a missing hunter and a 14-year-old girl abducted in Mississippi.
· Mississippi State University will boost its high-performance computing capabilities with the installation of a new supercomputer in the High Performance Computer Collaboratory (HPC2). Named “Shadow,” the CS300-LC cluster supercomputer will be 10 times faster than the university’s pervious fastest system, but consume far less energy. The system features an innovative, liquid-cooled design that uses warm water heat exchangers instead of chillers to cool the computer’s processors and memory directly, allowing for a more efficient removal of system heat. Shadow will be housed in the HPC2 facility in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park.
· MSU recently hosted several public programs examining critical issues of a hyper-connected, Internet-driven world as part of the university’s sixth annual Cyber Security Awareness Week.
· A new completely online master’s degree in global commerce developed at Mississippi University for Women is preparing graduates to work in their local communities with the growing number of international companies in the state. The multidisciplinary program provides exposure to international law, cross-cultural management, global marketing, software solutions, telecommunications, environmental sustainability, and other areas.
· We are ensuring Mississippi Valley State University offers cutting edge programs. Some of these programs include the Automated Technology and Technology Management and Bioinformatics programs; through ATTM, students are prepared to become management-oriented technical professionals with a concentration in architectural construction management, computer-aided-drafting and design, electronics, industrial management and manufacturing/robotics.
· An acoustic sensor used to detect very low frequency events was developed by scientists at the University of Mississippi-based National Center for Physical Acoustics. It is manufactured and distributed by Hyperion Technology Group in Tupelo. While sold primarily to defense-related industries, it also has applications in the detection of seismic events.
· UM scientists recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation to purchase a graphics processing unit, or GPU, or cluster, which will be housed in the Mississippi Center for Supercomputing Research (MCSR) on the Oxford Campus. The machine is expected to quadruple the MCSR’s total computing power and the calculations from the supercomputer could help researchers design new compounds that could contribute to developing medicines in the future.
While much of the research involves cutting-edge technology, there is also a great deal of innovative research concerning the basic human needs of food and health.
· Alcorn State University animal science professor Dr. Michael Ezekwe, director of the ASU Swine Development Center, invented a food composition comprised of waterleaf leaves and methods of using the leaves to reduce blood cholesterol.
· ASU’s Center for Conservation Research has conducted C-factor research on horticultural crops, leading to the creation of the largest C-factor databank on horticultural crops in the world. The information generated is used in major erosion prediction models and helps conservationists, agronomists and horticulturalists with nutrient management and conservation planning on farmlands around the world. It also helps prevent soil erosion and climate change.
· Dr. Paresh Ray and his team of researchers in Jackson State University’s Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology are developing a method to kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells. The photothermal therapy system using popcorn-shaped nanoparticles can detect cancer, kill it and monitor the cells to determine if treatment is effective. A patent for the technology is pending.
· Jackson State University’s Research Centers at Minority Institutions Center for Environmental Health has been awarded a $10.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health-National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. The five-year grant will enhance the center’s biomedical infrastructure to support research that addresses environmental and public health issues impacting vulnerable and underserved communities.
· Last year, Mississippi State University hosted an international conference on issues surrounding global food security. In light of the planet’s spiraling population numbers, global food security presents perhaps the single greatest challenge facing world governments.
· Mississippi University for Women has established a joint intensive residency program for nurse practitioners and physician assistants in partnership with North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo. It is believed to be the first such program in the nation to integrate the residency training of both and provide intensive clinical experiences to improve healthcare delivery in the state.
· Mississippi Valley State University has bioinformatics for graduate students. Bioinformatics is the field of science in which biology, computer science, and information technology merge to form a single discipline.
· The University of Mississippi’s Center for Population Studies is collaborating with a network of diverse groups to address the state’s health care workforce shortage and improve the quality of life in five Mississippi Delta counties as part of the New Pathways program. The New Pathways program in Bolivar, Coahoma, Quitman, Sunflower and Tallahatchie counties works with students to inspire them to address health care challenges in their communities. The program strives to grow the Delta’s health workforce from within the region. Many Mississippi counties have health care worker shortages and the program could help address those needs. It also could help with possible increased patient loads as coverage expands under the Affordable Care Act.
· Wherever U.S. troops are deployed, they must guard not only against their country’s human foes but also a barrage of blood-feeding arthropods – mosquitoes, lice, sand flies, ticks, mites, stable flies and bed bugs – and the diseases they transmit. Among the chief threats are malaria, yellow fever, typhus, dengue fever, encephalitis and leishmaniasis. Scientists in the Thad Cochran Research Center at the University of Mississippi, home to the university’s National Center for Natural Products Research, and the Natural Products Utilization Research Unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, have discovered and developed several new insecticides and repellents by studying the region’s folk remedies or by investigating plants used for centuries as medicines or insect deterrents elsewhere in the world.
· The MIND Center (Memory Impairment and Neurodegenerative Dementia Research) is a cutting-edge research and clinical care initiative of the University of Mississippi Medical Center aimed at uncovering the causes and treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia through research and applying those findings to its health care programs.
· The polymer scientists at the University of Southern Mississippi has partnered with Bayer MaterialScience to conduct vital research in areas of polymer coatings, adhesives, insulating materials and sealants and other high performance materials that enhance our quality of life.
Transportation, fuel and power are of great concern to both individuals and businesses. The cost is passed along in the amount we pay for every product we buy. Researchers at Mississippi Public Universities are finding ways to improve transportation and lower the cost of fuel and other sources of power.
· Delta State University’s Department of Commercial Aviation provides specialized training for flight operations and aviation management, providing students with a focused understanding of aviation concepts and operations.
· Dr. Kamal S. Ali, a computer engineering professor at Jackson State University, has been awarded a patent for his Hardware in the Loop Simulator (HILS) for small autopilots used in unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. HILS are systems that combine the best of software flexibility and hardware accuracy, providing the user with a powerful and realistic evaluation tool. The system allows the user to compare how a plane is flying under different autopilots and weather conditions. The project is a collaboration of JSU and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. A copy of the system will be delivered to the U.S. Air Force on Dec. 6.
· Mississippi State University’s Chemical Engineering Technology and Bio Energy Spectrum Solutions have partnered to develop ways to commercialize waste to fuel technology in Mississippi.
· MSU’s Sustainable Energy Research Center is a 7,000 square foot, state-of-the-art pilot scale facility that houses technology for converting biomass to transportation fuels. MSU scientists and engineers are taking research from the laboratory into the commercialization process and are working closely with industry partners to move new products and processes to the marketplace.
· Mississippi State engineering administrator Dr. Jason Keith recently received a national award for innovative teaching. The director of the Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering, Dr. Keith was selected for the David Himmelblau Award for his decade of work in developing hydrogen fuel cell and energy education modules.
· The Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 and Mississippi Valley State University entered into a Memorandum of Understanding in support of the University’s efforts to become the flagship model of an academic institution that is environmentally sustainable in its campus infrastructure and its environmental policy and science curriculum.
· The University of Mississippi’s National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering has developed high speed data compression software that accelerates data delivery and reduces power consumption for mobile devices.
· UM’s Nanoinfrastructure Research Group (NIRG) comprised of School of Engineering scientists are developing bio-inspired nanomaterials to improve the resilience of the nation’s infrastructure using a grant awarded from NASA. They are also working to design new materials for spacecraft that will be able to withstand impacts of extremely fast-moving space debris, meteoroids and subatomic particles.
· The Mississippi Polymer Institute, the industrial outreach arm of the Polymer Science Department at the University of Southern Mississippi, has partnered with the Mississippi Development Authority, Jones County Junior College, and local support services to support the $56 million GE Aviation plant in Ellisville.
· USM and the U.S. Navy have partnered to offer a Master of Science degree in Hydrographic Science. Hydrography is the branch of applied sciences that deals with the measurement and description of the physical features of the oceans, seas, coastal areas, lakes and rivers, as well as with the prediction of their evolution, for the primary purpose of safety of navigation and all other marine purposes and activities, including economic development, security and defense, scientific research and environmental protection.
Hurricanes, tornadoes and floods have taken a terrible toll on our state. Mississippi Public Universities are finding innovative ways to predict and mitigate natural disasters. In addition to natural disasters, universities provide invaluable research that impacts homeland security.
· Delta State University’s Center for Geospatial Information Technology offers national and international expertise in the field of geospatial services. Using the latest technology, faculty and students are able to map areas for a variety of projects, including disaster relief and governmental operations.
· Jackson State University’s Rapid Estimates for Approaching Landfall storm surge estimating system transitioned to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. The technology was used for Hurricane Isaac in August 2012 and is being used for operational analytics in the current hurricane season.
· New research at the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine may lead to the creation of nerve agent antidote that works before severe damage occurs. The MSU-CVM Center for Environmental Health Sciences have received grant funding through the Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency to develop antidotes that can be used by DOD in cases of chemical warfare. No actual nerve agents used in chemical warfare are being stored or use at MSU; instead, the researchers are using compounds that resemble the agents, so that they can safely conduct testing.
· UM’s National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering has also developed DDS-WISE, an integrated software package in collaboration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Office of Infrastructure Protection. It was designed to eliminate scientific and technological gaps of the current flood simulation and flood damage evaluation practice and to improve current engineering and decision-making practice by providing simulation and analysis capabilities with unprecedented realism and robustness.
· The University of Southern Mississippi’s National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) supports the advancement of sport safety and security through training, professional development, academic programs and research.
Mississippi Public Universities provide space for business incubators, where innovation and collaboration can come together for amazing results.
· The Mississippi e-Center@JSU, located at 1230 Raymond Road, is a 192,000-square-foot office space devoted to communications technology and research. Thirteen federally-funded research centers contribute to the research infrastructure of the university. A Meeting Innovation Center draws about 65,000 visitors annually, and the e-Center has the capacity to allow people around the world to participate in conferences held at the facility.
· Mississippi State University’s incubator is filled with two new companies, VSPORTO and Bulldog Sports Radio and JUVA Juice, an MSU spin-out company.
· MSU provided strategic support for the successful efforts of Governor Phil Bryant, the Mississippi Development Authority and the Golden Triangle Development Link to bring the Yokohoma Tire Corporation manufacturing plant to Clay County.
· In April 2012, the University of Mississippi dedicated the Innovation Hub, a 62,000 square foot gateway building in Insight Park research park. The building includes space for technology/knowledge-based entrepreneurs, wet and dry laboratories, multi-tenant space for more established innovative enterprises as well as several spaces for executive conferences, meetings and business networking events.
Mississippi Public Universities never forget their mission of training the next generation of teachers and school leaders. Many of the innovative efforts center on creating the classroom of the future.
· The DSU College of Education and Human Science’s Educational Leadership Master’s Cohort Program is an innovative program that provides aspiring and in-service principals the training to master core leadership skills. After high-quality school leaders are developed, they will be placed in high-need schools of the Mississippi Delta region with support for retention.
· Professors in The W’s College of Education are working with area teachers to introduce technologies such as iPads, Smartboards, and Promethean boards into classroom activities that target key STEM areas needed for jobs of the future. The ongoing project is called Creating Collaborations in a Common Core Classroom.
· This year, the University of Mississippi's School of Education launched a new Ph.D. program with a neuroscience component. One of only three programs of its kind in the nation, the UM curriculum is designed to train professionals to help those with traumatic brain injuries recover better. The new special education doctoral program trains educators to use therapies that incorporate mathematics, language and other subjects to speed and improve recovery. The new special education Ph.D. has multiple components: one helps students learn how the brain works, while other sections of the curriculum deal with literacy, diversity and behaviors. Neurosciences are studied in all areas of the new program.