RESEARCH 2018-05-02T15:32:00+00:00


Laboratory of Quantum Optics

Department of Physics and Engineering, Delaware State University

Scientist: Aristides Marcano Olaizola (PhD), Professor, PI of the DSU NSF INCLUDES, P. 302 857 6690, Email:


Photothermal spectroscopy: Photothermal spectroscopy measures the amount of heat released in a given sample due to absorption of light. The method is highly sensitive allowing measuring absorption well below the limit of detection of conventional instruments. The technique is not affected by scattering which means it can be applied for turbid media. We use the method to study absorption of metallic nanoparticles providing the absorption and scattering spectra which cannot be measured by traditional absorption spectroscopy. We also conduct photothermal spectroscopy in a reflection configuration to study the absorption of light in the surface of non-transparent samples. The approach represents a new versatile way for characterization of surface properties.

Laser virus inactivation: We irradiate virus samples using a blue light of relatively low power inducing its inactivation in a very efficient way. The interpretation is that blue light can excite the oxygen molecules dissolved in the sample making them highly reactive and able to destroy the virus. The effect does not require the addition of chemicals (photosensitizers) or additional treatment to yield a good inactivation. We are currently studying the ways to confirm the hypotheses of excited oxygen which should provide ways to improve the efficiency of the virus demise.

Renewable Energies: We are developing educational programs on renewable energy and environmental sustainability. The programs should offer a Baccalaureate degree in renewable energy when fully established. We count with the support of the private company Delmarva Power that funded the Educational Renewable Energy Center currently active in the Luna Mishoe Science Building. We also have the support of National Science Foundation that awarded to our group an NSF INCLUDES pilot grant to develop a network supporting these educational programs.

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Recent Publications:

  1. A. Marcano O., “Photothermal determination of absorption and scattering spectra of silver nanoparticles”, Applied Spectroscopy (Published online October 2017). DOI: 10.1177/0003702817738056
  2. Marcano, G. Gwanmesia, and B. Workie, “Photothermal Mirror Method for the Study of Thermal Diffusivity and Thermo-Elastic Properties of Opaque Solid Materials”, International Journal of Thermophysics, 38:136 (2017); DOI: 10.1007/s10765-017-2276-9.
  3. Hlaing, B. Gebear-Eigzabher, A. Roa, A. Marcano, D. Radu and C. Lai, “Absorption and scattering cross section extinction values of silver nanoparticles”, Optical Materials, 58, 439-444 (2016). Time cited: 2.
  4. A. Marcano O., S. Alvarado, J. Meng, D. Caballero, E. Marin and R. Edziah, “White Light Photothermal lens spectrophotometer for determination of absorption in scattering samples”, Applied Spectroscopy, 68 (6), 680-685, June  2014. DOI: 10.1366/13-07385. Times cited: 3
  5. S. Alvarado, E. Marin, A. Calderon and A. Marcano, “Improvement of an optical fiber sensor for the detection of low concentrations of solutes using the photothermal effect”, Thermochimica Acta, 593, 12-15 (2014) (online August 13, 2014). DOI: 10.1016/j.tca.2014.08.012. Times cited: 1A. Marcano, G.
  6. Gwanmesia, M. King and D. Caballero; “Determination of thermal diffusivity of opaque materials using the photothermal mirror method,” Opt. Eng., 53(12), 127101 (2014). DOI:10.1117/1.OE.53.12.127101.

Laboratory of Mineral Physics

Department of Physics and Engineering, Delaware State University

Scientist: Gabriel Gwanmesia (PhD) Professor, Co-PI of the DSU NSF INCLUDES, P. 302 857 6653, Email:

Research: Development of materials for thermoelectric and nuclear engineering applications. Characterization of the mechanical, electrical and optical properties of materials for renewable energy applications.

Photonic Sensors Systems Laboratory

Department of Physics and Engineering, Delaware State University

Scientist: Mohammad Khan (PhD), Associate Professor, co-PI of the DSU NSF INCLUDES

The research focuses on design and development of novel laser-based photonic sensors and sensor networks to measure trace pollutants, particles or greenhouse gases for environmental sensing, global climate change, industrial and biomedical applications. Dr. Khan received his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA. He was also a postdoctoral researcher at Center of Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University, New Jersey.  His most recent work involves open-path methane, carbon-dioxide and water-vapor sensors for unmanned aerial systems. The sensors are developed using quantum cascade lasers for high-spectral resolution, selectivity and sensitivity of trace molecules in the mid-infrared region of the spectrum.

The Aquatic Science Laboratory

Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Delaware State University

Scientist: Gulnihal Ozbay (PhD), Professor, Co-PI of the DSU NSF INCLUDES, P. 302 857 6476, Email:

Research: The research focus is on marine aquaculture, habitat restoration and water quality issues, specifically research in the associations between algae, shellfish, and water quality, water quality driven toxicity in harmful algae, shellfish-algae dynamics, nutrient and water quality management, aquatic ecology and health, seafood safety, and drinking water quality.

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Scientist:  Lathadevi Karuna Chintapenta (PhD), Collaborator of the DSU NSF INCLUDES, P. 302 857 6549, Email:

Microbial ecology, including studying microbial interactions with their environment. More importantly the goal is to understand and identify changes within the ecosystems from anthropogenic disturbances. Microorganisms are present in all environments and are the first to react to physical and chemical changes in the environment. As coastal ecosystems are vulnerable to anthropogenic disturbances, we are studying the changes in microbial community of wetland soils. One of our undergraduate student, Emily Uche, supported by the NSF INCLUDES program is trained on Biolog Ecoplate analysis. This study will focus on community-level physiological profiling and is effective with temporal and spatial changes in the microbial communities.

This assay is a sensitive and reliable  index of environmental change. We are currently using next generation molecular tools such as Illumina sequencing methods to study the microbiome and transcriptome of marsh grasses. Undergraduate students in our lab are trained with cutting edge STEM skills while enhancing their knowledge on water and environmental sustainability. In the past five years at DSU, I worked with more than 20 undergraduate students, all of them have presented their research experiences at regional or national conferences. Seven students who worked with me received first and second prizes, undergraduate student training in our lab is focused to help shape their professional skills and prepare students for the future workforce. I have taught Master’s level Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology courses during 2004- 2007, at DSU I also taught Undergraduate Introductory Biology (101-13) and Introduction to Food Science (250-01) courses.

Recent Publications

  1. Ozbay, G., Chintapenta, L.K., Lingham, T., Lumor, S., Lee, J., Besong, S. 2018. Delaware Inland Bays and Market Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) Quality for Consumption (Accepted for Journal of Food Safety).
  2. Chintapenta L.K., Coyne, K.J., Pappas, A., Lee, K., Kalavacharla, V., and Ozbay, G. Monitoring the Diatom Communities of Delaware Tidal Wetlands in Response to Water Quality (Submitted to Frontiers in Environmental Science)
  3. Chintapenta, L.K., Kalavacharla, V., Ozbay, G. Studies on the Microbiome of the Native Marsh Grass, Spartina alterniflora and the Invasive Marsh, Phragmites australis. (Submitted to Microbiological Research).
  4. Cannon, A., Chintapenta, L.K., and Ozbay, G. 2017. Monitoring heavy metals near wastewater facility in Delaware Inland Bays tidal canal. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 09(08): 985-998. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2017.98065
  5. Lingham T., Ye M., Chen H., Chintapenta L.K., Handy E.F., Zhao J., Wu C., and Ozbay G. 2016. Effects of High Hydrostatic Pressure on the Physical, Microbial, and Chemical Attributes of Oysters (Crassostrea virginica). Journal of Food Science, 8(5): M1158-M1166. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.13290
  6. Stone ML., Roseke K., Chintapenta LK., Phalen L., Kalavacharla V., and Ozbay G. 2016. A Water Quality Investigation of Blackbird Creek, Delaware. Frontiers in Environmental Science, 4:70. doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2016.00070
  7. Chintapenta L.K., Rath CC., Bapuji M., and Ozbay G. 2014. Pigment Production from a Mangrove Penicillium. African Journal of Biotechnology, 13(26): 2668-2674

Laboratory of Food and Nutritional Sciences

Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Delaware State University

Scientist: Bertrand Hankoua (PhD), Senior Research Scientist, Collaborator of the DSU NSF INCLUDES, P. 302 857 7935, Email:

Research: Molecular Biotechnology, Biofuels, Biochemicals and Bio-Processing

Dr. Bertrand B. Hankoua is a Plant Biotechnologist and Geneticist employed as a Senior Research Scientist, Research Faculty in the College of Agriculture and Related Sciences. He was born in Cameroon and educated there, Nigeria and Switzerland. He joined Delaware State University from the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St-Louis, Missouri, and has a strong expertise in plant biotechnology, international agricultural biotechnology, capacity development and transfer of biotechnology in Africa, Agric-biotechnology development, and grant procurement. At the Danforth Center, he participated in preparation and execution of funded project proposals such as Product Development for CMD-resistant Cassava (USAID) and Biotechnology to address food challenges in the developing world (USAID). At the DuPont Agriculture and Nutrition, US, he worked in various maize genetic improvement projects as a Plant Biologist.   

His initial research focuses on developing and deploying improved cassava plants resistant to Gemini viruses and he is now working on enhancing the efficiency of the cassava plant and lignocellulosic feedstock as a source of bioethanol and high value chemicals production using transgenic technology. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) requires an aggressive scale-up of cellulosic biofuels as part of the Renew- able Fuel Standard (RFS) program, with a production target of 39.7 billion gallons per year by 2020. Currently, such production is less than10% of the 2016 goal set by EISA. This productiongap is primarily due to the cost of conversion technologies currently being commercialized, such as cell wall degrading enzymes and biomass pre-treatment both required by existing technologies and feedstocks. Additionally, innovative science and improved crop varieties are needed to achieve sustainable biomass production on marginal sites with poor soil or other undesirable characteristics, and to minimize competition with food crops for land.Our primary goal is to address both needs through optimized design and integration of plant and microbial systems for sustainable production of biofuels and biochemical. Specifically, his laboratory is harnessinga synergy between molecular biotechnology, synthetic biology, and system biology to improve the conversion speed of lignocellulosic and starchy feedstocks into biofuels, and other high value fuels and chemicals, that are cleaner and more efficient.

Other research and training interest under development in his laboratory is gene stacking for nutritional enhancement in cassava, lignin utilization and valorization using engineered microbes,discovery, cloning, and recombinant expression of novel thermophilic cellulases and ligninases, product pipeline development through transgenic technology, training minority underrepresented undergraduates, graduates, Postdoctoral and visiting scientists in the discipline of biotechnology and bio-energy, and capacity development in plant biotechnology, bioenergy, and molecular biology in Africa.

Dr. Bertrand Hankoua is one of the world experts on the application of biotechnology to the improvement of cassava.  He has participated as an investigating scientists or project lead for many plan biotechnology grants founded by USAID, Swiss Development Corporation, US Department of Agriculture, US National Institute of Food and Agriculture, US national science foundation, and the US Department of Agriculture that address many constrains to cassava production ranging from virus resistance to improvement of efficiency of using cassava and other energy feedstock as an energy cash crop. He also served as a member of the review panel for three large USDA grant programs as well as NSF-REU Undergraduate experience ‘s Faculty Mentor. He has published numerous articles in high impact journals such Nature-Scientific Reports, and many articles in cassava biotechnology, including the results of collaborations with Swiss, USA, and African Scientists.  Dr. Hankoua as active membership in many scientific societies, including the American Association of Advancements of Sciences, American Society of Plant Biologists, In vitro Society, and the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (GCP21). He has received numerous prestigious fellowships, awards, and recognitions from Prestigious International Organizations, such as the Organization of African Unity, the Swiss Development Corporation, The World Bank’s International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETHZ, Zurich, Rockefeller Foundation, UNESCO Biotechnology Action Council (BAC) and the Visiting Faculty Program of the US Department of Energy.

Laboratory of  Food Science & Biotechnology

Human Ecology Department

Scientist: Jung-lim Lee (PhD), Collaborator of the DSU NSF INCLUDES, P 302 857 6448, Email:

Research: Microbial genomics, Microbiology, Food Safety, Biotechnology, Ecology, Environmental Science.

Dr. Jung-lim Lee is an Associate Professor in the Human Ecology Department. He is a coordinator of the Graduate Food Science & Biotechnology Program and is the PI of the Food Microbiology lab and the Food Omics lab in the College of Agriculture and Related Sciences. His expertise is microbial genomics, food microbiology, food safety, and biotechnology.

His expertise is microbial genomics, food microbiology, food safety, and biotechnology.  He and his research team have conducted various research projects funded mainly (but not limited to) from NIFA-USDA programs that address developing novel and rapid methodology for quantities detection of pathogens in foods and agricultural products using DNA amplification based assays; developing the molecular method for accessing water quality; developing the eco-friendly method in food products using bacteriophage; developing probiotics for gastrointestinal health of animals; studying biochemical & molecular characteristics of enzymes in microbes and spoilage mechanisms; investigating the ϒ-irradiated biomolecules in pathogen and foods, etc.  In addition, Dr. Lee has been committed to developing the outreach services that interacts with students, teachers, and local communities.

Currently, Dr. Lee  is focused on study of microbiome in foods, water, soil, animal, and other environments using the Next-Generation DNA Sequencing (NGS), which is a new and innovative high-throughput technology for molecular genomic analyses that has been rapidly developed and spotlighted within recent years.  Microbes and their communities are closely associated with the environmental conditions as well as effect ecosystem in positive/negative manners.  Therefore, as we try to “Go green” in our contemporary life, it is very crucial to understand how bacterial communities respond to new environments by changing the behavior of the new technology use. The study of the dynamics of microbiomes and their genetic evolutions in different systems will provide in-depth information as an indicator as well as prepare our well-being and harmonization with nature. Consequently, this study will play to support our use of the green/alternative technologies.

Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Research Unit

Agriculture Research Service, US Department of Agriculture (USD ARS)

Scientist: David Kingsley, Virologist, Collaborator of the DSU NSF INCLUDES, P. 302 857 6406, Email: David.Kingsley@ARS.USDA.GOV

Research: Dr. David Kingsley and DSU (INCLUDES funded) student Nicole Miletti are working in a receptor-based viability assay for human norovirus within bivalve shellfish.  Norovirus is the number one cause of food-borne illness worldwide.  Currently in some world jurisdictions shellfish are being regulated based on the amount of detectable norovirus RNA present.  Unfortunately it is not clear if the RNA detected is derived from an infectious virus particle or from an inactivated one. Previously Dr. Kingsley has shown that the PGM-MB assay in combination with RT-qPCR can distinguished between laboratory stocks of virus that can initiate infection (viable) and virus that cannot (nonviable).  The present challenge for Dr Kingsley and Ms. Miletti is to successfully extract whole virus from live shellfish that can be used in this assay. Dr. Kingsley also collaborates with Dr. A. Marcano on a laser virus inactivation project.

Department of Physics and Engineering

Delaware State University

Scientist: Qi Lu (PhD), Associate Professor, Collaborator of the DSU NSF INCLUDES, P. 302 857 6806, Email

Research: Dr. Lu is currently interested in understanding the interactions between nanoparticles and lipid membranes. Nanoparticles, such as gold, silver, silica, have been increasingly shown promises in the development of nanomedicine or delivery systems for the targeted treatment of cancer and other diseases. Lipid vesicles are artificial membrane systems, providing simplified platform for the study of biophysical interactions between nanoparticles and membranes. A variety of techniques, including spectrofluorometry, fluorescence microscopy, dark-field hyperspectral imaging, AFM, etc., have been used to characterize and identify the key factors governing how nanoparticles interact with lipid membranes. Dr. Lu’s interdisciplinary research contributes new knowledge to the design of novel nanomedicines for disease diagnosis and treatment, which helps to improve the health care of our society.

Clean Energy Laboratory

Department of Chemistry, Delaware State University

Scientist: Daniela Radu (PhD), Associate Professor, Collaborator of the DSU NSF INCLUDES, P. 302 857 6553, Email:

Research: Thin film for solar energy applications. Details at

Bionanotechnology and Nanomedicine Laboratory

Department of Chemistry, Delaware State University

Scientist: Cheng-Yu Lai (PhD), Associate Professor, Collaborator of the DSU NSF INCLUDES, P. 302 857 6553, Email:

Research: Biodiesel, drug delivery. See details at

Department of Computer and Information Sciences

Delaware State University

Scientist: David Pokrajac (PhD), Professor, Collaborator of the DSU NSF INCLUDES, P. 302 857 7053, Email:

Research: Data mining. See details at here.

Department  of Mathematical Sciences

Delaware State University

Scientist: Matthew Bobrowsky (PhD) Visiting Assistant Professoror, Collaborator of the DSU NSF INCLUDES, P. 302 857 7729, Email :

Center of Catalytic Science and Technology

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Delaware

Scientist: Fen Jiao (PhD), Associate Professor, Collaborator of the DSU NSF INCLUDES.  Email: jiao@udel edu

Research: Electrochemical conversion of CO2