Winkelmann Research Group

Winkelmann Research Group

Dr. W's Research Group

Research in our group includes chemical research of chemistry (of course), nanotechnology, and environmental science. Our group performs education research related to these subjects as well. Students interested in chemical research can study the impact of nanomaterials on the environment, measure trace concentrations of organics in soil to determine the influence of climate change, and study kinetics of photochemical reactions. Current education research topics include evaluating the efficacy of virtual labs for general chemistry and  developing new nanotechnology lab experiments for first-year students. Descriptions of all ongoing Chemical Research projects and all Education Research projects are found here. We welcome graduate and undergraduate students studying chemistry or in any other program to join us and contribute to these exciting fields of research. 

Diverse research interests requires collaborations. Of course my students and I work with other chemistry faculty at Florida Tech and other schools as well as chemists in industry. We also collaborate with faculty and students in aeronautics, biology, chemical engineering,  education, materials and aerospace engineering, mathematics, ocean engineering, physics, and psychology. Much of this work is funded through grants listed on our group's Funding page and results are published in peer-reviewed journals listed on our group's Publications page. You can read about news and events of our group below and read about Winkelmann Research Group members on the People page

Group News

October 2018

Drs. Kurt Winkelmann and Jim Brenner (Chemical Engineering) hosted the 2018 NanoFlorida Conference on October 5 - 7 at Florida Tech. About 200 students and faculty from the Southeast and scientific instrumentation vendors from across the U.S. attended the conference. Events included instrument demonstration s, a career and graduate school fair, a poster session, over 70 research talks, and a student awards ceremony. Keynote speakers included Dr. Lisa Friedersdorf, Director of the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office, Dr. Luke Roberson, Senior Principal Investigator for Flight Research at NASA KSC, and Prof. Sudipta Seal, University of Central Florida Distinguished Professor. The 2018 NanoFlorida Conference attracted many industrial and academic sponsors as well. Drs. Winkelmann and Brenner wish to thank Brendan Swiger and the many other student volunteers who helped them plan and conduct this event.


September 2018

Dr. Marcus Wilde (Aerospace Engineering) presented our  at the 2018 AIAA SPACE and Astronautics Forum and Exposition in Orlando. We also contributed to a conference paper on this subject, for which Brendan Swiger was a co-author.


August 2018

We welcome back our group members for a new year of research success!


July 2018

Education Workshop Planning
The National Science Foundation has selected Drs. Kurt Winkelmann and Jungwoo Ryoo (Penn State - Altoona) to lead the eXploring the Future of Innovative Learning Environments Workshop. This three-day event will take place on November 11 - 13, 2018 in downtown Melbourne, Florida.

To advance the use of novel technologies to increase student learning outcomes, educational technology must be coupled with a deep understanding of how students learn and retain information. Thus, technology and the learning environment must work together to enable pedagogical approaches that promote student-centered learning. To set a research agenda for the technology-enhanced learning environment of the future, this collaborative project will conduct a series of events that eplore the future of innovative learning environments. These events will include a series of interactive, online discussions followed by an in-person workshop. Workshop participants will include expert participants from academia, industry, and nonprofits.

This project aims to inform the future of learning environments in STEM higher education. The project will consider the near-term and longer-term impacts, opportunities, challenges, and future research initiatives related to the development and implementation of innovative learning environments. This project will include three components: 1) Interactive, online discussions (microlabs) prior to the workshop will introduce participants to different innovative learning environments and solicit feedback from a range of stakeholders; 2) Participants at a two-day in-person workshop will engage in creative activities that help them envision how innovative learning environments might transform STEM higher education; and 3) the PIs and invited participants will synthesize the discussions and produce a report that can guide future research. 

June 2018

NanoFlorida 2018 Research Conference
Drs. Kurt Winkelmann and Jim Brenner are organizing the NanoFlorida 2018 Conference to be held at Florida Tech on October 5 - 7. Brendan Swiger is the Lead Student Organizer and will help select speakers, supervise student volunteers, and assist Drs. Winkelmann and Brenner during the conference as needed. See the NanoFlorida 2018 website for more details.

May 2018

Research Group Celebration
In celebration of another productive semester and needed relaxation beforeWinkelmann and Olson research groups final exams, members and families of Dr. Olson's research group joined us for an end of the year cookout. There was swimming, the Ultimate Werewolf card game, lots of food, and the first annual cornhole tournement between Dr. W's and Dr. O's research groups. Of course we won. A good time was had by all!

Thank you to everybody who attended and we wish you a relaxing and productive summer.


April 2018

Group Member Achievements
Dami AjadiCongratulations to Winkelmann group members Dami Ajadi (left), Brendan Swiger (middle), and Salomey Sasu (right)!

Dami Ajadi successfully defended his dissertation proposal which describes the research that he will perform for his Ph.D. His presentation was titled "Fatty Acids as Biomarkers in Chukchi Sea sediments." He will analyze soil sediments collected at various locations in the Arctic Ocean for fatty acid content and relate those results to arsenic content (determined by Dr. Trefry's research group) of the same soil samples. Results may provide addtional methods for detecting the influence of climate change.

The Chemistry Department awarded Brendan Swiger the J. Clayton Baum Award that recognizes excellence in chemistry academics and research and Florida Tech recognized his academic achievement with the Distinguished Student Scholar Award.

Salomey Sasu completed the written and oral defense of her original proposal. The original research proposal requires a graduate student to conceive and develop a research idea that is wholly independent of her dissertation research and without assistance from her research committee. Salomey presented a project to study "The Influence of Cation Charge and Size on the Stability of Silver Nanoparticles." 

Congratulations to Dami, Brendan, and Salomey for these important achievements! 

Understanding Factors that Influence the Participation of Women in STEM
Drs. Winkelmann and Dr. Andrea Harmer, Chair of the Library & Learning Technologies Department in the College of Education at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania have initiated an education research collaboration. The study, titled Women in STEM, seeks to provide a clearer understanding of the influences and other factors that lead young women into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields beyond high school. Current female graduate and undergraduate students at Florida Tech and other participating schools were sent a survey containing questions about family and/or mentor influences, experiences, and/or literary influences that may have encouraged young women to explore STEM fields in higher education. Drs. Harmer and Winkelmann will continue to collect survey responses and analyze the data throughout the spring and summer.


March 2018

Seminar Exchange
Entrance of Imperial College's School of MinesDr. Winkelmann organized a seminar exchange event with Imperial College London. Funding for these trips was provided by the Oak Ridge Associated Universities Events Sponsorshop Program.

He gave a seminar at Imperial College London during spring break. His presentation, "Design and Effectiveness of Laboratory Experiments in the Virtual World of Second Life," described student achievement and attitudes when performing chemistry lab experiments in the virtual world of Second Life.  This project is described on the Education Research page. This research project was a collaboration with Dr. Wendy Keeney-Kennicutt of Texas A&M.

Drs. Justin Cobb and Eduoard Auvinet of the MSk Lab in the School of Medicine hosted his visit. While in London, Dr. W met members of the MSk Lab and learned about their use of 3D modeling, augmented reality, and other areas of research for improving medical school education outcomes of surgeries.

Dr. W hosted Dr. Auvinet's visit to Florida Tech two weeks after returning from London. Dr. Auvinet is a biomedical engineering researcher with research interests in technological assistance in medical practice and training. In particular, he is studying new technologies to measure and analyze motion in the medical domain to improve diagnosis, assistance, and training. Projects include (1) the development of a gait analysis method involving Microsoft Kinect systems in order to help for the diagnosis and follow-up evaluation of patients with osteoarthrosis, and (2) the use of a virtual and augmented reality platform for a serious game for rehabilitation exercise and surgical task learning.

Imperial College London is ranked among the top universities in the world for science, medicine, and business. It's somewhat older than Florida Tech, as the architecture at the entrance of its School of Mines shows. 


Experiment in Space
Our group’s research of wire repair methods brought Brendan Swiger and other Florida Tech students to NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia to view the launch of a sounding rocket. Although we can see larger rocket launches here in Melbourne, this one was special because it contained their project instrument in its payload. The sounding rocket reached a suborbital altitude of 107 miles before landing in the Atlantic Ocean. The rocket’s payload was recovered and the wire repair instrument, samples, and stored data will be returned to Florida Tech. The Chemical Research page describes this research collaboration between our group, Dr. Tracy Gibson (URS Federal Services, a NASA contractor), and Drs. Hamid Hefazi and Markus Wilde and students Florida Tech’s Materials and Aerospace Engineering program. Our group's contribution to this project is to perform tests and image wire repair samples repaired on Earth and those repaired during the rocket's suborbital flight. 

The image to the right shows the college students from Florida Tech and other schools with their payload flying on the Malemute sounding rocket at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility (photo credit: NASA).  Media reports can be found here, here, and here (with video).

Paper Published
Brendan Swiger contributed to the research described in the recent article “Robust Microplate-Based Methods for Culturing and in Vivo Phenotypic Screening of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii” authored by Dr. Andrew Palmer’s research group.