Miller Research Group

Current Research Projects 2018-2019

  • Hand-powered Centrifuge (Collaboration with McDonald-Nandi Group, UC Davis Department of Chemical Engineering with two paid student internships)
    Jorge Rodriguez, Dylan Estrada, Dylan Beck, and Brandon Gregersen (not shown: UCD graduate student Matt McNulty)
    four students standing, two of whom are holding hand-powered centrifuges
    We are adapting the “paperfuge” design published in 2017 by Bhamia et al. to on-demand 3D print a hand-powered centrifuge capable of precipitating biological matter for several applications. Most notably, we are interested in how this centrifuge design could be used with novel affinity adsorpers to isolate plant-made pharmaceuticals for injection-level purity (>95%).
    Description of internship program with picture of hand-powered centrifuge on left and biochemical process diagram on right
  • Novel 3-D Printed Educational Materials for Teaching Chemistry (Collaboration with Liu Group, UC Davis Department of Chemistry)
    UCD graduate student Dan Gruber, Bege Layug, and Maggie Ohama
    3 standing people holding a smalll object together

    Past work at SCC has developed two educational materials using 3-D printing: a macroscopic model of an AFM and a cell phone holder for the spectroscopy lab in CHEM 400. This project will continue work on these projects and also develop new educational materials for teaching chemistry.
    3D printed object with pictures
  • Viscosity of Simple Fluids
    This project will start by building and calibrating a simple falling sphere viscometer for use to measure the viscosity of a variety of fluids of interest.
    Brandon D’Cruz and Mari-Beth Browne
    two people holding little canisters and standing btween a long vertical tube

    description of how to measure viscosity on the left; picture of ball falling through tube on right
  • Non-Additive Packing of Differently-Sized Particles
    Chris Burlando and Alanna Noguchi
    two people standing and holding graduated cylinders of ground coffee
    This project will examine the packing of solids with different sizes to see that the volumes of the particles when separated is different than the volume of the particles when mixed.
    jar with golf balls, pebbles, sand, and water

We are currently collaborating with Pasadena City College and North Seattle Community College Nanotechnology Program as part of the Remotely Accessible Instrument Network to do remote imaging using scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

Previous Projects

  • Growing Mung Beans in Solutions of Nanoparticles (Collaboration with Liu Group at UC Davis Department of Chemistry)
    Past work at SCC has shown that mung beans grown in solutions of SiO2 and ZnO nanoparticles can have their growth stunted depending upon the type of nanoparticle. Continuing work on this project will look at the effects of different types of nanoparticles. Other aspects of this project will use a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) to image the nanoparticles in and on the mung beans, will use different types of nanoparticles, and will use different types of beans/seeds.
    graph of growth of mung beans versus days
  • Snakes on a Plain (on hiatus)
    This project starts by modeling the configurational entropy of a single alkyl chain (the snake) protruding from a perfectly flat plain. The density of these alkyl chains will then be increased. Comparisons will be made to physical systems such as mixed self-assembled monolayers formed from alkanethiols on gold.
    squiggly lines attached to a surface
  • Our first project brought SCC students over to the UC Davis Keck Spectral Imaging Facility to use a Hitachi S-4100 Cold Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FESEM).

Our interns were responsible for sample preparation at SCC and SEM imaging at UC Davis.

Fall 2012: Jonathan Teeple and Lillian Kuang

Spring 2013: Mike Flores and Elias Misker

Fall 2013: Caitlin Ellis* and Kyungjoo Park
*Caitlin Ellis was an intern during Spring 2013 as well.

Image Galleries:
Hair Images

Fiber Images
Pollen Images
HPLC Particles
GC Column Cross-sections

PowerPoint Presentation: Scanning Electron Microscopy: An Introduction

  • Our second set of projects grew out of a class offered at SCC called Cutting Edge Chemistry: Materials and Nanoscience. Shailise Ross and Ying-xin Liu, both graduate students in Gang-yu’s group, gave lectures about their research.

Shailise then oversaw a lab that she created in which students tested the nanophytotoxicity of silicon oxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles on the growth of mung beans. This work was then made into a paid summer research internship for Matt Owen at SCC. Recently, this project was published in the Journal of Chemical Education: Using Mung Beans as a Simple, Informative Means To Evaluate the Phytotoxicity of Engineered Nanomaterials and Introduce the Concept of Nanophytotoxicity to Undergraduate Students.

20140905_111335  20140905_111419  20140905_111559

  • Ying’s talk was about her work using Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). Out of her talk and a lab based on the Journal of Chemical Education article called “Coffee Cup Atomic Force Microscopy” by David E. Ashkenaz et. al., we decided to attempt to improve upon the coffee cup AFM by printing a macroscopic AFM using a 3-D printer from the Graphic Communication Department at SCC. After Dan entered grad school at UCD, the project was picked up by project lead Ty Perez with assistance from Xavier Garcia and Megan Lee. We were also able to acquire our own 3-D printer in Fall 2016: a MakerBot Replicator. We just submitted this work to the Journal of Chemical Education: A 3D-Printed Macroscopic Model of an Atomic Force Microscope that Can Be Used to Produce Topographical Images and True Force-Distance Curves

photo of a man standing in a lab  photo of 3-D printed structure

Where are our interns now?

  1. Lillian Kuang: PharmD Candidate at Midwestern University
  2. Jonathan Teeple: graduated from UC Davis, now attending Michigan State Veterinary School
  3. Mike Flores: graduated from UC Santa Barbara
  4. Elias Misker: student at Bates College
  5. Caitlin Ellis: graduated from UC Davis, working for a private winery in New Zealand
  6. Kyungjoo Park: graduated from UC Berkeley, graduate student in Germany
  7. Matt Owen: graduated from UC Berkeley, attending graduate school at UC Davis in the Liu Lab
  8. Dan Gruber: graduate student at UC Davis in the Augustine Lab
  9. Ty Perez: graduated from UC Berkeley, prior winner of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship: worked in Zhang Lab
  10. Xavier Garcia: graduated from USC (see this article in the L A Times about his experience)
  11. Megan Lee: student at UC Davis: doing research in the Lebrilla Lab
  12. Malak Haidari: student at UC Berkeley, completed Research Experience for Undergraduates at UC Davis during Summer 2017 in Velazquez Lab
  13. Jamie Thom: student at California Northstate University College of Pharmacy
  14. Adon Kwong: student at UC Davis: doing research in the Franz Lab
  15. Angel Flores: student at UC Irvine
  16. Stevilynn Harvey: student at UC Davis
  17. Kat Cruz: student at SCC/Los Rios, now working as student intern at Bureau of Reclamation
  18. Ann Davis: student at SCC/Los Rios
  19. Michael McKinstry,: student at SCC/Los Rios, accepted into Research Experience for Undergraduates at Old Dominion University for Summer 2018
  20. Eddier Kinyon: student at SCC/Los Rios
  21. Nam Le: attending UC Berkeley starting in Fall 2018
  22. Aaron Phu: student at SCC/Los Rios
  23. Alina Balakhnina: student at SCC/Los Rios
  24. Kristian Lee: student at SCC/Los Rios
  25. Nhung (Chloe) Dieu: student at SCC/Los Rios
  26. Bege Layug: student at SCC/Los Rios
  27. Maggie Ohama: student at SCC/Los Rios
  28. Ron Tran: student at SCC/Los Rios