Opportunities for Undergraduate Research (OUR)

The Opportunities for Undergraduate Research (OUR) is one of the pioneering and flagship program at Shiv Nadar University which has paved the way for undergraduate students to conduct original research with faculty

Undergraduate students are provided an unprecedented, well-rounded education by synthesizing broad, and strong interdisciplinary foundation with a solid training in their selected discipline - exemplifying the importance of research in the DNA of the University. The OUR program aims to give students hands-on experience in conducting research and doing independent work under faculty supervision. This progarm has paved the way for students to learn by discovery; have greater student-faculty interaction; expand the level of research activity on campus besides helping to identify and train potential candidates for the University’s graduate programs. Through the program, students are expected to develop foundational understanding of how research is conducted in their disciplines, develop a greater understanding of the information resources available and the way to utilize them as well as how to interpret research outcomes.

OUR Highlights

OUR Project Title: Physio-chemical changes in food waste through torrefaction in a fixed bed reactor
First Prize to Avikar Saberwal (B Tech Chemical Engineering)
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Sanjeev Yadav (Chemical Engineering)
Brief Abstract of the Project

Our study analysed the physical and thermochemical properties of sun-dried food waste, before and after torrefaction. Torrefaction has gained popularity in recent times as a pre-treatment technique to improve the physical and thermochemical properties of biomass. However, food waste as a potential biomass for energy purposes has not been explored much, hence our choice to conduct a research study on. In our study, torrefaction has been carried out at different temperatures and residence times in a fixed bed reactor. The solid torrefied products were analysed by proximate analysis, ligno-cellulose analysis, HHV and various process parameters like mass yield, energy yield and energy density. The FTIR analysis was done to determine the chemical composition of the torrefied solid. Mass Spectroscopy was done to analyse the composition of the bottom liquid product from torrefaction. It was found that the food waste underwent several changes in terms of its properties, the most notable being breakdown of ligno-cellulose, loss of moisture and rise in HHV. We concluded the optimum temperature and residence time to carry out torrefaction of food waste to be 325˚C and 20 minutes.

OUR Project Title: Exploration of quantum chaotic systems using random matrix theory
Second Prize to  Suvendu Kumar Barik (BSc – Research Physics)
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Santosh Kumar (Physics)
Brief Abstract of the Project

In this project we had a brief discussion about the study of classical- and quantum-chaos. We follow it with a survey of the “Standard Map”, where variation of a certain parameter leads to the transition from integrable or regular to chaotic regime. This is inferred by examining the associated trajectories in the phase space. We then move over to explore quantum chaos by considering Quarter Stadium Billiard, where the change of certain length parameter α causes the crossover of the Nearest Neighbour Spacing Distribution (NNSD) of Eigenvalues from Poissonian to GOE statistics. Within Random Matrix Theory, GOE refers to the Gaussian Orthogonal Ensemble of random matrices, which is used to model chaotic systems exhibiting time-reversal invariance. The crossover is realized with the aid of a parameter λ, which relates to the degree of chaos in the system. With our analysis we could figure out the relationship between this parameter λ and the length parameter α of the billiard system.

OUR Project Title: Understanding the significance of non-conservation of a highly conserved cysteine residue of ATPase domain of Hsp70s in mitochondrial Hsp70, Ssc1
Third Prize to Shrihari Negi (BSc- Research Biotechnology)
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Koyeli Mapa (Life Sciences)
Brief Abstract of the Project

Molecular chaperones play a multi-faceted role in the cell and their primary function is to assist in protein folding. This study was focused on Hsp70 class molecular chaperones of the mitochondria. It has been shown that there is a highly conserved cysteine residue in the ATPase domain of most Hsp70 proteins, which acts as a sensor for oxidative stress by being susceptible to thiol oxidation, leading to inactivation of ATPase activity. Surprisingly, a mitochondrial Hsp70 chaperone in the budding yeast ¬Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Ssc1 has been found to lack this highly conserved residue and is replaced by an alanine at its position. The study aims to understand the rationality behind the non-conservation of this residue by introducing an alanine to cysteine mutation by site-directed mutagenesis in this chaperone after deletion of the genomic copy of the same.