Five engineering and applied sciences PhD students to present at UB's 3MT competition

By Nicole Capozziello

Published February 24, 2022

Sewage runoff in lakes and rivers, brain aneurysms and vehicle emissions are some of the big problems that doctoral students from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are addressing in their research and will be presenting on at this year’s Three Minute Thesis Competition.


Of the 10 participants in this year’s competition, five are from SEAS. They are Chih-Han Liu and Bita Nasiri, both from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Mahasweta Bhattacharya, from the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Hamed Khorasani, from the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, and Sricharan Veeturi from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

This year’s competition will take place on Friday, March 4, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. via zoom. It will be emceed by Phil Schneider (BS’14, MS’16, PhD’18 electrical engineering), the director of research development at ACV, a Buffalo start-up. Schneider was the winner of the 2017 3MT competition.

Meet the SEAS finalists

Mahasweta Bhattacharya, Department of Biomedical Engineering

Mahasweta Bhattacharya is a PhD candidate in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, who is originally from Kolkata, India. She will be presenting her thesis, “Decrypting Your Brain: Quest for Smarter Machines,” advised by Rudiyanto Gunawan.

Her research aims to understand how the activity of the brain enables a person to perform a task and to leverage this understanding in hopes to develop efficient brain-machine interfaces for the rehabilitation of neurodegenerative diseases. Her goal is to create an opportunity for neurodegenerative patients can have a better life not impeded by the inability to move, speak or work.

Bhattacharya enjoys watching football, reading books and singing. In the future, she hopes to guide future researchers so that they can also continue the path of research for the betterment of humanity.

Hamed Khorasani, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

From Delijan, Iran, Hamed Khorasani is a PhD candidate in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering. He will be presenting his thesis, “The Search for Sewage in U.S. Rivers and Lakes,” advised by Zhenduo Zhu.

His research focuses on building a model to simulate the presence of wastewater effluent in U.S. rivers and lakes. This model for the first time considers the temporal variations and the transfer processes within the rivers and lakes as the effluents move towards the downstream. He uses caffeine as an indicator for the presence of effluents, with hopes to find the hotspots of wastewater effluent contamination.

Khorasani is also a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and American Geophysical Union. In his free time, he enjoys running, cycling, lifting and keeping fit. In the future, he would like to work in national labs as a large-scale modeling scientist.

Chih-Han Liu, Department of Chemcial and Biological Engineering

Originally from Tainan, Taiwan, Chih-Han Liu is a PhD student in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Her thesis, “Clean Car: Novel Configured Catalysts for Catalytic Converter” is advised by Eleni A. Kyriakidou.

Her research targets improving gasoline vehicle efficiencies by developing uniquely structured catalysts with enhanced durability and low-temperature activity for emission remediation. The goal of Liu’s research is to approach the elimination of 90% vehicle exhaust pollutants at 150 oC, thus meeting the strict emissions standards introduced by the Environmental Protection Agency.

She loves photography and uses her drone to explore beautiful locations whenever she gets the chance. After completing her PhD, Liu would like to continue her work as a research and development engineer.

Bita Nasiri, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Bita Nasiri is a PhD candidate in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and is from Semnan, Iran. She will be presenting her thesis, “Say Farewell to Multiple Surgeries: Artificial Vessel that Grows with the Patient,” advised by Stelios Andreadis.

Her research studies the production of cell-free vascular grafts that grow with the host after implantation in a neonatal lamb model by homing cells from the blood. The goal of her research is to discover if these vascular grafts could be considered as a potential candidate for the treatment of congenital heart disease because they can grow with the host, enabling them to serve as a permanent replacement and eliminating the need for repeated surgical procedures in babies while they grow.

Nasiri’s hobbies include cooking, baking, walking, hiking, reading, listening to music and photography. Nasiri would like to continue researching and is seeking a research scientist position in the future.

Sricharan Veeturi, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Sricharan Veeturi, of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, is from Visakhapatnam, India. He will be presenting his thesis “Imaging Biomarkers for Risk Stratification of Brain Aneurysms” which focuses on improving risk assessments based on medical imaging that is critical to proper disease management and treatment planning for brain aneurysms, advised by Vincent Tutino.

The goal of his research is to develop tools to aid clinicians in better understanding the risk associated with brain aneurysms through visualization and quantification of nuanced features in non-invasive imaging.

Outside of his research, Veeturi plays tennis, chess, video games and likes to hike and run. Upon graduation, he plans to work in the research and development sector.