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Science Star Jeff Wehr Reports
posted by: Cindy Omlin | September 30, 2014, 06:29 PM   

ASR student researcher Thorsen Wehr and his mentor (guess who?) were recently published in the Journal of Emerging Investigators (JEI), an online journal organized by Harvard University graduate students in Arts and Sciences. The article focused on Thor’s research, Focusing Sound Waves Using a Two-Dimensional Non-Linear System. Jeff hopes that this article marks the first of potentially many more published research projects from future students within Odessa’s Advanced STEM Research Laboratory.

The Odessa Record article, “Research puts Wehr on world stage again” expounds on Thor’s research exploits.  His research led to his election an Associate Member of the Sigma Xi Society, a non-profit honor society which was founded in 1886 at Cornell University and which has included such notable scientists such as Francis Crick, James Watson, Richard Feynman, and Albert Einstein.  Invited to the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences conference in Chicago via the Washington State Academy of Sciences, Thor could be selected as a United States outstanding student researcher.

jeff wehr toy headshotJeff’s email signature reveals his approach to teaching, namely, "The goal is not so much teach science & engineering, but create scientists & engineers."  He hosts various STEM/STEAM workshops for both students and fellow educators such as the Bi-County Science Challenge, and led his district to become one of five STEM Lighthouses for Washington state. He has been recognized as Regional Teacher of the Year, the U.S. Department of Education’s American Star of Teaching for Washington State, and has received a Congressional Letter of Educational Commendation.

One of forty middle and high school teachers from across the country who were chosen to participate in the Siemens Teachers as Researchers (STARs) program over the summer of 2012, Jeff was privileged to work with the nation’s top scientists on short-term projects focused on the most current and innovative science research happening at either Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee or Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington. “I am a research scientist at heart, so it is an enormous honor and opportunity to be invited to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a STARs Fellow and share that experience with my colleagues and students!”

Jeff provided the following update on research conducted by Odessa ASR student researchers:

Alexa Boss - “Analyzing Retinal Vascular Tortuosity in Fundus Photography as an Indicator for Health” 

The analysis of fundus photography, or pictures of the blood vessels in the eye, reveals statistically varied retinal tortuosity between healthy, glaucoma, and diabetic patients. Alexa’s method and index of tortuosity/count ratio could be used to diagnose patients quickly and inexpensively.

Thorsen Wehr - “The Generation and Analysis of Sound Waves with Varying Nonlinearity”
Nonlinear waves have increased amplitude, cover a smaller area than linear waves, and behave differently quantified by a novel formula Thorsen derived.  Practical applications of Thor's research consist of a variety of medical uses, nonlinear beam-forming arrays, military non-invasive strikes through air-water-solids, or mapping the ocean floor.

Stacia Lesser - “Transgene Interleukin-37b Aiding Memory Consolidation Due to Sleep Disruption”
Interleukin-1 (IL1) and tumor necrosis (TNF) are pro-inflammatory cytokines. The production of this type of cytokine is reduced by IL37b. These cytokines can prevent memory consolidation when increased; both IL1 and TNF are increased by sleep loss. If IL37b is also increased during sleep loss it could help to reduce the production of these cytokines aiding memory consolidation.

Elizabeth Larson - “The Outcome of the Numbers of Revolutions on Three Dimensional Digitally Animated Frames on the Final Video’s Length in Seconds”
Three-dimensional digitally animated frames were played with different numbers of revolutions on each frame, which affected the final length of the video in time. Adding or deleting revolutions allows a digital object to move faster or slower, changing the final video’s length and possibly saving the animated movie industry money and time in editing.

Congratulations to Jeff Wehr and his protégés!  We look forward to you changing our world for the better through your scientific pursuits and accomplishments!

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