Southeast Engineering Professor Pioneering Device to Assess Health, Stress of USAF Service Members

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Dr. Santaneel Ghosh

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 24, 2016 – A Southeast Missouri State University associate professor of engineering physics has been awarded a summer faculty fellowship with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (US-AFRL) to develop a nano-device to detect and assess the stress level and health status of U.S. Air Force (USAF) men and women.

Dr. Santaneel Ghosh hopes the device can be used to perform simple blood tests and monitor the cellular stress level of service members during action.

“We can actually see and quantify stress,” Ghosh says. “We can actually see when stress and blood pressure go high, and there are other manifestations, but those are all systemic parameters. If you can determine the stress level internally, that would be more accurate. It would be easier to predict and far more scientific when you proceed with the treatment.”

Rather than going by height, blood pressure or other systemic parameters, Ghosh proposes that a technique can be developed with this device allowing the operator to detect an internal stress level. This would give the operator the opportunity to come up with an accurate approach, in more scientific terms, to treat stress.

This device, which potentially could be used to monitor the prognosis of cancer treatment as well, is currently being considered for a patent application.

“This device can be very helpful for air men and women,” Ghosh says. “An easy, inexpensive, and point of care testing approach for the detection of the intracellular stress can be extremely useful to accurately assess the air men and women’s ‘stress related health status’ and getting the right expertise and treatment approach for their issues. This is extremely crucial to optimize performance, improve organizational climate, unit moral, team dynamics, operational readiness and combat effectiveness. I believe this device can also be very helpful in cancer treatment to determine how far one can and should go with the administration of chemotherapeutic drug(s)/radiotherapy during the cancer treatment.”

Ghosh proposes building the device based on nano-scale products that are one billionth of a meter.

“They have many special properties that are attractive to researchers on this topic,” he said.

The fellowship Ghosh received was awarded to citizens or legal permanent residents of the United States who currently hold a full-time appointment at a U.S. accredited baccalaureate-granting college, university, or technical institution and hold a doctoral degree in science, mathematics or Air Force-relevant engineering disciplines. Applicants were to have research interests in line with the interests and needs of Air Force Research Facilities. These include the nine Air Force Research Laboratory Directorates, Air Force Test Center, the United States Air Force Academy and the Air Force Institute of Technology.

Selected fellows are expected to conduct research at an Air Force Research Laboratory Directorate, Air Force Test Center, the U.S. Air Force Academy or the Air Force Institute of Technology, not at their home institution or any other site.

Ghosh says he was chosen from a large pool of applicants.

“The selection process is very competitive. All the participants must submit a proposal,” he said. “I submitted my proposal back in November, however there are several steps to this proposal. The first and most important question is, ‘how does your research, benefit U.S. Air Force personnel?’ The most important part of this research is submitting a plan that will benefit personnel for their mission needs.”

Ghosh submitted his plan to a scientist at the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). Proposals were submitted from across the nation, and Ghosh’s was selected after several rounds of review.

Ghosh said his team would like to thank Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast; Dr. Karl Kunkel, Southeast provost; and Kathy Mangels, vice president for Finance and Administration; for their help with the patent process. He also credits Dr. Somesree GhoshMitra, the collaborator consultant for Southeast’s Nano-Bio Laboratory. Without her input, the proposal for this device would be incomplete, he said.

To see more about Ghosh and his team’s research, visit the nano-bio laboratory group page at http://www.semo.edu/physics/nano/group.html.