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CREST Nanoscale Analytical Sciences Research and Education Center


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Dr. Jude C. Abanulo



Research Interests in STEM Education

Enhancing STEM Education through Active learning

My current education research focus involves the use of technology-based active learning approaches to make students’ learning experiences in STEM subjects more exciting and effective. Some active learning approaches I implement and analyze include the students’ use of clickers to answer questions in the classroom, and the analysis and discussion of the answers provided by the students. This method gets students excited and eager to solve in-class exercises, and the discussion gets them even more involved in their learning process. An extension to the clicker approach is to include group discussion and a second chance for entering answers based on group collaborations. This results in a noticeable improvement in their understanding of the material – as their grades would indicate – since they are able to learn from and be motivated by their peers. Another approach is facilitating web-based learning by assigning online problems and having students discuss these problems through a discussion board. An enhancement to this approach is the implementation of ‘Just-in-Time-Teaching, a strategy which involves analyzing students’ responses to online problems, and structuring subsequent lessons to address observed difficulties in understanding concepts. These approaches have yielded a performance increase of over 50% in students’ grades. I am currently performing research and designing new approaches to implement best practices in active learning of STEM subjects.

Increasing Engineering Awareness in Middle-High Schools

A major education research interest of mine is to make state-of-the-art engineering topics as common as ‘algebra’, ‘calculus’, ‘genetics’, and other common topics known to 7th to 12th graders in the U.S. One approach I am currently applying is the development of P-12 courses on state-of-the-art Engineering subjects such as Nanotechnology. I intend to create online systems which will serve as models to introduce such fields to both students and teachers at the middle school and high school level. I also intend to create workbooks and laboratory manuals which would guide students and teacher-students on a step-by-step basis in performing laboratory experiments, reporting results, and analyzing outputs. These pre-college institutions could collaborate with universities in the area which have the required facilities, and students and teachers could work with graduate students, under the supervision of some faculty members. This will also expose pre-college students to the art of obtaining and publishing scientific results.

Increasing Minority Enrollment in Graduate Degrees in Engineering

As the education expert for the CNASREC at Howard University, I have been working very closely with undergraduate students, while teaching and mentoring them through a transition from undergraduate to graduate studies. Many of my students join the center with the intention of simply obtaining some undergraduate research experience in a state-of-the-art field. My goal, however, is to ignite in these undergraduate students, a growing interest in the specific field of Nano-technology, as well as in engineering research as a whole, such that they will be motivated to pursue a graduate degree. I intend to develop several programs which will further motivate students, especially minorities and those who do not necessarily have role-models in their families who attended graduate programs, especially in STEM-related fields. One of my recent methods is to have these students serve as mentors to pre-college students in the field of engineering. This approach has proven to be a morale booster, and has effectively driven students to continue their education beyond the undergraduate level.

Potential funding sources for my STEM research plans include the United states Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, an the National Academy of Engineering., amongst many others.






o        Dissertation Topic: “Integrated Optical Surface Plasmon Resonance for Electrochemically-

                                           Addressed Layers” PDF

o        Applications: Clinical diagnostics and environmental sensing devices: Lab-on-a-Chip.


o        Thesis: “The Effect of Bilayer Lateral Stress on the Activity of Membrane-Bound Proteins”








Research Focus: Synthesis, applications and optical characterization of nanoparticles






Responsible for the development of an integrated optical device, with a combination of electrochemical and optical waveguide surface plasmon resonance detection, for the study of thin film adsorption, oxide growth, and biomembranes assembled on thin gold electrodes.  Applications include clinical diagnostics and environmental sensing devices.

Four years experience in developing device analysis techniques including Tencor - step - to measure step heights of nm dimensions (surface profiling),  Abbe Refractometer measurement of refractive index,  CCD camera / microscope, and Scanning electron microscope analysis of surface structures







  1. J. C. Abanulo, R. D. Harris, P. N. Bartlett, and J. S. Wilkinson, "Underpotential Deposition of a Copper Monolayer on a Gold Film Sensed by Integrated Optical Surface Plasmon Resonance"; Paper Th4.5, pp. 378-81 in the Proceedings of the Optical Fiber Sensors Conference (OFS ), Venice, Italy, 2000. Locate

  2. Calvo, Moiroux, Heller, Abanulo et al. General Discussions, Faraday Discussions 116: 335-351, 2000.

  3. J. C. Abanulo, R. D. Harris, P. N. Bartlett, James S. Wilkinson. “Waveguide Surface Plasmon Resonance Sensor for Electrochemically-Controlled Surface Reactions”, Applied Optics Vol. 40, issue 34 (2001) pp 6242-6245.

  4. J. C. Abanulo, R. D. Harris, J. Wilkinson and P. N. Bartlett. “Waveguide Surface Plasmon Resonance Studies of Studies Surface Reactions on Gold Electrodes”, Faraday Discuss 121, 139-152, 2002.

  5. G.  Fan, A. Fall, J. C. Abanulo, W. E. Collins, “Topographic Morphology of Macrophage-Like Cells on Nanostructured Surface of PEG/PMMA Blend Film by Demixing Polymer Technology”, Transactions of the Society for Biomaterials, vol.30, 2004.

  1. James W. Mitchell, Virginia Noxon, Andy Hai-Ting, Jude Abanulo, “Preparation of Silver Nanoparticle Formulations for Biocidal Applications ", NNIN REU Research Accomplishments, p. 100, vol., (2005).

  2. J W Mitchell, Uche Nwodo, O. Wilson, J Abanulo, " Characterization of the Chemical stability of Silver Nanoparticles in Aqueous Media", Materials Chemistry, p. Submitted

  3. J W Mitchell and J. Abanulo, Characterization Chemistry of Ultrapure Nanomaterials, NOBCChE Nat'l Meeting, Los Angeles, CA, April, 06.

  4. Jude C. Abanulo and James W. Mitchell, Surface Plasmon Resonance in Nano probing Interactions, NOBCChE Nat'l Meeting, Los Angeles, CA, April, 06.

  5. (Mentor: Jude Abanulo)Patricia Tillmann,  Stability of Silver Nanoparticles in Aqueous and Organic Media, NNIN REU Research Accomplishments, 2004.

  6. Patricia Tillman, Jude Abanulo and James W.Mitchell. "Chemical Stability of Silver Nanoparticles in Aqueous Media," Journal of Materials Science and Engineering B, v.8, 2004, p. 11.

  7. James W. Mitchell, Virginia Noxon, Andy Hai-Tan, Jude Abanulo . "** Prepraration of Silver Nanoparticle Formulations for Biocidal Applications **," NNIN REU Research Accomplishments,, 2005, p. 100.