Research Inquiries

For inquiries related to SD Mines Research, contact:

Research Affairs

S.D. School of Mines & Technology
501 E. St. Joseph Street
Suite 102, O'Harra Building
Rapid City, SD  57701

(605) 394-2493

Research@Mines

Research@Mines

Research at Mines happens every day of the year, involves faculty and students at every academic level, and frequently includes collaboration across the state, the nation and the globe.

SD Mines Researchers Pioneer New Methods to Turn Biorefinery Waste into Valuable Products

Vinod Amar, Ph.D., one of the research scientists working on the project is shown here in his lab.

Shende Research Team 2A research team at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is beginning work on pilot scale testing of new methods that turn biorefinery waste into valuable products. The waste biomass or byproducts generated by ethanol plants and other biorefineries, such as corn stover, are normally thrown-away—but finding cost-effective means of using this waste to make new products will generate extra revenue for the facilities, help lower fuel costs, reduce carbon emissions, and ultimately help farmers.

“This is one more way SD Mines is pioneering research that helps the environment while increasing efficiency and profit margins for our industry partners.  This is the kind of work that can have a positive impact on the economy of South Dakota,” says SD Mines Vice President of Research Ralph Davis, Ph.D.

Rajesh Shende, Ph.D., professor in the chemical and biological engineering department at SD Mines is leading the research. This work began in Shende’s lab with a $2.16 million grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Offic...

Last Edited 11/19/2019 08:23:54 AM [Comments (0)]

Mines researchers explore killing cancer with cold plasma

Kristen Haller, a mechanical engineering major at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology with plans to go to medical school after graduation in December 2019, and Jordan Hoops, a chemical and biological engineering PhD student, demonstrate the cold plasma technology.

While using cold plasma to kill cancer cells isn’t an entirely novel concept, a team of researchers and students at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology are exploring new ways to regulate cold plasma technology to target and kill cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alive.

If successful, the technique would prove to be a drug-free, minimally invasive cancer treatment that would affect the lives of millions of patients around the world.   

Plasma is ionized gas – an energetic state of matter where some of the electrons in the outer atomic orbitals have become separated from the atom. In other words, it’s a collection of ions and electrons no longer bound to each other. Cold plasma is a partially ionized gas where particles possess much higher energy.

SD Mines assistant professors Prasoon Diwakar, Ph.D., of the mechanical engineering department, and Timothy Brenza, Ph.D., of the chemical and biological engineering department, are overseeing the research with undergraduate mechanical engineering students Kristen Haller and Nicole Miller. Chemical and biological engineering PhD student Jordan Hoops and applied biological sciences undergraduate student Taylor Bright are also contributing to the work. Bright will be continuing the research in this area as an accelerated master’s student in biomedical engineering.

Diwakar began researching cold plasma cance...

Last Edited 10/29/2019 01:21:23 PM [Comments (0)]

Buffalo Bones Return to the Black Hills to be Preserved for Study

Part of a bison skull and other bones after being catalogued and placed in climate-controlled storage at SD Mines.

Between 1993 and 1995, a team of archeologists undertook an excavation of prehistoric animal bones in the Deerfield area of the Black Hills. They found bison, mountain lion, deer, elk and a range of smaller animal bones. Work on the age of the specimens is still underway, but researchers estimate some of the bones date as far back as 8,000 years.

After excavation, the bones were taken to the Illinois State Museum in Springfield, where they stayed for more than 20 years. In 2017, the US Forest Service moved these back to South Dakota, and students in the paleontological resource management class at SD Mines stepped up to help. The students took part in an effort between the US Forest Service, the South Dakota State Historical Society Archaeological Research Center, and the Museum of Geology at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology to curate these specimens.

“A lot of times, in different repositories, this material will just sit and sit for years,” says Mike Hilton, the heritage resources program manager for the Black Hills National Forest. Hilton gives praise to Sally Shelton, the associate director of the Museum of Geology at Mines, and the students in her paleontology resource management class. The students undertook the bulk of t...

Last Edited 10/22/2019 08:18:43 AM [Comments (0)]

2D Materials, Biofilm and Microbial Research at SD Mines Brings in $32 Million in National Science Foundation Grants

Govind Chilkoor, Ph.D., an SD Mines research scientist, examines a biofilm on a steel sample following its exposure to corrosive bacteria. Dr. Chilkoor is working to develop new ultrathin two-dimensional (2D) coatings that resist microbial corrosion. His research is one component of a newly announced $20 million NSF grant titled “Building on the 2020 Vision: Expanding Research, Education and Innovation in South Dakota.”

In the past three years, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded  $32 million in funding for research led by faculty at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology that expands human understanding of the microbial world. Much of the research focuses on the environment microbes occupy when they attach to surfaces and create what is commonly known as a biofilm.

The broad range of studies on microbes and biofilms, funded by these grants, has a wide potential for applications across many sectors of industry and society including energy generation, new medicines, wastewater purification, agriculture, corrosion resistance, new materials and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The research effort of the newly announced $20 million NSF grant titled “Building on the 2020 Vision: Expanding Research, Education and Innovation in South Dakota” will be led by researchers at SD Mines, SDSU and USD. The funding was awarded through the South Dakota Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (SD EPSCoR) and the South Dakota Board of Regents. The state of South Dakota is providing $4 million in matching funds for the grant. The Governor’s office of Economic Development and Board of Regents are providing $3 million and there is a ...

Last Edited 9/24/2019 08:04:53 AM [Comments (0)]