INBT Hosts 11 Undergraduates for Summer Research Experience

2008 Research Experience for Undergraduates Students at the Institute for NanoBioTechnology. Credit: INBT/ JHU

Conducting original research is not strictly the realm of graduate students and faculty. Undergraduates from universities across the nation have gathered at the Institute for NanoBioTechnology at Johns Hopkins University to participate in the Nanotechnology for Biology and Medicine summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Eleven students were chosen to participate in this highly selective REU from a pool of more than 240 applicants for the opportunity to perform research in nanotechnology—science at the scale of one billionth of a meter. Each student was chosen because of their superior academic performance, interest in pursuing research, and faculty recommendations. This is the first time INBT has offered an REU program.

“INBT’s Nanotechnology for Biology and Medicine summer REU provides opportunities for individuals who demonstrate academic excellence and dedication to research,“ says program lead Denis Wirtz, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Johns Hopkins and associate director of the Institute for NanoBioTechnology. “We strive to give our students a truly unique educational experience with research at its core, which will serve as the ideal foundation for future graduate research.“

REU participants will conduct a 10-week research project in a lab supervised by an INBT affiliated faculty member. Two research projects will be based in the School of Medicine and nine will be hosted in the Whiting School of Engineering. Project themes range from basic cell biology to biomedical engineering to materials science.

The following students are participating in the Nanotechnology for Biology and Medicine summer REU program:

Juri Bassuner.
  • Juri Bassuner of St. Louis, Mo. is a senior at University of Missouri majoring in Biomedical Engineering. He will be working in the lab of associate professor Michael Bevan in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering. Bassuner previously conducted undergraduate research at the St. Louis University Department of Chemistry and at Clemson University at the Center for Advanced Engineering Fibers and Films.
Tiara Byrd.
  • Tiara Byrd of Tallahassee, Fla., is a senior at Florida A & M University majoring in Chemistry/Biochemistry. Byrd will be working in the lab of assistant professor Jeffery Gray in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Whiting School of Engineering. She previously conducted undergraduate research at the University of California, Los Angeles through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Exceptional Research Opportunity Program.
Nicholas Hagerty.
  • Nicholas Hagerty of Portland, Ore., is a junior at Brown University majoring in Biological Physics. Hagerty will be working in the lab of assistant professor Kalina Hristova in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering. He previously conducted undergraduate research in the Department of Physics at Brown University and also at the Center for Coastal Margin Observation and Prediction at the Oregon Health and Science University.
You K. (Chloe) Kim.
  • You K. (Chloe) Kim of Houston, Texas is a sophomore at Johns Hopkins University studying Materials Science and Engineering. Kim will be working in the lab of professor Peter Searson in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering. Her research interests include nanobiotechnology applied to drug-delivery for the treatment of cancer and other diseases and the usage of synthetic and biological materials for medical implant applications.
Casey Kirkpatrick.
  • Casey Kirkpatrick of Manteo, N.C., is a senior at North Carolina State University majoring in Electrical Engineering. Kirkpatrick will be working in the lab of assistant professor David Gracias in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering. He conducted previous undergraduate research in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at North Carolina State University and was a lab instructor for an introductory course on circuits.
Deonnae Lopez.
  • Deonnae Lopez of Piscataway, N.J., is a senior at Rutgers University majoring in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. Lopez will be working in the lab of associate professor Doug Robinson in the Department of Cell Biology at the School of Medicine. She previously conducted undergraduate research at the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and currently does research at Rutgers on Epstein-Barr Virus.
David Nartey.
  • David Nartey of Richmond, Va. is a senior at Morgan State University majoring in Biology. Nartey will be working in the lab of assistant professor Hai-Quan Mao in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering. He previously conducted undergraduate research in the Department of Biology at Morgan State University and has served as an Academic Enrichment Program tutor to his classmates, also at Morgan.
Colbert Sesanker.
  • Colbert Sesanker of West Hartford, Conn., is as sophomore at Worcester Polytechnic Institute majoring in Computational and Applied Analysis. Sesanker will be working in the lab of assistant professor Dilip Asthagiri in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering. His research interests relate to the improvement or repair of the cardiovascular systems including the removal of arterial plaque via nanotechnology.
Adongo Tia-Okwee.
  • Adongo Tia-Okwee of Baltimore, Md., (formerly of San Fernando, Trinidad), is a senior majoring in Biology at Morgan State University. She will be working in the lab of professor Denis Wirtz in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering. Her primary interests include medical research into new technologies to treat HIV/AIDS and cancer.
Sean Virgile.
  • Sean Virgile of Franklin, Pa., is a junior at University of Rochester majoring in Biomedical Engineering. Virgile will be working in the lab of assistant professor Jeff Wang in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering. He previously attended the Pennsylvania Governor’s School of Health Care at University of Pittsburgh.
Jessica Wang.
  • Jessica Wang of College Station, Texas, is a junior at University of Michigan majoring in Biomedical Engineering. Wang will be working in the lab of associate professor Guo-li Ming in the Department of Neuroscience in the School of Medicine. She previously conducted undergraduate research at the University of Michigan and also the University of Texas at Arlington.

The Institute for NanoBioTechnology at Johns Hopkins promotes programs in research, education, outreach, and technology transfer designed to foster the next wave of nanobiotechnology innovation. More than 155 faculty members are affiliated with INBT and also are members of Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences , Whiting School of Engineering , School of Medicine , Bloomberg School of Public Health , and Applied Physics Laboratory. For more information about INBT’s programs for graduate research or independent study, go to http://inbt.jhu.edu .

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