REU student profile: Claire Korpela

Claire Korpela is a rising senior at the University of Wyoming studying chemistry and molecular biology. She spent the summer at Johns Hopkins University working in the chemical and biomolecular engineering laboratory of Honggang Cui. Claire was part of Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology’s Research Experience for Undergraduates.

Claire Korpela

Claire Korpela

Her research project involved creating a peptide chain that targets to cancer cells and combining it with an anti-cancer drug. Claire’s career goal is to become an oncologist. She decided to write her own blog post on her experience at JHU, which follows:

The naked eye is only so good for seeing small objects. This summer I had the opportunity to work with chemotherapeutic 1D nanostructures, a task that my naked eye was not well equipped for.


Nanotubes (Cui Lab)

When I was first told that the nanotubes I had formed from individual drug-peptide monomers has self-assembled into highly ordered and complex structures, I had a difficult time wrapping my mind around what that meant. Just the idea of nanotechnology astounded me. How could something so small have such a large impact on society and the future of technology and medicine? It was something I needed to see to believe.

After looking at my sample using transmission electron microscopy (TEM), I was taken aback by the image that was before me. It certainly wouldn’t be classified as beautiful or interesting to most people looking at it, but to me it was. Seeing how my molecule aggregated on its own into nanotubes that can weave around itself to form a stable gel gave me an even better understanding of just how important nanotechnology can be in the fight against cancer.


For all press inquiries regarding INBT, its faculty and programs, contact Mary Spiro, or 410-516-4802.

Summer scholars celebrate with poster session

The Johns Hopkins Summer Academic Research Experience (SARE) program will hold a closing celebration and poster session for participants on August 15 at 3:30 in the pre-function area of the Woods Basic Science Auditorium on the ground floor at the medical campus.

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 12.17.09 PMThe SARE is an outreach initiative and internship program that provides a biomedical research experience and academic support for selected high school students from the greater Baltimore community. It is partially funded by the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Institute for NanoBioTechnology (INBT).

“SARE Scholars typically come from disadvantaged backgrounds and participants are chosen from Boys Hope Girls Hope of Baltimore, the SEED School of Maryland, the Crossroads School and KIPP Academy,” said Doug Robinson, professor of cell biology, INBT affiliate and founder of the program. “SARE Scholars spend the summer working in research labs with doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows, while taking a structured academic program and working on professionalism skills. At the celebration, Scholars will present the fruits of their hard work through a professional scientific poster session.”

Robinson noted that since 2009, 16 Scholars have participated in SARE. Of those who have reached college age, 100 percent have enrolled into 4-year universities, and 40 percent of those students chose science, engineering, or health-related degree programs.

“Although we often hear of sad stories of Baltimore youth, this event will show just how exceptional Baltimore students are,” Robinson said. “I promise you will be amazed and inspired by the SARE Celebration.”

For all press inquiries regarding INBT, its faculty and programs, contact Mary Spiro, or 410-516-4802.