Many of our students did exciting projects this past summer!
John Tokarski ('13) spent the Spring 2012 academic semester and Summer 2012 at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands. The experiments John undertook are part of Professor Iuliucci’s efforts to use NMR spectroscopy to understand the chemistry of materials. John measured the chemical shift anisotropy of zinc organic complexes, compounds used to model materials found in organic photocells. Using solid-state 13C NMR, chemical shift anisotropy of the carboxylic groups of functional materials are reflected by the intensities of spinning sideband peaks. The anisotropy can be tabulated using the Herzfeld-Berger analysis to experimentally determine the principal components of shielding tensors. This information can help material scientists characterize the chemical bonding of organic acids self-assembled on the surface on metal oxide nanoparticles, which will assist in the development of new materials. In particular, the goal is to tune the electrical properties of semiconductors used in the construction of solar cells. The experiments were conducted in the laboratory of Prof. Kentgens at Radboud and are supported by the National Science Foundation.
Lia Miceli ('13) also spent the summer at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands. She synthesized NHS functionalized poly(2-oxazolines) from preformed poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline)s commercially known as Aquasol. She used these functionalized polymers to form tissue "tape" that will be tested using bovine tissues for biocompatability, mechanical strength, degradation time, and other factors. Lia worked in Dr. Jan van Hest's group with funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Missy Schumacher ('13) participated in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at Texas A&M with funding from the National Science Foundation. She worked on the synthesis of a tridentate, bridging PCS pincer ligand and its metal complexes in the research group of Dr. Oleg Ozerov. These complexes may provide a way to homogenously catalyze organic reactions useful for energy purposes.
Julie Pacilio ('14) was a Summer Pediatric Research Scholar (SPRS) working with Dr. Mary Costello, ER specialist, and Dr. Elena Rossi, head of neonatal care at Akron Children's Hospital in Mahoning Valley. Julie reviewed all of the CT scans taken in the ER in 2011 to see what the most common CT scan is, and how to decrease the number of CT scans taken in one year. Her goal was to try to reduce the radiation on a pediatric patient by decreasing unnecessary examinations and therefore reducing his or her risk for cancer later in life. Julie was funded through the Magellan Project and the SPRS Program.
Meagan Smith ('14) worked for Dr. Aaron Beeler at the Center for Methodology and Library Development at Boston University. She made a variety of inosose compounds with different attached R-groups. The inosose molecule has been linked to Alzheimer's Disease. Meagan made over 30 compounds, attempting to purify them, and test their functionality. She also tried to synthesize the starting inosose from sugars and selectively alter the alcohols on each of the carbons. Meagan was supported with a Walker Award as part of W&J's Magellan Project. You can read more about Meagan's adventures in Boston at her blog.
Sophia Tsiris ('13) was at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City where she studied the prevention of suicide in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adolescents. Sophia worked under Dr. Cynthia Pfeffer from New York Presbyterian Hospital with funding from a Travelers Summer Research Fellowship for Premedical Students. Sophia spent two days a week observing Dr. Pfeffer with her patients to gain practical knowledge. The other days were spent doing research and attending classes on healthcare disparities and cardiac pathophysiology.
Cameron Glagola ('13) participated in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at the University of Akron College of Polymer Science. He worked in the lab of Dr. Steven Chuang on improved methods for photoelectrochemical production of hydrogen using sacrificial ethanol. His project focused on directly incorporating the working electrode and counter electrodes onto the Nafion membrane. Cameron also investigated new materials in order to replace the common precious metals and increase the efficiencies of these cells. Cameron's work was funded through the National Science Foundation.
Matthew Rollins ('14) worked this summer with Dr. Mark Burke at Howard University's College of Medicine in Washington, DC. With sponsorship from the Leadership Alliance through their Summer Research- Early Identification Program (SR-EIP), Matt researched the effects of HIV in a pediatric brain using the Rhesus Macaque as a model. He analyzed brains collected from infected and healthy subjects, using Immunohistochemistry to visualize neurons in various regions of the brain. Matt then compared the results through stereology.
Tyler Watson ('14) was at the Ohio Valley General Hospital's Institute for Pain Diagnostics and Care in McKees Rocks, PA. His research aimed to tackle the limiting success rate of radiofrequency (RF) ablation of the lumbar spine. Since previous work has shown that preinjecting fluid of diverse compositions prior to the RF procedure drastically increases lesion size, Tyler's study focused on determining the influence that these fluids have on the relationship between duration of RF and lesion size. Tyler's research was funded through W&J's Merck Internships for Excellence in Science program.
Zachary Drennen ('15) spent the summer at the Mylan School of Pharmacy at Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA) with Dr. Meng. A participant in their REU program, Zach worked on developing a bi-functional protein that combines the fluorogen-activating protein dL5 and the amphiphilic peptide EAK. By studying the interactions between the dL5 and EAK using gel electrophoresis, he determined that the two incorporate into a single bi-fuctional protein named dL5_EAK. When combined with dL5, the EAK self assembles into an interwoven peptide gel. In the future this self-assembling capability could transform the dL5 into a biosensor that could be used in vivo. Zach's work was funded through the National Science Foundation.