Tag Archives: research

Biomedical Engineering Society Conference

Quinn Mitchell

Quinn Mitchell,
Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 17 October 2017

Last Thursday, I woke up early and tossed my suitcase in my car and drove to Columbus. I was on my way to the airport to fly to Phoenix, Arizona to attend the 2017 Biomedical Engineering Society Conference. I was going to the conference to present the research I had been performing in Dr. Monica Burdick’s lab.

When I got to Phoenix, I immediately headed to the hotel to quickly unpack, change, and head to the conference. After signing in, I skimmed the program and decided to join some other members of my lab in lecture session focusing on prosthetics. This was an extremely interesting session and a great example of how biomedical research can improve people’s life.

After this session, my labmates and I visited a few more presentations before eventually heading to dinner. We spent most of that night networking with other biomedical engineering students and professors.

BMES Conference

Much like Thursday, I spent Friday listening to experts in the biomedical engineering field discuss their cutting-edge work. The best thing about the conference was that I was not just listening to these speakers, but I also had the opportunity to have conversations with them. It was a great experience to meet researchers whose work I had read about in journal articles.

Around 8:00 am on Saturday morning, it was my turn to present on my work with plasma-based cervical cancer therapies. This would be the first time that I had ever given a talk to a room full of engineering professors and students from universities around the country. The presenters that went before me had done a fantastic job, so I felt that I had a high standard to meet.

I gave my presentation, fielded a few questions, and sat back down. I was relieved that I had managed to talk at a reasonable speed throughout the whole ordeal, something that I struggle with in normal conversation.

I flew home Saturday afternoon, and except for a few flight delays, it was a great trip!

Preparing for the Student Research and Creative Activity Expo

Quintin Fettes

Quintin Fettes,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 5 April 2017

For many students, research and creative activity goes on behind the scenes with the outside world largely unaware of their work. Students work on their scientific, artistic, musical and other pursuits in their free time as an extracurricular activity, developing their skills from composing and performing a new piece of music to trying to predict the onset of diabetes in mice using computers. However, the Student Research and Creativity Expo provides the opportunity to share all of their creations with the community and university.

This year, I’ll be co-presenting my senior design team’s work on Rufus, the RoboCat. As our senior design project, the Robocat has served as an introduction to engineering principles, mobile development for android devices, software development for robotics, Arduino programming, natural language processing, and image analysis.

Robocat

The improvements we’ve made have focused on the behavior and usability of the cat, ultimately producing a wider platform for the next team to begin developing and provide a flashy engineering project to get children interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM); in short, we’ve given the RoboCat a stronger brain.

Robocat

Ultimately, the Student Research Expo is giving hundreds of students, us included, the opportunity to present and feel pride in the result of hard work. Hundreds of our peers, professors, and high school students will come to admire the work of the college students and those that want will get the opportunity to be judged and ranked against our peers. The student research expo has given us all a great opportunity.

Research over Winter Break

Nathan Arnett

Nathan Arnett,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 12 January 2017

Christmas break always seems to come at the perfect time—after 15 weeks of classes and more immediately after a mentally-taxing finals week, the break always seems much needed. Going home to see family and spend the holidays with them is something I look forward to every year, and this year was no different.

However, this year’s break wasn’t all relaxing. I have been a member of an on-campus molecular biology lab since Fall 2015, working under the close supervision of a postdoctoral fellow in the lab. For some time, we have been planning a large ‘mouse study’ looking into the link between Growth Hormone and melanoma cancer, and the study was to take place in early January following winter break.

However, over break, the postdoc I work with took advantage of one of her free times of the year and took a vacation with some friends—leaving me in charge of cell culture preparation for the study.

Living only an hour and a half away, the multiple visits I made to the lab over break were well worth it. It was great experience to take on serious responsibility in such early stages of a large project such as this, and it also gave me a small dose of seeing Athens (albeit, a nearly empty Athens) when I otherwise would have been missing it!

All in all, my break was very enjoyable, and being able to still further my experience while helping out on large project made it that much more enjoyable.

Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment

Joshua Greenlee

Joshua Greenlee,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 28 November 2016

One of the greatest decisions I have made with my time at Ohio University is getting involved in undergraduate research. I began the spring semester of my freshman year at the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment (ISEE), working with another undergraduate student researching and developing a cost-efficient way of precipitating out harmful cations in fracking water.

After the completion of this project, I began a new project at ISEE testing the pyrolysis of coal in a fluidized bed to produce tar, which would later be treated with different chemicals and polymers to produce asphalt binder. Both projects gave me excellent undergraduate research experience and improved my independence, as each project required the responsibility and work ethic typical of a graduate student.

For the past year, I have worked in Dr. Goetz’s lab at OU studying the efficacy and toxicity of a novel compound in the treatment of ovarian cancer. I previously worked with a graduate student on this project, but after he graduated I was left to finish the project independently. If all goes well, I should be authored on a publication about this research by the end of the academic year.

Overall, my experience has led me to realize that I was made to pursue a career in academic research. It also helped direct me into figuring out what type of a field I wanted to pursue after graduation. If I never would have started researching as an undergraduate, I may never have discovered my affinity for cancer research, or research in general for that matter. If you are interested in participating in undergraduate research with a professor, I would encourage you to send them an email expressing your interest. I’m sure glad I did!

SWE Conference

Caroline Wilson

Caroline Wilson,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 6 November 2016

From October 26th to 29th, I had the privilege of attending WE16, the national conference for the Society of Women Engineers in Philadelphia, PA. We drove two vans to Philadelphia on Wednesday morning, and left early Saturday.

I had been to a SWE conference before—the regional conference in Cincinnati last spring—but this was a whole new ballgame. WE16 advertises itself as being the world’s largest conference and career fair for women in engineering and technology. It did not disappoint.

At the regional conference last spring, there were sessions to go to about LinkedIn, interviewing, and a few other topics. They were definitely interesting, but the sheer quantity of sessions at the national conference could not even be compared. There were sessions about anything you could possibly want to learn: in one day, I attended a panel about working while raising a family, a talk about presenting research as women in science; a presentation about advocating for diversity; and a session about unconscious bias.

The SWE conference is the kind of event that young women entering engineering dream of: thousands of poised, accomplished, determined women all gather in one place to celebrate each other’s accomplishments and help other women reach the same heights.

On the second day of the conference, I tried my hand at the SWE career fair. The breadth of companies which were represented was impressive—everyone from Google to Honeywell to Merck was in attendance. I was actually selected for interviews by two companies that morning: IBA Proton Therapy and Boston Scientific. Both went really well, and I was so grateful to have been able to speak with companies from the biomedical engineering field.

After the interviews, I had the opportunity to present my research in the WE16 Rapid Fire Undergraduate event. The title of my presentation was, “Novel Small Molecule Inhibitors of Inflammation Prevent Saturated Free Fatty Acid-Induced Inflammation Associated with Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Human Hepatocytes.”

This particular event was unique because some of the presentations were based on research projects, and some were based on internship experiences. I liked the breadth of topics that were addressed because of this set up: young women presented about everything from Harley Davidson motorcycles to weather patterns across the United States and their impact on heating and cooling bills.

I was so honored to represent my university, and in particular the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, at a national level. The entire national conference was the most amazing experience, and I know that experiences like it can completely change careers for the young women (and men) who are lucky enough to attend it.

SCOPE Laboratory

Quintin Fettes

Quintin Fettes,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 2 October 2016

Another research opportunity at Ohio University has brought me closer to the goals and aspirations I once had as a kid. I’d always wanted to be a doctor, so that I could help sick people get better; I’d always wanted to make the first true Artificial Intelligence, like Arnold in the second Terminator movie; and I’d always wanted to be a professional Athlete.

My research in Artificial Intelligence started during Spring Semester of my Sophomore year. I reached out to one of my professors at Ohio University to study machine learning, a sub-field of Artificial Intelligence. The next semester, I was offered a research position in the Smarthealth Laboratory working with Dr. Marling and Dr. Bunescu, where we write AI programs to help patients with Type 1 Diabetes manage their condition. Ultimately the work will help these patients live more comfortably and safely.

It was here that I realized OU had given me the opportunity to apply my unique skills as a Computer Science major to help people. I’m not a physician, but I still have the feeling that my 8-year-old self is proud.

My latest research project was awarded to me by the Russ College Undergraduate Research Fund. I’m now able to research with Dr. Vigo in the SCOPE laboratory. Here, we work on the mathematical modeling of human conceptual behavior. In other words, my job is to help apply mathematics to computers to help them form concepts in the same way that a human would. It’s a long way from the science fiction AI, but I don’t think I’ve disappointed my younger self.

In short, Ohio University has taken what I thought was a decision to only be a computer scientist, and it’s opened my eyes to the cross-disciplinary work that will help me contribute to almost all of the fields I had once intended. Now, I just have to make a smart robot that can hit a 450ft homerun. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity, and I hope this isn’t the last time you read about my research.

Summer Research in Germany

Caroline Wilson

Caroline Wilson,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 27 August 2016

I spent my summer doing research in the chemistry department at the University of Leipzig. For eleven weeks, I worked on a project under a PhD student which involved solid-state peptide synthesis and a novel reversible PEGylation approach.

Peptides have the potential to act as potent therapeutics, but this is often limited by their breakdown in the body. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) can be added to prevent this elimination, but it also impairs the peptide’s ability to function—thus, we worked on an approach which would allow PEG to be reversibly linked to the peptide so that its release could be controlled.

I don’t have a background in chemistry research, so this summer marked a lot of firsts for me. I was able to gain hands-on experience working with methods which I had learned about in the classroom, like liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Furthermore, I gained experiences outside of the lab which made my summer unforgettable.

Although I spent most of my weekends exploring the city with a group of international students that I met through a fellow Bobcat in Leipzig, I did have a few experiences with travelling.

Germany

In high school, I participated in the German American Partnership Program (GAPP), through which I spent a month living with a host family in Munich. This summer I was able to visit my high school exchange student, Clara, at her university in Rothenburg.

Rothenburg

We spent the weekend exploring the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage town, and catching up since it had been 5 years since we had last seen each other.

I was also able to travel to Amsterdam with my Finnish friend, Ella, for another weekend trip. The eight-hour bus rides there and back were almost unbearable, but the time we spent in the city made it more than worth the trip.

Amsterdam Canal Tour

From a canal tour (above) to an ice bar (below); from the Anne Frank House to a museum of the Red Light District, we packed as much of Amsterdam as we could into our short visit. I fell in love with the city.

Amsterdam Ice Bar

My experiences in Europe would not have been possible without the financial support of the Cutler Scholars Program. I am grateful every day to have been the recipient of such incredible generosity.