I first knew about this REU in Soft Matter by seeing propaganda around campus. As a curious fact, I never thought of applying because I had other research plans for the summer. Later, a friend motivated me and made me see what a fantastic opportunity I was missing out on. I realized that he was right and decided to apply since I’ve always been interested in materials and their wide range of applications in the different fields. Around mid-March I received the notice that I was accepted in the program and so my journey began. I was assigned to work in the characterization of type-1 collagen matrixes modified with iron oxide nanoparticles for modulation of cell behavior. During the past month, I’ve been working in the making of these collagen electro spun membranes while variating parameters such as the nanoparticle concentration in each solution and the flow rate of the solution while performing the electrospinning technique, which influences in fiber orientation. After characterization of the membranes, these will be exposed to magnetic induction heating (MIH). Subsequently, our focus will be to perform in vitro analysis and study cell adhesion, differentiation and segregation of tissues. Literature suggests that heat shock from the MIH will directly contribute to differentiation.
I have had experienced research before but none of it was like this. I can already say that I have learned many new laboratory techniques and upgraded my knowledge. Each Wednesday I learn more about soft matter with the faculty-led seminars while the scientific communication and responsible conduct seminars each Friday have molded me as a young researcher. I really enjoy the working research environment provided to us the undergrads. Aside all of this, I have also met many people thanks to this experience. The other participants are very kind and we have a lot of fun whenever we spend time together while on the other hand, I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and all the good people I’ve met on the way. I strongly believe that this summer’s REU will represent a huge and major step in the lengthy process of building my professional career.