UPR-Mayagüez REU RMSM Blog

Building a soft matter research community at UPRM: Step 1. Develop and execute a REU program

Ubaldo Cordova-Figueroa's picture

Soft matter includes a wide range of materials that flow or experience deformation when exposed to stresses or forces.   Colloids, polymers, vesicles, and bubbles are a few examples. The relationship between the magnitude and duration of the ‘deforming’ force gives rise to unique and dynamic material properties. Understanding and mastering these properties are main areas of intensive research.

Big Advancements on the Horizons - Enzyme-coated Nanoparticle Medicines

Joseph P Ulbrich's picture
Hello all, This is the final week of the Summer REU here at University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez, and thus it’s the conclusion of my research to be performed here at the university. During this only two-month program, so many advancements have been made for not only my research project, but also myself as a researcher. I’m extremely proud and happy to say that I’ve been part of one of the prized projects here at UPRM Summer REU with Soft Matter Labs! It’s provided me with very valuable research experience that has allowed me to become a much more confident and independent researcher.

Mathematical Model for concentrations of 4-aminobenzoic acid in water

Jessica Bojorquez's picture
Detecting bioactive agents in water has become a matter of great importance and I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to be a part of this REU program where I have been able to work in a project whose’ goal is to advance technology for this matter. I was assigned to work with Dr. Marco De Jesus in the chemistry department of University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez, or as known as “El Colegio”. My project was to design a mathematical model that could describe concentrations of bioactive agents in water in the range of zero to saturation point.

A summer with toads and nano-bubbles!!!

Hilary Marrero's picture

This summer 2015 has been one like no other. Having the opportunity to work on a summer research program in a good university like the UPRM and contribute to the scientific knowledge in my island is something great that has no price. During 10 weeks I worked in a mechanical engineering laboratory on the “Permeability measurements of nano-bubbles through the urinary bladder of Bufo marinus toad”. The goal of the research was to detect and determine if air nano-bubbles diffuse through the urinary bladder from a donor chamber to a receiver one. Some recent studies have indicated that air and oxygen nano-bubbles enhance the growth of fishes, plants and mice.

Targeted Drug Transportation to Tumors

Janet Marielis Crespo Cajigas's picture

The research I was developing during this summer REU program was about assembling a new cancer treatment that diminishes the damage that contemporary cancer treatments inflict on our bodies. We are focusing on Triple Negative Breast Cancer because this form of cancer has limited options for treatment. The suggested new treatment that I am currently working on is based on utilization of particles called a micelles and it is composed of a magnetic nanoparticle core coated with a shell made out of a copolymer called PEG-PLGA. The image that goes with this post is a model of the micelle; where the blue is PLGA, the green is PEG, the orange is a target system, and the black is the nanoparticle.

Practical peptides possess particularly potent pliant properties

Lance Bettinson's picture

Truly are β-peptide synthesis and application the only subject matters worthy of an alliterative introduction. A relatively new prospect for clinical application, these peptides offer a wealth of biochemical possibilities in the future of medicine. Their unique and tailorable sequences render them utile in a variety of circumstances and milieux.

Nanoparticles with a Not-So-Nano Impact

Hyeon Ju Song's picture

July 31st. Today marks the final day of the REU Soft Matter Research program at the University of Mayaguez. Needless to say, it has been richly rewarding both academically and culturally. 

To begin, I entered this program with zero research experience. I just finished my freshman year of college and only took a couple of introductory engineering, science, and math classes. My mentor Delva taught me basic scientific experiments that are fundamental for scientists. For example, she taught me how to extract RNA, perform qPCR, culture and preserve cells, and tag cells with fluorescence and observe them under a microscope. 

Fabricating B.S. in Puerto Rico (Bioactive Scaffolds)

Jacoby Shipmon's picture

If I had to sum up my experience of working as an REU student, this summer, at the University of Puerto Rico in one word I would say defining. The experience of living for 10 weeks in a different culture with a different language than English, getting to visit the beautiful attractions the island of Puerto Rico has to offer, getting to be a part of an amazing group of colleagues, and working on interesting scientific research has shaped me. Now that the REU is coming to its end, I can say that I feel as if I have gained both technical knowledge, working with my research topic electrospinning of collage nanofibers, and life applicable lessons such as to work hard towards your goals but to enjoy the process also.

Simulating Magnetic Nanoparticles At UPRM... Plot Twist: They Have Shifted Dipoles

Angel González Martell's picture

During this summer I had the opportunity to participate in a life-changing program at my own Campus, UPRM. The RMSM REU program provided me with the tools to conduct meaningful research and gave me the chance to meet a small group of people that I will call forever my friends. And as I wrote this, I just remembered something that a friend told me some time ago: "less is better". And it is that, even though this program didn't hosted a lot of students like others universities may do, being a small group of 11 strangers from different cultures, 10 weeks gave us enough time to make bonds that will most likely endure a lifetime. Moreover, during the program I came to the conclusion that I was looking for when I got enrolled on it... Go, or not to go to grad school?

Liquid crystal: the coolest oxymoron there is!

Joshua Zak's picture

When I first started telling my friends and family back home in Pittsburgh about my plan to spend the summer in Puerto Rico, the reactions I got went something like this: "Not fair! A summer on the beach!", "Don't party too hard!", and "You're going to come back so tan!" And while I do have to give some credit to these statements (because I did go to the beach, party with new friends, and get really tan), I want to stress that those awesome experiences were not the only reason I came to Puerto Rico. Yes, Puerto Rico is a beautiful tropical island, but most people already know that. What they don't know is that Puerto Rico is also on the forefront of important and original scientific research, and I experienced that firsthand.

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