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Mountains and Mofongo

Imagen de Brittany Nelson

Two months ago, I was unfamiliar with research and ready for an adventure. Today, I am an enthusiastic scientist with experience in a biomaterials lab. During my time in this REU program, I became a better swimmer, overcame my fear of heights, continued to dominate in the game of dominoes, and became a confident, well-rounded student. I never thought so much about me could change in such a short amount of time.

The microscopic dance of magnetic particles

Imagen de Joseph Alexander Monarres

This summer has been a long summer full of new experiences and new opportunities to learn. I have been thrown fully out of my comfort zone and been forced to adapt to a broad range of new situations. I’ve had to learn many new things being in a place with a very different culture, that speaks a different language with a climate that is very different from my home in dry southern california. I had to learn to operate simulations using Bash, in a topic that I have no experience in: magnetic colloids. Most importantly of all, what I really learned was how to manage the pace and rigor of research and to be adaptable in areas outside my expertise.

A spectra-cular never ending summer

Imagen de Nadja Michelle Maldonado Luna

I can only describe this summer with one word, exhausting. I never thought I would stand at one point of my life and say, “I really want this summer to end”. Now don’t get me wrong, this summer has been one of the most enriching summers of my life. In two months, I’ve learned much more than I will ever learn in a classroom an entire semester. I am passionate about research, and my heart skips a beat every time I enter a lab. Most certainly, I would not feel as happy and eager to keep on learning anywhere else.

A Long and Winding Road

Imagen de Gabriel Ivan Vega Bellido

Self-Assembly of magnetic colloids with shifted dipoles via Brownian Dynamics Simulations.

To many people this might seem like a strange and intimidating array of fancy science words, but to me they are a very important array of fancy science words. This is the name of the project that has occupied me for around a year and a half, one which was initially an entirely alien concept to me. Herein I will attempt to make that title somewhat less intimidating. 

A Shorter Letter

Imagen de Patrick Stefan Soltis

Somewhere on the Internet, Mark Twain is quoted as having written, "I would've written a shorter letter, but I ran out of time." A quick investigation reveals that he never did say that, but instead that a number of other famous people - John Locke, Benjamin Franklin, Woodrow Wilson, and more - did say something to a similar effect. Whoever said it, though, the idea rings true across time. Although at first it might seem that a longer text might require more time to compose, the reverse is often true. A shorter text often requires more time to compose because it takes more effort to condense the message into less space. This holds true for letters, novels, elementary school lesson plans, and yes, also scientific writing, in fact.

A summer of professional and cultural growth

Imagen de Alondra Y Muniz

      Unlike other years, this summer has been a very busy one. However, I spent my time doing something that I love, RESEARCH. As I mentioned in my previous blog, this SUMMER2017 I got the opportunity to be part of the REU in Reconfigurable and Multifunctional Soft Materials at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez Campus. My research was focused in the development and characterization of type I collagen membranes modified with magnetite (Fe3O4) nanoparticles for modulation of cell behavior. These modified membranes are of interest because when exposed to an alternating magnetic field, they enhance an increase in heat shock proteins. The expression of such proteins has been proven to influence stem cell behavior.

A wise man told me that variation implies information…

Imagen de Taylor Dawn Graham


I have had the pleasure of working with Professor Rodolfo Romañach at the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez. I have learned many things from him and those who work in his lab.

His favorite explanation of this research is that variation implies information. Professor Romañach told me that if I left the house when my mom was happy and I came back and she was mad, there is important information to be learned from the variation of her mood.

If I know that the variation of her mood was from leaving my room messy, then in the future I can keep my room clean and keep my mom happy. This research looked for variation in NIR spectroscopy so that we can find ways to address them.

Making the Sun do our Dirty Work

Imagen de Austin John Dosh

How can we use the sun’s energy to clean our water of hazardous materials? This summer, I have had the opportunity to study that question working in the labs at the Universidad de Puerto Rico Mayagüez (UPRM) doing research in the Civil Engineering Department, specifically in the Environmental area, under the mentorship of graduate student Alba Lacen and the advisement of Dr. Pedro Tarafa. There are a variety of dangerous chemicals that get into our water from many sources and removing pollutants becomes a problem for wastewater treatment plants to handle. Atrazine, an organic compound, is one such substance. Atrazine is a potent endocrine disruptor in humans and animals alike.

What Would Kill a Yeast Astronaut

Imagen de Chloe Hill

            This summer I researched the toxicity of Zinc Oxide nanoparticles on Saccharomyces cerevisiae (common baking yeast) in normal and microgravity conditions.  But why should anyone care about the effects of Zinc Oxide nanoparticles?  Zinc Oxide nanoparticles have many exciting potential biomedical applications, such as killing cancer cells and antibacterial effects.

Bacteria infection is a real threat of orthopedic implants...

Imagen de Khoa Dang Do

S. aureus is common gram-positive bacteria which may cause severe infections in clinical practices.In nature, bacteria normally exist in two states: planktonic or biofilms. Unlike planktonic cell, which are free floating microbes in suspension, cells within a biofilm adhere to the surface of soft tissues and implanted medical devices such as, hips and knees.Following bacterial initial attachment, the bacteria will secrete an extracellular polysaccharide matrix to protect themselves as they gather the accumulated nutrients from the surrounding aqueous environment required for biofilm survival.As a result, the bacteria within the biofilms are approximately 10 to 1000 times harder to be killed by antibiotics.


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