Undergraduate Research, 2001-2004

As an undergraduate at Saint Louis University, I worked with Prof. Dana Spence and Prof. R. Scott Martin to develop microfabricated electrodes for microfluidic tools to study vasodilation. After my junior year, I also participated in an REU at the University of Kentucky with Prof. Michael Jay.

Biomimics for vasodilation studies. Capillaries and microchannels make excellent mimics for the microvasculature because they can be made to match the dimensions of small blood vessels in our bodies. In the Spence and Martin labs, I helped develop biomimetic devices to study the release of nitric oxide released by bovine pulmonary artery endothelial cells [1].

Microfabricated electrodes. Along with fluorescence and chemiluminescence, amperometry is an excellent detection method for microfluidic devices because the signal to noise ratio remains high even when sample volume is limited. As part of my undergraduate research, I developed and characterized a method for micromolding carbon ink electrodes for implementation on microfluidic chips [2]. This method allows electrodes of multiple materials to be fabricated on the same device. For example, a carbon working electrode can be used with a palladium decoupler [3].

Fabrication process for micromolding carbon ink electrodes.

I did this work under the guidance of Profs. Dana Spence and Scott Martin with help from graduate students Nick Torrence and Michelle Li. Read about what the Spence Lab and the Martin Lab are doing now.

Research Experience for Undergraduates. In 2003, I participated in an REU at the University of Kentucky and worked in Prof. Michael Jay’s lab optimizing an aqueous nanoparticle suspension for liquid scintillation counting. Liquid scintillation counting typically uses an organic solvent to dissolve fluors, which release light in the presence of radioactive substances. However, the use of organic solvent-based scintillation fluids produces undesirable mixed waste. In the Jay lab, I helped to develop a scintillation fluid in which the fluor molecules were contained in polystyrene nanoparticles suspended in water, eliminating the organic solvent character of the waste [4]. For this project, I worked under the guidance of Prof. Michael Jay and graduate student Jim Weekley.

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