Outstanding Student Highlights

Luis Alonzo Honored for Public Impact

Graduate student Luis Alonzo received UCI's Public Impact Distinguished Fellowship Award for his research on creating a tumor-on-a-chip model to understand the role of the microenvironment on tumor growth and development.Public Impact Fellowships highlight and support doctoral students whose current research has the potential for substantial impact in the public sphere.Spirit of Volunteerism Awards

Jolie McLane Recognized for Volunteerism

Graduate student Jolie McLane was honored as an outstanding community volunteer at OneOC’s 2014 Spirit of Volunteerism Awards for her work at McFadden Intermediate School in Santa Ana. Jolie conducts a 24-week after-school program that brings STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) into schools.  She also coordinated a day for students to visit and tour her biomedical research lab at UCI.

National Science FoundationBME Touts Three NSF Graduate Research Fellows

The National Science Foundation has granted Vanessa Herrera, Sandra Lam and Nicole Mendoza a research fellowship. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.

Vanessa Herrera is a first-year biomedical engineering graduate student working with Professor Abraham Lee. Herrera’s research involves designing and developing single-cell trapping devices using microfluidic principles. The device has the capability to isolate and release individual cells for further analysis and processing.

Sandra Lam is a biomedical engineering doctoral student working with Professor Steven George. Her research focuses on using microfluidic technology to engineer perfused micro-tissues. This research can also be used as a platform for high-throughput drug studies.

Nicole Mendoza is a first-year biomedical engineering graduate student working with Associate Professor Michelle Khine. Mendoza’s research uses machine-learning algorithms to predict drug response in stem cell-derived cardiac cells. She hopes this work will translate into a more sensitive preclinical drug-screening platform for detection of cardiac toxicity.

Three biomedical engineering graduate students received honorable mentions: Alex Javanpour, Jessica Hsieh and Eugene Lee.

Grad Student Uses Shrink Wrap to Improve Detection of Infectious Disease Biomarkers

Himanshu Sharma Graduate student researcher Himanshu Sharma along with Professors Michelle Khine, Enrico Gratton and Michelle Digman recently published a paper in The Optical Society's journal Optical Materials Express. The technique described in the paper offers a way to significantly boost the signal of fluorescent markers used in biosensing by depositing a combination of metals onto shrink wrap. When heated, the shrink wrap contracts, causing the stiffer metal layers to buckle and wrinkle into beautiful flower-like structures that are significantly smaller than previously demonstrated. To the top of the wrinkled metal layer, the researchers add samples of biomarkers, antibodies generated by the immune system in response to infection with a certain pathogen. These biomarkers are tagged with fluorescent probes to allow their detection under near-infrared light.