When Brady Moore, a senior in biomedical engineering, began his journey into the scientific world as a high school student, he couldn’t have predicted the path he would take in the next four years. His biology professor recommended him a summer research internship at Rowan University, which he enthusiastically pursued. He chose to attend Rowan in first year the following year.
This summer, Moore participated in another hands-on program run by Rowan’s biomedical engineering department called the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). The 10-week program hosted 12 undergraduates from eight states: Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas. the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded 10 of the fellows and Rowan funded two more through his University Research Division.
NSF supports research sites that represent specific areas of interest with a focus on developing leaders in the field and awakening their passion for discovery, innovation and research, according to Dr. Mary Staehle, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering. Rowan’s site focuses on biomedical materials, devices, therapies and emerging frontiers, and includes teacher mentors in these areas of engineering, science and medicine.
Students work full-time in a lab with a mentor professor, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to conduct meaningful and impactful research throughout the summer, explained Staehle, who leads the REU program with Dr Mark Byrne. , professor and founding director of the Department of Biomedical Engineering.
“The program provides extensive research opportunities that students may not have at their home institutions and expands opportunities for scientists,” Staehle said.
Rowan’s REU program began in 2018. His return after the COVID-19 pandemic was a welcome sign of normalcy.
“It’s really great to have students on campus,” Staehle said. “This program provides the opportunity to learn first-hand about being a graduate student and how to pursue a career in scientific or technical research. “
This summer, Moore returned to the lab of Dr. Peter Galie, associate professor of biomedical engineering, studying cell cultures with a focus on strokes and aneurysms. Moore plans to do more hands-on lab work before applying to medical school.
“Everyone in the lab was welcoming and friendly and showed me when I needed to know something. I really appreciate all the help, ”said Moore.
“Brady worked in my lab as a high school student so it came full circle this summer,” said Galie. “It was great to see his growth, both as a young adult and as a biomedical engineer, through the training he received during his three years here.”
Alexis Pacheco Benitez, a Rowan junior, also thanked the faculty and students for enriching his research experience.
“The people there really brought the lab to life and made me look forward to being there in the lab every day,” said Pacheco Benitez, who spent the summer exploring 3D cell remodeling. “I will also remember the trips I and the other REU students took throughout the program.”
University of Rochester sophomore Tochukwu Iyke-Nzeocha worked in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. One experience she found beneficial during the program was a “Women in Chemistry” event.
“From the presentation, I saw that I could flourish in the world of entrepreneurship. I used to consider going to medical school, but now I’ve narrowed down my options, ”she said.
Sky Fuller, a junior from Columbia University, commuted between the Glassboro campus and the Joint Health Sciences Center in Camden to work in the field of synthetic biology.
“Our main goal is to redesign the receptors and synthetic circuitry of immune cells to fight cancer. I had minimal training in synthetic biology when I got there at the start of those 10 weeks, so I learned a lot about this area, ”Fuller said.
Mulan Tang, a junior at the University of Oklahoma, told a story about adding stem cells to crosslinked fibers.
“It was a bit late in the day, around 8 pm, but it was extremely exciting to look through the confocal microscope and see that the fixation was successful,” Tang said. “I felt like I really made a lot of progress in research during my time at Rowan.”
“These programs are essential in fostering that enthusiasm and creating the next leaders in the field,” said Byrne. “Exposing these young engineers and scientists to cutting-edge research and having them contribute in a real and meaningful way during the summer and beyond is the spark that leads to meaningful careers in the field. Rowan is the ideal place for this type of program.