Undergraduate Students


Ashley Alfred

Ashley Alfred is a senior at Southern University and A&M College studying mathematics and physics. She is a LS-LAMP, Timbuktu, and Honors College scholar. After graduation she plans to obtain her PhD. In her free time she enjoys playing tennis and volleyball, listening to music, reading, and eating sweets.

Project Title: Study of Chalcogenide Thin Film Materials for Applications in Reconfigurable Electronics using Machine Learning Methods

Mentors: Joost Vlassak, Gayatri Perlin

Funding: MRSEC

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Apryl Begay

Apryl Begay is from Crownpoint, New Mexico. She attends Navajo Technical University where her major is Animal Science. She is expected to graduate in 2020. She wants to become a veterinarian, and gain as much experience and knowledge. She wants to apply what she learned back to the Navajo Nation. Her hobbies are riding horses and her dirt bike.

Project Title: Reversing Pesticide Toxicity Effects by Using a Biomimetic Receptor

Mentors: George Whitesides, Khaled Abdelazim Mohamed

Funding: NTU.MRSEC

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Kyra Capitan

Kyra Capitan is a rising sophomore at Navajo Technical University, where she is majoring in Biology. She plans to pursue a degree in Veterinary Medicine. In her free time she likes to ride horses.

Project: Temperature Responsive Hydrogels

Mentors: David Weitz, Brendan Deveney

Funding: NTU.MRSEC

Jonathan Chinana

Jonathan Chinana is a first-generation student at Navajo Technical University. He is pursuing a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering and is in his sophomore year. He loves playing pool while listening to Tool.


Mentors: George Whitesides, Mike Litchfield, Jim MacArthur

Funding: NTU.MRSEC

Michael Di Martino

Michael Di Martino is a rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania pursuing a BA in Molecular and Cellular Biology, with minors in Chemistry and Theater. His interests include medical diagnostic and imaging devices for applications in teaching and research. He was born and raised in Hawaii, and in his free time likes to sing, write bad jokes, and test the limits of his circadian rhythm.

Project Title: Glucose Responsive Microcapsules

Mentors: David Weitz, Joerg Werner

Funding: MRSEC

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Belinda Joseph

Belinda Joseph is a rising senior at the University of Central Florida, studying Mechanical Engineering. She wants to pursue a PhD in Biomedical Engineering to facilitate medical procedures by design and improving relevant devices and equipment. She enjoys exercising and attending social events.

Project Title: The Viability of Caenorhabditis Elegans and Fish Eggs in Magnetic Levitation

Mentors: George Whitesides, Amit A. Nagarkar

Funding: MRSEC

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Deidre Lee

Deidre Lee was born and raised in Montserrat. She attends the University of the Virgin Islands in the U.S. Virgin Islands. She is a Physics major and Mathematics minor, expected to graduate in May 2021. After completing her undergraduate studies, she plans to obtain a PhD in Bioengineering with the hopes of developing biomedical devices.

Project Title: Tough and Biologically Stable Hydrogel Adhesives

Mentors: Zhigang Suo, Jason Steck

Funding: MRSEC

Nadja Maldonado Luna

Nadja Maldonado Luna is a rising senior at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez. She is majoring in Mechanical Engineering. After finishing her Bachelors Degree, she is determined to pursue a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. She aims to continue a career in research either in academia or the private sector. In her free time, she enjoys signing and dancing, learning about astronomy, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family.

Project Title: On-Demand Removal Strategies for Tough Adhesive Biomaterials

Mentors: David Mooney

Funding: Wyss.MRSEC

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Michael Nelwood

Michael Nelwood is a student at Navajo Technical University majoring in Biology.

Nelwood's project is "Electrochemical Detection Using Paper or Thread Diagnostics".

Project Title:

Mentors: George Whitesides

Funding: MRSEC.NTU

Abena Peasah

Abena Peasah is a rising junior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she is studying Cioengineering. She plans to get a PhD in the biological sciences, and use her knowledge to study diseases that primarily impact historically disadvantaged people. In her free time, she enjoys knitting, reading, and learning new languages.

Peasah's project is "In Vivo Genetic Reprogramming of Mouse Cardiomyocytes".

Project Title: In vivo genetic reprogramming of mouse cardiomyocytes

Mentors: David Mooney, Irene de Lazaro

Funding: MRSEC

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Christina Pizza

Christina Pizza is a former Navy Corpsman and currently a senior studying Biochemistry at the University of West Florida. She intends to pursue a graduate degree in Organic Chemistry with a focus in Medicinal Chemistry. She's an avid bibliophile and recreational poet. Outside of academics, she enjoys serving her community as a volunteer firefighter and collecting books for donation to the Prison Book Project.

Project Title: Transcriptional Control of Adipose Tissue Remodeling During Hypertrophic Expansion on a Biomimetic Nanofibrous Scaffold

Mentors: Kit Parker, Ben Pope

Funding: MRSEC

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Joshua Platero

Joshua Platero is a junior at Navajo Technical University. He is studying Biology and it is his dream to eventually attend graduate school. He has been married for 8 years and has 2 kids, both boys.

Platero's project is "Insertion of Proteins into Vesicles". He will use microfluidics to fabricate asymmetrical vesicles with different charge surfaces and mechanical properties. He will insert important proteins into the membrane and see how protein and lipid membrane interact. He will use confocal microscopy to characterize the lipid protein interaction.

Project Title: Insertion of proteins into vesicles

Mentors: David Weitz, Tina Yuting Huang

Funding: MRSEC.NTU

Breanna Thompson

Breanna Thompson was orn and raised on the Navajo Nation in Crownpoint, NM. Continuing student at Navajo Technical University in the Biology program. Her goals are to continue her career past graduate school ultimately gaining experience, so that she can bring it back to better her community. In her free time she likes to spend time with friends and family, cook, go out, travel, read and relax.

Project Title: Fabricating Biocompatible Polymersomes Using Microfluidics

Mentors: David Weitz, Tina Yuting Huang

Funding: MRSEC.NTU

William Zunker

William Zunker is a junior at the University of Minnesota Twin-Cities studying Civil Engineering with a focus on structures. He plans on continuing his education by pursuing a PhD with the eventual goal of conducting research and teaching as a Professor at a University. Outside of school, his hobbies include calisthenics, climbing, and pottery.

Project Title: Bistable Beam Buckling Robot

Mentors: Katia Bertoldi, Jochen Mueller

Funding: MRSEC

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