Several Mercer students spent their summer breaks at prestigious labs across the world, completing research relevant to their undergraduate majors. Here’s what a few of them worked on.
Adam Corn completed research at North Carolina State University. He worked in Melissa Pasquinelli’s Laboratory of Multistage Modeling from the Nanoscale.
This lab focuses on using “simulation techniques ‘from the nanoscale’ to optimize the properties of soft materials, starting from the molecular building blocks and working toward the microscopic and macroscopic scales,” according to their website.
Corn’s work involved polyurethanes. These “are a versatile family of polymers used for a variety of purposes,” according to his research abstract. “The goal of our work is to predict how a carbon nanotube filler can affect the impact resistance and mechanical properties of polyutheranes.”
He is currently working on getting his work published in a scientific journal.
Perry Hicks spent her summer participating with the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates at the University of Rochester in New York. Hicks worked under Lisa DeLouise in the Medical Center.
Her research involved tracking silica nanoparticles (SiNPs) and finding out which cells they interact with to alleviate allergic responses to urushiol, a hapten found in poison ivy oil.
“This research demonstrates the potential to design nanoparticle-based lotions that could prevent redness and irritation from poison ivy and other skin allergens,” Hicks wrote in a Facebook message. “Maybe one day, I’ll be able to say I contributed to the invention of allergen-proof lotions!”
After graduating Mercer, Hicks hopes to pursue a PhD in chemistry.
Megan Hinkle completed research at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor as part of their Chemistry REU program. She worked in the University’s Life Sciences Institute in the lab of Anna Mapp on chemical biology research.
“I was able to learn a lot of new techniques while I was there,” Hinkle wrote in a Facebook message. “I had the opportunity to work with instruments that we don’t have at Mercer.”
Hinkle’s work focused on protein-protein interactions involved in gene transcription. She said working at the University of Michigan’s lab has prepared her for grad school.
Through the Amgen Scholars program, Jessica Resnick worked this summer at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research centered on the host response to the infection from H5N1, more commonly known as the ‘bird flu’.
“The lab I was working with had identified a fairly novel protein called IFI35 whose expression was correlated with susceptibility to infection and severity of disease,” wrote Resnick in a Facebook message.
The lab she worked with focused on figuring out how IFI35 modulates the inflammatory response that comes after being infected with H5N1.
Zac Rice was given a grant by the DAAD RISE, which stands for Research Internships in Science and Engineering, to work and live for 10 weeks in Ingolstadt, Germany.
“In particular, I collaborated with my supervisor on modelling polymeric solar thermal flat plate collectors using MATLAB and Simulink software,” Rice wrote in a Facebook message.
According to the software’s website, “MATLAB combines a desktop environment tuned for iterative analysis and design processes with a programming language that expresses matrix and array mathematics directly.”
Rice’s work was a part of the Institute for New Energy Systems at Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt. At Mercer, he is currently a senior engineering student.
The research completed by Mercer students over the summer has prepared them for graduate school and provided resources to help with their current studies.