MNT-CURN Research Program

Micro Nano Technology Collaborative Undergraduate Research Network (MNT-CURN)

Gain hands-on research experience and build nanotechnology technical education skills through the MNT-CURN undergraduate research program.

MNT-CURN logo micro nano students education opportunities

MNT-CURN is a unique undergraduate research program for students in 2-year technical education programs that starts with academic-year online meetings and culminates with a summer capstone research experience. In this program, students from across the nation will have the opportunity to learn from and work with faculty at community colleges, faculty at research universities and representatives from industry partners. MNT-CURN research students receive a generous stipend for satisfactory participation in the program: $500 in the Fall, $500 in the Spring, and $2000 in the Summer.

Program Highlights

During the Academic Year 

  • Participate in weekly online meetings with students and faculty from across the country
  • Learn about cutting-edge research being done in micro and nano technologies
  • Learn about specific research opportunities available to MNT-CURN students
  • Learn how to apply for research opportunities
  • Get coaching on preparing your resume and getting letters of recommendation
  • Build your academic and professional network
  • Participate in skill-building workshops
  • Build your MNT Folio e-portfolio demonstrating your skills and abilities
  • $500 fall stipend and $500 spring stipend

During the Summer

  • Participate in a research project  
    • In person at your community college
    • In person at a near-by university
    • In person at a distant university (involves travel)
    • Virtual online research with 4-year universities are also available
  • Learn new research skills
  • Travel or stay local
  • Opportunities range from 1 week to 11 weeks
  • Optional: Prepare a research poster, presentation, or paper
  • $2000 summer stipend is in addition to any stipend provided by the research opportunity.

Apply to MNT-CURN

The MNT-CURN program is open to students currently enrolled in a technical education program or class at a community college in the U.S. or a U.S. Territory. Applicants must be either US citizens or hold Permanent Resident status and must have a US Social Security Number or TIN to receive a stipend.

MNT-CURN welcomes applications from traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM. We encourage women and members of the Black, Latine, and Native American communities to apply for this opportunity.

The MNT-CURN student application for the 2023-24 program is now available:

2023-24 MNT-CURN Program

If you have questions about the program, please contact: janet@micronanoeducation.org


Click to download the sharable PDF.

Meet the Students

Student Participants of MNT-CURN Cohort 3

Abdi Abdikarim

Abdikarim Abdi

Name: Abdikarim Abdi

I love carbon and anything that has to do with graphene, creating composites would be my dream research, also I’m doing a personal passionate project that has to do with nano, tell me if you want to know more about it

Adam Rush

Adam Rush

Hello, my name is Adam Rush. I am a nontraditional student attending Ivytech Community College in Lafayette Indiana and I am majoring in Mechanical Engineering Technology. My goal is to drive the future evolution of our Navy. Whether that is through improving ships stealth features for survivability or improving their utility use I want to have a hands-on part. Through MNT-CURN I am looking forward to improving my ability to approach and solve the complex problems that lay before us.

Andres Miranda

Andres Miranda

I am Andres Miranda, an undergraduate student studying Mechanical Engineering Technologies at Ivy Tech Community College. I’m interested in automotive design and manufacturing. Growing up, I've been interested in the challenging puzzles engineers were faced with. By becoming involved with research regarding micro and nano technologies, it’ll provide an opportunity to experience my first internship.

Andrew Nguyen

Andrew Nguyen

Andrew Nguyen is a third-year neuroscience major currently participating in the biotechnology program at Los Angeles Pierce College. With his experience in protein biomanufacturing and verification techniques, he hopes to leverage his biotechnology background to eventually transfer and work in a neurobiology lab studying the structural biology and physiology of neuronal protein interactions in neurodegenerative diseases.
Anisah Gibbs

Anisah Gibbs

Hi, my name is Anisah Gibbs and I am a Biology major at CCP. My interest specifically include STEM cell research as well as neurology. I am also interested in starting a career in tech, and I am excited to be involved in a program that merges both of my interests. My hobbies include reading, as well as powerlifting, and hiking; overall maintaining an active lifestyle. My favorite thing to do when I am not working or in class is traveling with Thailand being next in December.

Anton McFadden

Anton McFadden

Hello! My name is Anton McFadden. I am a recent graduate of the Community College of Philadelphia, obtaining an associate’s degree in cellular and molecular biology and am currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in cellular and molecular biology and liberal arts. I want to partake in the field of cancer biology, conducting research at a biotech after receiving my Ph.D.

Benjamin Suarez

Benjamin Suarez

My name is Benny and I am a Digital Video Production major at Community College of Philadelphia. I am curious to learn what nanotech is all about as well as to expand my knowledge on anything I can use later in life. My goal in life is to use what I feel passionate about in order to create positive change in today's society. I want to be able to provide support to anyone struggling with mental health issues. With nanotech research, I believe I will be able to use these skills to achieve my goals.

Bryan Lu

Bryan Lu

Hello everyone! My name is Bryan Lu. I am currently a second-year college student at De Anza College. I also attend classes at Foothill College. My major is Electrical Engineering, and I am taking a technical education class. Despite not knowing what I would like to do research on, I have an interest in technology and learning more in this field. I look forward to working with new people and learning more about this program

Bryan Pintado

Bryan Pintado

I am currently enrolled in the Computer Science program at Mercer County Community College, where I am pursuing my passion for technology and programming. My career aspiration is to become a software engineer, a path I am diligently pursuing. Alongside my software development interests, I maintain a keen curiosity for the micro-nano technology field. I am eager to explore this specialized area within the technology industry to assess its impact on the world of technology.

Carol Watkins

Carol Watkins

Carol is a community college student currently studying Biotech in the ASPIRE program at Los Angeles Pierce College. Carol also has a side passion for marine biology, she hopes that one day, she can apply biotechnology to marine science. She also loves working in the lab, trying new things, and meeting new people.

Clivia Nguyen

Clivia Nguyen

Clivia Nguyen is current a student at De Anza College in Cupertino, California studying computer science, mathematics, and psychology. Currently, she is involved in programs such as NASA L'SPACE NPWEE as principal investigator and SSG as a research mentee. In the future, she intends to continue her journey with research and proposal writing in areas such as nano technology, aerospace, and health technology.

Cody Lederman

Cody Lederman

Hello, my name is Cody Lederman. I am a current student attending Mercer County Community College and pursuing my associates degree in Computer Science. My interests include creating illustrations, exploring nature, and learning new concepts; and I would like to use this in my future professional and personal endeavors

Daniel Emdin

Daniel Emdin

Daniel Emdin is currently a member at Community College of Philadelphia. He likes playing the drums and piano during his free time, while also having the innate desire to explore the world and meet diverse amounts of people. He has no experience in the nanotechnological program and with a recommendation from a friend. Has the curiosity to explore and learn more about what MNT-CURN has to offer.

David Emdin

David Emdin

My name is Dave. I am a freshman at Community College of Philadelphia.

MNT-EC

Isaiah King

I am Isaiah King and I attend Community College of Philadelphia, studying Computer Information Systems while being in CME at school. My main interest in the program is to build my knowledge base in micro nanotechnology. I always had a fascination to understand how it works and the uses for it and joining this program I hope to gain more information about micro nanotechnology.

James Jones_Student Photo

James Jones

My name is James Jones, and I am a CIS major attending the Community College of Philadelphia. I love tech and working with hardware…

Jose Sierra

Jose Sierra

Hi, my name is Jose Sierra, and I am currently a student in the Mechanical Engineering Technology program at Ivy tech Community College. I plan to transfer to Purdue University and major in Mechanical Engineering Technology. I have not yet had any research experience, but I am especially interested in anything related to micro and nano technology, aerodynamics, artificial intelligence, and bioengineering.

Jun Han

Jun Han

My name is Jun Han, an aerospace engineering student at Highline College. My passion is to become an aerospace engineering investigator, ideally with the National Transportation Safety Board(NTSB). I'm particularly interested in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and their role in creating efficient aerospace sensors

Karyssa Valencia

Karyssa Valencia

Major: Biology

School: Community College of Philadelphia

Personal interests: ornithology, mycology, botany, marine biology (biology in general, can you tell?), reading (anything, essentially) Current Job: interpreter at clinic, outreach coordinator at nonprofit, remote assistant

Kateryna Melnychuk

Kateryna Melnychuk

My name is Kateryna. I'm studying Health Care Studies and Nursing at the Community College of Philadelphia. I'm interested in bio, microbio, biotech, biomed research.

Kathryn Mach

Kathryn Mach

I am a competent member in lab settings, interested in the microbiology aspect of the food safety sciences. I have taken a number of classes that relate to quality analytics, and love being able to collaborate with members of a team to find new approaches to ensuring the safety of a given item.

Kevin Ethridge_Student Photo

Kevin Ethridge

Pleased to meet you all! I'm Kevin D. Ethridge. Besides my work, I'm a huge people person, above all else I'm loyal and determined to make sure all the people who come to me and who I love are taken care of. I'm mailable and love sharing interests with movies and videogames. I also cook and bake! my favorite thing to make is cookies.

Kevin Jijon

Kevin-Jijon

Hello there, my name is Kevin Jijon. I'm a Mexican-American student at SMC who is currently enrolled as a computer science major. This would be my first ever experience with the micro nano technology field and I'm very excited.

Klever Suquilanda

Klever Suquilanda

My name is Klever Suquilanda. I am currently majoring in Computer Science at Mercer County Community College. I have a keen interest in software development, a passion rooted in my early fascination with computers. I am enthusiastic about furthering my skills and knowledge in computer-related endeavors within this program, especially those that fuel my creativity and technical prowess in software development.

Logan Peer

Logan Peer

My name is Logan Peer, I am enrolled at Finger Lakes Community College in their biotechnology program. I am interested in biological processes and more specifically molecular biology.

Mahan Pourfakhr

Mahan Pourfakhr

I'm Mahan and majoring in bio(medical) engineering. I work with the biotech lab in Los Angeles Pierce College and I work on studying CGQ and how it is comparable to traditional OD measurements. In my free time, I love solving math problems for fun, especially integrals.

Megan Rivera

Megan Rivera

Hello everyone! My name is Megan Rivera, and I'm a biochemistry major at Pasadena City College in California. I learned about micro nano technology during this past summer semester, and I was entranced by the idea of being able to manipulate matter at the micro/nano level for the benefit of our healthcare system. I'm incredibly excited to explore more of what this technology can mean to us moving forward.

Nathan Williams

Nathan Williams

Nathan Williams, I am currently a first semester student at Community College of Philadelphia. I'm a computer science major and I love my time here so far. I'm currently enrolled in the MNT-CURN Research Program. I've always been interested in technology, mainly from superhero movies, so hearing about this program seemed almost fictional. I've always wondered things like things like the process of making tech objects and giving a hand to create the future.

Odin Soderhielm Edwards_Student Photo

Odin Soderhielm Edwards

My name is Odin Soderhielm Edwards and I am interested in this program because it is a great introduction to research. I’m very interested in looking into the intersection between nanotechnology and healthcare!

Olga Kushnirovich

Olga Kushnirovich

Olga Kushnirovich is a psychobiology major, having completed her associates at Los Angeles Pierce College. She has experience with aneurysm flow analysis research where she modeled and compared the effects of different stents on aneurysm growth. Olga plans to expand her network and seek out experiences that will promote her pursuit of a career in medicine.

Rukia Adan

Rukia Adan

My name is Rukia Adan, a sophomore studying Electrical Engineering with an interest in medicine. I want to indulge myself in industries that bridge between Engineering and Medicine, micro nano technology is a great place to explore that interest!

Sharon Garcia

Sharon Garcia

Hi! My name is Sharon. I'm currently a second year at Los Angeles Pierce College pursuing a neuroscience major. I joined this program in hopes of expanding my research experience and my interests in nanotechnology.

Samantha Ryan

Samantha Ryan

My name is Samantha Ryan and I am a biology major at Community College of Philadelphia. This is my second year working on microbiology based research projects at CCP. I have a strong interest in learning as much as possible about different ways to advance my education and future career.

Tanai Littlejohn

Tanai Littlejohn

Major: Computer Information Systems

School: Community College of Philadelphia

Interests and Experiences: I enjoy STEM, psychology, history, culture, and Computer Networking.

Connection to Personal Interests or Passions: Science, information, culture, and technology. I would do STEM/engineering projects for fun in my spare time during the Covid-19 pandemic. Career Goals: Computer Specialist then later Network Administrator. My purpose is to help.

MNT-EC

Terrence Blocker Jr

I'm Terrence Blocker Jr, My major is Computer Information Systems and I'm currently in Community College of Philadelphia. I don't know exactly what aspect of computers I want to focus on but I just think Technology in general is cool. I currently work as a Sales Associate at Best Buy. I'm passionate and focused on most technology news.

Tim Brugarolas

Tim Brugarolas

Hi all, My name is Tim Brugarolas and I am an electrical engineering student at Pasadena City College. I am currently working on a telemetry system as part of Caltech's FSAE team and pursuing a certificate in Laser Technology. Due to this, I am interested in conducting research and learning more about the intersection between electronics and optics.

Yasmin Musa

Yasmin Musa

My name is Yasmin Musa I am a mechatronics student at Motlow College. I love engineering and learning new things. My hobbies are cooking and traveling. I look forward to learning about semiconductors microfabrication and engineering research.

Ye Thi

Ye Thi

I'm a Public Health Science/Dental Hygiene student at Foothill College, dedicated to improving community oral health. Besides my academic pursuits, I'm the Student Ambassador for the Mental Health and Wellness Center at Foothill College. I also hold leadership roles in the Foothill Medical and Dental Brigade Club and the Foothill International Students Club, and volunteer with the Santa Clara County Dental Society. My goal is to work as a community dental hygienist, focusing on preventions.

MNT-EC

Youyang Qin

Hey! I’m Youyang Qin, a College Now Student pursuing architecture and economics (complemented by Geographic Information Science and Technology [GIST] coursework) at Foothill College.

Meet the Mentors

As a research participant you will work alongside Faculty and Student mentors.

Student Mentors

aagam_headshot

Aagam Rajeev Shah

Aagam is a doctoral student studying Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he works with Dr. Sameh Tawfick and Dr. Elif Ertekin. He develops data-driven predictive models for graphene synthesis by chemical vapour deposition and laser powder bed fusion. He also works on using machine learning for segmentation of electron and optical microscopy images.

Sophia Barber

Sophia Barber

Sophia Barber is a Neurobiology major and CS minor at the University of California, San Diego. She spent her time at Pasadena City College co-leading the NanoBio mAB for Cancer Therapies project, the Analysis of Remote Research in COVID-19 project, and the Student Engagement and Statistical Analysis team while also tutoring Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. In 2021 she pursued an internship at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine where she worked with mice models to identify neurogenesis and neuroplasticity in α1A adrenergic receptors. Sophia then joined the Wu Lab at UCSD where she first studied chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathies and now tracks lysosomes and mitochondria across various disease models. She also collaborates with the Berns Lab at UCSD where she studies Wallerian degeneration upon laser ablation in dorsal root gangions.

Isiah-Ramos_Student-Mentor_Photo_12-15-22

Isiah Ramos

Isiah Ramos (he/him) is a graduate student in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign under Dr. Elif Ertekin. He previously earned his B.S. in Agricultural and Biological Engineering with a minor in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Illinois, as well as an associates in Engineering at Parkland Community College. Previous research experiences include but aren’t limited to; impact of influenza on remyelination of neurons, composing a review on graphene-lipid biosensors, and SEM masking for model training.

Justice robinson

Justice Robinson

Justice Robinson is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill pursuing a B.S. in Neuroscience with minors in Chemistry and Biology. She graduated with an Associate degree in Biology from Tulsa Community College in Tulsa, Oklahoma as an Honors Scholar and Barry Goldwater Scholarship recipient. She holds a current position as a Research Assistant with the Frohlich Lab at UNC School of Medicine where she assists in studying neural oscillations and psychiatric illnesses.

Paula Kirya_Student Mentor_ Photo_3-25-22

Paula Kirya

Paula Kirya is an undergraduate bioengineering student at UC San Diego. She transferred to UCSD in Fall 2020 from Pasadena City College. There under Dr. Ashcroft, she engaged in a research project studying the interdisciplinary applications of structural color in Morpho wing nanostructures to develop an educational module that can be incorporated into classrooms. Paula’s interest in biomimicry and nanotechnology prompted her to pursue a summer research internship at Penn State University in 2019, in which she aided in research developing a self-healing material from squid ring teeth proteins. Her previous research experiences led to her acceptance as an undergraduate representative at the 2021 Posters on the Hill Conference. Paula joined the Nanophotonics for Global Health lab at UCSD in August 2021 and is working on characterizing and quantifying the optical behavior of nanostructures and developing new applications of structural color in colorimetric metasurfaces to detect disease in biological tissue. 

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Kat Nykiel

Kat Nykiel is a graduate student working with Dr. Alejandro Strachan at Purdue University. Her research focuses on density-functional theory simulations to predict stability of atomically thin materials. Prior to Purdue, Kat completed a double major in Materials Engineering and Applied Physics in her undergraduate degree.

Faculty Mentors

Alejandro Strachan

Alejandro Strachan

Alejandro Strachan is a Professor of Materials Engineering at Purdue University, the Director of the MURI Center for Predictive Chemistry and Physics of Materials at Extreme Conditions (PCP@Xtreme) and the Deputy Director NSF’s Network for Computational Nanotechnology and nanoHUB. Before joining Purdue, he was a Staff Member in the Theoretical Division of Los Alamos National Laboratory and worked as a Postdoctoral Scholar and Scientist at Caltech. He received a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1999. Among other recognitions, Prof. Strachan was named a Purdue University Faculty Scholar (2012-2017), received the Early Career Faculty Fellow Award from TMS in 2009 and the Schuhmann Best Undergraduate Teacher Award from the School of Materials Engineering, Purdue University in 2007 and 2017. Prof. Strachan’s research focuses on the development of predictive atomistic and multiscale models to describe materials from first principles and their application to problems of technological importance. His group uses these tools to understand how materials work and seeks to translate this insight into the design of new materials combining simulation and experimental results with data science tools. Application areas of interest include: high-energy density and active materials, metallic alloys for high-temperature applications, materials and devices for nanoelectronics and energy, as well as polymers and their composites. His scholarly work also includes the development of cyber-infrastructure to make modeling and simulation pervasive in research and education.

Adarsh-Radadia_Faculty-Mentor-Photo_12-2-22

Adarsh Radadia

Adarsh Radadia Adarsh Radadia is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and Nanosystems Engineering at Louisiana Tech University and is also affiliated with the Institute for Micromanufacturing and the Center for Biomedical Engineering. He joined Louisiana Tech in 2011 and prior he worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He received a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois in 2009. Prof. Radadia’s research interests include surface characterization and modification of carbon nanomaterials, the microfabrication of chemical and biological sensors, 3D printing conductive nanocomposites, and wireless passive sensing. Undergraduate students in his lab learn to use experimental tools for photolithography, metal deposition, chemical vapor deposition, probe station, or scanning electron microscopy. Undergraduate students also learn to use complementary computational tools such as COMSOL Multiphysics to simulate device behavior.

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Aron Kamajaya

Aron Kamajaya is a faculty and the director of the ASPIRE Biotechnology Training Program at Los Angeles Pierce College, CA. Dr. Kamajaya began his non-traditional academic path at Pasadena City College (PCC). Upon completing Biotech certification at PCC, he transferred and completed 2 Bachelor's Degrees at UC Berkeley with honors and the highest distinction in both majors. He is also the recipient of the 2009 Jesse Rabinowitz Memorial Prize for junior research Biochemistry. He then moved back to Southern California to complete his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at the California Institute of Technology, working on membrane protein structure (Trp channels and Piezo Channels), under Dr. Douglas C. Rees. He is now leading the development of a Biotechnology training program and expanding research opportunities for community college students as a tenured faculty at Pierce College. His group currently focuses on industry-relevant projects, such as enzyme Biomanufacturing (Taq, Pfu, and others), formulation, and Nanobody Engineering. Dr. Kamajaya also provides mentorships to students in various academic research projects in biological sciences, including DNA barcoding and Tiny Earth. Dr. Kamajaya has involved community college students in productive research projects that have led to peer-reviewed publications (DOI:10.1016/j.str.2014.08.009, and DOI: 10.3389/fncel.2019.00499). Dr. Kamajaya is the faculty (Pierce College) representative to InnovATEBIO, MNT-EC, and BioMADE

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Atilla Ozgur Cakmak

Atilla Ozgur Cakmak got his PhD from Bilkent University, Turkey in 2012. He was a member of Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization (CNEU) from 2013 to 2021 where he taught various courses in the field of nanotechnology. Dr. Cakmak joined Grand Valley State University as an assistant professor of electrical engineering in 2021. Dr. Cakmak’s expertise and interest lie in the field of nanophotonics, solar cells, nanofabrication and nanocharacterization.

Cait Cramer

Cait Cramer

Cait Cramer is Engineering faculty at Highline College in Des Moines, Washington. Cait earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering for Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2012 and moved to Phoenix, AZ to work at Intel as a Process Engineer in Chemical Vapor Deposition & Quality Engineer in Defect Metrology. In 2014, she returned to school to complete a Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Washington. Her research involved roll-to-roll printing of flexible solar cells, screen printing of metallic inks for semi-transparent electrodes and electrode grid optimization. For the last five years, Cait has taught Mechanical Engineering Technology in Indiana where she managed several research projects related to microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) including MEMS packaging design and prototyping, strain gauge printing and optimization, and the development of hands-on kits for data acquisition of MEMS sensors. Having now returned to Washington state, she looks forward to bringing Micro and Nanotechnology research into her Engineering classroom.

Dominic Salerno_Mentor Photo_3-4-22

Dominic M. Salerno

Dr. Dominic M. Salerno is a tenured assistant professor of biology at The Community College of Philadelphia. He also serves on the Biotechnology committee, which seeks to develop further training and research capabilities at CCP. He continues to pursue a program of research and training through grant funding and collaborations. Through a recent Department of Defense Grant, CCP Foundation Grant, and a Department of Education RISE (Raising Interest in Science and Engineering) Grant, he developed a research training course which aims to retain students in STEM fields of study as well as investigate the effectiveness of using a research based laboratory courses. Dr. Salerno has served as the academic coordinator of The Biomedical Technician Training Program since 2018. He serves as academic coordinator, mentor, and also trains students directly in the laboratory. He currently is (2021) serving as Co-PI on an NSF grant entitled “Expansion, Curriculum Evolution, and Enhancement of Biotechnician Training” which seeks to improve this already outstanding program.

Research Activities, Interest and Experiences:

Research Activities, Interest, and Experiences: The role of P-TEFb on HIV replication and T Cell activation, antigen presentation using a mouse model of smallpox, innate immunity and inflammation in a mouse model of septic shock. Currently interested in studying the microbial composition of surface waters in Philadelphia county. Connection to Personal Interests or Passions: Interested in training the next generation of scientists and building undergraduate research programs. Loves to cook, garden, ski, snorkel and travel.

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James Hewlett

Professor Hewlett currently serves as the Director of Biotechnology/ Biomanufacturing at Finger Lakes Community College in Canandaigua, NY. In addition to teaching, he serves as the Executive Director/Principal Investigator for the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI) and a Co-PI on the InnovATE BIO National Center for Biotechnology Education.

Professor Hewlett serves on the Editorial Board of the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science and the Editorial Board of The American Society of Cell Biology's CBE Life Sciences Education journal. He serves on the Advisory Board for Rochester Institute of Technology's Center for Bioscience Education and Technology (CBET) and is a member of the Steering Committee for the University of Georgia's RCN-UBE Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences Network (CUREnet).

The current research in Professor Hewlett's lab focuses on optimizing the production of fungal exopolysaccharides using a submerged fermentation of fungal mycelium in stirred-tank reactors.

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James Glazier

Dr. Glazier is Professor of Intelligent Systems Engineering and Director of the Biocomplexity Institute at Indiana University, Bloomington. He received his B.A. in Physics and Mathematics from Harvard University in 1983 and his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Chicago in 1989. His research focuses on applying mechanistic, multiscale virtual-tissue computer simulations to understand embryonic development, homeostasis, toxicity and disease and to develop and optimize disease treatments. He leads the collaborative development of the open-source CompuCell3D (www.compucell3d.org) framework for the construction of mechanistic biomedical digital twins and actively disseminates these methods, He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society and the Institute of Physics (London) and has served as Chair of the Division of Biological Physics of the American Physical Society. He co-leads the IMAG/MSM Working Group on Multiscale Modeling and Viral Pandemics and is active in the development of infrastructure and community for the creation of biomedical digital twins.
Elif Ertekin

Elif Ertekin

Elif Ertekin is Associate Professor, Andersen Faculty Scholar, and Director of Mechanics Programs at the Mechanical Science and Engineering Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She focuses on developing a microscopic understanding of atomic and electronic scale processes, with applications areas in thermal transport, energy conversion, and defect chemistry. She received her PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from UC Berkeley, and carried out post-doctoral work at the Berkeley Nanoscience and Nanoengineering Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before moving to Illinois. She has received the NSF CAREER Award, the TMS Early Career Faculty Fellow Award, the Emerging Leader Award from the Society of Women Engineers, the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research, and the Rose Award for Teaching Excellence at Illinois. She currently serves as the Director of the Network for Computational Nanotechnology Nanomanufacturing Node and Co-Director of the HDR Institute for Data-Driven Dynamical Design.

Neda Habibi

Neda Habibi

Dr. Neda Habibi has a PhD in Nano-biotechnology specializing in Bionanomaterials and drug delivery. She received her PhD degree from the University of Genova, Italy in 2012. From 2012 to 2016, she was Assistant Professor with Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials Institute at Isfahan University of Technology, Iran.

She is an alumna of the Division of Engineering in Medicine and Renal Division of Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard University where she was visiting Assistant Professor at Dr. Shafiee’s Laboratory. From 2016, she has been a research assistance professor with Biomedical Engineering Department at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). Prior to join UNT, she was coordinating a Nano-engineering program at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio.

Her works have been published in prestigious journals such as NanoToday, Advanced Functional Materials, Journal of Biomedical Materials Research and Collides and Surfaces. As a program coordinator, she has been involved in couple of grants from National Science Foundation NSF as both PI and Co-PI with more than $9.3M in total, towards variety of different academic activities such as interacting with graduate and undergraduate students, establishing her research area, collaboration with other faculty members as well as industrial partners. 

Tanya Faltens

Tanya Faltens

Dr. Tanya Faltens is the Assistant Director of Community Engagement for the Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN), which created the open access nanoHUB.org cyber-platform. Her technical background is in Materials Science and Engineering (Ph.D. UCLA 2002). Dr. Faltens taught materials engineering courses and mentored undergraduate research students while at Cal Poly Pomona. Now at Purdue University, she runs the NCN Undergraduate Research Experience (NCN-URE) Program, and has worked with over 130 undergraduate research students.

TJ Sego

T.J. Sego

Dr. Sego’s overarching research seeks to build and enable informative and predictive mathematical and computational models and simulations of complex biological systems on the basis of individual, dynamic, interacting cells, and in the context of whole organisms in homeostatic and diseased states. Dr. Sego’s basic research interests focus on the coordination and action of the human immune response to viral infections, especially in the context of spatially resolved, dynamic multicellular systems and lung epithelial and endothelial tissues. Dr. Sego uses computational models to elucidate the mechanisms of tissue-, organ- and organism-level host-pathogen interactions on the basis of individual, autonomous, interacting, spatially located cells, and likewise to describe the properties, processes and interactions of those cells on the basis of dynamic, interacting subcellular states. Dr. Sego leverages his multidisciplinary background to develop computational modeling and simulation technologies and infrastructure targeting multicellular, agent-based and multiscale modeling, interactive and high-performance simulation, and collaborative and community-driven research projects.

Yu Chung Chang

Yu Chung Chang

Yu-Chung Chang-Hou obtained her Ph.D. in mathematics from UCLA. During her postdoc at New York University and at Caltech, she co-developed a level-set method for computing multi-phase flows, which has generated a lot of excitements in the computational fluid dynamics community. Besides teaching mathematics at Pasadena City College, she has devoted herself to developing effective teaching and learning strategies. Encouraging students to showcase their STEM learning with real life applications, she has initiated and led the annual Pi Day Student Conferences at Pasadena City College since 2013. She has participated in the Undergraduate Research program at PCC in STEM fields since 2020. Currently, she is participating in a blockchain research project in molecular dynamics led by Professor Strachan at Purdue University, and the MATE ROV team of Pasadena City College.

Previous Cohorts

Meet the participants of past MNT-CURN cohorts and see the final research projects.