Summer of valuable undergrad research wraps up in CBE BioMaP

BioMaP student group photo
The BioMaP REU students share a final moment together at the program’s conclusion with a poster session and reception.

A summer of expanded horizons – personally and scientifically – has concluded for ten undergraduate researchers in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE).

The Biological Materials and Processes Research Experience for Undergraduates (BioMaP REU) program returned to Iowa State this summer after a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

Student Derrick Sanders working in lab
Program participant Derrick Sanders is shown in the laboratory setting, a common sight during the summer for the BioMap students.

The experience provides mentored research for students who are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in chemical engineering or a related curriculum. Each student is paired with one ISU CBE faculty member, along with a designated graduate student. It’s coordinated by CBE faculty members Monica Lamm and Ian Schneider. Iowa State chemical engineering graduate student Alma Vela Ramirez served as the program’s overall graduate student mentor.

The students also interact with other department graduate students and post-doctoral researchers, and participate in seminars, meetings, professional development workshops and social events.

This year’s participants, their research projects and their faculty mentors were:

  • Walid Abuhashim, The University of Akron: Polymer Properties That Selectively Target Tumor Associated Macrophages, Katie Bratlie
  • Nareen Anwar, The University of Texas at Dallas: Resonant Biosensors for Enzyme Activity, Protein Binding, and Ion Detection, Nigel Reuel
  • Maple Chen, Cornell University: Probiotic Engineering, Thomas Mansell
  • Ryan Godin, Cleveland State University: Understanding the Relation Between Aptamer Structure and Function for Sensors and Synthetic Biology, Monica Lamm
  • Liam Herbst, Iowa State University: Lignin-Based Engineering Thermoplastics, Eric Cochran
  • Kendra Kreienbrink, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse: The Artificial Pancreas Project, Derrick Rollins
  • Grace Matassa, The College of New Jersey: Immunomodulatory Nanovaccines Against Infectious Diseases, Balaji Narasimhan
  • Tyler Price, University of Tulsa: Controlling Structure and Mechanical Properties to Understand and Guide Cell Migration, Ian Schneider
  • Megan Raszler, Dordt University: Contribution of Membrane Proteins to Microbial Robustness, Laura Jarboe
  • Derrick Sanders, University of Maryland, College Park: Hyperspectral Imaging of DNA and Protein-Linked Metal Nanoparticles, Andrew Hillier

Comments about the program included:

Maple Chen displays research poster
BioMap participant Maple Chen discusses her research at the summer-ending poster session.

“This experience will definitely help me be more competitive in graduate school searching.”

“The collaboration and input from graduate students involved has been very important.”

“The idea generation involved has really motivated me to continue expanding my research work.”

The students presented and discussed their summer’s efforts in a poster session before enjoying a send-off reception.

The program is supported by the National Science Foundation. Information about the 2022 BioMaP REU program will be available in late 2021.