Grant provides 10 students unique research experience during Summer 2020
By Abe Danaher | January 29, 2020
Biomedical Engineering Program Director Melissa Moss, along with co-PI’s Tarek Shazly and Homayoun Valafar, was awarded a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) grant by the National Science Foundation. Through this grant, 10 undergraduate students from universities across the country will come to the University of South Carolina College of Engineering and Computing this summer and participate in a unique research experience that will prepare them for a future career in research.
Of the 10 selected students, five will come from universities or colleges that do not offer graduate programs – offering these students a research experience they could never receive at their current institution. The 10 accepted students will be split among five biomedical engineering research projects – ranging from developing nanoparticle therapeutics to designing injectable biomaterials for cardiac repair – with each project having a computational and experimental research group. The two groups will work hand-in-hand throughout the course of the 10-week program, creating a collaborative community and a diverse learning experience.
“For the students, learning to communicate with somebody that’s not doing what you’re doing, and maybe doesn’t understand the capabilities of your systems, will be extremely beneficial for them as they continue forward in their research career,” Moss says.
Students will also attend workshops hosted by the UofSC Office of the Vice President for Research. These workshops will offer them necessary information and support as they consider graduate school, covering topics such as writing effective application letters and selecting the right graduate school. Inside the students’ assigned lab, they will also be paired with a UofSC graduate student mentor who can provide personal advice and guidance.
Moss hopes that the program provides students the research experience necessary to be accepted into graduate school and the resources the students need if they choose to apply. But, more than anything, she hopes it gets them excited about a career in research.
“No research is done in a vacuum,” she says. “So simply learning about how to work in that collaborative environment is important. They will develop that mindset and think about, ‘how can other researchers facilitate what I am doing? How can I leverage the expertise that other people have?’”