Congratulations to our most recent National Science Foundation (NSF) Fellowship recipients. This year’s class includes graduate students Mario Gutierrez, a first-year student from the Lola Eniola-Adefeso’s group, Tejas Navaratna, a second-year student from Greg Thurber’s group; and Samuel Leguizamon, a first-year student from Tim Scott’s group. I
Two students who received their BSE degrees from the department in April 2016 were also named as NSF Fellows, Alex Golinski and Jeffrey Noble. Alex will attend graduate school at University of Minnesota and Jeffrey will be going to Georgia Institute of Technology. Both students worked in Lola Eniola-Adefeso’s lab as undergraduates.
Mario Gutierrez, a first year PhD student from Powell, WY, received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Michigan State University. Mario is a first generation Mexican American. His research is focused on better understanding the role of geometry, deformability, and concentration on cellular dynamics in blood flow. Specifically, he is interested in understanding how red blood cell abnormalities impact blood flow phenomena. Mario is also proactively involved with the national organization Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Mario’s long-term goal is to pursue an entrepreneurial career.
Tejas Navaratna, a second year PhD student, obtained a BS in chemical engineering and physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His interests include combining computational and experimental approaches for drug target identification and peptide drug development. He is currently developing methods to engineer small, alpha helix peptides for therapeutic and imaging applications. His research has the potential to significantly expand the number of drug targets pursued clinically for the treatment of various cancers, metabolic disorders, among other diseases. After graduation, Tejas intends to enter academia.
Samuel Leguizamon is a first year PhD student from Aiken, South Carolina. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Clemson University. His research focuses on the use of dynamic covalent chemistry to develop antifragile interfaces. The goal is to create adhesions that undergo an increase in bonding strength in response to chemical, mechanical, or thermal insult. After graduate school, Samuel plans to pursue a career in academia.
In addition, three other doctoral students received honorable mention this year, Kathryn Bumila (Nagrath group), Shannon Moran (Glotzer group), and Andrew Zak (Wen group), all first-year students. David Carruthers, a master’s student in the Lin group, also received honorable mention honors.