By Peter Murphy
Published September 12, 2022
For the first time in three years, students and faculty members were able to come together, and work in-person, on some of society’s most pressing issues as part of the summer LSAMP research program.
Nine students participated in the 10-week National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded program, which included hands-on research with a faculty advisor, a wide variety of professional development seminars, and a research symposium, where they were able to showcase their innovative work with UB faculty.
The summer program is affiliated with SUNY’s Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), a system-wide initiative aimed at diversifying the STEM workforce by significantly increasing the numbers of students successfully completing high quality degree programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Students gain practical experience in their discipline, a sense of belonging in their major and form supportive relationships with like-minded peers, according to Letitia Thomas, program director and assistant dean for diversity in the Office of STEM Diversity Programs in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
According to Thomas, having the students and faculty members work together in the space added more benefits for all participants.
“We were grateful to be back in person after having held the LSAMP program online in 2020 and 2021. The students did amazing work under those circumstances, but the opportunity to have in-person interactions with faculty and our staff contributed to the sense of camaraderie and purpose as well as that sense of belonging,” Thomas says. “Our lab meetings were especially successful. Students held in-depth conversations around their research and helped each other with ideas and solutions. We were also able to travel to a conference in New Orleans, where the students connected with fellow LSAMP researchers from across the country and presented their projects.”
LSAMP students worked with faculty members across four different departments within the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences: Chemical and Biological Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
Students had an opportunity to work with faculty members within some of the researchers’ signature areas, which included vaccine development, CO2 purification, virtual reality-based rehabilitation and more.
“It is important for student to understand the research process,” says Thomas. “For example, we want students to be able to identify a suitable research question, formulate a hypothesis, and design and/or execute a suitable experimental procedure, obtain data, and properly analyze it.”
Allanis Persaud, a senior in bioengineering and biomedical engineering, worked with Jonathan Lovell, SUNY Empire Innovation Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, on a project “Enhancing the Binding Capabilities of Protein-Liposome Nanoparticles.”
“I’m observing the optimal binding conditions of various virus proteins to a biocompatible material like liposomes to create nanoparticles for vaccine delivery systems,” Persaud says.
In addition to research skills, students were also able to practice problem-solving, critical and analytical thinking and time management.
“The summer program gives undergraduates research experiences that prepares them for graduate school or employment in industry or the public sector,” Thomas says. “It also helps develop students’ ‘essential’ skills, such as leadership, communication and presentation.”
Several of the student participants were asked to continue working on the research with faculty members during the semester.
Participants, their advisors and research project titles are listed below:
Students in the Louis Stoke Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) talk with faculty members and practicing scientists and engineers during the Professional Skills Workshop.
Letitia Thomas (right), LSAMP project director, and SEAS assistant dean for diversity in the Office of STEM Diversity Programs, gives opening remarks ahead of student presentations.
Bubacar Ndoye (left), a biomedical engineering student, examines a specimen with Research Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Debanjan Sarkar. Ndoye’s research examines bone tissue regeneration with colloidal gel tissue scaffolds.
Christine Shiyam (right), a computer engineering major works with mechanical and aerospace engineering professor John Crassidis (center), on the observation of cosmic rays and atmospheric data.
Brandon Manley (right) discusses his research on optimizing physical properties in dental resin. Manley worked with Chong Cheng, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.
Jocelin Mendez (left) and Shane Varner (right), both chemical engineering students, examine the server used for their research at UB’s Center for Computational Research.
Varner and Mendez examine their work on the structural properties of viral protein H and molecular dynamic simulations of GM3 in the plasma membrane with their mentor Viviana Monje-Galvan, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering.
Allanis Persaud (right), a biomedical engineering student, observes the optimal binding conditions of various virus proteins to liposomes, to create nanoparticles for vaccine delivery. Her mentor, Jonathan Lovell, SUNY Empire Innovation Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, examines the process.
Matthew Haynes, a computer science major, presents his findings on the project How Decentralized is DeFi? This summer, Haynes worked with Bina Ramamurthy, professor of teaching in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.
Ruth Bello, a chemical engineering major, and Eleni Kyriakidou, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, investigate CO2 purification as vital for CO2 utilization.
Hannah Sheffield, a biomedical engineering student, discusses her research and 3D printed patient-specific models she and her mentor Ciprian Ionita, an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, developed for hemorrhages and intracranial atherosclerosis disease.
Jocelin Mendez discusses her research, Structural Properties of Viral Protein H in Bacteriophage 𝜙X174, during the SEAS Research Symposium.
Allanis Persaud discusses the findings and observations of her research: Enhancing the Binding Capabilities of Protein-Liposome Nanoparticles.
Group photo of all the students who participated in the National Science Foundation-funded LSAMP and Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) summer programs in front of Davis Hall.
The 2022 Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) summer research program was held in-person for the first time in three years. Students throughout different departments in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences worked with faculty advisors on research ranging from vaccine development to CO2 purification and virtual reality-based rehabilitation.
Published September 12, 2022