David and Lorraine Freed Undergraduate Research Symposium 2011
First Prize for his research "Increasing the Potential of Bioactive Glass as a Scaffold for Bone Tissue Engineering"
"I worked in the biomaterials laboratory of Dr. Sabrina Jedlicka for two years. We analyzed the differentiation of bone cells on a peptide-supplemented bioactive glass material. The engineering side of our work was the synthesis of this bioactive glass to the correct chemical and mechanical composition that could best suit the growth of bone cells. The molecular biology side was thinking about the interactions that occur between a cell and a surface when a cell is introduced onto a material, and what protein interactions we could take advantage of to enhance cell growth and differentiation."
Final Project: "Dr. Jedlicka and I engineered a silica-based bioactive glass material with synthetic peptides and analyzed the growth and differentiation of pre-osteoblast (bone) cells on its surface, both in 2-D and 3-D scaffold models. The peptides were derived from the active regions of two proteins called fibronectin and bone morphogenic protein-2, which are known to promote adhesion and differentiation of bone cells, respectively. We quantified the degree of differentiation by measuring levels of protein markers with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) experiments, and we were able to show that the peptide-supplemented materials enhanced the differentiation of our cells compared to the same material with no peptides." (Published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry, 1st prize 2011 David and Lorraine Freed Engineering Research Symposium)
Graduate School: M.D., University of Virginia School of Medicine, 2015
Currently: Starting residency in neurosurgery at the Barrow Neurologic Institute in Pheonix, AZ.
Selling It: "Understanding the concept of searching for relatively simple solutions to complex problems is a highly desirable skill in any career path."