Feature Stories

Recent Grad To Research the HIV Epidemic at a U.S. Lab

Namrata Patel, who excelled at NJIT, will spend her summer at Los Alamos National Lab, researching the HIV epidemic.

While a student at NJIT, Namrata Patel had two majors -- biomedical engineering and applied math.  Most students struggle to excel in one major. She excelled in both.

Namrata graduated recently with a 3.99 GPA. She was named Outstanding Senior by both the Biomedical Engineering Department and the Math Department. She had a host scholarships – so many that she lost count – and was inducted into three honor societies.  She also belonged to campus clubs and did community service.   

Research Projects

A scholar in the Dorman Honors College, Namrata also did four major research projects. For one, she studied the electro-chemical propulsion of nano-motors. For another, her senior project, she analyzed the behavior of liquid crystals, widely used in industry.  She also researched the heart-rate variability of cardiac patients, and did yet a fourth study on cilia, fibers in the human body that defend it against inhaled pollutants, allergens and viruses. 

Interning at a National Lab

Her research was so good that it caught the attention of the U.S. government. This summer, she’ll do a government-sponsored internship at Los Alamos National Lab, in New Mexico. The lab, famous for developing the nuclear bomb in the early 1940s, conducts research in many scientific fields. The internship she received is awarded only to the top science students in the nation, of which Namrata is one. At the lab, she’ll assist a prominent biologist who is using genetics to trace the spread of the HIV epidemic.

Grad School and After

In the fall, Namrata will begin a Ph.D. in applied math at Northwestern University. She was accepted at Cornell, but turned it down. Northwestern focuses more on applied math, she says, which is her main interest, along with fluid dynamics. After graduate school, she plans to work as a research professor at a university, where she hopes to advance the fields of applied math and fluid dynamics.

(By Robert Florida)