Six students at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) were cited for doing superior research projects -- projects that could one day lead to new technologies in fields such as biomedical engineering and cancer research.
The students were honored during the Provost’s Student Research Showcase, held April 12 at NJIT. A total of 45 NJIT students illustrated their research with poster presentations and discussions. Panels of judges, comprised of NJIT professors and members of NJIT’s Advisory Board, listened to the presentations and interviewed the students. The judges selected the six best student projects-- three undergraduate and three graduate-level projects.
The first-place winner in the undergraduate category was Camila Modenese, of Elizabeth, a junior majoring in chemical engineering. Modenese studies non-thermal plasma, such as that released in a corona discharge. Such plasma has been considered for use in cleaning gases contaminated with compounds.
The second-place winner, Hua Yang, of Wall Township, is a senior majoring in chemical engineering. Yang researches polymer films and polymerization, which are involved in the manufacture of polymer membranes and films.
The third-place winner, Rina Shah, of Union City, a senior majoring in biomedical engineering, is developing a technique that could be used for the early detection of metastatic cancer cells. Shah did the research project while working as a medical research assistant in the department of pathology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. Often after the surgical removal of a tumor, cancer cells still circulate through the patient’s body, in both the circulatory system and the lymph nodes. The circulating cancer cells can spread and attach to another interior part of the body, causing metastatic cancer. Shah worked on developing a method to analyze proteins found on the cell membranes of cancer cells; the proteins are different from those found on normal cells. By locating the cells within the peripheral blood of patients, her method could lead to an early detection of metastatic cancer cells.
The first-place winner at the graduate level was Naruemon Suwattananont, of Harrison, a doctoral student in materials science and engineering. Her research involves nanotechnology and coatings.
Aysegul Ergin, of Kearny, a doctoral student in biomedical engineering, won second place. Ergin is designing an optical glucometer that could radically improve the way diabetics manage their glucose levels. The device -- mounted on a pair of eyeglass frames -- will use light waves to measure glucose levels in the fluid of a patient’s eye. The device will be safer, less painful and easier to use than the methods now used by diabetics to measure and manage their blood-sugar levels. The optical glucometer will ultimately help prevent blindness and other severe complications of diabetes. Ergin’s research is supported by the New Jersey Vision Technology Center, the Pfeiffer Research Foundation, the New Jersey Commission for Science and Technology and the Hoffman Foundation.
Chang Liu, of Kearny, a doctoral student in solar physics, took third-place for his research into the large-scale magnetic fields of flares and coronal mass ejections.
To participate in this research day, the students had to first meet rigorous requirements. Their research had to be previously presented at technical conferences or meetings. Each student was nominated by a professor and their research reviewed by an academic committee. Only the top 45 student researchers were selected. The students’ research spans an array of fields: biomedical and pharmaceutical engineering; telecommunications and signal processing as well as solar research and nanoparticles.