Three Nanosystems Engineering students earn REU spots

Three Nanosystems Engineering students at Louisiana Tech University have earned spots in the National Science Foundation REU (research experiences for undergraduates) program.

Senior Brandon Hubbs (Baton Rouge), sophomore Gabriel Peterman (Alexandria), and freshman Nicholas Jones (Monroe) have earned spots in the program at Louisiana Tech, the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and the University of Arkansas, respectively.

The three students will work in a variety of fields within nanosystems engineering and technology over the summer.

Hubbs will work with Dr. Adarsh Radadia, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering with the Louisiana Tech Institute for Micromanufacturing and Center for Biomedical Engineering and Rehabilitation Sciences, to devise a code to simulate the resistance between any two points on a 3D-printed part. Because the code will measure the resistance before printing, the resulting work will save researchers money as they develop parts.

Hubbs’ work is in the same area that he and his College of Engineering and Science Senior Projects Conference team worked on with Radadia over the last academic year. During the 2020-21 year, Hubbs and his team refined the annealing process designed by the previous Nanosystems Engineering Senior Projects team.

At the University of Nebraska, Peterman will research treating traumatic brain injury (TBI) with nanoparticles that act as super antioxidants under the mentorship of Dr. Forrest Kievit, a biomedical engineering professor at the university.

His Louisiana Tech research advisor, Dr. Yuri Voziyanov, Professor of Biological Sciences, says that he is impressed by Peterman’s work ethic and intellectual curiosity.

“Gabriel is an intelligent and highly motivated individual,” Voziyanov said. “Last fall, he took the initiative to join my laboratory to get experience in molecular biology techniques. Gabe demonstrated great interest in working in a laboratory environment. His performance in the lab as an undergraduate student is always exemplary. His lab experience includes, among other techniques, PCR [polymerase chain reaction], plasmid DNA digestion and ligation, the transformation of bacteria, and isolation of plasmid DNA from bacteria.”

“I enjoy nanosystems engineering,” Peterman said, “and I enjoy working with Dr. Voziyanov on biological and genetics research. In his lab, I see a lot of products that are designed based on nanotech, and from my perspective, editing DNA is working with a nanomolecule. I’m grateful for the proper lab experience I’ve gotten with Dr. Voziyanov and to have the opportunity to use chemistry, physics, and nanosystems labs at Tech, where I’ve learned manufacturing techniques. I’m looking forward to working with Dr. Kievit and getting the new experience.”

Jones will carry what he’s learned working with Dr. Shawn Chen, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Institute for Micromanufacturing at the University into his research with the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville.

“There’s a lot to be learned from working with a different team and professor. I hope to get a different perspective, more techniques to bring back to apply to what I’m doing. Plus, I look forward to the opportunity to expand my research and professional network, which will be helpful after I finish my undergraduate degree since I plan to go to graduate school.”

Chen says that she expects Jones will do excellent research during his REU.

“Nicholas is working in our group on atomistic simulations of battery materials. He is a detail-oriented problem solver; even as a freshman, he is highly motivated in doing research and has shown exceptional leadership skills.”

The NSF REU program provides undergraduate students with the opportunities to expand their research experiences outside of their home universities, providing participants with exposure to new ideas and methods for research.