Research Experience for Undergraduates | 2011 REU Fellows

Why CEINT? From our 2011 REU students and interns:

Group Picture

Kalynn Chambers and Demi Davis

Kalynn Chambers and Demi Davis

Brook Teffera

Brook Teffera

Tyler Hobson

Tyler Hobson

Christian Joseph

Christian Joseph

How are we doing?

Surveys online this year include

How are we doing year 1?

Most beneficial aspects of CENT placements

Tracking Silver Nanoparticles Aging in the Environment

Silver Nanoparticle Impact on Biofilm Viability: Effect of Adborbed Natural Organic Matter

Predicting Attachment of Nanoparticles Coated with Organic Macromolecules

Biodegradation of Nanoparticle Surface Coatings

Adsorbed Polymer and NOM Limits Adhesion and Toxicity of Nano Scale Zero-Valent Iron (NZVI) to E. coli.

Coated Fe(0) Nanoparticles Shifts Microbial Communities and Increases Biomass

Nanoparticles Grow vi Condensation of Sulfate and Organics

Properties and Environmental Fate of Airborne Particles Released During Nanomaterial Production, Use, and Disposal

Size-dependent Uptake of Gold Nanoparticles by a Freshwater Clam

AG NP Embryotoxicity across a Salinity Gradient - The Role of Coatings and Dissolved Silver

Trophic Transfer and Bioaccumulationof Gold NPs

Intracellular uptake, intergenerational transfer, and toxicity of silver nanoparticles in Caenorhabditis elegans

Silver nanoparticles: Influence on physiology and behavior when administered from early development

Silver Nanoparticles Affect Microbial Diversity in Wastewater and Soils Receiving Biosolids

Sunlight Reduced the Toxicity of Polymer-Stablized Silver Nanoparticles

Synthesis and Characterization of Silver Nanoparticles

Newly Discovered Natural and Incidental Nanoparticles

Role of NOM for precipitation, growth, and aggregation of metal sulfide and silver nanoparticles

Relationship Between Nanoparticle Production and Emission

Modeling the Environmental Risks from Nanoparticles

Deciding What Properties Matter

Research Prioritization for Nanomaterial Risk Assessment

Mesocosm Shared Facility

Nanoparticle Detection and Abundance of PVP-Ag 10 nm in Mesocosm Water Using CytoViva Hyperspectral Image Analysis

Nano Days 2009

Nano Days 2010

Effect of silver nanoparticles on plants and microbes

Nanosilver Toxicity to the Medaka Eleutheroembryo

Innovation in the CEINT's Website

Protocols for Nanomaterial Preparation and Experimentation

Understanding the Effect of Adsorbed Organic Macromolecules on Nanoparticle Reactivity

Tobacco Plants Take Up Gold(Au) Nanoparticles

Estimating Global Nano-Titanium Dioxide Production

A Rare Look at Nanoparticles Reactivity and Aggregation

Synthesis of Silver Nanoparticles Using Environmentally Friendly Dispersant

CEINT Investigator Receives Post-Doc Mentoring Award

Mesocosm Construction

Bianca Bailey

Rising Senior
Chemical Engineering
Howard University, Washington, DC
CEINT Research Site: Lowry Lab- CMU

As a rising graduating senior, I am in the process of researching institutions that appeal to my interest in an advanced degree in environmental nanotechnology as it relates to water quality issues. Institutions such as Carnegie Mellon, Duke University and Howard University provide me with options to study and conduct independent research. This program will allow me to visit, interact and become acquainted with these campuses and their culture. In addition I will be able to interact with professors on site that could provide insight on nanotechnology research and graduate programs available. I see the Research for Undergraduate Fellows under the Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology (CEINT) as a two-way street. Not only will this program shape me into becoming a more competitive undergraduate researcher and potential graduate student, but each institution has the chance to benefit from the completed research, creativity and possibility to recruit me a as potential engineering minority graduate student for their university. I am excited about the Research for Undergraduate Fellows under the Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology (CEINT). This program allows me the opportunity to expand my horizons, to become familiar with the unfamiliar so that I can become the most competent and global researcher I can be!

Caroline Sorensen

Rising Senior
Engineering and Environmental Science
Sweet Briar College, VA
CEINT Research Site: Wiesner Lab- Duke University

My name is Caroline Sorensen and I am a rising senior at Sweet Briar College in Virginia. I am a double major in engineering and environmental science. As per the requirements for my engineering major, I took a course in materials science during which I was assigned a research paper on a topic of personal interest. I chose the environmental implications of nanotechnology and focused on the life cycle of nanoparticles in the environment. I spent hours researching this topic and found myself so fascinated that, even after I completed the paper, I continued to read books and articles, and subscribed to magazines just so I could discover everything there was to know about the technology. I knew that conducting research at the CEINT would be a valuable experience because my college does not extend the opportunity to work with the subject that I am most interested in. Research excites me because there is always something new to discover. No matter how well educated a person is, there is always the opportunity to learn something new through research. I saw this program as an opportunity to combine two distinct passions of mine – engineering and environmental science. I know that the skills and knowledge that I gain from this experience will stay with me as I continue my studies and delve into my career.

Hannah Thames

Rising Senior
Civil and Environmental + French Major
Loyola Marymount University, California
CEINT Research Site: the CEREGE, Aix-en-Province, France

As a French and civil environmental engineering double major, I was immediately drawn to the CEINT program’s partnership with CEREGE in Aix-en-Provence. After working with a professor at Loyola Marymount University who is publishing a book on nanotechnology, I wanted to be more exposed to the field because there is so much important research yet to be done. This summer I look forward to researching zero-valent iron nanoparticles with Dr. Naresh Kumar with enthusiasm.

Juan Carlos Silva Martinez

Rising Junior
Chemical Engineering
Univ. of Puerto Rico – Mayaguez Campus
CEINT Research Site: Ferguson Lab - Duke University

My interests are related to nanoparticles and their functionalization for improvements of our lives. Also, I want to participate and collaborate with studies that can help with the production of novel data that can lead to new technologies for protecting our home, the Earth. This summer internship at CEINT will give me the experience in my area of interest, nanotechnology and nanomaterial sciences with real and exciting outside lab experiences. This program is really important to me because it will teach me new scientific skills and knowledge in nanoscience and it relationship or effects in the environment.

Raymond Pierson

Rising Senior
Bio-environmental Engineering
Cornell University
CEINT Research Site: Marr Lab- Virginia Tech University

I am a rising senior from Cornell University studying Bio-environmental Engineering. I was attracted to the REU program with CEINT because of its research investigating the life cycle of potential contaminants and their possible toxicological effects. Nanoparticles are particularly interesting potential contaminants to study because their small size makes them behave in unique ways and their high surface area to volume ratio makes them more reactive for a given mass than larger particles. In Professor Marr's lab at Virginia Tech, I will study engineered nanoparticles emitted from commercial products using nanomaterials and how they behave in the atmosphere. Of particular interest is how the nanoparticles change or effect changes in the atmosphere though interactions with other materials.

Karen Yu

Rising Senior
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
CEINT Research Site: Hsu-Kim Lab- Duke University

A research experience with CEINT would be an excellent opportunity to prepare for graduate school by gaining more research experience. I am certain I want to work in some field related to environmental protection, but I am undecided about which area of environmental engineering I would like to focus on in graduate school. One way to find out would be to participate in different kinds of research projects as an undergraduate so that I could find out what interests me most. Additionally, participating in research at a different university would offer a different perspective and further help me in determining my future direction. At CMU, I've worked on a surface chemistry/transport project and a microbiology project. I'm hoping to do something a bit different at Duke so that I have a better idea of the different research fields in environmental engineering.

Lily Shepard

Rising Junior
Mechanical Engineering
Duke University
CEINT Research Site: CEREGE, Aix-en-Provence, France

My interest in the CEINT REU program was first peaked last summer while working as a research assistant at the CEINT mesocosms. I find it incredibly exciting to be able to contribute towards research on a topic at the cutting edge of science. I am a Mechanical Engineering major pursuing a certificate in Energy and the Environment at Duke University and as such I am interested in both the range of uses for nanomaterials and their environmental impacts.

Sarah Weber

Rising Junior
Smith College
CEINT Research Site: Hinton Lab- Duke University

I am was interested in CEINT because I want to get an advanced degree in nanoscale engineering and want to know of the ecological ramifications of nano-pollutants. During my freshman year of college I was introduced to the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and became enamored with the nanoscale. I had read about interesting nanotechnology developments but seeing specimens nanometers in diameter made nanotechnology tangible.

That summer I took part in a lab researching the initial molecular formation of biofilms. Biofilms are highly adhesive molecular films that allow for organisms to grow on smooth aqueous surfaces. I studied how salt affects the amount of the polysaccharide alginate adsorbed to the surface of a charged silica wafer. Alginate is secreted by brown seaweed and forms a film on the hulls of ships allowing for the adhesion of algae.

The SEM and my research on biofilms inspired my interest in nanotechnology. In one of my engineering classes I conducted a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of Wind turbines and Solar Panels; the LCA showed me that everything has an ecological impact. I had always assumed “green energy” had no substantial negative impacts on the environment, but at the conclusion of the research I found that about 300,000 Kg CO2 is produced in the production of a 500kW wind turbine. I was shocked by my findings and became curious as to the impacts of nanotechnology.

Ryan Murphy

Rising Junior
Chemistry Major
Clemson University
CEINT Research Site: Vikesland Lab- Virginia Tech University

The reason I choose CEINT for my summer internship is because my future plans focus around participating and/or leading chemical research. Because nano-scale science and nanotechnology are the next major steps in chemistry as well as industry it is crucial that I have experience in nanoscience in order to be on the cutting edge. Also, as environmentalism becomes more prevalent in mainstream society, science will be required to prove it is not harming the environment. A CEINT internship will provide experience in both the advancement and understanding of the environmental effects of nano-scale science and thus was my first choice for an internship this summer.

Sarah Welsh

Rising Junior
Chemistry and English - Double Major
Westminster College
CEINT Research Site: Gregory Lab - Carnegie Mellon University

I chose to participate in the CEINT summer program because it was a great way to get involved in cutting edge research. I love that science is always changing; there’s always a new field that has never been studied in the past, or simply a new way of looking at a known field. CEINT was able to provide me with an opportunity to actively participate in research in an exciting, up-and-coming field. It was also important to me that this is an interdisciplinary program. Through CEINT, chemists, engineers, biologists, and more collaborate to find answers to pressing questions about nanotechnology’s effects on the environment. This collaboration allows for a more rounded, complete understanding of the questions at hand. I’m very excited to be a part of this research center that is contributing fresh knowledge to such a growing field.

Stephanie Barton

Rising Senior
Biology Major
West Virginia University
CEINT Research Site: Wiesner Lab - Duke University

I first became interested in applying for the REU summer internship program with CEINT during my junior year at WVU, in which I was assigned a capstone project. The purpose of the capstone is for students to act in the capacity of a principal investigator by completing funding proposals, designing an experimental project, and reporting observations and conclusions in the form of a scientific manuscript. My group chose to conduct a project that explored the interactive effects of nano-titanium dioxide and daphnia pulex on the hopping rate, heart rate, population growth, carapace size, and overall biomass of daphnia magna. This project peaked my interest in the field of nanomaterials, especially in the risk assessment aspect that Dr. Wiesner and his students are dedicated to researching here at Duke. One of his students, Lauren Barton, has also been an enormous influence on my desire to pursue research on nanomaterials. As a role model and my older sister, Lauren’s enthusiasm and dedication to her work has excited me on researching the potential environmental implications of nanoparticles.

Stacey Saba

Rising Senior
Materials Science in Engineering Major
Cornell University
CEINT Research Site: Liu Lab - Duke University

In previous research work I’ve had the opportunity to fabricate nanostructures. However aside from the practical applications of my work I had never given much thought to the implications of what I was doing. I chose the CEINT REU because it would give me not only the opportunity to learn the process of nanoparticle synthesis but also help me to think critically about the work that we’re doing as a society and its significance. With the tangible impact of new technologies that are readily available to us, it is vital that we use all of our resources to the best of our ability and consider the ramifications of our research. The relevance of the project as well as the learning experience of working in a new laboratory under the guidance of a mentor ultimately drew me to this project.

Tara Soni

Rising Junior
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
CEINT Research Site: Bernhardt Lab- Duke University

I have been interested in research since I was a high school student, when I got the opportunity to work in the Chemical Biology Platform at the Broad Institute. I have been always been interested in environmental issues and I am currently an environmental engineering major. Last summer, I got my first taste of environmental research in the Polz Lab at MIT.

I was attracted to the CEINT REU program because the research immediately appealed to me. Nanotechnology is an important field that can redefine the scale of current projects. I did not have any experience with nanotechnology and wanted to gain experience and understanding, in an effort to fully understand the broad range and scope of environmental research. The structure of the program also allows me to learn more about the many connections between the many research projects at such an interdisciplinary center

Lila Thornton

Rising Junior
Biology and Environmental Science
Duke University
CEINT Research Site: Meyer Lab- Duke University

The CEINT REU immediately appealed to me and not just because I'm studying environmental science and biology. The program presented a way for me to get involved in the research of an emerging technology that's quickly becoming a part of our everyday lives. What I'm most excited about is doing research that combines my interests in nanotechnology and toxicology. Granted, I didn't know a lot about nanoparticles before starting this program. After the first week, though, I'd say nanotechnology has definitely captivated my curiosity.

15. Ag NPs rapidly transform to Ag2S and Ag-S (organic) in natural and engineered systems

8. Avoidance of AG NPs at environmentally relevant concentrations

1. CEINT Organizational Structure and Research Roles

9. Commercial vs. Home-Made Materials

6. CEINT Expands Education Programs

10. Forescasts and measurements of nanosilver in wastewater

11. Mapping Nanoparticle Properties to Toxicity

4. Preliminary Mesocosm Results

3. Mesocosm Shared Facility

12. Research at Multiple Scales and Levels of Complexity

5. NanoDays 2011: CEINT Expands Outreach Nationally

14. Nanoparticle Coatings Matter... or not

16. Predicting deposition of NPs Coated with organic macromolecules

2. Protocol Development

7. ToxCast High-throughput screening (HTS) of nanomaterial bioactivites in cultured cells and zebrafish embryos

13. Trophic Transfer of Nanomaterials

1. Lab ≠ Mesocosms

2. Organisms are exposed to transformed NPs

3. Deposition of Nanoparticles - Effect of Size and Surface Modification

4. Impact of NP coating on bacterial toxicity

5. Nano has been here all along

6. Trophic Transfer of Au Nanoparticles

7. Cirate-coated AG NPs undergo maternal transfer in Caenorhabditis elegans

8. Risk Forecasting

9. Toxicity Reduction of AgNPs by Sunlight

10. Detection of Nanomaterials in Complex Media

11. Cross-Referencing Nanomaterial Properties with Nanomaterial Bioactivity (CEINT collaboration with EPA)

12. NIST-CEINT collaboration - Protocol development

13. 2008-12: CEINT Impacts Partner University Programs

15. 2008-12: CEINT Outreach Expands Nationally

Site survey

The locations of the future boxes are measured and marked on the mesocosm site.

Alpha version

The original plan was to dig large holes and have the mesocosms below ground level. For a number of reasons, this idea was abandoned.

Building the mesocosm boxes

Wooden frames that will become the sides of the mesocosm boxes. The four sides of each box were then assembled on site and bolted to the ground.

Lining the boxes

Reinforced polypropylene liner laid inside the boxes to waterproof them. We then poured several inches of homogenized dirt dug from a nearby site on top of this liner.

Shaping the inside of the boxes

Screening sand is poured in the wooden boxes and shaped to our specifications. Namely a horizontal, flat bottom at the deep end, and a slope going above water level at the other hand.

Planting the boxes

Various plants endemic to the region are planted according to a grid pattern on the slope of each mesocosm.

Site is shaping up

Most of the mesocosms are built and ready to receive the probes and sensors that will monitor them continuously for several years.

Up and running

Closeup on one of the mesocosm boxes.

TiO2 NP Photocatalyzed Degradation of Benzo(a)pyrene Increases Toxicity to Zebrafish

Environmental Transport & Transformations: Nano Examples from Natural and Engineered Highly Complex (Real) Envrionments

Silver Nanoparticles affect Drosophilia

Attachment Efficiency: Predicting ENM transport and attachment

Modeling Nanosilver Transformations in Freshwater Sediments

Meta-Analysis of in vivo pulmonary toxicity studies

Toxicogenomic Effects of Au-NPs on C. elegans

Trophic Transfer Enhances Bioavailability of Au Nanoparticles

Fate and Transport of Nano TiO2 at Expected Environmental Concentrations

CEINT-NISE Net Partnership - Highlighted as Model

Gold NPs with Positive or Negative Charge

Environmental properties are at least as important as nonomaterial properties in assessing behavior and effects

Darkfield Hyperspectral Imaging Microscopy: Nanoparticle Characterization and Analysis in Complex (Real) Environments

Modeling the Environmental Release, Transport, Transformation and Biouptake of Nanomaterials: An Integrated Center-wide Initiative

Andrew Drum

Rising Senior
Biological Engineering
University of Missouri, Columbia (Mizzou)
CEINT Research Site: DiGuilio Lab, Duke University

Participating in the CEINT REU at Duke University this summer taught me a great deal not only about nanotechnologies, but also about the general academic research process. Working as individuals on a collaborative team was an effective way of learning about different nano-technology uses and properties. Our weekly CEINT interactions motivated me to further my research. Working in the lab with graduate students also expedited adaptation to lab life. The CEINT REU gave me motivation and direction heading into my senior year at Mizzou. I made friends from colleges across the US, and will stay connected with them for years.

Career Impacts and Plans

This summer (2013) I will be doing an internship for Yadkin Riverkeeper in Winston Salem, NC. My CEINT background definitely helped me secure the spot for an environmental project.

Graduate School Plans

I learned about the MEM program at Duke during the REU program, applied and was accepted and will attend fall (2013). I think this may be one of the more impactful decisions I have made.

Dawn Smith

Rising Senior
Purdue University
CEINT Research Site: Gregory Lab, Carnegie Mellon University

During my internship experience, I had the opportunity to work with and learn from talented researchers, mentors and refine my laboratory skills. I met and interacted with talented REU students from many different backgrounds and programs. Each of us benefited from sharing our research progress at the end of the summer. Not only did we learn about the different areas of nanotechnology development and risk assessment, but we were also able to connect our different majors through research projects that incorporated multiple disciplines. I also enjoyed the weekly meetings at my research site where graduate students presented their research. It was fascinating to hear about current research involved with nanotechnology and its transport in the environment. As I worked on my project, I appreciated my mentors’ encouragement to challenge myself and put forth my best effort. This experience made me more conscious of planning experiments in advance in order to work with both schedules of myself and my mentee's. Overall, my research experience was very beneficial. I enjoyed working with my mentors and fellow REU students, and appreciated the organization and support from everyone involved with CEINT and Go Research!

Career Impacts and Plans

The CEINT program solidified my interest in bioremediation related research as well as expanded my horizons through the interdisciplinary environment. After I finished the REU, I was inspired to pursue bioremediation related research through Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). Ultimately I am interested in doing research for government agencies such as the EPA in order to reduce soil and water pollution.

Graduate School Plans

During the REU program I had the opportunity to work with the faculty and graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University. I was impressed by the collegial and collaborative environment I witnessed while working on my internship last summer. I also found the project I worked on over the summer very intriguing. Because of my experience at CEINT, I decided to apply and was accepted in the CEE department at Carnegie Mellon University for fall 2013.

Annastassia Gallo

Rising Senior
Arcadia University
CEINT Research Site: Tilton Lab, Carnegie Mellon University

CEINT brought together many disciplines of nanotechnology, from fields I had been exposed to and others I had not. It was an incredible learning opportunity-not only to see how these fields of science work together on environmental issues, but also be a part of the ongoing research. One of the greatest experiences that I had was that I worked independently on a project, yet was part of a group at CMU because it gave me the sense of the graduate school environment.

Career Impacts and Plans

CEINT helped me realize that research is what I plan to do in the next step in my career. This REU experience helped me obtain an internship at the USDA Agricultural Research Service for Spring 2013.

Graduate School Plans

I am attending Temple University for Inorganic Chemistry and beginning my research there in the summer of 2013.

Tejas Raje

Rising Senior
Engineering & Physics
CEINT Research Site: Vikesland Lab, Virginia Tech

My time at CEINT gave me the opportunity to perform scientific research and to obtain new experiences. I enjoyed my time at Duke and Virginia Tech, when I was able to perform interesting research in nanotechnology and got the opportunity to learn about the many different types of research being performed in this field and to work with graduate students and professors who were very helpful in teaching me about the subject and helping show me how to perform my research project.

Career Impacts and Plans

Ultimately I decided that I did not want to pursue science in the future, but the experiences I gained in the CEINT REU program will definitely help me wherever I go.

Carmen Kuan

Rising Senior
Environmental Science
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
CEINT Research Site: Hinton Lab, Duke University

The CEINT REU program was a valuable experience because I was able to gain research skills in nanoscience as well as add the experience to my resume for my pursuits in grad school and career opportunities. I met a lot of great people with the same passion for science and research as I do, which made getting along much easier since we were able to discuss and help each other in our research projects. My post-doc mentor in the Hinton lab was very helpful throughout the internship and gave me a lot of good advice about graduate school and finishing up my last year in college. Dr. Kelly, the CEINT program director, is very committed to the program and will help the interns out in any way they need. The orientation at the beginning of the internship helped me to get to know my fellow interns and settle into Durham, NC for the summer. Overall, the CEINT REU program is a quality research and personal experience.

Career Impacts and Plans

The CEINT REU has provided me with additional research experience that has helped to ready my resume for applications to graduate school or jobs in the research industry and also motivated me to pursue graduate studies within a few years after I graduate. Graduate school plans: I intend to study the interaction between hydrology and ecology in wetlands and work towards my Ph.D.. I will be applying to Stanford, UC Berkeley, Duke, UNC, and UGA.

David R. Cutting

Rising Junior
Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Tulane University
CEINT Research Site: Bernhardt Lab, Duke University

One of the most exciting aspects of the CEINT REU program was the interdisciplinary collaboration inherent in nearly all of CEINT’s projects. As a Chemical Engineering student, a Biology lab felt unusual to say the least. By the end of the program I had learned a new skillset and felt comfortable in my setting. Getting to collaborate with all of CEINT’s departments really proved how diversity in background promotes and enhances the scholarly research process. CEINT taught me that no department has boundaries. I was able to network with friends and colleagues around the country and around the world and forge many lasting relationships.

Career Impacts and Plans

Confirmed that research was the correct path for me! I plan to transition to a PhD program in Chemical Engineering with a nanomaterials focus.

Raisa Tikhtman

Rising Senior
Biochemistry and French
Transylvania University
CEINT Research Site: CEREGE, Aix-en-Provence, France

The benefits from my summer as an intern at the CEREGE in Aix-en-Provence stem from the simultaneous scientific and cultural immersion reaped from performing research in a foreign country. Not only did I gain an improved understanding of the potential implications of the nanoparticle invasion of commercial products and their specific identities, but I also was provided the opportunity to expand my repertoire of conversational and scientific French vocabulary. My research project, focusing on the fate of cerium oxide nanoparticles as they interact and aggregate with clays in aquatic mesocosms, required a significant amount of independence and tolerance for trial-and-error. I felt truly integrated into the laboratory environment at the CEREGE and had opportunities to consult post-docs and graduate students, in addition to my two mentors, while refining and directing my project. This experience provided an intimate perspective on the patience and collaboration required of a career in research, as well as a detailed outlook on the massive field of nanotechnology and its applications. The orientation and seminar components of the program served to enlighten me on the relationship between research and environmental policy, and I am inspired to seek a career at the crossroads between science and its political implications.

Career Impacts and Plans

This summer (2013) I will be studying abroad in Madagascar through the School for International Training’s program, "Madagascar: Traditional Medicine and Healthcare Systems." My REU experience with CEINT initiated my interest in science as an informant for environmental and health policy, and my study abroad plans represent a continuation of this academic pursuit.

Graduate Plans

The CEINT program introduced me to the broad applications of nanotechnology, and one avenue I am heavily considering post-graduation 2014 is applying for graduate programs with a focus on biomedical applications of nanotechnology, especially in cancer therapies and drug delivery.

Sydney Stewart

Rising Senior
Chemical Engineering
Montana State University   
CEINT Research Site: Weisner Lab, Duke University

Over the summer I enjoyed working with the graduate students and faculty from Duke University. I feel more connected to the field of nanoscience, particularly the applications of nanotechnology and environmental impacts of nanoparticles. I learned a lot about the science of transport of contaminants in the environment just through presentations, trips, and conversations with other REU students. I enjoyed learning more about graduate school in general through working with a graduate student mentor. Overall, I feel I learned a lot about nanoscience and made valuable connections with graduate students, professors, and other undergraduate students.

Career Impacts and Plans

In this REU I made useful connections, learned how to better function in a lab, and how to think more like a scientist. I hope to volunteer short term with Engineers Without Borders, then work for 1-2 years as an environmental engineer. After learning more about the field, I'd like to go to graduate school for either a master's or PhD in environmental engineering with a focus on sustainable engineering for developing communities.

Ming Zhang

Rising Senior
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
Research Site: CEREGE, Aix-en-Province, France

Highlights of program I had an amazing time studying the fate of nanoparticles in wastewater treatment plants at the CEREGE site in Aix-En-Provence. I learned that the research process is rarely a straight line to the finish, but rather a path filled with mistakes and detours. I came to appreciate this aspect of doing science through others’ enthusiasm despite setbacks, as well as through my own experience of making mistakes. I also enjoyed taking a small project from start to finish to contribute to the goals of a larger research group. The sense of community at the CEREGE was very strong; everyone shared all the lab spaces in the building, and each day entire research teams go to lunch together. My greatest lesson from working at the CEREGE was perhaps that it is possible to balance work and play, and to still get the most from both.

Career Impacts and Plans

Participating in this REU program made me realize that I want to pursue a career that combines environmental research and international travel. To this end, I won a Fulbright Scholarship to study air pollution in Beijing, China for fall 2013. Fall 2014 I will enter UC Berkeley's MS/PhD program in Environmental Engineering fall 2014. I hope that my work will not only help improve our environment, but also take me to experience new cultures and lifestyles. This REU experience made my dreams and career goals more concrete, and I will always be thankful for my summer at Duke and the CEREGE.

Orion Pearce

Rising Senior
Beloit College
CEINT Research Site: Liu Lab, Duke University

CEINT was my first chance to become involved in a serious research endeavor, and served as a great springboard into chemical research. While working in Dr. Liu's lab I gained valuable training, getting to synthesize nanocrystals, use aqua regia, and work in Duke's excellent SMIF facility with the TEM. It was highly gratifying to obtain results after having studied and worked for weeks to get a specific crystalline morphology.

CEINT also was a great opportunity to make friends and contacts who had similar interests. From cookouts prepared by the interns to the weekly lab meetings with my research group, CEINT was full of great opportunities to meet fellow researchers.

Career Impacts and Plans

The people I met at Duke helped me get into a graduate school and provided valuable advice on my career as a researcher. I highly recommend the program to anyone interested in learning more about nanochemistry and starting a serious research career. Graduate school plans: Begin graduate school fall 2013-Chemistry Department, University of Colorado, Boulder.

Alex Simon

Rising Senior
Virginia Tech
CEINT Research Site: Meyer Lab, Duke University
Projects Title: Investigating  Nanoparticle Toxicity using Caenorhabditis elegans

Participating in the CEINT REU provided me with an opportunity to not only further my experience conducting nanoparticle research but to also get a new perspective on the potential implications of nanotechnology.  I enjoyed meeting new people and listening to them discuss how they progressed with their own research helped me to formulate my own research goals more appropriately- an experience which will surely help me in the future.  The laboratory research and presentation experience provided through CEINT will certainly help me as I adjust to graduate research in my future.  I was glad to meet fellow undergraduates as well as graduates and professors, get a feel for a university I was interested in attending for graduate school, and gain more experience working in a field I love.

Career Impacts and Plans

This REU encouraged me further to pursue nanotechnology as a particular interest for future research in grad school.  Having this internship probably contributed to my being awarded the Ryan Fellowship for exploration in nanoscience at Northwestern, the university which I am attending for graduate school.  This summer I will begin work at Northwestern early and hope to evaluate my options for future research as I begin my graduate research- possibly in nanotechnology.

Mesocosms as a teaching site

CEINT Director Mark Wiesner and lead mesocosm architect Benjamin Espinasse survey the automatic continual redox probe installation.

Mesocosms as a research site

Ecotoxicology researchers from Duke getting some surface water samples from a mesocosm box. While many environmental variables are continuously monitored throughout the year, discreete measurements are still needed for a number of other variables.

Mesocosms as a research site

A student from Duke obtaining a sediment sample from a mesocosm box.

Covered mesocosms

We built a giant, removable greenhouse to protect the entire mesocosm site during the raining and freezing season while still allowing researchers to collect data.

Alice Wang

Rising Junior
Chemical/Environmental Engineering
University of Southern California
CEINT Research Site: Marr Lab, Virginia Tech University

The atmosphere of the CEINT REU program was an excellent learning environment for me to grow as a researcher. I was fortunate to work with brilliant mentors at Virginia Tech, each of whom were supportive and knowledgeable. I enjoyed exploring interdisciplinary projects amongst my research team where I became acquainted with a variety of nanotechnology issues in our air. This exposure sprouted my desire to learn more, granting me independent research on the side from my faculty mentor. Taking initiative to design the project from start to finish, I was able to challenge myself and sharpen my creativity, patience, and persistence. This unique opportunity, along with my outdoor expeditions with new friends, made the entire program valuable and memorable to me. The skills that I have acquired during those ten weeks will transport and carry with me into my future career.

Career Impact and Plans

The multiple CEINT faculty research presentations and EPA tour reaffirmed my passion towards resolving environmental pollution and toxicity issues in our society. My two research projects, one applicable to developed countries and the other to those developing, inspired me to think critically about combating environmental implications on a global scale. That is my aspired career goal. I plan to continue working in research and pursue a Masters degree in Environmental Engineering. Perhaps I will concentrate my studies in nanotechnology, or even conduct experiments in mesocosms in the near future.

Eleanor Spielman-Sun

Oberlin College
CEINT Research Site: Lowry Lab, Carnegie Mellon University

Being a student from a small liberal arts college, the CEINT REU program at Carnegie Mellon gave me an opportunity to work at a large, research-based university. It was great to be able to interact with a diverse lab group where everyone had a variety of backgrounds and strengths. The experience definitely reinforced my plans to attend graduate school.

Career Impacts and Plans

CEINT has had a significant impact on my field of interest. Though I've always been interested in environmental science, after my summer at Carnegie Mellon I've decided to apply to environmental engineering programs for graduate school.

Michelle Laura Zeliph

Rising Senior
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
CEINT Research Site: Bernhardt Lab, Duke University

Participating in the CEINT REU program this summer taught me not only about the environmental implications of nanotechnology, but also about the challenges and rewards of collaborative research. This summer I got to work alongside several researchers with a variety of expertise and learned a great deal from each of them. I also had the opportunity to learn about several other research projects going on at CEINT through the other interns in the program. Living at Duke for the summer with the other interns allowed me to not only meet individuals from colleges across the country, but form lasting friendships and professional networks. I know that this experience has certainly opened doors for me and I am looking forward to the future opportunities this program may allow me to pursue.

Career Impacts and Plans

Participating in the CEINT REU program this summer strengthened my passion for research and influenced my decision to apply to graduate school. I am currently applying to environmental microbiology programs and hope to begin my doctoral studies in Fall 2014.

Matt Sweeney

Rising Sophomore
Chemical Engineering
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
CEINT Research Site: Wiesner Lab, Duke University

CEINT gave me my first opportunity to perform research. The experience allowed me to discover what researching as an engineer entails. Discovering the range of applications nanotechnology can be used in was incredible and seeing how all of the individual projects the REU students worked on fit together and could be applicable to the others allowed me to further my interest in nanotechnology. Also, the environment of the lab made me feel as though I was living a true graduate school lifestyle. Every member of the lab was interested in the research and was helpful in giving criticism or possible changes to improve the results, which helped the project come together and allow me to get to know all of the people working in the lab.

Career Impacts and Plans

CEINT helped me decide that I do want to perform research as a career. Since I am only a rising sophomore, I will continue to look into more REU programs that involve nanotechnology. My long term goals are to earn a PhD in chemical engineering and perform research. I am currently looking into research in the fields of nanotechnology and alternative energy.

Elizabeth Mohr

Rising Junior
Chemical Engineering and Environmental Earth Science
Washington University in St. Louis
CEINT Research Site: CEREGE, Aix-en-Provence, France

The CEINT REU Program was an extraodinary way to get exposure to the lifestyle of a laboratory researcher. It was so rewarding to be able to delve into such a specific and interesting area of study, and to work on a project with important environmental implications. I also very much enjoyed witnessing the immensely interdiscplinary nature of the research being done by CEINT, and meeting highly talented professionals and peers along the way. Lastly, living and working in France was a truly incredible and valuable cultural experience that I am so fortunate to have had.

Career Impacts and Plans

The experiences I had during the CEINT REU program furthered my desire to attend graduate school, and also solidified my interest in research and careers with an environmental focus. I think the program has also provided me with a set of tools that will aid me in any future studies or careers I choose to pursue.

Jasper Sia

Rising Junior
Chemical Engineering & Mathematics
University of Arizona
CEINT Research Site: Gunsch Lab, Duke University

In addition to the opportunity to work with frontier research on nanotechnology, developing relationships with the affiliates of CEINT was an integral part in my CEINT REU experience. In their busy schedules, my professor and graduate student invested on me their breadth of knowledge and time; they taught me the essentials and encouraged me to contemplate the reasons behind the nanoparticle experiments and procedures and to improve upon them. The weekly meetings and the people involved in them remind me of CEINT’s overarching objective and of how my seemingly small project is important to accomplish this multilayered collaborative goal. Between the CEINT REUs, we share with each other our exciting events and encourage each other during our discouraging days, both always present in research. The people are great, and I am truly thankful to be part of such an amazing experience.

Denise Lee

Rising Sophomore
Biochemistry & Cell Biology
Rice University
CEINT Research Site: CEREGE, Aix-en-Provence, France

Having the privilege of working at the CEREGE this summer through the CEINT REU allowed me to mature both as a scientist and as a person. Being able to work in an international setting was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that opened my eyes to how different cultures live, work, and play. My project taught me how to communicate well with other scientists, honed my critical thinking skills, and how to think about the world of research in an international, interdisciplinary context. Perhaps most important of all, however, the CEINT REU granted me patience and humbleness in the pursuit of knowledge – a rare gift that I will take with me for the rest of my life.

Career Impact and Plans

The CEINT REU helped cultivate my love for research and science, and going overseas also helped me realize my desire to think, work, and serve in a global context. I hope to somehow incorporate all of these things into a medical career in the future (MD + research track, MD/PhD, etc.) For the summer of 2014, I hope to split my time in between traveling independently, engaging in international service fellowships, and continuing to work on cancer research here in Houston.

Amulya Pervaje

Chemical Engineering Major
Vanderbilt University
CEINT Research Site: Vikesland Lab, Virginia Tech

I really enjoyed my lab experience in the summer. I learned to use the AFM really well. Also, previously I had never had actual lab work experience, so I was nice to get that over the summer. The graduate student I worked, Ron Kent was super nice and helpful and showed me the ropes in the experiments I was conducting. I enjoyed seeing two experiments to completion, from collecting data to analyzing the results. Outside the lab, it was nice to interact with wonderful, smart, capable individuals in the program or working for CEINT. Hearing the lectures in orientation and seeing everyone’s presentation at the end highlighted to me the wonderful research going on at CEINT and I felt lucky to be a part of it.

Career Impacts and Plans

I'm in the process of applying to jobs and graduate schools. I think the CEINT REU experience is definitely an asset to my resume and research experience. It's something I can talk about in my application or at an interview. It was really good hands-on research experience. I shall treasure the experience I had at CEINT REU.

Margaret Fleming

Rising Senior
Environmental Engineering
Cornell University
CEINT Research Site: Wiesner Lab, Duke University

The CEINT REU program offers a unique opportunity to learn and work amongst supportive and knowledgeable individuals, each with a passion for research. The highlight of my experience was collaborating with students, mentors, and professors from a variety of disciplines in order to reach a better understanding of how manufactured nanomaterials interact with natural systems. Working on my own project and getting to use instruments such as the scanning electron microscope and the transmission electron microscope to characterize BisBAL nanoparticles was stimulating and enlightening work. However, what makes CEINT so special is the time taken through both guest lectures and peer presentations to put each of our projects into context and see the ways in which our work connects to the overarching CEINT mission.

Career Impacts and Plans

Before participating in the CEINT REU program, I was uncertain about the path I would pursue after I graduate. Due in part to my amazing experience in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at Duke University, I now know that I want to continue working in research. I plan on pursuing a PhD in environmental engineering and am currently exploring options for graduate school.

Marika Nell

Rising Senior
Civil & Environmental Engineering
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
CEINT Research Site: Hsu-Kim Lab, Duke University

Before I participated in the CEINT REU, I knew very little about nanotechnology. So, for me, the main highlight of the REU program was the chance to learn about nanotechnology and get hands-on experience with ongoing research. Between seminars, lab tours, and the opportunity to meet with a wide variety of students, scholars, faculty and staff, the program exposed me to the many facets of current nanotechnology research and I developed a comprehensive knowledge of the field. Through my day-to-day work, I gained valuable experience with laboratory equipment and improved my laboratory habits and skills.

In addition, getting to know the people at CEINT and Duke University was another major highlight of the program. Everyone I encountered in my time at the program was friendly and helpful. In lab, the professor, postdoctoral scientists, and graduate students that I worked with were extremely supportive and encouraged me to maintain a good work-life balance throughout the course of the summer. Between the cutting edge research, plentiful learning opportunities, and the talented and friendly people, the CEINT REU was the perfect setting for expanding my knowledge of nanotechnology and research.

Career Impacts and Plans

Overall, this research experience reaffirmed my desire to pursue my PhD. I am currently applying to graduate programs in Civil & Environmental Engineering and will hopefully pursue research in using nanotechnology for environmental remediation in the future. Experiencing the culture of a Civil & Environmental Engineering that is different from the one at my home institution has helped me figure out what I am looking for in prospective graduate schools. Since I enjoyed the culture at my CEINT REU site, I am considering applying to Duke University.

Hearing about the work, career paths, and backgrounds of the diverse group of people at CEINT has been extremely helpful in figuring out my post-graduation and career plans. Ultimately, I would like to stay in academia and work on developing viable remediation technologies for emerging contaminants.

Eric Ryberg

Rising Junior
Chemistry/Earth and Planetary Sciences
Johns Hopkins University
CEINT Research Site: DiGuilio Lab – Duke University

Participating in the CEINT REU program was a wonderful experience. The most eye-opening part of this experience was seeing how each piece of research fit into the larger breadth of knowledge that CEINT was pioneering. We each had the opportunity to see how our specific role fit into our lab’s research projects, and how those together fit into the big picture, all of which we learned about during our orientation. To see your own research pushes the boundaries of what you learned in class is truly something special. Outside of work, living with other highly motivated students was indescribable. I have never experienced such intellectually rewarding conversation in a casual setting before.

Career Impact and Plans

The CEINT REU helped me realize how much I appreciate environmental research. After finishing my undergraduate degrees, I hope to pursue a PhD in paleoclimatology. Until CEINT, I was switching between career choices, but now I have decided to continue my environmental studies into a graduate program.

Contact Information

Dr. Glenda Kelly
Associate Director for Assessment and Outreach
+1 919 660 5575