This past summer, two science research students, Saajid Chowdhury and Kimberly Mestizo, each participated in a prestigious research program in order to build their knowledge in science and conduct scientific research in a laboratory setting.
Kimberly participated in a six week High School Research Program at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). She worked under Office of Educational Programs Director and biophysicist, Aleida Perez, as well as Dr. Alexei Soaresa BNL biophysicist, on research relating to protein crystallization. She participated in research involving Gel Exclusion of Nucleation Inducing Elements (GENIE), a process that decreases the time needed to grow protein crystals, and it also increases the robustness and quality of protein crystals when grown with a chemical library using the technique known as the hanging drop method. Kimberly applied this process to grow human insulin crystals, which is extremely important in drug research and development. Kimberly's research is also going to be published in a peer reviewed journal.
Saajid conducted research at the Garcia Center for Polymers at Stony Brook University. This is an intensive seven week program for gifted high school students which combines formal instruction with independent research and allows students to design original research projects with guidance from Garcia Center faculty, students, and staff. Initially, Saajid spent two weeks attending lectures on the current ongoing materials science projects of other Stony Brook graduate students and staff and on the usage of laboratory facilities and instruments. He then chose to further explore the effect of different mass loadings of graphene oxide on the performance of hydrogen fuel cells. Then over the five weeks that followed, Saajid worked with his mentor and research partner constructing several fuel cells and collecting performance data. At the conclusion of the program, he presented his results at the Garcia Research Symposium.
Kimberly and Saajid are currently working with their science research teachers, Dr. Friedman and Mr. Zausin, in order to submit their projects to the Regeneron Science Talent Search, the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair, and several other high school science research competitions. Both students did an amazing job this summer.