Nano Research at Penn

This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the 2018 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Angelia Kumirai, COL ’21

My summer was punctuated by milestones of personal achievement and growths. I travelled more than 4000 miles by road, I met people who I had not seen in ages but most of all- I advanced my knowledge and skills in the advanced bio-nanotechnological field.

Before I came to Penn, I wrote my common application essay on the impact that I wanted to make in the pharmacological field- using nanotechnology for more targeted dug delivery. I wrote that I would use the Penn education to advance my knowledge of nanotechnology, pharmacology and economics. So, you can just imagine the opportune enjoyment I had to be spending my freshman summer in the Dmochowski lab- a lab that specializes in the encapsulation of nanoparticles in protein cavities!

Funding from career services proved that for sure- Penn would help me aspire my dreams and take me a step closer towards what my aspirations are.

After two weeks in Zimbabwe, I flew back to Philadelphia to start research in the Chemistry department at Penn. I worked with an amazing graduate student- Josh, who introduced me to all the techniques that were essential to my time in the lab. We reported to Professor Dmochowski weekly, who mentored my progress and pushed me beyond what I thought were my limits.

This was a fulfilling position and learning experience because the lab work resonated so much with my career interests. I want to be a pharmacologist who develops nanomedicines for more efficient and accessible delivery. In the lab, we were researching on the best practices of encapsulating cargo into protein cavities. The materials that we had success loading into the protein cages were supercharged green fluorescent protein and gold nanoparticles.

We also collaborated with researchers from the medical school who grew antibodies around the gold nanoparticles and tried encapsulating them with protein cages. Manipulation of these developments in nanotechnology will lead to more efficient drug delivery, effective bio-targeting, proficient catalysis, milestones in nanoelectronics and many other applications in energy and cancer research. I felt so honored to be assisting in such useful and practical work that would advance helpful technology to the world.

I came into the lab wanting to increase my proficiency in essential lab techniques as well as to broaden my exposure and deepen my expertise in many common biochemical and biophysical methods. However, I got more from this experience. I developed a deep appreciation of chemistry research. This experience opened and captivated my mind in a way that has propelled me from a freshman with a dream to a sophomore with a clear vision of the path that she wants to take in her career.

I am deeply appreciative of the funding that I received from Career Services because without the funding, this would not have been possible.

Author: Student Perspective

Views and opinions from current Penn students.