The productive tension between the tiny details of any research project and the research's broader significance is a theme this first week of the SHINE program. The SHINE students were thrown into labs structured by precise methodology, expensive equipment and highly educated mentors. It's not easy to keep focused on the big picture when overwhelmed by talk of nanometers or protons or Python or milliliters. SHINE's Dr. Herrold helped students think about the micro – macro cycle they can use to gain a footing in this whirlwind Week 1.
The value of that heuristic came into sharp focus when Professor Cristina Zavaleta shared her research with the SHINE cohort. Coming from a Texas bordertown from a family with origins in Mexico, Professor Zavaleta implied that anyone can become a scientist or engineer if they have the passion to do so. She covered topics from physics, chemistry, and history as she tied such micro facts to the macro emphasis in her lab on discovering novel methods of detecting cancer by using nano-sized fluorescent solutions for diagnostics and therapeutics. With helpful slides and a hands-on demonstration of how various colored solutions could be used for different types of cancer cells or different body organs, Professor Zavaleta gave a valuable view of the frontiers of biomedical engineering research.
SHINE Cohort with Professor Zavaleta.