Brown University School of Engineering

Engineering Students Participate in 2019 Summer Research Symposium

August 1, 2019

More than 240 undergraduates gathered in Sayles Hall on August 1 and 2 to present the results of their research at the annual Summer Research Symposium sponsored by the Office of the Dean of the College. Thirty-two of the posters were from undergraduate researchers from the School of Engineering, or were conducted under the guidance of engineering faculty members. Many of the projects were supported by Brown’s Karen T. Romer Undergraduate Teaching and Research Awards (UTRAs).

Rashid Zia, Brown’s Dean of the College and an Engineering and Physics Associate Professor, provided opening remarks on day two of the symposium, and spoke of the connection between undergraduate research and the Open Curriculum. The University is currently in the midst of a yearlong celebration and exploration of Brown’s innovative, student-centered curriculum that began 50 years ago. Zia highlighted a sentence from Brown’s Statement of Principles, which reads: “A central aspect of (the intellectual and personal growth of the individual student) is the relationship of the student with professors and fellow students and with the material they approach together."

Jesse Remeis ’20, a mechanical engineering concentrator, said, “Working on my own project this summer has challenged me to effectively revise and prototype new ideas. Learning to overcome the unexpected challenges of research and working with amazing mentors has been a rewarding and fun experience.”

Engineering student presentations included:


Michelle Adler ’20 (biomedical engineering) presented a poster entitled, “The Effects of Fibrillar Matrix Topography on Cancer Cell Migration.” Assistant Professor Ian Wong mentored Adler, who was supported with an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA).


Teresa Amor ’21 (computer engineering) presented the poster, “Improved Infant Cry Analysis System and LSTM Neural Network Classification.” She was mentored by Professor Harvey Silverman.

Shoham Benmelech ’21 (biomedical engineering) worked with Assistant Professor Ian Wong to present the poster, “Investigating Silk Collagen Hydrogels for Mimicking the Dynamic Phenotypes of the Extracellular Matrix in Cancer Progression.” The project was supported by an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA).

Evan Dastin-van Rijn ’21 (biomedical engineering) presented the poster “Artifact Removal from Local Field Potential Recordings during Deep Brain Stimulation.” Dastin-van Rijn was advised by Assistant Professor David Borton and engineering doctoral student Nicole Provenza, and supported by an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA).

Eric DuBois ’20 (biomedical engineering) worked with Assistant Professor Ian Wong to present the poster, “Customizable, Adherable Hydrogels for Invsetigating Cell Interaction and Drug Release.” The project was supported by a DiMase Summer Research Fellowship.


Elizabeth Healy ’21 (mechanical engineering) worked with Professor Brian Sheldon on her poster “The Impact of Oxide Content on Cycle Life and Stress Evolution in Silicon-based Composite Electrodes.” Healy was supported by an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA).

Noelle Jung  ’21 (chemical engineering) was advised by Assistant Professor of Medicine (Research) Monica Garcia Solache, and presented the poster “Analysis of Fitness Costs associated with Ampicillin Resistance in Enterococcus Faecalis.” She was supported by an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA).


Andrea Llamas Sanchez ’22 (biomedical engineering) worked with Assistant Professor Kareen Coulombe to present her poster “Alignment of Cardiomyocytes in Engineered Tissue Through Biophysical Growth Cues.” Llamas Sanchez was supported by an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA).

Working with faculty mentor Vicki Colvin, Xavier Loinaz ’21 (electrical engineering) presented a poster entitled, “Optimizing PAMPS-LA Polymer Chain Size for Gadolinium-Oxide Nanoparticle MRI Contrast Agents for Detecting Glioma.”

Jacqueline Luke ’22 (mechanical engineering) was supported by an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA) to present the poster, “Implementation of Radio-Based Positioning System for Quadcopter Drones.” She was advised by Professor Allan Bower.

Kitty Moy ’21 (chemical engineering) presented the poster, “Innovations Based on Conductive Polymers: Design, Synthesis, Characterization, and Testing of a Semi-Interpenetrating Polymer Network Based Actuator.” She was advised by Professor Tayhas Palmore, and supported by an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA).


Jessica Remeis ’20 (mechanical engineering) presented the poster “Rapid-Prototyping of Microfluidic Channels with Application to Taylor Dispersion.” She was supported by an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA) and advised by Assistant Professor Dan Harris.

Austen Royer ’21 (computer engineering) was awarded an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA) and presented the poster, “Infrared Laser Pointer and Applications for a True 3D Display.” Royer was mentored by Professor Harvey Silverman.

Halle Purdom ’20 (astronomical physics), Livia Belman-Wells ’21 (mathematical physics), Christian Landis ‘20 (biomedical engineering), and Prince Ncube ’22 (biomedical engineering) teamed up with Axel Weber, a junior at the University of Connecticut, and presented posters entitled, “Optical Engineering and Characterization of Novel Scintillating Detectors for X-Ray Medical Imaging.” Professors Angus Kingon and Ted Morse mentored the group, who were supported with an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA).


Stephen Sun ’22 (computer engineering) and Jay-Young Cho ’22 (mechanical engineering) were supported by an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award  (UTRA). Adjunct Associate Professor Rick Fleeter advised on the poster, “Development of a Robotic Arm for Nano-Spacecraft.”


Thomas Usherwood ’22 (biomedical engineering) presented the poster “Prefilled Soda-Lime Glass Capillary Electrophoresis Platform for Lab-on-a-Chip.” Usherwood was advised by Professor Anhubhav Tripathi.

Victoria Vafaee ’20 (biomedical engineering), Vivian Ling ’20 (biochemistry), and Emily Papiez ‘21 (neuroscience) were awarded an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA). They presented research on “Antioxidant Nanoparticle Films for Improving Deep Brain Recording.” The group was mentored by Assistant Professor David Borton and Professor Vicki Colvin.

Yiheng Xie ’22 (engineering) was awarded an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA) and was joined by doctoral student Cinta Barbos DeCastilho to present the poster “Inter-layer Adhesion Energies of 2D Nanomaterials.” Professor Robert Hurt advised on the project.

Engineering faculty advised students from other departments with the following presentations:

Charles Bares ’20 (urban studies) was awarded an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA) and presented research on “Aerodynamic Design of an Underbody Diffuser.” Bares was mentored by Assistant Professor Dan Harris.

Luc Langlois ‘20 (chemistry) worked with Assistant Professor Anita Shukla and presented the poster, “Targeted Antifungal Liposomes for the Treatment of Systemic Fungal Infections.” The research was supported by an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA). 

Casey Nelson ‘21 (computer science) worked with faculty mentor Iris Bahar to present the research poster, “Modeling Applications to Create Realistic Workloads for NDP Architectures.” The project was supported by the National Science Foundation.

Bonnee Nie ’20 (political science and biochemistry and molecular biology) presented the poster “Investigating Molecular Interactions with a Placental Lipid Bilayer.” Nie was mentored by Assistant Professor Anita Shukla.

Engineering professors Iris Bahar and Chris Bull also mentored undergraduates from Davidson University and Central Connecticut State University on their research posters, which were presented at the symposium.

More than half of the students participating in the Summer Research Symposium received support for their research through Undergraduate Teaching and Research Awards (UTRA). Generous support was also provided through several other programs including: Allen Student Research Grant, BP-ENDURE, Computer Research Association – Distributed Research Experience for Undergraduates, DiMase Summer Research Fellowship, Directed Research Experience for Undergraduates, Huntington’s Disease Society of America, Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), Leadership Alliance-Summer Research Early Identification Program (SR-EIP), LINK, Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, National Science Foundation (NSF), NIH-PREP, Presidential Scholars Program, Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), and Space Grant/NASA.