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Highlighting Mentee/Mentor Collaborations for Undergrad Research Programs 2022

By November 21, 2022No Comments

In collaboration with the U01 project at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, undergraduate-level students collaborated with their near-peer mentors in the lab to create explainer videos about the research they’re working on.

NRMN is thrilled to highlight the hard work of these creators and share their projects with our network.

The first project was created by undergrad student Ana Maldonado. Ana is an ambitious student pursuing a biology degree at the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez. Ana is eager to contribute developed knowledge in the science field with research and one day become a physician. As a student, Ana is very driven and has a strong work ethic and the ability to thrive in a team-based or individually motivated setting. Ana’s near-peer mentor, Lorraine N. Velez-Torres, MPH, is a Microbiology PhD candidate at the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus. Her research focuses on evaluating fungal spore concentration, composition and immunotoxicity in water-damaged and flooded homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In her free time, Lorraine loves cooking, kayaking, and cats. The personal investigator (PI) for this project is Benjamin Bolanos Rosero, PhD from the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus.

A little description of this project is that previously, research from Dr. Bolano’s lab (with collaborators) found higher abundance levels of the filamentous fungi Aspergillus inside flooded homes 12 months after Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The goal of Ana’s project was to provide morphological characterization through culture techniques of 30 Aspergillus isolates from the studied homes in order to identify them to species level and compare the results with other approaches such as molecular techniques.


Lab PI: Benjamín Bolaños Rosero, PhD


Check out this video explaining more of their research Here!


We have another project created by an undergraduate student, Nicholas Jernigan. Nicholas is a senior undergraduate research assistant in the TAMU Powers Research Laboratory from Cypress, Texas. His research focuses on metallic-organic-framework catalysis of oxidation chemistry. Nicholas’s peer mentor, Aishanee Sur, is a fourth-year graduate student at Texas A&M University working under the supervision of Dr. David C. Powers. Her research is focused on developing transition metal catalysts relevant to small molecule synthesis. She is originally from India, and she enjoys puzzles and miniature crafts during her leisure time. David C. Powers, PhD, is the personal investigator (PI) for this project at Texas A&M University.

A little description of this project is that while several experimental strategies have been advanced for synthetic catalyst modification, few in operando methods are available to evaluate the origin of catalytic activity in metal-organic framework (MOF)-based reactions. Nicholas and Aishanee performed oxidation of organic small molecules and evaluated the role of MOFs in these reactions using kinetic experiments. They anticipate that the experimental strategy developed in this project will be helpful in clarifying the role of MOFs in C-H oxidation reactions.


Lab PI: David C. Powers, PhD


Check out this video explaining more of their research Here!


Special congratulations to these mentors and mentees for collaborating on interesting research projects and discovering new data!



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