Brianna Conte: Prolific Undergraduate Researcher Heads to Med School

Dr. Jacob Elmer and Brianna Conte ’19 EE
Dr. Jacob Elmer and Brianna Conte ’19 EE

Who: Brianna Conte ’19 EE, minors in Honors and Bioengineering

What: Presidential Scholar, undergraduate researcher, tutor, intern, volunteer

Highlights of Villanova Experience:

  • Part of Dr. Jacob Elmer’s InnoCentive team, which won a $25,000 prize for developing a device that could continuously measure the blood content in a small volume of saline solution within a thin, flexible probe
  • Former president of Villanova’s student chapter of Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
  • Served on the research team of the Drug Discovery and Development Laboratory
  • Won the 2019 Electrical Engineering Outstanding Student Medallion
  • Won a Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence
  • Won a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Italy (which she declined to attend medical school)

Prototypes and Publications:

  • Created a low-cost chromatography system for protein purification using new technologies including a 3D printer and Arduino to lower the cost from $10,000 to under $1,000.  Her work took second place at the Villanova Sigma Xi Research Competition in the Undergraduate Engineering category and led to a manuscript submission to 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing
  • Co-authored “Design and Application of 3D-Printed Photometers Controlled with an Arduino,” which appeared in 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing and reflected work completed for the InnoCentive challenge
  • Co-authored "fNIRS Implementation in Semantic Memory Recall" after a two-semester independent study with Dr. Meltem Izzetoglu and joint pilot study with Dr. Irene Kan of the Psychology department. The paper was accepted and presented at the BMES (Biomedical Engineering Society) 2019 conference and reflected her work in collecting and analyzing brain imaging data using functional near infrared spectroscopy during a picture naming task.
  • Co-authored with Dr. Pritpal Singh, "Health Information Management System for a Rural Medical Clinic in Nicaragua," which was presented at the 2019 IEEE CONCAPAN conference.

What’s next: After undergraduate research experience in biomedical engineering and volunteer work at Bryn Mawr Hospital, Brianna is attending the University of Miami’s Medical School.