Nine College of Engineering undergraduates and five graduate engineering students took part in Villanova University’s 2018 Sigma Xi Student Research Poster Symposium. The international honor society for research scientists and engineers, Sigma Xi hosts this annual event to foster, recognize and celebrate the next generation of researchers in fields including Astronomy and Astrophysics, Planetary Science and Physics; Computing Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics; Chemistry and Biochemistry; Geography and the Environment; Biology and Engineering.
Judges evaluated the research posters and provided written feedback to the presenters. The day’s events concluded with awards being presented for outstanding posters. Within the College, Chemical Engineering seniors Olivia Cero and Paige Turilli took the first place undergraduate award for “Preparing LtEc-Alginate Hydrogels for Animal Cell Culture.” Advised by Assistant Professor Jacob Elmer, PhD, the team sought to refine the production of LtEc (earthworm hemoglobin) hydrogels, which better simulate the 3-D nature of soft tissue, providing a microenvironment that mimics the growth conditions of cells in vivo. The structure of LtEc makes it heat stable, which is helpful when culturing cells.