Students spend summer performing analytical chemistry research at Notre Dame

Author: Cliff Djajapranata

As in previous years, the University of Notre Dame again welcomed students from around the country to participate in Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in analytical chemistry. The program is open to any rising sophomore, junior, or senior undergraduate from four-year colleges who has a strong background in science or engineering and an interest in international development. An NSF-funded program, the 10-week full-time research program teaches students how to participate in a research project that can help solve problems in the developing world.

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               Caroline Stanton, a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was one of this summer’s participants. Working with chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Merlin Bruening, the UNC chemistry and music major conducted research on the interaction between antigens and antibodies. Stanton, a native of Barrington, Ill., says her experience at Notre Dame will give her some sense of what research will look like as she plans on pursuing a graduate degree in chemistry.

               Her second time in the REU program, senior Catharine Brady from Fairfield University again worked with chemistry and biochemistry professor Aaron Timperman, who has since taken an appointment at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Throughout the summer, Brady worked on developing a microfluidic device. “I learned how to design, put together, and test this device I was working on,” Brady said. “Within this, I learned and improved upon more broad concepts such as finding and reading scientific literature, problem solving, and creativity, which are all very important in the lab.”

               Moving forward, Brady said that her experience at Notre Dame has helped solidify her aspiration to go to graduate school. “It had always been an option for me, but until I was able to have this experience at Notre Dame, I wasn’t completely sure. Now moving forward, I can take all of the skills and knowledge that I gained during my time at Notre Dame and use it to be more successful,” Brady said.