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Chemistry Student Mariana Hernandez Publishes Research

Students join the Honors Program for the research opportunities it presents them.  Mariana Hernandez (chemistry ’15) has taken her research to the next level: publication.  An article she co-wrote with Toan Tran, Dhruvil Patel, and Dr. Ji Wu, “Temperature and pH Responsive Microfibers for Controllable and Variable Ibuprofen Delivery,” was recently published in the journal Advances in Materials Science and Engineering.

Hernandez’s research group sent their article to numerous journals, and they were thrilled to finally receive an acceptance letter.

“Seeing our research in a medical journal was a great experience,” Hernandez said. “Knowing that your name is out there in your field is pretty exciting.”

Hernandez’s research focused on controllable drug delivery through the use of electrospun microfibers, and she sought to find a polymer through which ibuprofen can easily be released. PNIDAM, a type of polymer, was the experiment’s primary focus.

Mariana Hernandez in the lab

Mariana Hernandez in the lab

Hernandez and her research partners compared PNIDAM’s effectiveness to PCL, a control polymer, and discovered PNIDAM’s ability to work at high temperatures and at low pH values. Hernandez hopes this research culminates in a wearable patch that can release ibuprofen in controlled doses.

“Participating in this research has not only helped me in terms of applying to graduate school, but has also prepared me for a career in the medical field,” Hernandez said. “When I’m a doctor, I’ll be able to see the medicine I prescribe my patients from another perspective.”

Hernandez appreciates the Honors Program’s focus on research, which motivated her to seek out faculty in her department to work with.

“Being a member of the Honors Program forced me to pursue research, which has provided me with invaluable relationships with my professors and leadership experience that will carry over into my career.”

Currently, Hernandez is busy applying to medical schools in Georgia, where she will study for a career as a surgeon.

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