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Research Project Description:
I had the opportunity to gain research experience by developing and characterizing micro-patterned hydrogels with Joel Paustian in the Squires Lab in the Chemical Engineering Department at UCSB. Joel Paustian is focusing on the development and characterization of micropatterned hydrogels in microfluidic devices. Microfluidic devices are small pieces of technology that allow for fluids to be manipulated and controlled though channels on a micro-scale.
In the lab I was able to create and experiment with a microfluidic device made from a UV-curable resin ("sticker") instead of the previously designed microfluidic devices made in polydimethyl siloxane (PDMS). I was also able to make hydrogel structures in the channels that allow for diffusion between channels but inhibits the flow of a fluid from one channel into the other. We also observed the behavior of salts as they diffused though the hydrogels and crystallized in the presense of ethanol and were able to experiment with methods characterizing the attributes of the hydrogels, such as the porosity. Microfluidic devices with hydrogels will have applications in many different fields, especially allowing for more controlled experiments of fluids with smaller amounds of substances.
Research Project Attachments:
|Micropatterned hydrogels in microfluidic devices||397.86 KB|
Curriculum Project Year:
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This project is designed to incorporate scientific methods, experimental design and data collection techniques currently used in marine professional communities to a high school level marine biology or general biology classroom. The main goal of this project is to relate abstract ideas such as upwelling and nutrient enrichment to actual events, like agricultural run-off and harmful algal blooms.