David Monteiro Wins AIChE Student Competition




   Story by Schaefer School of Engineering & Science

April 20, 2011

Stevens Institute of Technology Chemical Engineering undergraduate student David Monteiro has won first place in a regional competition hosted by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). His poster, "Inkjet-Printed Drug-Eluting Bioresorbable Nanocomposite Micropatterns," led the Research Poster Competition at the 2011 AIChE Mid-Atlantic Regional Student Conference. The event was held April 8-10 at Pennsylvania State University.

Working with his advisor, Dr. Woo Lee, and Ph.D. candidate Yexin Gu, David has been integral to multi-disciplinary research initiatives directed towards combating bacterial infection in orthopedic implants. With hip and knee implants on the rise in an aging population, and multidrug resistant bacteria strains a looming threat, this research at Stevens uses microfluidic devices to study the use of inkjet-printed pharmaceuticals to prevent bacteria biofilm formation on implant and bone surfaces.

"These new methods have great scientific and commercial value for highly accurate drug evaluation before moving to human trials," Dr. Lee, the George Meade Bond Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. "David has made significant contributions to our research since he started working in the lab during his freshman year."

For this presentation, David looked at the drug-release behavior of inkjet-printed antibiotic micropatterns using microfluidic devices made at Stevens. His analysis demonstrated optimal patterns and drug concentrations that can combat infection for months on an implant once it is inserted into a patient.

After spending many months in the lab, David is seeing his hard work pay off. He says of the competition, "The judges were very interested in my project, and I had a wonderful time networking with chemical engineers from other schools, as well as getting a feel for other interesting projects that undergraduates across the Eastern U.S. are taking part in."

Stevens is recognized for offering in-depth undergraduate research opportunities, not only providing students with hands-on education to complement classroom learning, but also preparing them for careers after graduation. This ability to conduct and present research was a deciding factor when David selected to attend Stevens.

"Conferences allow you to interact with a broad range of individuals that share one thing in common: the desire to be at the forefront of research in their field of interest, and the desire to share that newfound knowledge with others," David says. "There is no better educational environment than that found at conferences."

David has turned his experience in Dr. Lee's lab into other research conference opportunities. In November of 2010, he attended the 2010 AIChE Annual Student Conference in Salt Lake City. He is also planning to present at the eCM XII: Implant Infection Conference, taking place in Davos, Switzerland this coming summer. This conference would directly follow a summer position at the University Medical Center – Groningen in the Netherlands, where David will continue to pursue related research with Dr. Lee's collaborators.

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