February 2016 Newsletter: Undergraduates Gain Skills with Research

Madiha Shah and Ashleen Sandhu, ’16, Biomedical, Chemical and Materials Engineering, both became interested in creating a new way to deliver insulin for diabetic patients because of a family connection to the disease.

Sandhu said her mother was diagnosed with gestational diabetes during a pregnancy.

“It was really hard because some people don’t like needles,” Sandhu said, noting that her father helped by administering insulin injections to her needle-averse mother.

Shah’s mother also has diabetes and she said her work at a pharmacy puts her in contact with patients who have the disease.

Through SJSU’s Center for Faculty Development Undergraduate Research Pairs program, they received a grant to support research on developing a noninvasive patch to provide a daily insulin dosage for pediatric patients. Dr. Folarin Erogbogbo is serving as their faculty mentor.

“He’s there to give us technical feedback and to help us network with the right people,” said Shah, who plans to study pharmacology after she graduates from SJSU this spring.

Sandhu wants to find employment in a research lab after graduation.

“I am gaining essential skills that will allow me to apply for work,” Sandhu said. “We are working with machines and gaining lab skills from being exposed to those machines. One of the benefits of undergraduate research is that SJSU has a lot of up-to-date equipment.”

Morgan Chang, a computer science student, partnered with Dr. Katherine Wilkinson, from biological sciences, as part of the Undergraduate Research Pairs program. They studied the impact of a high-fat diet on glucose levels in mice.

“She is easing me into research,” he said, noting that they had just completed a proposal for grant funding to study the impact of obesity on the risk of falling. “I recently decided I want to go to med school so I want to do something with neurophysiology.”

This year, 34 students received grants to work with 20 faculty mentors, including students from the College of Applied Sciences and Arts, the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering, the College of Science and the College of Social Sciences.

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