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Clarkson University Doctoral Student Recognized for Chemistry Research
Clarkson University chemistry doctoral student Shay Mailloux of Chateaugay, N.Y., won the Best Graduate Poster Award at the fifth annual Undergraduate and Graduate Chemistry & Biology Research Symposium on April 26 at SUNY Plattsburgh.
Mailloux is working in Prof. Evgeny Katz's lab, investigating multi-input biosensors with built-in logic to determine how they can be used as methods of targeted drug release. Funded by the National Science Foundation under a Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems grant, Mailloux's research would be especially useful for the military because it provides emergency treatment.
“We call it a sense-and-act system,” she explains. “We use two electrodes that are connected electrically. One is a sensor for biomarkers that indicate an injury or a different level of a substance, perhaps glucose. The other is a signal-responsive electrode coated with a polymer film with the appropriate medicine entrapped inside. When the specific biomarker is detected, the medicine is released.”
This system with a pair of electrodes implanted under the skin would work better than taking a pill because it offers a more accurate dose or a constant concentration of medicine, she notes. This also would be an efficient way to administer long-term medication such as insulin.
“This is just fundamental research. There's still a long way to go,” she cautions. “Now I've moved on to improving the system and making applications to different situations. We can't do tests with humans or mice, so this is all in the lab. We're seeing a progressive movement toward personalized medicine, and this fits. Drug companies can pick up on our research when they want and move ahead.”
“I thought a lot about becoming a physician, but I really love biomedical research. This is the next best thing to being a doctor, and I can help people,” she says.
Mailloux's research was supported by NSF award # CBET-1066397.
Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.
[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/smailloux-poster.jpg.]