Featured Researcher: Christopher Lu '23
About the Student Researcher
BS in biomedical engineering
What's your research story?
I am a senior biomedical engineer concentrating in cell and tissue engineering. During my undergraduate career, I have worked on an entrepreneurship endeavor that combined prototype design and research, performed academia research at the UofR in the microbiology and BME departments, and interned at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in research positions for two summers. Currently, I am working in the McGrath Lab performing bench research with our nanomembranes, computationally modeling various types of flow through cell monolayers, and attempting to capture fluorescent microbeads under tangential flow conditions on our membranes devices. At the same time, I am working with the Whasil Lee Lab performing computational data analysis with a self-generated program to quantify chondrocyte cell death and analyze chondrocyte behavior under different conditions. Looking forward, I hope to pursue a PhD in BME aiming to approach therapeutics using stem cells, genome engineering, self-assembling biomaterials, and/or nanomedicine.
How did you initially secure your research position?
McGrath Lab: Emailed request to PI after being a TA for his BME201 course (when taking the course, made sure to attend office hours/interact with professor outside of lecture) Lee Lab: Extended upon final project in BME221 course taught by Dr. Regine Choe, continued to work with her on the data analysis code before joining the Lee Lab in the fall semester to implement the program I built.
Departments/programs of research
Any research presentations, awards, or publications?
Hope to present research at conferences in the Spring semester (undecided)
Can you share some "lessons learned" as a result of your undergraduate research experience?
Lesson 1: Building well-controlled, scientific rigorous experiments will provide information in results no matter the outcome and is 99% of the journey in generating cutting-edge research experiments.
Lesson 2: The research process is long, can be tiring, and is often filled with failures, but think of every failure as an opportunity to learn and approach the problem from a different direction, that is where the novelty in research comes from.
Lesson 3: Success in research is however YOU define it (coming from someone who has not presented his research at a conference, does not have an authored paper, and has been in positions/roles that made me not like research at times), I learned that success for me is gaining the necessary soft and hard skills that will serve me well during graduate school.
Lesson 4: Don't give up, the path to finding a research position you 'love' will take time, but enjoy the process because it only happens once! :)
What advice can you share with new undergraduate researchers?
When going into a new research experience you will rarely know for certain if that research is "correct" or "right" for you, but every experience can teach you something and help you develop the critical thinking/analysis skills necessary to be a successful researcher in the future! Just because you have many interests and you don't have a published paper by the end of your undergraduate career or when you are applying to graduate school, does not mean you are less of a researcher, it just means you chose to spend your undergraduate time exploring what interests you.