Month: July 2023

The CAPS Research Summer Program

The CAPS Research Scholars Program is an intensive program, an initiative designed for upper-division STEM students who are actively pursuing careers in academia. The program aims to equip scholars with a comprehensive academic background, making them highly competitive candidates for graduate studies and ensuring their success in earning Doctoral degrees in 8 weeks.

 Not only students participating this program will receive personalized counseling and guidance from faculty members, they will also receive assistance and preparation for applying to graduate schools by developing an amazing Ph.D application portfolio. This programs also allow them to build a researcher-identity by conducing a mentor-led independent research project full time for 8 weeks. Furthermore students participating this programs will establish connections with university staff, faculty, peer mentors and fostering valuable relationships within the university community, while getting to know themselves as well as familiarizing themselves with the campus and discovering the abundance of resources available to support their academic and personal growth.

This year, with our doctoral student, Ian Sands as her guidance our third year BME undergraduate student, Thuany Marielle Lachos, presented her work on July 26th, 2023 as the final part of the UConn CAPS Research Summer Program,

The title of her poster was “Characterizing the Piezoelectricity of DNA-inspired Janus Base Nano-materials for Ultrasound Driven Stimulation of Neural Cells”. Her project is a continuation of the research from another amazing undergrad who just graduated, Ryan DeMarco, had done in developing the JBNt/PVA films for piezoelectricity testing.  We hope she had a great time in the program! And Great Job!


Cultivated Meat: A Glimpse into the Future of Sustainable Dining

July 18th 2023, an article on cultivated meat technology with our JBN materials was published. 

UConn is developing cultivated meat technology. So when can you serve beef that harmed no cow?

Cultivated meat has only been in existence for about a decade, and researchers expect further breakthroughs to overcome current limitations. There are two main methods of cultivating meat: one involves growing animal cells in the lab, while the other utilizes pluripotent stem cells that can differentiate into meat or fat and can divide indefinitely. The latter approach holds the most promise for large-scale production.  Researchers at the University of Connecticut vouch for the authenticity of cultivated meat, affirming that it shares the same DNA as its animal counterparts. However, they acknowledge the challenges in scaling up production, making it more widely available. This development raises hopes for animal welfare but may not have an immediate impact on mitigating climate change due to its energy-intensive production process. Despite the challenges, researchers at UConn, including Professor Cindy Tian and Associate Professor Yupeng Chen, are committed to the advancement of cultivated meat technology. They are combining their expertise in DNA-based nanotechnology and pluripotent stem cells to contribute to its development.

The CEO of UPSIDE Foods, Eric Schulze, emphasizes the importance of scaling up production to make cultivated meat widely accessible and affordable. The company’s goal is to secure a portion of the global meat market, estimated at $1.7 trillion, and bring cultivated meat into commercial production in the next few years. While cultivated meat shows potential as a climate-friendly alternative, it is not a standalone solution to combat climate change. Schulze believes that reducing greenhouse gases through a transition from animal agriculture to plant-based options is crucial for a sustainable future. Cultivated meat presents a promising alternative to conventional animal-derived products, with potential benefits for animal welfare and reducing environmental impact. However, it still requires substantial research, innovation, and scalability to become a viable, mainstream solution for sustainable dining.