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Inaugural Woodward Family Endowment for Excellence in NDnano Undergraduate Research Awarded

Nina Welding • DATE: July 16, 2018

Rising junior Margo Waters has received the first Woodward Family Endowment for Excellence in NDnano Undergraduate Research.

The endowment is named after the Woodward Family and it will fund Waters’ 2018 NDnano Undergraduate Research Fellowship (NURF) in the lab of Prakash D. Nallathamby, research assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering and affiliated member of NDnano.

In discussing the endowment, Alan C. Seabaugh, the Frank M. Freimann Chair Professor of Electrical Engineering and director of the Center for Nano Science and Technology at Notre Dame (NDnano), said, “Each year, NDnano engages undergraduates to advance research and development in the center. Students gain valuable skills in cutting-edge projects, and together we answer questions needed to write future research proposals. We greatly appreciate the generosity of the Woodwards in providing this NURF fellowship. Thanks to their support, we are able to strengthen the NURF program and NDnano’s mission to broaden understanding, engage the next generation of researchers and promote the greater good.”

Through the Woodward Family Endowment, Waters will work on two distinct research projects with Nallathamby and Paul Helquist, professor of chemistry and biochemistry: nanoparticles that target different cancer tumors and antimicrobial nanoparticles. The aim of Waters’ tumor-targeting research is to create magnetoelectric nanoparticles that can be stimulated to release their therapeutic agent at the cancer site. With the antimicrobial work, the goal is to create multifunctional antibacterial nanoparticles as coating materials for orthopedic implants. Altogether, this research will allow her to advance her laboratory skills and build an understanding of cell tissue culturing, drug delivery methods and nanomaterials synthesis.

Waters, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, is a science-business major. She was identified for the Woodward Family Endowment through the NURF program, which selects fellowship applicants to participate in nano-engineering and -science research at Notre Dame over the course of a 10-week period. Fellows also have the capability to attend a variety of social and professional development opportunities throughout the program.

“My life has been personally affected by cancer, so I am extremely honored to receive this endowment, which will enable me to study a potentially much more effective cancer treatment with targeted drug delivery,” said Waters. “I am so excited that this award has helped me be a part of groundbreaking research that will support my goal of attending medical school after graduation to become a physician.”

Waters’ antimicrobial work will also be conducted in collaboration with Juliane Hopf, postdoctoral research associate of civil and environmental engineering and earth sciences; Veronica Kalwajtys, undergraduate student of chemistry and biochemistry in the Nallathamby lab; and Shaun Lee, Monahan Family Associate Professor of Rare and Neglected Diseases of Biological Sciences.

To learn more about the NURF program, visit https://nano.nd.edu/opportunities/ndnano-undergraduate-research-fellowships-nurf/.

The Center for Nano Science and Technology (NDnano) at the University of Notre Dame promotes collaborative research in science and engineering to address unsolved scientific and technical questions with an aim to promote the greater good. NDnano is where Notre Dame faculty, researchers and students meet to broaden understanding, discuss multidisciplinary research opportunities and shape future research directions. To learn more about NDnano, visit nano.nd.edu.

— Brandi Klingerman, NDResearch