A Scientific Summer of Research, Learning

November 11 2016
Category: Academics

This week's #‎SoaringToSuccess spotlights Brandon Davis '17. This science-focused double major spent this past summer conducting research in a biomolecular lab in Rochester, New York.

Brandon Davis

Let’s learn more from Brandon… 

My name is Brandon Davis and I am a biochemistry and chemistry double major with a minor in mathematics.  This past summer I had the great pleasure of working in the Benjamin Miller Lab at the University of Rochester Medical Center as a research intern in the Chemistry Research Experiences for Undergraduates or REU program. 

The focus of my project was to continue developing a label-free method of detecting cancer-specific biomarkers in serum.  Essentially, I used silicon chips with a layer of thermally blown silicon dioxide (glass) of variable thicknesses, functionalized with a layer of an amine reactive substrate, to bind amine functionalized hydrogel particles conjugated to monoclonal antibodies.  Once bound to the surface of the silicon chips, the change in thickness of the spots containing the antibody conjugated particles was measured before and after incubated in serum to detect for the presence of cancer related antigens at concentrations as low as 1 pg/ml. 

This internship not only provided me with the opportunity to conduct groundbreaking research in my field of interest, but it also allowed me to learn the expectations and become acclimated to the environment of a prestigious Ph.D. program.  I was able to form great connections and learn from renowned experts in the fields of combinatorial chemistry and biophysics.  As a result, I feel more prepared for the next step in my academic career.