Chen receives Neville B. Smith Student Poster Award

YunYun ChenYunyun Chen, doctoral student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University, won the Neville B. Smith Student Poster Award third prize at Advanced Light Source’s (ALS) annual user meeting held at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. 

Chen is completing her thesis research under the supervision of Dr. Hong Liang, professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and affiliated faculty member in the materials science and engineering department.

“Understanding the interactions between inorganic nanomaterials and biological and ecological environments is important for health, science, and the society. The challenge lies in direct detecting the small particles. This project is a team effort with our collaborators in entomology (Dr. Jorge Gonzalez at California State University) and in tomography (Dr. Dula Parkinson at ALS), said Liang. “Chen has been focused and persistent in making and probing the particles and has learned a great deal in nano-bio interactions. Her study not only enables her to understand the particle pathways, but also helps her to develop novel nanoparticles.”

Two other doctoral students collaborated with Chen on the research — Carlos Sanchez in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Yuan Yue in materials science and engineering.

Chen’s poster, “Observation of Nanoparticles in Insects by Using Micro-tomography,” showcased the team’s recent discovery in understanding the effects of nanomaterials on biological environments. Chen highlighted her analysis of size and shape specific nanoparticles, their uptake, and transport pathways in small species. Her research studies toxicity of nanoparticles in ants to potentially develop a prevention method for fire ants.

Chen has published three journal articles and currently has more under review.

“It was a privilege to work with top scientists and the most advanced instruments at ALS,” Chen said. “We ran into several problems in detecting small particles but we have succeeded. This award is an inspiration for me and my teammates. We are confident that we will overcome obstacles down the road and make more discoveries.”