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Working with Nanoparticles not a Small Experience

Tyler Wagner in the laboratory.

Tyler Wagner (chemistry ’19) spent the summer in close proximity to Miami Beach, working in a lab on the campus of the University of Miami researching the photocatalytic activity of SrTiO₃ nanoparticles and their toxicity effects on C. elegans. Wagner participated in research at the Interface of Chemistry and Biological Sciences under the leadership of Dr. Marc Knecht (Dept. of Chemistry) and Dr. Kevin Collins (Dept. of Biology).

Wagner was able to incorporate his multifaceted interests into this summer research project and became interested in Dr. Knecht’s research on Photocatalytic activity of SrTiO₃ nanoparticles because it applied chemistry to biology.

“I was particularly interested in this program because it was an interdisciplinary program that combined and applied chemistry to biology. As a result, I was able to gain experience working in a biology research lab, which I previously had not done,” he said

During his summer, Wagner was able to form valuable friendships with his peers as well culminate ten weeks of research into a presentation. “Preparing for these presentations allowed me to compile all the research I had performed during the 10 week program into a document which represents my hard work and dedication to the research during the summer program,” he said. “In addition, I will receive funding from the University of Miami to present my summer research at a conference of my choice during the next academic school year.”

This opportunity was funded by the National Science Foundation Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates which gives students a chance to meet new people in their field and gain a new network of connections. Wagner says, “The daily hustle and workload of working in the research lab was the most challenging part of the research program experience. At times, I worked up to 11 hours in the lab per day, depending on what tasks I had to complete. Overall, this opportunity was a great way to step out of my comfort zone and explore new things, both in the lab and out of the lab, while living in a new city,” Wagner said.

Wagner was able to challenge himself with his daily workload, the hustle of the lab, and learning all of the skills necessary to design, to organize, and to analyze successful research. “This program is great for anyone interested in pursuing graduate school in a science related field, medical school, or anyone who currently does chemistry and/or biology research here at Georgia Southern University,” he said.

His memorable experiences, new friendships, lasting connections, and transferable knowledge will help him to perform better in his work here at Georgia Southern and better prepare him for future research, including his honors thesis.


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