|Lucia Brunel uses an active microrheology, optical tweezer setup in the MIT Bioinstrumentation Lab during her 2017 Summer Scholar internship at MIT under Professors Gareth McKinley and Katharina Ribbeck. Photo, Denis Paiste, MIT MRL.|
2017 Summer Scholar Lucia Brunel is one of 43 outstanding American undergraduate students selected as Marshall Scholars for up to three years of study at leading British universities in a wide variety of disciplines beginning in September 2018.
During summer 2017, Brunel interned at MIT, where she worked on a joint project under Professors Gareth McKinley and Katharina Ribbeck. “My research project as a Summer Scholar was an investigation of the self-healing behavior of certain biological gels. This project was a great opportunity for me to participate in interdisciplinary materials science research with both mechanical and biological engineering components,” Brunel says.
"The whole lab was so excited to hear the great news,” says MIT graduate student Caroline Wagner, who supervised Brunel’s internship. “I had such a good time working with Lucia through the Summer Scholars program, and I wish her all the best in her future studies."
Brunel plans to study materials science at Cambridge University after she graduates from Northwestern University in June 2018 with both B.S. and M.S. degrees in Chemical and Biological Engineering. Brunel plans to work in the laboratory of Cambridge Centre for Medical Materials Co-Directors and Professors Ruth Cameron and Serena Best, whose research aims to improve performance of biopolymer scaffolds for tissue engineering. “My work in particular will focus on chemically modifying collagen-based scaffolds to achieve more selective and controllable cell affinity that can be tailored for the type of tissue that must be regenerated,” Brunel explains. Brunel previously received a Goldwater Scholarship, which supports students in science, mathematics, and engineering.
“My materials science research experience at MIT taught me many of the material characterization skills that I will utilize at the University of Cambridge,” says Brunel, who intends to pursue a PhD in the U.S. in the area of biomaterials after her Marshall Scholar program. Three MIT seniors also were named 2018 Marshall Scholars.
The Materials Research Laboratory sponsors the Summer Research Internship Program through the NSF REU program. Brunel participated through the former Materials Processing Center and Center for Materials Science and Engineering, which merged in October 2017 to form the Materials Research Laboratory at MIT.
The Summer Scholars program started in 1983, and has brought hundreds of the best science and engineering undergraduates in the country to MIT for graduate-level materials research. A wide range of project areas is available. Applications for summer 2018 must be submitted by Feb. 16, 2018.