Sahla Syed and Soojin Kim have spent the summer researching high-tech approaches toward diabetes treatment, Syed with nanotechnology-controlled medications and Kim through the creation of insulin-producing pancreas cells. Niyam Shah, by contrast, hopes to harness the prickly sweetgum seed pod, a homely staple of sunny yards throughout the state, as a low-cost, natural water filter.

The three students, chemical, biomedical and civil engineering majors respectively, are among the 130 undergraduates presenting their projects on campus this Thursday at NJIT’s Tenth International Undergraduate Summer Research Symposium, a showcase jam-packed with applied research across more than a dozen sectors.

“Diabetes is a common disease that affects millions of people globally. Currently, the only form of controlling this illness is through regulating insulin levels,” Syed noted in her project abstract, adding, “The traditional method of administering insulin is via injection, which is associated with unnecessary daily pain. In addition, this method of insulin delivery has limited efficacy and can cause serious fluctuations in blood glucose levels.”

Her approach, to use nanoparticles to release the encapsulated insulin gradually based on pH levels, is one of nearly 50 projects to win financial backing in 2017 from the Provost’s Undergraduate Summer Research Program. Students also received funds from federal agencies such as NASA and the National Science Foundation, the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program, corporations and friends of the university.

“Many of our summer researchers have focused on critical problems in biomedical and environmental applications. The core approach is finding solutions through specific research, using advances in nanotechnologies, material science, engineering and information technology,” notes Atam Dhawan, vice provost for research.

Basma Abukwaik, a biology major, has been exploring ways to improve health outcomes for underserved populations through telehealth applications on mobile devices that can be used to facilitate diagnosis, disease monitoring and management, counseling and physical and occupational therapy, among other areas.

More than 70 faculty and staff members assisted the student researchers and in some cases, invited them to join their research labs.

The campus community is invited to attend the symposium in the Campus Center, where 105 posters will be on display in two sessions.

Symposium Agenda

9:30 a.m. -11:30 a.m.:      Poster Session 1

11:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m.:    Welcome Remarks, followed by networking and a light lunch

12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.:    Poster Session 2

2:30 p.m.:                        Closing Remarks