The disproportionally low representation of minority groups in the STEM workforce makes us reassess the current practices used and places unique pressures on finding creative and practical methods of training. For any new methods to be sustainable and replicable, the core of the new methods should contain creative technological solutions for current and anticipated challenges coming in the near future. Nanotechnology, one of the fastest-growing fields, carries a huge potential for continuous practical applications in many STEM fields in which minority groups have been presented historically low.
One common challenge encountered in STEM education, especially among minority groups, has been the lack of a sustainable approach for improving quantitative skills among minority students studying STEM fields. It is also known that students with early involvement in research activities in STEM fields show higher academic achievement and are more likely to stay in the area related to their early experience.
For these reasons, this EiR proposal aims to build a research capacity at participating PIs’ labs, where minority students will have research experience with each PI and complete their rotations in the labs. Our EiR proposal will investigate the mechanistic process involved in free radical scavenging phenomena of carbon nanodots (CNDs) by introducing a DMPO-protein adduct forming spin-trap method and CNDs-polymer hybrid material that can be confirmed by quantitative modeling.
All PIs carry extensive experience in four distinctive research fields, including nanomaterial characterization, nanofabrication, polymer synthesis, and quantitative modeling, and intend to cement several pair-wise collaborations in the group that already exist, with a new collaboration in progress among the three participating institutions for building a sustainable STEM research program.
The Partnership builds on the team’s experience with research and education for minority students both in science and engineering fields for educating a diverse, STEM workforce with the capacity for ongoing collaboration. Our research will focus on mechanistic studies on the free radical scavenging activities of CNDs. Our EiR research will address (1) the synthesis of CNDs with various functional groups and the formation of CNDs-polymer hybrid material for increased controlling capacity, (2) evaluation of anti-oxidative capability to sulfate radical and protein radical by (a) CNDs only and (b) polymer-CNDs hybrid systems, and (3) critical mechanisms associated with the interactions between the scavenging agents and radicals that can provide information for future study in anti-inflammatory processes in biological systems.