NSF Graduate Research Fellowship program recognizes students, alumna
Thomas Porter, a senior whose advisors are Professor Jessica Winter and Barbara Wyslouzil, and Vasiliki "Aliki" Kolliopoulos ('18) a former student of Nicholas Brunelli, have been awarded the 2020 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, which is among the nation’s most competitive awards and represents a significant achievement.
The fellowship allows students to pursue research projects of their own choosing while minimizing the financial burden on their advisor.
Thomas Porter will use his National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to support his graduate research in bionanomaterials for cancer theranostics. Porter's goals include pursuing a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and teaching at the university level.
Last year, Thomas Porter won two prestigious awards: He was named a 2019 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar and a 2019-20 Astronaut Scholar by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.
During his time at Ohio State, Thomas has been researching methods to improve quantum dot nanoparticles for biomedical imaging.
Vasiliki "Aliki" Kolliopoulos
Vasiliki "Aliki" Kolliopoulos, now a doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will use the fellowship to help fund her research under Dr. Brendan Harley. Her research focuses on using biomaterial strategies to modulate the kinetics of the immune response post-injury as a means to accelerate implant integration and subsequent bone regeneration.
In addition to the NSF, during her PhD career she has also been a Chemical-Biology Interface Trainee, which is an NIH-funded training program. This program provides a platform for graduate students from various disciplines to come together for collaboration and networking.
As an Ohio State chemical engineering undergrad, Kolliopoulos conducted research on DNA origami nanotechnology in the laboratory of Dr. Carlos Castro (mechanical engineering), who served as her advisor. For this research, she was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Honorable Mention in 2018. Also through this work, Kolliopoulos co-authored a publication in 2016 titled "Directing folding pathways for multi-component DNA origami nanostructures with complex topology."
Xilal Rima, a doctoral student working with Professor Eduardo Reátegui, focuses his work on cancer research, specifically on a phenomenon referred to as cancer dormancy. He plans to pursue a career in academia, where he can encourage diversification and serve as an advocate to underrepresented engineering students.
Last year, Rima was one of one of about 40 students selected nationwide to participate in the University of Michigan's NextProf Pathfinder Workshop. The Pathfinder Workshop was an intense “boot camp” intended for 1st and 2nd year doctoral students and students in masters programs in colleges of engineering across the country.
Prior to coming to Ohio State, Xilal studied at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he did research at the Biomolecular Materials and Nanoscale Assembly Lab for Jennifer N. Cha.