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Chemical and Biological Engineering Student Offered 2014 Fulbright Scholarship

May 14, 2014

Amanda Decker

Chemical and Biological Engineering senior, Amanda Decker, has recently been offered a 2014-15 Fulbright Scholarship. 

Decker will be graduating in June 2014 with a BS/MS in chemical engineering and a biological engineering concentration. Decker has been an active member of Engineers Without Borders, Kappa Theta Epsilon (Co-op Honors Society), Tau Beta Pi (Engineering Honors Fraternity), and the University Band. Her research while at Drexel under Dr. Steven Wrenn has explored the effects of saponin, a family of plant derived compounds, on lipid membrane stability and structure.    

The Fulbright scholarship for the 2014-2015 academic year will allow her to conduct research at Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) in Bochum, Germany, under the guidance of Drs. Stefan Hahn and Georg Schmitz. Decker's research will look at the mechanism behind microbubble cavitation induced sonoporation. This line of research was started in 2008 by Drs. Wrenn and Schmitz at RUB, as a way to safely deliver potent drugs to an affected area and quickly release the medicine in the proper location. Sonoporation is the phenomenon in which small openings are created in cell membranes as a result of gas-filled particles expanding, contracting, and popping due to rapid pressure changes induced by ultrasound waves. These pores can be used to facilitate drug entry into a diseased cell, thus increasing the drug effectiveness. Specifically, Decker's research will focus on the pore size and duration of pore opening in the cell membrane, as a way to personalize targeted drug delivery to the patient and type of medicine.