The Wilson Lab
Working with Mina Aziz
Undergraduate student, Mina Aziz, started working in The Wilson Lab as a high school student in January 2018. He rejoined the lab as an REU student in the summer of 2021, and he is now working on a project centered on investigating the scalability of a flash nanoprecipitation nanoparticle formulation method. At the conclusion of his REU, Mina presented a poster of his work to students and faculty of the Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (VINSE). So far, Payton has taught Mina how to organize data, design and execute experiments, and analyze the results. He has also taught Mina technical skills in polymer synthesis, bioluminescence assays, nanoparticle assembly, and particle characterization. Mina's research project focuses on formulating pH-responsive endosomolytic polymeric nanocarriers capable of encapsulating drug payloads and improving delivery to the tumor site allowing for an enhanced antitumor immune response.
Working with The School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt (SSMV)
In June 2021, Payton began collaborating with The School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt University (SSMV) where he worked with high school students in the Nashville area with an interest in STEM-related fields. As part of an annual SSMV Stress Day, Payton co-led a lesson focused on introducing engineering concepts of the word "stress" to these students. In this lesson, Payton introduced ways in which engineers analyze stress in their everyday jobs and demonstrated the importance of stress analysis by providing real-world examples of the consequences faced when stress isn't analyzed correctly. At the end of the lesson, Payton led a hands-on activity in which students measured and plotted their own stress-strain curves. He also provided a small group of students with a tour of the Wilson Lab and answered questions regarding scientific research. Payton is looking forward to continuing to work with the SSMV in the future by providing larger groups of students with lab tours and hands-on experience in the near future.