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PhD Profile: Amanda Figueroa-Navedo

Amanda Figueroa-Navedo, Chemistry PhD candidate, sits down with the College of Science Graduate Program staff to talk about what it’s like to work and study at Northeastern University.

Please describe your research.

My research with the Biomaterials Design Group in the department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology involves the study of how two extracellular matrix proteins – collagen and fibronectin – can come together and form fibers that may aid in healing chronic wounds.  The application of this work relies on monitoring fiber formation and wound closure using Infrared light and analyzing our data using statistical analysis programs like multivariate analysis.  Multivariate analysis involves a series of algorithms designed to evaluate, categorize, and cluster the data we generate in the lab so that we can better understand the trends we observe in our experimental data and ultimately identify strategies to improve tissue formation and wound healing.  My goals as a member of this laboratory are to apply data science with fundamental chemical principles of self-assembly to predict and optimize how to build highly effective scaffolds for wound healing.

What is your favorite part about Northeastern?

My favorite part about Northeastern is that there are many tools available for a student to learn new skills.  I particularly appreciate the online MATLAB courses to learn how to code and use the platform regularly.

Why did you choose to attend Northeastern?

I came from University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus with the idea to employ multivariate analysis to an entirely different area of research.  In particular, I became curious on what the impact of my skills would be in protein research and met with faculty members prior to applying before deciding.

What is your favorite part of Boston?

My favorite part of Boston is the New England Aquarium.  I really enjoy watching the sea turtles!

Are there any perks of being a Northeastern graduate student?

There are many perks as a graduate student and I don’t think I take advantage of all of these.  One of them is to attend the activities such as the Open House to meet prospective students.  Another perk of being a graduate student is to be able to gain teaching experience and help undergraduate students to learn new skills to be competitive in the job market.  I also like the activities organized by the Graduate Student Association to talk to current graduate students.

What advice would you give to an incoming graduate student?

Do some research on current faculty members, arrange meetings and talk to them about your research interests.

What are your plans after degree completion?

My plans involve finding a job that requires both chemistry and data science to gain experience within industry.  As an alternative path, I wish to enter Academia to teach and run a research lab.


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