BME Undergraduates Place in 2022 3-Minute Thesis Competition

Posted: November 15, 2022

Two Undergraduates within the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Isabelle Aguilar and Natalia Mendonca, placed in the 2022 3-Minute Thesis Competition. The 3MT®, developed at the University of Queensland, challenges participants to present their research—in just three minutes using everyday language—to an audience. This year the Competition was held in Pomerene Hall’s TDAI Ideation Zone on Wednesday, November 2, 2022 from 6:00-7:30pm. Read more about each of their projects below. Visit the 3-Minute Thesis program website for more details about the program.

Isabelle Aguilar Headshot
Isabelle Aguilar - 2nd Place

Second Place Winner - Isabelle Aguilar

Project Title: “Identifying Keratoconus from Ultrasound Sample Entropy”

My project involved signal processing of data taken from my lab's ultrasound elastography method, Ocular Pulse Elastography (OPE). My research focused on keratoconus, a corneal disease that develops in early adolescence and can evolve into extreme visual impairment. Keratoconus is difficult to diagnose definitively, especially in its early stages. To address this, my research led to the study of an ultrasound radiofrequency-based parameter, called Sample Entropy, that could differentiate between keratoconus and healthy eyes. My current findings have been able to successfully distinguish between these diseased and normal corneas, which may be attributed to altered tissue microstructure in keratoconus corneas. I want to give special thanks to the URAP program for sponsoring my summer research, and to Dr. Liu and her lab for all of their guidance!

Natalia Mendonca Headshot
Natalia Mendonca - 3rd Place

Third Place Winner - Natalia Mendonca

Project Title: “Decoupling Vasculogenic Cell-Based and Extracellular Vesicle Therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease”

Recent findings have seen that lack of cerebral blood flow leads to an onset and progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. The goal of the study is to deliver induced endothelial cells and pro-vasculogenic designer extracellular vesicles to the brain and evaluate the effects they have on the brain and Alzheimer’s Disease. This project is part of Dr. Daniel Gallego-Perez and Dr. Natalia Higuita-Castro’s lab.