As a mentor, Nasrin Hooshmand aims to help students succeed in a society where technology is constantly developing and posing new questions. Recently two undergraduate researchers she mentored won honors at scientific meetings.
Hooshmand is a senior research scientist working with Mostafa El-Sayed, professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She does nanoparticle research, a fascinating field that offers countless opportunities for surprising discoveries. The unique capacity of metallic nanostructures – especially those made of silver and gold – to concentrate electromagnetic fields, scatter electromagnetic radiation, or convert light energy into heat makes them versatile. They are suitable for many applications, including signal detection and amplification, solar cell, drug delivery, and photothermal therapy of cancer.
The research area has significant global impact and has received major attention from scientists, especially young research scholars. Among them are students Hooshmand has mentored in the Georgia Tech Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering/Sciences (SURE) program: Peace Olaniran, a Georgia Tech biochemistry major, and Kelsey Walker, a chemistry major in Savannah State University.
Olaniran and Walker conducted research that aims to advance nanoparticles’ promise as tools to treat various cancers. Their work was funded also by the National Science Foundation’s Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) and Intel.
In their research, they synthesized gold and silver nanoparticles of different sizes and shapes for potential use in cell imaging and drug delivery. The products were characterized by different techniques, including ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
In 2018, Olaniran won second place for poster presentation in the 2018 SURE symposium, held in Georgia Tech. In 2019, Walker won second place for oral presentation at the 2019 STEM Innovators Conference, held in the University of Georgia.
“It has been a great privilege to mentor Peace and Kelsey. I’m very proud of what they have achieved in a short time of doing research with me,” Hooshmand says. “I encourage them to look for mentors as they move through various stages of their professional careers. In due course, I hope they will mentor others, too.”