Pierre Llanos, a junior bioengineering student at Hofstra (pictured above, center, with Nickolas Boroda and Andrew Wong), participated in the 23rd annual CSTEP Statewide Student Conference statewide conference earlier this spring and was awarded the Distinguished Research Presentation Award in the poster competition for his work, “Characterization of Biomechanical Properties of Endothelial Cells Exposed to Shear Stress.” He competed against other CSTEP juniors, seniors, and graduate students from colleges and universities schools across New York State.
The Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) provides students with academic enrichment and research experience in science, mathematics and technology content areas. Llanos, who resides in Oceanside, spent last summer at Hofstra with other bioengineering students and Dr. Sina Rabbany, acting dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, to examine the role of biomechanical forces on endothelial cells (EC) – the cells that make up the structure of blood vessels.
The students were studying EC response to varying microenvironmental conditions, in the hopes of presenting a more complete picture of the cell’s behavior. Llanos, a mentor and tutor for younger students in Hofstra’s C-STEP program, researched the use of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) to characterize these cells under static and dynamic conditions. The use of AFM allows researchers to gather new types of information on cellular characteristics such as 3-D cell images and force maps.
Llanos’ research last summer was supported by the Dean’s Fund of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, using a donation made by Mr. Paul Saueracker ’78, CEO, Minerals Technologies (retired).