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From the Chemistry Department

Stellar Student Spotlight: Linh Dinh-Nguyen

Linh Dinh-Nguyen is a senior in the Department of Chemistry and a member of the Practical Molecular Sensors Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) stream. 


What influenced your decision to attend the University of Texas at Austin and study chemistry?

I chose to attend UT because of the vast amount of research opportunities offered to undergraduates. I saw this as a unique way to achieve a quality education while getting practical research experience. I thought that being able to interact with the material in an environment that fostered discovery and learning would be more than just beneficial, but inspiring. I chose to study chemistry at UT because it is so vast, yet interactive. I could clearly make sense of the practical implications of the research that’s being conducted in this field and how it can translate into something that would change the world.

Describe your current research or outreach project.

I may have had a late start entering into the undergraduate research sphere, but I was very fortunate to have landed a research position in the Summer of 2015 under Dr. DePue. I was involved in working with Functional Materials based on Metal Complexes stream. I was able to design experiments that evaluated my hypotheses in an advanced self-paced setting. This experience jumpstarted my initiative to pursue other ventures within chemistry. I started working with Dr. Metola in his Practical Molecular Sensors stream (PMS) in the Spring of 2016. Currently in this stream, I work on optimizing the novel electrochemical paper devices for the NoSlip. The NoSlip is a portable and cost-effective disease diagnostic. It is able to detect biological molecules by utilizing galvanic exchange to oxidize the signature silver nanoparticles that label them. Presently, I am in the process of testing different molar solutions to improve the NoSlip’s functionality.

After getting involved in these research streams, I have developed my essential laboratory skills, presentation skills, and critical thinking. I have gained a better understanding of the theory behind the experiments and I am able to apply what I learned in the lab. In PMS, after evaluating the performance of the NoSlips with the potentiostat, the device will be ready to enter the market.

What are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future include pursuing an advanced degree in organic chemistry, then inspiring the next generation of scientists the same way I was.

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