Three UCR Stem Cell Students Win NSF Fellowships
Congratulations to three UCR graduate students who recently learned that they have been awarded prestigious NSF pre-doctoral Fellowships
to help them undertake work in stem cell biology. The awards went to Maricela Maldanado, Thanh Nguyen, and Barbara Davis. The Fellowships
will provide stipends for each student for three years.
Thanh Nguyen works with Assistant Professor Huinan Liu in the Bioengineering Graduate program. Her project focuses on developing
magnesium-polymer composites to guide stem cells toward neurogenesis by utilizing biological and engineering concepts. The design
of this novel composite will integrate not only biodegradability and conductivity, but also bioactivity and mechanical strength
into one platform to enhance nerve regeneration.
Maldonado, a graduate student with Assistant Professor Jin Nam in Bioengineering, is working on guiding pluripotent stem cell
differentiation using electrospun scaffolds. She will be using scaffolds with different properties to guide each stage of
chondrocyte differentiation with the ultimate goal for creating cartilage of joint repair.
Barbara Davis, who works with Dr. Prue Talbot the director of the Stem Cell Center, is a graduate student in the Cell,
Molecular and Developmental Biology Graduate Program. Her research focuses on transient receptor potential channels (TRP channels)
and elucidating new cellular functions of these channels as an early warning system to protect health and survival of stem cells.