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Michael Lopez-Brau

Undergraduate Major: : Electrical Engineering

Future Plans: PhD in Computer Science

Michael Lopez-Brau

Michael Lopez-Brau was born in Boston, Massachusetts and raised in Orlando, Florida. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering with minors in computer science and mathematics. He has worked in research labs spanning across many disciplines: from bioengineering to signal processing and machine learning. His vision is to utilize computational and mathematical techniques to elucidate the inner-workings of cognition and consciousness. Michael is currently in two research labs. The first lab focuses on developing algorithms for adaptive compressive sensing. The second lab focuses on using deep learning for image ranking functions in image retrieval. He plans to obtain his Ph.D. in computer science and become a college professor and science communicator.

Cell Printer Optimization for BioMEMS Applications

Conducted at the University of Central, Florida

Mentors: Dr. James J. Hickman, Department of Chemistry, Biomedical Sciences, and Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Central Florida

Abstract: Drug development is an arduous process, sometimes taking years to get a drug from research to the market. Human clinical trials are expensive and often fail despite positive outcomes obtained from animal models. Moreover, the use of animals for drug testing carries ethical concerns and coupled with difficulty in translating results from animals to humans, highlights the need for creating human-based platforms for reliable in vitro drug testing. By creating a “body-on-a-chip” system, we can efficiently test drugs on human systems while simultaneously cutting the costs and the risks associated with utilizing human subjects. Currently, print parameters are being optimized for use in printing a two-dimensional cell pattern on bioMEMS (biological microelectromechanical systems) for electrophysiological testing. These tests will allow us to monitor cell viability and revise our cell culturing techniques. Combining various human cell types cultured into one organized, in vitro system will produce a “human-on-a-chip” product that has the capability to replace all former methods of testing drug toxicity and physiological response.