February 19, 2014 - Che Ting Ho, a sophomore che-ting-hofrom Alma, Mich. majoring in biomedical engineering, has been nominated to compete for a Goldwater Scholarship.
Ho is a member of the Society of Women Engineers and the Science and Technology Residential College.
She is currently working on a research project with assistant professor of electrical engineering Tolga Kaya, involving electrotation. Their goal is to develop a technique for detecting disease through the entrapment and rotation of diseased cells.
"This could potentially help medical professionals detect diseases, such as cancer, more quickly," Ho said.
Ho is currently working to direct the movement of polymer particles, a technique that she hopes to eventually use to separate diseased cells from healthy ones.
"Our goal is to induce the diseased cells to gather at the center of an electromagnetic field where we can trap them," she said.
Ho was first introduced to Kaya as a student in one of his courses. Impressed by her problem-solving skills and strong work ethic, he offered Ho the chance to help design and fabricate printed circuit boards for a summer program called Research Experience for Teachers. RET provides pre- and in-service teachers with research skills and projects to incorporate into their own classrooms.
This past summer, Kaya offered Ho the opportunity to join his research team. She was grateful for the opportunity to become involved in faculty-led research. "I love research because it challenges not only my knowledge and technical skills, but also my creativity," Ho said.
Ho plans to earn an M.D. or Ph.D. and pursue prosthetics-related research, an area that she became interested in after learning that many people living with disabilities cannot afford current models. Ho hopes to design more affordable prothestics using lower cost materials to improve the quality of life for individuals who have suffered amputations.
The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Barry Goldwater, who served for 56 years as a soldier and U.S. Senator. Scholarships are awarded each year to 300 college sophomores and juniors committed to pursuing research careers in mathematics, engineering or the natural sciences.