Student Success Story: Jonathan Moreno

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Creating Your Own Destiny

"Two years ago when I entered into the Chemical Engineering Program at the University of Massachusetts , Amherst , I was a little unsure of what I wanted to do in my future. I always had an appreciation for both the sciences and mathematics, so I figured engineering would be the perfect marriage of both.

"After taking a few biology and organic chemistry courses, I quickly found myself looking for a way to jump into bioengineering. At the end of freshman year, I approached one of my professors, who happened to also be interested in bioengineering, and asked to do research in her lab. Professor Susan Roberts soon became my research advisor, academic advisor, and personal mentor. Sophomore year, I quickly volunteered to work on one of her projects, focusing on the development of a genetic transformation protocol for Taxus cell suspension cultures. It was so fascinating that I didn't want my biology related experience to be a mere hobby in my chemical engineering education.

"With all of my many advisors' encouragement, I decided to design my own curriculum that would allow me to pursue dual bachelor's degrees in Biochemistry and Chemical Engineering within four years. After many revisions, I finally got it approved by both departments, and am now one of the first to chart a bioengineering degree at UMass with the hope of making this an optional degree track within a few short years.

"This summer I continued my research at Wyeth Biopharmaceuticals in the Purification Process Development group to test the feasibility of using a fluorescent dye labeled Protein A to replace the original Protein A for spiking studies in different modes of chromatography. The project successfully developed an inexpensive and effective Fluorescent Protein A Model that could be used by the Development groups to screen hundreds of different chromatography conditions at once, utilizing the Teacan, an automated high throughput-screening robot. At the end of the summer, I was given the chance to present my research to the Wyeth Development groups.

"With every new experience I've taken part in from research to different classes taken at the university, it seems to be getting increasingly difficult to narrow what I would ultimately like to go into after college. With a bioengineering background, the opportunities seemed endless. Having developed a profound appreciation for biology related research, after college, my goal is to attend a combined MD/PhD program in Bioengineering and Clinical Research.

"My name is Jonathan Moreno. I am currently in the Commonwealth College Honors Program and a two-time recipient of UMass College of Engineering Scholarship as well as two Research Assistant Fellowships granted by the Commonwealth College to further my research.

"I am a Student Member of ISPE, which just formed a Student Chapter at UMass last semester, and a student member of the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) as well as the American Institute for Chemical Engineers (AIChE). Outside of academics, I like to play and listen to jazz music and am a member of the University Jazz Bands. You can find out more about me, or write to me by visiting my Web site at www.biosyngen.com ."

Jonathan is also ranked #1 in his class. He is a certified Lifeguard and spreads his love of music at a religious school as a music director.

Last Update: 28 August 2011

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