Amy Liu

Major/Minor: Biomedical Engineering, Minor in Computing and Intelligence

Year: 4th Year

Lab Name and Department: Takayama Lab (GT BME)

Project Title: Characterization of a Kidney Organoid-on-a-Chip Device

Is your lab work remote, in-person, or hybrid? Hybrid

How did you join your lab? I emailed the professor my resume with a description of my interests as they relate to his lab’s work. Then, I attended a lab meeting and met with two potential mentors. 

Please describe your project:

Organoids are “mini-organs” designed to recapitulate the structure and function of an organ, which can be maintained in co-cultures for long periods of time. Organs-on-a-chip are 3D microfluidic cell culture chips that enable the application of shear stress to cells. I hope to combine the physiological relevance of organoids with the mechanical applications of organ-on-a-chip to create a biomimetic model of the kidney proximal tubule, the segment of the kidney most implicated in drug nephrotoxicity due to its key roles in secretion and reabsorption. 

Anything else you would like to say? 

I started PairMe because research is central to the biomedical engineering community, yet so many undergraduates struggle with joining a lab. This past summer, I decided to utilize my free time to create a platform to streamline and personalize the process of engaging in research. First, to determine if there is also a need from the perspective of the mentors (graduate students, postdocs, research scientists), I conducted surveys of graduate students in BME as well as other CoE and CoS departments. Notably, I found that mentors are largely passive when seeking a mentee—with most just waiting for emails to come in to their PI’s—yet many would like the option of actively recruiting a student. In light of COVID-19 making in-person research fairs and such impossible, I hope that this continually updated virtual platform will facilitate communication between groups and bring benefits to all three parties involved: the mentee, the mentor, and the PI. With greater awareness, increased options, and broader reach, this platform has the potential to not only improve inclusion at Tech, but also promote GT-Emory connections as well.

Best of luck to all the undergrads! I hope PairMe will help you to find the right lab for you 🙂