Ms. Emma Phillips

Recipient of the Dr. Savio and Mrs. Pattie Woo Research Scholarship

EmmaIt is my honor to receive the Dr. Savio and Mrs. Pattie Woo Research Scholarship for the Summer Undergraduate Research Program at the Musculoskeletal Research Center (MSRC) at University of Pittsburgh. I am an incoming sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in biomedical engineering with a perspective concentration in biomechanical engineering and a possible minor in mechanical engineering. My experience at the MSRC was my first real research position and I learned invaluable lessons about planning and executing experimentation as well as facing inevitable problems along the way.

My project was evaluating the cytotoxic effect of magnesium alloys AZ31 (3% aluminum-1% zinc) and single-crystal magnesium on ACL fibroblasts cultured from a previous MSRC in vivo study using goats. From the preliminary data we collected, we found that both these materials would be suitable for ACL applications and that magnesium in moderate concentrations produced a profound positive effect on ACL cell viability.

I had a fantastic summer at the MSRC and hope to continue into the Fall and beyond. I could not have had such an educational experience if not for my two mentors, Ms. Kathryn Farraro and Dr. Cuiling Zhang, who guided me through while giving me enough freedom to learn on my own. I am very grateful to Dr. Woo for allowing a somewhat inexperienced student to learn in such a supportive and hands-on environment and for allowing me the financial stability to intern this summer at the MSRC. Dr. Woo has truly supported every aspect of my aspirations this summer and I am extremely thankful to him.