Department of Chemical Engineering
University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez
Research Experience for Undergraduates
in Reconfigurable and Multifunctional Soft Materials
Summer 2015

The University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez (UPRM), through support from the National Science Foundation, will host a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) focused on Reconfigurable and Multifunctional Soft Materials (RMSM). This new REU program will host undergraduate students in a 10-week, highly interdisciplinary, summer research experience involving scientists and engineers. It combines efforts from 7 academic departments at UPRM performing top-notch research on the development and study of new soft materials that are able to efficiently conduct multiple functions and operate away from equilibrium.


Soft matter unites a broad class of physical states, ranging from colloids and micelles to biological and granular matter, that are easily deformed by external stresses. Self-assembly, non-equilibrium, driven/active matter, frustration, topology and folding are just a few of the many diverse topics addressed by soft matter researchers. This REU site will provide the students a broad experience of the soft matter field and help them identify the interconnected properties and features that make these materials relevant for emerging needs and applications in nanotechnology, bioengineering, and the industry. The students will learn from their mentors how the deformation of materials with multifunctional and/or reconfigurable properties correlates to their fundamental composition and structure.

Faculty / Department / Email Project Title
Prof. Ubaldo M. Córdova-Figueroa - Chemical Engineering
Rheology of Janus and active particle suspensions via computer simulation
Prof. Patricia Ortiz-Bermúdez - Chemical Engineering
Development of bioactive, nanostructurally-designed, artificial peptides
Prof. Pedro Tarafa - Civil Engineering
Percolation and hydraulic characteristics through a sintered recycled glass filter functionalized with micro- and nanosize titanium dioxide particles
Prof. Carlos Velázquez - Chemical Engineering
Effect of hydrophobic materials on the growth rate of granular material under different operating conditions and physical properties of the raw materials during the wet granulation process
Prof. Sangchul Hwang - Civil Engineering
Tailored CSH gel for concrete materials with desirable structure and properties
Prof. Paul Sundaram - Mechanical Engineering
Effect of mechanical load on wound healing
Prof. Maribella Domenech - Chemical Engineering
Tumor-targeted magnetic nanoparticles for thermo-controlled drug release
Prof. Rafael Mendez - Chemical Engineering
Powder phenomena and blend uniformity in a continuous feed frame mixer
Prof. Silvina Cancelos - Mechanical Engineering
Permeance measurements of nanobubbles through living tissue
Prof. Aldo Acevedo - Chemical Engineering
Reconfigurable solid-like liquid crystals
Prof. Marco A. De Jesus - Chemistry
Transition metal/polymer nano-alloys as sensors and filtration media for pharmaceuticals in water
Prof. Rodolfo J. Romañach - Chemistry
Study of lubricant distribution in pharmaceutical formulations by Near Infrared Chemical Imaging
Prof. Junqiang Lu - Physics
Quantum transport study for DNA sequencing
Prof. Jaime E. Ramirez-Vick - General Engineering
Colorectal cancer detection and treatment by nanomedical delivery of siRNAs and superparamagnetic nanoparticles
Prof. Madeline Torres-Lugo - Chemical Engineering
Novel composite protein microcrystals for the sustained oral delivery of antigens
Prof. Jorge Almodovar - Chemical Engineering
Osteoinductive integrin-containing biopolymeric coatings for bone repair
Prof. Oscar Perales - General Engineering
Polymer-based nanocomposites for food packaging
Prof. Erwin Suazo - Mathematics
Polymer dynamics: Green function study for the Doi-Edwards model

Program Highlights:
  • Faculty–led seminars on various soft material topics
  • Special seminars on scientific communication, graduate school, scientific responsible conduct
  • An end-of-summer REU poster or oral presentation mini-symposium, where students will share with the rest of the scientific community in campus their results and conclusions.
  • Fieldtrips to points of interest in Puerto Rico.
  • A summer in an exotic Caribbean island.
Summer 2015 Program Details:
  • Program Dates (funding pending): May 26 – August 4, 2015
  • Online application is available HERE
  • Application deadline: March 15, 2015
  • Students receive a stipend of $5,000. Housing and travel to and from Puerto Rico are provided.
Program Contact:
Dr. Ubaldo M. Córdova-Figueroa and Dr. Patricia Ortiz-Bermúdez
Directors REU in Reconfigurable and Multifunctional Soft Materials
Department of Chemical Engineering
Rd. 108 Km 1.0, Bo. Miradero
Mayagüez, P.R. 00680

Phones: 787-832-4040 exts. 5844, 3209