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Graduate Student Stories Transcripts: Leopoldo Torres, Jr.

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Transcript of Leopoldo Torres, Jr.'s video

I came to visit when I was a senior during the visit week, and I absolutely fell in the love with the camaraderie that exists within the department. It seemed that there were a lot of students that got together and kind of hung out, and also hung out with professors. You don't really see that at other universities. And just the fact that everyone was so excited to be here. You could see that that kind of energy was contagious, and I just wanted to be part of that.

The amount of creative freedom is amazing, and I've really enjoyed that, to be able to explore everything that I am passionate about and test it in the lab. I think that everything I do is awesome, but, yeah, I work with making materials that are colored using nano-particles. The materials give you different colored responses when bacteria or viruses are present. Our goal is to create these sticker-like materials that will change color to tell the public if there is, uh, a concern nearby. This material works in a completely new and different way that hasn't been characterized in any previous literature, so that's gotten me very excited, and I've also worked on using this new system to detect a public health concern, which is a deadly bacteria. I don't think... I don't think the campus would be very happy if I talked about what we have in the lab, but it's, it's a deadly bacteria, and, it... yeah, it's deadly. It could save lives, yeah. Yeah, for sure.

We've gotten a lot of great researchers from all over the nation that have worked or are currently working in growing and emerging fields. The one really promising field is immunotherapies. Dr. Christopher Jewell in bioengineering works on using bio-materials to make vaccines to prevent or destroy cancer, and also for autoimmune diseases. So these are therapies that use your immune response to combat disease. There's also another really cool field where Dr. Steven Jay is working in where he collects these tiny nano-particles produced by cells and tries to characterize their therapeutic efficacy.

What's really great about the bioengineering department, especially now is that we're currently growing, and we have been for... since my time here, so for the past four years. I am involved with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and that is a national organization, but we have a chapter here on campus, and we go to local elementary, middle school, or high schools, and we tell students what they can do to get to college. I would like to use the material expertise that I'm gaining here at Maryland and create new types of therapies for autoimmune diseases.

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