Engineering Student Lands FSU IDEA Grant for Novel 3-D Chip Tech to Fight Cardiovascular Disease

portrait of undergrad engineering student jp romero and the famu-fsu college of engineering

Undergraduate FAMU-FSU College of Engineering student JP Romero was awarded an FSU IDEA grant. Romero is pictured in Tallahassee, Florida on April 23, 2024. (Scott Holstein/FAMU-FSU College of Engineering)

JP Romero, a biomedical engineering student at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, was recently awarded an FSU IDEA grant from the Center for Undergraduate Research and Engagement (CRE).

The grant, funded by the Steve Madden Undergraduate Research Award at Florida State University, will enable Romero to continue his research to help fight cardiovascular disease with new 3-D chip technology.

“Receiving the award is an honor, and I feel grateful to have been given this opportunity,” Romero said. “This award and the expectations that come with it will motivate me to become a better researcher and a better student.”

Romero is working under the mentorship of Leo Liu, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at the joint college. Liu’s Research Group for Living Fluids (GoLF) studies complex biofluids is working to develop affordable 3D microfluidic devices, known as chips, for diagnostic or drug screening for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes. 

“Conventional 3D printing techniques can hinder the efficiency and precision of chips used for screening,” Romero said. “By using fluid mechanic principles, we can improve the smoothness and precision of the 3D-printed surfaces of the chips.” 

The technique improves the underlying geometrical structure and uses novel surface coating technologies for diagnosing cardiovascular diseases. The project may make the mass production of microfluidic chips more efficient and be used for applications for basic blood research. 

“Research is my way of paying back all the people who have allowed me to be in this position,” Romero said. “I do not particularly excel in academics, so I want to prove to myself and others like Dr. Liu, who have taken the chance on me, that everyone can be successful in research and make their contributions to the world.”

“I am glad the IDEA grant committee has recognized the significance of JP’s research in developing these microfluidic devices to help prevent heart attacks and strokes—the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S.,” Liu said. “The award highlights our group’s commitment to supporting undergraduate research. I am confident that JP’s dedication and innovation will lead to meaningful contributions to the field of biomedical engineering.”

The IDEA grant gives Romero a $1,000 stipend to perform research over the summer. He will have the chance to be featured in the FSU President’s Showcase of Undergraduate Research Excellence in Oct. 


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