Amanda Nash, a first-generation undergraduate student at the University of Houston, likes to combine biology, engineering, research and awards.
“I love learning new things and trying to understand the world around me,” Nash said about what fuels her research. “I think it is so cool to think about everyday things from a scientific point of view.”
The biomedical engineering senior at the Cullen College most recently won a Research/Student Leadership Award from the Career Communications Group Inc. and the Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) Conference.
As part of her win, Nash will be recognized at the Student Leadership Awards Dinner at the 2018 BEYA STEM Global Competitiveness Conference in Washington, D.C. in February.
Nash, a Program for Mastery in Engineering Studies (PROMES) scholar, was one of 28 students chosen for the NYU School of Medicine Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) in 2017. There, she studied developmental genetics and worked on a project focusing on the effects of cell polarization on embryonic development and the possible role of centrosomes in nuclear movement during this process. At the end of her SURP experience, Nash won the Best Poster Award.
She later presented her SURP project at the ABRCMS National Conference in Phoenix, AZ and — out of 4,000 student presentations from around the country — won the top Presentation Award for it.
As an Undergraduate Research Fellow, Nash has been studying the remodeling of the extracellular matrix of mesenchymal stem cells derived from mice, rats and humans — something that could advance working with stem cells and increase the success of bone marrow transplants — in the UH research lab of Vivien Coulson-Thomas, assistant professor of optometry.
“The biomedical undergraduate research program was designed for students to be exposed to research. However Amanda’s experience has gone well beyond this and she has embraced the research project at a Ph.D. candidate level,” wrote Coulson-Thomas, who has been working with Nash since 2016, in her recommendation for the BEYA award.
Nash’s goal is to one day be a principal investigator and full professor.