Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Illinois

Meet our Students

Whitney Sinclair, Graduate Student

Entered Fall 2016.

Where are you from? What was your undergraduate degree and from which university?
I received my bachelor’s degree in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines.

Why did you choose the University of Illinois and the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department?
I chose the department because it is unique in the large number of professors that complete research in bioegineering and biotechnology.

Tell us about your research interests. What lab do you work in and what is your role in the lab?
The increased use of nanoparticles in consumer products and therapeutic agents, and the prevalence of nanoparticles as environmental toxins increases concern about the adverse effects of nanoparticles on human health, especially the lung. Lung-on-a-chip microfluidic platforms possess the capability to mimic physiologically relevant lung tissue. The goal of my project is to use a sophisticated lung-on-a-chip platform to elucidate mechanisms of nanoparticle induced inflammation and nanoparticle migration through lung tissue. This project leverages on the microfluidic expertise of Professor Paul Kenis and the cell-cell adhesion expertise of Professor Deborah Leckband. Being co-advised promotes collaborative and interdisciplinary research on a daily basis.

What are your plans after you receive your Ph.D.?
I hope to gain industry experience in the bioengineering field. Even so, I would have to say that my greatest career aspiration is to establish my own company. This company would offer me the ability to hire creative individuals to solve an array of complex human problems with engineering principles.

What’s your favorite thing to do around campus or in Champaign-Urbana? (Favorite restaurant, favorite way or place to unwind?)
My favorite things is rock climbing at the Activities and Recreation Center on campus or at Urbana Boulders. But if the sun is shining, I like slacklining in the campus arboretum.