Meet the Researcher - Sophia Ibarguen

Breakout Room: 18

SophiaIbarguenResearcher Name: Sophia Ibarguen
Co-Presenter: Sophia Barber
Title of Research: Nanotechnology and medicine: Battling cancer one hybrid bio-nanoparticle conjugate at a time
Division Representing: Chemistry
Institution: Pasadena City College
Institution Location: California
Home State: California
District Number: 27
Advisor/Mentor: Jared Ashcroft
Funding Source: National Institutes of Health BUILD PODER Award Number RL5GM118975; National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education

Research Experience:   Sophia Ibarguen is a first-generation college student of immigrant parents, who is majoring in Biological Sciences and minoring in Anthropology. She is a Dean's Honors student, Student Research Mentor, a hospital volunteer, a Catechist for her church's Religious Education program, Internal Vice President of the Pasadena City College Pi Club, an Academic Commission Committee Member, and an active member of PCC's Caduceus Club and Alpha Gamma Sigma Honors Society. In the future, she hopes to attend medical school and serve as a physician in an underrepresented area of Southern California. Together, Sophia Barber and Sophia Ibarguen lead three research projects: Nanotechnology and Medicine, Statistical Analysis with DataClassroom, and the Analysis of Remote Research in COVID-19.

Presentation Experience: 
In July of 2020, Sophia Barber and Sophia Ibarguen created the poster Converting a General Chemistry Class to a Remote Format: the analysis of a simulated integration using DataClassroom, Jupyter Notebook, nanoHUB, and Canvas. In October of 2020, they presented their work at the NSF ATE Principal Investigator's Conference. Sophia Ibarguen presented Student Engagement: Curbing the Adverse Effects of Transitioning STEM Classes to a Remote Format. Sophia Ibarguen sat on the ATE Student Spotlight - Resilience and Innovation panel. Sophia Ibarguen also recently submitted an abstract for a presentation titled Enhancing Student Participation and Understanding of Statistical Analysis in Remote Undergraduate STEM Courses, which was accepted for presentation at the 2021 National Conference on Undergraduate research this coming April.

Significance of Research:       
Antibody conjugated nanoparticles have a multitude of uses in cancer and infectious disease identification and treatment at the cellular level, including enhanced drug delivery, biomedical imaging, and phototherapy. Gold nanoparticles are commonly used in nano therapies due to their high surface area to volume ratio, multi-functional surface chemistry, unique optical properties, and their stable, non-toxic, and non-immunogenic nature. Gold nanoparticles, however, lack antibacterial properties unless ampicillin is bound to their surface.  Silver nanoparticles have antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anticancer properties yet are toxic to the human body. A rather new development in more effective cancer treatment options is the addition of an antibacterial component to counteract the symbiotic relationship between bacteria and cancer cells within the human body.  We aim to create a gold-silver nanoparticle hybrid so that the best properties of both the gold and silver nanoparticles can be more effective together, treating disease while also allowing gold's inherent properties to limit the negative toxic impacts that silver nanoparticles pose to the human body. Once synthesized, these gold-silver nanoparticle hybrids will then be conjugated to cancer-specific antibodies. The avenues of both passive absorption and covalent linkage are both being thoroughly explored to see which will garner the best results in attempting to conjugate, optimize, and link the core-shell nanoparticles to the cancer-specific antibodies. The project will then enter its next phase of employing ultrafast spectroscopy microscopy in the visible and infrared spectrums to capture the dynamics of the energy flow from nanoparticles to cancer cells.

Uniqueness of Research: 
This Au/Ag hybrid bio-nanoparticle conjugation research is a revolutionary step in the nanomedical field. Not only will these bio-nanoconjugates be able to be used as cancer therapies, but they also have a prospective use in imaging techniques as well.