Student Spotlight: Jeremiah James

Jeremiah James

November 7, 2022

Jeremiah James is a doctoral student in biomedical engineering from Tampa, Florida. After attending East Carolina University, he now studies how a newly invented technique creates polymer nanoparticles at Cornell under the guidance of Rong Yang.

What is your area of research and why is it important?

My research is about understanding how our newly invented technique, Condensed Droplet Polymerization, works. We use this technique to create polymer nanoparticles (PNPs) within seconds to minutes. The speed of this technique makes it a suitable manufacturing candidate to supply the growing demand for PNPs. Improving medicinal therapies is a prominent use case for PNPs. They are used for precision drug delivery of cancer treatments ensuring no toxins are delivered to the healthy tissues. Beyond drug delivery, PNPs can be used for construction material reinforcement and pathogen detection.

What are the larger implications of this research?

The advances that nanotechnology will unfold and is unfolding are vast. To continue along the same topics, PNPs used for drug delivery will likely lead to improved patient compliance causing a direct impact on therapy success. With PNP, reinforced building materials become crack-resistant, ensuring occupant safety for the long term. Pathogens can be detected with PNPs and mitigate the billions of dollars lost in economic output due to waterborne illnesses.

What does it mean to you to have been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship?

Being a Ph.D. student, or better yet, pursuing a Ph.D., is not easy. The jungle between your academic, research, professional, social, and financial life can feel like a circus act. Receiving the NSF has made these circumstances more manageable. It feels like a helping hand that is aiding me up the mountain and reassuring me that the path we are on is the right one.

What will this fellowship allow you to do that you might not have otherwise?

Receiving this fellowship allows me to focus on making progress toward my research. In addition, it provides me with more flexibility to shift my thesis to research areas I am curious to explore.  

What are your hobbies or interests outside of your research or scholarship?

I enjoy learning about real estate and networking with property owners. I like wine, food, hiking, chicken wings, and watching and playing sports; not much I don’t like. I am a Big Brother at Ithaca BBBS, which is a joy, and I recommend anyone who can volunteer.

Why did you choose Cornell to pursue your degree?

I chose Cornell because Dr. Schaffer made me feel welcome during visit week. The campus is beautiful and is driving forward entrepreneurial.