Looks like we'll be blogging on here this summer - the three of us (Lauren, Joanna, and me) are undergraduates from the Johns Hopkins INBT (Institute for NanoBioTechnology) IRES (International Research Experience for Students) program. Long name, I know, but in short we're all working on collaboration projects between our labs at Hopkins and imec. I'm an incoming junior at Hopkins majoring in biomedical engineering.

Back at Hopkins I work in Dr. Jordan Green's lab(http://web1.johnshopkins.edu/greengroup/). In the Green Group I am trying to optimize polymers for properties such as degradation rate, buffer capacity, particle size, and binding affinity for effective gene delivery. I'm crosslinking some of these polymers into gel reservoirs to store drugs and combining the gels with nanoparticles worked on at imec that can be optically or magnetically heated for a controlled drug delivery system. I'll detail my summer project at imec in a later post.

A little delayed, but we arrived safely in the cozy city of Leuven, Belgium 2 weeks ago! After unpacking, the first thing we did was rent bikes for the next 10 weeks, since the majority of Leuven residents bike. Our apartment is a 15-minute bike ride to imec, so like many other imec employees, that's how we get to work! The first weekend (4-day weekend) we spent here happened to be Fiesta Europa, an international festival in Leuven which consisted of a weekend-long farmer's market, fire-related shows, and some circus performances.

Fireworks kicking off Fiesta Europa

An array of candy at the farmer's market

Acrobatics performers

Lamp circus performer

Belgian boy being hugged by a chair

Fire performer

Joanna and Lauren posing next to a fresh pork sandwich advertisement

Until Later,
D. Peng

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