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Student Spotlight: Narayani Sakthinathan and Kumba Tonguino

Student Spotlight: Narayani Sakthinathan and Kumba Tonguino

Plymouth Whitemarsh High School sophomores Narayani Sakthinathan and Kumba Tonguino experienced real-world applications of Biomedical Engineering as part of Drexel University’s BIOMED Summer Academy, a one-week STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) program for high school students. 

Narayani Sakthinathan and Kumba Tonguino heading to Drexel Unversity for the BIOMED Summer Academy.

The BIOMED Summer Academy offered participants an interactive experience that introduced students to real-world laboratory and core research skills. For half of the day, the participants worked on hands-on experiments like controlling a fruit fly’s movements using light. The second half of the day was spent in the lab, where the team did research and put together a proposal for treating endocarditis, a bacterial infection in the heart.

“The current treatment is heart valve replacement, which can lead to complications like pneumonia,” said Narayani. “We wanted a more regenerative approach, so we did stem cells with silver coated ions, because silver coated ions have been found to kill bacteria.” 

The program also offers students opportunities to explore the biomedical industry through site visits, seminars, and presentations from industry experts. 

“It was so much fun,” said Narayani Sakthinathan. “We emphasized the concept of women in STEM a lot, so it was really nice to show me that no matter who you are, you can do this.”

Drexel’s School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems also serves as the university liaison for Plymouth Whitemarsh High School’s engineering courses through the Engineering for US All program.