Eagle to Present Research on Thin Films on National Stage This Summer

Giulia Stewart
Giulia Stewart, a senior in Aerospace Physiology, has conducted research on thin films at Embry-Riddle for the past three years. (Photo: Foram Madiyar)

Aerospace Physiology senior Giulia Stewart will present her work — on fabricating thin films of multifunctional melanin nanoparticles for biomedical applications — July 15-19 at the 46th annual Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society in Orlando, Florida.

Melanin is an organic dark pigment that is naturally produced in animals, plants, bacteria and some fungal species. Natural melanin displays a wide range of properties, including photoprotection, metal chelation, antioxidant and antimicrobial activity.

“Inspired by natural melanin’s plethora of properties, we hypothesized that synthetic melanin nanoparticles (MNPs) with melanin-like composition could simulate these properties with advantages, such as time-cost efficiency,” said Stewart. “Additionally, nanoparticles are easier to customize, making them easier to tailor for specific applications.”

Stewart and her team have been working on this research for the past three years.

“We have optimized the synthesis and purification of MNPs, which were then used to fabricate multi-functional thin films of MNPs,” she said. “The films exhibited strong photoprotective properties against UV radiation and significant antioxidant activity, indicating their potential for various applications including protective coatings, drug delivery and biomedical devices.”

Stewart worked on this research alongside faculty mentor Dr. Foram Madiyar, assistant professor of Chemistry.

“Giulia's presentation at the IEEE Conference on our team's advancements in melanin nanoparticles highlights a significant milestone in biomedical research,” Madiyar said. “By harnessing the inherent protective qualities of melanin and enhancing them through nanotechnology, we are paving the way for revolutionary applications in medicine. This research not only showcases the potential of synthetic melanin in therapeutics but also exemplifies the critical role of interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation in science.”

The project was funded by two Ignite grants awarded by Embry-Riddle’s Office of Undergraduate Research.

Posted In: Research