Christina H. Aridi
Hometown: Gilbert, Arizona, United States
Graduation date: Spring 2023
FURI | Spring 2021
Transfecting B35 Neuroblastoma Cells with Near Infrared Protein for Photoacoustic DetectionViewing biological processes at depth in tissues is essential for the study and diagnosis of neurodegenerative and neurological diseases. Despite recent advancements, current optical techniques are restricted to an imaging depth of ~1mm due to the scattering of light in tissues. In combination with near-infrared fluorescent proteins (IRFP), photoacoustic microscopy (PAM) systems can use light and sound to image specific cell types deeper in biological tissues than traditional optical microscopy methods. The overarching goal of this research is to isolate a monoclonal cell line expressing IRFP to validate a custom PAM system for depths beyond current optical-based microscopes.
Mentor: Barbara Smith
Sponsored project | Spring 2021
Jalal U. and Syeda F. Ahmad and their children — Jaheen N., Raisa N. and Nafisah N., all of whom attended the Fulton Schools — established a fund to give back and support undergraduate students in their pursuit of knowledge and the advancement of research. Their endowment, which funds a materials science, mechanical, biomedical or electrical engineering student, was created to help more students have the life-changing experience of conducting research through FURI.
Why did you choose to get involved in FURI?
I chose to participate in FURI to gain a deeper understanding of my field and the work I do by answering questions from individuals of different backgrounds. I also had the opportunity to share my findings and learn about the most recent advances in my field by hearing about my peers’ research.
How will your engineering research project impact the world?
This research works to expand the range of targeted cells deeper in the brain by near infrared fluorescent protein (iRFP) cell labeling in order to advance the study of neurological disorders. The custom photoacoustic microscopy (PAM) system used in this research, in combination with iRFP, enables efficient cell type detection by expanding the depth and imaging in vivo using non-invasive methods. One of the benefits to creating such a system includes providing the ability to detect and view distinct cell types deeper in biological tissues than traditional optical microscopy systems.
How did receiving this sponsorship contribute to your project?
I would like to thank the Ahmad Family for sponsoring my research project for the Spring 2021 semester. Their generosity encourages me to continue on my academic path as a researcher. COVID-19 has brought many challenges to the lab and it is great to have support from this sponsorship, as it has strengthened my determination to reach my goals.
Why should other students get involved in FURI?
FURI is a great program to be a part of because you learn how to talk about your data to individuals of different backgrounds and you get to contribute to and hear about the most recent advancements in your field. In addition, you get the chance to network with peers, faculty and professionals that could open doors to many other opportunities!