Dr. Thompson Mefford

Materials Science and Engineering
College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences

Area of Research:
Nanoparticle and Polymer Chemistry

110 Olin Hall
Dr. Thompson Mefford

Proposed role for the Scholar as an undergraduate researcher in the Mentor's lab.
The Scholar will be an active member of the research team. The Scholar will be involved in nearly all aspects of the research enterprise. These activities include literature surveying, experimental planning, data collection, critical analysis, publication preparation, as well as other forms of scholarship such as poster and oral presentation skill development. The overall goal is to not only prepare string scientist, but also a strong science communicator.

Frequency and nature of the planned interactions between the Scholar and Mentor.
The Scholar and I will have weekly meetings to follow up on progress on short term research and professional development goals. The Scholar and I will set and evaluate long term career goals at the beginning and end of each academic term.

Specific plans the Mentor will employ.
To ensure the success of the Beckman Scholar, my mentoring plan is specific to the goals of helping the mentee assume a career centered in chemistry, biochemistry, the biological and medical sciences with special emphasis on developing good synthesis and characterization skills. Specifically, I will provide opportunities for the Scholar to acquire feedback and information that will enhance their ability to make decisions regarding their success in publishing in peer reviewed journals. Moreover, I will utilize resources through my professional network to provide professional and career development for the Beckman Scholar. I will encourage the Beckman Scholar to participate in seminars and workshops on professional development. Because effective communication of research findings is critical for scientific success, the Scholar will write research articles and develop oral and poster presentations reporting the findings of the proposed work. I expect that the Scholar will present these results at the department seminars, and at technical gatherings involving our network of collaborators. I will also encourage the Scholar to attend a regional or national conference to report the findings of this project. The Scholar will participate in learning valuable communication skills through involvement in multi-institutional projects, in which our students are expected to present their research findings. The Scholar, in consultation with me, will develop a career development plan consisting of both short and long-term goals. I will track the Scholar's progress through their career development plan, and through interviews with the other Beckman Scholars Faculty Mentors, to determine best practices for mentoring and make changes accordingly. Utilizing our professional networks, the BSP Faculty Mentors will provide opportunities to meet with those in many different career opportunities, allowing the student to explore the multitude of career paths possible.

Active undergraduate researchers in Mentor's lab. 11

Total number of UGRS mentored to date: 80

The Mefford research group focuses on developing stable, biocompatible polymer-metal oxide nanoparticle complexes and composites for biomedical applications. These applications include: developing materials for magnetic hyperthermia to target drug resistant bacteria, investigating the thermal properties of macromolecule-nanoparticle complexes for bioadhesives, and probing the rotational dynamics of functionalized particle for biosensing. The development of such complexes and composites will demonstrate the stability and interactivity of nanoparticles and improve upon them to give a better functionality for a given application. Through precision chemical synthesis, robust characterization, and application specific functionality, we are able to provide meaningful solutions to a variety of problems.