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International Research Experience for Undergraduates

Development and Applications of Microfluidic Devices


arrow UPDATE

The renewal has not been funded. Please check again later to see if we are able to convince the reviewers.




arrow Program Description

The United States needs to educate a globally-engaged science and engineering workforce capable of performing in an international research environment in order to remain at the forefront of world science and technology. To support this aim, the Developing Global Scientists and Engineers program (funded by the National Science Foundation) provides highest quality international research experiences for U.S. students. The International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) supports groups of U.S. undergraduate or graduate students conducting research abroad in collaboration with foreign investigators.


This program will focus on developing highly trained undergraduate for careers in modern analytical chemistry (microfluidics, chemical analysis, and materials science) via a comprehensive program that includes research, seminars, and workshops. The focus on microfluidics and chemical analysis will enable students to acquire unique scientific skills along with an exceptional cultural experience. All the projects have been selected to permit tangible accomplishments (potentially including refereed publication and presentation at an appropriate scientific meeting), yet to be sufficiently open-ended that students could potentially continue working at their home institutions. All the projects available to students have been developed primarily from ongoing, externally funded research programs.


The key elements are:

arrow Project directed by Dr. Garcia (UTSA), Dr. Gomez (CSULA), and Dr. Carrilho (USP)

arrow 4 students (2 from UTSA and 2 from CSULA) Students from the surrounding areas will be also considered.

arrow 8 potential projects

arrow Students will spend 8 weeks at the Institute of Chemistry of Sao Carlos

arrow Pre-IRES training workshops, ethics components, safety trainings, and career development activities








Latest paper Women, minorities, persons with disabilities (more information), and students with extraordinary financial needs (more information) are specially encouraged to apply

Latest paper Support offered

Pending final approval from NSF, the IRES grant will provide travel expenses (flight to Sao Paulo and ground transportation to Sao Carlos), housing, meals, and a modest scholarship. The IRES grant will not pay for any other expense outside the scope of the sponsored activity. Students wishing to perform tourism (after the IRES visit) should make the proper arrangements in advance.


arrow Requirements

Interested students should provide the following items:

arrow Completed application form (including demographic survey)

arrow Minimum GPA of 3.0 (official transcript to be provided by selected applicants)

arrow Background in Analytical Chemistry (B or better in undergraduate course or equivalent training obtained through research experience)

arrow Two letters of reference (sent to carlos.garcia@utsa.edu)

arrow Statement of research interests and career goals (< 500 words)

arrow Registration in Facebook (to allow tracking progress after the program)


arrow Program Activities

Prior to departure, selected students will be required to:

arrow Obtain a valid passport by May 1, 2010

arrow Obtain the corresponding visa by June 1, 2010. Please go to the State Departmentís Office of American Citizens Services for more information

arrow Remain in academic good standing and within their overall majors

arrow Assit to a half-day orientation at local institution (personal interview, program details, flight arrangements, and instructions to apply for the corresponding visa)

arrow Acquire minimum communication skills in Portuguese and learn basic cultural codes of Brazil

arrow Complete a laboratory training at home institution (including Research Orientation, microfabrication, capillary electrophoresis, electrochemistry)

arrow Pass the laboratory safety training

arrow Pass the laboratory waste disposal training

arrow Pass the "ethics in science" course

arrow Perform a 10-min oral defense of the project at their home institutions


Once in Brazil, students will be required to form teams with existing students enabling a closer interaction between peers, as well as training experience to the junior mentor. Selected students are expected to work the number of hours which the appointment covers (normally 40 hours per week). Students are not expected to handle any administrative duties. Available projects include (but are not limited to):


Fabrication of Microchips

using direct-printing

Integrated microreactors

for enzymatic reactions

Integrated genetic


Electrochemical detection

of contaminants

Development of polymeric nanocomposites


By the end of the visit, students should have a personal responsibility for anticipating, analyzing, and solving problems related to the assigned project. They will be expected to organize their efforts during the following semesters to persevere in the pursuit of the objectives of their projects, present their results at scientific meetings, and earn co-authorship on peer-reviewed publications. In conjunction with a scientific meeting (where students are expected to present), an IRES meeting will be held at the end of every summer to review the program’s recent research and educational activities and highlights.



Latest paper About the location (Sao Carlos, SP, Brazil)

arrow São Carlos is located in the geographic center of the state of São Paulo, approximately 231 km (143 miles) from the City of São Paulo. Its altitude is over 856 m, offering a mild altitude climate. Most of the year the city is windy, sunny and with mild temperatures at night. For this reason the city is nicknamed "Cidade do Clima" (Weather City) and celebrates once a year an event called "Festa do Clima". Nowadays most of the region's agricultural production has shifted from coffee to sugar cane and dairy products, but the mainstay of the city's economy is industrialized and technological products. Read more.


arrow The University of Sao Paulo (USP) is the largest higher education and research institution in Brazil. It has outstanding projection around the world, especially in Latin America, and develops great part of Brazilian master's and doctor's degrees that work in higher education and research institutes. It is a public and free university, composed of seven campuses, 40 learning and research units, five hospitals, five museums, and five specialized institutes. It also includes multiple experimental laboratories and centers of scientific and cultural diffusion including a radio, a TV, a news agency, two local magazines, a newspaper, and an internet portal. It comprises all areas of the human activity and offers approximately 700 regular courses and graduates an average of 5,500 students per year.


arrow The Institute of Chemistry of S„o Carlos (IQSC) is divided into two Departments: the Department of Chemistry and Molecular Physics (DQFM) and the Department of Physical Chemistry (DFQ). Both Departments are engaged on extensive basic and applied research programs in chemistry, involving a wide range of scientific interactions with national and international institutions.











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