Farmer Scholar Earns First Place in Student Research Competition with Implantable Biogenerator

MELBOURNE, FLA.—Andrew Hernandez, a Florida Institute of Technology senior in chemical engineering, won first place in the EngineeringSection of the Student Research Competition of the Sustainable Energy Alternatives and Advanced Materials REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) Program. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the REU program competition was held at the University of South Florida this past summer.

Hernandez’s research involved the design modification and physical testing of an implantable biogenerator. The study addressed the growing need for a method of electrical energy production within the human body to passively support internal implants. Hernandez worked with biogenerators that rely on biological systems, such as the circulatory system, to produce electrical energy within the body.

Since 2011, he also has worked performing research with Professor Shaohua Xu in the Florida Tech Department of Biological Sciences. His project there investigates the effect of amyloid protein fibers on diffusion within the brain in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Hernandez, in 2009, was the first to be named a Phillip W. Farmer Scholar, which has given him full tuition support throughout his Florida Tech undergraduate career. He has also earned the Florida Tech Distinguished Student Scholar Award, Outstanding Junior Award, and has been a member of the Dean’s List every semester.

Involved in many extracurricular activities, he most recently was a senator and academic committee head of the Student Government Association (SGA), was a student activities funding committee member for the SGA, two time fall orientation leader, and Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF) Presidential Fellow, representing Florida Tech to Florida state government legislators.

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