The University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez (UPRM), through support from the National Science Foundation, will host a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) focused on Reconfigurable and Multifunctional Soft Materials (RMSM). This new REU program will host undergraduate students in a 10-week, highly interdisciplinary, summer research experience involving scientists and engineers. It combines efforts from 7 academic departments at UPRM performing top-notch research on the development and study of new soft materials that are able to efficiently conduct multiple functions and operate away from equilibrium.

Soft matter unites a broad class of physical states, ranging from colloids and micelles to biological and granular matter, that are easily deformed by external stresses. Self-assembly, non-equilibrium, driven/active matter, frustration, topology and folding are just a few of the many diverse topics addressed by soft matter researchers. This REU site will provide the students a broad experience of the soft matter field and help them identify the interconnected properties and features that make these materials relevant for emerging needs and applications in nanotechnology, bioengineering, and the industry. The students will learn from their mentors how the deformation of materials with multifunctional and/or reconfigurable properties correlates to their fundamental composition and structure.

Sample List of Projects:

Name/ Department/ Email Project Title
Prof. Ubaldo M. Córdova-Figueroa – Chemical Engineering Rheology of Janus and active particle suspensions via computer simulation
 Prof. Patricia Ortiz-BermúdezChemical Engineering
Development of bioactive, nanostructurally-designed, artificial peptides
Prof. Pedro TarafaCivil Engineering
Percolation and hydraulic characteristics through a sintered recycled glass filter functionalized with micro- and nanosize titanium dioxide particles
Prof. Carlos VelázquezChemical Engineering
 Effect of hydrophobic materials on the growth rate of granular material under different operating conditions and physical properties of the raw materials during the wet granulation process
Prof. Sangchul HwangCivil Engineering
Tailored CSH gel for concrete materials with desirable structure and properties
Prof. Paul SundaramMechanical Engineering
 Effect of mechanical load on wound healing
Prof. Maribella DomenechChemical Engineering
 Tumor-targeted magnetic nanoparticles for thermo-controlled drug release
Prof. Rafael Mendez Chemical Engineering
 Powder phenomena and blend uniformity in a continuous feed frame mixer
Prof. Silvina CancelosMechanical Engineering
Permeance measurements of nanobubbles through living tissue
Prof. Aldo Acevedo Chemical Engineering
Reconfigurable solid-like liquid crystals
Prof. Marco A. De JesusChemistry
 Transition metal/polymer nano-alloys as sensors and filtration media for pharmaceuticals in water
Prof. Rodolfo J. RomañachChemistry
Study of lubricant distribution in pharmaceutical formulations by Near Infrared Chemical Imaging
Prof. Jun-Qiang LuPhysics
 Quantum transport study for DNA sequencing
Prof. Madeline Torres-LugoChemical Engineering
Novel composite protein microcrystals for the sustained oral delivery of antigens
Prof. Jorge Almodovar Chemical Engineering
Osteoinductive integrin-containing biopolymeric coatings for bone repair
Prof. Oscar PeralesGeneral Engineering
Polymer-based nanocomposites for food packaging

Program Highlights:

  • Faculty–led seminars on various soft material topics
  • Special seminars on scientific communication, graduate school, scientific responsible conduct
  • An end-of-summer REU poster or oral presentation mini-symposium, where students will share with the rest of the scientific community in campus their results and conclusions.
  • Fieldtrips to points of interest in Puerto Rico.
  • A summer in an exotic Caribbean island.

Summer 2017 Program Details:

  • Program Dates: May 30 – August 9, 2017
  • Online application is available HERE
  • Two letters of recommendation and official transcript are required  (online only)
  • Open to US citizens or permanent residents
  • Application deadline: March 1, 2017
  • Students receive a stipend of $5,000. Housing and travel to and from Puerto Rico also provided.

Program Contact:

Dr. Ubaldo M. Córdova-Figueroa and Dr. Patricia Ortiz-Bermúdez
Directors REU in Reconfigurable and Multifunctional Soft Materials

University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez
Department of Chemical Engineering
Box 9000
Mayagüez, P.R. 00681


Phones: 787-832-4040 exts. 5844, 3209

REU RMSM 2017 Promo Flyer