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University of Missouri

Wounded Research

Undergraduate research in wound care is propelling Janae Bradley to graduate school.

Janae Bradley

Senior Janae Bradley of St. Louis is firmly pointed toward graduate school after a summer of research through the EXPRESS (Exposure to Research for Science Students) Fellows Program. Photo by Nicholas Benner.

Janae Bradley is certainly bright, but don’t tell the senior biological engineering major that her accomplishments are merely from being smart.

“I wouldn’t say smart — I would say determined,” says the EXPRESS (Exposure to Research for Science Students) Fellows Program member. “Because it’s not always just having smarts [that get you] through engineering. You have to have perseverance.”

So, on many weekends when her friends were enjoying their social lives in CoMo, Bradley was studying physics, genetics or calculus. And last summer, when she could have been relaxing at home in St. Louis, she was on campus researching advanced wound care technology using silver nanoparticles in the lab of Sheila Grant, professor of biological engineering. Their goal is to find a cheaper, more effective way to treat chronic wounds from diabetes, a disease that affects 8.3 percent of Americans.

The project was another example of how research has pushed Bradley out of her comfort zone. “I learned to take the initiative,” she says, from first approaching the lab about doing the work to managing her time so she could finish within the nine-week deadline.

As intended, the research experience through EXPRESS has Bradley thinking about graduate school. “I want to look more into tissue engineering,” she says. “I also took a class where we learned about medical devices — hip implants and knee implants — and I thought that was pretty cool.”