Grad Student Spotlight: Erik Carboni

By Sydney Souder

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As he nears the completion of his PhD in chemical engineering, Erik Carboni has had plenty of time to acquaint himself with the useful facilities and knowledgeable staff here at the University of Connecticut. Over the years Erik has learned that if he needs a certain machine or instrument, he can easily find and use it. “If I had to describe UConn in one word, I would say that it is productive.”

The Connecticut native chose UConn knowing it was a strong school for chemical engineering. UConn’s top ranked school of pharmacy was a plus for Erik, since it enabled him to add a pharmaceutical component to his research.photo 2

Erik is investigating the flow behavior of nano and micro-particles in blood. The goal of his research is to improve drug delivery to cancerous tumors and other diseases. He finds it rewarding to contribute to treatment therapies. “If we can find the optimal size and shape that leads to maximal margination—which is the movement of particles toward the blood vessel wall—then we can maximize the delivery of nanoparticle drug carriers.”

Last October, Erik presented his work at the Society of Rheology annual meeting in Philadelphia. The talk was titled, “The Rheology of Nanoparticles in Blood for Improved Cancer Therapy.” This research offers a new perspective on mechanisms associated with margination.

Erik treasures the mentorship provided by his Ph.D. advisor, Dr. Anson Ma. “He found a project for me that he knew that I would enjoy working on. He is someone who genuinely cares about his students.”

After receiving his PhD, Erik aspires to a research position at a pharmaceutical company, but would love to teach if the opportunity presented itself.