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ChE Co-op Student Technical Challenge Winner

October 4, 2018

ChE Student Nate McCrone, E'21, recently won the ChE Co-op Student Technical Challenge. Students submitted their stories/experiences to the Co-op team and the ChemE faculty voted on the best research/capstone idea. Please see Nate’s submission below:

“The core technology of the company I was working for (SQZ Biotech) is a microfluidic chip that squeezes cells in order to deliver material. As a member of the process development team, I started to notice a trend of low delivery efficiency. After determining that it was an issue with the chip itself, I analyzed thousands of data points sent to me from the chip manufacturer. These data points were measurements of the constriction sizes that were supposed to squeeze the cells (~950 constrictions per chip). Using excel, I was able to determine that the chips we were receiving from the manufacturer were out of spec. More specifically, the constrictions were too large. I reached out to the manufacturer and was told that the data was unreliable and the chips should still be in spec because nothing has changed in their process. This meant that I had to prove that the chips were out of spec. I used a scanning election microscope and image analysis software to prove to the manufacturer that they were giving us out of spec chips. These findings finally allowed the problem with the chip constrictions to be fixed and our process to get back to normal performance.”

Congratulations Nate!