Fischell Institute Intern Spotlight: Mya Hamstra

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Mya Hamstra is an incoming junior studying bioengineering. This summer, she is an intern in Fischell Institute Fellow Greg Payne's research group.

Hamstra has always been interested in science and medicine, but she was more interested in the analytical rather than the clinical side.

"This is what got me interested in engineering and the intricate ways systems work," Hamstra explained. "When I saw that UMD offered bioengineering as a major, I was interested in the intersection between two of my biggest interests. I immediately knew this is what I wanted to pursue."

Hamstra applied for the Fischell Institute internship because she wanted to be in a lab that had a significant emphasis on the engineering side, while enabling her to create new ideas and tools to benefit society through medicine.

"There were a couple of projects that stood out to me, one of them being the electrochemistry research that Dr. Payne's group is conducting," she said. “I was honored to have been chosen for this internship opportunity and loved every minute."

Hamstra loves how she has had a lot of responsibility to create and design her project and experiment but has the support and knowledge of Greg Payne and the rest of the group, whenever she needs it.

Hamstra is working on conducting Mediated Electrochemical Probing (MEP) of proteins and amino acids to discern the structural differences to help understand how biology and electronics communicate. She is experimenting with albumin and cysteine to detect and quantitatively measure the electrochemical signatures of specific amino acid residues when testing different proteins. She is excited about her work because it encompasses biology, chemistry, electronics, and many other disciplines.

"All of our lab members have been so helpful in getting me up to speed with the research and guiding me through my project's area of focus," she said. "I hope to take away the valuable skills of conducting research at a graduate level, all while gaining laboratory and analytical skills that will build a strong foundation for my future career."

After graduation, Hamstra plans to pursue a master's degree in bioengineering, hopefully through the B.S./M.S. program in the Fischell Department of Bioengineering. Eventually, she hopes to work at a biomedical device company geared towards biomechanics and prosthetics.

When not in the lab, Hamstra likes to spend time with close friends and family. She is always outside in the summer, boating and swimming around the Chesapeake Bay. She also enjoys reading and going to concerts. On campus, Hamstra spends much of her time outside of class putting together events for UMD's chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society, where she serves on the board as Vice President of Communications.

Published August 3, 2023