Duquesne Student Among 60 Selected Nationwide to Present Research in Washington, D.C.

April 21, 2017

Andrea Sajewski wants to take her love of math and science and channel it into a career helping people, using lasers to identify bacteria in hospital settings so that treatment can happen within hours, not days, or conducting MRI research to analyze the brain and streamline diagnoses.

Sajewski, 19, of Mercer, is one of only two Pennsylvania students-and one of just 60 nationwide-selected among hundreds to travel to Washington, D.C., next week to present her research as part of the Council on Undergraduate Research's 21st annual Posters on the Hill event, which allows undergraduates to showcase their research to congressional leaders, meet with their state representatives and learn about advocacy for undergraduate research.

Accompanied by their faculty mentors, students will present their research, participate in field trips and network with scientists and researchers. Sajewski has already lined up meetings with her senate and congressional leaders, and she plans to push them to support undergraduate research funding.

Sajewski will present her research, Photoacoustic Flow Cytometry Using Bacteriophage for Rapid Identification of Bacterial Infection on Wednesday, April 26.

In her research, Sajewski used lasers to identify bacteria in a blood sample within three hours-a process that currently takes up to 72 hours to achieve results. In the meantime, patients are typically put on a broad-spectrum antibiotic, which has led to increases in antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

She's hoping her research will help eliminate that. "Biomedical engineering is a really broad engineering field, and there are so many different directions you can take the research to try and help people and save lives," Sajewski said. "I think it's a really exciting time to be studying this."

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists biomedical engineers as among the fastest growing occupations in Pennsylvania from 2008-2018.