Tyler Brown, Polymer Science/ACS Biochemistry
University of Southern Mississippi
2012 Goldwater Scholar

Tyler Brown is in his third year of the Biomolecular Science and Engineering PhD Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Under the guidance of Dr. Samir Mitragotri, a renowned expert in the field of drug delivery, he is creating a translatable, human in vitro blood brain barrier (BBB) microfluidic model to understand how nanoparticle properties like particle shape, size, geometry, surface chemistry, composition, and modulus affect transport across the BBB and into the brain. Ultimately, Tyler and Dr. Mitragotri hope to create predictive models that can be used to design novel, tailored carriers to enable the treatment of brain tumors and neurodegenerative diseases.

“I enjoyed conducting research so much as an undergraduate that I engaged in research throughout my entire four undergraduate years,” he said, “including summers and breaks!” At the time he applied for a Goldwater scholarship, he was working as a sophomore research assistant in Dr. Sarah Morgan’s research lab at the University of Southern Mississippi. The value of being a Goldwater Scholar became particularly apparent when he was applying to graduate schools. “Being a Goldwater Scholar opened a lot of doors for me and brought me to a place that I never thought was possible,” Tyler said.

Tyler’s recognitions did not stop with his Goldwater award. He was also selected as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and was the recipient of a Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Graduate Fellowship. “All of these fellowships and scholarships were critical to my education,” Tyler explained. “I couldn’t have gone to school without them. My parents never had the opportunity to attend college. Our family simply did not have the resources.”

Over the past few years, Tyler has mentored four undergraduates, co-authored three papers, and taught undergraduate discussion sections. “I never thought I would be where I am today inspiring young, curious minds about the wonderful, exciting, and sometimes scary world of research. It is truly my dream come true,” Tyler said in closing.