“Get into lab as early as possible, regardless of whether you know you’ll like it or not, advises URECA Scholar Michael D’Agati ’18. “You never know where it can lead to and it makes the experience of school a lot more fun.”
Michael, an Electrical Engineering major in the College of Engineering & Applied Sciences, and a University Scholars member, is a big advocate of research. He enjoys challenges, likes to ask questions, and has thrived in the research environment – he was named a Goldwater Scholar, a prestigious national honor, in his sophomore year.
Michael’s substantive work in the Multi-Functional Nano-Biosystems Laboratory with his long-time mentor Prof. Balaji Sitharaman started in the summer of 2013 when Michael was a high school junior at Miller Place HS and was selected for the Simons Summer Research Program, an intensive program that draws talented high school students from across the country.
Michael re-joined Dr. Sitharaman’s laboratory when he came to Stony Brook as an undergraduate, and has for the last few years been engaged in developing supercapacitors using electrodes made from all-carbon 3D scaffolds for in vivo applications. He also was involved in biomaterials/tissue engineering projects in the laboratory, using multi- and single-walled carbon nanotubes and multi-and single-walled graphene oxide nanoribbons as building blocks to fabricate three-dimensional, macroscopic, macroporous, all-carbon scaffolds for tissue engineering.
Michael’s work in the Sitharaman laboratory has been supported by URECA summer funding. Michael also participated in off-campus summer research programs where he gained experience working on 2D nanomaterials, creating black phosphorus ribbons (Northwestern University International Institute for Nanotechnology REU, Summer 2016); and on microfluidics for chemical and bio sensing devices (University of Texas at Austin National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure , Summer 2017). Michael has co-authored several publications, and has presented at the IEEE MIT Undergraduate Research Technology Conference, Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meetings, the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure REU Convocation at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and the SUNY Undergraduate Research Conference (SURC).
Michael is enjoying his current senior design project on wireless power transfer: designing a circuit for powering a Bluetooth mouse through wireless harvesting energy. As Michael reflects on his overall trajectory of learning in the research environment of SB, he notes: “While it’s still pretty exciting for me to be able to actually do things physically in the lab, I think what’s more exciting is being able to come up with an idea where I can see what the impacts might be if the project comes to fruition.” Michael also notes that applying for the Goldwater Scholarship in his sophomore year was pivotal in helping him focus his research goals and objectives. Currently he is applying to PhD programs in nanoelectronics and wireless communications and plans to continue to do research in the field of energy storage.