Mai Lam is originally from Northern Virginia, but came to the NSF REU program at UMBC from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, VA. Mai recently graduated from VCU in May with a B.S. in Chemistry and University Honors. At VCU, she was a member of Dr. Maryanne Collinson’s analytical laboratory for over a year. During her time in Dr.Collinson’s lab, she prepared nanoporous gold electrodes and collected electrochemical measurements of these electrodes under clean and biofouled conditions in a variety of solutions,such as ferri-/ferrocyanide, ascorbic acid and red blood cells. She and Dr. Collinson’s team published the article “Potentiometric Measurements in Biofouling Solutions: Comparison of Nanoporous Gold to Planar Gold” in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society in December2015. This summer, Mai is working in Dr. White’s laboratory on electrochemical aptamer-based sensors for the detection of various target proteins. Aptamer-based sensors rely on structure-switching nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) aptamers that specifically select for target proteins, and thus, offer an advantageous method of electrochemical detection for particular targets. Mai is currently working with aptamer-based electrochemical sensors for the detection of interferongamma (IFN-).
In her free time, Mai loves to travel, read, spend time with her family and friends, and bake. She is also a self-proclaimed foodie, and loves trying different types of food and discovering new restaurants. Mai aspires to become a primary care physician in the future. Following her time in the NSF REU program, she plans to work as a scribe during her gap year while applying to medical school.