Alexis Ellis
Alexis Ellis headshot
Year: 2023
Faculty Advisor: Abraham Stroock
Faculty Advisor: Margaret Frank

Increasing Efficiency: creating an Automated Tissue Processor for Plant Sciences

My summer research project aimed to tackle the time-consuming and labor-intensive propidium iodide (PI) staining process in plant sciences, which is routinely used for staining cell walls. By applying engineering principles, I helped design a prototype that automates this task, reducing the burden on scientists and thus saving valuable time. I utilized techniques such as Arduino coding, schematic building, CAD design, and soldering to create an efficient automated system. The successful outcome was a working prototype that holds the promise of becoming a vital tool in the Frank Lab. Through this interdisciplinary approach, we demonstrated how merging engineering with plant sciences can lead to practical solutions. The automated tissue processor we developed has the potential to revolutionize not only PI staining but also serve an efficient solution for various tissue preparations steps.

During my internship with the prestigious Stroock and Frank Lab, I’ve had an incredibly positive and rewarding experience. This opportunity has allowed me to make significant progress in my coding skills, particularly in Python and C++, while also improving my engineering capabilities, such as soldering and project design. One of the highlights of my internship has been the chance to work on a project that merges plant sciences with engineering principles. This unique approach has opened up new perspectives and challenged me to think creatively to enhance existing processes and explore novel solutions. The support and mentorship I’ve received from the experts at Stroock and Frank Lab have been instrumental in my professional growth. Their guidance has inspired me to pursue further research and development, and I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to their cutting-edge work. I am genuinely appreciative of this internship experience and look forward to leveraging the knowledge and skills I’ve gained to make a meaningful impact in the field of plant sciences and engineering as I continue on my career path.