Jill Grzelak

Jill Grzelak

Undergraduate Student

My name is Jill Grzelak and I am a junior at Virginia Tech. I am currently majoring in Biological Systems Engineering and minoring in Biomedical Engineering. This previous summer, I interned for the Department of Energy of Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, New York. I worked with generator automation in the Medical Isotope Research and Production Lab (MIRP) with Dr. Cathy Cutler as my mentor. My projects included automating manual process utilized in the production of isotopes that will be later used for medical imaging in detecting cancer. To do so, I used Python to program a Raspberry Pi and additional hardware to perform manual tasks, such as rinsing a particular chemical with acid in a timely manner to obtain the desired isotope. In this internship, I learned so much about not only the computer engineering behind medical processes, but also about the chemistry of the isotopes and their involvement in medical imaging. I discovered my true interest in this field, and when I was looking for more experience in this area, I realized that Dr. LaConte’s lab aligned well with my interests. Coupling both my passion for neuroscience and engineering, Dr. LaConte’s lab allows me to learn more about the neuroengineering field. The development of the TABS fMRI for neuroimaging in this lab really stood out to me, and I am excited to learn more about this technology and its advancements. In this lab, I am hoping to apply my computer science skills to areas that really interest me, such as factors that affect the severity of concussions. I am new to the lab so I do not have a specific project yet, but I have been learning and practicing the software associated with the lab for a project that I will be assigned to.