"Conducting research on the topic of cholesterol crystallization has allowed me to gain insight into laboratory methods for the rational design of crystal growth inhibitors. This experience has deeply broadened my understanding of the field of Chemical Engineering in many ways."
Major: Chemical Engineering
Houston Scholars Project:
Solvent Effects on the Morphology and Composition of Cholesterol Crystals
Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey Rimer
For the Spring 2016 semester, Chemical Engineering major Zachery Baker is investigating crystals—specifically, cholesterol crystals. While crystals play a significant role in the functioning of the human body, crystallization can also impair bodily functioning. Cholesterol crystallization can cause blockages and hardening of the arteries, and underlies such pathologies as gallstones and atherosclerosis. Under the guidance of Dr. Jeffery Rimer, Zach is monitoring the crystallization of cholesterol in various solvents. He is exploring the effect of solvents with varying chain lengths with the goal of developing new inhibitors and assays for cholesterol crystallization. Zach spends upwards of twelve hours a week in the lab; his Houston Scholars project has provided him a chance to explore the field of organic crystallization, an experience that, as a chemical engineering major, he would not otherwise have had.
Future Direction: Upon graduating, Zach intends to work as a process engineer or production engineer, ultimately obtaining his professional engineering license.