Andrea Marcano-Delgado

MIT Department: Chemical Engineering
Undergraduate Institution: University of Puerto Rico-Humacao
Faculty Mentor: Robert Langer
Research Supervisor: Dr. Rameen Shakur
Website: LinkedIn


From the island Puerto Rico, I was born in San Juan and raised in a small town, San Lorenzo. Currently, I am a junior student majoring Industrial Chemistry at the University of Puerto Rico-Humacao. My main goal is to obtain a PhD in Chemistry. I have a strong interest in attaining a position in academia that will allow me to simultaneously work on research and teach in the field of chemical and materials engineering for the upcoming generation. My long-term goal is having my own research lab composed of students from diverse backgrounds with the mission of developing novel materials for biomedical and energy applications. During my free time, I enjoy visiting the beaches of Puerto Rico, traveling, singing opera and watching movies.

2019 Research Abstract

Nature Inspired Biological Battery for Sustainable Medical Devices and Robotic Systems

Andrea N. Marcano Delgado1,2, Aaron Lopes2, Rameen Shakur2, Robert Langer2, Giovanni Traverso2
1 Department of Chemistry, University of Puerto Rico-Humacao, Humacao, Puerto Rico 00792, USA
2 Department of Chemical Engineering and Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

The next generation of robotics and medical devices promises improved connectivity, functionality, and autonomy. However, there is a paucity of data in the material science field on how to improve interactions with biological cells that themselves possess mechano-electrical properties. A systematic review focusing on the field of nano-polymers, bio-batteries and the material science of piezoelectric energy harvesters was conducted and analyzed. It highlighted potential commercially available candidates which would be amenable to be enhanced. Among the materials surveyed, polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) presented outstanding electrical characteristics suitable for this project. We enhanced the β-phase of the commercially available PVDF with silver nanoparticle doping and temperature cycling procedures. The mechano-electrical properties of silver-doped, temperature-treated PVDF showed a statistically significant increase of voltage potential compared with the untreated commercially available PVDF. While this novel procedure for enhancing the mechano-electrical properties of PVDF showed promising results, further development may be required before the technology is scalable with biological systems.