Minh-Chau Le


Minh-Chau Le





Minh-Chau Le is a senior at the University of Central Florida (UCF). She is majoring in Mechanical Engineering, and double minoring in Materials Science and Engineering, and Music. Minh-Chau currently works in the UCF Biomaterials for Tissue Engineering and Cancer Research Lab. She spent a summer conducting bioengineering research at Harvard University. In the future, she would like to pursue a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering, and start her own company making affordable medical devices. In her spare time, Minh-Chau enjoys singing, drumming, learning guitar, playing percussion, hiking, and especially, trying out new restaurants with friends.

Faculty Mentor

Stephen J. Florczyk, Assistant Professor

Undergraduate Major

Mechanical Engineering

Future Plans

Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering


Principal Investigators: Dr. Stephen J. Florczyk

Institution: University of Central Florida

Abstract: Breast cancer is a leading cause of death for women. Previous research has shown that three-dimensional (3D) biomaterial scaffolds provide more physiologically relevant conditions than two-dimensional (2D) surfaces. The objective of this project is to understand how the structure and chemistry of biomaterial scaffolds influence the morphology and proliferation of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer (BCa) cells. The biomaterial scaffolds used in this study included 4 wt% chitosan-alginate (CA) 3D scaffolds, collagen-coated 4 wt% CA scaffolds, and type I collagen hydrogels. The 4 wt% CA scaffolds were produced by freeze casting. The collagen-coated CA scaffolds were made by soaking the CA scaffolds in collagen solution for one hour and air-dried. The collagen gel was prepared by incubating the collagen solution at 37°C for two hours to allow for physical gelation. The scaffolds were characterized using SEM imaging and compression testing. The BCa cell cultures were characterized using Alamar Blue assay for proliferation and fluorescence imaging for morphology at 3 and 7-day time points. 231 BCa cells cultured in collagen gel showed branched structures, those on CA scaffolds formed spheroids, while those on collagen-coated CA showed a combination of both behaviors. Collagen gel showed the highest number of 231 cells, while the CA and collagen-coated CA had similar cell numbers at 3 and 7-day time points. The results of this project suggested cell behavior – materials properties correlations that could guide the future selection of biomaterials and fabrication processes for scaffolds modeling microenvironments of interest, potentially leading to improved 3D breast tumor models serving basic cancer research and drug discovery.

Past Project: Prevention of occlusion and cell adhesion in 3D-printed, liquid-infused tympanostomy tubes.

Principal Investigators: Dr. Jennifer A. Lewis, Dr. Joanna Aizenberg, and Dr. Aaron Remenschneider.

Institutions: University of Central Florida, Harvard University John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and Harvard Medical School.

Abstract: Tympanostomy tubes, or ear tubes, are the most common solution to relieve the symptoms of otitis media (OM), or middle ear infection, in the U.S. Most commercial ear tubes are made from silicone or fluoroplastic. While about one million ear tubes are implanted annually, approximately 7% to 37% of them fail due to occlusion caused by the adhesion of mucus, keratinocytes, or bacterial biofilms. Utilizing three-dimensional (3D) printing techniques, and a surface modification technique termed slippery, liquid-infused, porous surface (SLIPS), this project aims to create ear tubes that will prevent occlusion by cells and biofilms while enabling improved fluid flow compared to that through commercial tubes. Ear tubes and surfaces for characterization were 3D-printed using a two-part curing polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) elastomer and cured at 80°C for two hours. SLIPS surfaces were created by infusing the tubes with silicone oil of viscosities ranging from 10 to 100cSt at room temperature for 48 hours. The SLIPS sheets were characterized with a sliding angle test. The SLIPS surfaces showed significantly lower sliding angles than control silicone and fluoroplastic surfaces as well as 3D-printed PDMS sheets without SLIPS surfaces. Keratinocytes cultured on the SLIPS surfaces were characterized using live/dead stain for cell adhesion at day 4, and cytotoxicity assay for cytotoxicity at day 7. The SLIPS surfaces showed significantly lower cell adhesion and similar cytotoxicity compared to control surfaces. Fluid flow through the SLIPS ear tubes was tested by measuring the pressure drop across the ear tube at a constant fluid flow rate. SLIPS ear tubes showed improved performance compared to commercial ear tubes. These results show promise for 3D-printed, liquid-infused tympanostomy tubes to provide a more effective solution for OM patients.

Summer Research

Harvard University


Engineering | Materials Science and Engineering | Medicine and Health Sciences

Minh-Chau Le