The ability to detect and differentiate between these gases in a breath-based system would allow for breath-based diagnostics of disease recognition and monitoring in humans, Smith said. Kennedy Jensen ’18, an author of the paper who was involved with the project, said she hopes to apply the technology in a medical setting. “My work has been refocused on tuning and controlling the nanoscale morphology of the metal organic framework itself,” Jensen said. “Those different morphologies will have different applications [that] are really interesting because they are gasotransmitters, which means the body uses them in very small amounts for cardiac and neuro functioning and indicators for various illnesses like Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease.” Kennedy said that she originally got involved in the research as a participant in the Women in Science Project, which shifted her perspective about the typical trajectory of research. “I think overall there is a grand misconception of people outside the research world that research is linear,” Jensen said. “But the story you end up writing about in the end can be completely different than the question you set out to answer in the beginning. But that’s okay.” Jensen added that she’s also learned to appreciate the journey of research, rather than the outcome. “It’s not just about the end result, but the process of getting there,” Jensen said. “It’s not something I knew three years ago, but something I’m reminded of everyday in the lab.” Chemistry graduate student Aylin Aykanat Med’19 expressed a similar sentiment about the process of research. Aykanat started at the lab approximately at the same time as Mirica, which she said was particularly promising because of the fresh cooperative dynamic and the ability to grow a project from ground up. “Being a part of the collaborative lab environment not only allowed me to meet incredible people but helped me push the limits for myself as well,” Aykanat said.
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