You are on page 1of 4

Michael Wangler,

My experiences at these different research labs have reassured me of my desire for both a PhD
and a career in research. However, in order to be a competitive PhD candidate at top tier
institutions I need to further enhance my resume with technical lab experience, thus I am
strongly driven to succeed and grow at Baylor College of Medicine.
The first impactful research experience I had was during my sophmore in Dr. Tak-Sing Wongs
lab at Penn State. The College of Engineering Research Initiative funded my research in his Dr.
Wongs lab where I was first exposed to nanotechnology and biomimicry. I chose to work on
optimizing the use of triboelectrically charged surfaces to electrically separate oil-water
mixtures. My objective with the project was to show a proof of concept for how to effectively
deal with ocean oil spills. I believe the independent environment helped me learn how to handle
the freedom and burden of designing and troubleshooting my own experiments.
Following that experience, I was accepted to the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure
Network at University of Minnesota where I researched a graphene-biosensor alternative to the
ELISA chemical assay. Despite my lack of background on nanofabrication, I completed the
project, which demonstrated that our new biosensor met standards for sensitivity and exceeded
standards for speed and ease of use, while remaining scalable. However, I pushed the project
further by designing an alternative electrode pattern that showed an improved signal-to-noise
ratio/sensitivity. This independence tested my creativity, ingenuity, and passion for pursuing
research. Ultimately, this fortified my commitment to a PhD and a career in research.
Next, during my junior year I began my Thesis under the guidance of Dr. Wong. With my
newfound interests in mind, I requested to work on the batch fabrication of nano-triangle SERS
biosensors using nanosphere lithography, which would greatly reduce fabrication costs. This lab
provided the opportunity to both design and adjust my own experiments, and with some
guidance, I could steer my project in the direction I wanted. For example, I also created an
alternative sensor design that employed nano-honeycombs, thus adding a new element to my
thesis project. Amazingly, I would find myself in an entirely new field of research within a few
As an Amgen Scholar at Stanford, I wanted to engage in nanoscale biomedical engineering. Yet,
much to my surprise, I was assigned to an optogenetics project in Dr. Bianxiao Cuis Lab. My
undertaking was to modulate the homo-oligomerization of light-sensitive CRY2 by using
different fusion proteins. I invested myself greatly to learn new techniques, theories, and
approaches. Additionally, by summers end, I even went on to win a Best Oral Presentation
award at Stanfords research symposium. This experience reassured me that I can succeed within
varied spheres of research and opened my eyes to life sciences research in a splendid way.
In conclusion, I believe that my success in various research environments ranging from industry
to academia and protein engineering to nano-electrical engineering demonstrated my ability to
adapt, learn, and succeed. I firmly believe that my diverse range of experiences have prepared to
me to succeed at Baylor as a lab technician. Furthermore, I am confident that there is no better
second step in my professional development than a career with your lab. With that, I hope to
continue my growth into a capable researcher under the Baylor College of Medcine banner.

Warm Regards,

Victor Pablo Acero

Victor Acero
730N Atherton Street State College, PA 16803 469-230-4192

Pennsylvania State University Graduation: May 2017
B.S. Engineering Science GPA: 3.36
Skills and Classes
Scanning Electron Microscope Proficiency Developmental Neurobiology Class
Optical Lithography NEMS/MEMS Class
Fluorescence Microscopy Nano/Micro Photonics Class
NEMS/MEMS Fabrication Electromagnetic Field and Wave Theory Class

Awards and Scholarships

Amgen Scholar Travel Award Travel Grant to Present at Conferences, 2016

Amgen Scholar (Stanford) Research Network, Summer 2016
Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students Travel Grant Awardee, 2015
College of Engineering Research Initiative Research Grant at Penn State, 2014-2015
National Nanotech Infrastructure Network National Research Network, Summer 2015
David Suarez Scholarship Award for Hispanic Engineering Students , 2014-present
Schreyer Honors College Honors College at Penn State, 2014-present
Millennium Scholars Program Financial Support and PhD Prep. Program, 2013-present

Research Experience
STANFORD UNIVERSITY, Palo Alto, CA Professor Bianxiao Cui
Undergraduate Intern 6/2016 08/2016
Project Title: Modulation of Light-Induced Homo Oligomerization of Cryptochrome2
Optogenetic methods seek to develop a platform allows precise control of protein-protein interactions via light-
sensitive proteins. Our method uses the light-activated dimerization of the Cryptochrome2 (CRY2) protein and
its binding partner CIBN and/or the light-activated homo-oligomerization of CRY2 to induce protein-protein
interactions. Because both CRY2 states exist under light excitation there is poor control over the states, which
significantly confounding results and analysis. This work seeks to determine how fluorescence tags and bulky
fusion proteins may modulate homo-oligomerization.

Selected Accomplishments:
Showed that fluorescence proteins innate multimeric properties and bulky proteins can impact CRY2
Learned how to do fluorescence microscopy and do image analysis.

PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY, State College, PA Professor Tak-Sing Wong

Undergraduate Intern 8/2015 Present
Project Title: Novel Batch Fabrication of Surface Plasmon Biosensors
Worked on optimizing the fabrication of surface plasmon biosensors using batch fabrication. After depositing a
monolayer PDMS film it will be heated to encourage binding at interfacial sites between the spheres. The
spheres are then etched to create a nanotriangle mask which can allow for batch fabrication of nanotraingles
usually made with electron beam lithography.

Undergraduate Intern 08/2014 05/2015

Project Title: Oil and Water Separation by Triboelectrically Charged Surfaces
Worked on water/oil separation by using the triboelectric effect to charge polyeurathane surfaces, which would
have a different electromagnetic force on water and oil, thus allowing the two to separate.
Victor Acero Page 2 Phone: 469-230-4192

Selected Accomplishments:
Developed proof of concept for a gravity assisted water/oil separation construct that would allow for a
charged surface to force water and oil to separate as they were pumped through a faucet
Wrote paper for the PSU College of Engineering Research Initiative

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA, Minneapolis, MN Professor Tianhong Cui

Summer Intern 5/2015 to 8/2015
Project Title: Enhancement of Graphene Biosensors for Cancer Detection
We exploit the sensitivity of 2D materials to its surrounding environment to produce sensors with an industry
competitive detection limit. I then worked with a novel technique developed by the TIAN lab to batch produce
the biosensors, in order to be more competitive with industry testing equipment.

Selected Accomplishments:
Developed new sensor design to reduce electrical noise and improve signal to noise ratio of past sensors.
Developed sensor that outperformed ELISA on time and a theoretically better detection limit.

BOEING: DEFENSE, SPACE, SECURITY, Houston, TX Within: Industrial and Mechanical Engineering
Summer Intern 5/2014 to 8/2014
Worked on checking Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) procedure for astronaut missions on paper, worked on the
ECL/ABCL (Early Configuration List)/(As Built Configuration List) process optimization, and worked with the
Lunar Planetary Institute on lunar rover technology. Also optionally helped with developing a CubeSat made by
Early Career Boeing employees.

Selected Accomplishments:
Developed first up to date list of the ECL/ABCL process, which is the process that determines what
equipment was approved to be sent to the ISS and which stage of approval it was on.
Created several schematic designs for an optimized process that reduced the number of review points for a
payload and could reduce process time.

PENN STATE UNIVERSITY, University Park, PA Applied Research Laboratory

Undergraduate Researcher, 09/2013 to 02/2014
Project Title: Red Force Exploitable Vulnerabilities of Blue Force Tracking Systems
Work on analyzing the strengths and vulnerabilities of blue force tracking for the Marine Warfighting Lab. We
listed and cataloged all potential weaknesses in the blue force tracking system that red forces could exploit.

Selected Accomplishments:
Developed blueprints for red force ideas and devices
Presented viability of ideas, assessed risk level, and method of deployment to Marine Corp. supervisors.
Presentations and Publications
Modulation of Light-Induced Homo-Oligomerization of Cryptochrome2
Stanford Summer Research Program Convocation, Oral Presentation Award, August 2016
University of Pennsylvania: PhD Symposium, September 2016
Nature Chemical Biology (In Review, 2016): Understanding CRY2 interactions for optical control of
intracellular signaling
Enhancement of Graphene Biosensors for Cancer Detection
Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, Best Poster Award, November 2015
Penn State Science Fall Poster Session, October 2015
University of Minnesota Summer Poster Session, August 2015
National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network: Symposium at Cornell University, August 2015
Triboelectric Water and Oil Separation
Pennsylvania State University Engineering Spring Poster Session, April 2015
Victor Acero Page 2 Phone: 469-230-4192

Extracurricular Activity
Millennium Society: President Penn State University, State College, PA 09/15 Present
Organized academic and social events for Millennium Scholars and facilitated mentorship
USA Science and Engineering Festival Washington, D.C. 04/2016
Spoke to +2000 attendants (children) about hydrophobicity, biomimicry, and Wong Lab research
Guest Speaker for AP Students at Plano West Senior High School Dallas, TX 12/2013 Present
Provide guidance over how to be involved in research and find opportunities.
Tutor and Mentor at Atkins Elementary (Title 1 School) Dallas, TX 05/2013 Present
Helped students master fundamental mathematics and science, while promoting history and literacy
Fencing PSU Division 1 Team 08/2013 08/2014, PSU Club 08/2014 Present
Fencing competitively throughout my high school and college career