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Michael Godfrin '08, '12

Graduate Student Michael Godfrin Focused on “Lab-on-a-Chip” Research at URI

Recipient of the Gabron Family Graduate Engineering Fellowship Spends his Summer Furthering Research to Enhance Health Care Delivery

Michael Godfrin enthusiastically describes his lab-on-a-chip research project at URI during the summer of 2010. The mechanical engineering graduate student says that the chip will be used in a point-of-care medical diagnostic device.

“We’re working on fine-tuning the microchannels on the chip,” Godfrin explains. “What’s great about point-of-care diagnostics is the portability. It’s about the size of a shoebox. You can take a unit into a village in a Third World country that doesn’t have access to a lab, test a blood sample, and have results in about 30 minutes. The chips are disposable, and a new one is inserted for the next test.” Godfrin’s focus is on cardio-vascular applications.

As an undergraduate in URI’s Mechanical Engineering Program (’08), Godfrin had a part-time opportunity in summer 2006 to help develop the process for making the microchannels. Then, through URI’s International Engineering Program, he spent the 2007-2008 academic year in Hanover, Germany, where he worked as a research and development engineer for a tire manufacturer.
Godfrin returned to URI [ as a graduate student ] for the spring 2010 semester. He credits the Gabron Family Graduate Engineering Fellowship for making it possible for him to concentrate full time on his summer research. “I’m thankful for the fellowship. Without it, I would have needed a part-time job. Instead, I got to spend the entire work week in the lab.”

The North Smithfield, R.I., native has secured a research assistantship for the upcoming academic year and will continue his project. Again, Godfrin is enrolled in the International Engineering Program and will spend his second year at the Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany. Upon graduation, Godfrin will hold degrees from both universities.

One of his professors is encouraging Godfrin to go for a doctorate. Godfrin is giving it strong consideration, but is also thinking about going to work in industry after earning his master’s degree. Regardless, this young man’s drive and intelligence promise a bright future in engineering wherever he goes.