RESEARCH GROUP

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Fernando Ontiveros, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Trained as an immunologist, Dr. Ontiveros is interested in a multidisciplinary approach to research that blends his expertise with concepts and tools from the fields of bioengineering, cell biology, microbiology and remote sensing. He joined the faculty at St. John Fisher College in 2012, after completing postdoctoral fellowships at the U of Massachusetts and the U of Rochester. In 2018 he received tenure and promotion to Associate Professor. During the summers of 2018 and 2019 he conducted research at the U of Notre Dame as an adjunct professor in the College of Engineering. In 2019 he founded PETL Fluidics to provide consulting services to industrial and academic research laboratories and to develop STEM education kits. In 2021     Dr. Ontiveros received the SJFC Trustees' Award for Distinguished Scholarly Achievement.

Curriculum vitae  |  Google Scholar  |  LinkedIn  |  SJFC page

"The central point of a college education is to seek truth and to learn the skills and acquire the virtues necessary to be a lifelong truth-seeker. Open-mindedness, critical thinking, and debate are essential to discovering the truth.... Since no one wants to be, or be thought of as, a bigot or a crank, the easy, lazy way to proceed is simply by falling into line with campus orthodoxies. Don’t do that. Think for yourself.”

Professor Robert George, Princeton.

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Audrey Collins

Student, 2021

A Biochemistry major, Audrey is a Science Scholar at Fisher and during the Spring of 2021 she has been gearing up for taking over our diagnostics project with U of R. Besides reading up on nano membranes and pre-step filtration methods, Audrey has begun to build chips; before she hits the ground running in the lab this Fall she will be joining a NSF-REU Program in Alabama this summer.

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Michael Bauman

Student, 2021

Michael is a sophomore Biology major that joined the team to work on using microfluidics to build point-of-care sensors. He has begun his project by designing and building PETLs that incorporate paper and has also dabbled with cell culture.  He is currently interested in pursuing a PhD in the biomedical sciences upon graduation. 

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Vidhi Joshi

Student, 2021

Vidhi joined the lab in February of 2021 as a Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (NY-CSTEP) student.  She has become an expert PETL microfluidics builder, working across projects carried out in the lab, including our collaboration with U of R building biosensor chips and a project in collaboration with the Chemistry department at Fisher, in which we attempt to build sensing chips using isothermal PCR.  Vidhi plans to enroll in a doctoral program for Pharmacy in NYS this Fall. 

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Raunak Al-Rubayie

Student, 2020-21

Raunak is a rising sophomore in the Biology Department and a member of the Honors Program. She is interested in the biomedical sciences, and particularly in the field of tissue engineering and transplantation. Together with Jackie Chouinard she was a awarded a Summer Program scholarship in 2020. She will be working from home writing a manuscript and building maps, using the data collected in the last 7 years for our National Geographic-sponsored project on the remote sensing of bacterial populations. 

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Jackie Chouinard

Student, 2020-21

Jackie is a rising junior biology major planning on attending graduate school. She joined the lab in January of 2020 to develop novel PETL microfluidics for cell culture experiments. In a few weeks she became an expert PETL manufacturer, and will be designing and building microfluidic devices as a Summer Scholar. A member of the Tri Beta Biology Honors Society she is also a member of Fisher's tennis team.

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Erik Akselrod

Student, 2019-20

Erik is a junior biology major and a member of the Science Scholars program.  After a short stint with PETLs he is now working on micro- milling of microfluidic devices.  In the recent past he took the opportunity of joining Fisher chemistry professor A. Ignatchenko at Oak Ridge National Lab for a summer research internship. He intends to attend medical school in 2022.

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Alex Martinez

Student, 2019

Alex joined the lab in 2019 when he became a Summer Research Fellow funded by SJFC and the University Radiation Medicine foundation.  With this support he traveled to the U of Notre Dame to join Dr. Ontiveros and his collaborators in the Zartman Laboratory.  He worked in two distinct projects involving PETL microfluidics: 1. Use of microfluidics for size-based separation of microparticles, and 2. Design and fabrication of PETL microfluidics to for electrophoresis. He continues to work in the laboratory until his graduation in December of 2019, working on 3D printed adaptors for smart phone imaging and two manuscripts. He is currently completing a doctoral program in podiatry in Iowa. 

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Fabio Sacco

Student, 2019

Together with Alex, Fabio joined the lab as a Summer Research Fellow and also traveled to the U of Notre Dame in 2019. His project consisted in the design and fabrication of a "double compressor" device, in which D. melanogaster embryos are contained in micro channels with flexible walls. Pneumatic actuation exerts controlled pressure on the specimens while molecular events (e.g. calcium release) are imaged using confocal microscopy. Fabio graduated in December of 2019 with a degree in Biology and together with Alex he is now enrolled in a doctoral program in podiatry in the midwest.

Nicholas Warters

Student, 2019-21

Nick is a junior in the Biology program and is interested in attending Medical School after Fisher. He is part of the Bacteria Remote Sensing Project, working in collaboration with Dr. Herman in our department. His main task is to determine species identities in our library of more that 1000 bacterial isolates. He spent the Spring of 2020 studying abroad in Costa Rica. Nick also did an enormous amount of work processing the data and finding relationships between species and locations. He is the main drive behind getting ready a manuscript for submission. 

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Michael Chase

Student, 2018

Mike graduated in 2019. His project consisted in 3D printing hydrogel scaffolds for the formation of human cartilage in vitro.  He used a bioprinting platform composed of a commercial (and affordable) 3D printer and a syringe pump to produce hydrogel structures housing human chondrocytes.  

Anthony Emanuel

Student, 2017-18

Coming into St. John Fisher College I was a Biology Major on the Pre-Medical path. My research journey began at St. John Fisher College with Dr. Fernando Ontiveros who coached me on how to be an independent and efficient scientist in the lab. Through grants, I also had the opportunity to do research at the University of Rochester in the Biomedical Engineering Department and travel to different conferences to present my work. Throughout my scientific experience at St. John Fisher, it is in Research and Development that I believe I can make the greatest contribution to society by utilizing my curiosity and creativity as a scientist. I graduated from St. John Fisher College in 2018, an I am now pursing my Ph.D. in Pathology at the University of Rochester in the Cell Biology of Disease program. 

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