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Doctoral student seeks solutions for early cancer, disease detection

December 12, 2012

Veronica Clavijo Jordan, a native of Bolivia, moved to Arizona in 2002 and found every aspect of the state new to her, including “the language, the weather, and mostly the support Arizona State University provides to students with intentions to succeed and obtain higher education.”

With a passion for medicine and engineering, she has excelled in a rapidly growing and highly technical field. She graduates with a doctorate in Biomedical Engineering from ASU’s School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, part of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

Her goal has been to improve diagnostic techniques for prevention and early detection of diseases such as cancer, with a focus on designing a highly efficient, versatile and biologically inert nanoparticle that can be used for many applications, including targeting and tracking living cells by MRI.

“The ability to observe molecular events in vivo and in three dimensions non-invasively has been answering fundamental biological questions that help gain a better understanding of the human body and disease,” she says.

The diversity of research at ASU provided a wealth of interdisciplinary collaborations. “My dissertation work would have not been possible had I not had the opportunity to be under the supervision of my advisor Kevin Bennett and to collaborate with all branches of science and engineering, including materials science, biology, electrical engineering and chemistry.”  

The value of her research has been recognized locally, nationally and internationally. She received funding from Science Foundation of Arizona (SFAz) as a Graduate Research Fellow, the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission, the National Institutes of Health, and the American Heart Association.

With National Science Foundation (NSF) funding, she attended an International Summer School on Biocomplexity in Istanbul, Turkey and has been selected to speak at other international scientific conferences. The International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine Conference and the World Molecular Imaging Congress, two highly competitive meetings, invited and funded her to speak in Canada and Ireland about her work.

With a bachelor’s degree in bioengineering from ASU, and now her doctoral degree, Clavijo Jordan says “graduation is a very special day for me; it means the end and reward of five and a half years of dedication, frustration, hard work and success.” She plans to continue at ASU as a postdoctoral fellow to complete pending projects.

Michele St George,
Graduate College