Student Success

The next generation

Students are the lifeblood of IU, and their contribution to research elevates both their educational experience and the powerful science and creative activity taking place on our campuses.

IU student researchers are at the forefront of IU's research enterprise — making discoveries, impacting communities and gaining hands-on experience to help them excel well into the future. Their work is invaluable in IU's efforts to better the lives of people in Indiana and beyond.

Developing solutions for mass counterfeiting

To fight mass counterfeiting, IU student researcher Maha Ibrar is developing nanomaterial fingerprints that can secure a variety of products, including medicines, consumer goods and sensitive electronics.

Description of the video:

Maha Ibrar: My name is Maha Ibrar. I am a third-year chemistry Ph.D. student at Indiana University.

[Visual of Maha Ibrar posing in her lab before graphic overlays identify her as Maha Ibrar, Ph.D Student.]

Maha Ibrar: My research focus is to develop nanomaterial fingerprints that can secure products against mass counterfeiting, including medicines, consumer goods and sensitive electronics.

[Different shots of Maha Ibrar working in the lab, fully dressed. The final shot freezes and a pop-up image of pills, vials, and vaccinations takes central focus. It’s replaced by an image of a modified video game system, and finally an image of two mac books – one closed and one opened that has the word FAKE largely displayed on its screen.]

Maha Ibrar: We're using metal nanoparticle assemblies to create covert and complex tags that are extremely difficult for counterfeiters to replicate, but convenient for us to create and authenticate.

[A montage of shots continuing to show Maha Ibrar working in the lab using various pieces of equipment begins.]

Maha Ibrar: The tags we create can be easily analyzed using an optical microscope, and they are authenticated with algorithms we are developing in collaboration with scientists from the computer science department at IU.

Maha Ibrar: I'm particularly interested in applying this technology to secure electronic components because of the huge security risks counterfeit components can pose.

[The montage ends with Maha Ibrar looking at data on a computer screen and explaining it to an onlooking assistant/student.]

Maha Ibrar: The work I do in the chemistry department at Indiana University will hopefully allow me to provide permanent solutions to 21st century counterfeiting.

[The montage fades to black and then the Indiana University logo is displayed along with the website:]

Understanding drought resilience in plants

To help farmers adapt to the Midwest’s changing climate, student researcher Lana Bolin and IU researchers are studying the relationship between soil microbes and drought tolerance in crops.

Description of the video:

Lana Bolin: My name is Lana Bolin, and I'm part of a project studying how microbes promote plant resilience to drought.

[Video opens with footage of Lana Bolin and a fellow student in a corn field analyzing the crops. The background and surrounding visuals around Lana are colored out, highlighting her specifically, with an overlay labeling her Lana Bolin, Ph. D. Biology Student.]

Lana Bolin: We drove around to about 70 farms across the Midwest…

[Footage of a truck driving through rural farmland.]

Lana Bolin: …and we collected soil from the farms, brought them back to the greenhouse, and we inoculated them onto corn plants.

[Footage of Lana Bolin sorting different soil types amongst different flowering pots.]

Lana Bolin: We're also collaborating with social scientists, and they interviewed the farmers to understand how they're managing those fields where we took the soil.

[Close-up shot of Lana Bolin measuring the stalk of a corn plant. The shot then jumps to an aerial view of a recently planted corn field being irrigated.]

Lana Bolin: We know whether our soils came from fields that were irrigated or fields where they tilled or they didn't till.

[Aerial view of a combine harvester gathering corn crops.]

Lana Bolin: We can link those farmer management decisions to the resilience that the microbes confer to the plants.

[Close-up shot of someone pointing to a cut corn stalk for illustrative purposes.]

Lana Bolin: So we can see, well, what are the actual traits that the microbes are expressing that help plants or hurt plants? We're hoping that this research will help us understand how farmers' management decisions…

[Shot of Lana Bolin holding up a beaker of dark blue liquid close to her face as she examines it.]

Lana Bolin: …affect their soil microbial community and then how these microbes will affect their crops' resilience to drought.

[Fade to black before an Indiana University logo appears along with the website address:]

Science CORPS participants (from left to right) Emily Gonzalez, Teresa Muñoz, and Mary Moffett present findings from the Indiana Academy of Sciences meeting in Indianapolis in March 2022.

Improving equity in research

Through Science CORPS, IU graduate student Lana Bolin and professor Jen Lau are addressing the need for more equitable research experiences.

Learn more about Science CORPS
A hand holding the plant species Solanum pimpinellifolium, a wild relative of the domesticated tomato in Quevedo, Ecaudor .

Building a better tomato

To help solve food insecurity caused by climate change, IU student Matt Gibson is tackling important scientific questions in the field of evolutionary biology.

Learn more about Matt Gibson's work
IU Bloomington researchers and others who worked with master's students in data science to develop and advance their research projects.

Harnessing big data

IU Bloomington graduate students pursuing degrees in data science are helping faculty researchers use data to develop and advance their research projects.

Learn more about these students