Fischell Institute Womxn’s History Month Spotlight: Sidney Redwood

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Sidney Redwood is a junior studying bioengineering. Last summer, she participated in the Fischell Institute Summer Research Internship program in Fischell Institute Fellow Greg Payne's research group. This led to her joining Payne's group as an undergraduate researcher.

"After working for Dr. Payne and the lab group over the summer, I have made meaningful connections, learned more than I could ever imagine, gained mentors, and had the opportunity to network," Redwood said. "I will forever be grateful for the Fischell Institute Summer Research Internship program."

When applying to the internship program, Redwood had limited knowledge about electrochemistry and redox biology, two pillars of the Payne Group’s research. She also had no laboratory research experience outside of her classes.

Redwood's internship project involved using serum samples from a past clinical study to discern a correlation between oxidative stress and gluten intolerance in people with schizophrenia. She measured a set of blinded samples and performed statistical analysis.

As a result of the experiments, Redwood proved that a five-week gluten-free diet led to improvements in oxidative stress levels in gluten-sensitive people with schizophrenia.

Redwood's fall semester project focused on electrochemistry. She learned about mediated electrochemical probing, differential pulse voltammetry, and how to analyze cyclic voltammetry and chronocoulometry graphs.

"I enjoyed that my projects were related to healthcare,” Redwood explained. “Although I did not directly work with the patients from the study, I used serum from their blood samples to prove our hypothesis."

The results of Redwood’s summer research project have been combined with data from a clinical study and were submitted for publication.

"I am honored to be listed as the second author on the manuscript," she said."I am incredibly proud to be a part of a project that can add to the research world. The possibility of another researcher building upon my work is incredible."

Redwood identifies as a second-generation American woman of color with a Caribbean background.

"All of my schooling has been in predominantly white institutions, where I was often one of few, if not the only, person of color in each of my classes," she said. "That, in and of itself, has given me a unique perspective and has galvanized me to pursue a STEM career."

Redwood is learning how to navigate systemic and institutional oppression prevalent in society.

"What both people of color and women have been told is that we are not only incapable of being a part of STEM, but we were also kept away from STEM for many years,” she said “Now that door is open, and I am one of few women of color pursuing a career in STEM. I am motivated to pursue this dream with great vigor."

Creating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs at academic institutions, government, and industry organizations has increased opportunities for individuals like her to receive top-notch quality education and scientific training to improve her competitive edge in her field of interest, Redwood said.

She believes that celebrating Womxn's History Month is essential, as well as recognizing womxn's accomplishments and how these contributions have continued to inspire generations of womxn.

"I hope that one day, I can be an inspiration and role model for young girls of color who aspire to pursue a career in engineering," she said. "The truest inspiration comes from the fact that women of color make up such a small percentage of engineers, coupled with the fact that there are so many career opportunities for people who study engineering."

Redwood aspires to work in a military hospital as a biomedical engineer designing and creating prosthetics for wounded warriors. Her passion for engineering and for helping others drives this goal.

Outside of the lab, Redwood loves to read, cook, and spend time with her friends and family. She also enjoys making time to exercise as a form of therapy. She has been weightlifting for the past three years.

Published March 1, 2024