Published: June 25, 2020 By

Samuel Hoff

Photo courtesy Samuel Hoff.

Samuel Hoff, a graduate student in the Heinz Laboratory, will soon be participating in an international research program via the prestigious Chateaubriand Fellowship, a highly competitive grant program run by the Embassy of France in the United States.

Hoff is the recipient of the Science, Technology, Engineering, Math & Health award for doctoral students. He will complete his fellowship at the University of Paris, where he will work on the computational study of protein-nanoparticle binding and conduct experimental testing of his hypothesis from simulations under the supervision of Associate Professor Miryana Hemadi at the Interfaces, Treatments, Organization and Dynamics of Systems Lab.

“Hopefully the work will help strengthen the collaboration between the universities and will give me the opportunity to learn new techniques,” Hoff said, “and allow me to see how different labs operate.”

The Chateaubriand Fellowship offers PhD students in the U.S. the opportunity to conduct research in France for up to nine months. The application process is highly competitive.

“He is an outstanding, detail-oriented researcher and great team worker, and very highly regarded by his fellow group members as well as external collaborators,” Associate Professor Hendrik Heinz said of his student. “Sam has carried out work in the area of bone healing and repair, showing for the first time the emergence of prenucleation clusters of apatite in collagen by molecular simulations, which is the first step in bone repair, and explained controls of mineralization activity in collaboration with clinical research partners.”

Hoff has also screened the binding of all 20 amino acids to hydroxyapatite surfaces to determine critical information necessary for the control of mineralization of bones and teeth.

“Sam has worked on the simulation of protein interactions with ligand-modified nanoparticles, which will be extended during his stay at the University of Paris for practical applications in drug delivery,” Heinz said.

Hoff has worked across institutions before, contributing to studies with researchers here at CU Boulder and Georgia Tech, as well as international collaborations with primary investigators in the United Kingdom, Spain and China.

“His own work and new creative ideas directly benefit other laboratories,” Heinz said. “The Chateaubriand Fellowship will be helpful to gain experience from study abroad and take collaborative programs between our lab and laboratories at the University of Paris to the next level.”

Hoff is the latest recipient of the fellowship to come from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Graduate student Alaksh Choudhury earned the fellowship and studied under Dr. Olivier Tenillon from 2018 to 2019.