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Md. Mahmudur Rahman

Md. Mahmudur Rahman

What brought you to the Baskin School of Engineering?

I’ve been interested in nanotechnology since I studied for my undergraduate degree, it’s always been fascinating to me. I searched universities in the United States for those who were pursuing research in nanotechnology, and here at UC Santa Cruz there were many professors working with nanotechnology research, especially Professor Holger Schmidt. When we began talking, it seemed like we were a good match. From there, it was a matter of being accepted and funded and ultimately coming here. We’re pretty close now and work together regularly. Another perk is having Family Student Housing, because I get to have my family nearby and don’t have to worry about our housing, which helps me to focus on my work.

What research are you working on now?

We are working on the integration of nanopores with optofluidic devices. Optofluidic devices incorporate laser optics with microfluidic channels on a single chip, a combination that enables single molecules (such as viruses, DNA, etc.) to be individually probed by laser light tuned to specific fluorescent markers. Nanopores are nanoscale channels that connect two sides of a thin, electrically insulating membrane.  When immersed in an ionically conducting liquid, nanopores can be used as electronic molecule sensors.  Applying a voltage across the membrane pulls molecule through the nanopores; as they pass through, the resulting current change reveals their presence and provides information as to their size and shape. Integration of nanopores with optofluidic lab-on-a-chip devices can facilitate further advantages such as multi-modal detection, precise control over particle delivery etc. which can find applications in emerging nanopore biosensors as well as fundamental studies in molecular biology.

Do you think your research could improve the world?

I definitely think so, especially if you have the ability to probe almost anything. There are a lot of things we’re still unsure of even when it comes to our own bodies, and the ability to explore molecules on a nanoscale, analyze the components, and then use technology to modify them, could have a positive impact. Once we know the way to approach big issues, we can begin solving them.

What have you liked about UCSC as a campus?

Well, I mean, I have to say it’s a beautiful campus. Another thing I like is the people here—they’re all so friendly and collaborative. I’m lucky in that I’ve had the opportunity to be both a mentor and mentee, and that’s given me a lot of different perspectives. Also, most of the tech industries are nearby, so you have a lot of opportunities to collaborate with them too. Oh, and I like to play soccer here on campus! My friends and I started going out to the East Field two years ago to play, and now there’s about 20 of us who play regularly. Just as a whole, I really appreciate Santa Cruz—what better environment could you want?

Do you have any hobbies outside of school?

I like badminton! I was the inter-hall university champion back home, and it was just something I always did. Of course I spend time with my family too, and sometimes I go hiking around here on the trails around campus. Most of the time when I need to decompress, I try to go out with some of my friends. Apart from soccer, we go for a coffee or to the beach just to hang out for a while. Sometimes we barbecue too!

What are words you live by?

This might be a little cliché, but never give up. Life is consistent with ups and downs… sometimes you might feel like you just got destroyed by something, but if you stick to it, you’ll make it through.

Electrical and Computer Engineering
Degree Program: 
Ph.D., Electrical Engineering
Place of Birth: 
Undergraduate Institution: 
Khulna University of Engineering and Technology
Graduate Institution: 
UC Santa Cruz
Holger Schmidt