Engineering a strong experience based in hands-on research

Categories: General News

Aidan Restelli focused his Niner journey around hands-on engineering research. Even before he started his first year, he selectively reviewed his university choices and their research opportunities – and ultimately chose UNC Charlotte’s William States Lee College of Engineering for its experiential learning. 

“I worked one-on-one with professors and began research in my sophomore year,” said Restelli, who graduates with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Spring Commencement 2024. To supplement his academics, he earned a concentration in biomedical engineering while also serving as an undergraduate research assistant for the college’s Center for Additive Manufacture of Advanced Ceramics. In this research role, he used a CO2 laser with ceramic material to create a 3D model. “Instead of machining it,” said Restelli, “I used an additive formation process.”

In his senior year, Restelli supported research designed to ultimately help relieve painful symptoms associated with neurological disorders. In this project, he investigated effects of using electromagnetic stimulation to enhance the regeneration of axons, or nerve fibers.  “Neurodegenerative diseases degenerate axons,” said Restelli. “We’re trying to grow the axons, or protect them, from degeneration. This research is hopefully going to help chemotherapy patients and people with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.”

Helping Hands group at Queens City News studio
Left to right: Aidan Restelli, Ryan Kistemaker, Rebecca Wicklin, Dr. Richard Chi, Jason Bird, Jason Harper of Queen City News

Restelli has also been learning hands-on through the Helping Hands Project, which  personalized prosthetic hands for children with limb differences. “These devices are aimed at providing aid to functionality and a sense of normalcy, and they are custom-made for the child specifically,” said Restelli, the president of the Helping Hand Project at UNC Charlotte. He explained the goal is to create a support network by connecting children with limb differences with relevant family events. “Our independence as an organization allows us to work directly with the families and operate within the overarching organization’s vision.”

Restelli added, “My education experience at UNC Charlotte has been extremely hands-on, which suited my learning style. The projects helped develop my leadership skills and my ability to work collaboratively in groups of varying sizes and skill levels. Overall, UNC Charlotte has been a great fit for me.”  

After graduation, Restelli will leverage his early entry status to go directly into the University’s Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering program with a continued focus on bioengineering research.