Carnegie Mellon University

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BME PhD student Saigopalakrishna "Sai" Yerneni, co-advised by Profs. Phil Campbell and Lee Weiss is the recipient of 2019 Biofabrication Young Investigator Award presented annually by the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. This competitive award is designed to recognize outstanding achievements by one individual of the biofabrication community (internationally) who are in the early stages of career. Sai will receive the award at the International Society for Biofabrication 2019 Annual Meeting during October 20-22nd in Columbus, Ohio.


BME students Jiaming Cao and Rachel Niu named two of six Carnegie Mellon Neuroscience Institute Presidential Fellows. Jiaming is co-advised by Profs. Jana Kainerstorfer and Pulkit Grover, and Rachel is advised by Prof. Bin He. The Carnegie Mellon Neuroscience Institute Presidential Fellowship provides support to six outstanding graduate students, giving students and their faculty mentors critical financial security and flexibility that allows them to develop impactful research and enjoy an enlightening educational experience.


BME PhD student Erica Comber and her advisor Prof. Keith Cook published a first-of-its-kind paper that outlines several ways one could fabricate tissue-based lungs from scratch for lung disease patients. The paper discusses current biofabrication methods that could be applied to these lungs, current progress toward differentiated pulmonary stem cells, and how to design a functional, manufacturable lung. See further details


BME Prof. Jana Kainerstorfer received the 2019 College of Engineering George Tallman Ladd Award in recognition of research, professional accomplishments, and potential. Her research is focused on developing imaging methods for improving early diagnosis and treatment of disease. Current projects include development of a hand held device for breast cancer imaging as well as cerebral hemodynamic monitoring in traumatic brain injury.


BME Trustee Professor and Department Head, Dr. Bin He received the 2019 IEEE EMBS William J. Morlock Award for significant contributions to bioelectrical technology and neuroengineering by developing innovative electromagnetic sensing, electromagnetic imaging, and neural interfacing.


Erin Kavanagh (BME Minor, Class of 2019) has received a 2019 Fulbright Award. The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs sponsors the Fulbright U.S. Student Program to "increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” At Carnegie Mellon, Erin has been involved with research in Prof. Keith Cook's lab, which is working to develop artificial lung devices. Through the Fulbright Award program, Erin will be continuing her artificial lung research in Germany. Check out the details.


Three BME faculty, Drs. Grover, Chamanzar, and Kainerstorfer, co-lead a DARPA project to develop a novel non-invasive neural interface that can be used as a wearable device. This neural interface will be capable of both recording and stimulating the brain’s dynamic activity with high temporal and spatial resolution. See further details.

barb shinn-cunningham

BME faculty Prof. Barb Shinn-Cunningham has been named the 2019 recipient of the Helmholtz Rayleigh Interdisciplinary Silver Medal in Psychological and Physiological Acoustics and Speech Communication "for understanding the cognitive and neural bases of speech perception in complex acoustic environments." The Silver Medal is presented to individuals for contributions to the advancement of science, engineering, or human welfare through the application of acoustic principles, or through research accomplishment in acoustics. Check out the details.


BME faculty Prof. Marlene Behrmann has been elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences, joining the world's most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists and civic leaders. The American Academy is one of the country's oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, convening leaders from the academic, business and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing the nation and the world. See further details.


Profs. Rosalyn Abbott and Rebecca Taylor have been named 2018-2019 Wimmer Faculty Fellows. The fellowships are designed for junior faculty members interested in enhancing their teaching through concentrated work designing and exploring a new pedagogical approach.


BME MS student Khulood Al Ali and her team won the 3rd place (200 participants and 74 finalists) in the DreamNeom competition which is a collaboration between Misk & NEOM, that brings together Misk fellows to tackle the challenges faced by NEOM with innovative solutions.

Teddy Cai

ChemE/BME student Teddy Cai has been selected to participate in the National Institutes of Health Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program. The program is based on the British system, in which students perform doctoral research without required formal courses other than those students choose to take in relationship to their own interests. Students selected for admission to the program have already developed a passion for science through engagement in summer, job related, or undergraduate research programs.


BME Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow Sossena Wood and her research are featured in NBC News. New online video “Discovering You: Engineering Your World” highlights the careers of engineers in a variety of sectors and offers insights to the next generation of students. Sossena is working on noninvasive multi-modal neuroimaging. This research will focus on understanding the impacts of neuronal coupling in patients with neurological damage and/or diseases.

Byron Yu

Prof. Byron Yu and his postdoc João Semedo found that communication between brain areas occurs through an information bottleneck, which they've termed a "communication subspace." Understanding these communication subspaces could have many implications for understanding how the coordination between brain areas gives rise to brain function. Check out the details.

Adam Feinberg

Prof. Adam Feinberg has been elected to the Leadership Advisory Committee for the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI). The LAC advises BioFabUSA related to policies and strategic guidance concerning technology and research priorities, objectives, and content of research programs, policies and strategic guidance concerning the education and workforce development programs, and the strategic direction of BioFabUSA.

Sai Yereni

BME PhD student Saigopalakrishna "Sai" Yerneni, co-advised by Profs. Phil Campbell and Lee Weiss, is the recipient of a competitive 2019 Young Investigator Award and Scholarship from the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) for his work on extracellular vesicles in host-pathogen interactions. As a part of the award, he will be giving a talk at the ISEV 2019 annual meeting in Kyoto, Japan. 

Cohen-Karni and Whitehead

Congratulations to Profs. Itzhaq Cohen-Karni and Kathryn Whitehead, who have been awarded the 2019 Dean’s Early Career Fellowships for cutting-edge innovations in their fields and outstanding contributions to the college and university. Dean’s Early Career Fellowships are awarded to untenured faculty members who have been nominated by their department heads and then selected to receive the fellowship after review and discussion of the nomination package by the CIT Review Committee.

Pulkit Grover

A team led by Pulkit Grover, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering, created more reliable and efficient deep neural networks called PolyDot coding to reduce errors and increase processing speed. The work was supported by a grant from the NSF WiFiUS program, and NSF CAREER award. See further details.

Daniel Suma headshot

Daniel Suma was selected by the College of Engineering to receive the Bradford and Diane Smith Graduate Fellowship in recognition of his outstanding work as PhD student at the College of Engineering and potential for future success. Daniel received his BS in chemical engineering from the University of Notre Dame, and MS in biomedical engineering from the University of Minnesota. Daniel’s PhD research involves developing noninvasive brain-computer interface.

Rachel Niu

Xiaodan (Rachel) Niu was selected by the College of Engineering to receive the Liang Ji-Dian Graduate Fellowship in recognition of her outstanding work as PhD student at CIT and potential for future success. Rachel received her BS in biomedical engineering from the University of Rochester, and MS in biomedical engineering from the University of Minnesota. Rachel’s PhD research involves investigation of mechanisms of ultrasound neuromodulation. 

Aryn Gittis

Prof. Aryn Gittis has been named a recipient of the Janett Rosenberg Trubatch Career Development Award from the Society for Neuroscience. Prof. Gittis’ work focuses on teasing apart the complex neural circuitry of the basal ganglia, an area of the brain that plays a role in movement, learning, motivation and reward. Her work uses new technologies, including optogenetics, to determine how changes and breakdowns in these circuits result in movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease. Check out the details.

Brian Jeon

In this study, BME PhD student Brian Jeon, advised by Profs. Kuhlman and Chase, investigated how neurons in the visual system tune to visual features of a stimulus over time.  Using two-photon microscopy, Brian tracked neurons in the primary visual cortex of a mouse over several weeks while the mouse viewed different images of oriented bars.  Although the individual protein components that make up a neuron are stable for only hours or days, Brian found that the overall tuning of the neuron to visual stimuli remained stable for weeks.  This suggests that stable perception is actively maintained through fixed tuning properties of neurons. See further details.

Jian Zhang photo

Former PhD student Dr. Jian Zhang has been selected by the journal Molecular Biology of the Cell as the 2018 Paper of the Year Awardee for his paper entitled “Centrosome defines the rear of cells during mesenchymal migration”. The study, conducted in the lab of Prof. Yu-li Wang, challenges a widely held view that centrosome defines the front of a migrating cell.

David Li photo

PhD candidate David Li, with his advisor Prof. Yu-li Wang, published a paper in Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. entitled “Coordination of Cell Migration Mediated by Site-Dependent Cell-Cell Contact”. The paper described the discovery of cellular contact following, the ability of migrating cells to follow the tail of a neighbor upon contact. The finding complements the long-held understanding of contact inhibition, where head-on collisions cause cells to migrate away from each other.

Kathryn Whitehead

Prof. Kathryn Whitehead has been awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator award. The award is part of the NIH’s High-Risk, High-Reward Research program, which supports ideas that have the potential for great impact in areas relevant to the NIH mission. With this award, Prof. Whitehead will genetically engineer the human cells in breastmilk for infant disease therapy — something no one has ever done before. Check out the details.