Carnegie Mellon University

Ren Lab

Department of Biomedical Engineering

  • 10/2022 - Weitao is awarded with the prestigious Dowd Fellowship from the College of Engineering, and he proposes to use DNA nanotechnology to modulate cell surface properties. Congratulations!
  • 10/2022 - Welcome Vanessa Serna Villa joining us as a new MS student. She is a GEM fellow and will work on engineering lung cancer tissues and tracking its extracellular matrix synthesis.
  • 06/2022 - Congrats to Barbie for winning the Impact Grant from Cystic Fibrosis Research Center of University of Pittsburgh, and she will pioneer the engineering of airway tissues capable of mucociliary clearance using 3D printing.
  • 05/2022 - Congrats to Piyumi for being awarded with the prestigious NASA Postdoctoral Fellowship, and she will study Human Tissue and Organ Models to Understand the Biological Effects of Space Radiation together with Dr. Egle Cekanaviciute.
  • 05/2022 - Congrats to Kian Golestan for winning the BME Research Excellence Award of 2022.
  • 05/2022 - A memorable graduation season, and we celebrate the graduation of Piyumi, Michael and Priscilla. Congratulations to Piyumi for winning the Graduate Research Award and for being the student speaker on behalf of the 2022 graduates. Congrats to Barbie for winning the Leadership Award.
  • 05/2022 - Our recent work on stem cell modeling of cardio-pulmonary co-development is featured on the news story of the College of Engineering. Much appreciate the collaboration from Dr. Adam Feinberg, Darrell KottonFinn Hawkins, and Jun-Jie Tan. Great work from Wai Hoe, Liz, Jaci, and Piyumi. Many thanks to Sara Vaccar for putting the story together!
  • 04/2022 - Huge congrats to Piyumi for successfully defending her PhD thesis "Organoid and Cell-Surface Engineering for Investigation of Human Respiratory Pathophysiology". Piyumi is an extremely accomplished PhD graduate, who has published 7 papers and won numerous awards, including Presidential Fellowship, NIH-T32 fellowship, 1st-place prize in 3-Minutes Thesis Competition, and 7 presentation/poster awards at scientific conferences. Congrats again, Dr. Wijesekara!
  • 04/2022 - Dr. Ren received the New Innovator Award for Junior Faculty at the 48th annual Northeast Bioengineering Conference.
  • 04/2022 - Our collabrative work with Dr. Phil Campbell on extracellular vesicle functionalized biomaterials is featured on the news story of the College of Engineering. Great work from Yunhui and Sai! Many thanks to Sara Vaccar for putting the story together!
  • 04/2022 - Honored to receive the NSF CAREER Award. We will learn from the native lung development and injury repair to design novel biomaterials to better support alveolar tissue engineering. We will also pursue fun educational projects with Ms. Shari Morasco at Gateway High School and Prof. Richard Pell at the School of Art. We appreciate the support from CMU's Gelfand Center and Eberly Center.
  • 04/2022 - Congrats to Piyumi for winning the First-Place Prize for the 2022 Carnegie Mellon University's Three Minute Thesis Competition.
  • 04/2022 - Congrats to Piyumi for winning the Best Oral Presentation Award at the 2022 CMU-Pitt BioE Day, and Kudos to Barbie for organizing this fantastic event!
  • 03/2022 - Congrats to Wai Hoe for the cardio-pulmonary microtissue image being named Biomedical Image of the Day by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences.
  • 03/2022 - Congrats to Piyumi for winning the Merit Poster Award at the 2022 McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine Scientific Retreat.
  • 02/2022 - Congrats to Piyumi and Liz (our former MS student) for winning the 2022 Presidential Fellwoship of the College of Engineering.
  • 01/2022 - Congrats to Barbie and Ceci for successfully passing the Qualifying Exam!
  • 12/2021 - Dr. Ren is featured on Faculty Insights of the College of Engineering. Great to communicate our research on lung tissue engineeirng with the broader audience. 
  • 10/2021 - Welcome our new MS students: Urvee Chitrao (BS@Birla Institute Of Technology and Science, Pilani Dubai), Kian Golestan (BS@UC Riverside), and Kian (kiki) Patel (BS@Oregon State). They will work on lung organoid engineering for modeling lung tissue morphogenesis and for biorobotics.
  • 10/2021 - Dr. Leon Zhao and Dr. Ren have been awarded with a new collaborative research grant from the DSF Foundation to pursue using expansion microscopy to decode the ultrastructures of respiratory cilia.
  • 10/2021 - Dr. Ren is among the 25 US awardees of prize in the Catalyst Phase of the National Academy of Medicine Healthy Longevity Global Competition. This competition rewards bold, new, potentially transformative ideas to improve the physical, mental, or social well-being of people as they age, in a measurable and equitable way. Our research will reveal the common extracellular mechanisms of aging across different organs.
  • 09/2021 - Congtats to Barbie for being elected to be the President of the GBMES.
  • 06/2021 - Dr. Ren joints the Young Investigator Committee of the Cell Transplant and Regenerative Medicine Society (CTRMS).
  • 06/2021 - Congrats to Priscilla for winning the GEM fellowhsip and the 2021 BME Research Excellence Award!
  • 05/2021 - Congrats to the graduation of Ananya Kar (MS) and Emily Reinoso Jacome (BS). And congrats to Emily for winning the CMU-BME Undergraduate Research Award!
  • 02/2021 - We are grateful to have received the Discovery Award from Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs of the Department of Defense. We will be collaborating with Dr. Amir Barati Farimani's group on developing high-throughput method for assessing respiratory cilia beating defects using computer vision on rotating airway organoids. Thanks to the great work from Piyumi and Prakarsh.
  • 08/2020 - Welcome our new MS students, Priscilla Flores-Ascencio (BS@U.Kansas) and Michael Hu (BS@Georgia Tech). They will both work on extracellular matrix engineering.
  • 07/2020 - Congrats to Piyumi for receiving an NIH-T32 fellowship under the Biomechanics in Regenerative Medicine (BiRM) training program. With this support, she will develop novel organoid models and mechanical tools to measure respiratory cilia motility.
  • 06/2020 - We are grateful to have received the Samuel and Emma Winters Foundation Award, and will engineer a dual-organ organoid model for investigating human heart and lung co-development. Thanks to the great work from Wai hoe and Liz.
  • 05/2020 - We are grateful to have received a research grant from the Elsa U. Pardee Foundation, and will develop technologies to help understand the dynamic changes of tumor extracellular environment. Thanks to the great work from Zihan, Shierly and Yunhui.
  • 06/2020 - Welcome Emily Reinoso Jacome to be our SURF fellow of 2020. She will be sponsored by the university to do summer research with us.
  • 05/2020 - Farewell to our UG and MS graduates: Liz, Shierly, Minrui and Nelly. Unfortunately, we cannot organize a party for you all due to the pandemic. Please do come to visit us when there is a chance. Best of luck in your future endeavor!!
  • 05/2020 - Congrats to Barbie for being 1 out of the 3 MS students receiving the BME Department Summer Research Fellowship.
  • 03/2020 - Congrats to Piyumi for winning the 2nd Place at the Regenerative Medicine Technology Pitch Competition ($1500 cash prize!) at this year's McGowan Scientific Retreat. She presented her swimming organoid project.
  • 01/2020Congrats to Wai Hoe for being awarded Winners for Fellows, 2nd Place in Basic Categories, at the American Heart Association’s 28th Annual Fellows Research Day. He presented his cardio-pulmonary stem cell engineering project.
  • 09/2019 - Congrats to Piyumi for receiving the Outstanding Poster Award at the 2019 Carnegie Mellon Forum on Biomedical Engineering. She presented her multicellular assembly project.
  • 09/2019 - Welcome our new MS students, Barbie Varghese (BS@Rutgers) and Ananya Kar (BS@VIT). They will both work on bone tissue engineering.
  • 09/2019 - Welcome our new PhD student, Weitao Wang (MS@Notre Dame). Weitao will be co-advised by Prof. Rebecca Taylor at MechE, and will merge DNA nanotechnology with cell surface engineering.
  • 09/2019 - Welcome our new PhD student, Zihan Ling (BS@Peking University). Zihan is a recipient of the ‘Carnegie Mellon-China Scholarship Council’ scholarship! He will be working on chemoselective tracking of newly synthesized extracellular matrix proteins.
  • 06/2019 - Congrats to Liz for being 1 out of the 5 MS students receiving the BME Department Summer Research Fellowship.
  • 05/2019 - Welcome SURF fellows of 2019: Vivienne Pham and Nelly Raissa Setchie Tchato. They will be sponsored by the university to do summer research with us.
  • 04/2019 - Congrats to Vivienne and Nelly for being awarded with the SURF fellowship
  • 03/2019 - Dr. Ren becomes courtesy faculty at the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
  • 02/2019 - Congrats to Piyumi (and Dr. Ren) for passing her (‘his’) Qualifying Exam! Her proposal focuses on engineering stromal-vascularized alveolar organoids.
  • 01/2019 - Dr. Ren spoke about 'Organ Regeneration' at FutureTech Podcast.
  • 12/2018 - Congrats to Piyumi, Wai Hoe and Taurus for publishing our very first review article on "Bioengineering the innate vasculature of complex organs". Look forward to sharing our research in near future.
  • 11/2018 - Piyumi and Gaurav presented posters at the 2018 Biomaterials Day. Congrats to Piyumi for winning the People’s Choice Award!
  • 10/2018 - Congrats to Gaurav for being named one of the 2019 class of Andrew Carnegie Scholars
  • 10/2018 - Congrats to Piyumi for her oral presentation on chemoselective biomaterial engineering at the Regenerative Engineering Symposium at AIChE Annual.
  • 10/2018 - Dominique presented a poster on glycocalyx engineering at the 2018 BMES Conference at Atlanta.
  • 10/2018 - Welcome new undergraduate researchers joining our lab, Vivienne Pham and Nelly-Raissa Setchie-Tchato.
  • 10/2018 - Wai Hoe and Piyumi presented posters on their research at the Carnegie Mellon Forum on Biomedical Engineering.
  • 09/2018 - Welcome our new MS students, Julia Napolitano (BS@CMU), Elizabeth (Liz) Johnston (BS@Georgia-Tech), Shierly Fok Lau (BS@Georgia-Tech) and Njaire Mckoy (BS@CMU).
  • 09/2018 - Welcome our new PhD student, Yunhui Xing (BS@Southern University of Science and Technology). Yunhui is a recipient of the ‘Carnegie Mellon-China Scholarship Council’ scholarship!
  • 06/2018 - Welcome our new MS students, Minrui (Ray) Chen (BS@William&Mary) and Minrui (Taurus) Feng (BS@CMU).
  • 05/2018 - Dr. Ren presented our work on chemoselective functionalization of native extracellular matrix at American Thoracic Society 2018 Annual Conference.
  • 05/2018 - Welcome our new undergraduate researcher, Gaurav Balakrishnan.
  • 05/2018 - Congratulations to our undergraduate researchers, Dominique Petach and Annie Yang for receiving the SURF fellowship.
  • 05/2018 - Dr. Ren becomes a Faculty Member at the McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine at University of Pittsburgh.