Engineering Diversity

RECOGNIZING EXCELLENCE

  • Guillermo Ameer, ScD

    Guillermo Ameer, ScD

  • Treena Arinzeh, PhD

    Treena Arinzeh, PhD

  • Gilda Barabino, PhD

    Gilda Barabino, PhD

  • Sangeeta Bhatia, MD, PhD

    Sangeeta Bhatia, MD, PhD

  • Cheryl Blanchard, PhD

    Cheryl Blanchard, PhD

  • Tejal Desai, PhD

    Tejal Desai, PhD

  • Paula Hammond, PhD

    Paula Hammond, PhD

  • Rebecca Richards-Kortum, PhD

    Rebecca Richards-Kortum, PhD

  • Ann Salamone

    Ann Salamone

  • Molly Shoichet, PhD

    Molly Shoichet, PhD

  • Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, PhD

    Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, PhD

Awardees

Early Trailblazers

Gilda Barabino, Ph.D.

Gilda Barabino, Ph.D.

Gilda Barabino is Dean and Berg Professor at The Grove School of Engineering at The City College of New York. She has appointments in Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education/CUNY School of Medicine...

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Barbara Boyan, Ph.D.

Barbara Boyan, Ph.D.

Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D., dean of VCU’s School of Engineering, is an acclaimed researcher and entrepreneur. Her laboratory focuses on research related to all aspects of bone and cartilage biology...

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Rena Bizios, Ph.D.

Rena Bizios, Ph.D.

Professor Rena Bizios, a chemical/biomedical engineer by training, is the Lutcher Brown Chair Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas...

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Linda Lucas, Ph.D.

Linda Lucas, Ph.D.

Dr. Linda C. Lucas became provost of University of Alabama at Birmingham in April 2012 after serving in the interim role since May 2011. She served as dean of the School of Engineering from 2000 to 2011...

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Katherine Ferrara, Ph.D.

Katherine Ferrara, Ph.D.

Dr. Katherine Ferrara was recruited to the Department of Radiology at Stanford University in 2018. Prior, Professor Ferrera spent years building and shaping the Biomedical Engineering Department at the...

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Banu Onaral, Ph.D.

Banu Onaral, Ph.D.

Dr. Onaral is H. H. Sun Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering at Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA. She holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University...

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Janice Jenkins, Ph.D.

Janice Jenkins, Ph.D.

During her 22-year career at the University of Michigan, Janice Jenkins became known for her mentorship and for the fact that she was the first woman faculty member hired in the Electrical and Computer Engineering...

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Christina Enroth-Cugell, Ph.D.

Christina Enroth-Cugell, Ph.D.

Christina Alma Elisabeth Enroth-Cugell, emeritus professor of biomedical engineering and neurobiology, passed away June 15, 2016 at age 96. She was as a renowned vision scientist...

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3D Printing and Citrate Biomaterials Could Allow Dissolvable Stents
Guillermo Ameer | June 14, 2024

3D Printing and Citrate Biomaterials Could Allow Dissolvable Stents
Guillermo Ameer | June 14, 2024

Implanted stents have saved countless lives. A tiny metal mesh coil, stents keep arteries open for blood to flow that’s crucial to the body to function after a traumatic angioplasty or cardiac event.

That doesn’t mean they’re a perfected technology.

Stents themselves can also develop plaque due to the systemic nature of the same cardiovascular disease they were implanted to counteract. With cardiovascular disease the leading cause of death globally, according to the World Health Organization, the need for more effective stents has never been greater.

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Carolina collaboration yields next-generation medical bandage
Juliane Nguyen | June 13, 2024

Carolina collaboration yields next-generation medical bandage
Juliane Nguyen | June 13, 2024

From chronic wounds to battlefield triage to heart surgery, this self-sticking bandage is designed to adapt to any body surface, internal or external, creating a bond stronger than current FDA-approved adhesives. The applications of this innovation are detailed in Nature Communications.

“Our patch mimics the skin’s expandability and flexibility, stretching as a person moves,” says principal investigator Juliane Nguyen, professor in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. “Normal bandages contract in one direction as they expand in another. Ours are designed to expand in both directions, preventing tissue damage and promoting adhesion.”

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Microneedle patch holds promise for promoting hair regrowth caused by alopecia areata
Natalie Artzi | June 8, 2024

Microneedle patch holds promise for promoting hair regrowth caused by alopecia areata
Natalie Artzi | June 8, 2024

Alopecia areata (AA) is an autoimmune disease characterized by hair loss, which occurs when T cells of the immune system mistakenly attack hair follicles. To restore control over hyperactive immune cells, investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a founding member of the Mass General Brigham healthcare system, and MIT developed a cutting-edge approach to deliver T cell regulators directly to sites of hair loss and halt autoimmune activity. Findings, published in Advanced Materials, demonstrated marked and lasting increases in hair regrowth in models of the disease.

Our immune system evolved to safeguard against the overactivation that occurs when it mistakenly attacks our own tissues, as seen in autoimmune conditions. In conditions like AA, the specialized cells known as Regulatory T cells (Tregs) fall short in protecting hair follicles. Current immunosuppressants used in AA target both T cells and Tregs, failing to address the core issue and increasing the risk of disease recurrence once treatment stops. Moreover, systemic immune therapy suppresses the entire immune system, leaving patients vulnerable to infections and malignancies.

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Antioxidant gel preserves islet function after pancreas removal
Guillermo Ameer | June 7, 2024

Antioxidant gel preserves islet function after pancreas removal
Guillermo Ameer | June 7, 2024

New approach could enable patients to live pain-free without complications of diabetes

Northwestern University researchers have developed a new antioxidant biomaterial that someday could provide much-needed relief to people living with chronic pancreatitis.

The study was published today (June 7) in the journal Science Advances.

Before surgeons remove the pancreas from patients with severe, painful chronic pancreatitis, they first harvest insulin-producing tissue clusters, called islets, and transplant them into the vasculature of the liver. The goal of the transplant is to preserve a patient’s ability to control their own blood-glucose levels without insulin injections.

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Study models how ketamine’s molecular action leads to its effects on the brain
Emery Brown | June 4, 2024

Study models how ketamine’s molecular action leads to its effects on the brain
Emery Brown | June 4, 2024

New research addresses a gap in understanding how ketamine’s impact on individual neurons leads to pervasive and profound changes in brain network function.

Ketamine, a World Health Organization Essential Medicine, is widely used at varying doses for sedation, pain control, general anesthesia, and as a therapy for treatment-resistant depression. While scientists know its target in brain cells and have observed how it affects brain-wide activity, they haven’t known entirely how the two are connected. A new study by a research team spanning four Boston-area institutions uses computational modeling of previously unappreciated physiological details to fill that gap and offer new insights into how ketamine works.

“This modeling work has helped decipher likely mechanisms through which ketamine produces altered arousal states as well as its therapeutic benefits for treating depression,” says co-senior author Emery N. Brown, the Edward Hood Taplin Professor of Computational Neuroscience and Medical Engineering at The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT, as well as an anesthesiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School.

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Advancing Antiracism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEMM Organizations
National Academies

Advancing Antiracism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEMM Organizations
National Academies

People from minoritized racial and ethnic groups continue to face numerous systemic barriers that impede their ability to access, persist, and thrive in STEMM higher education and the workforce.

To promote a culture of antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion (ADEI) in STEMM, organizations must actively work to dismantle policies and practices that disadvantage people from minoritized groups.

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What Can We Do to Combat Anti-Black Racism in the Biomedical Research Enterprise?
NIH

What Can We Do to Combat Anti-Black Racism in the Biomedical Research Enterprise?
NIH

The recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, in addition to the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on African Americans, are wrenching reminders of the many harms that societal racism, inequality, and injustice inflict on the Black community. These injustices are rooted in centuries of oppression—including slavery and Jim Crow, redlining, school segregation, and mass incarceration—that continue to influence American life, including the biomedical research enterprise. Despite leading an NIH Institute whose mission includes building a diverse scientific workforce, at NIGMS we’ve struggled with what an adequate response to this moment would be, knowing that the systems that mediate the distinct and disparate burdens Black students, postdocs, and scientists face are complex and often aren’t easily moved with the urgency that they demand. With that in mind, below we share thoughts on what each of us who is in the majority or in a position of power can do to help break the cycles of racial disparities that are woven into the fabric of the biomedical research enterprise and that limit opportunities Link to external web site for Black scientists Link to external web site.

Institutional structures, policies, and cultures Link to external web site, including those in the biomedical research enterprise, all contribute to racial inequality and injustice. This fact was laid bare for us by the responses to the request for information (RFI) we issued in 2018 on strategies to enhance successful postdoctoral career transitions to promote faculty diversity. Respondents cited bias and discrimination—including racism—most frequently as a key barrier to postdoctoral researchers attaining independent faculty positions.

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Combating sexual harassment
Science

Combating sexual harassment
Science

Sexual harassment, including gender harassment, presents an unacceptable barrier that prevents women from achieving their rightful place in science, and robs society and the scientific enterprise of diverse and critical talent. As the largest single funder of biomedical research in the world, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) bears a responsibility to take action to put an end to this behavior. In 2019, the NIH began to bolster its policies and practices to address and prevent sexual harassment. This included new communication channels to inform the agency of instances of sexual harassment related to NIH-funded research. This week, the NIH announces a change that will hold grantee institutions and investigators accountable for this misconduct, to further foster a culture whereby sexual harassment and other inappropriate behaviors are not tolerated in the research and training environment.

Last year, an Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) of the NIH presented a report and recommendations to end sexual harassment. A major theme of this report was the need for increased transparency and accountability in the reporting of professional misconduct, especially sexual harassment. The cases of sexual harassment that surfaced in the wake of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) 2018 report highlighted a substantial gap in the NIH’s oversight of the research enterprise: There was no straightforward mechanism for the agency to learn of sexual harassment or other misconduct taking place at grantee institutions in the context of NIH-funded research. It was not uncommon for the NIH to discover such cases through the media, amid rightful public outcry. Holding institutions and investigators accountable for this behavior was challenging.

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White Academia: Do Better.
Medium

White Academia: Do Better.
Medium

Over the past couple of weeks, our nation has been confronted with ugly truths and hard history revealing how systemic racism rears its head in almost every space. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down our typical lifestyles, people seem to be listening.

This moment feels very different from other situations when we had to address human rights in the context of race relations in the United States. With that comes a host of emotions that White people have rarely had to deal with because of their racial privilege, and this includes White people working in academia.

Like many Black faculty, and Black people in general, I have received messages and texts from White colleagues apologizing, expressing their guilt and remorse, and asking what they can do to support their Black colleagues and friends.

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Guidelines for Diversity & Inclusion in Crisis
Juan E. Gilbert, PhD

Guidelines for Diversity & Inclusion in Crisis
Juan E. Gilbert, PhD

I am writing these guidelines in response to the recent events that have impacted the Black community, specifically, the Black computing community. As the Department Chair of the Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE) Department at the University of Florida, I lead, one of, if not, the nation’s most diverse computing sciences (CS) department. We have the nation’s most Black CS faculty and PhD students. We are one of the top CS departments for the number of female faculty. As a researcher, I have had the honor of producing the nation’s most Black/African-American CS PhDs. I have also had the honor of hiring and promoting the most Black faculty in CS. My experiences span more than 20 years and those experiences are the foundation for these guidelines.

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