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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High-speed, 3D microscope captures stunning videos of fruit fly nerve cells in action
Elizabeth Hillman | Mar 7, 2019

High-speed, 3D microscope captures stunning videos of fruit fly nerve cells in action
Elizabeth Hillman | Mar 7, 2019

Columbia engineers and neuroscientists have joined forces to create 3D videos of individual nerve cells moving, stretching and switching on inside fruit fly larvae as they move. Data gleaned from these videos reveals how nerve cells called proprioceptive neurons work together to help the body sense where it is in space. To accomplish this feat, the researchers harnessed SCAPE, a cutting-edge microscope developed at Columbia that images neurons at lightning-fast speeds.

These findings, published today in Current Biology, illustrate SCAPE’s ability to reveal the inner workings of the nervous system in unprecedented detail. By creating 3D, live action images of nerve cells in larvae as the animals crawled, SCAPE allowed the researchers to see exactly how those cells along the body wall reported movements back to the brain.

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New optical imaging system could be deployed to find tiny tumors
Paula Hammond | Mar 7, 2019

New optical imaging system could be deployed to find tiny tumors
Paula Hammond | Mar 7, 2019

Many types of cancer could be more easily treated if they were detected at an earlier stage. MIT researchers have now developed an imaging system, named “DOLPHIN,” which could enable them to find tiny tumors, as small as a couple of hundred cells, deep within the body.

In a new study, the researchers used their imaging system, which relies on near-infrared light, to track a 0.1-millimeter fluorescent probe through the digestive tract of a living mouse. They also showed that they can detect a signal to a tissue depth of 8 centimeters, far deeper than any existing biomedical optical imaging technique.

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Tissue model reveals how RNA will act on the liver
Sangeeta Bhatia | Mar 5, 2019

Tissue model reveals how RNA will act on the liver
Sangeeta Bhatia | Mar 5, 2019

Novel therapies based on a process known as RNA interference (RNAi) hold great promise for treating a variety of diseases by blocking specific genes in a patient’s cells. Many of the earliest RNAi treatments have focused on diseases of the liver, because RNA-carrying particles tend to accumulate in that organ.

MIT researchers have now shown that an engineered model of human liver tissue can be used to investigate the effects of RNAi, helping to speed up the development of such treatments. In a paper appearing in the journal Cell Metabolism on March 5, the researchers showed with the model that they could use RNAi to turn off a gene that causes a rare hereditary disorder. And using RNA molecules that target a different gene expressed by human liver cells, they were able to reduce malaria infections in the model’s cells.

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“Antibody-like” T Cell Receptors May Be New Potential Treatment for Cytomegalovirus (#CMV) and Brain Tumors
Jennifer Maynard | Mar 4, 2019

“Antibody-like” T Cell Receptors May Be New Potential Treatment for Cytomegalovirus (#CMV) and Brain Tumors
Jennifer Maynard | Mar 4, 2019

Texas ChE Professor Jennifer Maynard and her research team have engineered “antibody-like” T cell receptors that can specifically stick to cells infected with cytomegalovirus, or CMV, a virus that causes lifelong infection in more than half of all adults by age 40. These receptors represent a new potential treatment option, could aid the development of CMV vaccines and might also be used to target brain tumors.

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Dawn Elliott honored by Orthopaedic Research Society
Dawn Elliott | Feb 15, 2019

Dawn Elliott honored by Orthopaedic Research Society
Dawn Elliott | Feb 15, 2019

Some professors shine most brightly in the lab. Others are particularly excellent mentors, inspiring students and other faculty members to reach new heights in their careers. Then, there are those who excel at both.

Dawn Elliott, chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware, is being recognized as one of those multitalented academics. Elliott, a Blue and Gold Professor of Biomedical Engineering, is the inaugural recipient of the Orthopaedic Research Society’s Adele L. Boskey, PhD Award.

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Not One More Generation: Women in Science Take on Sexual Harassment
ASBMB Today

Not One More Generation: Women in Science Take on Sexual Harassment
ASBMB Today

I was driven out of science by a harasser in the 1980s.”

Coming from a woman who has since helped to found a scientific society, served as director of the Genetics Society of America and presented her research on sexual harassment to a 2018 National Academies panel, it is a surprising statement. But Sherry Marts left academia after finishing her Ph.D. at Duke and never went back.

2018 has been a banner year for confronting sexual harassment in science. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine published a report on the high prevalence of harassment of women in science, and the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation are updating their sexual harassment policies. It appears that science might be catching up with the #MeToo movement, which has raised awareness of workplace sexual harassment. However, critics say that large institutions are moving too incrementally and could do much more.

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Why we’re editing women scientists onto Wikipedia
Nature

Why we’re editing women scientists onto Wikipedia
Nature

Marie Curie is one of the most famous women in science. But her first page on Wikipedia was shared with her husband — until someone pointed out that, perhaps, her scientific contributions were notable enough to warrant her own biography.

That’s the beauty of Wikipedia. It is the fifth most popular website in the world and notches up more than 32 million views a day. A community of volunteer editors collaboratively edit, update and add content to democratize access to a common and constantly updating collection of knowledge. But as with any democracy, results are determined by those who choose to participate. Who edits Wikipedia — and the biases they carry with them — matters.

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Closing diversity gaps in patenting is essential to innovation economy
The Hill

Closing diversity gaps in patenting is essential to innovation economy
The Hill

In 1871, Margaret Knight earned a patent for inventing a brown paper bag with a flat bottom, the same model that is used in most grocery stores across the country today. More than a century later, African American inventor Lonnie Johnson received a patent for his Super Soaker water gun, a toy that has generated more than $1 billion in sales and has been among the top 20 best selling toys in the world every year since 1991.

The commercial success these inventors enjoyed was based on a strong and open patent system. Except for individuals held in slavery, the U.S. patent system has always welcomed all inventors by awarding patents regardless of race, gender, or economic status. It is an essential engine of innovation. Economic activity from patents in the United States is estimated at more than $8 trillion and intellectual property industries directly and indirectly support 30 percent of all U.S. employment.

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New analysis of funding trends offers encouraging news for female investigators—with caveats
Science

New analysis of funding trends offers encouraging news for female investigators—with caveats
Science

Once female scientists receive a major research project grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), their funding futures are quite similar to those of their male peers, a new study reports. That suggests gender represents a small, and shrinking, barrier to success in a biomedical science career, the authors argue, and it emphasizes the importance of encouraging women to apply for grants in the first place. Yet these statistics belie the significant systemic hurdles that persist for many women, others say.

The study helps illustrate where work remains to be done to truly make opportunities in science equal for men and women, says Donna Ginther, a professor of economics at the University of Kansas in Lawrence who studies the scientific workforce, and who wasn’t involved with the study. “The more evidence we have about where [bias] is happening and where it’s not happening in the pipeline, the better we’ll be able to address those problems.”

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Bias, Diversity, Backlash, Manifestos, and Rebuttals
Code Like A Girl

Bias, Diversity, Backlash, Manifestos, and Rebuttals
Code Like A Girl

Have you ever been in a meeting where a colleague says “I’m a great supporter of gender equality, but I’m totally opposed to quotas!” Or, “I believe in diversity, but I won’t stand for positive discrimination.” Maybe you felt a bit troubled by such statements, thinking: that sounds fair, but somehow I don’t think it is… how do I rebut this?

Bias is omnipresent in our society, and some of us are keenly aware of rampant bias in sectors like technology, engineering and politics. Efforts to thwart the effects of bias in communities and institutions prompt a spectrum of diversity initiatives. Many times these lead to backlash. It’s been just a year since the memo “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” spread through the company’s internal channels, then became public. Yet, another wrangle is already blasting online with the article “Why Women Don’t Code,” by a university lecturer. What do we do when privileged individuals continue to turn a blind eye on the injustices around them? They insist on points like “women are less likely to choose computer science,” and that it’s just due to natural differences.

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