University of Minnesota
Department of Biomedical Engineering

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Current and Recent Department News

Zeeshan Syedain Receives Minnesota Regenerative Medicine Biobusiness Award

Zeeshan Syedain

August 1, 2016 - Zeeshan Syedain, PhD, a Senior Research Associate in the Tranquillo Lab, received the 2016 Minnesota Regenerative Medicine Biobusiness award for "Bioreactor for GMP Manufacturing of Tissue Engineered Vascular Graft for Pediatric Regeneration." The story was recently highlighted in Twin Cities Business. Read the full story >

Daniel Lu Awarded AHA Fellowship

Daniel Lu

July 26, 2016 - Xinran (Daniel) Lu, a Ph.D. candidate in the Living Devices Lab, was recently awarded an American Heart Association Pre-Doctoral Fellowship. Daniel's project, titled "A microfluidic platform to quantify the combined effects of rheology and endothelial adhesion in sickle cell disease," hopes to bridge the gap between the biological and physical components of Sickle Cell Disease. Congratulations to Daniel and his advisor, David Wood!

Sarah Hunt Wins 2016-17 Predoctoral Diversity Teaching Fellowship

Sarah Hunt

July 12, 2016 - Sarah Hunt, a Ph.D. candidate in Victor Barocas' lab, has received the 2016-17 Predoctoral Diversity Teaching Fellowship. Administered through the University's Office for Diversity in Graduate Education, this highly competitive fellowship offers doctoral candidates teaching opportunities at the Morris and Duluth campuses while writing their dissertations and being mentored by senior faculty. Sarah will be teaching one course per semester for the Chemical Engineering department at the Duluth campus as she completes her thesis. Congratulations, Sarah!

BME Students Win Multiple Awards at Biomechanics Conference

Barocas Students

July 7, 2016 - Grad students Chris Korenczuk (1st in Tissue Mechanics and Modeling, Barocas lab), Zaw Win (2nd in Cardiac and Vascular, Alford lab), and Julia Quindlen (3rd in Mechanosensing, Barocas lab) were among the Ph.D. Student Competition winners at this year's Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering, and Biotransport Conference. Recent alum Johnny Carruth (BBmE'16, Barocas lab) took first place in the Cell and Tissue Mechanics category of the B.S. Student Competition. In addition, Mechanical Engineering graduate students Vahhab Zarei (Barocas lab) and Yiru Wang (Bischof lab) placed in the Ph.D. competition, giving the UMN Biomedical Engineering Department's labs 5 out of 18 winners, selected from over 100 entries. Alum Jared Zitnay (BBmE'14) also won one of the Ph.D. student awards for his graduate work at the University of Utah.

Pictured are Johnny Carruth, Julia Quindlen, Victor Barocas, Chris Korenczuk, and Vahhab Zarei.

Bin He Named Recipient of the IEEE Biomedical Engineering Award

Bin He

June 21, 2016 - Professor Bin He has been named the recipient of the 2017 IEEE Biomedical Engineering Award for his outstanding contributions to biomedical engineering, specifically in the fields of neuroengineering and neuroimaging. IEEE is one of the largest professional organizations in the world, with over 400,000 members. This award is given annually to an individual, team, or multiple recipients up to three in number, for exceptional achievements that have made an impact on the biomedical engineering profession. It is the highest IEEE award in biomedical engineering.

Bin He is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Director of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine, and the Medtronic-Bakken Endowed Chair for Engineering in Medicine.

Brenda Ogle Receives Mullen-Spector-Truax Women's Leadership Award

Brenda Ogle

June 8, 2016 - Associate Professor and program alumna Brenda Ogle (MS'98, PhD'00) was awarded the 2016 Mullen-Spector-Truax Women's Leadership Award for her outstanding contributions to women's leadership development at the University of Minnesota. Prof. Ogle serves as co-Chair of the Women's Faculty Cabinet in the Provost's Office, and she is also the faculty mentor for the award-winning Graduate Women in Biomedical Engineering student group. She will be recognized at the annual Celebrating University Women Awards Program, hosted by the Women's Center this coming fall.

Michelle Hall (MS'15) Receives Dean's Award for Early Career Achievement from the University of Iowa

Michelle Hall

May 19, 2016 - Biomedical Engineering alumna Michelle Hall (MS'15) received a Dean's Award for Early Career Achievement from her undergraduate alma mater, the University of Iowa. She presented a special seminar, "Finding Your Way to a Career in Orthotics and Prosthetics," on the Iowa campus earlier this month. This award is presented to Iowa alumni under 40 years old who have accomplished remarkable early career success in their professional field.

Michelle is a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (AAOP) with Distinction, a Career Development Award Recipient from the American Association of University Women, and a member of the University of Iowa's Biomedical Engineering Advisory Board. In March, she won the Howard R. Thranhardt Lecture Series from the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists for her lecture, "Margins of Stability in Children with Cerebral Palsy Diplegia: Barefoot versus AFO Comparison," part of which was based on the research that she completed here for her Master's project, advised by Prof. Michael Schwartz at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare. Since graduation, Michelle has continued her work at Gillette Children's, where she is a Certifed Prosthetist Orthotist and the Prosthetic Residency Director.

Congratulations, Michelle, on this well-deserved honor!

Amanda Dahl Receives President's Student Leadership and Service Award

Amanda Dahl

May 11, 2016 - Biomedical Engineering senior Amanda Dahl was one of 43 University of Minnesota undergraduates to receive a 2016 President's Student Leadership and Service Award (PSLSA). This award honors students who have provided outstanding leadership and service contributions to the University and surrounding community.

Amanda, who will graduate this spring with a BME major and a Leadership minor, has been an active mentor in the CSE Ambassadors program and in the Society of Women Engineers. She has held key leadership positions on the Science and Engineering Student Board and the National Association of Engineering Student Councils (NAESC). Amanda spent one month in Bali, Indonesia, as part of a study abroad program focusing on happiness, culture, and cross-cultural leadership; as well as three weeks in Tanzania working on the design of sustainable water systems. After graduation, she will join St. Jude Medical as a Quality Engineer.

Congratulations to Amanda!

BME PhD Students Win 2016-17 Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships

Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship Recipients, 2016-17

April 28, 2016 - Four Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. students were awarded Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships (DDFs) for the 2016-17 academic year in a University-wide competition sponsored by the Graduate School. The program provides selected recipients with the opportunity to devote full-time effort to dissertation research and writing during the fellowship year. Awards were given to

Congratulations to these doctoral candidates!

St. Jude Medical Provides Gift for Endowed Graduate Student Fellowships

St. Jude Medical

April 16, 2016 - For the third time, St. Jude Medical is contributing $50,000 to support new BME graduate students during their first semester of study. This is another gift in a campaign aimed at local medical device companies, with the goal of an endowment that supports the entire class of BME graduate students each fall.  It also reflects a growing presence of St. Jude Medical at the University of Minnesota.

Highest University Alumni Honor Awarded to Bruce KenKnight (PhD'97)

Bruce KenKnight

April 13, 2016 - BME alumnus Bruce KenKnight (PhD'97, advised by James E. Holte, PhD; Raymond E. Ideker, MD, PhD) has been awarded the University's highest recognition for alumni, the prestigious Outstanding Achievement Award. Dr. KenKight has accumulated nearly 150 patents and 50 peer-reviewed publications related to innovative devices and therapies for cardiac rhythm management CRM and heart failure mitigation since his first industrial position starting in 1985 with GE Medical and a career that has included leadership positions at Guidant, Boston Scientific-CRM, Valtech Cardio, Cyberonics, and presently LivaNova. Dr. KenKnight will accept his award at a ceremony hosted by the College of Science & Engineering this fall. Read more about Dr. KenKnight's career >

Timothy Pearce Receives 2016 BME Best Dissertation Award

Timothy Pearce

April 5, 2016 - Timothy Pearce (PhD'14) has been awarded the Biomedical Engineering program's 2016 Best Dissertation Award! His project, "Self-assembly of ssDNA-amphiphiles into micelles, nanotapes, and nanotubes," was advised by Prof. Efie Kokkoli. After he graduated in December 2014, he continued in Prof. Kokkoli's lab as a post-doc for a few months. This past summer he began working as a consultant for a local medical technology consulting firm.

Later this month the department will nominate Tim for the University-wide Best Dissertation Award in the Physical Sciences and Engineering division. Congratulations, Tim!

Mackenzie Callaway and Chris Korenczuk Receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

March 30, 2016 - Congratulations to our NSF Graduate Research Fellowship recipients!

Mackenzie Callaway

First-year Ph.D.
student, advised by
Paolo Provenzano

Chris Korenczuk

Second-year Ph.D. student, advised by Victor Barocas


The following students and alumni were also recognized in the fellowship competition with honorable mentions:

Emily Bermel - first-year Ph.D. student, advised by Victor Barocas

Nick Braun - first-year Ph.D. student, advised by Pat Alford

Patrick Holec - B.Bm.E. student, advised by Ben Hackel

Molly Kupfer - second-year Ph.D. student, advised by Brenda Ogle

Amanda Rooney - B.Bm.E.'13, currently at Cornell

Alexandra Schonnesen - B.Bm.E. student, advised by David Wood

Paige Voigt Tracy - B.Bm.E'14, currently at U Michigan

Albert You - B.Bm.E.'15, currently at UC Berkeley

Congratulations to these outstanding students!

Abbas Sohrabpour Awarded Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship

Abbas Sohrabpour

February 2, 2016 - Ph.D. student Abbas Sohrabpour was awarded a 2016-17 Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship for his research project, "Hacking Epilepsy Networks: Studying the Spatio-temporal Dynamics of Seizures Noninvasively." This competitive fellowship provides a unique opportunity for outstanding doctoral students whose research is interdisciplinary and who would benefit from interaction with faculty at one of the University’s interdisciplinary research centers or institutes. Abbas will complete his project at the Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM), under the mentorship of his primary advisor, Bin He (Professor of Biomedical Engineering), and his IEM co-mentor, Zhiyi Sha (Assistant Professor of Neurology). Congratulations, Abbas!

Bob Tranquillo's Pediatric Heart Valve Featured on KARE-11 News

Bob Tranquillo

January 20, 2016 - Following the Star Tribune article (see below), NBC affiliate KARE-11 featured Prof. Tranquillo's research! Read or watch the full news story >

Patrick Alford Receives NSF Career Award

Patrick Alford

January 14, 2016 - Assistant Professor Patrick Alford has been awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER Award to study trauma-induced alteration of vascular smooth muscle mechanics. Prof. Alford's lab will develop new tools for measuring the elastic and viscoelastic properties of smooth muscle cells and use them to better understand the cerebrovascular injury progression in blast traumatic brain injury (bTBI).The result of this study will be a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in bTBI, providing insight for potential therapeutic approaches. Learn more about the Alford Lab's research >

Paper by Krissy Morin is a JBME Editors' Choice for 2015

Krissy Morin

January 8, 2016 - Alumna Krissy Morin (PhD'12) had one of the papers from her doctoral thesis selected as a Journal of Biomechanical Engineering (JBME) Editors' Choice for 2015. The paper, "A Mathematical Model for Understanding Fluid Flow Through Engineered Tissues Containing Microvessels" (JBME 137(5):051003-051003-11), was one of eleven selected for this distinction, out of a total 165 papers published last year. The Editors' Choice list represents the papers that the editorial board felt best exemplified the high quality and significance of work in the journal's 2015 publications. The paper was co-authored by program alumnae Michelle Lenz (BBmE'12, MS'13) and Caroline Labat (BBmE'14), as well as Dr. Morin's PhD advisor, Prof. Bob Tranquillo. Congratulations to Krissy and her co-authors!

Bob Tranquillo's Pediatric Heart Valve Featured in Star Tribune

Bob Tranquillo

January 6, 2016 - A Star Tribune article on the University's Pediatric Device Innovation Consortium featured research in the lab of Bob Tranquillo (Professor and Head of Biomedical Engineering). The photo included shows his Senior Research Associate, Dr. Zeeshan Syedain, holding a prototype valve mounted inside a plastic block for lab testing.  The novel pediatric valve was recently described in their 2015 paper by Reimer et al in the journal Biomaterials.  It is made from two decellularized tissue tubes grown in the lab from skin cells that are sutured together with degradable suture to form a tubular valve that can grow when the patient's cells repopulate the tubes and fuse them together along the suture line. Read the full article >

96% Placement for 2014-15 Graduating Seniors

Hubert Lim

December 29, 2015 - For the second year in a row, Biomedical Engineering (BME) graduating seniors had 96% placement at 6 months post-graduation, according to the College of Science and Engineering (CSE) Career Center. Approximately 2/3 of our 2014-15 graduating seniors are in full-time paid employment (mostly at local medtech companies), and about 1/3 are enrolled full-time in a graduate or professional degree program. Also, BME was the top CSE engineering major hired by Boston Scientific, Medtronic, and St. Jude Medical, with 16 of our students hired at just those three companies.

Hubert Lim Discusses the Effectiveness of Sound Therapy

Hubert Lim

December 7, 2015 - Hubert Lim (Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering) was interviewed by WCCO about the practice of sound therapy. A harmonic sound therapist interviewed for the story says that the therapy has brought relief to his patients suffering from backaches, headaches, sleeping difficulties and Parkinson’s disease symptoms. Prof. Lim believes sound therapy can cause physiological changes in the body and brain and his lab is exploring if and how these types of effects can be systematically controlled to relieve certain disease symptoms or enhance other conventional treatments, leading to new directions in integrative medicine. Read or watch the full news story >

Zaw Win Awarded AHA Fellowship

Zaw Win

December 7, 2015 - Ph.D. student Zaw Win was awarded an American Heart Association Pre-Doctoral Fellowship to fund his research project, "Nonlinear Anisotropic Mechanical Properties of Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells." Congratulations to Zaw and his advisor, Patrick Alford!

Wiley Releases Volume on Drug-Device Combinations, Co-Edited by Ron Siegel

Drug-Device Combinations for Chronic Diseases

December 1, 2015 - Wiley Publishing has just released a volume co-edited by Ronald Siegel (Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Pharmaceutics), Drug-Device Combinations for Chronic Diseases. The book covers two areas: (1) detailing the concepts and technologies of drug-device combination products; and (2) case studies of important products that either significantly shape our technologies and thinking, or contribute to current healthcare practice. Learn more >

Highest University Alumni Honor Awarded to Dianne Rekow, DDS, PhD

Dianne Rekow

October 1, 2015 - BME alumna E. Dianne Rekow (PhD'88, advised by Art Erdman) has been awarded the University's highest recognition for alumni, the prestigious Outstanding Achievement Award. Dr. Rekow is currently the dean of the Dental Institute of King's College in London. She is the first female dean of the school, and the first American to hold such a leadership position at a European dental institiution. Dr. Rekow will accept her award at a ceremony hosted by the UMN Dental School later this month. Read the full news story >

Boston Scientific Makes Another Gift for Endowed BME Graduate Student Fellowships

Lazarina Gyoneva

September 28, 2015 - Boston Scientific will contribute another $150,000 towards its previous gifts that totaled $650,000 to support new BME graduate students as Boston Scientific Fellows for their first semester of study. This new gift will help the department reach its goal of establishing an endowment that supports the entire class of BME graduate students each fall. It also reflects a sustained and valuable presence of Boston Scientific at UMN and its connection to BME specifically.

Graduate Program Welcomes Fall 2015 Incoming Class

Block M

August 28, 2015 - Welcome to our Fall 2015 incoming class, including 20 new PhD students and 22 Master's students! We look forward to seeing what these outstanding students accomplish over the coming years!

Bin He Receives IEEE EMBS 2015 Academic Career Achievement Award

Lazarina Gyoneva

July 31, 2015 - The IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) has honored Professor Bin He with their 2015 Academic Career Achievement Award, for his many significant, original contributions to biomedical engineering research, including brain electric source imaging, multimodal neuroimaging, functional connectivity mapping, and brain-computer interface. Learn more about Bin He's research >

Lazarina Gyoneva Receives SB3C People's Choice Poster Award

Lazarina Gyoneva

July 15, 2015 - Ph.D. student Lazarina "Inka" Gyoneva won a People's Choice Award at the 2015 Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering, and Biotransport Conference (SB3C) in Snowbird, Utah, for her poster, "Multiscale Model of Strain-Dependent Glomerular Basement Membrane Remodeling." Inka's poster was one of three selected by conference attendees for the award. Congratulations to Inka and her advisor, Victor Barocas!

Bob Tranquillo Receives 2015 TERMIS-AM Senior Scientist Award

Bob Tranquillo

July 13, 2015 - Professor Robert T. Tranquillo has been awarded a 2015 Senior Scientist Award by the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society-Americas (TERMIS-AM) for his significant contributions to the field. He will be presented with a plaque during the 2015 TERMIS World Congress in Boston this September.

Steven Lee Awarded NIH F31 and AHA Fellowships

Steven Lee

July 1, 2015 - Ph.D. student Steven Lee was awarded both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Ruth L. Kirchstein National Research Service Award F31 Pre-doctoral Fellowship and the American Heart Association Pre-doctoral Fellowship. Faced with a choice between these two prestigious awards, Steven has accepted the NIH F31 Fellowship, which will fund his research project, "Mending a Broken Heart with Vagus Nerve Stimulation and Stem Cell Therapy," for the next three years. Congratulations to Steven and his advisor, Alena Talkachova!

Julia Brekke Receives Fulbright Scholarship

Julia Brekke

June 21, 2015 - Graduating senior Julia Brekke was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to work in the lab of Professor Katja Schenke-Layland at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology in Stuttgart, Germany, to develop a system to visually monitor the progression of embryonic stem cell differentiation. Julia was one of seven UMN seniors to receive a Fulbright Scholarship, which will cover all her travel and living expenses for the 2015-16 academic year. Congratulations, Julia!

BME Students Win Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships

2015 Doctoral Dissertation Recipients

June 1, 2015 - Five Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. students were awarded Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships (DDF) for the 2015-16 academic year in a University-wide competition sponsored by the Graduate School. The program provides selected recipients with the opportunity to devote full-time effort to dissertation research and writing during the fellowship year. Awards were given to

Congratulations to these doctoral candidates!

New Faculty Member Hired - Zhi Yang

May 26, 2015 - Dr. Yang is currently an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at the National University of Singapore.  He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from UC-Santa Cruz.  His research interests include high-precision, low-power, miniaturized sensors and circuits for robotics. He will pursue those interests with a focus on neuroprosthetics when he when joins our department this summer.

Anthony Braun Receives 2015 Best Dissertation Award

May 21, 2015 - Congratulations to recent PhD graduate Anthony Braun, who received a 2015 Best Dissertation Award! One graduate student from each of four groups – arts and humanities, biological and life sciences, physical sciences and engineering, and social sciences and education – was chosen by faculty from the broad disciplinary area. Selections were based on the originality and importance of the research, as well as the potential for the student to make an unusually significant contribution to his or her field. Anthony's thesis, "Understanding the Membrane Biophysics of alpha-Synuclein and its Role in Membrane Curvature Induction and Structural Remodeling," was selected for the Physical Sciences and Engineering group, and he will receive an award of $1,000. Congratulations to Anthony and to his doctoral advisor, Jonathan Sachs! See all 2015 Best Dissertation Award recipients >

Victor Barocas Named CSE Distinguished Professor

May 12, 2015 - Congratulations to Professor Victor Barocas for being named a College of Science and Engineering Distinguished Professor! This award honors exceptional faculty for their efforts in and contributions to teaching and scholarly research and for their genuine commitment to CSE and its activities. CSE Distinguished Professors receive a one-time award of $15,000 to be used for professional development or research.

Irena Cich Receives Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research Award

Casim Sarkar

April 23, 2015 - Congratulations to graduating senior Irena Cich, who has won the 2015 Undergraduate Research Award from the UMN chapter of Sigma Xi! Irena is being recognized for her protein engineering research in the laboratory of Professor Casim Sarkar and she will receive the award at a ceremony in May.

Casim Sarkar Awarded NIH R01 Grant

Casim Sarkar

April 8, 2015 - Professor Casim Sarkar has been awarded a new 5-year, $1.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the interplay between noise and signaling in cellular decision making, with a focus on cell differentiation. Casim’s lab will use computational and synthetic biology approaches to elucidate how differentiation trajectories arise and will use systems biology approaches to experimentally demonstrate and manipulate these trajectories in the differentiation of progenitor cells. The results of this study will yield deeper insights into fundamental mechanisms underlying cellular decision making and should enable more robust engineering of stem and progenitor cells for applications in regenerative medicine.

Students and Alumni Receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

April 3, 2015 - Several current and former UMN BME students were recognized in the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship competition! Fellowships were awarded to:

Honorable mentions went to:

Congratulations to these outstanding students!

Graduate Women in Biomedical Engineering Student Group Receives Tony Diggs Excellence Award

April 2, 2015 - The Graduate Women in Biomedical Engineering Student Group (GWBME) was awarded the 2014 Tony Diggs Excellence Award for Outstanding Graduate/Professional Student Group at the University of Minnesota! The award includes, among other things, special recognition on the Student Unions and Activities Student Group Directory, an announcement in the Minnesota Daily, a Goldy's Gameroom party, and a trophy proudly displayed in the BME front office. Congratulations to the hard-working GWBME officers and to their advisor for this prestigious and well-deserved award!

Professor Bob Tranquillo Elected Fellow of IAMBE

February 16, 2015 - Bob was elected a Fellow of the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering (IAMBE), in honor of his distinguished contributions to and leadership in the field of medical and biological engineering at an international level.

Cory Gloeckner and Julia Quindlen Awarded 2015-16 Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowships

February 5, 2015 - The Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship (IDF) provides a unique opportunity for outstanding doctoral students whose research is interdisciplinary and who would benefit from interaction with faculty at one of the University’s interdisciplinary research centers or institutes.  

Cory Gloeckner, advised by Prof. Hubert Lim (BME), will complete his research project, "Holistic Neuromodulation: Bridging the Gap Between Western and Complementary Medicine to Better Treat Brain Disorders," in collaboration with Prof. Mary Johnson at the Center for Spirituality and Healing.

Julia Quindlen is a 4th-year PhD student advised by Prof. Victor Barocas (BME) and co-advised by Prof. Martha Flanders (Neuroscience). Her project, "Mechano-to-Neural Transduction of the Pacinian Corpuscle," will be completed under their mentorship at the Institute for Engineering in Medicine.

Congratulations to Cory and Julia!

Assistant Professor Matthew Johnson Receives UMN McKnight Land-Grant Professorship

January 29, 2015 - Matt was one of eight chosen this year across the university for this highly competitive Professorship, whose major purpose is to nurture the careers of the University of Minnesota's most promising junior faculty members in order to strengthen the faculty for the future.  The program is designed to advance the careers of assistant professors who have the potential to make significant contributions to their scholarly fields.


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