Undergraduate Students from the Department of Biomedical Engineering gathered at the Denney Research Center’s Grodins Conference Room on May 30 to celebrate their achievements at the first ever Department of Biomedical Engineering Undergraduate Awards.
The event was supported thanks to a gift from USC’s Alfred E. Mann Institute for Biomedical Engineering (AMI), with awards presented to junior and senior students, as well as research, leadership and best design team honors. Funding from the gift was also used to support the existing annual Grodins Undergraduate Award for Academic Excellence.
The following award winners were recognized at the event, attended by faculty, staff and students.
The AMI Award for Academic Excellence in Biomedical Engineering went to junior BME student, Kayley Cheng, in recognition of her outstanding academic achievements.
Kayley’s nominator wrote of her dedication and persistence, describing her work designing self-assembling nanoparticles as having the potential to target and diagnose atherosclerosis and prostate cancer, as well as deliver a novel therapeutic drug based on micro RNA. The nominator wrote, “Her natural talents, determination, good natured personality, and developing expertise convince me that she will continue to be an exemplary student worthy of recognition.”
The AMI Award for Outstanding Research in Biomedical Engineering was awarded to senior BME student, Sarah Milkowski, for demonstrating excellence in biomedical research in her work with a BME faculty member.
Sarah’s nominator praised her work on nanoparticles with imaging and therapeutic agents for the treatment of polycystic kidney disease, the most prevalent genetic kidney disease currently with no cure or remedies. The nominator wrote highly of her maturity and strong communication skills, indicating that she is responsible, responsive, extremely positive, with impeccable time management skills and serves as an example to other students.
The AMI Award for Design Innovation in Biomedical Engineering went to a BME student team comprised of Rhea Choudhury, Danielle Darakjian, Brooke Garland, Michael Koo and Brian Powers.
The team created “My G.I. Buddy,” a system to assess Gastro-Intestinal health by measuring the production of hydrogen in breath during a standard glucose test. This system will allow users to receive test results immediately rather than waiting several days. The nominating letter noted that several members of the team continued to develop their product after the end of the fall semester and have participated in innovation and entrepreneurial competitions. The nominator wrote that, “The team showed creativity, persistence, and worked very well together.”
The AMI Award for Leadership in Biomedical Engineering was awarded to BME senior Luann Raposo, for exemplary leadership in support of the biomedical engineering student community.
Through Luann’s involvement as the President of ASBME, she led the Project in a Box initiative to teach local elementary school students about biomedical engineering, as well as the BioMED Research Symposium, a fall event allowing professors to present their research to the organization. She has also studied abroad, conducted research, and has been awarded a Fulbright for next year. The nominator described her as “simply amazing.”
The Fred S. Grodins Undergraduate Award for Academic Excellence has been presented annually since 1994 and is the highest award given by the BME Department to one of its undergraduate students. It is awarded for outstanding academic achievement in the BME program, with a record of participation in biomedical engineering research and service to the department, school and/or university.
This year’s Grodins winner, Daniel Yen, has conducted research since his freshman year and his work has resulted in three publications – including one as first author. In addition to his research, Daniel has been active in ASBME and also in the MEDesign Medical Device Design Team. He served MEDesign as Treasurer, Vice-President, and then President. As the group has grown, Daniel created new ways of managing and structuring their competitions so that all students, regardless of their level of experience and skills, would be able to participate.