USF Envision Fall 2013

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From Left: Joseph Walton, Robert Frisina, Nicole Febles, Tanika Williamson and Jeanine Mansour

USF Biomedical Engineering Program - By Janet Dawald Leading the way in research and minority doctoral recruitment


an you name a famous biomedical engineer? For all you Frankenstein fans, your first instincts are close. The famous Mary Shelley novel, hailed as the first true science fiction story, is a fairly accurate description of the science. However, the first biomedical engineer attached a wooden toe to an ancient Egyptian, whose preserved mummy predates Frankenstein by several millennia. Biomedical engineering today is its own field, a new interdisciplinary fusion of medicine and engineering. The College of Engineering is on the leading edge of research, science and industry opportunities. But there is a quiet revolution here at USF. Underrepresented minority doctoral students are not only joining the program, but have been awarded the most prestigious honors and are performing at the highest levels.

implantation for cardiac tissue regeneration.” If Kemi’s research is successful, it could lead to a transformational change in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. But there is something else going on with the PhD students in biomedical engineering-related research that does not garner accolades and cannot be measured in student awards and research funding. A common theme runs through their own words: community, support, mentoring, and a sense of family. They express a sense of belonging, of being valued, and most important, of being successful. Bernard Batson, associate director of student services, is an enthusiastic and vocal supporter for students within the college. “Our country is becoming more diverse, and it is critically important this is reflected in the nation’s science and engineering workforce, especially in biomedical research.”

“My research is focused on the fabrication of complex tissues for regeneration of myocardial tissues,” Robert Frisina Jr., is a professor in the says Olukemi “Kemi” Akintewe, Department of Chemical & Biomedical a chemical engineering doctoral Engineering and director of the Global candidate and the recipient Center for Hearing and Speech Research. of a prestigious United Negro As director of the Biomedical Engineering College Fund-Merck Dissertation (BME) program, he is involved in Graduate Fellowship. I am Olukemi “Kemi” Akintewe recruiting and mentoring minority doctoral studying with professors Nathan students. Frisina is the advisor for three Gallant (mechanical engineering) underrepresented BME students (Nicole Febles, Jeanine and Ryan Toomey (chemical engineering) the use of Mansour, and Tanika Williamson). He has submitted micro-contact printing techniques and the viability of a successful fellowship proposals to the National Institute thermally tunable platform for rapid fabrication of robust of Aging/National Institutes of Health for Mansour and myocardial-like tissues to promote neovascularization, Williamson. “I think Bernard has made a big impact here angiogenesis and consequently perfusion upon continued on page 4


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