Current News

A “Street View” of the Inner Workings of the Human Body

Jason Papin is part of an international team of researchers that recently published what they dub a "Google map" of the human metabolism. “In short, we have reconstructed the largest computational model to date capturing the functions of thousands of metabolic reactions that occur inside the human cell,” says Jason. “This computational model will be a landmark in systems biology, a key step on our path to personalized and predictive medicine.”
Nature Biotechnology, Published online March 3
Time Magazine, “The Human Body—In ‘Google Map’ Form”
Popular Science, “Researchers Create Virtual Map Of Human Metabolism In Health And Disease”
RedOrbit, “Researchers Create Virtual Map Of Human Metabolism In Health And Disease”
UCSD News Release, “International Consortium Builds ‘Google Map’ of Human Metabolism”

$80,000 and counting. That's how much BME majors earned in 2012 to fund their projects.

First and second prizes in the E-Cup, a Beckman Scholarship, four Harrison awards winners and two Double Hoos, Darden Incubator funding… it all adds up.
Genetically Engineered Test for Whooping Cough Wins U.Va. E-Cup
2012 Beckman Scholars call BME Labs "Home"
46 U.Va. Undergraduates Receive Funding for Their Research
U.Va. Awards Eight \'Double \'Hoo\' Research Grants
Visit Us on Facebook for all the latest on student awards, big and small.

Equal Partners in Discovery—U.Va. Receives a New Beckman Scholars Award

This is a three-year renewal of a previous Beckman Scholars grant, continuing the program at U.Va., which was selected largely because of its strong commitment to quality undergraduate research. William Guilford directs the program, wrote the competitive renewal, and with help of the VPR office, expanded the program to three $19K research scholarships per year.
UVA Today
Beckman Scholars Website

Welcome to BME's New Faculty Members-Dr. Silvia Blemker and Dr. Song Hu!

Associate Professor Silvia Blemker uses a computational/experimental approach to uncover fundamental new insights into skeletal muscle form and function. Assistant Professor Song Hu combines optics and ultrasound for in vivo imaging at multiple scales.

Blemker Lab
Hu Lab

Will Guilford and Jeff Saucerman win 2012 Teaching Awards.

Will won the Harold S. Morton Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Jeff was the first ever BME faculty member to win the School of Medicine's Dean's Excellence in Teaching Award.

Guilford: Beckman Scholars renewal
Guilford:Leadership in online education
Saucerman: New Computer Model to Speed Development of Drugs for Heart Failure
Saucerman Lab

Mark Your Calendars, UVA and FDA Present: The Medical Devices Technology Innovation Partnership (MD-TIP) Workshop, September 26, 2011

On Monday September 26, 2011, the University of Virginia will co-sponsor a U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) workshop on medical device innovation, regulation, device education, and translational research. It’s the second year of the FDA’s Medical Technology Innovation Partnerships (MD-TIP) Project, and U.Va. has been the lead partner on this important initiative from the start. The central idea is to enhance the U.S. regulatory process through proactive collaboration with U.S. research universities and companies.

MD-TIP marks a new era of transparency and openness from the FDA. Fifteen staff members from the Center for Device and Radiological Health, including division directors, inspectors, and network leaders, will be on hand to collaborate with U.Va. researchers, entrepreneurs, technology transfer offices, and students. The all-day workshop will cover two clinical areas in depth—regulation of cancer diagnostics [in vitro and in vivo] and cardiovascular device regulation. The day will conclude with a discussion of a National Medical Device Development Curriculum.

This exceptional event is free of charge, thanks to the U.Va.-Coulter Partnership for Translational Research and the U.Va. Office of the Vice President for Research. Location is Jordan Hall. To attend, please contact Angel Thompson ( Additional questions? Contact David Chen, Director of the UVa-Coulter Partnership ( or Sharon Krueger, UVa Coordinator for Innovation Partnerships (

UVa BME is #11 in National Research Council Rankings

The National Research Council rankings have been revealed, reviewed and revised. The upshot is that UVa BME is still the #11 bioengineering doctoral program in the nation, occupying a tight band of competition among our East Coast rivals for top graduate and undergraduate students: Duke, Johns Hopkins, U-Penn, and Georgia Tech. For the "S" rankings (survey-based), the NRC collected data on 20 indicators of program success (e.g. publications, citations, research grants, student outcomes, etc.) and asked faculty in each discipline to rank and weight the relative importance of these factors. The NRC then performed some statistical best practices and compiled a percentile ranking of the top doctoral programs in the nation–based on what the faculty in each field thinks is most important! So, with a 90% confidence interval [more about the NRC method], the top 14 bioengineering program in the nation are: 1) Cal Tech 1-3%, 2) UCSD 2-6%, 3) Yale 2-12%, 4) MIT 3-17%, 5) U Washington 3-17%, 6) Rice 4-21%, 7) Duke 4-25%, 8) Hopkins 5-26%, 9) CUNY 5-28%, 10) Penn 5-28%, 11) University of Virginia 7-28%, 12) Columbia 7-34%, 13) Georgia Tech 8-34%, 14) UCLA 8-38%. The Chronicle of Higher Education, NRC Identifies Multiple Strengths in U.Va. Doctoral Programs

Comparative Genome-Scale Analysis

University of Virginia researchers have developed a new computational method that can identify and compare functional variation in the genome-scale metabolic reconstructions of multiple species— "So that for comparisons we make, we can have confidence that any differences reflect true biological differences and not model reconstruction-based noise," says Jason Papin, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering. They applied their technique to two bacteria of great importance to disease and biotechnology applications—namely, Pseudomonas aeruginosa (causes about 10 percent of hospital-acquired infections) and P. putida (can degrade environmental contaminants such as methylbenzene, a by-product of the petroleum industry). The results of the new method include significant new insight into the underlying biology of the two organisms and a way forward towards a full comparative genome-scale analysis of multiple species. Published in PLos Computational Biology, Reviewed in BioTechniques, Featured in UVa Today

Network Mechanisms of Drug Synergy in Melanoma

The Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation website features the work of Karin Holmberg, a Ph.D. candidate in the Janes Lab, who was selected for the foundation's highly competitive 2011 Research Scholar Award. Karin is helping to tackle the problem of acquired drug resistance during treatment for metastatic melanoma. Targeting multiple cell signaling pathways may be the key—so researchers in U.Va.'s Cancer Center have identified about 20 potential drug pairings to interrogate. Here's where Karin comes in. She is developing several methods to measure cell signaling on the molecular level, such as kinase and phosphatase activity assays as well as receptor expression profiling. Karin will use the results to model these highly complex networks and discover specific mechanisms of drug synergy and tumor mutation. Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation, E-News Online

BME Takes the Prize

It was no stretch to predict that a Biomedical Engineer would win this year's SEAS Undergraduate Research and Design Symposium—BME students were on all the teams selected to compete! First place went to Nate Wilson, Debbie Padilla and Nivedha Panneer (all BME '11), advised by Kim Kelly for Development of a Novel Biosensor for the Rapid, Sensitive Detection of Bordetella. What about the equivalent graduate competition, the U.Va. Engineering Research Symposium? Here Caitlin Burke (BME '06| PhD '11) in the Price Lab placed first for Microbubbles and Ultrasound: Targeted Nanoparticle Delivery and Mechanical Ablation. Moving from the school- to university-level, Arvind Chavali (BME '06 | PhD '11) in the Papin Lab won Best Overall Graduate Research Poster at President Sullivan's Inauguration Poster Competition for Target Discovery and Drug Repurposing in a Neglected Tropical Disease. URDS, UVERS, Inauguration Poster Competition.

Two New NSF Fellows!

Two more U.Va. Biomedical Engineering graduate students have earned coveted $120K/3–year National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. Karen Ryall in Jeff Saucerman's Lab and Tony Awojoodu in Ed Botchwey's Lab join U.Va. BME's current NSF Fellows, Paul Jensen (Papin Lab) and Soo Shin (Kelly Lab). Honorable mentions in the 2011 selection process were Sameer Bajikar (Janes Lab), Edik Blais (Papin Lab), Samantha Clark (Holmes Lab), Geoff Handsfield (Blemker Lab) and Scott Seaman (Peirce-Cottler Lab). 14% of BME's predoctoral students are funded by competitive national fellowships. Another 19% are supported by National Institutes of Health Training Grants, and the rest are funded by institutional rotation slots, teaching assistantships, or research assistantships attached to faculty grants and awards. 100% of UVa BME's PhD students are fully funded. Student Headliners

Overcoming Cancer and Now Researching a Cure

Kelly Klanian (MAE '03) is back at U.Va., pursuing a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering. One project in the Williams Lab is a novel approach to aid in the detection of breast cancer. Her lab is conducting trials to evaluate the effectiveness of dual modality tomosynthesis, which makes localized tumors easier to identify. E-News

A BME Major is a Virginia Engineering Foundation Outstanding Student of the Year, for the 7th Year in a Row!

Biomedical Engineering 4th Year Kenneth Tran is a 2011 Virginia Engineering Foundation Outstanding Student—the engineering school’s top honor for graduating students. Ken was recently in the news for winning the “U.Va. Cup” entrepreneurial concept competition. Next year, he will still be on hand to help steward his team’s $20K prize. After graduation, Ken goes full time as VP for product development for RetiVue Inc., a U.Va. start-up venture launched by Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology Dr. Paul Yates. The team plans to commercialize ophthalmic devices like the CavCam, a very low cost retina camera for diabetes screening in primary care settings. More About CavCam

Undergraduate Research Rewarded: Three Harrisons and Two Double ‘Hoos

The Biomedical Engineering Class of 2011 tallied up $60,000 in competitive research funding – more than any other BME graduating class. But the younger BMEs are doing their best to catch up. Three BME undergraduates have won $4000 Harrison Undergraduate Research Awards: Leen Jamal in Kevin Janes’ Lab, Hannah Meredith in Brian Helmke’s Lab, and Nan Cheng in Kim Kelly’s Lab. Two more BME majors and their graduate student mentors have won $5500 Double ‘Hoo Research Awards: Katie Estep with Paul Jensen in Jason Papin’s Lab and Brennan Torstrick with Kyle Martin in Shayn Peirce-Cottler’s Lab. 2011 Harrison Undergraduate Research Awards, 2011 Double ‘Hoo Research Awards

Kelly, French, and Herr Earn Shot at $25M "X-Prize" to Develop a Nonsurgical Method to Sterilize Cats and Dogs

Cell biologist John Herr and biomedical engineers Brent French and Kim Kelly have been awarded a $200K Michelson Grant from the Found Animals Foundation, with more funding becoming available, as the team meets its research goals. These are all steppingstones on the path toward a final $25M prize, which will be awarded to the team that develops a viable, single-dose nonsurgical treatment to sterilize cats and dogs. The U.Va. researchers' approach is unique in that it targets immature egg cells, called oocytes, before they mature into eggs that can be fertilized. Specifically, the researchers will use tiny viruses, or phages, to identify a biomarker for these cells and then develop a drug that targets only those cells. UVa Patent Foundation, WVPT Radio

Anthony Awojoodu wins Ford and NSF Fellowships

Decisions, decisions… which prestigious graduate research fellowship will Anthony Awojoodu use this semester? The BME graduate student in Ed Botchwey’s lab was recently awarded multiple years of support via a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship. Tony’s research involves non-invasive pharmacological therapies to enhance stem and progenitor cell mobilization and engraftment for wound healing, tissue engineering and other cell based therapies.

BME Professor Milton Adams Named Interim Executive Vice President & Provost

UVa President Teresa A. Sullivan trusts Milton Adams, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and UVa Vice Provost for Academic Programs, to mind the academic ship of state during the national search for UVa’s next provost. Milton’s longtime service in the UVa administration—and former chair Tom Skalak’s more recent appointment as UVa Vice President for Research—testify to the thought leadership role the BME department plays at the University of Virginia. Milton continues to advise undergraduates and teach one of BME’s most popular courses, Physiology I for Engineers, even as he becomes UVa’s lead academic officer for the interim.

Coulter Foundation Award Creates a $20 Million U.Va. Endowment for Translational Research in Biomedical Innovation

The Wallace H. Coulter Foundation’s grand experiment to link biomedical engineering to translational research has taken flight at the University of Virginia. More than 30 U.Va. projects have been funded since 2006, focusing on such areas as cardiovascular disease, cancer, wound repair, orthopedic surgery, medical imaging and diabetes. On average, projects have seen a 6-to-1 ratio in follow-on funding or return-on-investment from external sources. Now a $20M endowment will provide perpetual funding for up to 12 projects per year. All grants will pair biomedical engineers, scientists, and clinicians with an advisory board comprising faculty, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and industry leaders. UVA Today. CBS Newsplex.

Mark your Calendars—Engineering Open House is March 19 | 9am-3pm

On March 19th, 9am-3pm, every department in the UVa School of Engineering and Applied Science will open its doors for the Annual Engineering Open House. It’s one-stop shopping for prospective undergraduates! Biomedical Engineering’s main offering will be “Walking Tours to MR5” (the BME Building) led by BME students. These tours will depart Thornton Hall Student Study (2nd floor A-wing, west side) at 9:30am, 10:30am, 12:30pm, and 1:00pm. At MR5, there will be a Q&A Panel with faculty and students. After Q&A, explore research and design exhibits and chat with the Panel. No pre-registration is required for the BME tours, but you can preregister for the open house itself,

Monica Lee's Award for Excellence in Scholarship in the Sciences and Engineering

U.Va. annually awards a $5K fellowship to a handful of PhD students who excel in the three P's of graduate scholarship—Productivity, Publications, and Presentations at national meetings. This year, Monica Lee in the Wamhoff Lab made the cut for the VP for Research's Award for Excellence in Scholarship in the Sciences and Engineering. Monica investigates cardiovascular disease at the molecular level, focusing in on vascular smooth muscle cells, which operate in a richly complicated environment of signaling pathways, feedback loops, and environmental cueing. Currently, she is exploring how the gene DSCR1 both depends upon and regulates the downstream effects of the NFAT family of transcription factors. Monica graduated UVa BME's undergraduate program in 2006. She is an American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellow and author on five journal articles.

Linsey Phillips' Award for Excellence in Scholarship in the Sciences and Engineering

U.Va. annually awards a $5K fellowship to a handful of PhD students who excel in the three P's of graduate scholarship—Productivity, Publications, and Presentations at national meetings. This year, Linsey Phillips in the Hossack Lab made the cut for the VP for Research's for Excellence in Scholarship in the Sciences and Engineering. Linsey’s research focuses on the use of ultrasound and microbubbles for targeted gene and drug delivery to vasculature. For example, she has delivered rapamycin, a drug commonly used in drug-eluting stents, from microbubbles to diseased arteries via focused ultrasound. She has also performed gene delivery to coronary arteries via an IVUS catheter (a catheter with an ultrasound probe at the end) modified to emit high intensity ultrasound waves. The clinical goal here is to diagnose and treat re-narrowing in diseased and stented arteries. Linsey graduates this May, first-author on at least two journal articles. She has presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions and eight international conferences, including the World Molecular Imaging Congress and the IEEE Ultrasonics Symposium.

BME Major Wins Top Entrepreneurship Prize

Biomedical engineering fourth year Ken Tran presented the winning concept at the 2010 U.Va. Entrepreneurship Cup. He takes home a $20,000 prize to move his team's handheld retina camera into the offices of the nation's 200,000-plus primary care physicians. The brainchild of Dr. Paul Yates (Ophthalmology/Biomedical Engineering), the $1000 CavCam can produce images of diabetes-driven changes to microvessels in the eye that are comparable to those made by currently available retina cameras, which cost between $25,000 and $100,000. Ken has been involved with the camera project since the beginning of his second year. UVa Today, NPR WVPT (audio), NBC, NBC 29 (video)

White House Honors Edward Botchwey

Ed Botchwey has been awarded the U.S. government's highest honor for researchers in the early stages of their careers—the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Research-wise, PECASE highlights Ed's work using small molecule therapeutics to understand and control the formation of tiny blood vessel networks in bone tissue engineering. The award also serves to highlight Ed's leadership and commitment to community service. In addition to the honor itself, Ed's NIH award "Phospholipid Growth Factors for Therapeutic Arteriogenesis and Tissue Engineering" will receive $1.6M over the next five years. UVA Today, Charlottesville Newsplex, Whitehouse Press Release

HemoSonics and HemoShear

Haven't seen Associate Professors Brett Blackman or Bill Walker around the department as much this year? It's because both are on entrepreneurial sabbaticals, speeding the transfer of technology developed in their U.Va. labs to the marketplace. Both of their companies achieved some major milestone this fall. Brett Blackman's HemoShear, LLC was issued a U.S. patent to cover its core technology, and Bill Walker's HemoSonics, LLC earned $2M in federal SBIR seed funding.,, UVA Today

ABET Accreditation Assured

This Fall, the U.Va. School of Engineering and its undergraduate programs were raked over with a fine tooth comb by ABET, the accreditation board for science and technology programs. The BME department passed the test with flying colors – no concerns or weaknesses to delay re-accreditation later this summer. BME's site visitor cited the following as the department's particular program strengths: the BME Industry Internship Program, BME Research and Internship Resource Fair, and overall evidence of collaboration and partnership among faculty and students.

Student Stats

This Fall, the Biomedical Engineering Department welcomed 13 new graduate students (avg 3.7 GPA | 1380 GRE) and 77 new undergraduate majors (avg. 3.55 GPA). In the 2009-10 academic year, BME graduated 11 Ph.D., 3 M.S., 1 M.E., and 56 B.S. degree recipients. As just one example of their many awards and accolades, BME students took first place at both the graduate and undergraduate engineering school research and design competitions. For more about BME student and faculty accomplishments, join us on Facebook!

And the Winners are…

The UVA BME Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Research Symposium offers an opportunity for biomedical engineering graduate students to present their research to their peers, just prior to public defense. Stiff competition ensues for the following awards: Best Oral Presentation, Paul Jensen (Papin Lab); Best Poster, Katy Parker (Holmes Lab) and Linsey Phillips (Hossack Lab) (tie); Runner-Up Best Oral Presentation, Will Mauldin (Hossack Lab).

Job Placement Remains Strong for Class of 2010

Recent articles in CNN Money and the Wall Street Journal describe growing jobs demand for biomedical engineers. An 87% placement rate for BME's Class of 2010 doesn't buck the trend. Of the 52 graduates who reported definite plans at the time of graduation, 35% are continuing on to graduate school, 21% to medical or dental school, 18% to industry or consulting, 20% to a research or lab tech position, and 6% to other positions, such as teaching or volunteer service. Details in the link below.

2010 BME Exit Report

Jennifer Wilson named 2010 SEAS Outstanding Student

Biomedical engineering major Jennifer Wilson has been named the 2010 Virginia Engineering Outstanding Student. This is SEAS's highest honor for a graduating fourth year, and it is the sixth year in a row that a BME major has won the award (N.B. the BME undergrad program is six years old!) Jen exemplifies the exceptional scholarship, leadership, and service recognized by the award, in addition to having keen scientific ability, stand-out technical writing skills, a strong work ethic, motivation, and maturity. Jen will pursue a PhD in Biological Engineering at MIT this fall. Her first three years at MIT will be funded by a prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

2010 NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Does UVa biomedical engineering train some of the nation’s top young investigators? The National Science Foundation thinks so. Three current and two former UVA BME students have been awarded coveted 3-year National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. They are current students Jen Wilson (BME ’10, heading to MIT this fall), Soo Shin (BME ’08, now in Kim Kelly’s lab), and Paul Jensen (Jason Papin’s lab), and former BME majors Marilyn Markowski (BME '08, now at Georgia Tech) and Ryan Coe (BME '08, now at the University of Washington). Fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $30,000 along with a $10,500 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees, a one-time $1,000 international travel allowance.

BME Major Selected as Beckman Scholar

Third year biomedical engineering major Jeneva Laib is one of two University of Virginia students selected as a 2010 Beckman Scholar. The Beckman Scholars Program promotes and funds exceptional undergraduate researchers in chemistry, biochemistry, and the biological and medical sciences. As a second year, Jeneva helped to discriminate between two general theories of how (and how many) molecular motors coordinate to power cell movement. Her data showed that molecular motors work together rather than independently to transport internal cargo or the entire cell. Moving forward, Jeneva will again challenge the dogma in the field by demonstrating that the underlying physical mechanism that shifts the cell “between gears” cannot be explained by the simple addition or loss of individual molecular motors. Jeneva is mentored by Beckman Scholars program director William Guilford, associate professor of biomedical engineering. UVa’s second Beckman Scholar is second year chemistry major Alan Chien, mentored by Cassandra Fraser, professor of chemistry.

Equal Partners in Discovery – Beckman Scholars Comes to U.Va.

The University of Virginia is one of nine institutions to receive a 2010 Beckman Scholars Award from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. Established in 1997, the Beckman Award promotes and generously funds a small number of exceptional undergraduate researchers in chemistry, biochemistry, and the biological and medical sciences. Associate professor of biomedical engineering and undergraduate program director William Guilford is the award’s author and principal investigator. Three other BME faculty members—Richard Price, Jason Papin and Shayn Peirce-Cottler—are also among the fifteen faculty from three schools eligible to serve as Beckman Mentors. Applications are now being accepted for the program. Applicants must meet with one of the Beckman Mentors and submit a letter of interest, a research plan and several other documents by March 26.

BME Majors Profiled in 2009 President's Report

The University of Virginia's 2009 President's Report profiles biomedical engineering majors Vinu Ilakkuvan (BME '09) and Jeffrey O'Dell. Fourth year Brandon Freshcorn gets a mention, too. The annual report's authors had 21,000 students to choose from—for three BME majors to make the cut speaks volumes to the high level of student achievement and faculty mentorship in biomedical engineering. 2009 President's Report

Another Feather in Moriel’s Cap

Moriel Vandsburger has won U.Va.'s $5000 Award for Excellence in Scholarship in the Sciences & Engineering. This award recognizes excellence in original scholarship and rewards those students who bring recognition to U.Va. through their intellect, dedication, creativity, and passion. Among several other accolades, Moriel was recently a finalist for the American Heart Association's prestigious Melvin Judkins Young Clinical Investigator Award.

Joe Burns Earns NIH Fellowship

Joe is the recipient of a National Institutes of Health NRSA fellowship to support his work identifying the reasons why humans cannot regenerate hair cells, which are vital for sensing sound and gravity. Joe Burns’ next three years in UVA BME are on the National Institutes of Health. Joe is the recipient of a NIH NRSA predoctoral fellowship to support his work in Dr. Jeff Corwin’s lab, identifying the reasons why humans cannot regenerate hair cells, which are vital for sensing sound and gravity. As a result, future therapies could be developed which restore hearing and balance.

Janes Uses Engineering Approach to Investigate Cancer's Biology

In the past year, University of Virginia biomedical engineer Kevin Janes has won $2.6 million in no-strings-attached funding for his innovative research to better understand how cells "make decisions" for good or ill. Janes is still very early in his career. So why are funding agencies so interested in his work? A recent profile in UVA Today discusses how Kevin’s work has implications for new ways to diagnose, prevent and treat cancers. Article in UVA Today

Bill Walker Elected AIMBE Fellow

Bill Walker, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, has been elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). This high honor recognizes the top 2 percent of professionals in the field of medical and biological engineering for their contributions to research, industrial practice and/or education. Among Bill’s contributions to the field is HemoSonics, a company co-founded with BME Interim Chair Mike Lawrence (also an AIMBE Fellow) and Francesco Viola (PhD ’04). Recently, HemoSonics raised $750K to support productization of a point-of-care whole blood coagulation analyzer. HemoSonics

Will Mauldin wins $10K prize at the UVa Cup

Will Mauldin, a graduate student in Bill Walker’s ultrasound lab, placed 2nd in the UVa Cup, a competition for UVa’s best entrepreneurial concept. He takes home a $10K prize to develop Rheo Logic, which uses ultrasound-based technology to make high-accuracy, in-line measurements to detail the structural properties of pharmaceutical products, foods and beverages, improving safety of consumer products.

Inaugural Southeast BME Career Conference a Success!

UVa, Duke, and the BME Career Alliance had long recognized the need for a regional career fair specifically for bioengineering job- and internship-seekers. So, they teamed up to organize the first-ever Southeast Bioengineering Career Conference (SEBECC) in Washington DC on October 30th. 150 students and young alumni from 20 universities talked jobs and internships with representatives from 13 bioengineering companies and 15 sponsor organizations. Conference organizers are already planning next year’s event. For more information, contact BME Director of Internships and Corporate Outreach, Bobbe Nixon (

Matt Eames wins IEEE Student Paper Competition

John Hossack’s lab did itself proud at the 2009 IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium. Of 330+ students eligible to compete in the 9th annual Student Paper Competition, both Matt Eames and Joe Kilroy (Hossack Lab) were among only 18 finalists invited to defend their work at a special student poster session. Since Matt and Joe were in the same Transducers & Transducer Materials category, only one could win. A panel of distinguished researchers judged Matt Eames the winner! The award is a certificate, monetary award, and prestigious addition to Matt’s CV.

BME Team to Compete in UVA Cup

Will Mauldin's team in the Walker Lab will compete for the UVA Cup, the new Darden School of Business competition for UVA’s best entrepreneurial concept. Their device to measure micro-viscometry won out over six other teams from Medicine and Nursing. The team was awarded $3500 and the chance to compete for the $10K grand prize on November 20th. Team members are Will Mauldin, Bill Walker, Francesco Viola, and Frank Riccardi.

Kevin Janes wins Packard Fellowship

BME Assistant Professor Kevin Janes is one of 16 in the nation to receive a 2009 Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Kevin will use the unrestricted $875,000 research grant to gain greater insight into the fundamental mechanisms that drive cell fate. Kevin’s multipronged approach combines biochemical techniques, complex experiments in cells, and data-driven statistical modeling. His tools handle—and generate—massive amounts of data, which is vital to his goal of tracking the activation of multiple molecular signals as they regulate cell function across dynamic, interconnected, context-dependent networks.

Packard Foundation Press Release

Peirce-Cottler’s Patents

Dr. Shayn Peirce-Cottler’s inventions run the gamut from exploiting the healing qualities of human fat, to streamlining the most common surgical procedure, to helping medical residents learn the art of medicine. She is certainly meeting her goal of having a tangible impact on human health.

Unique Solutions to Common Problems, UVAPF Available Technology, Healing Promise of Stem Cells Derived from Fat,
UVAPF Available Technology

Dynamic Endoscopic Ultrasound Needle for Streamlined Procedures

Physicians use endoscopes with ultrasound probes for numerous procedures. However, the efficiency of the tool has not kept pace with its increasing range of applications. Each time a new function is performed, the doctor removes one device and inserts a new one. Now a team of BME fourth years under the mentorship of Dr. Michel Kahaleh (UVa Gasteroenterology) have designed a streamlined device. With the help of a $20K grant from the NCIIA, the team will develop a Dynamic Endoscopic Ultrasound Needle that can accommodate other endoscopic devices for increased physician speed and efficiency. The team consists of Jen Wilson, Tyler Hartley, Emily Purcell, Daniel Plessl, Krista Warner, and Adam Rogers.
UVA Patent Foundation Info

LEAD: Attracting a Greater Diversity of Students to Science and Engineering

Assistant Professors of Biomedical Engineering Timothy Allen, Edward Botchwey, Shayn Peirce-Cottler, and Jeffrey Saucerman participated in U.Va. Engineering’s first Leadership, Education and Development (LEAD) Summer Engineering Institute. LEAD has a 25-year record of success in attracting students to business careers. Now that experience is helping to attract a greater diversity of students to science and engineering.

E-News Article about LEAD

NIH New Innovator Award

Dr. Kevin Janes has won an NIH Director's "New Innovator" Award. The award is substantial ($1.5M), but the real story here is Kevin's success in securing this type of high-risk/high-reward funding. Like the Pew Award and UVa's own FEST [Kevin's won both], the NIH New Innovator is equally an investment in the exceptional investigator, his innovative approach, and the potential for future impact.
Article in UVA Today

Grant Funds Undergraduate Innovations in Perinatal Care

A $30,000 grant from the Jefferson Trust will test bed a “Progressive Innovation” approach to bioengineering design. Undergraduates in all 2009-2010 biomedical engineering design courses (1st – 4th year) will be challenged to create low-cost, simple, robust devices to support the health of mother and infant. The grant will show what can happen in a single year, when a critical mass of undergraduates focuses on a central design theme. We hope to show that, a few years out, students will continue to pursue perinatal projects, as they progress through BME’s design courses—leading to an increase in innovation that is measurable through new patents, products, and publications.
Contact Dr. William Guilford (

American Heart Association Award Finalist

Moriel Vandsburger is among a select group of finalists for the American Heart Association's Melvin Judkins Young Clinical Investigator Award. Moriel is a senior graduate student in Dr. Fred Epstein's lab, where he works to develop novel magnetic resonance imaging methods to noninvasively quantify blood flow. At the AHA's Annual Scientific Sessions this November, Moriel will present his work using this new technique to measure myocardial perfusion during the process of infarct healing in a mouse model of heart attack.

“BMEplanet” is here!

The University of Virginia has launched BMEplanet, the world’s first global bioengineering network. BMEplanet is a consortium of 270 organizations in 44 nations around the world. Funded by the National Science Foundation and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, this new professional networking website brings together the global bioengineering community, connecting professionals and knowledge in a transformative way that will accelerate education, research, and innovation in our field. Registration is free - join today!

Papin Lab Models Potential Source for Biofuel

A recent article in Nature Methods describes the team’s computational model of the alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. A collaborative team, including Dr. Jason Papin's Lab, has developed a computational model of the alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a model organism for photosynthesis, cell migration, and of significant interest as a potential source of biofuel. A recently published article in Nature Methods describes the model and its validated predictions, how it can be used to improve genome annotation, and the team’s hypotheses for how the model can be used to drive bioenergy applications.
Article in Nature Methods

Newest Faculty Member Named Pew Scholar
Dr. Kevin Janes adds a prestigious Pew Scholar award to an already impressive resume that includes publications in Nature and Science. The Pew Award rewards young investigators of outstanding promise with flexible funding to try out new investigative directions as their research unfolds.
Story in UVa Today
News Release from the Pew Trust

On the Cover: Translational Research Successes
A recent spread in the UVa Medical Alumni Magazine features Dr. Shayn Peirce-Cottler (BME) and Dr. Bradley Kesser (Otolaryngology). The team has successfully leveraged a growing cadre of resources at the University of Virginia to help biomedical scientists move basic research into clinical application.
Feature in UVa Medical Alumni Magazine
U.Va. Coulter Partnership

New Undergraduate Program in Nanomedicine
This fall, 20 University of Virginia undergraduates will enroll in Nanomedicine, a new Engineering School program that leverages faculty expertise in Biomedical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering. The focus is on quantitative life sciences, the properties of nanoscale materials and how they function in biological systems, and clinical applications such as drug delivery, medical diagnosis, implants and tissue engineering.
Nanomedicine Curriculum
Engineering Science Degree

84% Placement for the Class of 2009
A month before graduation, 84% of the Biomedical Engineering Class of 2009 had already secured jobs or graduate and medical school admissions. See the complete 2009 Exit Report for details on where they are now, as well as the awards and accolades they earned while at U.Va.
BME Class of 2009 Exit Report

New Graduate Students Admitted
This past year, 40% of Biomedical Engineering graduate students successfully competed for individual fellowships or spots on NIH training grants. BME’s incoming class of graduate students promises to keep up the good work. Selectivity for our 2009 PhD class was 16% and yield on PhD offers was 43%. The average undergraduate GPA for the 13 incoming students is 3.72.
BME Graduate Program

Applied Biomedical Research to Advance Children’s Health
Dr. Brian Helmke is the second Biomedical Engineering faculty member to receive a $300,000 Individual Biomedical Research Award from The Hartwell Foundation for applied biomedical research to advance children’s health. Brian’s project is titled Ciliated Pediatric Endotracheal Tube for Active Prevention of Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia.
Press Release from The Hartwell Foundation

$1.2 Million Grant for Pancreatic Cancer Screening
A National Cancer Institute grant is an early feather in the cap of new faculty member Dr. Kimberly Kelly. Kim will develop molecular imaging techniques and targeted therapeutics for pancreatic cancer, utilizing biomarkers she discovered in her previous work.
Story in UVa Today
Feature in Charlottesville Daily Progress