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Abrams Scholars

September 20, 2023

This semester we have a whopping SIX Abrams Scholar in the lab! 

Brooke, Josh, Katie, Claire, and Brian will all be helping with the BPBI project. Brooke, Josh, and Katie will be looking at the effect of BPBI on bone metabolism and muscle composition. Claire will be looking at BPBI’s effect on bone microstructure, and Brian will be looking at its effect on rotator cuff muscle architecture specifically.

Carter will be working with Sandra on the bone-on-chip project. His project is titled ‘Development of a bone-on-chip platform to examine effects of post-stroke inflammation on bone-vascular interactions’

We’re so proud of all of you!

2023 Spring UR Symposium (+ Jacque wins an Award!)

April 27, 2023

Our undergraduates have been very busy. Several of them travelled to Wisconsin for NCUR, presented at the NC State Undergraduate Research Symposium, and presented a talk at our year-end Abrams seminar, all in less than 2 weeks!

At the Undergraduate Research Symposium, we had:

  • Kathryn: Characterization of Porous, Mineralized Collagen-Chitosan Scaffolds for use in a Bone-On Chip Platform (working with Sandra)
  • Brooke: Effects of Brachial Plexus Birth Injury on Composition of Biceps, Supraspinatus, & Subscapularis Muscles (working with Kyla)
  • Rose: Verifying Quality of Joint Reaction Forces Obtained from Musculoskeletal Models for Contact Finite Element Analysis of the Rat Shoulder Following BPBI  (working with Jason)
  • Amanda: Characterizing Architecture of a Biomimetic Bone Scaffold (working with Sandra)
  • Katie: Gait Impairment in a Rat Model of Brachial Plexus Birth Injury (working with Kyla)
  • Steven: Understanding Paw Preference Associated with Brachial Plexus Birth Injury (working with Kyla)

Amanda, Kathryn, Katie, and Brooke also presented their research at the Abrams Scholars Final Presentations.

In addition to the four above, Carter and Deeqa also presented at the Abrams final presentations:

  • Carter: Characterization of a 3D biomimetic bone scaffold for in vitro examination of bone microenvironments (working with Sandra)
  • Deeqa: Finite Element Analysis of Trabecular Bone Microstructure with Passive Joint Loads Following Brachial Plexus Birth Injury (working with Jason)

We’re also very proud to share that Jacque won the Michael Dickey Outstanding Research Mentor Award, which is presented annually at the Spring Undergraduate Research Symposium. This award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated excellence in mentoring and supporting undergraduate researchers. Winners of this award show a commitment to serving as a guide for undergraduate students as they move from directed to more independent work, creating opportunities for them to develop advanced technical and soft skills, encouraging then to share their research publicly, supporting underrepresented students, and offering academic and career advice for their mentees. Jacque was nominated by our lab’s undergrads for everything that she does for them and for the lab.

Sandra Officially Awarded an F31 Fellowship

March 10, 2022

Sandra was recently awarded a Predoctoral Fellowship from the NIH to help her finish up her graduate work. Though she found out that she scored very high back in the fall, she did not officially receive confirmation of funding until today– the number of fellowships awarded each year depends on budget, so a high score is good but receiving an official Notice of Award is better.

We’re all so excited for her!

You can go congratulate her on Twitter yourself:

Jacque Named an AGEP Fellow

December 27, 2021

Earlier this year, Jacque was named to the third cohort of AGEP-NC fellows. Per the website:

AGEP-NC (North Carolina Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate) Fellows serve two-year terms learning about cross-cultural mentoring, promoting diversity in doctoral programs, and facilitating departmental dialog.

  • Fellows develop initiatives to raise awareness, promote buy-in and build cross-cultural and mentoring skills among the faculty in their department;
  • Engage the faculty in designing approaches to address obstacles for students and the needs of faculty for creating pathways for success for diverse dissertation students;
  • Coordinate a faculty process of developing a departmental plan for doctoral student diversity and inclusion.

Here’s the rest of the cohort (original on the AGEP-NC Webpage):

Jennifer Wins a Departmental Research Award

December 15, 2021

Jennifer, one of our long-time undergrads, was recently awarded the BME Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award for her outstanding work done in OML. We’re so proud of her, but also so sad that we’re going to lose her in the spring as she graduates and moves on to bigger and better things.

Per the announcement, “The goals of these awards include: giving students formal recognition to support their next steps (graduate school applications, job applications, etc.); and promoting a culture of BME undergraduate students thriving within research laboratories across both campuses. [These] students have gone “above and beyond” to make significant contributions to their research labs.”

Check out the announcement here: 

2021-2022 Abrams Scholars Announced

October 27, 2021

The 2021-2022 cohort of Abrams Scholars was recently announced. Four of our amazing undergrads were named as Abrams Scholars: Kathryn, who is working with Sandra on her Bone-On-Chip project; Jennifer, who is working with Kyla on the BPBI project; and Vince and Deeqa, who are both working with Jason on Finite Element Modeling.

Here are their project titles:

  • Kathryn: Development of a bone-on-chip platform to examine effects of post-
    stroke inflammation on bone-vascular interactions
  • Jennifer: Effect of Brachial Plexus Birth Injury on Limb Use and Muscle Strength
  • Deeqa: Analyzing the effect of heterogeneity on trabecular bone tissue
    microdamage in finite element models of varying resolution
  • Vince: Optimizing nonlinear finite element analyses of vertebral trabecular bone

Sandra is Still Doing Amazing Things

July 23, 2021

Sandra was recently profiled for #BlackBiomxHistory, part of the Black Biomechanics Association. You can see her profile here:

On top of that, she’s taken on a key role in the new Triangle Biomechanics student chapter for the American Society of Biomechanics. And in between she somehow manages to also be a grad student!

Our Amazing Undergrads

December 6, 2020

Our undergrads have been busy the last 8 months!

  • Jennifer, and Josh presented at the Spring OUR Symposium in April. Due to COVID they presented a virtual poster, and did a great job! Jennifer presented on her work with Emily: Location of Brachial Plexus Birth Injury Deferentially Affects Humeral Bone Growth. Josh presented on his collaboration with Jason: Increasing Computational Throughput of Heterogeneous Bone Tissue Models
  • Annie Kate presented at the Summer OUR Symposium:
  • Four of our undergrads were selected as Abrams Scholars: Annie Kate, Vince, Jennifer, and new lab member Kathryn. Annie Kate and Kathryn will be working with Sandra on her bone-on-a-chip project, Vince will continue his work with Jason, and Jennifer will continue to work with Emily. Abrams Scholars are outstanding BME undergraduate students who are selected to receive a stipend to conduct hands-on laboratory research projects. These projects are conceived and designed by the students with the guidance of a faculty mentor. The Abrams Scholar program honors C. Frank Abrams, Jr., a BME and BAE emeritus faculty member. Dr. Abrams led the development of the first courses in Biomedical Engineering at NC State and was instrumental in the founding of NC State’s BME Department, the creation of the joint UNC-CH/NC State graduate program, and ultimately the launch of the UNC-CH/NC State Joint BME Department. He was the Joint Department’s first senior design instructor as well as the first Director of Graduate Studies.
  • Four of our undergrads were awarded OUR grants: Vince and Jennifer for the fall semester and Annie Kate and Deeqa for spring 2021.Vince’s project, Optimizing finite element analysis of cancelous bone through microdamage simulation, will support his project working with Jason. Jennifer will continue her work on the BPBI project: Effects of BPBI on humeral bone metabolism. Deeqa will also work on the BPBI project: Effect of BPBI on muscle-bone crosstalk. Annie Kate will be working with Sandra: Examining bone-vascular interactions post-stroke using a bone-on-chip platform.

Sandra Continues to be Very Impressive

September 3, 2020

Sandra has been racking up the awards lately!

In 2020, she got and Honorable Mention on her National Science Foundation GRFP, a BMES Career Development Award, and a T32 Predoctoral Fellowship. More info on all of these incredible honors is below.


Honorable Mention National Science Foundation GRFP (April 2020)

The NSF GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported STEM disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions. The five-year fellowship includes three years of financial support including an annual stipend of $34,000 and a cost of education allowance of $12,000 to the institution. []


Predoctoral Training Program in Vascular Biology, NIH Kirschstein NRSA, T32 5T32HL069768-18 Institutional Training Grant (July 2020 to present)

By requiring trainees to collaborate with secondary mentors outside of their Field, Department, and/or Institution, the IVB program teaches students to apply molecular, cellular, genetic, and computational approaches to pathological and physiological questions in cell, organ, and whole animal systems; to merge hypothesis- and discovery-based research; to develop high-throughput approaches in cardiovascular models, and to translate their work to clinical settings. Trainees are exposed to the latest concepts in cardiovascular biology by enrolling in advanced paper-based courses specifically designed for UNC’s Graduate Certificate Program In Cardiovascular Science, by attending formal cardiovascular seminars by inside and outside speakers, and by participating in a bi-weekly student-led discussion group. To enhance the skills necessary for effective collaboration and career advancement, Trainees attend program workshops on grant writing, career development, and scientific rigor and responsibility, and they present their data formally at the annual IVB Research Symposium, a trainee-organized event that draws over 120 cardiovascular researchers from the greater Chapel Hill area. []


BMES Career Development Award (August 2020)

BMES is committed to inclusive excellence in building pathways to biomedical engineering careers and developing a diverse, technically, and globally competent biomedical workforce. To that end, BMES has an award category to support travel to the BMES Annual Meeting for Graduate Students, Postdoctoral Fellows, and Early Career Professionals from underrepresented populations in biomedical engineering and/or involved in research and training focused on health disparities and minority health. []