Sandra is Still Doing Amazing Things

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

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

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. [https://www.nsfgrfp.org/]

 

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. [https://www.med.unc.edu/ivb/about-ivb/]

 

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. [https://www.bmes.org/content.asp?contentid=594]

 

Kyla wins COE Dean’s Doctoral Fellowship

Kyla Bosh, our lab’s newest grad student, was recently awarded the prestigious College of Engineering Dean’s Doctoral Fellowship award. The one-year fellowship is awarded to only a select few of the top PhD candidates recently admitted to the College of Engineering. It provides a stipend for the fellow and covers tuition and health insurance.

In addition to the fellowship, Kyla was awarded a graduate merit award for the 2020-21 academic year as well. Congratulations Kyla!

2019-2020 Abrams Scholars

Congratulations to Carly, Josh, and new lab member Jennifer Potts, who were both selected as Abrams scholars for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Carly will be working with Sandra on the OV project:

Assessing functional recovery following ischemic stroke: Following stroke, hip fractures occur 2-4 times more frequently than with typical aging, yet bone health is not typically monitored during rehabilitation. Stroke may alter osteovascular (within bone) circulation, which is essential for bone maintenance, and thus may contribute to the bone loss. Exercise stimulates vascular formation and improves balance and musculoskeletal strength and thus may at least partially offset the negative impacts of stroke. Conversely, bedrest during recovery may exacerbate bone loss and could have detrimental effects on vascular function. The goal of this project is to measure blood flow in the tibia following ischemic stroke in mice, and to monitor functional recovery throughout the experiment. Blood flow will be measured weekly in the tibia with a minimally invasive laser Doppler flowmetry procedure. Functional recovery will be quantified with a behavior test and with high-speed video assessment of gait kinematics.

 

Josh will be continuing his work with Jason:

Effects of tissue heterogeneity on vertebral bone mechanical properties: This project will involve creating (with guidance) finite element models of human vertebral bone using the cancellous bone architecture from micro-computed tomography scans. The micro-CT scans also provide an accurate, 3D representation of tissue mineral density throughout the bone volume, which can readily be converted into elastic modulus values using experimentally derived density-modulus relationships. The goal is to create high-resolution bone models with realistic heterogeneous material properties and then use the models to determine how mineral heterogeneity impacts the overall mechanical performance of vertebral bone. This information is especially important, given that the heterogeneity of bone changes with aging and with certain drug treatments and thus may be an important metric to monitor or target.

 

Jennifer will be working with Emily on the BPBI Project:

Bone formation and mineralization following brachial plexus birth injury: Brachial plexus birth injury (BPBI) is the most common nerve injury in children, occurring during difficult childbirth. It causes muscle paralysis, deformities in the humerus and scapula as they grow, and lifelong impairment of arm function. Little is known about the bone growth and mineralization that may contribute to the advancement and persistence of BPBI-related impairments. The project will examine changes in cortical bone growth (e.g., mid-diaphysis of the humerus) using dynamic histomorphometry. Specific tasks will include embedding bone, sectioning, and analyzing images. Results from this project will help us determine underlying changes in bone formation and mineralization with BPBI, which will inform the development of future treatments to mitigate joint deformities and maintain arm function.

 

About the Abrams Scholars Program:

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.