I am pleased to announce the winners of the first Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D., Travel Fellowship are Julian Rose and Dwight Meggie, both from UConn, and Robert De Loera from University of Chicago. This fellowship will allow them to attend the annual meeting of the Society for Biomaterials, and to become members of the Society. The goal of this initiative is to stimulate/encourage underrepresented minorities to pursue a career in the field of biomaterials. I am honored that the Society for Biomaterials chose to endow and name this traveling fellowship after me. I and my team have been committed to increasing the numbers of underrepresented minority people in science and we will continue to work tirelessly in the regard. I applaud the Society for Biomaterials in endorsing and supporting this commitment.
Julian is a senior studying Biomedical Engineering. As a member of the Honors Program who is interested in health professions, Julian participates in the John and Valerie Rowe Health Professions Scholars Program. Dwight MeggieSince high school, Julian has conducted research in the Institute of Regenerative Engineering under the guidance and mentorship of Dr. Lakshmi Nair and me, gaining valuable experience creating nanofiber scaffolds for regeneration. Julian has joined the 2016 Teach For America Corps and plans to attain his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering in order to become a professor and conduct neural regenerative engineering research.
Dwight is also a senior in the Biomedical Engineering program. He is a certified pharmacy technician and an ambassador for the Academic Center for Exploratory Students (ACES) where he mentors academically undecided students. With a passion to attend graduate school, Dwight participated in the McNair Fellows program where he gained valuable hands-on shadowing research experience. After this research experience, Dwight joined the Institute for Regenerative Engineering where he conducts research under the supervision and mentorship of Dr. Sangamesh Kumbar and me. His research entails enhancing the solubility of poorly soluble drugs using various techniques such as solid dispersion. Dwight plans on attending graduate school and ultimately transitioning to medical school.
Robert is a fourth year undergraduate at the University of Chicago majoring in the Biological Sciences with a specialization in immunology and minors in molecular engineering and statistics. His interests really revolve around translational research, and recently he’s become fascinated by the immune system and how we can take advantage of it in a variety of ways. Robert is currently working with Dr. Jeffrey Hubbell at the Institute for Molecular Engineering at University of Chicago, where his project is trying to induce antigen specific immunological tolerance by targeting antigens to the surface of red blood cells with a Fab antibody fragment and exploiting the tolerogenic nature of erythrocyte clearance.
Robert is fascinated by biotech startups. In the coming summer, Robert will be working at BioMotivr, a biotech accelerator company based in Cleveland, where he hopes to gain experience in the biotech startup scene. Robert plans to earn M.D. and Ph.D. degrees.
Congratulations, Julian, Robert, and Dwight!