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Last Friday Sept 27 BME faculty, staff and students reconnected at the BME Annual Retreat in North Carolina Biotechnology Center. Keynote speaker Prof. David Reinkensmeyer from the School of Engineering at the University of California, Irvine, kicked off the retreat with a talk on rehabilitation robotics. This year there was a Clinician Panel discussion featuring James Hagood, MD (Director, Program for Rare and Interstitial Lung Disease and Professor, Pediatric Pulmonology, UNC School of Medicine), Jeffrey Spang, MD (Associate Professor of Orthopaedics, UNC School of Medicine) and Maureane Hoffman, MD, PhD (Professor of Pathology, Duke University School of Medicine).

Kenan Professor and Associate Chair Paul Dayton delivered the much anticipated annual “State of BME” and also announced the awards. Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies Lianne Cartee received this year’s Faculty Award. And Assistant to Director of Research Catherine Matthieu received the Departmental Service Award, for her exceptional work in grant support, communication and the Graduate program review. The Graduate Student Service Award went to Maurel Vrabel, PhD student in Dr. Zaharoff’s Lab.

In the afternoon, there were concurrent sessions for graduate students with Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies Caterina Gallippi, and a curriculum update session with Assistant Professor and Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies Naji Husseini. A highlight of the retreat were the students’ posters, which received a lot of attention and awards sponsored by the BME Graduate Student Association. Under the Scientific Quality category, first place was for student Emily Ozpinar, in BME Assistant Prof Freytes’ Lab, for “Incorporating the Role of Macrophages Into Patient Specific Engineered Heart Tissues.” The Presentation/Communication first place went to Graduate student Rahul Patel, under BME Assistant Professor Giovannucci’s Lab, for “Dissecting the Role of Cerebellar Neural Populations in Associative Learning.” Best Poster Design was for student Kristina Riviera’s “A Controllable System to Investigate Hypoxia on Human Intestinal Epithelial Stem Cells,” supervised by Assistant Professor Daniele and Associate Prof Magness. Second and third place awards were also given under each category.

Congratulations to all awardees and participants in the retreat, for making it a fun day to reconnect with each other!

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