Joint Department Achievement Awardees:
Ph.D. Student Research Achievement
The award for Ph.D. student achievement in Research goes to Sang Hun Chung and Hossein Eybposh.
Sang exemplifies the BME mission of uniting engineering and medicine to improve lives. He has continuously demonstrated his research excellence in the area of 19F MRI ventilation imaging and cell tracking for CAR-T cells. He has singlehandedly developed a full image post-processing pathway for 19F ventilation imaging and helped develop the free-breathing 19F MR ventilation pipeline. He has also worked on developing MRI-based cell-tracking approaches in small animal imaging, demonstrating his expertise in both the pre-clinical and clinical settings. Furthermore, he was instrumental in the development and validation of the UNC ventilator project due to the height of COVID.
Hossein is a stellar Ph.D. student who has demonstrated excellence in research with his recent work on DeepCGH, a deep learning algorithm that computes holographic illumination patterns 100+ times faster than the prior state of the art. His work resulted in a patent that was licensed to 3I INC, a scientific instrumentation manufacturer. Further, multiple research groups have benefited from his contributions to the field. He is an active community leader who regularly discusses science and career opportunities with other members of the Iranian diaspora in the USA. Hossein is committed to making his work available through tutorials and by organizing workshops. He exemplifies the level of excellence and dedication to engineering and science that the BME department envisions for its Ph.D. program.
Postdoc Research Achievement
The award for postdoc achievement in Research goes to Dr. Adele Moatti. Adele is a go-getter who thinks outside of the box and is a pleasure to work with. She is passionate about her work, adapts quickly and skillfully to new projects and takes initiative with her research. She recently received the prestigious NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00), has also received funding for four CMI Summer Interdisciplinary Research Initiatives, and has an impressive publication history. Dr. Moatti has 12 first-author publications from her Ph.D. and, as a postdoc, has already added two publications as first author, a review paper as the corresponding author and two papers as co-author to her record, with more publications on the way.
Faculty Research Achievement
The award for faculty achievement in Research goes to Dr. Jason Franz. Jason has had an impressive period of research success: He received significant funding from the NIH, NSF, and the UNC School of Medicine, which support the acquisition of a high-speed biplanar X-ray system for non-invasive quantitative imaging of human movement and a portable ankle exoskeleton system. These systems will aid efforts in the development of advanced control systems and in the clinical deployment of wearable assistive therapeutic devices to enhance or restore mobility and independence. Dr. Franz has been enormously successful in securing research support for his laboratory and has helped revolutionize research infrastructure across both campuses.
Staff Teaching and Mentoring Achievement
The award for staff achievement in Teaching and Mentoring goes to Shaphan Jernigan, M.S. Shaphan has been an unsung hero in our department for a number of years. He expertly and patiently teaches BME students how to safely utilize the resources available in the FabLab at NC State. He runs lab sections for undergraduate design courses and supports senior design and graduate research projects. He recently helped develop and implement a new course in the Master’s Program: Medical Device Materials & Manufacturing Methods. His expertise with machinery in the FabLab makes it possible for BME students to understand the processes involved in medical device manufacturing.
Faculty Teaching and Mentoring Achievement
The award for faculty achievement in Teaching and Mentoring goes to Dr. Virginie Papadopoulou. Virginie clearly values mentoring and makes it a priority in her daily work. She thoughtfully encourages and supports her eight trainees, meeting with them regularly, setting project goals, helping them network within and beyond the lab, and prioritizing them above herself. She fosters a welcoming and positive work environment that allows her trainees to thrive academically and professionally. One nominee wrote: “Dr. Papadopoulou is a one-of-a-kind mentor. Research seemed daunting at first, but she demonstrated that the profession was all about learning by failing. She taught me to not view mistakes as failures but as a stepping stone to establishing the bigger picture.”
Staff Service Achievement
The award for staff achievement in Service goes to Caitlyn Collier. Caitlyn has only been with the department for a short time and has already proven to be a rockstar. Her nominators described her as responsive, prompt, committed to her work, a team player and an absolute joy to work with. She has stepped up to help students navigate the complex new travel policies by booking all their flights, making a system and putting together documentation so students have the information and help they need to travel successfully. She seamlessly took over planning for the department’s graduate seminar, i4 program and senior design symposium, creating many successful events and also showing her ability to not only make good impressions on those in the department but those outside it as well.
Faculty Service Achievement
The award for staff achievement in Service goes to Dr. Matt Fisher. Matt has been working diligently as BME’s Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) to overhaul the graduate admissions process with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. He created committees to develop a graduate admission handbook to standardize the admissions process and to structure the graduate mentored teaching experience. He was transparent with faculty during this process, took their feedback and concerns into consideration, and worked amicably to get a policy in place that would satisfy everyone. Dr. Fisher also serves as a member of the Departmental Policies Subcommittee of the BME Diversity Committee and has helped support initiatives to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in the department.