2019 WFIRM Awards Roundup

At the 2019 International Society for Biofabrication Conference (ISBF) held in Columbus, Ohio, October 20-22, 2019, team members took 2nd and 3rd place in the Young Investigator Award category.

They are Jihoon Park, PhD, who took 2nd place and Ashkan Shafiee, PhD, who took 3rd place. The purpose of the ISBF’s Young Investigator award is to recognize outstanding achievements by members of the International Society for Biofabrication (ISBF) who are in the early stages of a career in the field of Biofabrication. 

Park is a research fellow who works to develop bio-inks for 3D bioprinting and developed printable and biocompatible bioinks using various natural and synthetic materials. Recently, his study focuses on the bioinks that could provide an environment to the stem cells, which can induce cell differentiation in the desired direction.

Shafiee worked in one of the pioneer laboratories in bioprinting at the University of Missouri, under the supervision of Professor Gabor Forgacs, and now works in the lab of Institute Director Anthony Atala, MD. In addition to his extensive works in regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, and bioprinting, Shafiee has several years of experience in printed- and plastic electronics.

MD/PhD candidate Adam Jorgensen has had a big year!

  • In November at Wake Forest’s Medical Student Research Day, he was awarded 1st place for his work, Integration of Bioprinted Skin in Full-Thickness Wounds Promotes Epidermal Barrier Formation and Normal Collagen Organization.
  • In December, at the 2019 TERMIS-Americas Annual Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, Florida, he received two awards – the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Outstanding Student Award and SYIS Oral Presentation Award, 1st Plac
  • Jorgensen works in the Atala lab at the Institute. He is an NIH F30 NRSA Fellowship recipient for his thesis research on “Integration and remodeling of bioprinted skin in full-thickness wound healing.” His other research pursuits include generation of a novel spherical skin organoid for in vitro drug testing and dermatologic disease modeling, the use of both cellular and acellular hydrogels and scaffolds for wound healing applications, and biofabrication of hair follicles. 

 Also at Medical Student Research Day, 3rd place went to Lauren West-Livingston for her work, Development of a Multifunctionalized Tissue-Engineered Vascular Graft. She works in Dr. Sang Jin Lee’s lab and is currently working on a project to engineer a vascular scaffold that has the capability to endothelialize in situ. West-Livingston also won 1st Place in the 3-minute thesis competition held as part of the 19th Annual Graduate Student and Postdoc Research Day.

Tim Leach, a PhD Biomedical Engineering Student, is the 2019 recipient of the Best Tissue Engineering Poster Award, School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences Symposium. Tim serves as a facilitator at the Graduate Student Writing Club and is a student research mentor in the Biomedical Engineering Mentorship Program.

Dr. Khalil Bitar’s research group had three abstract submissions at the Digestive Disease Week 2019 conference in San Diego, in May. Two of the submissions were accepted as lecture presentations and successfully delivered by Prabhash Dadhich and Bitar. Shreya Raghavan and Prabhash received ‘Certificates of Recognition’ for scientific accomplishment as an ‘Early Career Investigator,’ by the American Gastroenterological Association, after their respective oral presentations. One of the studies was selected as a poster presentation given by Prabhash and acknowledged as a ‘Poster of Distinction.’

Bita Nickkholgh, MD, PhD, postdoctoral scholar in the Postdoctoral Research, Instruction, and Mentoring Experience (PRIME) program has been awarded The Early Career Excellence in Education Scholarship Award. This award recognizes a trainee who has demonstrated a substantial commitment to teaching scholarship, a passion for teaching and leadership in medical education, and has strong future potential as an educator. Nickkholgh is a post doc research fellow who works in the Regenerative Medicine Clinical Center.

At the American Urology Association meeting in May, Hooman Sadri-Ardekani, MD, PhD, was presented the 2017-2019 Research Scholar Award by the Urology Care Foundation. Nicholas Deebel, MD, who works with Sadri-Ardekani’s research group, received the 2019 Society for the Study of Male Reproduction’s Men’s Health Traveling Fellowship.

Andrea Mazzocchi, a biomedical engineering doctoral student in the VT - WFU School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, has been honored with the Lucy Robbins Fellowship Award, given annually to a graduate student conducting cancer-related research and is based on academic ability, including outstanding academic and research expertise, demonstrated leadership, outstanding interpersonal skills and a commitment to the ideals of excellence in academic research. The award was established in the spring of 2005 in memory of Lucy Robbins, the late wife of WFUHS faculty member Dr. Mike Robbins.

An abstract from Martin Rodriguez, a Molecular Medicine & Translational Science PhD program student, was selected for the Student Travel Award in the amount of $400 sponsored by Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Congratulations to Renata Magalhaes, Goodwell Nzou, Shiny Rajan, and Brad Kuhlman on successfully defending their master's theses. 

Cara Clouse was announced as one of three recipients of the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Awards from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. She was recognized for her WFIRM research work during the Commencement and Hooding ceremonies held in May.

Faculty member David Williams has been awarded the TERMIS-EU Chair Life Achievement and Contribution Award for 2019. This is the organization’s highest award and was presented to Williams during the annual conference in Greece in May.

2018 High School Research Program Scholar, Melissa Stok from Croton Harmon High School, has been named a Top 300 Scholar in the 78th Annual Regeneron Science Talent Search! Melissa was mentored by Dr. Sang Jin Lee, Greg Gillespie and Peter Prim during her experience at WFIRM, focusing on 3D bioprinting.

The 2019 All-Hands Retreat received 99 abstracts for poster and oral presentations! This year's award winners were:

People's Choice Poster: Ronald Nelson - 1st Place; Lola Ademoyero - 2nd Place
Oral Presentations: Lauren West-Livingston - 1st Place
Posters: Elham Pishavar - 1st Place; Cristina Antich - 2nd Place; Oula Khoury - 3rd Place

Lab technician Kristina Stumpf for the second year in a row has had a cell image selected as a winner in Vector Labs annual photo contest.

Images are selected based on artistic presentation, but also by the scientific merit and diversity of study they represent. Stumpf will receive an enlarged canvas reprint of her cell image – a heart leaflet that is stained with CD133, Alpha SMA, Collagen and DAPI.