SFB 2018 National Student Chapter Officer Election – Candidate Overviews

Ballots for the SFB 2018 National Student Chapter Officer Election have been distributed by email via a SurveyMonkey link on March 29, 2018 with the subject line "SFB 2018 National Student Chapter Officer Election".  If you did not receive the Survey Monkey Ballot, or would like to cast your ballot direclty with headquarters, please email your vote to: info@biomaterials.org by April 8, 2018.

President-Elect Candidates

Jason L. Guo

Mikos Research Group
Rice University
School Affiliation:
I am a third-year graduate student at Rice University, working in the lab of Antonios Mikos.

Related Experience:
I have served as the Vice President of my university’s Graduate Student Association (GSA) and the Communications Chair for my department’s GSA. In my work as Vice President, I have planned and run campus-wide social events and professional development workshops for graduate students, which gives me a strong set of skills to develop activities for the SFB Student Workshop.

As a Communications Chair for my department, I developed new outlets for the publicity of graduate student research, and additionally managed the minutes and online resources of my GSA.

I have also served in the student section of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS), which provides me with prior experience and perspective on the planning of student activities in an academic society.

Vision Statement:
My goal is to develop engaging student activities for the SFB Student Workshop that will train students to be not only strong researchers, but effective communicators to their scientific communities and their peers. I strongly believe that science thrives when the broader field of research does, and that researchers ultimately benefit when they can build upon the bricks laid by those around them. Thus, my vision is to create opportunities for scientific communication and leadership training – as universal skills for budding scientists in both academia and industry – for the SFB Student Workshop.

Avid Najdahmadi

BioEngineering of Advanced Mechanical Systems Lab,
Edwards LifeSciences Center for Research of Advanced Cardiovascular Technology,
Department of Biomedical Engineering,
University of California, Irvine

I am a fifth yeah PhD student of materials science at University of California at Irvine. I have extensive knowledge in the field of biomaterials and and five years of experience in training and mentoring more than ten undergraduate student researchers.  I believe given the opportunity I can play an important role for the student council.  Bellow you can find a short description of my research projects:

Biomedical metallic alloys
Hydrogel encapsulation of pancreatic Islets to reverse diabetes
Material selection of subcutaneous medical devices aiming at reverse diabetes
Developing Continuos Glucose/Lactate monitor for better regulation of insulin administration
Developing new composite biomaterial for colorimetric lactose detection

Vision Statement
Dear Student Chapter Officer at Society For Biomaterials,
I first learned about the Society For Biomaterials back when I was an undergraduate student in Iran.  As I continued to work on mechanical properties of titanium implants the knowledge and understanding gained vicariously through the Society helped me determine my future choices.  Soon I decided to apply to University of California at Irvine and start working on biomaterial characterization and medical implants used in diabetes field.  My fresh insight helped me realize that the constantly growing field of biomaterials, requires recruitment of new students that are passionate to improve medical technology and healthcare.  As an international student who has experienced remote learning and traveled across continents to investigate and work on advanced technology, given the opportunity I will strive to ensure that our students from multidisciplinary backgrounds see the values of communication, membership, attending meetings and importantly the pricelessness of the SFB community support.  I believe as a fifth year PhD student who has experienced many hurdle and has trained and mentored more than ten undergraduate students on different research projects I can communicate with the student members, address and transfer concerns to our mentors at the SFB council. 

Working in field of biomaterials includes development and modification of materials for clinical and medical purposes, which is a long process with an extremely low tolerance for error. Therefore, I take it as responsibility to transfer my knowledge on imperativeness of integrity and ethics in this field. My goal is to ensure the younger members develop an interest to the field and learn the value communication and collaboration.   I will use my knowledge and experience in mentoring to promote the values of membership.  Given the opportunity I will work to: 1) encourage communication and collaboration 2) develop interest to the filed in our younger researchers 3) advertise ethics of scientific approaches 4) address and transfer the concerns of students to the SFB council.

I look forward to the opportunity to serve in the Society.

Secretary\Treasurer-Elect Candidates

Prachi Dhavalikar

Secretary/Treasurer Elect Candidate
University of Texas at Austin

I am currently a third year graduate student at UT Austin. Below please find my prior experience and vision statement.

Prior Experience:
AggieMed Challenge Facilitator: As the program facilitator, I was responsible for assisting the student groups with their individual projects, documenting their progress, and guiding them through key stages of the challenge. I was also responsible for delivering short talks about personal development and presentation skills to the students which helped develop my communication skills. With this experience, I am qualified to help the secretary/treasurer in tracking and maintaining the student chapter records. 

Citizen Schools Teacher: As a teacher for the Citizen-Schools after school program, I had to help develop curriculum and lesson plans centered on STEM goals and implement these in the classroom for the students. With this experience, I am prepared and qualified to further assist in any student chapter activities that will further the foundation’s main goals.

Vision Statement:
As an undergraduate student, my university did not have a SFB student chapter. I was not aware of the resources and knowledge that SFB promotes and offers. If provided the opportunity to participate, my goal for SFB would be to further continue outreach to all communities to further encourage participation in science and engineering. I look forward to the opportunity to serve in the society.

James Shamul

Master’s Student at the Johns Hopkins University
Jordan Green Biomaterials and Drug Delivery Research Group
AsclepiX Therapeutics
Matriculating Bioengineering PhD Student in Fall 2018 at University of Maryland College Park

I am currently a master’s student in engineering management at Johns Hopkins University, and will be starting my PhD in Bioengineering at University of Maryland College Park in the Fall. I have been an active research assistant in the Jordan Green research group over the last 4 years and currently am a research associate at AsclepiX Therapeutics. My work has included investigations into polymeric nanoparticle systems and chemical tuning of polymers to achieve ideal cellular and systemic trafficking properties for efficient tumor uptake and killing. As a member of both academia and industry simultaneously, I understand many of the challenges facing biomaterials scientists all over the world. I currently serve as the President of the Johns Hopkins University Society for Biomaterials chapter. Over the last 2 years, our chapter has raised close to $20,000 in grant funding for the creation and implementation of the Mid-Atlantic Biomaterials Day. This event has brought in over 200 attendees and has been tremendously appreciated by the undergraduate and graduate communities at many universities in the mid-atlantic region. We have been growing and fostering interest in the biomaterials community, and I will bring this same progressive mindset to the table as a member of the national student chapter board.

As secretary treasurer elect, I want to help grow funding resources for the biomaterials days at universities across the U.S. I see that there is so much room to expand our membership and we need to incentivize students to be the doers of these innovative and collaborative events. I strongly believe the national SFB chapter should set up regional events and do outreach at universities across the country to promote awareness of the Society and promote careers in biomaterials fields.
Additionally, it is imperative that the national student chapter uses its networks and connections to provide these students with the infrastructure to initiate such events. As a member of this body, I will make sure to actively reach out and form connections between student chapter members and biomaterials leaders at proximate universities and workplaces. The SFB national student chapter will become more proactive and engaged in the activities happening at universities.
Overall, I envision a student chapter than excites students about the possibilities of biomaterials. I hope that setting this groundwork for undergraduates and graduates will increase the number of student attendees of the Annual Meeting and promote a well-connected biomaterials community.
I am very eager to begin this mission and serve as a member of the National Student Chapter.


Bylaws Chair Candidates

Michaela (Mertz) McCrary

School Affiliations:
Current: I am currently a PhD Candidate in the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Florida. I am studying biomaterial platforms for the treatment of spinal cord injury and development of in vitro test beds that better mimic injured neural environments.
Past: I earned my Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Nanotechnology from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Arkansas. During my undergraduate I pursued research in the area of nano-sized drug delivery systems for cancer therapeutics.

Related Experience:
As a Graduate Student:
I am currently serving as the Graduate Student Representative for Engineering Cells and Their Microenvironment SIG. While in this position I have been able to bring the student perspective to SIGs and propose new sessions for the national meeting. Working collaboratively, I worked to organize 2 session series for this year’s meeting including the Student Luncheon and Panel Discussion Event and Engineered Microenvironments to Model Disease/Engineered Microenvironments to Model Cancer. Assisting with proposing, organizing, and soon executing these sessions has allowed me to provide new learning opportunities for students in terms of professional/personal development and research areas. As a graduate student I have also served as the President of the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Engineering’s Graduate student council. In this position, I was able to develop and execute events to build a better sense of community, facilitate further connection between our students, and help further their professional development. Also I have been involved in outreach inside and outside science by teaching science lessons at local middle schools and organizations, providing local foster families with support, and serving as newsletter editor and member on the Board of Director’s for a local non-profit organization.  

As an Undergraduate Student:
As an undergraduate student at the University of Arkansas I served as an Ambassador for the College of Engineering for four years. During this time, I led community events and lessons, developed relationships with prospective students, and directed college tours. Working on a team I also helped run four sets of engineering camps which exposed students (6th-12th grade) to engineering concepts through hands-on project based learning, competitions, and industry tours. I also served as President for my local chapter of Phi Sigma Rho, an engineering sorority. In this position, I gained experience with running an organization, adhering to bylaws, and was able to get women in engineering involved and connected. I gained further experience leading and organizing events as I also served as the local Tau Beta Pi chapter’s Recording Secretary and Service Chair.

Vision Statement:
My vision for SFB student chapters revolves on 3 main points: expanding the field, increasing student involvement, and increasing student connectivity on local and national scales. I am very passionate about getting individuals involved, connected, and having fun doing so. One aspect of this is expanding opportunities of SFB within the field to reach more people in related fields. In this way, we are able to reach more individuals who could benefit from our community and we could benefit from their opinion, point of view, and research findings. I would propose to do this by continuing to propose novel annual meeting session topics, work with local chapters to highlight new areas and advancements that may be relevant, and provide whatever support we can to local chapters in their own endeavors to expand the field of biomaterials research. Building off of this, I also believe that student involvement is key for any organization’s success, so naturally getting more students involved in SFB at all levels is critically important. I hope we could achieve this by providing local chapters with any support and resources they need to plan and execute events and generating new opportunities for students to be involved at the annual meeting (ex. chairing sessions). SFB is not just a professional society but a community as well.  As we are able to support student chapters and get more involvement, I hope we can also work towards cultivating a greater sense of community between our student chapters on a national scale. This could be accomplished by developing new events at our annual meeting geared towards building a dialogue between student chapters or programs that pair multiple chapters together to serve as sibling chapters and a further support system. Although I have just started getting involved in SFB in the last year, I am excited by the prospect of continuing to contribute to the organization and the field of biomaterials as a whole.

Taneidra Walker 

Third-year Ph.D Student in Biomedical Engineering
Cosgriff-Hernandez Research Group
University of Texas at Austin

Leadership Experience:
I have served as a graduate research recruiter at my previous institution as well as help orchestrate the graduate recruitment events at my current institution. In my role as a graduate recruiter, I traveled to my ala mater to recruit prospective students to the institution as well as organized department-wide social events through the recruiting period. These experience instilled in me a strong skill set to communicate the vision of the department and be able to discern the best students for our department. As such, I will be able to utilize these skills in reviewing and revising the Constitution/Bylaws submitted by prospective local chapters.
Additionally, I have organized a summer internship for underrepresented groups that granted exposure to STEM, specifically in biomaterials. In this role, I proposed and orchestrated a paid summer internship for two students to work alongside me as well as independently on a biomaterials related research project. During this program, I provided research, professional development, and personal mentorship to these students. This experience motivated these students to pursue a graduate degree in STEM as a result. More importantly, this experience further motivated me to strive for inclusion and retention of underrepresented groups in STEM and specifically in Biomedical Engineering. This passion will aid my skill set in recommending revisions to the Constitution and Bylaws to promote inclusion and retention of underrepresented groups as members.

I have also served as an organizer of the AggieMED challenge at my previous institution. In this role, I traveled to the systems school that lacked a Biomedical Engineering department and exposed the STEM students to the field through real world clinical problems. I assisted in presenting the case to the students as well as provided guidance for developing their working prototype. I was faced with leading several teams simultaneously which trained me to work well with others. Teamwork and leadership are key qualities for overseeing the Bylaws committee.

Vision Statement:
My personal experiences and lack of resources throughout my training are ultimately what motivate me to continue my advanced education in Biomedical Engineering. Unfortunately, I was not exposed to most resources that would have excelled my education earlier in my training. This was due to a lack of resources and opportunities granted to the people that come from where I was raised. As a double minority in the field – African American and female- I have a passion to see increased representation from minority groups in the field and in the Society. If given the opportunity, my goal is to recommend and/or develop student activities for the SFB Student Chapters that will encourage represented and underrepresented groups to engage in research, learn to effectively communicate their knowledge and collaborate with others, and hopefully, become a beacon to others like them. I want to advocate concepts to the Society that will not only provide educational training opportunities, but also exposed and prepare underrepresented groups for various career paths stemming from a graduate education in Biomedical Engineering. In implementing greater inclusion and retention in the Society, the knowledge driving the field will have the potential to grow as a whole.
I look forward to the opportunity to serve in the Society.

SFB News

Jian Yang, PhD, a SFB Member, has co-founded a company, Aleo BME, Inc which has received its first FDA 510K clearance on a ElaSkin liquid bandage product.