Travel Award Winners

The Bioengineering Conference Travel Award is a competitive award for BIOE PhD students who have shown outstanding contribution to their lab and the Department by sharing their research through an oral presentation or poster at a conference.



Student Info

Tim BoyerOrthopaedic Research Society Annual Meeting
I’m a second year PhD student at the Bajpayee Lab (Bioengineering). I’m originally from Leesburg, Virginia and did my undergraduate at the University of Virginia. I’m interested in drug delivery, biophysics, and molecular modelling.
I’m returning to the annual Orthopaedic Research Society conference (this year in Dallas, Texas), to present my work on cartilage-targeting biomaterials for osteoarthritis prevention after ACL or meniscus injury.
Ali FallahiThe 67th Biophysical Society Annual Meeting 2023Presenting an oral presentation titled: “Nanopore-based quantification of viral vectors and nanoparticles as an analytical tool for gene therapy products.”
Fatemeh Farhangdoust67th Annual Biophysical Society Conference 2023I’m a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Bioengineering with a concentration in Imaging, Instrumentation, and Signal Processing.
My Ph.D. work in Wanunu lab focuses on developing a new long-read DNA/RNA sequencing
I will be attending the 67th Annual Biophysical Society Conference and will present my most up-to-date findings with the title “Towards direct RNA sequencing using electro-optical waveguides” as a poster.
Alexander GrathBiomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting
Wen Han LeeBiomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting 2022 I gave a podium presentation at the Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting in San Antonio. The BMES Annual Meeting is a prominent conference in the field of bioengineering and has been a center of the exchange of information and knowledge since 1968.
My research was about 3D printing of vascular conduits using a novel elastic hydrogel we developed with our collaborators at the University of Texas in Arlington.
Shravani KakarlaBiomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting 2022BMES is a professional society for all researchers, academic or otherwise, in biomedical engineering that majorly focuses on human health. The Annual Meeting is a place to share new findings, celebrate contributions made by members to the field and discuss innovative new ideas in solving healthcare issues. The 2022 Annual Meeting also focused on diversity, equity and inclusion and women’s health, highlighting huge disparities, and showcasing researchers working to reduce those disparities.
My presentation centered on a new 3D blood vessel model, directly differentiated from pluripotent stem cells, that aims to mimic early vascular development. We were able to see the distinct separation of early arterial and venous structures. The method of differentiation we developed is applicable in 2D, 3D and in microfluidic devices; it produces blood vessel cells, as well as support cells found alongside blood vessels, such as pericytes and smooth muscle cells.
Xinqi Kang2023 BMES CMBE ConferencePresenting poster “Single-cell analysis and subcellular localization of TRUB1-mediated, pseudouridine-modified transcripts in human cells”
Vineel KondiboyinaOrthopaedic Research Society Annual Meeting 2023I am a third-year Bioengineering Ph.D. candidate in the Shefelbine lab for Multiscale Mechanics and Musculoskeletal Mechanobiology (M4). I study the mechanics of calcium signaling in cartilage during development and regeneration.

I have been awarded the travel grant to attend the Annual Meeting of the Orthopedic Research Society in Dallas, Tx. There, I will be presenting a poster on the changes in material properties of regenerating limbs in axolotls. I am excited to share my Ph.D. research with an international audience at the conference and possibly meet some future collaborators.

Deng LiAmerican Chemical Society Spring 2023 Meeting & ExposMy name is Deng Li, a third-year Ph.D. candidate from Dr. Mona Minkara’s lab at the Department of Bioengineering at Northeastern University. My research focuses on using computational chemistry methods to understand Surfactant Protein D’s structure and function at the molecular level. I will give an oral presentation titled “Elucidating the enhanced binding affinity of a double mutant SP-D with trimannose on the influenza A virus using molecular dynamics” at ACS Spring 2023 Meetings & Expos in Indianapolis, IN. In this study, we used full-atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulation with microsecond trajectories to explore the molecular mechanism of how Asp325Ala and Arg343Val mutations affect SP-D’s ability to bind viral glycans.
Chang LiuSPIE Photonics WestChang Liu is a 4-th year Ph.D. Candidate from the Bioengineering Department.  Joining the Optical Microscopy & Neuro-Imaging Lab (Yaseen Lab) in the spring of 2020, her research focuses on using rodent disease models and multiphoton microscopic techniques to study brain function and metabolism in awake mice.

She will be giving a short oral presentation in SPIE Photonics West, 2023 in San Francisco and competing for the “Jenlab Young Investigator award”.  She will also be giving a poster presentation and competing for the “best poster award”.  In her presentation, she will share her recent findings on how induced inflammation affects cerebral oxygenation and microcirculation in Alzheimer’s disease mice.

Yifang Liu2023 BMES CMBE Conference
Amr Makhamreh67th Annual Biophysical Society Conference 2023I am a third-year Ph.D. candidate in the Wanunu Lab here at Northeastern University.
My major is Bioengineering with a concentration in Imaging, Instrumentation, and Signal Processing.
My research focuses on the development of new nanopore-sensing platforms and nanopore-based computational methods with the goal of 1) fingerprinting proteins and 2) quantifying site-specific modifications on mRNA, both at a single-molecule level.
I will be attending the 67th Annual Biophysical Society Conference in San Diego, California. I will present the newest results from my work that implements machine-learning models trained with synthetic mRNA data in order to quantify the presence of pseudouridine at specific locations in HeLa mRNA. I will be presenting this work in the form of a poster titled “MESSENGER-RNA MODIFICATION STANDARDS AND MACHINE LEARNING MODELS FACILITATE ABSOLUTE SITE-SPECIFIC QUANTIFICATION OF URIDINE MODIFICATIONS”.
Keqing Nian2023 BMES CMBE conferenceI am Keqing Nian, a 4th year PhD student from Sara Rouhanifard Lab in BIOE department. I began my PhD at Northeastern in 2019 after graduating from East China University of Science and Technology with my bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering. My concentration is molecular, cell, and tissue engineering. The purpose of this travel is to attend the 2023 BMES CMBE Conference in Indian Wells, California, from January 2nd to January 6th. At the conference, I will be presenting a poster about my project with the title “DNA-enhanced CuAAC ligand enables live-cell detection of intracellular biomolecules”. My long-term research plan is to apply CuAAC for live-cell applications. With the development of the new CuAAC accelerating BTT(1,2)-DNA ligand, we already achieved the labeling and detection of nascent RNAs in live cells which cannot be achieved by the CuAAC in the presence of commercial ligand. Our live-cell labeling and detection could enable future applications such as tracking the dynamics of global cellular transcription over time.
Rahul RagunathanSPIE Photonics WestI am currently a 4th year Bioengineering PhD student in Dr. Qianqian Fang’s Computational Optics and Translational Imaging Lab (COTI), where I am developing a method to develop heterogeneous 3D printed optical phantoms that can be used for Diffuse Optical Imaging. I have developed the first method to create heterogeneous models with programmable optical properties at designated locations using off-the-shelf filament mixing 3D printers as well as commercially available inexpensive 3D printing filaments. The proposed method requires considerably less laborious manual steps compared to currently used optical phantom fabrication methods, while allowing us to generate geometrically accurate complex optical phantoms similar to that of biological tissue. I am presenting an invited presentation in late January 2023 as part of the SPIE Photonics West conference, which will outline our preliminary results as well as the potential broad applications of the method.
Yuanyuan Shi67th Annual Biophysical Society Meeting 2023My name is Yuanyuan Shi; after I finished my master’s degree at Northeastern, I had the chance to continue my PhD study at Dr. Wanunu’s lab. My major is Bioengineering, and I focus on modifying membrane proteins/other nonmembrane inserting ring-shaped proteins to improve their application in nanopore sensors.
In the 2023 Annual Biophysical Society Meeting, I will present a strategy for inserting viral portal proteins with flexible inner pores into lipid membranes: We expressed different mutants of G20C portal protein to 1) enable chemical modifications of hydrophobic anchors to the portal’s exterior structure and 2) substitute hydrophobic amino acid residues into the portal’s base in order to facilitate membrane insertion. In this work, we engineered and purified different portal mutants, and verified their structural integrity with electron microscopy. Building on our recent demonstration of DNA sensing with G20C mutants, we are in the process of characterizing the sensing capabilities of these mutants through ionic current recordings of DNA and peptide translocations through the portal mutant. We expect to apply this approach to a wide range of non-membrane, ring-shaped proteins and facilitate the development of new biological nanopores that can provide improved signal resolution and data quality
Ana VargasInternational Congress on Cardiac Problems in Pregnancy (CPP) In this conference I gave an oral presentation on “Material Softening of the Murine Thoracic Aorta During Pregnancy”. This meeting was an opportunity to learn from health professionals around the globe in the management of cardiovascular diseases during pregnancy by exchanging research and updates on recent data collected. My talk was under the Physiology session, where speakers talked about the physiological changes that occur in the maternal cardiovascular system during pregnancy.
Chenzhen ZhangOrthopaedic Research Society Annual Meeting 2023 The ORS 2023 is the most famous annual meeting in the research of orthopaedics and musculoskeletal system, attracting more than 3000 attenders from academia and business around the globe.
The oral talk of ‘Cationic Peptide Modified Exosomes For Cartilage Targeting For Applications In Drug Delivery’ will present my recent work on the reversal net charge on anionic exosomes by anchoring their surfaces with cartilage targeting cationic peptide carriers and cationic glycoprotein Avidin. These surface modified exosomes possess cartilage and chondrocyte targeting properties and can be used for delivery of OA therapeutics including protein drugs and genetic materials.
Hengli ZhangOrthopaedic Research Society Annual Meeting 2023I’m a 2nd-year graduate student from Bajpayee Lab focusing on cell and tissue engineering. I will have an oral presentation at the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) 2023 annual meeting (February, Dallas, Texas) about our recent works on designing sustained-release PLGA-based formulations of Neosaxitoxin for long-term osteoarthritis pain relief.
Zhuoyu ZhangThe 67th Biophysical Society Annual Meeting 2023I will be presenting a poster on the conference. The poster will introduce my progress on the terminal tagging of proteins for nanopore sensing, which will enable native full-length proteins to be detected by nanopores.