Travel Award Winners

The Bioengineering Conference Travel Award is a competitive award for BIOE PhD students who have shown outstanding contributions to their lab and the Department by sharing their research through an oral presentation or poster at a conference. Each Bioengineering student is eligible to apply for a $500 travel stipend twice per calendar year to a conference where they are presenting an oral presentation or poster.

Student Expense Reimbursement Guidelines



Student Info

Mohamad Motaz Al Samman Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering and Biotransport Conference (SB3C) I am a second year Bioengineering PhD student under the mentorship of Francis Loth. My concentration is Imaging, Instrumentation, and Signal Processing. I study the biomechanics of the brain and cerebrospinal fluid noninvasively using dynamic MRI sequences in patients with Chiari malformation type I. The granted travel award will be used to deliver a podium presentation at SB3C 2023 about the relationship between cardiac-induced brain tissue strain and the imbalance symptom of Chiari patients.
Tim Boyer Orthopaedic 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.
Julia Clarin Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering and Biotransport Conference (SB3C) I’m a third-year PhD student studying tricuspid valve biomechanics in the Amini Lab. I will be attending SB3C to give a talk entitled “Mechanical Characterization of Porcine Tricuspid Valve Anterior Leaflets Over Time: Applications to Ex-Vivo Studies.” In addition, I will be presenting a poster on the effects of chordae rupture on tricuspid valve leaflet strains in an ex-vivo beating heart simulator.
Matthew Eden Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering and Biotransport Conference (SB3C) I am a fifth-year PhD candidate working in the Integrated Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Team (ICAP), advised by Dr. Jessica Oakes and Dr. Chiara Bellini. My research focuses on using computational models to study the pulmonary and cardiovascular health effects of wildland fire smoke inhalation. At SB3C I will be giving a talk titled “Effects of Wildland Fire Smoke Exposure on Airflow and Particle Deposition in the Mouse Respiratory Tract”. For this project, we developed a computational framework to investigate the regional deposition of inhaled smoke particulates in the mouse respiratory tract.
Oleksandra Fanari Advances in Genomic Technology Development (AGTD) 2023 Annual Meeting I am a 1st year PhD student from Sara Rouhanifard Lab in BIOE department. My concentration is molecular, cell, and tissue engineering and my research focuses on studying RNA modifications. The purpose of this travel is to attend the 2023 AGTD Conference in La Jolla, California, from June 5th to June 8th.
At this conference, I will present a poster regarding my project titled “Sequence conservation surrounding sites of Human psi modifications”. This computational project is focused on the evolutionary analysis of nanopore sequencing data, which represents a new and under-researched topic that can help understand the importance of Pseudouridine modifications for the phylogenetic development of non-human species.
Ali Fallahi The 67th Biophysical Society Annual Meeting 2023 Presenting an oral presentation titled: “Nanopore-based quantification of viral vectors and nanoparticles as an analytical tool for gene therapy products.”
Fatemeh Farhangdoust 67th Annual Biophysical Society Conference 2023 I’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.
Bill Hakim 2023 Society for Biomaterial Annual Meeting I’m a second-year Bioengineering PhD student in Dr. Ambika Bajpayee’s Drug Delivery and Bioelectrostatics Lab. My work is concentrated on cartilage biomechanics and biotransport. Specifically, I’m investigating cartilage penetrating peptides for drug delivery.
At the 2023 Society for Biomaterial Annual Meeting, I gave an oral presentation titled “Spatial Configuration of Charge Modulates Transport of Cationic Peptide Carriers in Cartilage Matrix.” I investigated the effect of charge arrangement in cartilage penetrating peptide sequence on its transport properties. This work would provide important information for charge-based drug delivery system design.
Wen Han Lee Biomedical 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.
Ashley Herrick Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting 2023 I’m a second year PhD student working in the lab of Dr. Chiara Bellini, where we specialize in cardiovascular biomechanics. Over the last year, I have been investigating the effect that administration method and dose of chemotherapeutic agent doxorubicin has on cardiotoxicity in a murine model. At the Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting 2023 in Nashville, I will be presenting a poster detailing my findings regarding doxorubicin-induced vascular dysfunction. Outside of the research I pursue at Northeastern, I have a personal research interest in women’s health topics.
Fernando Ivich Optica Biophotonics Congress: Optics in the Life Sciences Hello, my name is Fernando Ivich and I joined the Bioengineering department at Northeastern University in 2019 after completing my master’s degree at the University of Arizona in Tucson. I am a PhD candidate in the Imaging, Instrumentation and Signal Processing track, and work in Dr. Mark Niedre’s biomedical optics laboratory. I am interested in using diffuse light for personalized medicine applications, and I am happy to go to Vancouver, Canada to give an oral presentation on  “Ratiometric Diffuse in vivo Flow Cytometry for quantification of blood sodium levels using fluorescent microsensors.”
Shravani Kakarla Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting 2022 BMES 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 Kang 2023 BMES CMBE Conference Presenting poster “Single-cell analysis and subcellular localization of TRUB1-mediated, pseudouridine-modified transcripts in human cells”
Vineel Kondiboyina Orthopaedic Research Society Annual Meeting 2023 I 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.

Aleksei Krotov Neural Control of Movement 2023 I am a 3rd year PhD Bioengineering student at the Action Lab. Our lab studies how humans interact with complex objects and my research has aimed at an epitome of such complexity by studying how humans manipulate a bullwhip to hit a target. Our lab and my research bring together neuroscience, physics, biomechanics, and control theory to promote understanding of human movements and transfer that knowledge to motor rehabilitation and robotics. The BioE Travel Grant supported my presentation at a conference on motor neuroscience, Neural Control of Movement (NCM) 2023, where I discussed a novel method of decoupling spatial and temporal variability in human movement data.
Jane Lee Optica Biophotonics Congress: Optics in the Life Sciences I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Bioengineering receiving mentorship from Drs. Mark Niedre and Chiara Bellini. The goal of my project is to develop a wearable fluorescent detection instrument to measure tumor cells in circulation of mice that are awake and freely moving. I will be speaking about this work at the Optica Biophotonics Congress in a presentation titled “Tethered Fluorescence Instrument for Continuous Detection of Circulating Tumor Cell Numbers in Awake Mice”.
Deng Li American Chemical Society Spring 2023 Meeting & Expos My 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 Liu SPIE Photonics West Chang 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.

Amr Makhamreh 67th Annual Biophysical Society Conference 2023 I 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”.
Caroline McCormick Advances in Genomic Technology Development 2023 Annual Meeting I am a third-year Bioengineering PhD candidate in the Rouhanifard Lab at Northeastern University. My dissertation work focuses on developing platforms and community resources for detecting, quantifying, and characterizing RNA modifications at single-nucleotide resolution using long-read sequencing. At the 2023 Advances in Genomic Technology Development (AGTD) NIH-NHGRI grantee meeting, I gave a flash talk and presented a poster on my most recent publication, “Multicellular, IVT-derived, unmodified human transcriptome for nanopore direct RNA analysis”. This work addresses previously unanswered questions about appropriate controls and standards for long-read direct RNA modification sequencing studies. We constructed a universal negative control as a tool for the RNA sequencing field.
Keqing Nian 2023 BMES CMBE conference I 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.
Seunghwan Noh Advances in Genomic Technology Development 2023 Annual Meeting I’m a first year PhD student from Meni Wanunu Lab. My major is Bioengineering with a concentration in Imaging, Instrumentation, and Signal Processing. My research focuses on the developmet of direct RNA sequencing with Zero Mode Waveguides.
I will be attending the Advances in Genomic Technology Development (AGTD) 2023 Annual Meeting in San Diego, California. I will present a poster about the latest result of RNA sequencing with eZMWs which title is “Development of Electro-Optical Zero-Mode Waveguide (eZMW) Based RNA Sequencing”.
Joshua Pace Optica Biophotonics Congress: Optics in the Life Sciences I am a 3rd year PhD candidate originally from Arizona. I’m interested in developing biomedical optical techniques to detect and monitor the spread of cancer. My concentration in the department is imaging, instrumentation, and signal processing. I will use this travel award to present orally on research relating to “Fluorescent Molecular Labeling and In Vivo Detection of Circulating Tumor Cells in Mice” and how the work can be translated to helping humans.
Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering and Biotransport Conference (SB3C) I am a fourth-year Ph.D. student at the Laboratory for Soft Tissue Biomechanics advised by Rouzbeh Amini. My research focuses on multi-scale modeling of the tricuspid valve. My upcoming talk at SB3C is titled “Nuclear Deformation of Tricuspid Valve Intercellular Cells.” It investigates how interstitial cell deformation changes with different alignments relative to extracellular matrix fibers, with and without elastin.
Tanvi Vinod Pathrikar Society for Biomaterials 2023 Annual Meeting and Exposition I’m a second year PhD candidate at the Bajpayee Lab in the Bioengineering department with a concentration in Molecular, Cell, and Tissue Engineering. My research focuses on developing effective drug delivery systems for cartilage repair in Osteoarthritis using electrostatic interactions. I will be presenting my work on ‘Cationic Exosomes Anchored with Receptor Antagonist of IL-1 for Cartilage Targeting and Repair’ in a rapid-fire presentation as well as the poster session.
Rahul Ragunathan SPIE Photonics West I 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.
Frederick Sebastian The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Annual Meeting and Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering and Biotransport Conference (SB3C) For SB3C I am doing two podium presentations. First, we developed micro-indentation techniques to be utilized on porcine iris in different environments (temperature, hydration, and time) to understand their effect on elastic modulus (stiffness). Iris stiffness values have been shown to be relevant in understanding the prognosis of primary angle closure glaucoma (PACG). This study serves as a pedestal for future experiments to characterize iris stiffness in different genders since PACG is more prevalent in women than men.
The second presentation is on an analysis of abstracts submitted to SB3C over the course of 7 years to understand the inclusion of both sexes in biomedical research. The inclusion of women as research subjects—both in hypothesis-driven investigations and in tool-development efforts—is vital to extend our understanding of medicine and to improve human health. It also ensures that generalized inferences about health and diseases can be made accurately. Evidence has shown that certain areas of biomedical engineering suffer from extensive disparity between its effects on women and men, including but not limited to cardiovascular disease, biomechanical response to concussion, and motor vehicle crash injury outcomes. Our analysis showed that while the overall trend of using both sexes in biomedical research is optimistic, our analysis has shown that the disparity is still prominent.
Yuanyuan Shi 67th Annual Biophysical Society Meeting 2023 My 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
Sepideh Tavakoli Advances in Genomic Technology Development 2023 Annual Meeting I’m a fourth-year PhD candidate at Rouhanifard Lab. I’ll be attending the Advances in Genomic Technology Development (AGTD) 2023 Annual Meeting in La Jolla, California, from June 6th to June 8th. I’ll present a poster titled “Measurement and Perturbation of Pseudouridine (Ψ) mRNA Modifications in Human Neuroblastoma Cells.” My research aims to gain insights into the dynamic behavior of Ψ modification and contribute to understanding its underlying mechanism.
Ana Vargas International 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.
Yukai You 2023 Annual Symposium for Quantitative Cellular and Molecular Biology (qCMB) and Undergraduate Quantitative Biology (UQ-Bio) Summer School I am a first-year PhD student from the Mingyang Lu lab, and my research focuses on computational systems biology. Specifically, I am working on building gene regulatory networks using single-cell RNA-seq data.
I will present the advancements in single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) technology for studying gene expression dynamics. Despite challenges like substantial noise and capturing dynamic changes, our research utilizes scRNA-seq data from induced pluripotent stem cells. We classify cells into distinct groups based on time trajectory using gene expression pseudotime analysis. This approach accurately determines the directionality of gene regulatory networks, aiding in understanding the dynamic processes of key gene regulatory circuits.
Chenzhen Zhang Orthopaedic 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 Zhang Orthopaedic Research Society Annual Meeting 2023 I’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 Zhang Advances in Genomic Technology Development 2023 Annual Meeting I am a Ph.D. candidate working in Wanunu Lab. I focus on development of nanopore system for protein identification. I am presenting a poster titled “Full-length protein fingerprinting via enzyme-free single-file nanopore translocation of DNA-tagged proteins” on the AGTD 2023 annual meeting and giving a 2 minutes’ flash talk for the poster. My poster involves our recent progress in developing a terminal tagging strategy: by incorporating a densely charge tag to protein molecules, we exploit electrophoretic force to enhance their translocation through nanopores. The content includes evidence of tagged products and current trace of their translocation through nanopores.