2020 Student Research and Senior Awards

Written by Corey Drennon

2020 Research Day Awards

Each May, the Biomedical Engineering Department hosts “Research Day.” This event is designed to highlight the diverse research in our department and to spark collaborations through high-level overviews of current research.

Nadina Zweifel
Research Progress Award in Neural Engineering and Rehabilitation

Nadina ZweifelNadina Zweifel was born and grew up in Switzerland, where they pursued a career as an audio engineer before obtaining an undergraduate degree in Systems Engineering and moving to the US for their graduate studies. Nadina is now a 5th-year PhD student under the mentorship of Professor Mitra Hartmann at Northwestern University studying sensory processing in the rat whisker system. Most of their work has focused on the development of a simulation framework (WHISKiT Physics) to simulate the mechanical signals generated in the follicle of each whisker in response to contact with an external object. In combination with other computational approaches and machine learning, Nadina studies how the environment shapes the sensory input to the whisker system and how that might affect early-stage neural processing.

Ki-Hee Song
Research Progress Award in Imaging and Biophotonics 

Ki-Hee SongKi-Hee has an MS in the School of Information and Mechatronics at Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology in Korea. He has work experience in the Space-Time Resolved Molecular Imaging Research Group at Korea Basic Science Institute for three years. Ki-Hee obtained a PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University this past Summer. He is currently working as a postdoctoral fellow to further explore Super-Resolution Fluorescence Optical Microscopy Techniques.

Anne Shim
Research Progress Award in Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine

Anne ShimAnne obtained her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering at The Ohio State University. At Northwestern, she joined the labs of Professors Igal Szleifer and Vadim Backman. In the Szleifer lab, she has been building computational models to study how crowding in the nucleus affects transcription and chromatin structure. Her paper "Dynamic crowding regulates transcription" was published in the Biophysical Journal in January 2020 and she is currently writing a manuscript about her models of chromatin. In the Backman lab, Anne has been using fluorescent in situ hybridization and CRISPR-based labelling methods to fluorescently tag chromatin loci and study the differences in the environments of different chromatin loci and how these environments change in time. Anne recently accepted a postdoc position in G.V. Shivashankar's lab at ETH Zurich. The position furthers study the biomechanics of how the nuclear environment affects chromatin and transcription. 

Jane Frederick
TA Award 

Jane FrederickJane completed her BS at Texas A&M University and is currently in her 4th year as a PhD student under the mentorship of Vadim Backman. Moreover, she is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. She received the 2020 TA Award for her outstanding work in BME302/402, a combined undergraduate and graduate course about cardiovascular and respiratory physiology. 

Liliana Ma
Dissertation Award in Imaging and Biophotonics

Liliana MaLiliana completed her BA magna cum laude at Dartmouth College with double majors in Biomedical Engineering and Music. She then joined the Northwestern Medical Scientist Training Program, where she finished her PhD in the BME department under Professor Michael Markl, with a focus on the development of advanced 4D flow MRI techniques for patients with atrial fibrillation. She is currently completing her MD as a third-year medical student at the Feinberg School of Medicine and hopes to one day be finished with school. 

2020 Undergraduate Senior Awards

Each year, the Biomedical Engineering Department recognizes select students who are stand-out members of the upcoming graduating class. These awards celebrate exceptional achievement in research, leadership, scholarship, and service. The rigorous criteria include quality, originality, and importance of their research.

Obumneme Godson Osele
Lyle Mockros Outstanding Student Award

Obumneme Godson OseleGodson Osele is the winner of the Lyle Mockros Outstanding Student Award for his many contributions towards increasing opportunities for underrepresented students and for his accomplishments in research.  Godson has tirelessly committed himself to “making it easier for the next generation to believe they have a place in this world” through his leadership within NSBE, his extensive mentorship of Black youth, and his fundraising efforts to celebrate the academic achievements of minority Northwestern students. Godson co-authored a letter to McCormick meant to get the voice of Black students in McCormick heard via NSBE regarding acts of police brutality and racism. This letter led to increased inclusion of student input on proposed improvements intended to address McCormick’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Among other initiatives, these discussions sparked the launch of the One McCormick series of talks focused on building community and enhancing connectivity. BME is thrilled that Godson is serving as one of the two undergraduate leaders of the DEI committee for department. In addition, Godson has been a committed researcher, gaining over three years of research experience in two different BME labs.

Helena Freire Haddad
Biomedical Engineering Award for Research

Helena Friere HaddadHelena Haddad is the winner of the BME Award for Research for her work on drug delivery and immunoengineering. Helena spent the summer after her freshman year working in a molecular and cellular therapy laboratory at the University of Sao Paulo. In the fall of her sophomore year, she joined the laboratories of Professors Guillermo Ameer and Evan Scott, where she has been studying biomaterials and their applications in drug delivery and immunoengineering since. She has presented her work at the BMES annual meeting and in December Helena gave a talk at the World Biomaterials Conference. She is now finalizing a review article on the clinical significance of pre-existing and treatment-induced αPEG antibodies. She was the recipient of the Jaharis Undergraduate Research Fellowship this past summer.

Two additional senior awards will be announced in Spring 2021, as well as the highest GPA award.

McCormick News Article