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NSF Graduate Research Fellowships awarded to three BME PhD students

April 8, 2016

Johns Hopkins Department of Biomedical Engineering graduate students Sean Murphy, Yuan Rui and Joseph Yu have been awarded 2016-17 Graduate Research Fellowships (GRF) from the National Science Foundation. The awardees were chosen from a pool of almost 17,000 applicants who represent a wide variety of scientific disciplines across the nation. The fellowship awards were based on demonstrated potential for significant research achievement and for strengthening the vitality of the U.S. science and engineering enterprise.

Sean Murphy

Fellowship recipient Sean Murphy is a graduate student in Chulan Kwon's Heart Generation and Regeneration Laboratory, which studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms governing heart development and regeneration. Sean is currently investigating the role of microRNAs in maturation and their application to developing new therapies for heart disease. “The NSF fellowship provides me with the opportunity to pursue research projects that have the potential to benefit a vast number of people,” Murphy commented. “This funding will also help me to continue to interact with the Baltimore community through STEM outreach.”

Yuan Rui

Recipient Yuan Rui is interested in applying polymeric biomaterials to medicine. She is currently exploring the use of polymeric nanoparticles for gene delivery applications in cancer treatment and works for under the guidance of Jordan Green in the Green Group Biomaterials and Drug Delivery Laboratory. When asked what this award means to her, Yuan stated, “Funding from the NSF grants me more scientific freedom to pursue a line of research that carries greater risk but also greater opportunity to make novel discoveries. The support and recognition of an NSF fellowship also enables me to inspire and encourage others through mentoring and outreach activities.”

Joseph Yu

Graduate Research Fellowship beneficiary Joseph Yu is a PhD candidate in the Institute for Computational Medicine. He currently studies how genetic variability among myocytes in the heart can lead to arrhythmia using whole-heart compu­tational models in the lab of Natalia Trayanova. Said Yu about being awarded the 2016-17 Fellowship, "This is an incredible honor and provides me with the financial flexibility to propose and pursue riskier research projects more aligned with my personal research interests. With the support of an NSF GRF, I look forward to the opportunity to potentially merge my interests in cardiac regeneration and computational modeling in a thesis project."


The selection as an NSF Graduate Fellowship awardee is a significant accomplishment. The NSF’s Graduate Fellowship Research Program provides three years of financial support within a five-year fellowship period ($34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution). That support is for graduate study that leads to a research-based master's or doctoral degree in science or engineering.

The Department of Biomedical Engineering wishes the awardees success in their graduate studies and continued success in achieving their career aspirations.

More information

NSF press release, March 29, 2016
NSF awards 2016 Graduate Research Fellowships