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Johns Hopkins bioengineering Ph.D. students named 2013 Siebel Scholars

October 26, 2012

Five Johns Hopkins bioengineering graduate students were among 85 students from prominent graduate schools in the United States and China named to the 2013 class of Siebel Scholars. Each student will receive $35,000 for use in his or her final year of graduate studies.

The Siebel Scholars program was founded in 2000 to recognize the most talented students at the world’s leading graduate schools of business, computer science, and bioengineering. At Johns Hopkins, the Siebel Scholars program supports doctoral students in bioengineering studies. This year’s recipients are pursuing their degrees in the university’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, which is shared by the School of Medicine and the Whiting School of Engineering, and in two other Whiting School departments: Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The five Johns Hopkins bioengineering graduate students named include:

Jason Constantino, under the supervision of Natalia Trayanova, a professor of biomedical engineering, is using computer models based on magnetic resonance images to understand how mechanical and electrical activity interact in the heart. His focus is on the development of pacing strategies that are more effective in guiding the way a heart beats. Jason is from Los Angeles, CA.

Laura Ensign, under the supervision of Justin Hanes, the Center for Nanomedicine director who has a joint appointment in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, is studying the nanostructure and function of the mucus barrier that protects the female reproductive tract. Her focus is to develop more effective drug delivery systems for preventing sexually transmitted diseases. Laura is from Columbus, Ohio.

Mustapha Jamal, under the supervision of David Gracias, an associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, is developing microscopic self-assembling tissue frameworks in order to grow cells into intricate three-dimensional shapes. He is investigating the role that geometry plays on cell behavior. Jamal is from West Lafayette, IN.

William Garrett Jenkinson, under the supervision of John Goutsias, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, applies mathematical tools to help understand the processes that take place on complex networks. This work could lead to a better understanding about how to curb an epidemic or how to develop more efficient pharmaceuticals to fight diseases such as cancer. William is from Stuart, FL.

Yi Zhang, under the supervision of Jeff Tza-Huei Wang, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering and oncology, is developing new micro- and nanoscale molecular techniques to help diagnose cancer and infectious diseases. Yi is from Chengdu, China.

Siebel Scholars are selected from among students who rank at the top of their class. They are chosen by the deans of their respective schools on the basis of outstanding academic achievement and demonstrated leadership.

“This is a terrific honor for the school and for our outstanding graduate students,” said Nick Jones, the Benjamin T. Rome Dean of the Whiting School. “The Siebel Scholars program expands our students’ opportunities for entrepreneurship and collaboration and provides them with entry into a community of exceptionally talented future leaders.”

Thomas M. Siebel, chairman of the Siebel Scholars Foundation, said, “It is my great pleasure to congratulate the Siebel Scholars Class of 2013 and to welcome them to the Siebel Scholars community. The Siebel Scholars community actively fosters leadership, collaboration, and increased potential for Siebel Scholars to achieve even more through their work with an incomparable group of equally talented peers.”

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