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Three Johns Hopkins BME doctoral students named 2015 Siebel Scholars

October 6, 2014

Research skills, academic achievements, and leadership qualities are among the qualifications evaluated in selecting Siebel Scholars each year. Five Johns Hopkins graduate students, including BME PhD students Iraj Hosseini, Joel Sunshine and Carmen Kut were recently honored as 2015 Siebel Scholars. The 83 scholarship recipients are from top graduate schools in the U.S. and China. They will receive $35,000 for use in pursuing their promising health-related research projects.

BME primary faculty from five different research areas nominate biomedical engineering PhD students for the Siebel Scholar status to the Whiting School of Engineering (WSE). After evaluating all WSE department nominees, the three BME graduate students were chosen for submission into the Siebel Scholarship program.

The Siebel Scholars program was founded in 2000 by the Siebel Foundation to recognize the most talented students at the world’s leading graduate schools in business, computer science, and bioengineering. On average, Siebel Scholars rank in the top 5 percent of their class, many within the top 1 percent.

Meet the BME 2015 Siebel Scholars

Iraj Hosseini, who previously earned degrees at universities in Iran and Canada, is now completing his doctoral studies at Johns Hopkins in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Institute for Computational Medicine. Under the supervision of faculty adviser Feilim Mac Gabhann, Hosseini developed molecular-detailed multiscale computational models of HIV infection to better understand HIV pathogenesis and to design stem cell-based anti-HIV therapies. Beyond his academic achievements, Hosseini co-founded BME EDGE, obtaining a PhD Innovation Initiative Award funded by the Provost’s Office to reinvigorate PhD education and prepare students for alternative career opportunities.

Carmen Kut, is an MD/PhD student in biomedical engineering whose research focuses on real-time intraoperative identification of brain cancer using optical coherence tomography. In 2014 Carmen was also the recipient of the 2014 Sommerman Engineering Excellence in Teaching Award and the NIH F30 Individual Fellowship Award. As a Whiting School undergraduate, she finished first in her class, and USA Today named her to the 2008 All-USA All-Stars Academic First Team. Kut is founder and president of Medical and Educational Perspectives, a 10-year-old nonprofit that evaluates and develops low-cost medical devices in developing nations. BME faculty advisers are director Elliot McVeigh, and professor Xingde Li.

Joel Sunshine of Pikesville, Maryland, also is enrolled in the MD/PhD program. Under the supervision of associate professor Jordan Green, Sunshine studies degradable cationic polymers for nucleic acid delivery and activation of the immune system for tumor immunotherapy by nonspherical artificial-antigen presenting cells. Sunshine, with Johns Hopkins colleagues, is listed on four provisional patents covering biomedical technology he helped develop. Three of these patents have been licensed to a Maryland company.

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