Photo: Camille Birch, Shivani Gupta, David McIntyre, Connor Tsuchida and Jonathan Tsui
Five UW Bioengineering students have been named to the second annual class of the Husky 100. Undergraduates Camille Birch, David McIntyre and Connor Tsuchida, and graduate students Shivani Gupta and Jonathan Tsui, are among 100 students from Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma campuses in all areas of study making the most of their time at UW.
The Husky 100 connect to life inside and outside the classroom, and apply what they learn to make a difference on campus, in their communities and for the future. They demonstrate passion, leadership and commitment to inspire all at UW to shape their own Husky Experience. Students are selected based upon their ability demonstrate a mindset of discovery, commitment to inclusive community, capacity for leadership, readiness for life’s next steps and willingness to experience learning beyond the classroom.
This year’s Husky 100 will be recognized at an on-campus celebration event in the spring and will benefit from future opportunities to network with UW students, alumni, faculty, staff and business leaders. They are also featured in individual profiles on the UW’s Husky 100 website.
Camille is a senior double majoring in BioE and computer science. She works with Professor Eberhard Fetz of UW Physiology and Biophysics, and investigates applications of neural engineering for brain-computer interfaces and functional connectivity research. She is using the Neurochip-3, a powerful new head-mounted electrophysiology system, to investigate functional neural activity, and documenting the volitional control of prefrontal cortex neural signals for the control of a brain-computer interface.
Outside of research, Camille works with 2017 Deans Medalist Celina Gunnarsson and BioE Lecturer Dianne Hendricks to develop curriculum for a diversity-based ethics course for BioE. The course will examine how science and scientific narratives are influenced by prejudice, and how bioengineers can reverse this trend.
After she graduates in 2018, Camille plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D., and continue working on neural engineering research for regenerative medicine applications.
Shivani is a sixth year Ph.D. student in Associate Professor Wendy Thomas’s lab on the “ACTibodies” project. The goal of the work is to develop an antibody alternative that can be triggered to capture or release targets on cue. The group is investigating the use of a bacterial protein, which is more affordable to produce than antibodies. This work could lead to better controlled delivery of drugs or more sensitive diagnostic tests.
She has been involved in outreach through Time to Invent and the Society of Women Engineers, and has taught leadership skills to undergraduates at UW and at other universities in the Pacific Northwest. She was a graduate lead of BioEngage, and helped organize symposiums and industry-related events for the program. She currently leads the science advocacy program Engage, which teaches science communication skills to UW graduate students. Last summer, she worked as a commercialization fellow for the Washington Research Foundation and UW CoMotion to evaluate the business potential of a UW group’s technology.
Following graduation, Shivani plans to work in the Seattle biotechnology industry, in product management, business development or a commercialization-related role.
Junior David McIntyre works in Associate Professor Barry Lutz’s lab on efforts to develop OLA-SIMPLE, an affordable, paper-based diagnostic test that can rapidly detect HIV drug resistance and viral load. OLA-SIMPLE adapts the lab-based oligonucleotide ligation assay (OLA) developed by Dr. Lisa Frenkel and Ingrid Beck of Seattle Children’s Research Institute into a disposable device for use at the point of care in low-resource settings. David and other members of the OLA-SIMPLE team work under the mentorship of BioE Ph.D. student Nuttada Panpradist, and with their project aim to alleviate the increasing burden of antiretroviral therapy (ART) –resistant HIV in developing countries.
David is the president of the UW chapter of Engineers without Borders (EWB-UWS), which focuses on implementing sustainable engineering projects locally and abroad, with projects in Guatemala and Nicaragua. During his freshman year, he traveled to Guatemala with EWB-UWS to build an outdoor community superstructure that other members from UW designed from scratch. He serves as the co-lead of BioE’s Yalow “family”, which aims to strengthen the undergraduate community through mentorship and social events. He also participates in outreach activities and in BioE’s International Working Group, which is working to increase international education opportunities for students.
Following his graduation next year, David hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in bioengineering and continue developing technologies that directly impact human health.
Senior Connor Tsuchida, a member of Assistant Professor Ying Zheng’s lab, is working on a microfluidic device that simulates tumor-induced angiogenesis in renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of kidney cancer. Connor and others in his lab are creating a 3-D “microenvironment” using cultured blood vessel and tumor cells. The device mimics physiological conditions found within the kidney, and could be used to advance understanding of the disease and accelerate development of cancer therapies.
Connor is currently the president of UW’s chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), which connects BioE students to academic, professional and social opportunities. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of the BioE student journal Denatured, which aims to increase awareness and public understanding of new discoveries in bioengineering. He has served on the BioE Student Advisory Board, the College of Engineering Student Advisory Council, and as a Honors Program and College of Engineering Peer Mentor.
After graduation, Connor plans to travel before starting a Ph.D. in bioengineering from the UC Berkeley-UC San Francisco joint program this fall.
Jonathan, a fifth year Ph.D. student in Assistant Professor Deok-Ho Kim’s lab, pursues the study and development of biomaterials for engineering physiologically relevant cardiac and skeletal muscle. He is currently investigating how electroconductivity and tissue-specific cues affect the development of human stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes in 3-D. This work could lead to improved human tissue models for drug screening and disease modelling, and advance the development of therapies for treating heart disease.
Outside of research, Jonathan participates in outreach events and programs such as Paws-on Science and Building Bridges to Bioengineering. Jonathan is planning to pursue a post-doctoral position after he completes his Ph.D. to prepare for a career in academia. He hopes to to continue his regenerative medicine research, and aims to further examine how to harness the healing potential of the body to regenerate lost or critically-injured tissues.