NEBEC 2023 Invited Speakers

Combining Neural Networks with Experiments to Learn How Tumor Rhythms Influence Breast Cancer Biology and Prognosis

Dr. Ron Anafi is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. As an undergraduate at Tulane University, Ron studied biomedical engineering and philosophy. He traveled north for the University of Minnesota's MD/PhD program where he completed his graduate degree in mechanics. He still cannot fix his car. After an internal medicine residency at the University of Vermont, he moved to the University of Pennsylvania for clinical training in sleep medicine and a postdoctoral fellowship in bioinformatics. His lab uses techniques from machine learning, engineering, and systems biology to understand how sleep and molecular rhythms influence physiology in the brain and body.

Bioelectrostatics for Drug Delivery and Diagnostic Imaging of Charged Tissues

Dr. Ambika Bajpayee is an Associate Professor in the Department of Bioengineering at Northeastern University and heads the Molecular Bioelectrostatics and Drug Delivery Laboratory. Her interests include targeted drug delivery and tissue engineering, bio-electrostatics, cell derived exosomes, peptide and protein-based nanocarriers, and modeling of bio-transport and biomechanics. Her lab has a special focus on developing targeted and sustained release therapies for repairing musculoskeletal joint tissues. She received her PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with Prof. Alan Grodzinsky and also completed her post-doctoral work focused on developing devices for oral drug delivery to gastrointestinal tract with Prof. Robert Langer. Previously, she worked in startup industry on development and FDA approval of orthopedic and dental implants. Ambika is a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, US Department of Defense Discovery Award, National Institute of Health Trailblazer Award, 2021 Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator Award, MIT Women of Excellence and MIT Meredith Kamm Award in Mechanical Engineering. Her laboratory is funded by several translational awards from the NIH and the pharmaceutical industry and works towards bridging the gap between basic science and clinical technologies.

Functional Neuroimaging as the Key to Effective Neurostimulation: Neuro-vascular Modulation?

Dr. Marom Bikson is the Shames Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the City College of New York (CCNY) of the City University of New York (CUNY). His research group focuses on rapid medical device translation which spans all stages of development from pre-clinical studies to production, to regulatory trials. He is particularly interested in integrating insights from cellular-level studies, imaging, and computational modeling to optimize device specificity. Medical device technologies designed in Dr. Bikson's lab are tested or used in hundreds of medical centers worldwide. Dr. Bikson has published over 300 papers and book chapters and is inventor on over 40 patents. He is a co-founder of Soterix Medical Inc. Dr. Bikson is the technology editor for Brain Stimulation journal, founding chairman of the NYC Neuromodulation conferences, and serves on a range of academic, government, and industry panels. He received a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering (Neural Engineering) from Case Western Reserve University and a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering (Instrumentation Concentration) from Johns Hopkins University.

Deep Language Models as a Cognitive Model for Natural Language Processing in the Human Brain

Dr. Uri Hasson is a Professor in the Psychology Department and the Neuroscience Institute at Princeton University. Uri Hasson grew up in Jerusalem. As an undergrad he studied philosophy and cognitive sciences at the Hebrew University. He completed his Ph.D. in Neurobiology at the Weizmann Institute in Israel and was a postdoctoral fellow at NYU before moving to Princeton. His research program aims to understand the neural basis of face-to-face, brain-to-brain, social interaction, with a focus on verbal communication and storytelling in real-life contexts.

Engineering Cells for Cancer Immunotherapy

Dr. Quanyin Hu is an Assistant Professor at the School of Pharmacy, University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison). He received his Ph. D. degree in Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) and North Carolina State University from 2014-2018. Before he joined UW-Madison, he was a postdoc associate at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 2018-2020. Dr. Hu is currently serving as the Associate Editor for the Journal of Nanobiotechnology and Young Star Editor for Nano Research. He has published more than 80 research papers, including Nature Biomedical Engineering, Science Translational Medicine, Science Advances and Nature Communications, with over 10,000 citations. Dr. Hu is recognized as the 2023 BMES-CMBE Rising Star Junior Faculty, 2023 Journal of Nanobiotechnology Rising Star, 2022 iCANX Young Scientist, 2022 Clarivate Highly Cited Researchers, 2022 Badger Challenge Scholar, The World's Top 2% Scientists (since 2019) and has received multiple scholarly awards.

Mechanochemistry of Durable Structure Formation in Animals: Opportunities to Engineer Matrix Repair

Dr. Jeffrey W. Ruberti is a Professor of Bioenginnering at Northeastern University, Boston, MA. He received his PhD from Tulane University in 1998, joined MIT as a Postdoctoral Associate, and Northwestern University as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2000. His lab focuses on the role matrix molecules play in the transition of animals from a loosely-connected grouping of cells to a fully-connected, mechanically robust structure. The relevant disciplines are: Mechanochemistry, Mechanobiology, Mechanobioreactor Development, Cell Culture, Single Molecule Light Microscopy, High Resolution Electron Microscopy.

The Dawning Era of Pediatric Engineering: How Bridging Interdisciplinary Knowledge Gaps Spurs Innovation

Jamie Wells, MD, FAAP, President and Founder of the Yale Alumni Health Network whose mission is to break down silos in the health-related disciplines to spur innovation, is an award-winning Board-certified physician with many years of experience caring for patients - having served as a Clinical Instructor and Attending at NYU Langone, Mt. Sinai-Beth Israel and St. Vincent's Medical Centers in Manhattan. An alumna, she was Director of the Research Science Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology collaboratively sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Education. Dr. Wells has published over 400 articles as Director of Medicine for an educational advocacy nonprofit informing the public and policy makers on evidence-based medicine and science. An Adjunct Professor at Drexel University's School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, she has helped to spearhead the nation's first degree program in pediatric engineering. She was featured in HealthVenture's series highlighting awe-inspiring women leading transformation in healthcare, as a physician leader by the Women in Medicine Legacy Foundation and showcased in Physician Outlook Magazine's #stellardoc campaign during National Physicians' Week. Dr. Wells is deeply committed to advancing societal medical and scientific progress while ensuring patient safety as well as educating, mentoring and career advising the next generation.

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