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Grad student research recognized for impact on healthcare

7/31/2015

Julia Cation

MechSE PhD student Ritu Raman has again been recognized for her impressive research achievements.

Baxter Healthcare Corporation awarded Raman their Young Investigator Award, which was developed to stimulate and reward research that can be directly used for critical care therapies and the development of medical products that save and sustain patients’ lives. 

She received the award based on the high caliber of her academic and research efforts and her notable contributions to healthcare science.

“I'm really honored to receive the Baxter Young Investigator Award, especially at this stage in my research career. As I wrap up my third year in graduate school, I’m publishing papers on using 3D bio-printing as an enabling tool to forward engineer “living” biological machines powered by skeletal muscle, and to reverse-engineer vasculature for applications in regenerative medicine. I’m really looking forward to building on this work even further as I finish my PhD, setting the stage for what I hope to do in my future career in academia—teaching the next generation of engineers and scientists to ‘build with biology’!”

Raman’s work is focused on developing and commercializing 3D printing technologies for applications in biomedical engineering. Specifically, she uses 3D printing to manufacture biological building blocks, or BioBlocks, which can harness the innate abilities of biological materials to sense, process, and respond to a variety of dynamic environmental signals in real time. Such building blocks can be used to design bio-integrated machines, or BioBots, that can self-organize, self-heal, and self-replicate in response to a complex array of environmental cues.

Earlier this year, Raman won the Technology Entrepreneur Center’s coveted Illinois Innovation Prize, a campus-wide competition among student entrepreneurs. 

She is advised by MechSE professor Taher Saif and Rashid Bashir, head of the Department of Bioengineering. Raman also writes about her research and related experiences on her MechSE blog, “Ritu’s Mechanics of Motion.”