The Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) is delighted to congratulate two of its research grantees for being named recipients of the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The PECASE award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. The award highlights the key role that the Administration places in encouraging and accelerating American technological innovation to grow the economy and tackle the nation’s greatest challenges.
Michael C. McAlpine, Ph.D., is the Benjamin Mayhugh Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota. His research is focused on 3D printing of devices that contain biologically active molecules and materials. The goal is to three-dimensionally interweave functional devices with biologically-active compounds for use in regenerative medicine, drug delivery, and smart prosthetics. An important aspect of this work is the construction of the devices using bio-compatible materials in order to increase their viability when implanted into an individual. In a recent project, Dr. McAlpine and his research group developed a biocompatible gel that could be formed into a 3D scaffold and loaded with various medications using 3D printing. The 3D scaffolds contained different coatings on the surface that could be activated by light to release the medication at the right time in the patient. The new technique has the potential to be used to deliver growth factors at various sites in the body in order to facilitate regeneration of an organ or tissue that has been damaged by disease or injury.
Dr. McAlpine has been the recipient of more than 30 awards. These numerous distinctions include a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, the DuPont Young Investigator Award, Time Magazine Top 50 Inventions of the Year, DARPA Young Faculty Award, New York times Magazine 32 Innovations that Will Change Your Tomorrow, Graduate Mentoring Award in Engineering, NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, and a National Academies of Science Kavli Frontiers Fellowship. He received his B.S. in Chemistry from Brown University where he received the Outstanding Chemistry Student Award from the American Chemical Society (2000), and he earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Harvard University in 2006.
Craig Duvall, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Director of Graduate Recruiting in Biomedical Engineering at the Vanderbilt School of Engineering in Nashville, Tennessee. The Duvall Advanced Therapeutics Laboratory (ATL) specializes in design and application of novel drug delivery systems based on the creation of smart polymer technologies. Goals include delivery of biological drugs such as proteins and nucleic acids into specific cell types, and targeting of drugs to sites of inflammation and tissue remodeling. His lab is also developing polymers that can provide controlled long-term drug release. Each system involves development of finely tuned polymers that release their drug payloads in response to stimuli such as pH and temperature change. These new approaches are being applied clinically to increase the longevity of vascular grafts, promote healing of chronic wounds, and improve breast cancer therapies.
Dr. Duvall has won numerous awards including the NSF CAREER Award, AHA Scientist Development Grant, Society for Biomaterials Young Investigator Award, and BMES Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Young Innovator Award. His lab has been funded by grants from NIH, DOD, NSF, AHA, and ADA. He received his B.S.in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering from the University of Kentucky in 2001, and his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering in 2007 from Georgia Tech and Emory University. He received his Postdoctoral training in Bioengineering at the University of Washington from 2007-2009. Dr. Duvall has a passion for graduate student and postdoc training. He is the Director of graduate recruiting for the Vanderbilt Department of Biomedical Engineering and serves on the Vanderbilt Graduate Faculty Council. Nine of his current and past trainees have won NSF Graduate Research Fellowships.
The PECASE awards were established by President Clinton in 1996. Awardees are selected for their innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach.