Undergraduate Research

Spring 2017 Senior Design Team wins Venture Prize at the NIH DEBUT competition (with the assistance of Cliff Wilke’s team)

Marissa Howard, Rohit Madhu, Sara Sharif, Sameen Yusuf composed the team at George Mason University responsible for the engineering that earned the Venture Prize at NIH’s DEBUT Challenge.

Current diagnostic tests available to individuals at risk for latent and active tuberculosis are invasive (requiring blood sample or an injection), expensive, and time consuming. The TB Assured is a paper-based immunoassay that uses nanoparticles to identify tuberculosis biomarkers in a urine sample. This could make diagnosis simple and inexpensive and help health professionals limit the spread of the disease.

Bioengineering Team wins top prize in RICE competition

George Mason’s TB ASSURED earned third place with its rapid, point-of-care tuberculosis diagnostic test. Their technology, an electrical, paper-based immunoassay, was designed to provide a low-cost, analytically sensitive TB diagnostic from urine samples. Read more here!

BIOE team wins 2nd place at SWE Undergraduate Technical Poster Competition

Caitlin Johnson, Zaineb Nawaz, Elizabeth Tarbox and Katrina Colucci Chang won 2nd place at the SWE (Society of Women Engineers) Undergraduate Technical Poster Competition at the National Conference in Philadelphia, PA for their senior design project called “Design of a Wearable Low Powered Ultrasound System for Prosthetic Control using Time Delay Spectrometry

BIOE team receives award at the BMES Undergraduate Research and Design Competition

Congratulations to our BIOE team consisting of April Aralar, Matthew Bird, Robert Graham, and Beomseo Koo for receiving an award at the BMES Undergraduate Research and Design Competition. The project is entitled “Ultrasound Characterization of Interface Oscillation as a Proxy for Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt Function.” The extended abstract was submitted in June to BMES, and recently received this award at the 2016 Annual Meeting. This competition is judged on the merits of originality, significance, thoroughness of design analysis, and performance evaluation. Their research project is an ongoing senior design project, where they have found that ultrasound imaging can be used to non-invasively and objectively determine shunt functionality. By imaging over the valve, the team can differentiate between four induced flow conditions which can occur clinically, in a method that has been tested in vitro and in situ. Continued research includes developing a method of optimal and consistent transducer placement and developing a smaller transducer that can be used in combination with a cuff that fits over the reservoir and valve. [Picture from left: April Aralar and Matthew Bird]

Bioengineering seniors complement their studies by visiting INOVA ASTEC

Bioengineering seniors went to the INOVA ASTEC facilities to complement their Mason classroom/research experience with current medical applications. The education center provides real-time surgical education through instrumentation for open and laparoscopic surgeries, endoscopic physical and virtual reality trainers, high-fidelity, interactive mannequins, and robotic simulators. This experience allowed Bioengineering students to relate engineering principles to medicine in a clinical environment.


Thank you to INOVA hospital for hosting this opportunity and to OSCAR for sponsoring this event as part of our RS-approved Bioengineering senior design class.

Bioengineering students take home most awards at VSE UG Research Celebration

Students from the Volgenau School of Engineering showcased a wide variety of research, design, and scholarly work at the third annual Undergraduate Research Celebration on April 18, 2016.

Winning students received cash prizes for the most outstanding projects. Representatives from local industries evaluated the poster presentations and the winning entries received cash prizes. There was also a special “People’s Choice Award” voted on by all attendees, and the winner also received a cash prize.
Read more here!

Student Highlight: Paige Epler, 19-year-old summa cum laude student works in Microfluidics lab

STUDENT HIGHLIGHT: Paige Epler is a 19-year-old Summa Cum Laude student who has earned a BS in Biology with a minor in Astronomy here at Mason. She is now considering studying Bioengineering in Fall 2016 and is currently working in Dr. Agrawal’s lab. Her research at the Krasnow Institute uses microfluidics to study the behavior of individual cancer cells and small groups of cancer cells at various concentrations of oxygen, with an emphasis on hypoxic conditions, so that the effectiveness of anti-cancer drugs at different oxygen concentrations can be determined. The study is relevant because hypoxia induces chemotherapeutic drug resistance in cancer cells. Therefore, understanding the effects of hypoxia will facilitate and develop more potent therapies.

Alex Nixon Receives Inaugural Katona Scholarship for Bioengineering Excellence

Alex Nixon may be studying the small world of nanotechnology, but he has big plans for his future. Now, the Department of Bioengineering has rewarded this rising senior with the first-ever Katona Scholarship for Bioengineering Excellence and made his big plans more attainable.

The Katona Scholarship for Excellence in Bioengineering is available to rising seniors with a declared major and open to bioengineering students pursuing any concentration within the degree program. The students selected for the scholarship must demonstrate strong academic performance, professional leadership within the university or outside, and exceptional promise for a successful bioengineering career that would benefit society.

Read the full article here: Alex Nixon Receives Inaugural Katona Scholarship for Bioengineering Excellence

David Remer and Mohammed Ali Present Their Senior Design Project at NEBEC in Troy, NY

remer_aliBIOE students David Remer and Mohammed Ali at the Northeast Bioengineering Conference (NEBEC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic in Troy, NY last weekend – April 17-19. They both represented their senior design project with the poster title “A Portable, Cost-Effective Device to Quantify Spasticity in the Elbow Joint.”

GMU Bioengineering Students Present Their Research at Neural Control Movement Conference

Erin_CharlestonAlhussein_Charleston1Erin McKenna and Laith Alhussein presented at the Neural Control Movement annual conference in Charleston, SC. Erin’s poster was entitled “The Latency Of Visual Feedback Does Not Affect The Learning Of Novel Movement Dynamics, But Does Influence Fine Movement Accuracy” and Laith presented on “The Intralimb Stability Of Adaptation To Novel Movement Dynamics Is Influenced By Both The Training Schedule And The Motion Dependence Of The Perturbation”.

Bioengineering Student Sameen Yusuf at NCUR in Spokane

Bioengineering student Robert Graham presenting a poster at the IEEE Brain Grand Challenges conference, 11/13, in Washington DC

Robert Graham

Bioengineering Students as Scholars

Students as Scholars is Mason’s initiative to support undergraduate research and creative activity, both within and beyond the classroom. The Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR) is the home of Students as Scholars. OSCAR uses a blog to feature work by our undergraduate scholars, update you on scholarly events at Mason and share opportunities beyond Mason. Follow the blogs of our Bioengineering students Beom Seo Koo, Alex Nixon and Mihret Tafesse to find out about their research!

OSCAR FELLOW: Laith Alhussein

The Office of Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR) elects a select few to represent their department from the student body; these select students, who have displayed a sincere interest in promoting the growth of undergraduate scholarship on campus, are named OSCAR Fellows. OSCAR Fellows have had previous experience with research or creative activities and provide outreach to the Mason community about student scholarship. Here is what Bioengineering Student Laith Alhussein is saying about the program:

“Participating in undergraduate research has been the most rewarding and beneficial academic component of my undergraduate career thus far. Starting in the summer of my sophomore year, my research on translational neuroscience has allowed me to transform often times abstruse concepts I’ve learned in the classroom into vivid, real-world solving techniques for practical application. Moreover, the skills I’ve gained conducting research has helped with my performance in many of my classes. While my experience has provided for plenty of intellectually challenging endeavors, which I enjoy, it has also taught me a lot about myself; I’m certainly a better student because of it, but also a better person. My experience has exposed many of my character flaws, and I’ve come to appreciate patience, dedication, and humility much more. Ultimately, if there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that participating in research under the continuing tutelage of my amazing mentor, Dr. Wilsaan Joiner, will forever remain a major contributor behind my success and achievements. I really look forward to the day I can do the same for someone else.”

Congratulations to our Bioengineering student Laith Alhussein who was offered an internship at NASA.

Laith AlhusseinThe purpose of the Student Airborne Research Program is to provide students with hands-on research experience in all aspects of a major scientific campaign, from detailed planning on how to achieve mission objectives to formal presentation of results and conclusions to peers and others. Laith will work in one of four multi-disciplinary teams to study surface, atmospheric, oceanographic, and space processes. He will assist in the operation of instruments onboard the DC-8 research aircraft to sample and measure atmospheric gases and to image land and water surfaces in multiple spectral bands. Along with airborne data collection, Laith will participate in taking measurements at field sites.” More info about the program and the science flights can be found here: http://www.nserc.und.edu/sarp

CONGRATULATIONS to Mohammed Ali for his internship at the Sheikh Zayed Institute!

INOVAclass_MohamedThe Sheikh Zayed Institute is part of Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. While interning there, Mohammed will be assigned a research project along with an academic program focused on innovation management in a pediatric hospital environment. For more information:

CONGRATULATIONS to NATHAN JORDAN who was awarded an INOVA research summer student grant through INOVA’s Neuroscience department on the “Effectiveness of awake dorsal column stimulator testing”!

Nathan_JordanNathan will be collecting and statistically analyzing patient data from INOVA’s surgeons on the effectiveness of dorsal column stimulator placement through either awake intra-operative testing or general anesthesia testing methods in post-op pain coverage. He will be working with principal investigator Dr. James Leiphart as a continuation of the GMU-INOVA neurosciences research internship: BENG 499.

Kathryn Radom writes about her internship at NOAA

Kathryn Radom at the Hollings Marine Laboratory
“As part of the NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program, I will be interning under Dr. Lori Schwacke and Dr. Leslie Hart to create a real-time mapping tool for marine mammal stranding events. In particular, we will be focusing on dolphin strandings that occur in response to environmental hazards. In addition to the mapping tool, I will be participating in a dolphin health assessment as part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. At the end of the summer, I will be presenting my work at the NOAA Science and Education Symposium at the main campus of NOAA in Silver Spring, MD.”

– Kathryn Radom

Her work at the Naval Research Lab last summer was published in RSC Advances! Read about it here:
Microfluidic Fabrication of Multiaxial Microvessels via Hydrodynamic Shaping – RSC Advances (RSC Publishing)

Congratulations to Katrina Nguyen for being granted the Post Baccalaureate IRTA at NIH!

Katrina NguyenKatrina Nguyen was granted the post baccalaureate intramural research training award (postbac IRTA) at the NIH. This program gives recent college graduates who are planning to apply to graduate or professional school an opportunity to spend one or two years performing full-time research.

More specifically, Katrina will be working alongside Dr. Alexxai Kravitz and his lab at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) in the Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Obesity Branch (DEOB). Dr. Kravitz is the investigator of a neuroscience lab that researches feeding, reward, and obesity. The work she will be performing includes investigating the role of striatal dopamine in the processes of hedonia and motivation for food using techniques such as optogenetics and in vivo electrophysiology in mice.
To find out more about the NIH Postbac IRTA program please follow this link:


INOVA-GMU Neurosciences Research Internship

George Mason University’s 4th Annual College of Science Undergraduate Research Colloquium Bioengineering Students who took BENG 499 — INOVA-GMU Neurosciences Research Internship showing off their research projects!

INova Student Intern SpeakerINova Student Intern SpeakerINova Student Intern SpeakerINova Student Intern Speaker


Lets congratulate Kathryn Snyder for being offered two internships this summer 2014

kathryn snyder

She will be working with two amazing companies this summer. The first internship is with the Potomac Institute for Policy and the second internship is with DC Greens. For more information about the internships follow these links:




3D Printed Hand Created by ECE student Juan Pablo . . .

ECE student Juan Pablo Moneta working for Drs. Pancrazio and Peixoto used the Bioengineering 3D printer to print the hand using ABS and assembled it with rubberbands and dental floss to make it functional.

Bioengineering/ECE Department will present six undergraduate and one regular abstract at the upcoming BMES meeting, October 24-27, in Atlanta:

Bioengineering Senior Design Team selected for RESNA Student Design Competition

CONGRATULATIONS to our Senior Design Team under the leadership of Dr. Nathalia Peixoto. Her team was being selected as one of ten finalists for the prestigious RESNA 2012 Student Design Competition. The title of their work was “Semi-automatic feeding device for wheelchair users”.

RESNA is an interdisciplinary organization that focuses on technology and disability. Members include rehabilitation researchers and engineers, physical and occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, special educators, rehabilitation counselors, consumers, suppliers, and manufacturers of assistive technology. Collectively these members impact all environmental domains and technology issues.

BENG Students receives URSP support

Congratulations to our students who successfully competed for Undergraduate Research Scholars Program support:

  • Von Botteicher (Bioengineering) is working with Professor Siddhartha Sikdar (Bioengineering and Electrical & Computer Engineering) on “Detecting Brain Micromotion and Its Effect on an Implanted Electrode Using Diagnostic Ultrasound”.
  • Michelle Samra (Electrical Engineering – Bioengineering Concentration) is working with Professor Carolina Salvador Morales (Bioengineering) on “Construction of an Electrophoretic Image Display Based on Particles”.
  • Xue Yin (Bioengineering) is working with Professor Carolina Salvador Morales (Bioengineering) on “Synthesis of Microparticles Loaded with Magnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles and Targeting Moiety as a New Diagnostic Imaging Vehicle”.

For more information on the URSP, visit: