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Avendano wins travel grant to attend 2017 BMES Meeting

Current PhD student Alex Avendano, Biomedical Engineering (BME) is the recipient of the 2017 Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Graduate Student Travel Award to attend the upcoming national 2017 BMES Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, on October 11-14. Avendano works in the Microsystems for Mechanobiology and Medicine Laboratory under the direction of Dr. Jonathan Song, assistant professor, Mechanical Engineering and graduate faculty advisor, BME.

Avendano will present his research on “PTEN Deletion in Pancreatic Cancer Associated Fibroblasts Decreases Hydraulic Permeability Through Hyaluronan and AKT Signaling in a 3D Microfluidic Tumor Stroma Model.”  His research aims to use microscale and macroscale engineering measurements of mechanical properties in tumors to study how genetic modifications specifically in cancer associated fibroblasts contribute to accelerated tumor growth and resistance to therapy. This approach hopes to create a more complete picture to how non-cancer cell components such as fibroblasts influence aggressive tumors and to potentially discover new therapeutic strategies, centered on targeting fibroblasts as opposed to cancer cells, for managing this deadly disease.

Avendano graduated in 2010 from Saint Francis School in Carolina, Puerto Rico. In 2014 he received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University (Ames, IA). Avendano then went on to get his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 2017 from The Ohio State University, and as mentioned already is currently a PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering Program at Ohio State. He anticipates graduating in 2019/2020, with plans to obtain a post-doctoral position and pursue an academic research career as a faculty member in the area of tumor mechanobiology.

This will be Avendano’s first time ever attending the annual meeting. “I feel very honored and happy to be the recipient of this award.  It is my first semester officially in the department and receiving this recognition in such a short time really means a lot and motivates me to keep working hard on my research.  It also says a lot about how BME really takes care in supporting their students.  I am very grateful to the BMESGSA for giving me the opportunity to go present my research at the BMES Annual Meeting and look forward to delivering my talk this year!” says Avendano.

The BMES Graduate Travel Award is a Department of Biomedical Engineering award created in 2015, established and funded by Dr. Cynthia Roberts, professor, Departments of Ophthalmology and Biomedical Engineering, and her husband Dr. Robert Small, professor and vice chair, Anesthesiology and grad faculty advisor, BME. This award was created to help students gain the experience of attending a national conference and to also highlight some of the outstanding research and collaborations done in Biomedical Engineering at Ohio State.

Congratulation on your success Alex!