Two BME postdocs awarded IMR Kickstart Facility Grants


Diego Alzate Correa, PhD, and Tatiana Cuellar-Gaviria, PhD have each been awarded a $2,500 Institute for Materials Research (IMR) Kickstart Grant for their research. IMR Kickstart Facility Grants make shared campus research facilities more accessible to demonstrate materials-related research results with the goal of strengthening near-term research proposals for obtaining external research funding.

Project title: Role of extracellular vesicles on prospective vasculogenic cell therapies for Alzheimer’s Disease

Professional photo of Diego Alzate Correa, a Hispanic man

Diego Alzate Correa, a Postdoctoral Scholar working in the Precision Nanomedicine Lab lead by Dr. Daniel Gallego-Perez and Dr. Natalia Higuita-Castro, will use his grant to develop of novel cell therapies for multiple brain diseases.

The project aims to characterize and use engineered cells as therapeutic agents in the brain. The therapy is in part mediated by the release of a special kind of nanoparticles known as extracellular vesicles. Alzate Correa plans to use this therapeutic strategy for different conditions affecting the brain including brain cancer, traumatic brain injury and neurodegeneration.

In addition to the IMR Kickstart Facility Grant Award, Alzate Correa recently was awarded a T-32 Fellowship by The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. Together, these opportunities will strength significantly the implementation of cell therapies against brain cancer.

“I’m truly grateful for the opportunity provided by The IMR Kickstart Facility Grant Award, I’m sure it will open the doors for a meticulous characterization of our cell therapies."

Project title: Visualization and Characterization of Bacterial Extracellular Vesicles used to Mediate the Sensitization of Phage-Resistant Strains

Headshot of Tatiana Cuellar-Gaviria, a Hispanic woman

LEGACY Postdoctoral Fellow, Tatiana Cuellar Gaviria working in Natalia Higuita-Castro’s Lab will use her grant to develop new nanotechnology for infections.

The project aims to develop nanotechnology approaches for targeting bacterial biofilm infections using a virus called phages, which have the capacity to kill bacteria.

“I’d like to thank the IMR Kickstart Facility Grant Program for providing financial support to develop my independent research ideas a s a postdoc."

​​​​​​by Rebecca Hudgins, Department of Biomedical Engineering,