Students Receive Whitaker Awards

Issue Date: 
May 2, 2016

Three students in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering received awards from the Whitaker International Program. Alex Josowitz and Saundria Moed were appointed 2016 Whitaker Fellows, and Timothy Keane was named a 2016 Whitaker Scholar. 

Whitaker Fellows and Scholars spend one to two years abroad (outside of the United States and Canada) to conduct research in a university or laboratory, pursue coursework at an academic institution, or intern at a policy institute or in an industrial or nonprofit setting. 

“Whitaker Fellows and Scholars represent world-class student researchers and the future leaders of global collaboration in bioengineering,” said Sanjeev Shroff, Distinguished Professor and Gerald McGinnis Chair of Bioengineering at Pitt. “These three students have an excellent opportunity not only to gain international experience but also to serve as ambassadors for Pitt research outside of the U.S.” 

Josowitz and Moed graduate from Pitt today, while Keane is a fourth-year doctoral student in bioengineering. 

Alex JosowitzAlex Josowitz plans to travel to the United Kingdom and work in the laboratory of Robert Krams at the Imperial College London. His research will provide insight into the progression of cardiovascular diseases. He will also be enrolled in the Master of Research program in biomedical engineering at the Imperial College London.

As an undergraduate student at Pitt, Josowitz has conducted research under the mentorship of David Vorp, associate dean for research and William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Bioengineering, and Justin Weinbaum, a research assistant professor. Josowitz has been working to develop and evaluate a novel technique of uniformly seeding 3D tubular constructs with cells or cell-like structures in tissue-engineered blood vessels.

Saundria MoedSaundria Moed will travel to Israel and work in the laboratory of Rosa Azhari and Idit Golani at the Ort Braude College of Engineering in Karmiel, Israel. Her research will focus on enhancing the delivery of active materials to the brain using nanoparticles. Moed participated in two independent research activities in Israel last summer at the Ort Braude College of Engineering and at Technion Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.

As an undergraduate student at Pitt, Moed has conducted research under the mentorship of Ian Sigal, assistant professor of ophthalmology at the School of Medicine’s Ocular Biomechanics Laboratory. Her research involves analyzing optical coherence tomography images for quantifying ocular tissue microstructure, especially collagen fibers.

Timothy KeaneTimothy Keane will travel to the United Kingdom to work as a postdoctoral  fellow in the laboratory of Molly Stevens, a professor of biomedical materials and regenerative medicine, at the Imperial College London. His work will focus on developing a biomaterial that can mitigate inflammation in the heart following myocardial infarction. 

As a PhD candidate at Pitt, Keane conducts his research work under the mentorship of Stephen Badylak, professor in the Department of Surgery and deputy director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The doctoral student is focusing on developing minimally invasive therapies for treating inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.