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Graduate students honored

July 17, 2020

Thompson and Toomajian named top BME graduate students

The 2019-2020 Graduate Student Award winners in the Department of Biomedical Engineering are Cort Thompson and Victoria Toomajian, who have been recognized for their outstanding work.

Cort Thompson and Victoria Toomajian are the top graduate students in biomedical engineering this year. (Photo taken earlier in 2020.).
Cort Thompson and Victoria Toomajian are the top graduate students in biomedical engineering for 2019-20. (Photo taken earlier in 2020.)

Cort Thompson, a second-year PhD student advised by Assistant Professor Erin Purcell, was awarded the Fitch H. Beach Award for Outstanding Doctoral Research.

His research focuses on providing fundamental understandings of how brain tissue reacts to implanted neural prosthetics by exploring how gene expression is altered in the brain following implantation of different neurotechnologies at acute and chronic time-points. He also aims to understand how the specific features of implants, such as size and material composition, can influence tissue response in the brain, so that in the future it will be easier to design neural prosthetics to have greater fidelity through enhanced bio-compatibility.

Victoria Toomajian, a third-year PhD student advised by BME Chair and Professor Christopher Contag, was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Student Award. Her research focuses on the use of extracellular vesicles (EVs) as a therapeutic delivery tool. Her main therapeutic target is the heart post-myocardial infarction, utilizing immune cell-derived EVs for their potential ability to localize to areas of inflammation.

Both awardees will receive stipends, a certificate, and a medal.