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Rice BIOE announces the 2017 Alumni Awards in Bioengineering

By Shawn Hutchins
Rice BIOE News

The Rice University Department of Bioengineering is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2017 Alumni Awards in Bioengineering.

The awardees are: Barbara Boyan for Distinguished Bioengineering Alumna, James Moon for Outstanding Graduate Alumnus, Martin Bost for Outstanding M.B.E. Graduate Alumnus and Brian Schwab for Outstanding Undergraduate Alumnus.

“Every year the alumni awards selection committee is both impressed and inspired by the outstanding accomplishments of each individual nominated. The quality of the nominations represents the mass of talent in our growing body of alumni,” said Jane Grande-Allen, Rice’s Isabel C. Cameron Professor and Chair of the Department of Bioengineering. “This year’s awardees are pioneers, mentors and innovators who have made significant contributions to their profession and their communities.”

Barbara Boyan_web.jpgBarbara D. Boyan is the Alice T. and William H. Goodwin professor and dean of the Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) School of Engineering, and a world-renowned researcher and entrepreneur in the development of implant technologies for bone and cartilage repair.

Her work has led to the development of novel dental and orthopedic biomaterials. Recent developments include new technologies for controlling nanotexture on metal and polymer surfaces to study cell responses, as well as microCT imaging technologies using a contrast agent that specifically targets the vasculature.

Boyan’s passion for biomedical research began with studies to understand the underlying mechanisms of mineralized tissue formation. Under Rice Professor James Campbell’s direction, she completed her B.A. in biology in 1970, M.A. in 1974 and Ph.D. in comparative biochemistry and physiology in 1975. She was a postdoctoral fellow through grants from the National Institutes of Health at the University of Texas (UT) Health Science Center in Houston.

Prior to her appointment at VCU, Boyan was associate dean for research and innovation in the College of Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and director for research at the Georgia Tech/Emory Center for Engineering of Living Tissues.

Boyan is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a member of the National Academy of Inventors. She is the author of more than 460 journal publications and the inventor on 22 U.S. patents and multiple international patents. She is co-founder of SpherIngenics, Inc.; Orthonics, Inc.; OsteoBiologics, Inc.; and the Biomedical Development Corporation. She serves on the board of directors for five additional companies.

James Moon_webJames Moon is the John Gideon Searle Assistant Professor of pharmaceutical sciences and biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan. The thrust of his research in biomaterials design, nanomedicine and diagnostics is rooted in immunoengineering and aims to detect and control immune functions for the treatment of cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmunity.

Current projects include the development of new drug delivery systems using a nanoparticle vaccine that can induce anti-tumoral cellular immune responses for cancer immunotherapy, and other translational research utilizes tools of nanotechnology and biomaterials for mucosal immunization against infectious pathogens, including HIV.

Moon has received several young investigator awards, including a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation and a Department of Defense Career Development Award. His work has been published in 40 peer-reviewed publications and has led to nine U.S. issued or pending patent applications. He is the co-founder and chief scientific officer of the start-up company EVOQ Therapeutics, LLC, and recently served on the scientific advisory board for Vedantra Pharmaceuticals.

Moon joined Michigan in 2012 following a postdoctoral fellowship in Professor Darrell Irvine’s lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He earned his Ph.D. in bioengineering at Rice with Professor Jennifer West as his adviser in 2008. Moon received his B.S. in bioengineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 2002.

Martin Bost_web.jpgMartin Bost is a flight project manager and experiment support scientist with multifunctional management experience in hardware support engineering at KBRWyle.

Bost joined KBRWyle’s Houston-based Integrated Science and Engineering Group after earning his master’s degree in 2008. Working under the Bioastronautics Contract and the Human Health and Performance Contract at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC), Bost has managed several team efforts for the International Space Station Medical Project (ISSMP), including the development and implementation of multiple hardware systems that are fundamental to operational space medicine, and human life-science research projects to support spaceflight medical programs.

As a Rice undergraduate student, Bost conducted research in Professor Jane Grande-Allen’s lab for one year. He also completed a NASA JSC summer research internship as an undergraduate under Kelley Bradley’s direction, who at the time was a NASA scientist. Bost has a B.S. in bioengineering and a B.A. in visual arts from Rice.

Brian Schwab_webBrian Schwab is an otolaryngology physician at the Austin ENT Clinic and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the Austin area, including the Seton Medical Center system and St. David’s healthcare system.

Schwab completed his specialty training in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai after finishing a general surgery internship at Mount Sinai Beth Israel. He completed his medical school studies at Duke University School of Medicine where he earned several research and merit-based scholarships. Results of Schwab’s research has led to seven peer-reviewed publications, including contributions to the journals Genes & Development and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Throughout his career, Schwab has been an active leader while serving in such roles as Will Rice College president, medical student body president, academic chief resident, and multiple other positions in several professional society chapters and student governments. Before attending medical school, he volunteered with the United Nations Development Programme in Calama, Chile.

Schwab received his medical degree from Duke in 2012. He graduated with a B.S. in bioengineering with a specialization in cellular and molecular engineering from Rice in 2007.

The 2017 awards were presented on October 12 at the Rice University reception during the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Ariz.

The purpose of the Department of Bioengineering’s awards program, which was established in 2007, is to honor and recognize alumni for excellence in research, teaching, service, or significant contributions to academia, society, or the bioengineering industry.