The Bioengineering Graduate Student Association kicked off the 2019 Innovation Symposium on October 31 at the BioScience Research Collaborative, with more than 150 students, staff, alumni and current and former faculty in attendance.
This annual event aims to highlight the research being done in bioengineering and related life sciences by Rice students and faculty, as well as create connections with major industry leaders in the biotech and biodesign fields. The day included keynote speakers, student "bioinspired" talks, a poster session, lab tours, faculty research previews, an alumni career panel, and more.
The symposium began with the opening keynote presented by Charles Liu, M.D., Ph.D. ‘92, professor of neurosurgery and neurology and holds the Apuzzo Professorship for Advanced Neurosurgery, Director of the USC Center for Neurorestoration and Surgical Director of the USC Comprehensive Epilepsy Program. Liu discussed the technologies he is developing and emphasized the need for scalable, neurological therapies and devices.
The symposium’s keynote speaker was Peter Hotez, M.D., Ph.D., Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine where he is also the Director of the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) and Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics. Hotez highlighted how researchers were able to eradicate debilitating diseases--such as measles--through the widespread use of vaccines, and how a relatively recent rise in anti-science has prompted the return of those eradicated diseases.
Faculty research previews were a new element added to the event this year, which were especially popular as the department added 3 new tenure-track faculty members this summer. New department faculty members Kevin McHugh and Jerzy Szablowski joined longtime professors Jeff Tabor and Laura Segatori in delivering overviews of their current research.
“This year's Innovation Symposium was an enormous success, bringing together current students, alumni, and members of industry,” said McHugh. “In particular, expanding the scope of the symposium to include booths with industry representation allowed BIOE students to learn more about career opportunities and interact with those outside the academy.”
An element new to the symposium this year was a robust industry exhibit, with 9 businesses and firms in the biotech field in attendance, as well as Rice University’s Center for Career Development and the Doerr Institute for New Leaders. Firms included Fannin Innovation Studio, Tech-Labs, Enventure, Alcon, and Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center for Device Innovation.
The alumni career panel offered attendees unique perspectives on different industries their bioengineering degrees helped them navigate, featuring Rice bioengineering alumni Connie Luthy of Medical Product Innovation, Kelsey Mathieu of M.D. Anderson and Erica Wright of Alcon.
2019 Innovation Symposium Award Winners
Outstanding Bioinspired Talk
Melia Bonomo, Applied Physics
Outstanding Bioinspired Talk
Kevin Janson, Bioengineering
Outstanding Poster Presentation
Josh Chen, Bioengineering
Outstanding Poster Presentation, Sponsored by Comics in Engineering Project
Nia Christian, Mechanical Engineering
Best Graphic Design
Bhagyashree Bachhav, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Best Graphic Design, Honorable Mention
Alix Macklin, Electrical and Computer Engineering & John Sexton, Bioengineering
Find more photos from the event, including award presentations to the winners of the "bioinspired" talks and poster session, on the Rice University Department of Bioengineering Facebook page.