Two former Bhatia Lab members receive NIH's New Innovator Award

July 24, 2017

Part of the High-Risk, High-Reward Research Program, the award supports exceptionally creative early career investigators who propose innovative, high-impact projects. 

  • Kelly R. Stevens, Ph.D. University of Washington. Project Title: Thermogenetic Activation of Engineered Tissue for Cardiac Repair (Grant ID: DP2-HL-137188). Dr. Kelly Stevens is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Bioengineering and Pathology at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on developing new technologies to assemble artificial human tissues from stem cells, and then remotely control these tissues after implantation in a patient. Dr. Stevens received a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Washington, and postdoctoral training at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her scientific contributions to date have centered on the development of complex multicellular tissues for organ repair, with increasing focus on enhancing tissue function, microvascularization, and organization. Some examples include the construction of functional scaffold-free cardiac tissue from pluripotent stem cells, the subsequent ‘pre-vascularization’ of these tissues using the intrinsic capacity of microvascular cells to self-organize, and the geometric control of multicellular patterning for optimal cellular function and microvascular ingrowth after implantation.
  • Gabe Kwong, Ph.D. Georgia Tech and Emory. Project Title: Noninvasive and Predictive Biomarkers of Organ Transplant Rejection (Grant ID: DP2-HD-091793)Dr. Gabe Kwong joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor in 2014. His research program is directed towards the advancement of human health by developing biomedical technologies that draw from the fields of Engineering and Immunology. He earned his B.S. in Bioengineering with Highest Honors from UC Berkeley, his Ph.D. from Caltech with Professor James R. Heath, and conducted postdoctoral work at MIT with Professor Sangeeta N. Bhatia. In recognition of his work, Dr. Kwong was named a “Future Leader in Cancer Research and Translational Medicine” by the Massachusetts General Hospital, and is the recipient of the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface, and the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. Dr. Kwong holds eight issued or pending patents, and has launched one biotechnology startup company.

Additional information can be found on the NIH website.