3rd Annual Pruitt Research Day

Thank you to everyone who participated in the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering’s 3rd Annual Pruitt Research Day! We had a successful day of talks and poster presentations along with a special ceremony for the unveiling of the Pruitt Historical Marker.

Dr. Karen Zaderej

Karen Zaderej, President and CEO of AxoGen, Inc., kicked off the day as the keynote speaker. Ms. Zaderej presented a talk on academic-to-industry translation and spent extra time interacting with and inspiring the students one-on-one.


student postersWe had four great student talks and 47 poster presentations this year. Thank you to all the students who worked hard preparing for your presentations and congratulations to the following award winners!

Jianbo Tang (Dr. Jiang’s lab) – best oral presentation
Michael Hermansen (Dr. Bova’s lab) – best poster presentationIndustry Partners
Paul Nickerson (Dr. Rashidi’s lab) – honorable mention poster presentation

This year, we invited the BME Industry Partners to participate in Pruitt Research Day as well. Representatives from Alafair Biosciences, AxoGen, BioD, Exactech and RTI Surgical participated in an interactive industry panel discussion with students. In addition to the panel, the industry representatives set up tables during the poster session to help students learn more about the companies, internship opportunities and general career paths.



Glover Award

To honor and recognize the life and legacy of Dr. J. Crayton Pruitt Sr. whose vision and generosity helped found the department, we held a special ceremony to unveil the Pruitt Historical Marker during this year’s event. During the ceremony, UF Provost and Senior VP for Academic Affairs, Dr. Joe Glover, presented the Pruitt family with the university’s first ever “Preeminence Award” to thank them for their continued support. Professor Mingzhou Ding and BME student, Evelyn Bracho-Sanchez, also had the opportunity to convey their appreciation for the impact the Pruitt family’s generosity has made on them personally.  

The plaque’s inscription reads:

J. Crayton Pruitt Sr. was a visionary leader and inspiration to all who knew him. An accomplished cardiothoracic surgeon, researcher, inventor and philanthropist, Dr. Pruitt had a lasting influence over innumerable lives in his 80 years. Born on November 23, 1931, in Jefferson, South Carolina, he built a thriving private surgical practice in St. Petersburg, Florida.

He devoted his career to the prevention of strokes. His father suffered a debilitating series of strokes beginning mid-life, which motivated Dr. Pruitt to research and create improved surgical technology. In the late 1970s, Dr. Pruitt co-invented the Pruitt-Inahara Carotid Shunt, one of the most widely used shunts of its kind for many decades. He also pioneered the surgical treatment of carotid artery arteriosclerosis for stroke prevention.  At the time of his death in 2011, he had performed more of these procedures than any other surgeon in the nation.

In 1995, Dr. Pruitt received a heart transplant at UF Health Shands Hospital. The experience left Dr. Pruitt and his family with a profound appreciation for biomedical engineering. They expressed their gratitude through multiple gifts to the biomedical engineering graduate program at UF’s College of Engineering, and University leaders created the first-ever named department at UF: the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering. The University of Florida is grateful to the Pruitt family for its generosity and foresight.

Dr. PruittA special thank you the Pruitt family for joining us on this important day! Dr. Crayton Pruitt Jr. visited several of the student posters giving them the opportunity to explain more about their research projects.

We were excited to see how engaged everyone was in Pruitt Research Day! This is important for the department, UF and the BME community as we celebrate the wonderful research of our faculty and students.

Please visit our Flickr page to view all the photos from this event.