9th Annual Pruitt Research Day

Thank you to everyone who participated in our 9th Annual Pruitt Research Day! This successful virtual event included student talks, keynote speaker and poster presentations in celebration of the wonderful research being conducted in the department and the BME community.

We hold our celebration near the birth date of Dr. J. Crayton Pruitt Sr. whose vision and generosity helped found the department. Dr. Pruitt was always most excited to hear about and discuss the achievements and research being conducted by our students.

The Keynote speaker was Stacey D. Finley, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California. She is holder of the Gordon S. Marshall Early Career Chair and the Director of the Center for Computational Modeling of Cancer. Dr. Finley has a joint appointment in the Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and the Department of Biological Sciences (Quantitative and Computational Biology section). She is also a member of the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Finley received her Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Florida A & M University in 2004. Her graduate studies were completed in 2009 in Chemical Engineering at Northwestern University and involved using computational tools to predict and estimate the feasibility of novel biodegradation pathways. Her postdoctoral studies at Johns Hopkins University focused on computational modeling of VEGF signaling pathways. She was awarded postdoctoral fellowships from the NIH National Research Service Award and the UNCF/Merck Science Initiative. Dr. Finley’s current research applies a systems biology approach to develop molecular-detailed computational models of biological processes related to human disease.

We had five student talks and 26 poster presentations this year. Faculty members judged the posters and selected finalists. Thank you to all the students who worked hard preparing for your presentations. Thank you to, Dr. Daniel Ferris, for his assistance as session chair and a special thanks to our faculty judges! Drs. Lakiesha Williams, Eric Fuller, Wesley Bolch, Jennifer Nichols and Blanka Sharma!

Congratulations to the following award winners!

Best Graduate Oral Presentation: Brittany Partain, Ph.D.









Best Graduate Poster Presentations: Kiara Chan and Robert Accolla