Professor honored for outstanding contributions to improving diversity in biomedical engineering
by Greg St. Martin
Srinivas Sridhar, University Distinguished Professor of Physics, Bioengineering, and Chemical Engineering at Northeastern, who has led pioneering research and education initiatives in the field of nanomedicine, has received the 2016 Biomedical Engineering Society Diversity Award.
The award, which was presented earlier this month, honors recipients for their outstanding contributions to improving gender and racial diversity in biomedical engineering. “This award recognizes the work I’ve been doing for the past 10 years, a path motivated by spreading knowledge and breaking down barriers to access of knowledge,” Sridhar said.
A year ago Sridhar and colleague Thomas Webster, the Art Zafiropoulo Chair in Engineering and the chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering, received a National Science Foundation grant to launch the Nanomedicine Academy of Minority Serving Institutions. The initiative builds upon Sridhar’s work over the past decade to grow Northeastern’s robust research portfolio and curricula in nanotechnology and nanomedicine and is designed as means of training a diverse workforce focused on bringing nanotechnology solutions to medicine.
The academy, which Sridhar directs, has established a scalable, interactive network that web broadcasts graduate courses and research protocols from a classroom at Northeastern to students enrolled at four partner institutions: the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez, Tuskegee University, Morgan State University, and Florida International University.
“We’ve established a unique model of collaborative education,” Sridhar said.
The academy expands on the work of Northeastern’s 11-year Nanomedicine and Technology Program, also directed by Sridhar and funded by the NSF’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship, or IGERT, program. Sridhar also leads the university’s CaNCURE program, which provides co-ops for undergraduates in nanomedicine research in collaboration with the Initiative to Eliminate Cancer Disparities at the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. The CaNCURE program places a particular emphasis on attracting young scientists from underrepresented minority groups.
In honoring Sridhar the Biomedical Engineering Society underscored these contributions as well as his work mentoring women and underrepresented minorities who are biomedical scientists—including faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate and undergraduate students.