Benjamin Wu Named 2021 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar

Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BIOE) senior Benjamin Wu was recently named a 2021 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar.

The Merrill Presidential Scholars Program honors the University of Maryland’s most successful seniors and their designated university faculty and K-12 teachers for their mentorship. As part of the honor, Wu chose to recognize BIOE Professor Yang Tao and Episcopal Academy (Newtown Square, Pa.) teacher Matthew Davis for their mentorship.

“Mr. Davis’ class was one of the few classes in which it felt natural for me to learn more than what was on the curriculum… without his influence, it’s unlikely that I would’ve developed my current passion for computer science,” said Wu.

Although Wu found a love for computer science, he switched majors to pursue BIOE in order to explore his interest in biological problems, as well as the tools to use to solve them. Wu’s current interests center on machine learning methods for modeling and inference and their applications in bioengineering and inverse problems.

Wu said his life changed when he joined Tao’s lab. “It allowed me to work on interesting problems using my preferred tools, as well as develop my skills in new areas,” he said

In Tao’s bioimaging course, Wu wrote his own program code to implement a computer tomographic (CT) image reconstruction algorithm and his work demonstrated excellent results.

As an undergraduate researcher in Tao's lab, Wu worked on some federally funded projects related to machine vision, robotics, and artificial intelligence/machine learning.

Recently, Wu teamed up with a group of Ph.D. students on an active 3D laser imaging and smart manufacturing project for Chesapeake blue crab meat-picking. The project is sponsored by the National Science Foundation National Robotics Initiative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

“Ben is a smart and talented student and has both knowledge and skills in bioengineering and computer science. He has strong analytical and scientific problem-solving abilities,” said Tao.

Currently, Wu is applying to a few graduate programs – including at the University of Maryland – in hopes of further developing his technical skills in statistical inference and modeling. 

Published January 6, 2022