Four BIOE Terps Awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

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Udit Gupta (top left), Corinne Martin (bottom left), Arafat Fasuyi (top right), Ezra Cho (bottom right)

This month, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced the winners of the 2024 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), including two current students and two recent alumni of the Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BIOE).

NSF selected BIOE seniors Udit Gupta and Corinne Martin, and BIOE alumni Arafat Fasuyi (B.S. '20) and Ezra Cho (B.S. ‘22) as fellowship program winners. The oldest fellowship of its kind, the program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees.

Across the University of Maryland, a total of 22 current students and recent alums were among the 2024 NSF GRFP winners. The five-year fellowship provides students with three years of financial support inclusive of an annual stipend of $37,000, along with a $16,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees.

Udit Gupta is an undergraduate researcher in Professor Kimberly Stroka’s Cell and Microenvironment Engineering Lab. His research focuses on developing methods to quantify local heterogeneities in stiffness of cells from the blood-brain barrier using atomic force microscopy images.Gupta is a two-time recipient of the ASPIRE Award (Fall 2022, Spring 2023), an award program hosted by UMD’s Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) which seeks to broaden the educational experience of undergraduate engineering students through direct involvement in real-world engineering projects. Gupta also received the Manyland Summer Scholar Award in Summer 2023, and the Undergraduate Teaching Fellow Instructional Impact Award in Fall 2023 for the strong impact he made in students’ success in the course BIOE372: Biostatistics for Experimental Design and Data Analysis. After graduating with his B.S. in bioengineering this May, Udit will be attending Johns Hopkins University to pursue his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering starting this fall.

A member of the Honors College, Corinne Martin is an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Chris Jewell's Lab in the Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices, where she conducts immune engineering research for her undergraduate honors thesis.

Two years in a row, Martin participated in the Nathan Schnaper Intern Program in Translational Cancer Research, a selective undergraduate research program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. In the lab of Alexandros Poulopoulos, an assistant professor in pharmacology, Martin investigated the genetic regulation of neuronal axon projection and cancer progression in the brain. She was also one of three Terps named a 2023 Goldwater Scholar by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, which encourages students to pursue advanced study and research careers in the sciences, engineering and mathematics. Martin will be graduating with her B.S. in bioengineering this May, and in the fall she will join the joint Ph.D. program in bioengineering at UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley.

Arafat Fasuyi is a doctoral bioengineering student whose work is focused on tissue engineering and regenerative medicine using bioprinting technologies. In 2020, she graduated from BIOE, where she researched engineering stem-cell-derived extracellular vesicles for their therapeutic purpose under the guidance of Associate Professor Steven Jay in his Biotherapeutic Development and Delivery Laboratory. Afterwards, she went on to work as an R&D scientist for Thermo Fisher Scientific, where she gained industry experience.

Currently, Fasuyi is a doctoral student in Dr. Kelly Stevens’ Lab at the University of Washington, Seattle. Fasuyi aims to create artificial liver tissues for therapeutic and regenerative purposes by using bioprinting technologies.

Ezra Cho graduated from BIOE in 2022 with a minor in statistics, a research emphasis in bioinformatics, and a 4.0 GPA. During his time at UMD, Cho was a Banneker/Key Scholar, a member of the Integrated Life Sciences Honors program, and Vice President of Competitions for the UMD chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society. Cho was an undergraduate teaching assistant for the lab component of the Cell Biology and Physiology course for four semesters, and worked on the SNPs3DProfile pipeline under Dr. John Moult at the UMD Institute for Bioscience & Biotechnology Research. Cho also received the BIOE Outstanding Citizen Award in 2022, which is presented to an excellent student who has contributed significantly to the community, department, university, and profession.

Currently, Cho is a doctoral bioengineering and biomedical engineering student at Boston University, where he is a Translation Research in Biomaterials Trainee at the Nanotechnology Innovation Center. In Dr. Michelle Teplensky’s Lab, Cho is interested in interrogating DNA structures to improve therapeutic drug targeting.

“We’re extremely proud of our current and graduated students for receiving NSF Graduate Research Fellowships. The Fischell Department has a history of our students being selected for this prestigious program, and all have continued on to accomplish outstanding research,” says BIOE Chair John P. Fisher. “We look forward to the growing science careers of all our students who received fellowships and honorable mentions.”

Three more BIOE alumni and a current senior received honorable mentions:

  • Subhashini Arumugam (B.S. ‘19)
  • Anjali Gajendiran (B.S. ‘23)
  • Autumn Hengen (senior)
  • Sophia M. Zic (B.S. ‘22)

GRFP has a long standing reputation of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers. The purpose of the program is to help ensure the quality, vitality, and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States.

Published April 17, 2024