BioE Day Builds Community

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BioE Day, held May 12 at the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience, once again lived up to its promise as a community-building event. And this time there was an added bonus: an impromptu juggling exhibition, which seems appropriate, given the interdisciplinary, multi-tasking (and sometimes fast-paced) nature of life in the BioEngineering graduate program.

BioE Day was designed specifically to unify the graduate program’s students and faculty, who come from many different home schools and are immersed in a wide range of research topics. The event incorporates research, competitions, awards, fellowship, games, and a keynote address by Bob Nerem, founding director of the Petit Institute.

“I’m thrilled the students recommended Bob,” said Andrés García, BioE faculty advisor. “He’s my friend and mentor. He’s ‘Uncle Bob.’”

Nerem delivered his address, entitled, “Bioengineering: Building a New Discipline, a Personal Journey.” He talked about living in Norway as a child and about his career. Nerem began in aeronautical engineering and gravitated toward bioengineering after NASA recruited him to help the organization better understand how launch and re-entry from orbit affects the human body. Since then, he’s been a leading researcher in bioengineering for more than 40 years, focusing primarily on tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you may end up somewhere else,” Nerem said, offering a suitable theme for his career, borrowed from the wisdom of Yogi Berra.

Following Nerem’s address and lunch, the students engaged in a poster competition and a rapid-fire presentation competition, which was won by Joshua Hooks and Tom Bongiorno, respectively.

Winners of the 2016 BioE Outstanding Paper award (grad student Jordan Ciciliano) and Outstanding Advisor award (Krishnendu Roy, professor in the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering) made research presentations. 

Hooks and Bongiorno were then given their awards, and Bongiorno was named winner of the Chris Ruffin Student Leadership Award, which recognizes exemplary leadership and community involvement.

BioE Day was supposed to end with a cookout and games in courtyard, but rain pushed the fun inside, where a couple of cornhole games ensued, but not before the bean bags were co-opted by several members of the staff, faculty and student body, who demonstrated heretofore unseen juggling skills and may have laid the groundwork for a new competition at the next BioE Day.



Jerry Grillo
Communications Officer II
Parker H. Petit Institute for
Bioengineering and Bioscience


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Jerry Grillo
  • Created:05/23/2016
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016