Fall 2020 | Issue 1
Department of Bioengineering
Faculty Promotions
The Department of Bioengineering is pleased to announce our recent promotions of Professor Mark Niedre and Associate Professor Qianqian Fang. These promotions reflect our faculty member’s hard work and dedication to providing an interdisciplinary education focused on student success.
Mark Niedre has been promoted to full Professor. Additionally, he will continue to serve as the department’s Associate Chair for Research and Graduate Affairs.
Qianqian Fang has been promoted to Associate Professor and has received tenure at Northeastern
She Realized Her Blindness was a Strength

Mona Minkara, a newly appointed assistant professor of bioengineering at Northeastern, has been blind since she was seven years old.

“I always tell people I can’t wait to get lost,” Minkara says. “Sometimes society tells you ‘You’re blind, so you can’t do this.’ So my freedom matters so much to me" >>
It All Started With a Whiteboard
When we launched our PhD program in 2009, we didn't know where it would take us. But after 11 years we: 

  • Built on the success of our PhD program and added MS and BS degree programs 
  • Launched dozens of new courses 
  • Conducted thousands of hours of research 
  • Drank countless cups of coffee
  • Received our ABET accreditation!
Cells in your Airway Talk to Each Other. For Some, What They Say Can Trigger an Asthma Attack 
These days, novel diseases such as COVID-19 are pushing scientists to work real hard and real fast to find treatments and cures for patients.

But there are also many other types of old foes that live within us—diseases that have been part of our lives for such a long time that we can easily forget how much (or little) we know about them and their causes.

Asthma is one of these diseases, and it affects millions and millions of people around the world. Scientists think that asthma results from the behavior of unhealthy cells within the human airway. But now, researchers at Northeastern have found that the way those cells trigger asthmatic attacks isn’t only a result of how they communicate with one another >>
What's in the Smoke Given Off by the
Australian Wildfires?
"Breathing in bad air for too long can also lead to more serious ailments, including heart attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, and strokes, Bellini says.

Oakes and Bellini hope that their research will help to protect the firefighters battling these dangerous, sustained fires.

“We’re hoping that we can work with firefighters to prevent these longterm health consequences,” Oakes says. “These firefighters are doing a service for their country, and we hope to help protect them just like they’re protecting their country." >>
Assistant Professor Nikolai Slavov Named Paul G. Allen Distinguished Investigator for Pioneering Single Cell Proteomics Research
Bioengineering Assistant Professor Nikolai Slavov was recently named a prestigious Allen Distinguished Investigator, and was awarded a $1.5 million three-year grant to further his novel research on single cell proteomics.

The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group supports early stage research with the potential to reinvent entire fields. Slavov is the first from Northeastern to receive the award. Learn more about Slavov's work with Single Cell Proteomics >>

Department Facts and Figures:
Three Undergraduate Concentrations:
  • Cell and Tissue Engineering
  • Biomechanics
  • Biomedical Devices and Bioimaging

New Combined Major:
Bioengineering and Biochemistry

Annual Department Research Funding for FY 2020:
$5 million Funding Agencies: NIH, NSF, DOD
Three MS Graduate Concentrations:
  • Biomedical Devices and Bioimaging
  • Cell and Tissue Engineering
  • Biomechanics

Four PhD Research Areas: 
  • Imaging, Instrumentation, and Signal Processing
  • Biomechanics, Biotransport, and Mechanobiology
  • Molecular, Cell, and Tissue Engineering Computational and Systems Biology
New Hires
BioE Student Impact
Kritika Singh, who studies bioengineering at
Northeastern, was one of 32 students selected for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship this year. She will attend Oxford University to pursue a doctorate in biomedical sciences >>

Jake Potts, a bioengineering student at Northeastern, has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship, which he will use to study mutations in DNA repair genes at Sorbonne University in Paris >>
Kerry Eller, a bioengineering student at
Northeastern, has been named a Truman Scholar.

The scholarship is a national award and the
premiere fellowship in the United States for those pursuing careers as public service leaders >>
A Virtual Graduation Celebration

While the COVID-19 pandemic might have forced us to change our plans, it didn't get in the way of us celebrating all the hard work our graduating students accomplished. For a highlight reel of our virtual celebration
Bioengineering Graduate Program Alumni:
Where Are They Now?
Roshani Patil, MS '19
Roshani Patil is a 2019 graduate of the Masters of Science Bioengineering program. She is currently working as an Immuno-oncology Scientific Associate at Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research. She received her bachelor’s degree from Illinois Institute of Technology in 2015 in Biomedical Engineering. After graduating, she worked at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center for a year while she decided her next career step. While there, the principal investigator she was working with was aware of the work conducted by Professor Mark Neidre at Northeastern University and recommended that Roshani speak with him to learn more about his research and the MS in Bioengineering degree program. Roshani was fascinated with Professor Niedre’s research as it aligned well with her interests. The 
cooperative education program that Northeastern offered was another appealing aspect. During her time at Northeastern, Roshani worked on her thesis project in Dr. Niedre’s lab, focusing on cancer detection and imaging. Apart from that, she also completed a six month coop at KSQ Therapeutics in Cambridge, Massachusetts where she had the opportunity to work on projects related to immuno-therapies for cancer. During her MS degree, she was able to learn about the full-cycle of cancer research from detection to therapy. She says that the Bioengineering MS program taught her “how to think as a scientist” and ask the right scientific questions. She is extremely grateful for the all the skills she acquired as an MS student in Professor Niedre’s lab at Northeastern University. 
Solomon Mensah, PhD '19
Solomon Mensah graduated with his PhD in Bioengineering in December 2019. He is currently employed at Worcester Polytechnic Institute as a Future Faculty Fellow in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. He is teaching two courses, one of which is a new course that he developed called Medical Device for Global Health. He is the CEO and Co-founder of Therapeutic Innovations, which is a company that is dedicated to redesigning medical devices for developing countries without compromising on quality. Solomon has been awarded several grants including the prestigious NSF Innovation Corp grant for entrepreneurship and product development.  

Solomon applied to Northeastern because of his undergraduate mentor at City College of New York, Associate Professor Eno Ebong. He also knew that Northeastern had the entrepreneurship mind that he was craving. He wanted to start his own company and Northeastern’s experiential learning attracted him to our program. He attributes his success to his faculty advisor, Eno Ebong, but also to Professors Ruberti, Makowski and Art Coury, who were responsible for making him think outside the box and supporting his idea. Solomon wants to continue connecting industry to academia because he knows there is great value in both arenas. We look forward to seeing what Solomon will produce to make our world a better place to live. Solomon is also a new father to a growing family. We wish him all the best success! 
Jessica Fitzgerald, PhD '20
Jessica Fitzgerald graduated with he PhD in May 2020. She is currently employed at the University Colorado Boulder as a teaching professor in a new Biomedical Engineering program. She is working with the department and administration on developing the course curriculum from the ground-up. She saw how Northeastern’s Department of Bioengineering developed over the past few years and that was one reason why she was chosen for this esteemed position. 

Jessica came to Northeastern for 3 reasons: location in Boston, collaboration on cutting-edge research, and the dynamic student population. Throughout her PhD program, she worked with  Professor Fenniri on biomimetic sensing and with Professor Niedre on cancer cell detection, but her real passion and interest is teaching engineering. She was able to find mentorship in the  department’s teaching faculty (Professors Jaeggli and Lannin) and they guided her towards a career as a teaching professor. Jessica is an academic at heart and she found that being a lab instructor and teaching assistant (TA) gave her more fulfillment than working in a lab and on research proposals. Jessica was able to be a TA for many semesters during her graduate degree because she wanted to gain that experience of teaching and mentoring other students. Jessica’s career is off to a grand start. We can’t wait to see what Jessica will do in the next few years!
Our COVID Response 
Our faculty and students have been working around the clock to fight COVID- 19. Some of our research is as follows:
Professor Sumner Barenberg is using his extensive background in decontamination strategies to develop best practices for decontamination of used N95s and PPEs without losing filtration efficiency; mitigation of cross contamination and transmission of Covid-19; and small space decontamination for rooms, ambulances, and HVAC systems.

Professor Jeff Ruberti and Assistant Professor Sara Rouhanifard have teamed with investigators at UCLA and UMass to develop a direct, breath-based, non-invasive COVID sample collection system.
Professor and Chair Lee Makowski launched a new Special Topics course aimed at addressing the COVID-19 pandemic from a public health and engineering design perspective.

Assistant Professor Jiahe Li is starting work on a portable and cost effective swab to perform diagnosis of COVID-19 from contaminated surfaces.

Interested in joining our team? View faculty open positions.

Want to reach out directly? Email us.
Northeastern University Department of Bioengineering | bioe.northeastern.edu