Weldon Graduate Students Receive Honors

This fall, three Weldon graduate students were honored at their professional conferences for their work. Matias Zanartu received the Best Student Paper Award in Speech Communication at the Acoustical Society of America Meeting in Portland for the poster entitled "An impedance-based inverse filtering scheme with glottal coupling." Eric Chow was awarded the third place student paper award at the IEEE International Microwave Symposium in Boston, MA for his work, entitled "High Frequency Transcutaneous Transmission using Stents Configured as a Dipole Radiator for Cardiovascular Implantable Devices." Maia Donahue was awarded an Honorable Mention Graduate Student Research Award at the 2009 Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting. Her award-winning presentation in Pittsburgh was on experiment design through dynamical characterization of systems biology models utilizing sparse grids.

Zañartu's poster was presented in the special session on source-filter interactions in biological sound production. The paper was co-authored by Julio Ho from the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University, Daryush Mehta from MIT-Harvard, Robert Hillman from MGH/MIT-Harvard, and Professor George Wodicka, also of the Weldon School. The project is part of the collaboration between the Wodicka laboratory and Professor Robert Hillman, Research Director of the Center for Laryngeal Surgery & Voice Rehabilitation at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA. His current research interests include biomedical acoustics, speech production, acoustic phonetics, and auditory and speech signal processing.

Chow is co-advised by Professors Pedro P. Irazoqui and William J. Chappell. His latest work enables the continuous tracking of pulmonary arterial pressure to help in the diagnosis of heart failure.  The system consists of a miniature cardiac pressure sensor and wireless transmitter that has been integrated with an FDA-approved medical stent. This platform provides efficient data transfer from a device that can be implanted in nearly any vessel or body conduit. Chow and collaborator, student Brooke Beier, have shown that a stent can be used as an antenna for both wireless telemetry and power transfer between an attached miniaturized electronic system. This takes advantage of the maturity of stent technology while using stents as radiating antennas. Intended uses include implantable monitors designed to measure blood pressure, flow parameters, and chemistry, and requires only a minimally invasive outpatient procedure.

Donahue's research at Purdue, where she received her PhD degree in December 2009, was focused on the modeling and control of cellular processes using the human T cell, a key component of the immune system. Her award-winning work was done in conjunction with Professor Ann Rundell of the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and Greg Buzzard, Department of Mathematics. Today Maia works for Dow AgriSciences near Indianapolis, IN.

Please join us as we celebrate these students.