Two ENG Students Win Health Care Fellowships


Two College of Engineering doctoral students were recently awarded fellowships through the second annual Boston University/Center for Integration of Medicine in Innovation and Technology (CIMIT) Fellowship program.

Pen Zhang, a mechanical engineering student, and Katherine Calabro, a biomedical engineering student, received one-year stipends, full coverage of tuition and fees, and travel expenses to present their research at the national meeting.

The BU/CIMIT fellowship is awarded to second- or third-year graduate students researching topics that help solve healthcare challenges such as medical device development, creating algorithms and software for use in clinical practice, and engineering in medical environments. The fellowships are potentially renewable for a second year.

Working in the lab of Assistant Professor Tyrone Porter (ME), Peng is researching the development and characterization of nano-sized emulsions, which move across tumor vasculature. When subjected to ultrasound, they can vaporize and enhance ultrasound-mediated heating and coagulation of solid tumors. Peng presented these findings at the International Symposium on Therapeutic Ultrasound and is working in collaboration with the Harvard Medical School to study the effect of nano-emulsions on specific ultrasound cancer therapy.

Calabro, in the lab of Professor Irving Bigio (BME), is working with the University’s Biomedical Optics Laboratory to use small fiber optics to detect diseases such as colorectal cancer, Barrett’s esophagus and inflammatory bowel disease in the epithial layers. Using optical spectra collected from patient tissue, Calabro is working to streamline the detection and diagnosis of gastrointestinal diseases, which minimizes the need for timely and costly pathology.

The new fellowships coincide with the announcement of the CIMIT Prize for Primary Healthcare, a national competition open to graduate and undergraduate engineering students. Designed to encourage development of technological innovations on the frontlines of care, the top three entrants will receive $150,000, $100,000 and $50,000, respectively, to help advance their winning clinically relevant, primary-care solutions. More information about the CIMIT Prize and entry procedures can be found at