BME Junior Receives Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

in NEWS

By Mark Dwortzan

Bauer LeSavage (BME'16)
Bauer LeSavage (BME’16)

Bauer LeSavage, a biomedical engineering junior with a passion for tissue engineering, has received a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, which recognizes outstanding college students who are pursuing research careers in science, mathematics and engineering. Issued by theBarry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation to US undergraduate sophomores and juniors, the scholarship covers up to $7,500 for tuition and other educational expenses.

This year’s 260 Goldwater Scholars (68 in engineering) were selected based on academic merit from a field of 1,206 students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. LeSavage is the fourth College of Engineering student to receive the award out of 13 Boston University winners since 1989. In addition to his scholarship, BME junior Adrienne Lee received a 2015 Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention designation.

Since 2013 LeSavage has worked in Professor Joyce Wong’s (BME, MSE) lab contributing to a project that seeks to improve the quality of care for pediatric patients with congenital heart defects. These patients typically require multiple corrective surgeries because current vascular tissue patches are made of synthetic materials that do not grow with the child.

To overcome this challenge, LeSavage has developed methods of engineering sheets of cells that can be stacked to mimic the structure of native blood vessels, which have aligned structures onto which cells grow. In the lab he works with bovine smooth muscle cells, with the ultimate goal of using the patient’s own stem cells. As a Lutchen Fellow this past summer, he also characterized the engineered tissue’s mechanical and biochemical behavior in order to understand the relationship between the tissue patch structure and its properties.

“I have always been interested in tissue engineering and biomaterials, and coming to Boston University I knew I wanted to further explore the field,” said LeSavage. “This research has been the perfect opportunity to do so. I enjoy being able to work closely with a small team where I have broadened my experimental capabilities and contributed directly to the project.”

“Bauer is extremely dedicated to his research as demonstrated by his full commitment to the project,” said Professor Joyce Wong (BME, MSE), who nominated LeSavage for the award. “Combining exhaustive research and a methodical experimental approach, his contributions to the project have stood out above and beyond what is expected for an undergraduate researcher. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this prestigious award.”

LeSavage plans to continue his tissue engineering studies through his senior year and pursue similar research in graduate school.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the US Senate. Through its scholarships, the Goldwater Foundation seeks to provide the nation with a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers.

See video on LeSavage’s work as a Lutchen Fellow.