Wake Forest-Pittsburgh Consortium Fellows Council
The Wake Forest-Pittsburgh Consortium (WFPC) Fellows Council believes that:
Working in collaboration with the WFPC AFIRM research community, the WFPC Fellows Council envisions positively enhancing the culture of the individuals and institutions engaged in the WFPC AFIRM consortium research enterprise so that the contributions of graduate and postdoctoral scholars are fully valued and recognized. We seek collaboration and dialogue to achieve consensus among all stakeholders on the best methods for addressing issues and obtaining desired outcomes for the graduate and postdoctoral community. We aim to assist in providing professional satisfaction and meaningful career opportunities for graduate and postdoctoral scholars, which recognize the importance of balancing research work and personal professional development needs. We foster the idea that graduate and postdoctoral fellows make invaluable contributions to the research enterprise and share personal responsibility for the progression and outcomes of their careers.
The WFPC AFIRM research community should make every effort to attract the best and the brightest men and women from all groups, including international scholars, under-represented minorities, and persons with disabilities. Inequities within the fellow training community should be rectified to the maximum extent practicable, while recognizing the unique needs of each person.
We seek to make efforts possible under the invaluable directorship of Dr. Benjamin Harrison (WFUBMC) and Joan Schanck (PTEI).
It is upon these visions and values that we base our Mission and Diversity Statements.
Our Mission Statement is:
The mission of the WFPC AFIRM Fellows Council is to advance the AFIRM research enterprise by maximizing the effectiveness of the research community and development of civilian and military research teams dedicated to treating our wounded service men and women and enhancing the quality of the training experience for all participants.
Our Diversity Statement is:
The WFPC Fellows Council seeks to promote diversity and ensure equal opportunity and inclusion for all graduate and postdoctoral fellows in the membership, leadership, and activities of the WFPC AFIRM regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, disability, national origin, socio-economic status, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Evangelia Bellas -- Tufts University
Evangelia Bellas is a pre-doctoral student at Tufts University in Biomedical Engineering under the mentorship of Dr. David Kaplan. The goal of her research is to generate sustainable soft tissue regeneration and vascularized fat pads for a variety of soft tissue needs. She holds a B.S. degree in Biomechanical Engineering from Syracuse University. At Syracuse University, she was a part of the Biomaterials group, led by Dr. Jeremy Gilbert and Dr. Julie Hasenwinkel. Her undergraduate thesis characterized the effects of physiologically relevant fretting corrosion on a novel stent design. Before attending Tufts University, she worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Chemical Engineering in Dr. Robert Langer’s group on such projects as preventing post-operative peritoneal adhesions using hyaluronic acid gels and sustained drug delivery for pain management.
Katie Megley -- University of California, Berkeley
Katie Megley is a pre-doctoral student at University of California, Berkeley in BioEngineering under the mentorship of Dr. Matthew Tirrell. The focus of her research is to investigate unique shear sensitive peptide amphiphiles for use as a bioactive hydrogel for tissue engineering. Specifically Katie hopes to use this bioactive gel to enhance neural and bone tissue repair following a traumatic injury. She holds a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Northeastern University. At Northeastern, she completed 3 full-time, 6-month co-op rotations as part of her degree requirements at Northeastern. During these rotations Katie had the opportunity to work at Albany International, in the materials research goup; Genzyme, in the biomaterials group; and Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, in the biomedical engineering group. At Albany her research focused on polymer chemistry and mechanical analysis. At Genzyme she assisted in development of a second generation autologous cartilage repair system and was able to participate in preclinical animal model research. Finally at Draper she lead a project to use silk microfluidics devices, in collaboration with Tufts University, as wound healing structures. The results of this work were recently published in Materials special issue.
Deepika Poranki -- Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine
Deepika Poranki is a Ph.D. Candidate at Wake Forest School of Medicine in the Department of Molecular genetics. She works at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine with her advisor, Dr. Mark Van Dyke. Her current research is focused on developing novel biomaterial-based topical therapies for burn injuries and also in understanding the underlying cellular and molecular mechanism of healing. She received her Master’s in Molecular Genetics from Andhra University, India, in 2005.
Brent Uhrig -- Georgia Institute of Technology
Brent Uhrig is a fourth year Bioengineering Ph.D. student at Georgia Institute of Technology working with advisor Dr. Robert Guldberg. His research interests include tissue engineering and mechanics. Specifically, his research is focused on developing challenging, clinically-relevant models of composite limb injury to investigate tissue regeneration interactions and the associated cellular and molecular mechanisms. This work is in support of the larger objective of engineering regenerative medicine therapies for improved reconstruction and functional outcomes for severe extremity trauma patients. Previously, he obtained a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a biomechanics concentration from the University of Kansas in 2006. He graduated with distinction.
Catherine Ward -- Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine
Catherine Ward joined the United States Army Institute of Surgical Research as a post-doctoral research fellow in 2011. Her current research is focused on injectable scaffolds and stem cell therapies for bone regeneration. She completed her doctoral dissertation at the School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, where she aided in the development of an oxygen-generating biomaterial for skeletal muscle salvage.
Previous Council Members
Tracy Criswell - Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine
Michael Januszyk - Stanford University
Kelly Chen-Leung - Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine
SuhWon Hyuk Suh - University of California, Berkeley
Council members are expected to:
- Meet twice yearly in person--AFIRM Annual Meeting, Regenerative Medicine Foundation Meeting.
- Participate in monthly teleconferences
- Assist with the planning of special events, scientific sessions, professional development, fundraising, and/or networking events
- Act as POC or liaison to other WFPC AFIRM consortium graduate and postdoctoral fellow trainees at their respective institute and/or within their respective research core
- Participate in community outreach events
- Speak on behalf of the WFPC AFIRM at special events
- Each Council member should be expected to serve as an ambassador for the WFPC AFIRM Consortium
- Be familiar and up to date with the WFPC AFIRM research and happenings
- Either chair a Committee and/or be a Member of a committee contributing what they are able to advance the mission of the WFPC AFIRM. (Committee meetings will be held as frequently as decided by the Chairs of the Committees and the Committee members, together with the WFPC AFIRM PIs and faculty/staff representatives.)