Skip to main content

Department of Biomedical Engineering-Distinguished Lecture Series 2022/23

Monday, September 19, 2022 to Monday, April 10, 2023
12:00 pm to 12:50 pm
Floor/Room #: 

Distinguished Lecture Series in Biomedical Engineering

The Distinguished Lecture Series in Biomedical Engineering is designed to bring innovative leaders in the biomedical engineering field to the WPI campus to meet our outstanding faculty and students, and visit our interdisciplinary research facilities in the heart of Central Massachusetts.



Monday, September 19
  • Monday, September 19, 2022 12:00pm to 12:50pm
    BME Seminar Series: "Navigating the Brain and Spine - Stepping Outside of our Comfort Zone" by Arno Sungarian, MD, FAANS| UMass Medical School
    Arno Sungarian, MD, FAANS
    Assistant Professor of Surgery
    Neurological Surgery
    University of Massachusetts Medical School   





    Abstract: Surgery of the brain and spine has seen an explosive growth in the last half a century due to innovation in surgical techniques and introduction of new technologies to improve patient care and outcomes. The volume of cases has continued to rise as has the expectation for better outcomes and faster recovery in the realm of increased socioeconomic pressures. More complex procedures are performed in an outpatient setting with minimally invasive techniques becoming more desirable. AR and VR technologies are becoming an integral part of the surgeons arsenal and AI will eventually replace the surgeon all together.  
    My goal is to open a broad discussion about emerging trends in the surgery of the brain and spine as a stepping stone for new ideas and  their practical implementation.  
    Biography: Dr.Arno Sungarian was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria in 1967. He attended English Language High School and 2 years of compulsory military service in the ‘80s. Immigrated to the US in 1990, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. 
    Dr.Sungarian obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Columbia University in NYC 1991-93, and a Medical Degree at Brown University, 1993-97. His residency was in Neurosurgery at Brown/Rhode Island Hospital from 1997 to 2004. He has been practicing Neurosurgery in Worcester since 2004. He is married with 2 kids, 13 and 15, and lives in Shrewsbury, MA 


    View Event
Monday, September 26
  • Monday, September 26, 2022 12:00pm to 12:50pm
    BME Seminar Series: Generation of Complex Three-Dimensional Organ Tissue Models for Drug Discovery and disease modeling| Seyoum Ayehunie, Ph.D| MatTek Corporation | a Bico Company
    Seyoum Ayehunie, Ph.D
    Chief Scientific Officer
    MatTek Corporation | a Bico Company 

    Tittle: Generation of Complex Three-Dimensional Organ Tissue Models for Drug Discovery and disease modeling

    Abstract: Currently available in vitro 2D-cell based drug screening models are neither organ nor species-specific relying predominantly on the use of monolayer cell lines.  These models lack the structural complexity of tissues or organs. 2D monolayers cell culture systems do not recapitulate the physiology microenvironment of the native human organs and do not adequately predict safety and efficacy of drugs/chemicals. Animal models also have fundamental problems since they are genetically different and do not adequately recapitulate human physiology. In this talk, the utility and limitations of a novel in vitro complex 3D tissue-models, generated using standard techniques or bioprinting, in drug absorption, metabolism, prediction of toxicity, and disease modeling will be highlighted.  Study results of therapeutic compounds for which dog and rat studies were not predictive of human outcome will also be discussed.

    Biography: Prior to joining MatTek, Dr. Ayehunie, who received his PhD from the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, did his post-doctoral fellowship at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (1993-1997). At Harvard Dr. Ayehunie was involved in HIV vaccine research and received the Fogarty International and NIH fellowship awards and also appointed as an instructor of Medicine. Dr. Seyoum Ayehunie is currently, Chief Scientific Officer at MatTek Corporation, a BICO company, Ashland, MA, and is the lead scientist for all R&D research. He has developed multiple in vitro primary human cell-based organotypic tissue models for predicting safety and efficacy of drug candidates, chemicals, and formulations. In addition, he has received more than 20 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR Phase I and Phase II) grant awards from the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Department of Defense (DoD). Dr. Ayehunie has served as permanent member of NIH Study Sections.  He has more than 50 publications in refereed journals to his credit and has made a number of presentations in international conferences and collaborated with academic institutions including WPI.

    View Event
Monday, October 03
  • Monday, October 03, 2022 12:00pm to 12:50pm
    BME Seminar Series: David Kennedy, Ph.D| Repronim: Towards Reproducible Neuroimaging Neuroscience| UMass Medical School
    David Kennedy, Ph.D
    Professor of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School
    Director of the Division of Neuroinformatics
    Child and Adolescent Neurodevelopment Initiative
    ReproNim: Towards Reproducible Neuroimaging Neuroscience


    Abstract: Given the intrinsically large and complex data sets collected in neuroimaging research, coupled with the extensive array of shared data and tools amassed in the research community, ReproNim seeks to lower the barriers for efficient: use of data; description of data and process; use of standards and best practices; sharing; and subsequent reuse of the collective ‘big’ data. Aggregation of data and reuse of analytic methods have become critical in addressing concerns about the replicability and power of many of today’s neuroimaging studies.

    Biography: Dr. David Kennedy is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is Director of the Division of Neuroinformatics at the Child and Adolescent Neurodevelopment Initiative (CANDI). He has extensive expertise in the development of image analysis techniques and was a co-founder of the Center for Morphometric Analysis (CMA) at the Massachusetts General Hospital. His career has seen participation in the advent of such technologies as MRI-based morphometric analysis (1989), functional MRI (1991) and diffusion tensor pathway analysis (1998). He has long standing experience with development of neuroinformatics resources and participated in the morphometry Biomedical Informatics Research Network (mBIRN). Dr. Kennedy is a co-PI and community liaison for the Neuroimaging Informatics Tools and Resources Clearinghouse (NITRC). In addition, he is a founding editor of the journal Neuroinformatics that debuted in 2003, and PI of ReproNim: A Center for Reproducible Neuroimaging Computation.

    View Event
Monday, October 24
  • Monday, October 24, 2022 12:00pm to 12:50pm
    BME Seminar Series: "Lipid-Based Systems: From Therapeutics To In Vitro Models" by Christina M. Bailey-Hytholt, Ph.D| Assistant Professor| Chemical Engineering
    Christina Bailey-Hytholt, PhD 
    Assistant Professor  
    Department of Chemical Engineering
    Worcester Polytechnic Institute 





    Abstract: Lipid constructs are ubiquitous and advancing healthcare technologies through advancements in therapeutics and in vitro model systems. Lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) and liposomes serve as delivery vehicles for nucleic acids and small molecules by improving transfection efficiency, targeting, and stability of their loaded cargo. Additionally, lipid structures, including lipid vesicles and lipid bilayers, are useful tools to understand molecular interactions at biological interfaces. This talk will discuss strategies for using lipids for both therapeutic and in vitro model applications. Methods to manufacture LNPs and liposomes, characterization, and in vitro studies will be discussed for messenger RNA (mRNA) and plasmid DNA (pDNA) loaded LNPs and antifungal loaded liposomes. Additionally, this talk will discuss the formation and use of multi-lipid bilayers representative of placental trophoblast lipid bilayers for pharmaceutical and environmental toxicant interaction studies.

    Biography: Dr. Christina Bailey-Hytholt is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Her research focuses on designing biomaterials for applications in drug and gene delivery, in vitro model systems, and diagnostics with a broad interest in applications for women’s health. She is the recipient of several honors and awards for both her research and teaching, including a Career Development Award from the Biomedical Engineering Society and a Women in Chemical Engineering Travel Award from the American Institute for Chemical Engineers. Most recently, Dr. Bailey-Hytholt was selected as one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 in Science for 2022. Prior to joining WPI, Dr. Bailey-Hytholt was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Biologics Drug Product Development & Manufacturing group at Sanofi. She received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Brown University in 2020 as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow, and she was awarded Brown University’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching as well as Brown University’s School of Engineering Outstanding Thesis Award. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering at WPI in 2015.

    For a zoom link, please contact


    View Event
Monday, November 14
  • Monday, November 14, 2022 12:00pm to 12:50pm
    BME Distinguished Lecture Series: Light and Sound: Integrating Photonics with Ultrasonics| Matthew O'Donnell, PhD| University of Washington
    Matthew O'Donnell, Ph.D
    Frank and Julie Jungers Dean Emeritus
    Department of Bioengineering
    University of Washington

    Light and Sound: Integrating Photonics with Ultrasonics


    Abstract: Coherent light and sound have become essential tools in modern medicine. Lasers are routinely used for both therapeutic and diagnostic applications, and real-time ultrasound scanning has become the dominant biomedical imaging modality in the world. Starting over thirty years ago, scientists and engineers have combined these modalities for applications ranging from non-contact sensing to novel molecular imaging techniques. In this talk, I will explore the history of integrated photonic-ultrasonic systems, focusing on examples where light generates sound, light detects sound, and sound “tickles” light. I will also present specific applications of integrated photonic-ultrasonic techniques, including photoacoustics for molecular imaging, non-contact laser ultrasound systems for medical and non-medical applications, and optical coherence elastography (OCE) in which air-coupled ultrasound stimulates propagating shear waves in the eye and skin tracked with real-time, 3-D optical coherence tomography (OCT). The talk will conclude by discussing current barriers to clinical translation of these systems and possible ways to overcome the obstacles.

    Biography: Following undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral training at Notre Dame and Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. O’Donnell joined General Electric Corporate Research and Development Center in Schenectady, NY in 1980, where he worked on medical electronics, including MRI and ultrasound imaging systems. In 1990, he moved to University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI where he held appointments in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and in Biomedical Engineering.  In 1998, he was named the Jerry W. and Carol L. Levin Professor of Engineering. From 1999-2006 he also served as Chair of the Biomedical Engineering Department. In 2006 he moved to the University of Washington in Seattle, WA where he was the Frank and Julie Jungers Dean of Engineering from 2006-2012. He is now Frank and Julie Jungers Dean Emeritus and a Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington. His most recent research has explored new imaging modalities, including elasticity imaging, in vivo microscopy, optoacoustic devices, photoacoustic contrast agents for molecular imaging and therapy, laser ultrasound systems, and catheter-based devices. He has won numerous awards, including the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Notre Dame, the Achievement and Rayleigh Awards from the IEEE-UFFC Society, the William J. Morlock Award for Excellence in Biomedical Technology from the IEEE-EMBS Society, and the IEEE Biomedical Engineering Award. He is a fellow of the IEEE and AIMBE and is an elected member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.


    View Event
Monday, November 28Monday, December 12Monday, February 13Monday, March 13
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Phone Number: