Rachel June Smith, a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Computational Medicine, has been awarded a 2020 Young Investigator Award by the American Epilepsy Society for her abstract titled, “Dynamical Systems Theory Applied to Single-Pulse Electrical Stimulation Data to Infer Epileptogenic Networks.” Rachel was one of 20 young investigators selected from 1,100 submissions for outstanding achievement in basic, translational, or clinical epilepsy research.
Rachel’s research brings together computational modeling, systems theory, and epilepsy medicine. She constructs dynamic models of epileptic networks for the purposes of understanding where seizures start and spread in the brain. Her model predictions can assist neurologists in treating epilepsy patients who undergo surgery to remove epileptogenic brain tissue, thereby increasing the patient’s chances of seizure freedom after treatment.
Rachel conducts her research in the Neuromedical Control Systems Lab led by Sri Sarma, who is the Institute for Computational Medicine’s associate director and The Whiting School of Engineering’s vice dean of graduate education.
Rachel June Smith was selected as a 2020 American Epilepsy Society (AES) Fellow. Congrats to our new fellow!
Adam Li is a Ph.D. candidate in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University with Dr. Sridevi Sarma. He obtained his undergraduate degree at University of California, San Diego (B.S’s in Bioengineering and Applied Mathematics). His research is in computational approaches to seizure onset zone localization in human epilepsy patients using intracranial EEG data applying control theory, computational modeling and machine learning.
Many scientists could advance their careers if they could just get the hang of storytelling. Impact statements that describe how their research improves peoples’ lives could help researchers secure funding, find collaborators, and share their findings with wider audiences.
“It’s not a matter of if your research will have an impact because it will,” said Harvard’s Deborah Burstein Mattingly, associate professor of radiology, health sciences, and technology. “We want you to focus on how and why your research will have an impact, and design it accordingly.”
Mattingly’s audience, a group of female scientists quickly rising in their fields, came together last month as part of the Rising Stars in Biomedical Engineering workshop held on Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood campus. Funded by several Hopkins institutes and departments and held at the Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute, the workshop aimed to give women the skills they need to pursue faculty positions in biomedical engineering.
While the number of women in labs and classrooms is growing, men still outnumber women when it comes to holding faculty positions in engineering disciplines. Johns Hopkins University and MIT are trying to change those statistics through programs such as the workshop, which was first held in 2016. It brings together a cohort of talented women graduate students and postdocs who represent the next generation of leadership in biomedical engineering research.
“Rising Stars began in 2012 at MIT with the mission of providing critical career development training for women in electrical engineering,” said Sri Sarma, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and associate director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Computational Medicine. Sarma co-organized the workshop along with MIT professors Polina Golland and Martha Gray.
“We want these young rising stars to leave Hopkins empowered and excited to move onto the next phase of their careers,” she said.
Sridevi Sarma, associate professor of biomedical engineering, associate director of the Institute for Computational Medicine, and 2008 L’Oréal USA For Women In Science (FWIS) Fellow has been awarded a 2018 “Changing the Face of STEM” (CTFS) grant from L’Oreal to support her mentoring efforts.
Sarma is using her second CTFS grant to continue hosting a physics project with the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland. In spring 2018, Sarma and PhD candidate Macauley Breault developed and executed a fun and competitive STEM activity that brought together more than two dozen Girl Scout Cadette troops (ages 10-12) at Johns Hopkins University. The CTFS grant will allow Sarma to repeat this successful project in 2019.
The Girl Scout Roller Coaster Contest challenges participants’ engineering skills as they compete to build roller coasters out of household materials. Led by Sarma and a dozen female PhD candidates in her lab, each troop will learn about the physics of roller coasters, which will then help them to design a model for a chance to win tickets to Six Flags America.
Now in its third year, the CTFS program supports former L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellows in their efforts to inspire the next generation of girls in STEM. Members of the L’Oréal USA FWIS alumni network were invited to apply for $2,500 grants to help fund new or existing mentoring projects in their communities. The awards will be administered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), official partner of the L’Oréal USA For Women in Science program.
“We are committed to inspiring the next generation of women in STEM through our For Women in Science program,” said Lauren Paige, Vice President of Public Affairs & Strategic Initiatives at L’Oréal USA. “Our Changing the Face of STEM grant program builds on this long-time commitment and supports our fellows in their continuous work promoting STEM education in communities across the United States.”
A complete list of 2018 CTFS grant winners and their projects can be found here.