Parekh and Santacruz Join the Department of Biomedical Engineering at UT Austin

Two new faculty members will join The University of Texas at Austin as assistant professors in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, beginning January 2019.

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Dr. Sapun Parekh joins the university from the Molecular Spectroscopy Department at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPIP) in Mainz, Germany, where he led a group that develops microscopy methods for studying biomaterial structure and chemistry.

His research focuses on looking at changes in the chemical environment to diagnose and predict specific pathologies and properties in biological tissues. While at MPIP, Parekh developed label-free imaging and analytical tools that used nonlinear chemical microscopy to see how they might be applied to diagnose and predict type 2 diabetes and other diseases.

Before completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology, Parekh received his Ph.D. in bioengineering from UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco and his B.S. in electrical engineering from UT Austin.

He is a recipient of an American Association for the Advancement of Science & Technology Policy Fellowship and actively reviews for funding agencies and publications including the Austrian Science Foundation, the Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research, ACS Nano, Science, Soft Matter, and Molecular Pharmaceutics, among others.

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Dr. Samantha Santacruz completed a postdoctoral fellowship at UC Berkeley, where her work focuses on how neural function is compromised in the disease state using large-scale electrophysiology and closed-loop deep-brain stimulation in nonhuman primate models.

Her additional research interests are in experimental and computational neuroscience, brain-machine interfaces, machine learning, electrophysiology, information theory, and signal processing.

Santacruz received her Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in electrical and computer engineering from Rice University and a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics with honors from UC Berkeley.

She received the Best Thesis Award for her doctoral research from Rice’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. Santacruz is a member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, Society for Neuroscience, and Women in Information Theory Society, among other professional organizations.