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Culver Receives Harrington Fellowship

Culver Heidi

Heidi Culver, a graduate student working with Professor Nicholas Peppas, has received a Donald D. Harrington Fellowship, the highest graduate fellowship award given by The University of Texas at Austin.

Culver's research focuses on the design of intelligent biomaterials for use in low-cost biosensors that could be used for earlier diagnosis of autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis or Sjögren's syndrome. Specifically, she is using nanotechnology and synthetic receptors, called molecularly imprinted polymers, to detect low levels of proteins that serve as molecular indicators for these diseases.

The fellowship program was established by the late Sybil Harrington in memory of her husband, Donald Harrington. She envisioned a program that would support UT Austin's gifted scholars at a level that would equal or exceed those of similar programs around the world.

This is the second consecutive year that the Department of Biomedical Engineering has had a graduate student receive this fellowship. For the 2014–2015 academic year, Lisa Richards, a graduate student working with Professor Andrew Dunn, received the fellowship. Richards studies novel optical imaging methods to enable quantitative in vivo monitoring of blood flow changes during surgery. Her research focuses on laser speckle contrast imaging (LSCI), which is a noninvasive, real-time optical imaging technique for visualizing flow.