Bioengineering

Bioengineering Alumni

Bioenineering at Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, 50 years!

1963-2013  — A continuing commitment to innovative education and research

Life after Graduation

Read alumni stories here.

Sarina Kay Sinclair, PhD 2009, Research Faculty Member, University of Utah Department of OrthopaedicsSarina Kay Sinclair, PhD 2009, Research Faculty Member, University of Utah Department of Orthopaedics

After graduating, I took a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Utah Department of Orthopaedics and am now a research faculty member. Since joining the University of Utah my work has been focused on the safe introduction of osseointegrated (OI) implants for amputees in the United States. I am currently managing an upcoming clinical trial at the Veterans Affairs Salt Lake City Health Care System for a new OI design that has been funded by a Department of Veteran Affairs Merit Review grant with an industry sponsor, DJO Surgical. This project has been very rewarding for me and I enjoy working with the military, veteran, and civilian amputees and clinicians. My other research focus has been the skeletal attachment of devices in the spine, and I have been a consultant and collaborator with Zimmer Spine on a spinal fusion device that received FDA approval in 2011. I have not given up my tissue engineering roots and continue work with our orthopedic surgeons to improve surgical techniques using cell-based therapies. I really enjoy the mix of academic, industrial and clinical endeavors that are part of my job.

One thing I learned from my years at Clemson was that we work hard but we play hard, something that is easy to do in the beautiful state of Utah and the surrounding areas. Kris and I have taken every opportunity to explore the Wild West, from Arizona to Canada, during our four years here. We are avid skiers, mountain bikers, rock climbers and hikers. I miss the East Coast most during football season but we have adopted a great local bar as our Clemson watching spot and have recruited a few more Tiger fans! I am proud of my Clemson roots (see orange and purple ski outfit) and am thankful for the foundation I gained there to help me have a successful career in orthopedic research. Congratulations on your Golden Anniversary!

Perry Sprawls, B.S (1956), M.S. in Physics, and Ph.D. in Bioengineering

After receiving a Ph.D. in Bioengineering in 1968, I returned to the faculty of Emory University in the Department of Radiology. My dissertation research on computer interpretation of medical images was very much “cutting edge” at that time. Through research and development, clinical support, and especially education, I combined the fields of bioengineering and medical physics to focus on the rapidly expanding specialty of medical imaging and radiology.

Throughout my career, my goal has been to develop a global infrastructure of knowledgeable engineers and medical physicists who can support effective and safe clinical utilization of modern medical imaging technology. I work directly with engineers and medical physicists from approximately 50 developing countries who come together at an international institute where I serve as a director and principal faculty.

Dr. Spras with boemedical engineering students in China.

A special interest has been innovations in the educational process, especially in the fields of medical engineering and physics and related clinical applications. Much of this has focused on developments in technology to enhance human performance for both learners/students and learning facilitators/teachers, with a major emphasis on the value of shared resources. I call this work, which has been recognized by numerous national and international awards from both engineering and medical physics organizations, “Taking Clemson Bioengineering to the World.

I am now a Distinguished Emeritus Professor at Emory University working through several national and international organizations to provide educational resources and activities. Through the Sprawls Educational Foundation, I support the Sprawls Global Collaborative Teaching Network with textbooks I have authored and an extensive collection of open-access educational resources.


Aditee and Jai Aditee Kurane, PhD 2008, Senior R&D Scientist, St. Jude Medical Inc.

If wishes were horses I would “ride” in a hammock all day long and do in depth book reviews for a living but the truth is that following the excellent Clemson experience, I started my career in Research & Development at St. Jude Medical focused on developing strategies to realize minimally invasive heart valve replacements where I find myself today in the capacity of a Senior Scientist.  My graduate work at Clemson, where I worked on tissue engineering approaches to create small diameter vascular grafts, prepared me well for the challenges in the medical device industry. The overall Clemson experience transcends pure technical and scientific knowledge gained over time; it’s something that defines a larger part of me and therefore, I truly bleed orange.  An avid reader with a voracious appetite for volunteer activities, I dream about getting all the pages in my passport filled with entry stamps of different countries.

Jaishankar Kutty, PhD 2008, St. Jude Medical Inc.

…tried putting the ‘search’ back into re-search but being swept up in the tsunami called Transcatheter heart valve development, I realized that 90% of one’s problems can be solved by good marketing, procrastination skills solves the remaining 10%.  My Mondays start with creative ideas for next big thing and Fridays invariably conclude with pledges to give it all up and become a handsome millionaire. But then there is always active cricket, music, and dreaming of being the next soccer star that keeps me going.  Being a sample size of one, neither statistically significant nor representative of anything, I have learned that I know nothing.  Hang on, people are willing to pay for what I know.  Life is good!! Come to the dark side….together we will rule the galaxy.

Jason Hemmer, PhD 2008, Product Specialist, W.L. Gore & Associates
jhemmer@wlgore.com

Jason Hemmer and family

Having accepted a job as a Product Specialist in the Medical Division of W.L. Gore & Associates, my wife Helen and I relocated to Flagstaff, AZ shortly after graduation.  W.L. Gore & Associates is a global company that utilizes expertise in fluoropolymers to develop best in class products for numerous industries.  Here in Arizona, we design and develop medical devices for cardiovascular applications.  In my role as a Product Specialist, I interact with individuals from a variety of backgrounds (e.g., physicians, engineers, and business leaders) in helping to ensure the success of a particular product from concept through commercialization.  I may not be working in a lab anymore, but the skills I learned during my time at Clemson prove to be invaluable almost every day of my working life. I couldn't think of a job that better suits my personality and interests. Living in a mountain town that is just over an hour from the Grand Canyon, a good deal of my leisure activity now consists of outdoor activities such as hiking, running, and mountain biking. In July of 2012, my wife and I welcomed a baby girl (our first child), Miriam Rose. In truth, since her birth, my leisure activity now mostly consists of playing with my daughter.

Kiyatek (Alumni Matt Gevaert and David Orr) Awarded National Cancer Institute Contract to Establish Predictive 3D Breast Cancer Model

GREENVILLE, South Carolina, Oct 24, 2013 -- KIYATEC Inc. (www.kiyatec.com) today announced that the National Cancer Institute (NCI), one of the 27 institutes and centers that comprise the National Institutes of Health (NIH), awarded the company an approximately $295,000 Phase I SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) contract to establish 3D breast cancer models using living cells obtained directly from breast cancer patients. Accurate modeling of the response of a patient’s cancer to a drug will help them in two ways – to reduce failures of anticancer drugs during clinical trials because of earlier, more relevant information on drug effectiveness, and to test patient-derived samples in real time for clinical decision making specific to that individual.

The goal of this contract, titled “3D Human Tumor Co-Culture System for Accurate Prediction of Clinical Efficacy”, is to create living cell-based models of the breast cancer microenvironment. Cells grown or “cultured” in environments that mimic the conditions inside the human body have been shown to better predict the treatment outcomes that are seen in patients. Importantly, these models are designed to be monitored and evaluated for response (for example cell death resulting from a drug) using non-destructive imaging and other means. Current techniques of measuring the effect of a drug can require analysis methods that are destructive to the cells in the models. The models will progress from using cell lines to using cells obtained directly from patients. Ultimately, the “micro-tumors” using patient-derived breast cancer cells of selected sub-types will be treated with approved cancer drugs known to be clinically effective for those sub-types, enabling a measure of the model’s predictivity of the clinical outcomes seen in patients.

"We are very grateful for this award from the National Cancer Institute through the SBIR program to advance KIYATEC's development of predictive 3D cell-based cancer models, and are proud to be collaborating on an initiative that can potentially bring benefit to the millions of American women who have or will be diagnosed with breast cancer." said Dr. Matt Gevaert, KIYATEC’s CEO. "This contract’s focus on breast cancer builds on our existing body of work across multiple solid tumor types, including ovarian cancer. Demonstrating this breadth of applicability is important as we engage pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to leverage KIYATEC’s assays to help them better predict human patient response before, during and after clinical trials. This contract will aid us in doing so and we expect it will catalyze further exciting and meaningful ex vivo cancer assay development." The contract is being funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. HHSN261201300043C.

Bioenineering at Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, 50 years!