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Clemson bioengineer wins prestigious Early Career Award

CLEMSON Ning Zhang, assistant professor of bioengineering at Clemson University and the CU-MUSC Bioengineering Program, has received the prestigious 2008 Early Career Translational Research Award from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation.

The foundation judged Zhang's research on an injectable hydrogel-based system for the treatment of stroke to be a highly promising technology that can progress towards commercial development and clinical practice. Zhang proposed the injectable hydrogel system to assist stem cell therapy for stroke treatment.

"This award exemplifies the strong leadership of Dr. Zhang in translational biomaterials research based on outstanding basic science," said Martine LaBerge, chair of Clemson's bioengineering department. "Our goal as bioengineers is to get potential life-saving treatments such as this from the research lab to the patient in an expedient manner."

The Early Career Translational Research Awards support biomedical engineering research that is translational in nature and encourage and assist eligible biomedical engineering investigators as they establish themselves in academic research careers with two years of funding.

Zhang's research on neurobioengineering has also been recognized by the 2007 Department of Defense Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder/Traumatic Brain Injury Research Program of the Office of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) with a Concept Award on "Brain Tissue Regeneration After Traumatic Brain Injury."

The Wallace H. Coulter Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation in Miami dedicated to improving human healthcare by supporting translational research in biomedical engineering. Recipients of the Early Career Translational Research Awards are full-time, tenure-track faculty members with a primary appointment in biomedical engineering. They have received their doctoral degree no more than six years prior to their application, and they held a rank no higher than assistant professor at the time of application.

Wallace H. Coulter was an engineer, inventor and entrepreneur who applied engineering principles to biomedical problems. He founded Coulter Corp., which developed and marketed the first automated blood cell counters and flow cytometers, instruments that revolutionized healthcare diagnostics and therapeutics. Believing that the contributions of engineers to solving biomedical problems were generally under-recognized, Coulter mentored and encouraged young engineers to dream, take risks and be innovative.

Contact: Martine LaBerge
Clemson University

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