2021 Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience Annual Awards

Exterior image of the IBB Building

Join us in congratulating these deserving members of the Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering (IBB) community for their hard work, accomplishments, and dedication throughout 2021.



Saad Bhamla, Ph.D. – Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department, Georgia Tech. 
Saad’s work and lab cultivate a culture of curiosity-driven science with real-world implications. In recent research on the physics behind a finger snap, the group’s findings around friction and motion could help inform the future design of hand prosthetics. With global accessibility in mind, his “frugal science” approach could make low-cost hearing aids and novel vaccine delivery available for under $1.00! 

Loren Williams, Ph.D. – Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, Georgia Tech. 
Loren, Director of the Center for the Origin of Life, has worked throughout the pandemic to ensure his students are engaged and feel supported. He has hosted coffee meetups with students on weekends to advise them on projects, invited specialists to give talks during the semester, and supported on-campus fundraisers as part of his efforts to foster a supportive community. 


Alex Costa, Ph.D. Candidate – Biological Sciences, Kirill Lobachev, Advisor, Georgia Tech 
Alex is an outstanding Teacher’s Assistant that is remarkably supportive of his students and works to provide an inclusive learning environment. Additionally, he mentors several students in his research lab, where he provides excellent hands-on training to the next generation of scientists. 

Rebecca Guth-Metzler, Ph.D. Candidate – Chemistry and Biochemistry, Jennifer Glass, Georgia Tech 
Brooke Rothschild-Mancinelli, Ph.D. Candidate – Chemistry and Biochemistry, Loren Williams, Advisor, Georgia Tech 
Brooke and Becca have been active co-chairs of the BBUGS service committee. Together, they spearheaded the planning and planting of the BBUGS Pollinator Garden located in the Bio Quad. The garden combats against the declining bee population, creates volunteering opportunities, and supports mental health initiatives on campus. Brooke and Becca also managed the winning 2019 Carbon Reduction Challenge team, and their recommendations were adopted by Georgia Tech Facilities, replacing fluorescent light bulbs with LEDs in Wing 1B of the Petit Biotech Building which will save ~30,000 pounds of CO2 each year. 

Tyler Roche, Ph.D. Candidate – Chemistry and Biochemistry, Nick Hud, Advisor, Georgia Tech 
Tyler is an active leader in the Astrobiology team and has been recognized as one of their first fellows. He spearheaded this discipline to pursue curriculum development (degree certification for undergraduate and graduate students), he has led symposiums both in-person and then online during the pandemic and is engaged in public outreach activities.  

Casey Vantucci, Ph.D. – Biomedical Engineering, Krish Roy, Advisor, Georgia Tech / Emory University
Casey is the co-president of BBUGS who came into her two-year term in the early months of the pandemic. She provided organized, decisive leadership overseeing the group’s numerous committees as they pivoted to virtual events, and she extended herself personally to many of her peers who were struggling with the pressures of the pandemic. From her early days on campus, Casey got involved in BBUGS outreach initiatives, always giving her time to younger scientists in visiting schools and helping to host IBB's largest E&O event in Buzz on Biotechnology. Her generosity, hard work, and great big smile have left a great stamp on the IBB community! 

Katherine Young, Ph.D. – Biomedical Engineering, Todd Sulchek, Advisor, Georgia Tech / Emory University
Katie is a tremendous advocate for science education to the community. She mentors several undergraduate student researchers and participates in a variety of outreach efforts to inspire the next generation of students pursue biomedical engineering. Katie is an engaging researcher, and we are excited by her potential as an investigator and innovator. 


Therapeutic Entrepreneurship 
Scott Hollister, Ph.D., Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Tech / Emory University
Scott has supported the IBB commercialization community through sharing his expertise and experiences by teaching FDA regulatory classes. He also championed the development of a pediatric tracheal splint (developed at Georgia Tech and manufactured in collaboration with GCMI) which has positively improved the health of twelve children. Additionally, he is expanding his personalized device portfolio to cranio-facial implants.  

Diagnostic Entrepreneurship 
Omer Inan, Ph.D., Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Tech 
Omer is active in the IBB innovation community and founder of two start-ups. He is a founder of CardioSense, which spun out of Georgia Tech in 2020 and successfully raised $1.7M in angel investment. CardioSense leverages non-invasive sensor data and AI for early cardiovascular disease detection. Omer is also a founder of start-up Arthroba, which is focused on joint health. 


Erin Bryant, MBA – Administrative Director, CMaT 
Erin stepped into the role of Administrative Director for Cell Manufacturing Technologies (CMaT) at a critical time. She provided leadership in navigating CMaT’s 2021 annual meeting and is now hard at work planning and preparing for the upcoming grant renewal site visit with the National Science Foundation. 

Laxminarayanan Krishnan – Laboratory Manager, MicroCT and Biomechanics, Georgia Tech  
Laxmi has worked tirelessly over the past two years covering the flow cytometry as well as supporting his Petit Biotechnology Building cores.  

Samuel Moore – Research Technician, IBB, Georgia Tech 
Sam reliably serves the Georgia Tech research community's mass spectrometry needs. This past year he has gone above and beyond to fill the gaps left by departing staff in the core to keep analysis running and result flowing.    

Harold Solomon – Principal, VentureLab 
Harold brings energy, optimism, and vigor into all his interactions and fosters a collegial atmosphere at the Petit Institute. He has a knack for “peeling back the layers” during a technology assessment to identify the needs and next steps for a project and their team. Harold is a champion of the Petit Institute’s people and advancing their science and innovations. 

News Contact

Christina Wessels - Events Coordinator, IBB