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2019 Young Innovators of Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering announced

Editors at the Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering journal have announced this year's twelve Young Innovators of Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, whose original research is featured in the October issue.
The issue represents the sixth year of this program, and with five former classes of Young Innovators, it is a convenient time to take stock of this accomplished group that now includes 68 Innovators among its numbers, the editors said.

The 56 previously published papers have been downloaded 32,700 times and cited 502 times, for per paper averages of 584 and 9.0, respectively. At the time of this writing, 85.3% of the Young Innovators from 2014 to 2016 have become tenured already, with four authors reaching the rank of full professor so far.

Two Young Innovators serve as associate department chairs, and 10 hold named, endowed titles.

Of the 56 Young Innovators from 2014 to 2018, 58.9% have received the prestigious CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. This group has received 7 NIH New Innovator Awards, 2 NIH Trailblazer Awards, and two Presidential Early Career Awards in Science and Engineering (PECASE).

All potential authors who hold the rank of Assistant Professor (or equivalent) at the time of nomination are eligible for selection, and while many of the authors are active members of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), membership in BMES is not a requirement for inclusion.

One of this year's Innovators, Megan McClean from the University of Wisconsin said the biggest honor is being part of this year's and past CMBE Innovators.

“Many of the cellular and molecular bioengineers I admire have received this award over the past five years, and I'm honored to now be included in this group,” McClean said. “I'm also looking forward to the two Young Innovator sessions at BMES. There are 11 other fantastic awardees this year, and I'm excited to learn more about their research.”
 
As in past years, awardees will present the papers in this issue in a special, two-part invited platform session on Friday, October 18 at the 2019 Annual Meeting of BMES in Philadelphia, at 8 am and 1:15 pm in the Terrace Ballroom 2–3 of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The articles in this issue represent some of the most innovative and impactful bioengineering studies carried out by junior faculty in the field.
 
McClean's research focuses on optogenetic tools.
 
“The project I've focused on for the CMBE Young Innovator issue is developing optogenetic tools for controlling gene expression in microbial communities, specifically in yeasts, she said”. Light gives us exquisite spatiotemporal control, so it is very useful for studying and perturbing processes that are finely controlled in space and time, such as development of pathogenic biofilms. The specific process we are most interested in is dispersion from fungal (medical device-associated) biofilms which leads to systemic infection and is associated with much of the mortality and morbidity seen in these infections. Dispersion is very poorly understood, in part because we lack good tools for studying this process. We hope to change that by developing these optogenetic (light-regulated) tools. The long term goal is to identify genetic and environmental regulators of dispersion that could serve as targets for therapeutic intervention.”