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Department of Biomedical Engineering


Technical Areas: Microfluidic Systems; Stem Cell Transplantation; Muller and Schwann Glia; Electro-chemotaxis   

My research integrates design of biomedical engineering (BME) systems with mechanistic biology and clinical application. The laboratory has developed microfluidic systems to correlate cell migration with altered signaling pathways across a wide range of bio-applications, including repair of the central, visual and peripheral nervous systems (NS). My current projects focus on neuronal and glial cell replacements and their implications for regenerative, cell-based therapies across the NS. I have additionally integrated my research with educational initiatives in health disparities (HD) to address the profound diversity of health challenges among USA adults.  The laboratory has been awarded funding for research and educational initiatives from the NIH (General Medicine, Cancer, Eye), NSF (Chemical, Bioengineering and Transport Systems, National Nanotechnology Initiative) and DoD (Office of Scientific Research). 


TECHNOLOGY PLATFORMS: Microfluidics-Based Biosystems; Nanotechnology and Intracellular Imaging

BIOLOGY EMPHASIS: Cell Motility and Collective Migration; Glial and Neuronal Progenitor Biology; Neuromuscular Junction (NMJ)

CLINICAL TRANSLATION: Photoreceptor Transplantation; Schwann Cell Delivery; Health Disparities 

EDUCATION AND OUTREACH: Health Disparities Challenges for Engineers; Biodesign and Innovation for Engineers; Undergraduate Research Programs


2021 Guest Editor, Micromachines: Microfluidic Platforms for the Nervous System  (Publisher: MDPI)

2020 Inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) Class of 2020.

2019 Keynote Speaker, Fairleigh Dickinson University (Madison, NJ) Inaugural Meeting of the FDU Women in Science Nov 6, 2019. Women at the Eye and STEM of Society

2018 Keynote Speaker, University of Florida (Gainesville) 7th Annual Pruitt Research Day Nov 16, 2018. The Eye in Biomedical Engineering: The Unknown and the Unexpected

2017 Keynote speaker at BCC Hidden Figures: Women in STEM Luncheon, Bronx Community College

2017 Invited Speaker at Gordon Research Conference in Microfluidics, Lucca (Barga) Italy: Microfluidics for the Visual System

2017 Winner of President's Award for Excellence: Recognizes CCNY faculty members for their innovative approaches in mentoring, research, teaching, scholarship and serving as exemplary models for excellence in scholarship, teaching and student success. 

2015 Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine, CUNY Decade of Science (August 7, 2015)   

2013 Univision Televised Reporting (Channel 41), 'STEM and the Elusive Latina Role Model,' (August 12, 2013; Starts at 18:15min)

2013 New York City Council, Televised Panel Discussion led by State Senator Y. Rodriguez, 'CUNY Stem Initiatives,' September 17, 2013

2012 Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine, Latina Faculty Reshaping (February 27, 2012) 

2011  Keynote Speaker, New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSeF) at the American Museum of Natural History (Opening for visit from US President Barack Obama, 'Bitten by the Science Bug' (March 29, 2011)

2011 Keynote Speaker Podcast, CUNY Lecture Series: The Science of Female Negotiation (Dec 20, 2011) 

Professional Affiliations

SOCIETY MEMBERSHIPS: Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES); The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO); American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE); Society of Women Engineers (SWE); Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)      

ACADEMIC LEADERSHIP: Biomedical Engineering Society Health Disparities Special Interest Group (BMES 2015-17); Coulter College for Translation of BME Innovation (2015-2017); ABET coordinator (CCNY 2010-2016); Master’s in Translational Medicine (MTM) Founding Committee for Biodesign (CCNY 2015-2018); Co-founding faculty member of the CCNY BME Department (2002-2005).

COMMUNITY OUTREACH: Invited panelist: Importance of Minority Serving Institutions (NSF 2014-2017); HBCU/MSI Career Panels (DoD 2009-2011), Minority Partnership Programs (NIH 2004-2008); Media: Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine: CUNY Decade of Science (2015); Univision STEM and the Elusive Role Model (2013, Channel 41); New York City Council (State Senator Y. Rodriguez) Televised Discussion of STEM initiatives (2013); CUNY Lecture Series: The Science of Female Negotiation (2011 Keynote Speaker Podcast). Student Societies: Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) Graduate Research Symposium Chair (2009-2012), Northeast Regional Conference session chair (2002-2005); Society of Women Engineers (SWE) CUNY faculty advisor (2001-2008).

MENTORING ACTIVITIES: President’s Award for Excellence in Research, Mentoring and Teaching (2017 CCNY); Biomedical Engineering Society Department Diversity Award (2015, BMES); Young Leadership Award (2012, 100 Hispanic NY Women Inc.); Mentoring Awards: NSF Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (2010, CCNY); Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for Minority Education (2007); NSF Bridge to the Doctorate Programs and Faculty Mentoring (2005); CUNY High School Summer STEM Institute Research Director (2014-2018).

CONFERENCE ENGAGEMENT: Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) conference abstract reviewer (2006-2014), session co-chair (glial engineering 2013, microenvironments 2011-2012, cell motility 2009 and cancer metastasis 2005-2007) and track co-chair (micro- and nano-technologies 2015). BMES Special Interest Groups in Cell and Molecular Bioengineering (2012-2017), Health Disparities (2014-2017), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) industry initiatives (2017) and Coulter College for Translation of BME Innovation (2014-2017). American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AIChE) conference abstract reviewer (2001-2006) and co-chair of AIChE joint session with American Electrophoresis Society (2003-2002).

PROFESSIONAL SERVICE: Proposal reviewer for NSF (EECS, 2005-2009, MRI, 2005-2007, CBET 2003-2009, NER 2003-2006). Proposal reviewer for NIH (ISD study section ad-hoc 2007-2017, Special Emphasis Panel (NEI 2016, NIBIB 2013-2017, NIGMS 2010-2012, NCI 2008-2010), Shared Instrumentation Panel (NIBIB 2009, NIGMS 2006-2007). Reviewer of State Awards: Louisiana Innovation in Engineering Research Fund (2010-2012); University of Connecticut Internal Grants (2011-2009); Ohio Office for the Advancement of Research Scholarship (2008-2009). Reviewer of International Awards: Universidad Panamericana de Cuenca (Ecuador, 2013-2015); Universidad de Monterrey (Mexico, 2011-2012); University of British Columbia (Canada, 2008-2011). Journal reviewer for: Analytical Chemistry, Annals of Biomedical Engineering, Biosensors, Brain Research, Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Journal of Pediatric Biochemistry, Nanomedicine, Nature Communications; MIT Corporation Visiting Committee Mechanical Engineering (2002-2010).


•    Doctor of Science (Sc.D.), Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Cambridge, MA, 2001
•    Master of Science (M.S.), Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Cambridge, MA, 1996
•    Bachelor of Science, BS, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 1992