Department of bioengineering attracts top talent while becoming more diverse
CLEMSON — Clemson University’s efforts to attract top talent and enhance diversity are paying off threefold, as the department of bioengineering prepares to welcome a new assistant professor to the faculty and two postdoctoral researchers remain on track to join next year.
Renee Cottle, an assistant professor who will join the bioengineering faculty in August, has been selected to apply for a program that could lead to a $1.25 million grant over five years.
In addition, two postdoctoral researchers who are part of a program aimed at retaining exceptional talent could be added to the bioengineering faculty as early as August 2017. They are Angela Alexander-Bryant and Jordon Gilmore.
Clemson President James P. Clements said that increasing diversity in the bioengineering faculty and student body will help ensure that Clemson’s health care innovations leave no one behind.
“It’s just as important for health care innovators to understand a patient’s culture as it is for them to know their illnesses and injuries,” Clements said. “The better that innovators understand, the better they can tailor their treatments to fit the patient’s beliefs about diet, health and wellness.”
Robert H. Jones, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, said the growing diversity in the department of bioengineering will help ensure that Clemson’s curriculum and research represent the health care needs of the state and the nation.
“We want our faculty, student body and staff to reflect the broader population,” he said. “As a result, the quality of our faculty, staff and students will rise, our research will be of higher quality, and our students will be better prepared for the future. There is much work to do, but we’re making progress.”
Cottle has been selected to compete for the 2016 Director’s Early Independence Award, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health. The program is for exceptional junior scientists who possess the abilities and maturity to launch a research program directly after completion of a doctoral degree.
Cottle is a recent graduate of the joint Biomedical Engineering program at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University.
Martine LaBerge, chair of the bioengineering department, said that Cottle will arrive at Clemson with impressive credentials.
“We are excited to welcome her to the Clemson Family and to support her as she launches what promises to be an impressive faculty career,” she said.
Alexander-Bryant and Gilmore are postdoctoral researchers who joined the department through Tiger Talent. As part of the program, exceptionally talented post-doctoral researchers are recruited at Clemson to pursue independent research in transition to faculty positions at the university.
Alexander-Bryant came to Clemson from The Johns Hopkins University, where she received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in materials science and engineering. She was a student in the Clemson-MUSC Joint Bioengineering Program and graduated with her Ph.D. in 2015. Alexander-Bryant recently won a Minority Scholar in Cancer Research Award from the American Association for Cancer Research.
Gilmore arrived at Clemson after receiving a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from The Citadel. He received his Ph.D. in bioengineering in 2015.
Gilmore is co-founder and the chief executive officer of the Clemson-based technology startup company Machine and Human Interaction LLC. He also received a graduate certificate in engineering and science education from Clemson in 2014 and serves as the program coordinator for Call Me Doctor. The program is aimed at recruiting and training underrepresented minority graduate students in engineering and science.
“Drs. Cottle, Alexander-Bryant and Gilmore embody Clemson’s efforts to recruit and retain top talent,” LaBerge said. “In addition to their exceptional qualifications, they are helping make Clemson a more diverse campus. Diversity helps prepare our students for the unique challenges and opportunities of the 21st century, helping them thrive in the workplace and their communities.”