Doctoral student awarded Whitaker International Summer Program grant

Spencer Crowder

Biomedical graduate student Spencer Crowder has been awarded the highly-competitive Whitaker International Summer Program grant to begin his post-doctoral research in the United Kingdom.

The program provides bioengineers and biomedical engineering students from the United States funding to undertake a self-designed overseas project that will enhance their careers within the field. He will receive a living stipend, round-trip airfare, tuition costs and health insurance for the eight-week period of the grant next summer.

Crowder is a Ph.D. candidate and anticipates graduating in May 2014. He works in the Vanderbilt Biomaterials Laboratory under the leadership of Hak-Joon Sung, assistant professor of biomolecular engineering, where he focuses on the extracellular regulation of human mesenchymal stem cell (hMSC) health. Specifically, he aims to identify the matrix properties that most actively influence intracellular redox mechanisms in aging hMSCs in order to reinstate their declining therapeutic potential.

At Imperial College London, Crowder will investigate two and three dimensional graphene as a novel biomaterial for guided stem cell differentiation, applying this material as a template for advanced tissue engineering strategies.

The Whitaker International Summer Program provides hands-on international experience that seeks to help developing scientists open their minds to think and analyze on a global level, build individual and institutional partnerships and establish dialogues between the scientific community in the United States and the rest of the world.