BME doctoral student receives NDSEG Fellowship

Oscar Ayala, a doctoral student in biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt University, has been awarded a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship. The NDSEG Fellowship is sponsored and funded by the Department of Defense. Ayala’s fellowship is awarded through the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

Oscar Ayala
Oscar Ayala

Awarded annually to only about 200 students who intend to pursue a doctoral degree in one of 15 supported disciplines, the NDSEG fellowship is a highly competitive three-year award that pays full tuition and fees and offers a monthly stipend.

Ayala is the third engineering doctoral student in two years to receive an NDSEG Fellowship.

Ayala, a research assistant in the Biomedical Photonics Lab, is concentrating his doctoral research to identify bacterial strains that cause otitis media or ear infections using Raman spectroscopy and optical coherence tomography.

Ayala, from Houston, Texas, earned his undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2012. As an undergraduate, he served as a summer research assistant at Stanford University and at the Baylor College of Medicine.

“As the first in my family to pursue a Ph.D., receiving an NDSEG Fellowship has been an honor and has opened the door for me to pursue my passion for research,” Ayala said.

Ayala’s faculty adviser is Orrin H. Ingram Professor of Biomedical Engineering Anita Mahadevan-Jansen, also a professor of neurological surgery. “Oscar is well deserving of this fellowship. He is dedicated to his research and I foresee a bright future for him as an independent researcher,” said Mahadevan-Jansen.

Brenda Ellis, (615) 343-6314
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