Biomedical engineering graduate student is a Ford Foundation Fellow

Biomedical engineering graduate student Ismael Ortiz has been awarded a fellowship in the Ford Foundation Fellowship Programs competition administered at the Fellowships Office of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Ford Predoctoral Fellowships are highly competitive with a typical overall success rate of only 4% to 5%. Fellowships provide three years of support at $27,000 per year, which can be used over a five-year period. New Ford Fellows also are invited to attend the Conference of Ford Fellows, a national conference of selected scholars committed to increasing the racial and ethnic diversity of the nation’s college and university faculties. Of the past 17 Ford Foundation recipients at Vanderbilt, Ortiz is the first in the School of Engineering.

Ismael Ortiz

Ortiz is pursuing research in the areas of cancer tumor differences and their effects on metastasis and cancer cell migration and metabolism. He works in the Reinhart-King Laboratory, led by Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Engineering Cynthia A. Reinhart-King, a nationally recognized cellular bioengineer and University Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Cell and Developmental Biology.

Ortiz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Miami in 2020 and he arrived at Vanderbilt with extensive research experience, presenting his work at national forums and co-authoring two papers.

In 2021, Ortiz received the Richard Bennett/Dorothy Danforth Compton Prize awarded to a first-year minority student in science or engineering. He also is the recipient of a 2022 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Ortiz is a Russell G. Hamilton Scholar, named for the first African American dean at Vanderbilt, and who led the Graduate School for 15 years.

His outreach activities include teaching and service. Since 2017, Ortiz has been involved with Camp Kasem, an organization that provides year-round support and a weeklong summer camp for children whose parents are battling cancer. He also works with fellow BME graduate students to offer science enrichment activities for elementary and high school students.

Contact: Brenda Ellis, 615 343-6314