Notre Dame engineering faculty win NIH MIRA awards to support biomedical research

6 Notre Dame Faculty who were recently awarded NIH MIRAs.

In less than a year, three faculty in the College of Engineering were awarded the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), part of the National Institutes of Health.

MIRA grants support the nation’s most talented, early-career investigators, providing five years of funding for biomedical research that lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention. 

(Top row, left to right)

Meenal Datta, assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, received a MIRA to create an immune “mechanome” — a complete inventory of the mechanical responses and characteristics of immune cells. Her work will provide a better understanding of the biophysical relationships between mechanical forces and immune cell populations and functions.  

Yichun Wang, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, received a MIRA to expand work on engineering a new drug-delivery platform. By combining cell-generated exosomes with nanoscale biomaterials, Wang aims to enhance the effectiveness of transporting and delivering drugs to treat a range of diseases and disorders.

Maria Holland, assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, received a MIRA to develop novel computational biomechanics modeling of inflammatory swelling. These models will allow for variations in cell behavior and type and account for mechanical interactions between the swelling tissue and surrounding tissues—interactions that are currently not well understood.

This year’s MIRA grants follow those previously awarded to Notre Dame Engineering faculty members (second row, left to right) Donny Hanjaya-Putra (2021), Matthew Webber (2020), and Jeremiah Zartman (2017).

All of the MIRA awardees are faculty affiliates of the Bioengineering Graduate Program at the University of Notre Dame.

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