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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2015 / 03 

Panel discussion next week highlights women who conduct interdisciplinary research

March 25, 2015

Women who do groundbreaking work in interdisciplinary research will be featured during a Virginia Tech panel discussion at 1 p.m. on Tuesday in Kelly Hall.

The event, hosted by the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science, is part of Women’s Month at Virginia Tech.

As sciences have expanded to describe a broader range of phenomena, traditionally separate disciplines have started to overlap. As a result, interdisciplinary collaboration has become a key component of university research programs.

At the same time, women remain underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This inequality has prompted discussion about ways to encourage more women to pursue research, and underscored the need to highlight women’s contributions.

The panelists include:

  • Raffaella De Vita. An associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, de Vita received her laurea in mathematics from the University of Naples II, Italy, and her Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the recipient of the American Society of Biomechanics President’s Award, a National Science Foundation CAREER award, and 2012 PECASE award. Her research focuses on determining the relationship between the mechanical behavior and complex structure of biological systems.
  • Linsey Marr. A professor of civil and environmental engineering, Marr received her bachelor’s degree in engineering science from Harvard and her doctoral degree in civil and environmental engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. Her research group works to understand the behavior of pollutants in the atmosphere and their impacts on health and the environment.
  • Amy Pruden. A professor of civil and environmental engineering and associate dean and director of Interdisciplinary Graduate Education in the Graduate School, Pruden earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and a doctoral degree in environmental science from the University of Cincinnati. Her research focuses on tracking pathogens and antibiotic resistance genes in environmental systems in support of sustainable water systems that advance public health.
  • Nina Vance. The associate director of the Virginia Tech Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, Vance earned her Ph.D. in environmental engineering from Virginia Tech. Her research is focused on the human exposure to environmental contaminants, especially air pollutants and nanomaterials.
  • Elisa Wasson. A second-year doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering, Wasson joined the Bioelectromechanical Systems Lab directed by Rafael Davalos in 2013. Wasson is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow as well as an Institute of Critical Technology and Applied Science Doctoral Scholar. She is interested in investigating and enhancing the transport of drugs across the blood-brain barrier and into brain tumors using microfluidic platforms and electric fields.

A tour of one of the interdisciplinary labs in Kelly Hall will follow the panel discussion. For more information, email Eleanor Nelsen or call (540) 231-2761.

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