Melvin to Receive Career Development Award

August 2, 2018


 Currently working on a doctorate of philosophy in interdisciplinary studies: specialization in translational bioengineering, Alexa Melvin recently received the Biomedical Engineering Society Career Development Award. According to the BMES site, the award helps “graduate students, postdoctoral fellow, and early career professionals from underrepresented populations in biomedical engineering or involved in research and training focused on health disparities and minority health in biomedical engineering.”

Melvin, who currently works closely with Dr. Tommy Roussel, and who has an abstract at the conference, will present a poster presentation. Through this opportunity hopes to build connections with other industry professionals.

“I know that recently Dr. Roussel has mentioned a couple of people in the field who might be good to work for, so if they’re down there, it will be nice to meet them,” said Melvin. “Otherwise, I’m just going to see what there is to see and learn about cool research in the field.

Since arriving at the Speed School, Melvin has worked with computer simulations in comsol multi-physics to help develop a micro-fluidic platform to passively prepare plasma samples from whole blood. Through her efforts with Roussel, Melvin has become increasingly engaged in the local bioengineering community.

“I started working in Dr. Roussel’s class after working in his lab. I really enjoy his enthusiasm with his student’s success. He’s working with Dr. Nichola Garbett at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center,” said Melvin. “She has this technology to work on cancers and autoimmune diseases. And he thought this would be good technology to learn on.”

A native of Topeka, KS, Melvin relocated to St. Louis University, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering. Community service was a strong component of her time as an undergraduate, which led her to help develop a low cost solar cooker system to be implemented in Haiti or other lower income countries to reduce the number of trees they had to cut down. Later she volunteered at the Casa de Salud, a free medical clinic that afforded healthcare to immigrants, an experience that she carries with her still.

“One of the things that brought me to Speed School, I was looking for a program that had clinical research,” said Melvin. “I wanted to continue that work, being able to see your work impact patients.”

She will receive the award at the annual BMES conference in Atlanta, GA, October 17-20.