UW Bioengineering senior Celina Gunnarsson has received the 2017 UW President’s Medal and the Dean’s Medal for Academic Excellence from the College of the Engineering. Celina is a Woodinville resident having attended northshore schools.
The President’s Medal is presented annually by the University of Washington president to two graduating seniors who have achieved the most distinguished academic records in their class. Those graduating summa cum laude are considered for the awards. One medal is given to a student who has completed at least three-fourths of his or her degree requirements at the University. Beginning in 2004, a second medal has been awarded to a student who entered the University with at least 60 transfer credits from a Washington community college. Celina is the first President’s Medalist from the College of Engineering since 1992, and the first to receive this honor in UW BioE’s history.
In Assistant Professor Ying Zheng’s lab, Celina is developing a 3-D blood brain barrier (BBB) model for studying cerebral malaria. In this project, Celina is engineering human brain microvessel networks to create a self-contained system that mimics the structure and function of the BBB within the human body. The system will allow researchers to better understand the factors that contribute to disease progression and BBB dysfunction in cerebral malaria. Celina will co-author a publication documenting this work, and actively mentors and teaches lab techniques to others in the lab, including graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
After graduation, Celina plans to work full-time in Dr. Zheng’s lab as a research scientist, and in the fall will apply to Ph.D. programs with the intent to focus on tissue engineering and biophysics.