UDC Biomedical Engineering Program Director receives nation’s top honor for early-career scientists and engineers.
Dr. Lara Thompson recently has been recognized as an Alan T. Waterman Awardees of 2022. This award is described by the National Science Foundation as the nation’s most prestigious early-career honor for scientists and engineers. Her research and innovations are tied to understanding and mitigating the effects of loss of balance in people. She had translated her research on vestibular disorders and vestibular prostheses in primates towards engineering-based interventions for individuals with balance, gait and postural impairments tied to stroke or due to the effects of aging.
At UDC, Dr. Thompson joined the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences faculty as a new graduate, directly after completing her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program. As a new UDC faculty, she was presented the task, and also opportunity, for spearheading a new biomedical engineering enterprise (program and research laboratory) by erecting each from scratch. By proactively seeking out resources and conceptualizing, writing, then being awarded multiple federal grants, each task was successfully accomplished. Currently, Dr. Thompson is the founding director of both the Biomedical Engineering degree program (the first and only ABET-accredited biomedical engineering program at a HBCU nationwide) and the Center for Biomechanical & Rehabilitation Engineering, a state-of-the-art facility which investigates human mobility.
“Receiving the Waterman Award is a huge honor in that it is the most notable award in the United States for early career scientists and engineers,” said Thompson. “Being the first award recipient from a historically Black college and university, and the first (self-reported) woman of color, while being a new mom, means so much to me.”
The awardees will receive $1 million over five years for research in their chosen field of science. The Waterman Award was presented at a ceremony during the National Science Board meeting, held in Washington, D.C., on May 5, 2022.
“We are thrilled with this award for Dr. Thompson, as this recognition affirms UDC’s creativity and innovation potential as an emerging research institution,” said Vice President for UDC Research Victor McCrary. “Our research enterprise serves our citizens for the challenges of climate change, healthcare, water and food security, education and lifelong learning skills. UDC students experience cutting edge research from top-notch professors, which compliments their in-class learning to provide a pipeline of diverse, domestic STEM talent ready to be part of our local economy.”
UDC CBRE Lab https://bcove.video/3vKyRHy
National Science Board, 2022 Honorary Awardees Panel, May 2022 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oczlj3-cqjU