Merit Award for Research

Merit Award for Research

Emily Nieves

A senior biological engineering major, Emily Nieves is passionate about the field of computational medicine – an area of biological engineering where mathematical modeling is used to gain insights into physiology and develop new treatments for disease.

"Without the research I was able to be a part of through the College of Engineering, I would never have discovered computational medicine or my love of research," said Emily. "I look forward to continuing research in graduate school so I can continue making an impact in the health of others."

As a sophomore, Emily worked alongside Erik Hofmeister, an associate professor in the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, as a CURO research assistant. Later that year, she participated in UGA's Nanotechnology and Biomedicine Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program where she discovered her love for mathematical modeling and computational medicine. Her REU mentor, College of Engineering Assistant Professor K. Melissa Hallow, asked Emily to stay on following the program and work in her lab.

Over the past three years, Emily has worked on quantitative systems pharmacology projects that involve modeling the effect of drugs on the kidney, primarily in people with diabetes. This work led to an internship with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, where she was the only undergraduate intern in the company's quantitative clinical pharmacology department. 

Emily recently submitted her first research study as first author. She is a co-author of another paper under review and she is beginning work on another first-author publication. 

"I couldn’t dream of accomplishing my goal of finding better solutions for treating diabetes without the research I have completed here at UGA. Research at the College of Engineering, and the support I’ve received from the program, have been my starting point for success and for that I am so grateful."

The College of Engineering Undergraduate Merit Awards for Service, Research, and Athletics honor students who demonstrate a strong work ethic inside and outside the classroom. These students exceed expectations as set forth by instructors, professors, staff and coaches.