Treena Livingston Arinzeh (Photo: Jerry Jack)

Topics: African Americans, Diaspora, Diversity, Diversity in Science, History, Women in Science

The Biomedical Engineer

Treena Livingston Arinzeh, Ph. D.

Associate Professor

New Jersey Institute of Technology

Armed with a master’s in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania, Treena Livingston Arinzeh was the first to demonstrate, in 2003, that scientists can implant donor stem cells derived from the bone marrow of adults to form functional, viable bone tissue that is not rejected by the body.

Replacing bone tissue using donor stem cells has far-reaching applications. For one, patients may not need to undergo immunosuppression therapy, which can cause infection, osteoporosis, and damage to the kidney, liver, or pancreas. In addition, her research has led to clinical methods to induce bone repair of diabetics and others who have bone injuries. As a result of her findings, in 2004 President George W. Bush presented her with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the nation’s highest scientific honor. Her research is now mimicked in bone marrow transplant procedures across the country.

Arinzeh, now an associate professor of biomedical engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, says that women make up 50% of undergraduates in biomedical engineering but that there aren’t enough African Americans pursuing careers in her area. She says students must be engaged by mentors, and parents need to get them involved in extracurricular activities. “I think they don’t see enough of us that look like them so they can identify with that career as something they can actually do,” says Arinzeh, who invites 40 to 50 underrepresented high school students to her lab each summer, through the Project Seeds program, sponsored by the American Chemical Society.

Dr. Treena Livingston Arinzeh, Marcia Wade Talbert, Black Enterprise: Women in STEM

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