November 30, 2010 — Edward Botchwey, professor of biomedical engineering and orthopedic surgery at the University of Virginia, was recently named by President Obama as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers.
The award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Botchwey was one of 85 researchers from across the country to receive the honor.
"I'm deeply humbled to receive this award, and I will be forever grateful to the outstanding U.Va. colleagues, outside collaborators, graduate students and undergrads that I am blessed to work with. Our work together makes the research happen," Botchwey said. "I am also very grateful to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases for their nomination and ongoing support of my research."
Botchwey, who specializes in tissue engineering, earned the award for a research project that focuses on promoting the growth of mature microvascular blood vessel networks to improve healing after transplant surgery or injury. He and his research team use the drug sphingosine 1-phosphate, or S1P, to induce arteriogenesis, a process by which new arterioles, or small blood vessels, form and existing ones structurally enlarge.
The drug, which is delivered from a polymer coating applied to a transplanted tissue, increases the number and diameter of microvessels that are critical to the preservation of tissues after surgery or injury. The project is funded by a five-year, $1.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.
"Ed represents the high caliber of scholarship in U.Va.'s Department of Biomedical Engineering and the School of Medicine," said James H. Aylor, dean of the U.Va. School of Engineering and Applied Science. "We are honored to have him as a colleague and look forward to his prolific career in developing solutions that advance healing."
Thomas C. Skalak, vice president for research at the University, said that Botchwey is a role model for next-generation biomedical engineering innovators.
"Ed's work has taken regenerative medicine to a whole new level," he said. "He has been able to synthesize diverse approaches to new medical applications that will not only serve patients, but also create new high-tech jobs in this country."
According to a White House press release, the Presidential Early Career Awards embody the high priority the Obama administration places on producing outstanding scientists and engineers to advance the nation's goals, tackle grand challenges and contribute to the American economy. Ten Federal departments and agencies join together annually to nominate the most meritorious scientists and engineers whose early accomplishments show the greatest promise for ensuring America's preeminence in science and engineering and contributing to the awarding agencies' missions.
"Science and technology have long been at the core of America's economic strength and global leadership," Obama said in the press release. "I am confident that these individuals, who have shown such tremendous promise so early in their careers, will go on to make breakthroughs and discoveries that will continue to move our nation forward in the years ahead."
The awards, established by President Clinton in 1996, are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach. Winning scientists and engineers have received research grants for up to five years to further their studies in support of critical government missions.