Biomedical Engineering

Alumni Update: Ram Rao Receives National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

Rameshwar Rao

Rameshwar Rao, undergraduate Class of 2008, has received a 2011 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Ram is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Ram’s project  involves the creation of cell-encapsulating microbeads as a moldable bone substitute, under the supervision of Dr. Jan Stegemann. He was awarded a spot on the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (TEAM) NIH T32 Training Grant in May 2010 and received his MS in December 2010.  He is now continuing with his PhD thesis project and has been recently awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship.

In what little extracurricular time he has, Ram has taken leadership positions as the President of the Society of Biomaterials Student Chapter and the Vice-President of M-HEAL. M-HEAL (Michigan Health Engineering for all Lives) is a student group consisting of 7 design teams that create low-cost medical devices for the developing world.

Ram has started a company with 4 other Biomedical Engineering PhD students and one MBA student.  STIgma Free Diagnostics, LLC which was founded in January 2010, is developing a novel medical device for the rapid diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).  By utilizing microfluidics and Bio-MEMS technology, their product has the ability to provide accurate results for the three most common STIs (chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis) within 20 minutes. They were Semi-Finalists in the Michigan Business Challenge (final 8 out of 50), semi-finalists in the Accelerate Michigan business competition, and took home First Place in the Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest (GLEQ) in January 2011.  They are working on their second prototype and beginning to look for angel investor funding.

Here is a link to the GLEQ –

Ram would like to thank all of his professors and advisors from UC Davis for the exceptional experiences that he received during his undergraduate education.  He especially would like to thank Christal Wintersmith for her time advising him and Dr. Kent Leach for his mentorship in both the academic and laboratory settings.

You can contact Ram at if you have any further questions or comments.