Hettiaratchi Awarded as a P.E.O. Scholar

Marian Hettiaratchi a Ph.D. candidate in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, is one of 85 doctoral students nationwide selected to receive a $15,000 Scholar Award from the Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) Sisterhood. She was sponsored by the Georgia P.E.O. Chapter.

Hettiaratchi is a third year Ph.D. candidate. She received a BSc. in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering in 2011 from the University of Calgary, where she worked on several stem cell bioprocessing projects at the Pharmaceutical Production Research Facility (PPRF) under the supervision of Arindom Sen, Ph.D. She is currently co-advised by professors Todd McDevitt, Ph.D. and Robert Guldberg, Ph.D., working on a project that aims to improve biotherapeutic strategies for bone regeneration and repair. Hettiaratchi is developing novel glycosaminoglycan-based biomaterials for the sustained delivery of pluripotent stem cell morphogens to bone injury sites.

This project presents a unique “cell-free” strategy for harnessing the regenerative potential of pluripotent stem cells by capturing and delivering the potent proteins they secrete. In addition to the PSA, Hettiaratchi is also a recipient of a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) doctoral fellowship and has presented her work at national and international conferences, including the annual Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society – Americas (TERMIS-AM) conference and Regenerative Medicine Workshop at Hilton Head Island.