UIC bioengineering student wins Goldwater award

Nikhil Bommakanti, a junior in the UIC Honors College majoring in bioengineering.

An aspiring physician-scientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago has won a prestigious Barry M. Goldwater scholarship.

Nikhil Bommakanti, of Naperville, Ill., will receive the scholarship to help finish his undergraduate studies.

The program recognizes students in mathematics, science and engineering by awarding scholarships to undergraduates for academic achievement.

The $7,500 scholarship will cover tuition, books and related fees during the 2013-14 academic year.

The 271 recipients were selected from a field of 1,107 qualified nominees for the Goldwater scholarship, named for the late Republican senator from Arizona.

Bommakanti, a junior in the UIC Honors College majoring in bioengineering, has conducted research with Dr. Randal O. Dull, professor and vice head for research of anesthesiology, on how the barrier separating the blood vessels and the lungs responds to increased vascular pressure. The goal is to reduce the buildup of fluid in the lungs from congestive heart failure.

“As researchers in the biomedical sciences, we are uniquely positioned to find solutions that will ultimately benefit patients,” said Bommakanti, who has also worked with bioengineering faculty.

Bommakanti plans to earn a M.D./Ph.D. degree with the goal of heading a biomedical engineering laboratory.

He is director-elect for the Chicago Area Undergraduate Research Symposium, an annual undergraduate-led convention for all academic disciplines. He also serves as vice-president for the Bioengineering Organizational Alliance, an umbrella organization of national bioengineering societies at UIC.

Bommakanti, a 2010 graduate of Naperville North High School, has won numerous university academic honors. He is a member of Tau Beta Pi, a national engineering honor society, Alpha Eta Mu Beta, a national biomedical engineering honor society, and Phi Kappa Phi, a national honor society for all academic disciplines.

UIC ranks among the nation’s leading research universities and is Chicago’s largest university with 27,500 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state’s major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners in hundreds of programs to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world.

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