Michael Cimorelli Named a Fulbright Scholar

Michael Cimorelli, a PhD candidate and a GAANN fellow in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE), has been named a Fulbright Scholar to the Netherlands. The award was announced last month.

The Fulbright Program, which aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other countries, is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the US government.

In a letter announcing the award, Ret. Ambassador Jeffrey L. Bleich, chair of the Scholarship Board, wrote to Cimorelli, “Your grant is a reflection of your leadership and contributions to society, and is made possible through funds appropriated annually by the US Congress and, in many cases, by contributions from partner countries and the private sector.

“As a Fulbright recipient and a representative of the United States, you will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with international partners in educational, political, cultural, economic, and scientific fields,” Bleich added. “We hope you will engage also in your local community while on your Fulbright exchange. In so doing, you will exemplify the qualities of service, leadership, and excellence that have been hallmarks of this Program for over 70 years.”

Cimorelli will travel to Amsterdam to do research at the University of Amsterdam Academic Medical College. There, he’ll be working toward developing a biomarker for kidney cancer from processing and analyzing liquid biopsy utilizing novel experimental techniques.

 “This is as an amazing feeling and possibly the best I have ever felt about an academic achievement, knowing how difficult this award is to win and knowing what this work means to me personally,” said Cimorelli of the announcement. “Last summer I had the chance to travel to Amsterdam for a conference and I knew then that I needed to spend more time in this amazing city.

“While I have been at Drexel, both of my parents were diagnosed with cancer,” he explained. “Watching them overcome their diseases empowered me to consider how I could apply my skill set in hopes that no child ever has to watch their parents suffer. This is the main reason I picked Dr. Nieuwland and his lab (at the University of Amsterdam), as they are at the forefront of novel approaches for preventing these diseases before they begin.”

Cimorelli credited has work under the advisement of Dr. Steven Wrenn, professor (CBE), for guiding him as an independent researcher. Cimorelli joined Wrenn’s lab in January of 2016. There, Cimorelli was working on the development of a next-generation ultrasound enhancing agent that is engineered for quantifying myocardial perfusion, for monitoring ischemia, and for detecting infarction.

“Dr. Wrenn has been a steadfast leader who truly cares about his students on a personal level, which is rare to find in academia,” said Cimorelli. “He has an innate ability to trust his graduate students and let them solve problems on their own without micromanaging. I credit much of this award to him. Without his guidance none of this would be possible.”

Earlier this year, Cimorelli was awarded the prestigious IIE Graduate International Research Experiences Scholarships, a three-year grant funded by the National Science Foundation in support of international graduate research for exceptional engineering students.