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Thu, May 16


Virtual Seminar

Bridging Bodies and Bytes: The Future of Healthcare through Engineering Innovation

In this Lunch n Learn seminar we hear from Dr. Juana Mendenhall to explore the transformative role that engineering and technological innovation play in advancing healthcare.

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Bridging Bodies and Bytes: The Future of Healthcare through Engineering Innovation
Bridging Bodies and Bytes: The Future of Healthcare through Engineering Innovation

Time & Location

May 16, 2024, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CDT

Virtual Seminar

About the event

Hear from the esteemed Dr. Juana Mendenhall during this interactive session on the intersection of engineering and healthcare! This online event is designed to fit the compact, engaging format of a lunch break, offering attendees a panoramic view of the dynamic intersection between engineering and healthcare. This session is dedicated to professionals and students keen on exploring how mixed reality, extended reality, robotics, wearable technologies, and artificial intelligence are not just futuristic concepts but are actively reshaping the healthcare industry today.

Session Overview:

Duration: 1 hour

Location: Online

Cost: Free

Format: The session will kick off with a brief introduction, followed by a 45-minute presentation from Dr. Juana Mendenhall, Chair of Chemistry at Morehouse College,  that includes visuals and real-world examples of engineering innovations in healthcare. The concluding 15 minutes will be dedicated to a Q&A session, allowing participants to engage with Dr. Mendenhall, delve deeper into topics of interest, and discuss potential career paths in this evolving field.

Key Topics:

  • Introduction to Healthcare Innovations: A quick overview of how engineering is revolutionizing healthcare through advancements in technology, improving patient outcomes, and streamlining medical processes.
  • Mixed and Extended Reality: Insight into how AR and VR are used for surgical planning, medical training, and patient rehabilitation, providing immersive experiences that enhance learning and recovery processes.
  • Robotics in Healthcare: Exploration of the role of robotics in surgeries, patient care, and rehabilitation, including the development of surgical robots and robotic prosthetics.
  • Wearable Technologies: Discussion on the impact of wearable devices in continuous health monitoring, early disease detection, and personalized healthcare strategies.
  • AI in Diagnostics and Treatment: Overview of how artificial intelligence and machine learning are being applied to improve diagnostic accuracy, treatment planning, and patient care management.

Interactive Q&A Segment:This segment offers participants the chance to ask questions, share their insights, or express interest in specific areas. It's an excellent opportunity for attendees to explore the implications of these technologies on future career paths, understand the skills required, and learn how they can contribute to or pivot into this rapidly evolving field.

Who Should Attend:

This Online Seminar is perfect for anyone interested in the crossroads of healthcare and engineering, including:

  • Healthcare professionals curious about the latest technological advancements.
  • Engineers and tech professionals exploring opportunities in healthcare.
  • Students and recent graduates considering careers at the intersection of these fields.
  • Innovators and entrepreneurs seeking inspiration for healthcare solutions.


Participants will leave the session with a broad understanding of the transformative impact of engineering innovations on healthcare, equipped with knowledge about emerging career opportunities, and inspired by the potential to contribute to this vital and evolving sector. All within the span of a lunch break, making it a highly efficient and enlightening experience.


Dr. Juana Mendenhall is the Department Chairperson and Walter E. Massey Professor of Physical Sciences at Morehouse College in the Department of Chemistry at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. Professor Mendenhall is a results-oriented administrator at Morehouse where she is the Director and Principal Investigator of the Smart Biomaterials Lab, President and Founder of TheraViscTM, LLC, a company specializing in developing viscosupplement injectable gels to help with knee injuries, the TEDx licensee for TEDx Morehouse College, an educator, and scholar. Her ground-breaking patent-pending medical technology is one of the first medical technologies to show real potential in regenerating articular cartilage to mitigate joint diseases. Mendenhall is a champion for diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging in the classroom and research lab. She believes in innovative pedagogy, training, and scholarship for all students!

Morehouse College houses Dr. Mendenhall’s research lab, the Smart Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering lab, which creates pivotal solutions using tissue engineering strategies to treat and prevent Osteoarthritis. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), this work includes bioprinting hydrogels for tissue engineering and cellular therapies. Notably, Mendenhall collaborates with researchers at Washington State University, Cornell University, and Duke University. Additionally, Mendenhall’s polymer research is funded by the Department of Energy (DOE) – Energy Science Experimental and Modeling (ESEM) to model and prepare nuclear materials for molecular imprinting to mitigate nuclear waste with work done in tandem with other MSIs and national lab partners at Los Alamos National Lab and Pacific Northwest National Lab. More recently, Mendenhall received funding from NSF with Purdue University (lead) to establish the EMBRIO (Emergent Mechanisms in Biology of Robustness, Integration, and Organization). This multi-institutional institute will determine how living systems take multidomain “orthogonal” signals (chemical and mechanical stimuli) and integrate these signals to develop responsive phenotypes that coordinate cell and tissue structure for persistence and survival. In this project, Mendenhall’s team will study and model calcium signaling in 3D scaffolds at various lengths scales.

As a science educator and researcher, she fosters minority training and economical job growth by developing technical training and skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for minorities and marginalized groups. Under her tutelage, Morehouse students have won numerous national and regional conference awards for their work in the Mendenhall research lab. Dr. Mendenhall is known for her commitment to exposing underrepresented minorities to science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), and the health sciences (HS). Her mantra is to set a tangible example of leadership for minorities to inspire their interest in STEM and encourage them to pursue degrees and careers in STEM. During her tenure at Morehouse, she has served as department chair, chair of the faculty research committee, a faculty development fellow, graduate student advisor, and served on dissertation research committees, in addition to mentoring postdoctoral fellows via the FIRST (Fellowships in Research and Teaching) from Emory University. More recently, she created (Editor-in-Chief), the Journal of HBCU/MSI Undergraduate Research to allow undergraduate students early exposure to the peer-review journal process.

Dr. Mendenhall received her Bachelor of Science degree from North Carolina A&T State University. After graduating from NC A&T, she worked in the polymer industrial field until she decided to pursue her doctorate in polymer chemistry at Clark Atlanta University, where she completed her program in 2006. This graduate experience led to her receiving numerous awards in polymer chemistry from organizations such as the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the NSF. In recognition of her graduate work, Dr. Mendenhall received a Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship to work at Cornell University. Following this fellowship, she was accepted into Emory University’s Fellowships in Research and Science Teaching (FIRST) fellowship. The FIRST fellowship teaches scientists how to become better science teachers while doing research.

Dr. Mendenhall has received several awards throughout her career from organizations such as the American Chemical Society, National Science Foundation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University, and the American Society of Cell Biology. She is a reviewer for several scientific journals and guest editor of the Bioengineering Journal. Mendenhall also serves on the board of non-profit companies such as the Black Bayou social justice organization. She has given numerous research talks domestically and internationally on her smart biomaterials research and published many articles in high-impact peer-reviewed journals. Her TEDx talk on the Future of Knee Repair is already changing the narrative for treating patients with knee problems such as Osteoarthritis!

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