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USF Professors Ferreira and Saddow Earn Prestigious AIMBE Honors


The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering represents the nation's most accomplished individuals in the fields of medical and biological engineering.

TAMPA – USF Molecular Medicine Professor Gloria Ferreira and College of Engineering Professor Stephen Saddow have been chosen as new Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, one of the nation’s most prestigious organizations recognizing leaders in medical and biological engineering innovation.

Dr. Ferreira is a pioneering researcher in the field of heme biosynthesis and iron metabolism, particularly for advancing the understanding of and therapies for metabolic defects associated with porphyrias, a group of rare inherited, debilitating and painful blood disorders.

Dr. Saddow is known globally in the field of Silicon Carbide (SiC) Biomedical Technology, with his work focusing on developing semi-conductor materials for high-power device applications and biomedical applications. He is one of the first researchers to demonstrate the use of the technology in working with living tissues.

This year’s selection brings the number of USF AIMBE Fellows to 21.

Fellows are nominated each year by their peers and represent the top 2 percent of the medical and biological engineering community. Since AIMBE’s inception, over 2,000 individuals have been inducted to AIMBE’s College of Fellows. AIMBE consists of clinicians, industry professionals, academics and scientists, who have distinguished themselves through their contributions in research, industrial practice and/or education. Fundamental to their achievements is the common goal of embracing innovation to improve the healthcare and safety of society, AIMBE says.

Learn more about USF's new Fellows:

gloria ferreira

Gloria Ferreira, PhD

Professor, Department of Molecular Medicine, Morsani College of Medicine

Member, Florida Center of Excellence for Biomolecular Identification and Targeted Therapeutics

Dr. Ferreira is an early pioneer in illuminating the mechanisms of the first and terminal steps of the heme biosynthetic pathway. Her achievements over 30 years include development of novel expression systems and design and implementation of specific and continuous assays for the first enzyme of the heme biosynthetic pathway in mammalian cells: 5-aminolevulinate synthase (ALAS). This is significant because, at the time, heme biosynthesis research had reached an impasse due to lack of sufficient purified protein to perform protein structure-function and regulation research. She went on to develop specific inhibitors of ALAS for use in porphyria therapies and defined the molecular basis of a recently identified porphyria, which is associated with erythroid ALAS – X-linked protoporphyria.

She also engineered novel biological and biochemical approaches to molecular level investigation of the terminal enzyme of heme biosynthesis, ferrochelatase. Her findings helped define the route of the unstable and potentially toxic ferrous iron substrate to the active site of ferrochelatase. This cellular, biochemical and mechanistic investigation of the two enzymes and interaction with their protein partners has helped identify targets for current and future drug discovery efforts and potential therapies.

She holds two U.S. Patents and one invention disclosure; authored more than 120 publications, and served as principal investigator in more than $7 million in grants.

stephen saddow

Stephen E. Saddow, PhD

Department of Electrical Engineering and Department of Medical Engineering

College of Engineering

For more than 25 years, Dr. Saddow has been a pioneer at the nexus of material science and biomedical engineering, working to improve existing biomedical devices by harnessing the properties of bio- and hemo-compatible silicon carbide (SiC) materials to allow for new and improved medical devices. He is internationally recognized in the field of Silicon Carbide (SiC) Biomedical Technology as one of the first scientists to demonstrate its biocompatibility and bio-versatility, and he has engineered more than a dozen related patented devices and technologies. Today, uncountable numbers of commercial biomedical devices utilizing these technologies — such as neural and dental implants, cardiac stents, long-lifetime biosensors — are in use worldwide.

More recently, he demonstrated through a National Cancer Institute grant where he leads an international team, that SiC can be used to treat recurrent head and neck surface cancers in humans. He holds 14 patents, has published more than 250 articles and books, and received more than $8.7 million in grant funding.

The two will be formally inducted as AIMBE Fellows in a virtual ceremony on March 26.

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Learn more about USF research by viewing articles from past years (2010-2019).

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