The University of Texas at Dallas

Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science


PhD Student Takes Two Awards at Chemistry Conference

PhD Student Takes Two Awards at Chemistry Conference

Bioengineering doctoral student Ambalika Tanak MS’16 received a distinguished abstract award and won the student poster competition at the 70th annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry.

Ambalika Tanak MS’16

Ambalika Tanak MS’16

Tanak’s abstract was among 24 winners from a pool of 887 abstracts at the national conference, which was held during the summer in Chicago. Her research focuses on building point-of-need diagnostic devices that require very low sample amounts. The specific study that was recognized involved determining parathyroid hormone levels in blood.

“The challenge in parathyroid testing is the need for a test fast enough to use during procedures that is also sensitive and specific enough to accurately determine how well a thyroidectomy is working,” said Tanak’s advisor, Dr. Shalini Prasad, associate department head of bioengineering and Cecil H. and Ida Green Professor in Systems Biology Science at UT Dallas. “The work presented by Ambalika is the first step toward achieving this clinical milestone.”

Tanak credited Prasad, along with Dr. Sriram Muthukumar, adjunct associate professor of materials science and engineering at UT Dallas, and Dr. Ibrahim Hashim, holder of the A.J. Gill Professorship of Pathology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, for providing crucial guidance.

“I am honored to receive this highly competitive award,” Tanak said. “The AACC conference has been a good learning experience for me. Apart from the abstract award, winning first place for the poster competition is a motivation to continue to take up challenges and strive for effective solutions in the field.”