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Gopi Mani
Gopinath Mani

UTSA Commencement Close-Up: Gopinath Mani earns first doctorate in biomedical engineering

By Kris Rodriguez
Public Affairs Specialist

(Dec. 13, 2007)--Four years of hard work, determination and dedication culminated Thursday night when 29-year-old Gopinath "Gopi" Mani walked the stage as the first recipient of a doctoral degree from the biomedical engineering program, a joint project of UTSA and the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC).

Established in 2004, the program offers graduate students unique interdisciplinary opportunities for collaborations, discoveries and valuable learning experiences.

Mani arrived in San Antonio in 2003 after completing a master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and an undergraduate degree in textile technology from Anna University in India.

As a doctoral student, he studied under College of Engineering Dean C. Mauli Agrawal, one of the leading authorities in biomaterials research. In the laboratory, Mani worked to develop new techniques to deliver drugs from coronary stents. The new technique would attach a drug to a cardiac stent and release it over a period of time.

His review paper was published in the Journal of Biomaterials and has been listed as one of the Top 25 Hottest Articles by ScienceDirect for the first quarter of 2007. In addition to his publishing, Mani also made presentations at the Biomedical Engineering Society Conference and the Society for Biomaterials Conference.

"Gopi has performed some groundbreaking work, which is expected to lead to a whole new technology for delivering therapeutics to the human body using commonly used implants," said Agrawal. "His work is of high caliber and as the first student to graduate from the biomedical engineering doctoral program, he certainly has set a high standard for others that will follow."

Mani credits his success to the faculty in the biomedical engineering department, comprised of biomedical researchers and chemists from the UTSA College of Engineering and College of Sciences and physicians from UTHSC's departments of Orthopaedics, cardiology and radiology.

"Our department has world-class faculty that were friendly and helpful and were with us all the way as we went through every step of the process in the graduate program," said Mani.

The future looks bright for Mani, as he dreams of developing his own large biomedical research laboratory to conduct scientific work to help treat diseases that will solve problems and improve the quality of lives. But for now, he will continue with his research over the next year or two as a post-doctoral researcher in Agrawal's laboratory.

Although his parents and sister in India were not able to attend Thursday night's ceremony, his wife, Priya, was there to cheer him on. Fortunately, the UTSA Center for Distance Learning and Academic Technology was able to videostream the UTSA commencement ceremonies and Mani's family was able to witness the moment when he walked across the stage to complete his milestone achievement.

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