Professor Imoukhuede’s research examines mechanisms regulating angiogenic signaling with focus on tyrosine kinase receptors, VEGFRs and PDGFRs. She pioneers both quantitative biological measurements and computational biological models to delineate ligand-receptor binding, receptor and effector phosphorylation, and sprouting angiogenic hallmarks (cell proliferation and migration). This bottom-up systems biology paradigm offers mechanistic insight towards directing vascular signaling with translational implications to cancers and cardiovascular diseases.
- University of Pittsburgh Graduate Women in Engineering Network, High Impact Innovation and Inspiration (HI3) Speaker Award , 2020
- AIChE Journal Futures Series, 2019
- Bionanotechnology, Young Innovator, 2018
- Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA), Distinguished Leadership Award, 2018
- NSF CAREER Award, 2017
- Rose Award for Teaching Excellence, 2017
- Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Young Innovator, 2015
- NIH-NIDDK, Basic Research Award, 2015
- American Cancer Society, Illinois Division, Basic Research Grant, 2013-2015
- Gordon Conference in Angiogenesis Poster Award, 2011
- NIH Loan Repayment Awardee for Clinical Research, 2009
- UNCF/Merck Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, 2008
- Commitment to Diversity Award, Caltech, 2008
Professor Imoukhuede is a native of Illinois, having attended Rich South High School and the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA). Professor Imoukhuede earned her SB in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where her research earned her the coveted Class of 1972 award, presented annually to the project that most improves the quality of life through its impact on people and/or the environment. Professor Imoukhuede’s research was funded by the National Science Foundation’s Biotechnology Process Engineering Center at MIT and through a Bioengineering Undergraduate Research Award by the MIT Division of Bioengineering and Environmental Health. Professor Imoukhuede was also an NCAA All-American athlete, garnering these honors three times for placing at the NCAA Track and Field Championships. Professor Imoukhuede was honored with the 2002 Betsy Schumaker Award (also known as the MIT female athlete of the year), was selected to a COSIDA/VERIZON Academic All-America team, and was awarded an NCAA postgraduate scholarship. Professor Imoukhuede championed the importance of social responsibility in the midst of academic excellence by serving as the President of the MIT Committee on Multiculturalism, President of the MIT chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), and held both chapter and zone offices in the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).
After earning her undergraduate degree, Professor Imoukhuede pursued graduate study in Bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, CA. Here, she combined sensitive techniques in biomedical optics with nanoparticle imaging towards understanding the structure, function, and trafficking of a key protein in epilepsy, the GABA transporter, GAT1. She also performed research in nicotine addiction through molecular imaging of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Professor Imoukhuede’s research in nanotechnology earned her the Kavli Nanoscience Institute Award and her graduate research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIDA). Professor Imoukhuede was the first African-American woman to be awarded a Bioengineering PhD by Caltech and was only the second African-American woman to earn a PhD from Caltech’s Division of Engineering and Applied Science.
Professor Imoukhuede completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Biomedical Engineering Department at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. During her fellowship at Johns Hopkins, she was 1 of 10 postdoctoral fellows nationwide to earn the prestigious United Negro College Fund/Merck Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, 1 of 6 young investigators to earn the FASEB Postdoctoral Professional Development Award, and her work was awarded a Poster Award at the biennial Gordon Conference in Angiogenesis. Her postdoctoral work was also supported by the National Institutes of Health (NHLBI).
Professor Imoukhuede’s biography is featured in the book, A Hand Up: Women Mentoring Women in Science. You can also listen to her story, which was featured in the August 2017 Podcast: People Behind the Science.