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Wesley LaBarge, a BME Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Jianyi “Jay” Zhang’s lab, will receieve the 2020 UAB Samuel B. Barker Award for Excellence in Graduate Studies at the Doctoral Level.

The award will be presented at the UAB Honors Convocation, which will be held at the Alys Stephens Center on Monday, April 20, 2020. The convocation will begin at 4 p.m.

This award was named after UAB’s first graduate dean, Dr. Samuel Booth Barker, and was introduced in 1995. Graduate students may be nominated by their department’s graduate program director and the nominees’ names are displayed on plaques outside the Graduate School office. The Dean of the Graduate School chooses the final recipients from the nominees.

Dean McMahon chose LaBarge for his astounding graduate accomplishments, of which the most recent is his design of a new scaffold-free bioprinter, highlighted in the Birmingham Medical News. This bioprinter was designed to speed the process of tissue engineering and has proven to have far greater efficiency than previously used commercial bioprinters.

LaBarge is a predoctoral fellow with experience in biotechnology. He is skilled in Tissue Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Computer-Aided Design (CAD). He graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering from Auburn University in 2015 and worked as a Graduate Research Assistant at UAB from 2015-2018. LaBarge will graduate on May 1, 2020.