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Benjamin Gincley Awarded 2020 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Benjamin Gincley, a student pursuing a PhD in Interdisciplinary Engineering, has received a 2020 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP). The prestigious and highly competitive fellowship program has historically awarded only 10% of applicants. Gincley is a first-year student studying under Assistant Professor Ameet Pinto. He is also the recipient of a Cochrane Fellowship, established by Professor Emeritus Dr. John Cochrane to support PhD students poised to make high impact in their study of environmental engineering. Gincley joins other current department PhD students and Cochrane Fellows Katherine Vilardi and Cassandra Nickles as a recipient of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

Benjamin Gincley is a Double Husky, having graduated from Northeastern in 2019 with a BS in Bioengineering. He focused his undergraduate work on neuroscience and biotechnology, exploring brain imaging, gene therapy, and in vitro models of atrial fibrillation on co-ops at Duke University, Dimension Therapeutics, and the Broad Institute. He completed his undergraduate studies with a capstone project under the guidance of his now-adviser, Pinto. His capstone team developed an imaging-based platform for detecting microorganisms in water.

That capstone project would become the basis for the PhD research that his GRFP now supports. This “Autonomous, Real-Time Microbe Scope (ARTiMiS)” will be leveraged to provide low-cost monitoring of harmful algal blooms in locations without current access to monitoring. “This interdisciplinary project combines electromechanical automation, computer vision and machine learning, optics, and microbiology to create a platform that can autonomously identify microorganisms in a water matrix such as drinking water or a lake,” Gincley explained. Gincley hopes the device will allow users to view online a map of real-time water quality in the way that they can currently check the weather or traffic. “More importantly, this technology will hopefully allow low-resource or remote communities to have the ability to answer the question ‘What’s growing in our water?’ without relying on scientists or government to continually travel to their location to sample the water, which in reality rarely happens.”

Related Faculty: Ameet Pinto

Related Departments:Bioengineering, Civil & Environmental Engineering