ORONO — University of Maine Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering Caitlin Howell will deliver a talk during the National Academy of Engineering’s The Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering 2022 U.S.-based symposium Sept. 21–23 in Seattle. 

Howell is one of 84 highly accomplished, early-career engineers from academia, industry and government invited to participate in the two-and-a-half day event hosted by Amazon, as well as one of its 16 speakers. Learn more on the symposium’s website

For her talk, “Materials-based Approaches to Prevent Biofilm-associated Infections,” Howell will discuss the growing problem of antibiotic resistance and how materials-based mechanisms that are inspired by nature can combat it. She also will describe her efforts in developing a novel liquid surface coating for human catheters, inspired by the membrane of a pitcher plant used to trap insects, to help reduce protein deposition that leads to urinary tract and bloodstream infections. She is working on the project with Ana Lidia Flores-Mireles, Hawk Assistant Professor of the Department of Biological Sciences at Notre Dame. 

Howell leads the Howell Biointerface and Biomimetics Lab at UMaine, which works broadly to understand and ultimately control biological systems through surface interactions and other environmental factors. She also is a member of the University of Maine System Science Advisory Board, which has helped the state’s public universities navigate the COVID-19 pandemic by providing leaders with the latest scientific research and medical developments involving the disease, vaccines and other pertinent topics.