Around 100 people gathered Feb. 10 to share their latest research in a touching tribute to UC Riverside bioengineering professor Dimitrios Morikis, a founding member of the department, who passed away in May 2019.
Morikis was well known for his work in immunophysics and immunoengineering. He used physics and engineering approaches to understand molecular mechanisms of immunology, develop disease models, and design new drugs and molecular sensors for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
The Morikis Memorial Symposium brought together former students, postdoctoral researchers, colleagues, and friends from universities around the country to present research Morikis had touched in various ways. The wide-ranging and interdisciplinary presentation topics included electrostatic properties of proteins, conical HIV particles, macrophage migration, and the role of nasal microenvironments in some respiratory infections.
Like Morikis’ most recent research, the symposium focused on molecular-level and systems-level science and collaborations with researchers working on cell and tissue levels and in vivo studies.
Morikis’ research focus on immune system function came after he developed a life-threatening bone marrow disease in 1994. With advanced medicines and treatments, he recovered and devoted the rest of his career to understanding the molecular basis of immune system function and trying to develop ways to fight immune-mediated diseases. A prime focus of his work was the development of affordable potential pharmaceuticals for rare diseases.
The Department of Bioengineering, with the support of Professor Morikis’ family, has established the Dimitrios Morikis Bioengineering Scholarship to provide support to both undergraduate and graduate students studying bioengineering.