Announcing BALSA Scholar

BALSA is proud to announce that we have sponsored Luis Ruiz through MARC uSTAR (Maximizing Access to Research Careers Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research) program, one of two NIH-funded programs at WUSTL (Washington University in St Louis) dedicated to preparing minority undergraduate students for PhD or MD/PhD training in STEM. Luis is a sophomore in Biomedical Engineering program at WUSTL. Our fundings will go towards supporting Luis’ stipend, networking events, and travel to national research conferences for two years. Below, you can find out more about Luis.


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Luis Ruiz was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras where he spent his childhood helping out in his father’s workshop, and frequenting the local zoo. From an early age he showed a curiosity for the underlying principles of nature, and dreamed of becoming an engineer or a biologist. In 2008, his father joined the project to rebuild Missouri’s Taum Sauk Dam following its catastrophic failure, and shortly thereafter, his whole family immigrated to the United States where they settled in the rural community of Farmington, Missouri. There, he attended the Farmington public school system, from which he graduated third in his class in 2016.

Luis now attends Washington University in St. Louis, where he is majoring in biomedical engineering, and is on track to graduate in May 2020. During his time at Washington University, Luis developed an interest in neuroscience and joined the lab of Dr. Wilson Ray and Dr. Matthew MacEwan at Washington University School of Medicine. There, he conducts research pertaining to the sensation transducing capabilities of various peripheral nervous system interfaces, principally the Macrosieve Electrode. The aim of this research is to contribute to the development of a new generation of prosthetic limbs, which exhibit intuitive control and sensory feedback. Along with being a BALSA associated uSTAR scholar, Luis is an Annika Rodriguez scholar, and a BP-Endure scholar. During his free time, Luis enjoys playing guitar and watching films, and when he is at home you can always find him in his makeshift woodshop working on a project.

After attaining his undergraduate degree, Luis hopes to enter a biomedical engineering doctoral program with an emphasis on neuroscience. Thereafter he hopes to complete a post-doctoral program, and eventually open his own lab and continue to be an active member of scientific research community.