This year's Biological Engineering Department Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence goes to Asif Rahman for outstanding leadership and an immense contribution to the BE Department. The criteria for this award include "enthusiasm, dedication, alacrity, patience, persistence, helpfulness, sense of humor, and can-do attitude."
Asif is a Ph.D. student in Biological Engineering and has been a dedicated researcher as well as a mentor to undergraduates and a leader in multiple important events for Utah State, including the IBE Western Regional Conference and the iGEM competition. He has demonstrated taken leadership roles in both of these events for two years in a row, and each has involved considerable time commitment. In 2010 he was session chair for the IBE Western Regional Conference, and in both 2011 and 2012 he was Student Organizing Chair. This conference more than doubled in attendance during his leadership. In 2011, Asif was the graduate advisor for the BE Club and worked with the undergraduate club president to help expand the activities of the group. For both 2011 and 2012, he was an advisor to the Utah State iGEM team, which won gold medals both years. In 2012, the iGEM team additionally won a regional award for Best BioBrick Device, and the World Championship in the Manufacturing Division.
A native of Auckland, New Zealand, Asif received his Master's degree in 2010 from the University of Auckland in Chemical and Material Engineering. He is now conducting research to develop synthetic biological engineering tools, and focusing on secretion-based recovery of bioplastics from bacteria under the direction of Dr. Ron Sims and Dr. Charles Miller.