Wendy Liu, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, has garnered a 2012 National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator Award – which includes funding support – for her work on immune system response to biomaterials used in medical devices. “Our strategy harnesses the body’s potential to control inflammation and promote healing, which will hopefully prevent device failure and, ultimately, help cure life-threatening diseases,” said Liu, who’s associated with The Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology, in The Henry Samueli School of Engineering. “The approach has a long way to go before reaching the clinic, so I am extremely happy to receive this award so that we can pursue our research aggressively.” Her goal is to design biomaterials coated with molecules naturally expressed by host tissue. These molecules are the body’s way of regulating immune tolerance to host tissue as well as the healing response to wounds. Liu believes this approach is better than harsh immunosuppressive therapies.