19:47 PM

Marissa Behun named 2023 Wesley C. Pickard Fellow

marissa behun

Marissa Behun, fourth-year bioengineering PhD student, was named the 2023 Wesley C. Pickard Fellow by the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Bioengineering. This fellowship provides funding and gives Behun the opportunity to meet Mr. Pickard, a Pitt alumnus and former CFO of Synergy Inc

Working toward her PhD, Behun’s research focuses on nerve reinnervation. Typical nerve treatments require pre-existing nerve structures to function. Behun, however, focuses on healing drastic nerve injuries such as volumetric muscle loss where the body lacks these nerve structures. 

Behun was inspired to pursue research after her own experience with an autoimmune disorder, and she hopes to specialize in military medicine. 

“I have an autoimmune disorder, and when I was younger it bounced me around from doctor to doctor— that's what really pushed me into research,” Behun said. “And I've always wanted to work with military veterans and military medicine.” 

Behun conducts her research in the Brown Lab, which is led by Bryan Brown, a member of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and associate professor of bioengineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. 

Behun was born and raised in Pittsburgh and attended Duquesne University for degrees in biomedical engineering and mathematics. During her pre-doctoral career at Pitt, Behun was a two-year CTSI TL1 fellow and was also recently appointed as the national TL1 predoctoral representative.

About Wesley C. Pickard: 

Mr. Pickard is an alumnus of the Swanson School of Engineering and earned his bachelor's degree in mining engineering at Pitt in 1961. He retired from Synergy Inc, a DC-based consulting firm, as the CFO. Over a period of 33 years, Pickard helped the company grow from five staff members to more than 200 with revenues of approximately $25 million when it was sold in 2005. He is a dedicated supporter of the University and was inducted into the Cathedral of Learning Society at Pitt—a giving society that honors some of our most generous alumni. 

In 2010 Mr. Pickard was named the University of Pittsburgh Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Distinguished Alumnus. He also received the Pitt Volunteer of Excellence Award in 2012 and was named a “Significant Sig” in 2017 by Sigma Chi Fraternity. In 2018 he was selected as the overall honoree representing the entire Swanson School at the 54th annual Distinguished Alumni Banquet.