Skip to main content

Dr. Niepa is an Assistant Professor at the Swanson School of Engineering (University of Pittsburgh). He is a native of Grand-Bassam (Côte d’Ivoire). He started his undergraduate education at the Lycée Professionel d’Odienné, where he received his Associate Degree in Food Science (B.T.S. Agroalimentaire). His first research experience was at the Pasteur Institute from 2001-2004. He then moved to Germany to study Bioengineering at the University of Dortmund and transferred to Syracuse University (New York). He received his B.Sc. in Bioengineering (2009) and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering (2014) with honors from Syracuse University. His doctoral study of the Electrochemical Control of Bacterial Persister Cells (ECCP) focused on developing a technology against drug-resistant and persistent bacteria, which was awarded two US patents (US Patents 8,663,914 & 8,569,027). During his Ph.D. study, Dr. Niepa co-founded in 2011 Helios Innovative Technologies Inc. (now PurpleSun Inc.), a medical device company that develops automated sterilization systems to fight bacterial cross-contamination. He held a Postdoctoral Fellowship for Academic Diversity at the University of Pennsylvania, working with Chemical Engineering Professors Kathleen Stebe, Daeyeon Lee and Mark Goulian (Biology) to develop new methods to study microbial dynamics in artificial microniches and thin films. Since 2017, he leads the microBiointerface Lab (at Pitt) in multidisciplinary approaches to solve problems associated with microorganisms relevant to the environment, healthcare, and food industry. He is the recipient of the 2022 NIH Director’s New Innovator, the 2022 NSF CAREER, and the 2019 NSF S-STEM Awards to promote diversity and excellence in engineering research and education.

The attempts to eliminate infections using antibiotics become abortive because of the versatility of the microorganisms. Microbes secrete enzymes to inactivate the antimicrobials, modify their genetic and phenotypic make-up to persist throughout irregular and ineffective treatments, or develop biofilms to escape the immune system. Consequently, the rapid spread of multi-drug resistant pathogens continues to challenge the treatment of infections with conventional methods. At the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), Dr. Niepa develops novel strategies to eradicate multidrug-resistant and control beneficial microbes at biointerfaces using micro/nanotechnologies. His seminar will present the research opportunity to acquire an advanced degree in his lab at Pitt, a research-intensive university in the U.S. He will discuss the application process for joining the M.S. and Ph.D. programs in engineering at Pitt. His talk will also cover good practices to submit a robust application with materials, including the TOEFL, GRE, CV, transcript, research experience, and personal statements. Finally, Dr. Niepa will hold an office hour to discuss with students interested in a graduate program at Pitt.


× How can I help you?