<![CDATA[Announcing Second Annual QBioS Student Seminar Series]]> 35673 This semester we will be presenting the second annual QBioS Student Seminar series, highlighting the research of one of our 4th year QBioS students each week and providing an opportunity for feedback and discussion. Topics will include applications of quantitative methods in biosciences that span from the molecular scale all the way to global ecosystems. Seminars will be held on Thursdays, from 4-5pm starting on February 11th and occurring weekly through March 11th.

Our first seminar will be presented by Guanlin Li, "Optimizing Use of Multiphage ‘Cocktails’ for Treatment of Immunodeficient Hosts: A Model-Based Control Approach." Please see the schedule for more details.

Seminars this year will be held remotely via Bluejeans. Links for each week's seminar will be posted in an announcement for that seminar, please check the QBioS web page for those announcements. If you cannot find the link for a seminar, please contact Daniel Muratore (contact available here). 

Please join us in hearing about the exciting work our 4th year cohort is up to and supporting them through the thesis process!

]]> dmuratore3 1 1612301604 2021-02-02 21:33:24 1612301604 2021-02-02 21:33:24 0 0 news This semester we will be presenting the second annual QBioS Student Seminar series, highlighting the research of one of our 4th year QBioS students each week and providing an opportunity for feedback and discussion. Topics will include applications of quantitative methods in biosciences that span from the molecular scale all the way to global ecosystems. Seminars will be held on Thursdays, from 4-5pm starting on February 11th and occurring weekly through March 11th.

2021-02-02T00:00:00-05:00 2021-02-02T00:00:00-05:00 2021-02-02 00:00:00 Tweets by @QBioS_GT

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<![CDATA[QBioS Seminar Series Inaugurated]]> 35013 Spring of 2020 marks the beginning of a new seminar series that aims to become a tradition of the QBioS graduate program. In this first edition, the students of the 4th-year cohort will be presenting their work, as they prepare for the last stage of their program, and this will provide students of other cohorts with a deeper knowledge of the ongoing research in the program

The basis of the QBioS graduate program is interdisciplinarity and this will be reflected throughout the seminar series, where students will present discoveries that integrate theory, models, and data-driven analytics, spanning all scales of biological organization, from molecules to organisms to ecosystems.

Alireza Samani, who is co-advised by Prof. Peter Yunker and Prof. William Ratcliff, presented his research on multicellular evolution in the inaugural talk, on Monday, February 17. He got to interact with other QBioS students and faculty, who were enthusiastic about the research and gave him valuable feedback. Ali enjoyed the seminar:

"This is a great experience for us and an opportunity to interact with other QBioS students. This really strengthens our sense of community. In addition to that, once we finish the first seminar series, we will have a better sense of what the QBioS program is investigating, and we will be able to share that with the general Georgia Tech community."

For those interested in attending this seminar series, you can find a schedule in the media accompanying this article. The seminar takes place every Monday of the semester from 2-3 PM, at the Cherry Emerson Building, room 320. The seminar series is organized by QBioS students and the newly formed QBioS Graduate Student Association.

]]> Pedro Marquez Zacarias 1 1582048063 2020-02-18 17:47:43 1582304613 2020-02-21 17:03:33 0 0 news QBioS PhD students of the 4th-year cohort will present their research throughout the Spring semester. Alireza Samani was the speaker for the inaugural talk, presenting his research on multicellular evolution. 

2020-02-18T00:00:00-05:00 2020-02-18T00:00:00-05:00 2020-02-18 00:00:00

Pedro Márquez-Zacarías

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<![CDATA[QBioS Awards Four PhD Candidates Cross-College Catalysis Research Awards]]> 27286 As part of their Strategic Plan Advisory Group (GT-SPAG) Award, the Quantitative Biosciences Ph.D. program announced a call for spring 2019 GRA funding to support QBioS student research that spans students’ dissertation research and interdisciplinary collaboration with a faculty member from the College of Engineering or College of Computing.  The intent is to broaden the preparation for graduate trainees, enhance opportunities for catalyzing new interdisciplinary research, and facilitate increased cross-College collaborations.

We are pleased to announce the student winners of these GRA funds:

Shlomi Cohen is a 3rd year QBioS student from the School of Physics, who is co-advised by Professor Jennifer Curtis (School of Physics) and Professor Shuyi Nie (School of Biological Sciences).  Shlomi will be collaborating with Professor Denis Tsygankov from Biomedical Engineering.  His research project is entitled, “Competitive binding in the control of cell polarity during neural crest migration.” 

Nolan English is a 3rd year QBioS student in the School of Biological Sciences.  His primary research advisor is Professor Matthew Torres, also in Biological Sciences.  His proposal, “From Sequence to Significance: Machine learning for functional prioritization of Post Translational Modifications,” is a collaboration with Professor Christopher Rozell from Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Alexander Bo Lee, a 3rd year QBioS student in the School of Biological Sciences, will be studying, “The Fluid Dynamics of Underwater Sniffing.”  Bo’s primary research advisor is Professor David Hu (Biological Sciences/Mechanical Engineering) and they will be collaborating with Professor Alexander Alexeev from Mechanical Engineering.

Finally, Seyed Alireza Zamani-Dahaj, a 3rd year QBioS student from home School of Physics, has proposed a project called, “Evolution of macroscopic size in nascent multicellular organisms.”  Ali is primarily advised by Professor Peter Yunker from the School of Physics joint with Professor Will Ratcliff in Biological Sciences.  His collaborator for this project is Professor Eva Dyer from the School of Biomedical Engineering.

The QBioS SPAG selection committee comprised Joshua S. Weitz (Chair, Biol Sci), Hang Lu (ChBE), Patrick McGrath (Biol Sci), Haesun Park (CSE), Peng Qiu (BME), and Soojin Yi (Biol Sci).

]]> Lisa Redding 1 1542050547 2018-11-12 19:22:27 1542051338 2018-11-12 19:35:38 0 0 news 2018-11-12T00:00:00-05:00 2018-11-12T00:00:00-05:00 2018-11-12 00:00:00 Lisa Redding, Academic Program Coordinator

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<![CDATA[Round Two for Quantitative Biosciences]]> 28153 Seven students have joined the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Quantitative Biosciences (QBioS).  These students have backgrounds in physics, mathematics and biology and join the program from the United States, China, and India.  Altogether, the QBioS Ph.D. program now includes 16 students, including nine members from the inaugural cohort who joined in Fall 2016.  The QBioS Ph.D. is directed by Biological Sciences Professor Joshua S. Weitz.

The QBioS Ph.D. was established in 2015 and includes more than 50 program faculty. The mission of QBIoS is to educate students and advance research, enabling the discovery of scientific principles underlying the dynamics, structure, and function of living systems at scales from molecules to ecosystems.   Of the seven incoming students, four are affiliated with the School of Biological Sciences and three are affiliated with the School of Physics.

Kelimar Diaz Cruz obtained a B.S. in Physics from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus in Puerto Rico this year, before joining the QBioS Ph.D. “Before my undergrad, I had no idea there were many branches of Physics,” Diaz notes.  “Once I learned Biophysics was one of them I immediately knew in what direction I wanted to head. The QBioS Ph.D. program will allow me to develop interdisciplinary and quantitative approaches for the understanding of biological systems. There is no better program that aligns with my interests. I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge of biological sciences as I work alongside faculty and researchers in different areas.”

Guanlin Li graduated with a B.S in Mathematics and Physics Minor in 2016 from Arizona State University and earned his M.S in Mathematics from Georgia Tech this year before transferring into QBioS. “I like to utilize mathematical and computational tools to answer fundamental questions raised in the biosciences,” Li says. “QBioS opens a new door that brings biosciences to a quantitative side, from experimental interpretations to equations and laws. I'm excited and looking forward to joining this new program.”

Daniel Muratore completed a Bachelor's in Biological Sciences at the University of Chicago in 2016, focusing primarily in theoretical ecology. After graduating, he worked in Maureen Coleman's lab at the University of Chicago on microbial ecology and biogeochemistry for marine and lake systems. Muratore moved from to Atlanta to work with Weitz on virus-host models and nutrient dynamics in marine ecosystems and to start his PhD in QBioS, explains, “I am very excited to use modeling approaches and robust analytical methods to handle a diversity of data coming from the worlds of oceanography, molecular biology, and bioinformatics for the purpose of generating new knowledge about the goings on of the marine microbial ecosystem.”

Brandon Pratt graduated from the University of Washington earlier this year, receiving Bachelor of Science degrees in neurobiology and in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology. He notes, “I was drawn to the PhD program in Quantitative Biosciences at Georgia Tech because of its unique design that bridges the gap between biosciences and engineering. Coming from a primarily biosciences background, this program allows me to expand my repertoire of technical skills and knowledge to include those from the fields of computer science and engineering. I aim to use these skills to better describe living systems, particularly neural systems.” Pratt intends to conduct research involving how sensory information is acquired, processed, and integrated in the nervous system.  

Kai Tong earned his B.S. in Biological Sciences from Fudan University in Shanghai, China, this year. Initially admitted into the Ph.D. program in Biology, Tong decided to transfer to QBioS. “I was amazed by the easy-going and collaborative atmosphere here," Tong says. “And equally importantly, the fit with my research interests in major evolutionary transitions and social evolution.” He noted that his training as a ‘traditional’ biologist involved a leap to transfer to QBioS. “This out-of-comfort-zone effort will allow me not only to use more quantitative toolkits to tackle biological questions, but also to test hypotheses or perform predictions that usual experimental methodology may not be able to, as well formulate insights into a more abstract and generalizable way.”

Akash Vardhan received his training in Production Engineering from Jadavpur University, India, graduating in 2013. After completing his undergraduate education, he worked as a vehicle dynamics test engineer in the automobile industry, before moving on to study the mechanics of bug flight in Sanjay Sane’s lab at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India. “As a part of the QBioS program I would love to continue working on the biomechanics and control of locomotion in a wide variety of animals,” Vardhan says. “Form and function is another area that I find really fascinating, how seemingly simple interactions can give rise to an emergent behavior which is really complex has also gotten me really interested.”

Mengshi Zhang received her B.S. in Biotechnology from South University of Science and Technology of China in 2015 and then switched to the Department of Physics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong for her master’s degree (MPhil), graduating earlier this year. She is fascinated by the quantitative descriptions of biological phenomena and drawn to this interface in QBioS. Zhang has backgrounds in system biology and synthetic biology, and experience in wet and dry labs. “I would like to combine both computational analysis and experimental methods and look forward to integrating principles of physical, mathematical and biological science together within QBioS,” she says.


]]> Jerry Grillo 1 1503493975 2017-08-23 13:12:55 1503493975 2017-08-23 13:12:55 0 0 news Georgia Tech interdisciplinary graduate program in QBioS welcomes second cohort

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<![CDATA[Book by Joshua Weitz on Quantitative Viral Ecology Wins Award]]> 27286 Royal Society of Biology judged monograph as best postgraduate textbook in 2016

Quantitative Viral Ecology: Dynamics of Viruses and Their Microbial Hosts, by Joshua S. Weitz, has won the Postgraduate Textbook Prize of the Royal Society of Biology’s 2016 Book Awards. Weitz is a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Biological Sciences, the director of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Quantitative Biosciences, and a researcher in the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience. His book was selected over three other finalists.

In selecting Weitz’s book, the judges wrote: “Beneath its unassuming plain green cover is a novel, readable and extensive scholarly work on viruses and their interactions. A superb introduction to [a] new field of research.”

Weitz’s book was published in December 2015 by Princeton University Press in their Monographs in Population Biology series.

The monograph addresses three major questions:
•    What are viruses of microbes, and what do they do to their hosts?
•    How do interactions of a single virus-host pair affect the number and traits of hosts and virus populations?
•    How do virus-host dynamics emerge in natural environments, when interactions take place between many viruses and many hosts?

Says Weitz: “The monograph emphasizes the ways in which theory and models can provide insights into all of these questions and provides a cohesive framework to the study of new challenges in the ongoing dynamics between viruses and their microbial hosts.”

In selecting the finalists for the postgraduate textbook category, judges were looking for books that were timely, coherent, accurate, and readable. The three other short-listed postgraduate textbooks published between May 1, 2015 and April 30, 2016 were:

•    Organism and Environment, by Sonia E Sultan, published by Oxford University Press;
•    Synthetic Biology - A Primer, by Paul S. Freemont, Richard I. Kitney, Geoff Baldwin, Travis Bayer, Robert Dickinson, Tom Ellis, Karen Polizzi, and Guy-Bart Stan, published by Imperial College Press; and  
•    The Origin of Higher Taxa, T. S, Kemp, published by Oxford University Press.

]]> Lisa Redding 1 1476797717 2016-10-18 13:35:17 1477408895 2016-10-25 15:21:35 0 0 news 2016-10-18T00:00:00-04:00 2016-10-18T00:00:00-04:00 2016-10-18 00:00:00 Lisa Redding, Academic Program Coordinator

583064 582701 583064 image <![CDATA[RSB Logo Square]]> image/jpeg 1477408842 2016-10-25 15:20:42 1477408842 2016-10-25 15:20:42 582701 image <![CDATA[Royal Society of Biology Logo]]> image/jpeg 1476796398 2016-10-18 13:13:18 1476796398 2016-10-18 13:13:18
<![CDATA[The Chemistry of Microbes]]> 28153 Microbes are living proof of strength in numbers. Too small to be seen with the naked eye, they nonetheless comprise most of the Earth’s biomass, exerting their influence on every aspect of the environment. Understand microbes and you’ve unlocked the door to understanding the past and future of our species and our planet. 

“If you think back over history, over geologic time, microorganisms have driven the chemistry of the Earth,” says Jennifer Glass, assistant professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and faculty member of the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience. “So our lab tends to be microbe centered.”

Her lab specializes in biogeochemistry, which is, “kind of a medley of disciplines,” says Glass, a program faculty member within the newly established Ph.D. in Quantitative Biosciences (QBioS) at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

More than 50 faculty members from a wide range of disciplines came together last fall to launch QBioS. The program's mission is to train Ph.D. level scientists, enabling the discovery of scientific principles underlying the dynamics, structure, and function of living systems.

“This combination is what is needed from the next generation of scientists if we are to understand principles of living systems and, in turn, tackle global-scale challenges,” says QBioS Director Joshua Weitz, associate professor in the School of Biology, courtesy associate professor in the School of Physics, and a member of the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience. 

Students will pursue thesis research across a broad range of themes, including ecology and earth systems, which is Glass’s area.

Glass and her lab members are particularly interested in researching microbes that produce or consume greenhouse gases (like methane and nitrous oxide, both many times more potent than carbon dioxide). For example, they’d really like to understand how ocean systems do such a good job of both making and quelling the methane that comes from the depths.

“A lot of methane is produced in the sediments of the ocean, yet not very much makes it to the atmosphere – it’s only three percent of global sources,” says Glass, whose research currently draws funding from NASA Exobiology, the NASA Astrobiology Institute Alternative Earths team, and NSF Biological Oceanography. “So the ocean is very good at trapping most of the methane that is produced in the sediments.”

So, on the one hand they’re trying to understand exactly where that potential source of natural gas is coming from, and on the other, they want to understand how to leverage natural processes to scrub out harmful emissions. And this is a team that will routinely go to the source to find its samples.

“We try to make our work environmentally relevant, so we go out and sample marine systems or lakes or lake sediments, trying to get representative samples so that what we’re working on in the lab closely represents what’s in the environment,” says Glass. “You have to go to these exotic environments to discover novel ways that nature makes and then consumes greenhouse gases.”

Getting out of the lab into world comes naturally to Glass, who grew up in an outdoorsy family in Olympia, Washington. 

She spent her youth hiking and exploring, romping through marshes with her family, developing an interest in environmental issues that has evolved into full-blown expertise in the clandestine chemistry of microbes and a better grasp of their affect on the Earth’s health.

“We don’t know yet what the applications of the research will be,” says Glass. “But I think the sky will be the limit.”


Sampling Sapelo Island

Blood, Sweat and Tears 

Oxygen Minimum Zone (video)

The Glass Lab

QBioS Program


Jerry Grillo
Communications Officer II
Parker H. Petit Institute for
Bioengineering and Bioscience

]]> Jerry Grillo 1 1456233542 2016-02-23 13:19:02 1475896849 2016-10-08 03:20:49 0 0 news Glass lab exploring the big picture of tiny organisms

2016-02-23T00:00:00-05:00 2016-02-23T00:00:00-05:00 2016-02-23 00:00:00 Jerry Grillo
Communications Officer II
Parker H. Petit Institute for
Bioengineering and Bioscience

505171 505171 image <![CDATA[Glass lab]]> image/jpeg 1456344000 2016-02-24 20:00:00 1475895265 2016-10-08 02:54:25
<![CDATA[Study Shows Large Variability in Abundance of Viruses that Infect Ocean Microorganisms]]> 27303 Viruses infect more than humans or plants. For microorganisms in the oceans – including those that capture half of the carbon taken out of the atmosphere every day – viruses are a major threat. But a paper published January 25 in the journal Nature Microbiology shows that there’s much less certainty about the size of these viral populations than scientists had long believed.

Collecting and re-examining more than 5,600 estimates of ocean microbial cell and virus populations recorded over the past 25 years, researchers have found that viral populations vary dramatically from location to location, and at differing depths in the sea. The study highlights another source of uncertainty governing climate models and other biogeochemical measures.

“What was surprising was that there was not a constant relationship, as people had assumed, between the number of microbial cells and the number of viruses,” said Joshua Weitz, an associate professor in the School of Biology at the Georgia Institute of Technology and one of the paper’s two senior co-authors. “Because viruses are parasites, it was assumed that their number would vary linearly with the number of microbes. We found that the ratio does not remain constant, but decreases systematically as the number of microbes increases.”

The research, which involved authors from 14 different institutions, was initiated as part of a working group from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS), which is supported by the National Science Foundation. The research was completed with additional support from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the Simons Foundation. The research was co-led by Steven Wilhelm, a professor of microbiology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

In the datasets examined by the researchers, the ratio of viruses to microbes varied from approximately 1 to 1 and 150 to 1 in surface waters, and from 5 to 1 and 75 to 1 in the deeper ocean. For years, scientists had utilized a baseline ratio of 10 to 1 – ten times more viruses than microbes – which may not adequately represent conditions in many marine ecosystems.

“A marine environment with 100-fold more viruses than microbes may have very different rates of microbial recycling than an environment with far fewer viruses,” said Weitz. “Our study begins to challenge the notion of a uniform ecosystem role for viruses.”

A key target for viruses are cyanobacteria – marine microorganisms that obtain their energy through photosynthesis in a process that takes carbon out of the atmosphere. What happens to the carbon these tiny organisms remove may be determined by whether they are eaten by larger grazing creatures – or die from viral infections.

When these cyanobacteria die from infections, their carbon is likely to remain in the top of the water column, where it can nourish other microorganisms. If they are eaten by larger creatures, their carbon is likely to sink into the deeper ocean as the grazers die or excrete the carbon in in their feces.

“Viruses have a role in shunting some of the carbon away from the deep ocean and keeping it in the surface ocean,” said Wilhelm. “Quantifying the strength of the viral shunt remains a vital issue.”

Influenza and measles come to mind when most people think of viruses, but the bulk of world’s viruses actually infect microorganisms. Estimates suggest that a single liter of seawater typically contain more than ten billion viruses.

To better understand this population, the researchers conducted a meta-analysis of the microbial and virus abundance data that had been collected over multiple decades, including datasets collected by many of the co-authors whose laboratories are based in the United States, Canada and Europe. The data had been obtained using a variety of techniques, including epifluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry.

By combining data collected by 11 different research groups, the researchers created a big picture from many smaller ones. The statistical relationships between viruses and microbial cells, analyzed by first-author Charles Wigington from Georgia Tech and second-author Derek Sonderegger from Northern Arizona University, show the range of variation.

The available data provides information about the abundance of viral particles, not their diversity. Viruses are selective in the microbes they target, meaning the true rates of infection require a renewed focus on virus-microbe infection networks.

“Future research should focus on examining the relationship between ocean microorganisms and viruses at the scale of relevant interactions,” said Weitz, “More ocean surveys are needed to fill in the many blanks for this critical part of the carbon cycle. Indeed, virus infections of microbes could change the flux of carbon and nutrients on a global scale.”

This work was supported by National Science Foundation (NSF) grants OCE-1233760 and OCE-1061352, a Career Award at the Scientific Interface from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and a Simons Foundation SCOPE grant. This work arose from discussions in the Ocean Viral Dynamics working group at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, an Institute sponsored by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Science Foundation.

CITATION: Charles H. Wigington, et al., “Re-examination of the relationship between marine virus and microbial cell abundances,” (Nature Microbiology, 2016). http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nmicrobiol.2015.24

Research News
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Media Relations Assistance: John Toon (404-894-6986) (jtoon@gatech.edu).

Writer: John Toon

]]> John Toon 1 1453668631 2016-01-24 20:50:31 1475896827 2016-10-08 03:20:27 0 0 news Marine microorganisms play a critical role in capturing atmospheric carbon, but a new study finds much less certainty than previously believed about the populations of the viruses that infect these important organisms.

2016-01-25T00:00:00-05:00 2016-01-25T00:00:00-05:00 2016-01-25 00:00:00 John Toon

Research News


(404) 894-6986

489661 489681 489701 489711 489661 image <![CDATA[Community of marine bacteria and viruses]]> image/jpeg 1453737600 2016-01-25 16:00:00 1475895245 2016-10-08 02:54:05 489681 image <![CDATA[Virus to microbial cell ratio]]> image/jpeg 1453737600 2016-01-25 16:00:00 1475895245 2016-10-08 02:54:05 489701 image <![CDATA[Virus that infects cyanobacteria]]> image/png 1453737600 2016-01-25 16:00:00 1475895245 2016-10-08 02:54:05 489711 image <![CDATA[Water sampling locations]]> image/jpeg 1453737600 2016-01-25 16:00:00 1475895245 2016-10-08 02:54:05
<![CDATA[BRAIN Initiative Taps Two Labs from Georgia Tech]]> 28153 Two researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology are riding a second wave of grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.

Christine Payne and Garrett Stanley, both faculty members of the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience, are among the 131 investigators working at 125 institutions in the U.S. and eight other countries receiving 67 new awards, totaling more than $38 million. 

Payne, Stanley and their collaborators are part of a new round of projects for visualizing the brain in action. It’s all part of the initiative launched by President Obama in 2014 as a wide-spread effort to equip researchers with fundamental insights for treating a range of brain disorders, like Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy and traumatic brain injury.

Stanley and Dieter Jaeger, professor in Emory University’s Department of Biology, are principal investigators of a project titled, “Multiscale Analysis of Sensory-Motor Cortical Gating in Behaving Mice.” 

Their overall goal is better understand and capture the flow of information as we sense and perceive the outside world, “so that we can take action,” says Stanley, professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME), a joint department of Emory and Georgia Tech.  

The Stanley lab provides expertise on tactile sensing and information processing, while the Jaeger lab provides expertise on motor/muscle coordination and control.

“We are developing approaches to using genetically expressed voltage sensors to optically image brain activity during a sensory-motor task,” Stanley says.

The new technology would let the researchers monitor brain activity at high spatial and temporal resolution over long periods of time.

“It allows us to address questions related to the circuits involved in coordinating the relationship between sensing and action for the first time,” Stanley says. 

The project grew out of another collaboration between Jaeger and Stanley. They are co-principal investigators of an NIH-sponsored training grant in computational neuroscience, which targets a new generation of scientists bound together through questions about how the brain computes. 

“Through this interaction, Dieter and I got to know each other better, started to talk more science, and eventually cooked up this project,” Stanley says.  “The research is relevant to public health because it provides an impactful and innovative study of the circuitry underlying the output from the basal ganglia to the motor cortex and the integration of basal ganglia output with sensory information.”

Debilitating and difficult to treat neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and dystonia are caused by dysfunction of this circuitry.

“The proposed research is expected to provide basic insights into motor circuit function and may reveal new possibilities for treatment of these diseases as well as a better understanding of deep brain stimulation treatments already in use,” says Stanley, who was part of the first round of BRAIN Initiative funding last year with fellow Georgia Tech researcher Craig Forest.

Peter Borden, a Ph.D. student in Stanley’s lab, and Christian Waiblinger, a postdoctoral researcher in Stanley’s lab, will also be contributing to the research.

Meanwhile, Payne is principal investigator for a project titled, “Conducting polymer nanowires for neural modulation.” She’s collaborating with Bret Flanders, a professor at Kansas State whose lab is working on new ways to insulate nanowires. Georgia Tech students Scott Thourson (a Bioengineering Ph.D. candidate) and Rohan Kadambi (undergrad in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering) are helping to lead the effort.

“Understanding how the brain functions requires fundamentally new tools to probe individual neurons without damaging the surrounding tissue,” says Payne, associate professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. 

“This research will develop a prototype device that uses biocompatible conducting polymer nanowires to interface with individual neurons,” says Payne. “The use of flexible conducting polymers in place of traditional metal, silicon, and carbon electrodes is expected to minimize disruption to the surrounding tissue.”    

The new round of funding brings the NIH investment for BRAIN Initiative research to $85 million in fiscal year 2015. Last year NIH awarded $46 million to the effort, designed to ultimately catalyze new treatments and cures for devastating brain disorders and diseases that are estimated by the World Health Organization to affect more than one billion people on the planet. 

“Georgia Tech is proud to play a role in this important global effort,” says Steve Cross, Tech's executive vice president for research. “These grants are further evidence of Tech’s reputation for conducting world-class bioengineering and bioscience research.” 


Jerry Grillo
Communications Officer II
Parker H. Petit Institute for
Bioengineering and Bioscience 

]]> Jerry Grillo 1 1445254958 2015-10-19 11:42:38 1475896787 2016-10-08 03:19:47 0 0 news Petit Institute researchers Christine Payne and Garrett Stanley contributing to global effort

2015-10-19T00:00:00-04:00 2015-10-19T00:00:00-04:00 2015-10-19 00:00:00 Jerry Grillo
Communications Officer II
Parker H. Petit Institute for
Bioengineering and Bioscience

460431 391851 293571 460431 image <![CDATA[Neural activity]]> image/jpeg 1449256361 2015-12-04 19:12:41 1475895206 2016-10-08 02:53:26 391851 image <![CDATA[Garrett Stanley]]> image/jpeg 1449246332 2015-12-04 16:25:32 1475894406 2016-10-08 02:40:06 293571 image <![CDATA[Christine Payne, PhD - School of Chemistry & Biochemistry]]> image/png 1449244313 2015-12-04 15:51:53 1475894991 2016-10-08 02:49:51
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Announces New Graduate Program in Quantitative Biosciences]]> 28153 The Georgia Institute of Technology announces a new doctoral program that brings the physical, mathematical, and biological sciences together in one Ph.D. The Quantitative Biosciences Graduate Program (QBioS) is now accepting applications from students who want to enter a rapidly emerging field working at the leading edge of research that spans biological scales from molecules to organisms to ecosystems.

The mission of the program is to educate students and advance research in quantitative biosciences, enabling the discovery of scientific principles underlying the dynamics, structure, and function of living systems.

“This combination is what is needed from the next generation of scientists if we are to understand principles of living systems and, in turn, tackle global-scale challenges,” said QBioS Director Joshua Weitz, associate professor in the School of Biology, courtesy associate professor in the School of Physics, and a member of the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience. 

Broadly, QBioS is targeted to two kinds of students: those trained in the physical, mathematical, and computational sciences who have interest in the biosciences and those with experience in the biosciences who have skills in quantitative modeling.

“We want all of the QBioS students to develop a strong modeling core and an impassioned understanding for how living systems function,” Weitz said. “QBioS is the kind of training program that serves the increasingly quantitative nature of the biosciences and will be exemplified by the high-quality students who enter this program. QBioS faculty are already engaged in interface research and ready to serve as mentors.”

The QBioS founding consortium includes more than 40 faculty members from seven schools in the College of Sciences. The diversity of faculty interests is evidenced by their research accomplishments in a range of focus areas including molecular and cellular biosciences, the chemistry of biological systems, physiology and behavior, evolutionary biology, ecology and Earth systems, and the physics of living systems.

Graduates of the QBioS program will be prepared for fulfilling careers in academia, government, and industry. Students will have had immersive research experiences in the biosciences, yet also possess the deep technical skills necessary to confront foundational and applied problems, according to Weitz.

Students will combine classroom learning with research experiences. The flexible program will include a foundations course in quantitative biosciences, rigorous and personalized quantitative training, research seminars and interactions with faculty, and rotations in computational and/or experimental groups, culminating in a capstone thesis. 

Learn more about the program at www.qbios.gatech.edu

About the Georgia Institute of Technology
The Georgia Institute of Technology, also known as Georgia Tech, is one of the nation’s leading research universities, providing a focused, technologically based education to more than 21,500 undergraduate and graduate students. Georgia Tech has many nationally recognized programs, all top-ranked by peers and publications alike, and is ranked in the nation’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News and World Report. It offers degrees through the Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Sciences, the Scheller College of Business, and the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. As a leading technological university, Georgia Tech has more than 100 centers focused on interdisciplinary research that consistently contribute vital research and innovation to American government, industry, and business.


]]> Jerry Grillo 1 1441748372 2015-09-08 21:39:32 1475896769 2016-10-08 03:19:29 0 0 news The mission of the program is to educate students and advance research in quantitative biosciences, enabling the discovery of scientific principles underlying the dynamics, structure, and function of living systems.

2015-09-08T00:00:00-04:00 2015-09-08T00:00:00-04:00 2015-09-08 00:00:00 Jerry Grillo
Communications Officer II
Parker H. Petit Institute for
Bioengineering and Bioscience

445771 445771 image <![CDATA[QBioS pic]]> image/jpeg 1449256217 2015-12-04 19:10:17 1475895187 2016-10-08 02:53:07