Petit Institute Adds Brainpower

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The community of world-class researchers at the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience has taken another leap forward with the recent addition of seven new faculty members.


Joining the Petit Institute at the Georgia Institute of Technology are Gary Bassell, Sam Brown, Stanislav Emelianov, Douglas Robertson, Wilfried Rossoll, Edmund K. Waller and Aaron Young.


Bassell is a professor in the Emory University School of Medicine’s departments of Cell Biology and Neurology. The main research interest of his laboratory is to understand the mechanism and function of mRNA transport and local protein synthesis in neurons of the central and peripheral nervous system. He’s been particularly interested in how impairments in mRNA regulation may underlie spinal muscular atrophy and fragile x syndrome, two inherited neurological diseases affecting children.


Brown is making the lengthiest move of the new faculty members, coming to Georgia Tech from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, where he was an assistant professor of evolutionary medicine. His lab’s research there focused on the social lives of bacteria – in particular how bacterial social strategies shape disease traits (virulence, transmission, emergence, resistance) and also present new opportunities for control. He is now based in Georgia Tech’s School of Biology.


Emelianov was appointed the Joseph M. Pettit Chair in Microelectronics and as a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in 2015, after coming to Georgia Tech from the University of Texas, where he was director of the Ultrasound Imaging and Therapeutics Research Laboratory. His research interests are in the development of advanced imaging methods to diagnose cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other pathologies. Emelianov is based in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering with a joint appointment as professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering.


Robertson, who is based at Emory University Hospital, also provides instruction to students within the Coulter Department (a joint department of Georgia Tech and Emory University). An associate professor in musculoskeletal radiology, his research titled “Using Mathematical Modeling to Design Effective Regenerative Medicine Strategies for Orthopadics” was published recently in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.


Rossoll is an assistant professor in the Department of Cell Biology at Emory, where his lab’s primary research interest is in the biological role of mRNA transport and local translation in neurons and their dysfunction in neurological diseases (such as spinal muscular atrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS). He’s also a faculty member of Emory’s Center for Neurodegenerative Disease.


Waller is professor of hematology and oncology in Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute, where he also serves as director of stem cell transplantation and immunotherapy. He is a co-director of the Regenerative Engineering and Medicine research center (a collaborative effort between Emory, Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia). His research focuses on enhancing immune reconstitution after stem cell transplant and developing cell therapy for anti-tumor immunology and in regenerative medicine. 


Young is, indeed, the youngest of the new faculty members. He earned his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University in 2014 then served as a postdoctoral fellow in the Human Neuromechanics Lab at the University of Michigan. He’ll join Georgia Tech as an assistant professor based in the School of Mechanical Engineering, where his research will focus on designing and improving powered orthotic and prosthetic control systems.


Now with almost 180 faculty members, the Petit Institute is an internationally recognized hub of multidisciplinary research on the Georgia Tech campus, bringing together engineers and scientists to solve some of the world’s most complex health challenges. With 17 research centers and more than $24 million invested in state-of-the-art core facilities, the Petit Institute is translating scientific discoveries into game-changing solutions to solve real-world problems.


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


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