<![CDATA[Lindsey Receives $2.5M to Develop Interventional Cardiology Imaging System]]> 27446 Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and coronary artery disease specifically is responsible for 366,000 deaths each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite the impact and widespread nature of coronary artery disease, gaps in information make treating the condition a challenge.

With the support of a four-year, $2.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, Brooks Lindsey will lead a team developing an imaging system to fill these gaps and guide treatment based on assessing the risk of heart attack in patients with coronary artery disease.

Many of those patients are treated via a minimally-invasive procedure that places a stent to re-open arteries that have become narrowed with plaques. Partially occluded coronary arteries can result in heart attack in some of these patients. However, other patients have a similar blockage but have stable disease and do not require intervention. The challenge is deciding which patients are which.

“In the cardiac catheterization lab where these procedures are performed, there are a number of separate approaches for quantifying functional markers, such as local blood pressure, blood flow velocity, and plaque composition. However, all of these tools function independently and in isolation from one another,” said Lindsey, assistant professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. “Most are one-dimensional measurements, which makes it difficult to measure everything going on in the complex, 3D, local biomechanical environment. This includes tissue and plaque mechanical properties, artery geometry, and hemodynamics, all of which vary dynamically as the heart beats.”

While current tools can measure blood flow velocity or blood pressure and characterize plaque composition independently, all of these factors together contribute to the likelihood of plaque rupture and heart attack. No current method can acquire all this information with spatial and temporal information intact.

Lindsey’s lab will address this gap by developing a tiny ultrasound imaging device approximately 1 millimeter in diameter to measure these properties in 3D from the tip of the catheter during procedures in the cardiac catheterization lab. Their approach will be designed to allow simultaneous measurement of blood flow velocity, mechanical properties of tissue, and artery geometry for the first time.

“More than 1 million cardiac catheterizations are performed each year in the U.S.,” Lindsey said. “Even patients who ultimately do not require intervention undergo diagnostic catheterization, but there is no way to measure all the properties simultaneously. The goal of this project is to develop a system that uses ultrasound on the tip of catheter to give cardiologists a complete picture of the patient’s individual anatomy and physiology, including dynamic behavior in coronary arteries as the heart beats. This imaging information, in turn, allows development of improved computational models of coronary arteries in health and disease.”

Lindsey will lead engineering efforts, including development of the imaging device and algorithms to quantify hemodynamics. Clinical aspects of the project will be handled by Habib Samady, a cardiologist at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville who is an expert in imaging hemodynamics in clinical practice. Alessandro Veneziani, professor in Emory’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, will lead computational modeling efforts. Muralidhar Padala, director of the Structural Heart Research & Innovation Program and associate professor in Emory’s Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, will lead testing in coronary artery disease models. Coulter BME Professor John Oshinski will provide expertise in imaging-derived fluid dynamics.

]]> Joshua Stewart 1 1626963606 2021-07-22 14:20:06 1626963606 2021-07-22 14:20:06 0 0 news The catheter-based ultrasound system will simultaneously measure plaque composition, artery structure, and hemodynamics in 3D.

]]>
2021-07-22T00:00:00-04:00 2021-07-22T00:00:00-04:00 2021-07-22 00:00:00 Joshua Stewart

Communications

Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering

]]>
648982 648984 585424 648982 image <![CDATA[Catheter Ultrasound Design]]> image/jpeg 1626960177 2021-07-22 13:22:57 1626960177 2021-07-22 13:22:57 648984 image <![CDATA[Catheter Ultrasound Data]]> image/jpeg 1626962989 2021-07-22 14:09:49 1626962989 2021-07-22 14:09:49 585424 image <![CDATA[Brooks Lindsey, Ph.D.]]> image/jpeg 1483459407 2017-01-03 16:03:27 1483459407 2017-01-03 16:03:27 <![CDATA[Project Summary: "3D Multi-Functional Catheter-Based Imaging of Coronary Lesion Composition, Structure, and Hemodynamics ... "]]> <![CDATA[Brooks Lindsey]]>
<![CDATA[Wearable Brain-Machine Interface Turns Intentions into Actions]]> 28153 A new wearable brain-machine interface (BMI) system could improve the quality of life for people with motor dysfunction or paralysis, even those struggling with locked-in syndrome – when a person is fully conscious but unable to move or communicate.

A multi-institutional, international team of researchers led by the lab of Woon-Hong Yeo at the Georgia Institute of Technology combined wireless soft scalp electronics and virtual reality in a BMI system that allows the user to imagine an action and wirelessly control a wheelchair or robotic arm.

The team, which included researchers from the University of Kent (United Kingdom) and Yonsei University (Republic of Korea), describes the new motor imagery-based BMI system this month in the journal Advanced Science.

“The major advantage of this system to the user, compared to what currently exists, is that it is soft and comfortable to wear, and doesn’t have any wires,” said Yeo, associate professor on the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering.

BMI systems are a rehabilitation technology that analyzes a person’s brain signals and translates that neural activity into commands, turning intentions into actions. The most common non-invasive method for acquiring those signals is ElectroEncephaloGraphy, EEG, which typically requires a cumbersome electrode skull cap and a tangled web of wires.

These devices generally rely heavily on gels and pastes to help maintain skin contact, require extensive set-up times, are generally inconvenient and uncomfortable to use. The devices also often suffer from poor signal acquisition due to material degradation or motion artifacts – the ancillary “noise” which may be caused by something like teeth grinding or eye blinking. This noise shows up in brain-data and must be filtered out.

The portable EEG system Yeo designed, integrating imperceptible microneedle electrodes with soft wireless circuits, offers improved signal acquisition. Accurately measuring those brain signals is critical to determining what actions a user wants to perform, so the team integrated a powerful machine learning algorithm and  virtual reality component to address that challenge.

The new system was tested with four human subjects, but hasn’t been studied with disabled individuals yet.

“This is just a first demonstration, but we’re thrilled with what we have seen,” noted Yeo, Director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Human-Centric Interfaces and Engineering under the Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology, and a member of the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience.

New Paradigm

Yeo’s team originally introduced soft, wearable EEG brain-machine interface in a 2019 study published in the Nature Machine Intelligence. The lead author of that work, Musa Mahmood, was also the lead author of the team’s new research paper.

“This new brain-machine interface uses an entirely different paradigm, involving imagined motor actions, such as grasping with either hand, which frees the subject from having to look at too much stimuli,” said Mahmood, a Ph. D. student in Yeo’s lab.

In the 2021 study, users demonstrated accurate control of virtual reality exercises using their thoughts – their motor imagery. The visual cues enhance the process for both the user and the researchers gathering information.

“The virtual prompts have proven to be very helpful,” Yeo said. “They speed up and improve user engagement and accuracy. And we were able to record continuous, high-quality motor imagery activity.”

According to Mahmood, future work on the system will focus on optimizing electrode placement and more advanced integration of stimulus-based EEG, using what they’ve learned from the last two studies.

This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH R21AG064309), the Center Grant (Human-Centric Interfaces and Engineering) at Georgia Tech, the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2018M3A7B4071109 and NRF-2019R1A2C2086085) and Yonsei-KIST Convergence Research Program. Georgia Tech has a pending patent application related to the work described in this paper.

Citation: Musa Mahmood, et al., “Wireless Soft Scalp Electronics and Virtual Reality System for Motor Imagery-based Brain-Machine Interfaces.” (Advanced Science, July 2021)

Links

Woon-Hong Yeo

“Wireless Soft Scalp Electronics and Virtual Reality System for Motor Imagery-based Brain-Machine Interfaces.”

Center for Human-Centric Interfaces and Engineering

Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience     

George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

 

 

]]> Jerry Grillo 1 1626788040 2021-07-20 13:34:00 1626890192 2021-07-21 17:56:32 0 0 news New system based on user’s motor-imagery could control wheelchair, robotic arm, or other devices

]]>
2021-07-20T00:00:00-04:00 2021-07-20T00:00:00-04:00 2021-07-20 00:00:00 Jerry Grillo

Writer/Communications Officer

]]>
648902 648903 648902 image <![CDATA[Woon-Hong Yeo]]> image/jpeg 1626785689 2021-07-20 12:54:49 1626785689 2021-07-20 12:54:49 648903 image <![CDATA[Advanced Science cover]]> image/png 1626786249 2021-07-20 13:04:09 1626786249 2021-07-20 13:04:09
<![CDATA[Successful Stem Cell Differentiation Requires DNA Compaction, Study Finds]]> 27206 New research findings show that embryonic stem cells unable to fully compact the DNA inside them cannot complete their primary task: differentiation into specific cell types that give rise to the various types of tissues and structures in the body.

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University found that chromatin compaction is required for proper embryonic stem cell differentiation to occur. Chromatin, which is composed of histone proteins and DNA, packages DNA into a smaller volume so that it fits inside a cell. 

A study published on May 10, 2012 in the journal PLoS Genetics found that embryonic stem cells lacking several histone H1 subtypes and exhibiting reduced chromatin compaction suffered from impaired differentiation under multiple scenarios and demonstrated inefficiency in silencing genes that must be suppressed to induce differentiation.

“While researchers have observed that embryonic stem cells exhibit a relaxed, open chromatin structure and differentiated cells exhibit a compact chromatin structure, our study is the first to show that this compaction is not a mere consequence of the differentiation process but is instead a necessity for differentiation to proceed normally,” said Yuhong Fan, an assistant professor in the Georgia Tech School of Biology.

Fan and Todd McDevitt, an associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, led the study with assistance from Georgia Tech graduate students Yunzhe Zhang and Kaixiang Cao, research technician Marissa Cooke, and postdoctoral fellow Shiraj Panjwani.

The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), the National Science Foundation, a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Scholar Award, and a Johnson & Johnson/Georgia Tech Healthcare Innovation Award.

To investigate the impact of linker histones and chromatin folding on stem cell differentiation, the researchers used embryonic stem cells that lacked three subtypes of linker histone H1 -- H1c, H1d and H1e -- which is the structural protein that facilitates the folding of chromatin into a higher-order structure. They found that the expression levels of these H1 subtypes increased during embryonic stem cell differentiation, and embryonic stem cells lacking these H1s resisted spontaneous differentiation for a prolonged time, showed impairment during embryoid body differentiation and were unsuccessful in forming a high-quality network of neural cells.

“This study has uncovered a new, regulatory function for histone H1, a protein known mostly for its role as a structural component of chromosomes,” said Anthony Carter, who oversees epigenetics grants at NIGMS.  “By showing that H1 plays a part in controlling genes that direct embryonic stem cell differentiation, the study expands our understanding of H1’s function and offers valuable new insights into the cellular processes that induce stem cells to change into specific cell types.”

During spontaneous differentiation, the majority of the H1 triple-knockout embryonic stem cells studied by the researchers retained a tightly packed colony structure typical of undifferentiated cells and expressed high levels of Oct4 for a prolonged time. Oct4 is a pluripotency gene that maintains an embryonic stem cell’s ability to self-renew and must be suppressed to induce differentiation.

“H1 depletion impaired the suppression of the Oct4 and Nanog pluripotency genes, suggesting a novel mechanistic link by which H1 and chromatin compaction may mediate pluripotent stem cell differentiation by contributing to the epigenetic silencing of pluripotency genes,” explained Fan. “While a significant reduction in H1 levels does not interfere with embryonic stem cell self-renewal, it appears to impair differentiation.”

The researchers also used a rotary suspension culture method developed by McDevitt to produce with high efficiency homogonous 3D clumps of embryonic stem cells called embryoid bodies. Embryoid bodies typically contain cell types from all three germ layers -- the ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm -- that give rise to the various types of tissues and structures in the body. However, the majority of the H1 triple-knockout embryoid bodies formed in rotary suspension culture lacked differentiated structures and displayed gene expression signatures characteristic of undifferentiated stem cells.

“H1 triple-knockout embryoid bodies displayed a reduced level of activation of many developmental genes and markers in rotary culture, suggesting that differentiation to all three germ layers was affected.” noted McDevitt.  

The embryoid bodies also lacked the epigentic changes at the pluripotency genes necessary for differentiation, according to Fan.

“When we added one of the deleted H1 subtypes to the embryoid bodies, Oct4 was suppressed normally and embryoid body differentiation continued,” explained Fan. “The epigenetic regulation of Oct4 expression by H1 was also evident in mouse embryos.”

In another experiment, the researchers provided an environment that would encourage embryonic stem cells to differentiate into neural cells. However, the H1 triple-knockout cells were defective in forming neuronal and glial cells and a neural network, which is essential for nervous system development. Only 10 percent of the H1 triple-knockout embryoid bodies formed neurites and they produced on average eight neurites each. In contrast, half of the normal embryoid bodies produced, on average, 18 neurites.

In future work, the researchers plan to investigate whether controlling H1 histone levels can be used to influence the reprogramming of adult cells to obtain induced pluripotent stem cells, which are capable of differentiating into tissues in a way similar to embryonic stem cells.

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under award number GM085261 and the National Science Foundation under award number CBET-0939511. The content is solely the responsibility of the principal investigators and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH or NSF.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

Writer: Abby Robinson

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1336674251 2012-05-10 18:24:11 1475896333 2016-10-08 03:12:13 0 0 news New research findings show that embryonic stem cells unable to fully compact the DNA inside them cannot complete their primary task: differentiation into specific cell types that give rise to the various types of tissues and structures in the body.

]]>
2012-05-10T00:00:00-04:00 2012-05-10T00:00:00-04:00 2012-05-10 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
abby@innovate.gatech.edu
404-385-3364

]]>
129851 129861 129871 129851 image <![CDATA[Impaired embryoid body differentiation]]> image/jpeg 1449178634 2015-12-03 21:37:14 1475894754 2016-10-08 02:45:54 129861 image <![CDATA[Stem cell neural differentiation impairment]]> image/jpeg 1449178634 2015-12-03 21:37:14 1475894754 2016-10-08 02:45:54 129871 image <![CDATA[Embryonic stem cell neural impairment]]> image/jpeg 1449178634 2015-12-03 21:37:14 1475894754 2016-10-08 02:45:54
<![CDATA[Robot Reveals the Inner Workings of Brain Cells]]> 27206 Gaining access to the inner workings of a neuron in the living brain offers a wealth of useful information: its patterns of electrical activity, its shape, even a profile of which genes are turned on at a given moment. However, achieving this entry is such a painstaking task that it is considered an art form; it is so difficult to learn that only a small number of labs in the world practice it.

But that could soon change: Researchers at MIT and the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a way to automate the process of finding and recording information from neurons in the living brain. The researchers have shown that a robotic arm guided by a cell-detecting computer algorithm can identify and record from neurons in the living mouse brain with better accuracy and speed than a human experimenter.

The new automated process eliminates the need for months of training and provides long-sought information about living cells’ activities. Using this technique, scientists could classify the thousands of different types of cells in the brain, map how they connect to each other, and figure out how diseased cells differ from normal cells.

The project is a collaboration between the labs of Ed Boyden, associate professor of biological engineering and brain and cognitive sciences at MIT, and Craig Forest, an assistant professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech.

“Our team has been interdisciplinary from the beginning, and this has enabled us to bring the principles of precision machine design to bear upon the study of the living brain,” Forest says. His graduate student, Suhasa Kodandaramaiah, spent the past two years as a visiting student at MIT, and is the lead author of the study, which appears in the May 6 issue of Nature Methods.

The method could be particularly useful in studying brain disorders such as schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, autism and epilepsy, Boyden says. “In all these cases, a molecular description of a cell that is integrated with [its] electrical and circuit properties … has remained elusive,” says Boyden, who is a member of MIT’s Media Lab and McGovern Institute for Brain Research. “If we could really describe how diseases change molecules in specific cells within the living brain, it might enable better drug targets to be found.”

Automation

Kodandaramaiah, Boyden and Forest set out to automate a 30-year-old technique known as whole-cell patch clamping, which involves bringing a tiny hollow glass pipette in contact with the cell membrane of a neuron, then opening up a small pore in the membrane to record the electrical activity within the cell. This skill usually takes a graduate student or postdoc several months to learn.

Kodandaramaiah spent about four months learning the manual patch-clamp technique, giving him an appreciation for its difficulty. “When I got reasonably good at it, I could sense that even though it is an art form, it can be reduced to a set of stereotyped tasks and decisions that could be executed by a robot,” he says.

To that end, Kodandaramaiah and his colleagues built a robotic arm that lowers a glass pipette into the brain of an anesthetized mouse with micrometer accuracy. As it moves, the pipette monitors a property called electrical impedance — a measure of how difficult it is for electricity to flow out of the pipette. If there are no cells around, electricity flows and impedance is low. When the tip hits a cell, electricity can’t flow as well and impedance goes up.

The pipette takes two-micrometer steps, measuring impedance 10 times per second. Once it detects a cell, it can stop instantly, preventing it from poking through the membrane. “This is something a robot can do that a human can’t,” Boyden says.

Once the pipette finds a cell, it applies suction to form a seal with the cell’s membrane. Then, the electrode can break through the membrane to record the cell’s internal electrical activity. The robotic system can detect cells with 90 percent accuracy, and establish a connection with the detected cells about 40 percent of the time.

The researchers also showed that their method can be used to determine the shape of the cell by injecting a dye; they are now working on extracting a cell’s contents to read its genetic profile.

Development of the new technology was funded primarily by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the MIT Media Lab.

New era for robotics

The researchers recently created a startup company, Neuromatic Devices, to commercialize the device.

The researchers are now working on scaling up the number of electrodes so they can record from multiple neurons at a time, potentially allowing them to determine how different parts of the brain are connected.

They are also working with collaborators to start classifying the thousands of types of neurons found in the brain. This “parts list” for the brain would identify neurons not only by their shape — which is the most common means of classification — but also by their electrical activity and genetic profile.

“If you really want to know what a neuron is, you can look at the shape, and you can look at how it fires. Then, if you pull out the genetic information, you can really know what’s going on,” Forest says. “Now you know everything. That’s the whole picture.”

Boyden says he believes this is just the beginning of using robotics in neuroscience to study living animals. A robot like this could potentially be used to infuse drugs at targeted points in the brain, or to deliver gene therapy vectors. He hopes it will also inspire neuroscientists to pursue other kinds of robotic automation — such as in optogenetics, the use of light to perturb targeted neural circuits and determine the causal role that neurons play in brain functions.

Neuroscience is one of the few areas of biology in which robots have yet to make a big impact, Boyden says. “The genome project was done by humans and a giant set of robots that would do all the genome sequencing. In directed evolution or in synthetic biology, robots do a lot of the molecular biology,” he says. “In other parts of biology, robots are essential.”

Other co-authors include MIT grad student Giovanni Talei Franzesi and MIT postdoc Brian Y. Chow. 

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or Caroline McCall (cmccall5@mit.edu; 617-253-1682)

Writer: Anne Trafton, MIT News

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1336328111 2012-05-06 18:15:11 1475896329 2016-10-08 03:12:09 0 0 news Researchers have automated the process of finding and recording information from neurons in the living brain. A robotic arm guided by a cell-detecting computer algorithm can identify and record from neurons in the living mouse brain with better accuracy and speed than a human experimenter.

]]>
2012-05-06T00:00:00-04:00 2012-05-06T00:00:00-04:00 2012-05-06 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
abby@innovate.gatech.edu
404-385-3364

]]>
128501 128521 128511 128501 image <![CDATA[Craig Forest robotic neural recordings]]> image/jpeg 1449178622 2015-12-03 21:37:02 1475894751 2016-10-08 02:45:51 128521 image <![CDATA[Whole-cell patching robot schematic]]> image/jpeg 1449178622 2015-12-03 21:37:02 1475894751 2016-10-08 02:45:51 128511 image <![CDATA[Neuromatic Devices research team]]> image/jpeg 1449178622 2015-12-03 21:37:02 1475894751 2016-10-08 02:45:51
<![CDATA[New Graduate Summer Course in Biotechnology & International Security]]> 27195 Grad students! Minoring in policy? Want to take something really different, but relevant to your technical training, this summer? Want to take a SUMMER course?

In the SUMMER 2012 session Margaret Kosal, PhD, (INTA professor) and Robert Butera, PhD, are offering this course in Biotechnology and International Affairs which is cross-listed between BMED and INTA.

NOTE: This is a 5 week session, taught 3 hours/day 3 days/week for 5 weeks. Take note of the dates/days when registering!

INTA 8803 MK / BMED 8813 BIS


Biotechnology and International Security

This course will explore the interface between biotechnology and national security concerns. Rapid biotechnological changes are anticipated to occur over the ensuing decades in a globalized world characterized by complex security challenges. What security concerns are posed by rapid developments in biotechnology? How do governments deal with these concerns? Can regulatory frameworks keep pace with rapid developments in biotechnology? How are these issues handled at an international level? We will consider the role of government and non-governmental organizations in efforts to control these technologies. Finally, we will examine the role of the industry and the open market in shaping policy on these technologies.

]]> Colly Mitchell 1 1335862185 2012-05-01 08:49:45 1475896329 2016-10-08 03:12:09 0 0 news New Graduate Summer Course in Biotechnology & International Security

]]>
2012-05-01T00:00:00-04:00 2012-05-01T00:00:00-04:00 2012-05-01 00:00:00 Rob Butera, PhD

]]>
128631 128631 image <![CDATA[New Summer Course in Biotechnology & International Security]]> image/jpeg 1449178622 2015-12-03 21:37:02 1475894751 2016-10-08 02:45:51
<![CDATA[New Molecular Probes Can Identify Strain-induced Changes in Fibronectin Protein That May Lead to Disease]]> 27206 Fibronectin plays a major role in wound healing and embryonic development. The protein, which is located in the extracellular matrix of cells, has also been linked to pathological conditions including cancer and fibrosis.

During physiological processes, fibronectin fibers are believed to experience mechanical forces that strain the fibers and cause dramatic structural modifications that change their biological activity. While understanding the role of fibronectin strain events in development and disease progression is becoming increasingly important, detecting and interrogating these events is difficult.

In a new study, researchers identified molecular probes capable of selectively attaching to fibronectin fibers under different strain states, enabling the detection and examination of fibronectin strain events in both culture and living tissues.

“The mechano-sensitive molecular probes we identified allow us to dynamically examine the relevance of mechanical strain events within the natural cellular microenvironment and correlate these events with specific alterations in fibronectin associated with the progression of disease,” said Thomas Barker, an assistant professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.

The study was published on April 23, 2012 in the online early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Barker worked on the study with Georgia Tech graduate student Lizhi Cao and Harry Bermudez, an assistant professor in the University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Polymer Science and Engineering. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Researchers have hypothesized that mechanical forces emanating from cells may partially unfold fibronectin and regulate what proteins bind to it. While simulation and tissue culture experiments support this hypothesis, direct evidence that such molecular events occur in living organisms has not yet been presented, according to Barker.

A technique called intramolecular fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) has been used to detect molecular strain events in fibronectin fibers, but the technique has limitations because it cannot be used on living tissues and requires the fibronectin to be chemically labeled.

“The molecular probes we identified can be used to map molecular strain events in native extracellular matrix and living lung tissues,” explained Barker. “The probes can also be used to study the mechanism by which cells control the mechanical forces that alter fibronectin’s conformation, control the exposure of its binding sites and regulate cell signaling.”

The researchers used a controlled fibronectin fiber deposition and extension technique to apply tension to the fibers and stretch them to 2.6 times their original length without significant breakage. Then they used a technique called phage display to identify peptides capable of discriminating fibronectin fibers under relaxed and strained conditions. The molecular probes displaying peptide sequences LNLPHG and RFSAFY showed the greatest binding affinity to fibronectin fibers and the greatest efficiency in discriminating between relaxed and strained fibers.

For proof-of-concept demonstrations, the researchers used the probes to discriminate fibronectin fibers within native extracellular matrix and mouse lung slices. LNLPHG preferentially attached to relaxed fibronectin fibers, whereas RFSAFY bound to strained fibers. The probes never attached to the same fiber, which confirmed their ability to selectively discriminate regions within a fibronectin fiber network.

“This study strongly suggests that fibronectin fibers under strain display markedly different biochemical signatures that can be used for the molecular-level detection of fibronectin fiber strain,” explained Barker. “The data also show the potential for living tissue to be interrogated for mechano-chemical alterations that lead to physiological and pathological progression.”

In the future, the researchers hope to use these fibronectin strain-sensitive probes to target therapeutics to fibronectin fibers based on their mechanical signature.

This work was supported in part by training grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (Award Nos. T32-GM008433 and T32-EB006343). The content is solely the responsibility of the principal investigators and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

Writer: Abby Robinson

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1335265015 2012-04-24 10:56:55 1475896324 2016-10-08 03:12:04 0 0 news Researchers have identified molecular probes capable of selectively attaching to fibronectin fibers under different strain states, enabling the detection and examination of fibronectin strain events that have been linked to pathological conditions including cancer and fibrosis.

]]>
2012-04-24T00:00:00-04:00 2012-04-24T00:00:00-04:00 2012-04-24 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
abby@innovate.gatech.edu
404-385-3364

]]>
125921 125931 125921 image <![CDATA[Molecular probes fibronectin strain ECM]]> image/jpeg 1449178604 2015-12-03 21:36:44 1475894749 2016-10-08 02:45:49 125931 image <![CDATA[Molecular probes fibronectin strain lung tissue]]> image/jpeg 1449178604 2015-12-03 21:36:44 1475894749 2016-10-08 02:45:49
<![CDATA[Applications Sought for the Nerem International Travel Award]]> 27224 Applications are being sought for the 2012-2013 Robert M. Nerem International Travel Award. This award was endowed in 2005 by friends and colleagues of Nerem's to honor his life-long contributions in the bioengineering and bioscience field and encourage predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees to broaden their research experiences by establishing an international collaboration and traveling to an international destination.

The award provides up to $3,000 for the selected applicant to travel abroad with preference given to those who will learn new tools or techniques. To be eligible for the award the trainee must have one year remaining in their research and complete their travel by August 31, 2013. For the 2012-2013 award, the applications are due May 11, 2012.

As the Petit Institute’s founding director, Bob passionately served the community for 14 years and successfully led the institute to national and international prominence in the fields of bioengineering & bioscience.

Everyone that knows Bob, knows he loves to travel. His travels have brought him to all corners of the world and it is through his travel that he has served as a great champion of Georgia Tech and the 
biocommunity as a whole.

The Nerem International Travel Award has allowed trainees an opportunity to travel to a wide variety of international universities and research institutes, including the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden; RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Japan; the National University of Singapore;  University of Twente, The Netherlands; Queensland University of Technology, Australia; and Consorzio Interuniversitario Lombardo per L’Elaborazione Automatica, Milan, Italy.

Nerem came to Georgia Tech in the winter of 1987 as a professor in the School of Mechanical Engineering and as the Parker H. Petit Distinguished Chair for Engineering in Medicine. He is one of the grandfathers of the booming bio-community that exists on campus today. Prior to coming to Georgia Tech, he was a professor and chairman in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston from 1979 to 1986 and on the faculty at the Ohio State University form 1964 to 1979.

]]> Megan McDevitt 1 1334325321 2012-04-13 13:55:21 1475896312 2016-10-08 03:11:52 0 0 news Applications are being sought for the Robert M. Nerem International Travel Award. The award provides up to $3,000 for the chosen applicant to travel abroad with preference given to those that will learn new tools or techniques. To be eligible for the award the trainee must have one year remaining in their research and complete their travel by August 31, 2013. For the 2012-2013 award, the applications are due May 11, 2012.

]]>
2012-04-13T00:00:00-04:00 2012-04-13T00:00:00-04:00 2012-04-13 00:00:00 Megan McDevitt
Marketing Communications Director

James Godard
Administrative Director 

]]>
70893 70893 image <![CDATA[Robert Nerem]]> 1449177328 2015-12-03 21:15:28 1475894625 2016-10-08 02:43:45 <![CDATA[Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]> <![CDATA[Nerem Interational Travel Award Information]]> <![CDATA[About Robert M. Nerem]]>
<![CDATA[AbSciCon 2012 “Exploring Life: Past and Present, Near and Far” Hosted at Georgia Tech]]> 27224 April 13, 2012 – Georgia Institute of Technology is hosting the fifth biennial Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon), April 16-20 at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center in Atlanta. Loren Williams, Ph.D., professor, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Eric Gaucher, Ph.D., associate professor, School of Biology at Georgia Tech are the co-chairs of the conference.

AbSciCon attracts a community of scientists working in the multidisciplinary field of astrobiology – the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe – and highlights research supported by NASA's Astrobiology Program. 

NASA’s Astrobiology program addresses three fundamental questions: How does life begin and evolve? Is there life beyond Earth and, if so, how can we detect it? What is the future of life on Earth and in the universe?

In striving to answer these questions and improve understanding of biological, planetary, cosmic phenomena and relationships among them, experts will discuss astrobiology research to help advance laboratory and field research into the origins and early evolution of life on Earth and studies of the potential for life to adapt to challenges on Earth and in space.

A record number of abstracts (more than 800) were accepted for this meeting, and the scientific program is packed with talks on current research. Among hot topics on the AbSciCon 2012 agenda are Mars exploration and the Mars Science Laboratory mission, current research on extrasolar planet habitability and latest results from analyses of extraterrestrial materials such as meteorites and comet dust samples. All plenary sessions and four selected technical sessions will be webcast live.

One highlight of the conference will be the final round of the NASA Astrobiology Program’s first annual Famelab Astrobiology science communication competition, April 16 at 7 pm.  Nichelle Nichols, known for her portrayal of Lt. Uhura in the original “Star Trek” television series, will be hosting this public event which also will be webcast live. Other highlights include a welcome reception at the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience at Georgia Tech on Sunday April 15, 5-7 p.m., and conference dinner at the Georgia Aquarium on Wednesday April 18, 5-9 p.m.

]]> Megan McDevitt 1 1334266992 2012-04-12 21:43:12 1475896320 2016-10-08 03:12:00 0 0 news Georgia Institute of Technology is hosting the fifth biennial Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon), April 16-20 at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center. Loren Williams, Ph.D., professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Eric Gaucher, Ph.D., associate professor from the School of Biology at Georgia Tech are the co-chairs of the conference.

 

]]>
2012-04-13T00:00:00-04:00 2012-04-13T00:00:00-04:00 2012-04-13 00:00:00 Megan Graziano McDevitt
Marketing Communications Director
Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering & Bioscience
404-385-7001

Linda Billings
School of Media and Public Affairs
George Washington University
Chair, AbSciCon 2012 Communications Committee

 

]]>
123851 123851 image <![CDATA[Astrobiology]]> image/jpeg 1449178593 2015-12-03 21:36:33 1475894746 2016-10-08 02:45:46 <![CDATA[View Live Webcast]]> <![CDATA[Twitter]]> <![CDATA[Facebook]]> <![CDATA[Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]>
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Hosts FameLab Astrobiology Final Competition]]> 27224 April 10, 2012 – Georgia Institute of Technology will host the Famelab Astrobiology Finals, Monday April 16, 7-9 p.m., in the Grand Ballroom of the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Famelab Astrobiology is a science communication competition intended to encourage up-and-coming new scientists to hone their skills in communicating complex scientific concepts to public audiences.

Nichelle Nichols, known for her portrayal of Lt. Uhura in the original “Star Trek” television series, will host this event, which also will be webcast live and broadcast on NASA TV.

FameLab Astrobiology finalists will have three minutes to explain a science topic of their choice to a public audience – no slides, no charts, and only props they can carry onstage. A panel of experts in science and science communication will judge the competition.

Since January more than 70 early-career astrobiologists have competed in Famelab Astrobiology preliminary competitions in Houston, Denver, Washington, D.C., and online. The 10 finalists, from all over the country, will compete in the Atlanta finals. The winner in Atlanta will compete in International FameLab’s final competition in the U.K. this summer.

The Atlanta finals are the culmination of the first annual Famelab Astrobiology competition, sponsored by NASA’s Astrobiology Program. Famelab Astrobiology, an offshoot of International FameLab, aims to provide experience and training in science communication to the next generation of astrobiologists.

The FameLab Astrobiology competition is being held in conjunction with AbSciCon 2012, an astrobiology science conference with over 750 attendees taking place on the campus of Georgia Tech.  Loren Williams, Ph.D., professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Eric Gaucher, Ph.D., associate professor from the School of Biology at Georgia Tech are the co-chairs of the conference.   The AbSciCon conference, held every two years, focuses on the multidisciplinary field of astrobiology – the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe – and highlights research supported by NASA's Astrobiology Program.

 

AbSciCon 2012 on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/AbSciCon12

AbSciCon 2012 on Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/AbSciCon2012

]]> Megan McDevitt 1 1334142702 2012-04-11 11:11:42 1475896320 2016-10-08 03:12:00 0 0 news Georgia Institute of Technology will host the Famelab Astrobiology Finals, Monday April 16, 7-9 p.m., in the Grand Ballroom of the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center. The event is free and open to the public.

]]>
2012-04-11T00:00:00-04:00 2012-04-11T00:00:00-04:00 2012-04-11 00:00:00 Megan Graziano McDevitt

Marketing Communications Director
Parker H. Petit Institute for
Bioengineering & Bioscience
404-385-7001


Linda Billings
School of Media and Public Affairs
George Washington University

Chair, AbSciCon 2012
Communications Committee



 

]]>
123411 123411 image <![CDATA[FameLab]]> image/jpeg 1449178582 2015-12-03 21:36:22 1475894743 2016-10-08 02:45:43 <![CDATA[Twitter]]> <![CDATA[AbSciCon Facebook]]> <![CDATA[View Live Webcast]]>
<![CDATA[Boyan Pushes for Reauthorization of Pediatric Medical Device Legislation]]> 27462 Barbara Boyan, the Price Gilbert, Jr. Chair in Tissue Engineering in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory, and director of the Atlanta Pediatric Device Consortium, traveled to Washington D.C. recently to support legislation that encourages the development of pediatric medical devices.

During her visit in February, Boyan met with several congressmen, urging them to reauthorize “The Pediatric Medical Device Safety and Improvement Act." The law provides grants to fund non-profit pediatric device consortia, such as the Atlanta Pediatric Device Consortium. The grants connect scientists and innovators with device manufacturers, providing them financial resources and regulatory guidance needed to advance the development of devices for children.

“The funding from the FDA has opened many doors and some of our small companies have been able to secure venture capital funding to pursue these devices,” Boyan said.

One of three FDA-sponsored consortia awarded last year, the Atlanta Pediatric Device Consortium is a partnership between Georgia Tech, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University.

The Atlanta Pediatric Consortium provides assistance with engineering design, prototype development, pre-clinical and clinical studies and commercialization for novel pediatric medical devices. It is currently composed of nine projects, three main projects and six pilot projects, which were incorporated from the first Pediatric Device Competition.

“This consortium has brought excitement to the Atlanta Community and strengthened our research partnerships to develop the future of pediatric medical devices,” Boyan said.

Passed in 2007, “The Pediatric Medical Device Safety and Improvement Act" includes important incentives that promote the development of medical devices for children, which currently lags five to 10 years behind those for adults. Significant barriers to pediatric device development exist, including physiological differences in pediatric patients and challenges with recruiting pediatric participants for clinical trial. The law helps to support the creation of more pediatric devices, with 107 device projects developed during the program’s first two years, according to a report by the General Accounting Office.

Boyan was accompanied to D.C. by consortium co-directors Kevin Maher, MD, a cardiologist and researcher specializing in pediatrics with appointments at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Sibley Heart Center and Emory University and Wilbur Lam, MD, PhD, a pediatric hematologist/oncologist and bioengineer with appointments at Emory, the Aflac Cancer Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Georgia Tech.

]]> Liz Klipp 1 1333455551 2012-04-03 12:19:11 1475896316 2016-10-08 03:11:56 0 0 news “The Pediatric Medical Device Safety and Improvement Act" provides grants to fund non-profit pediatric device consortia, such as the Atlanta Pediatric Device Consortium. Boyan and others in the field are pushing lawmakers to reauthorize the legislation before the end of September. 

]]>
2012-04-03T00:00:00-04:00 2012-04-03T00:00:00-04:00 2012-04-03 00:00:00 Georgia Tech Media Relations
Laura Diamond
laura.diamond@comm.gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Jason Maderer
maderer@gatech.edu
404-660-2926

]]>
109231 121841 109231 image <![CDATA[Dr. Barbara Boyan]]> image/jpeg 1449178201 2015-12-03 21:30:01 1475894728 2016-10-08 02:45:28 121841 image <![CDATA[Dr. Boyan in DC]]> image/jpeg 1449178582 2015-12-03 21:36:22 1475894743 2016-10-08 02:45:43 <![CDATA[FDA Launches Atlanta Pediatric Device Consortium]]> <![CDATA[The Pediatric Medical Device Safety and Improvement Act]]> <![CDATA[Barbara Boyan]]>
<![CDATA[Research ‘Puts Learning into Practice’ for Student]]> 27445 In class, Lin Fan has listened to his professors explain the theory behind mechanical engineering. But his experiences in Todd Sulchek’s lab — both the challenges and successes — have ensured that he actually learned and understood it.

“I wanted to put what I was learning in lecture into practice, and getting involved in research was a way to make this happen,” said Fan, who will receive his bachelor of science in Mechanical Engineering next month.

Fan is one of 165 students who will present at this year’s Undergraduate Research Spring Symposium on April 10 from 1 to 6 p.m. The event is an opportunity for undergraduate students to share their research with students, faculty and staff from across campus.

According to Chris Reaves, director of undergraduate research, about 42 percent of graduating seniors indicate that they had an undergraduate research experience.

Fan began working with Sulchek, an assistant professor in the School of Mechanical Engineering, two years ago. Sulchek’s interest in working with undergraduates stemmed from his own positive experience as a student.

“As an undergraduate, I was able to get involved with research and had a great experience,” Sulchek said. “So it’s important to me to provide students with the same opportunity. I just wish more undergraduates would take advantage of these opportunities while they’re at Tech.”

When Fan began working in Sulchek’s lab, there were some initial challenges. For example, the first project he worked on wasn’t the best fit for him. It was more chemical engineering-based than mechanical, and it was difficult to collaborate with fellow students in the lab because none of them were working on a project similar to Fan’s.

“But I appreciated that Dr. Sulchek let me pursue the project and figure this out for myself,” Fan said.

Before Fan could get frustrated, Sulchek offered him the opportunity to work on another project that was a better fit.

One aspect of Sulchek’s research in nanotechnology is using an atomic force
microscope (AFM). The AFM “sees” tiny objects (such as molecules) with the help of a small probe that touches the object’s surfaces and creates an image based on what it feels.

Unfortunately, the probe or the surface often gets damaged during the process. To remedy the problem, Fan created a method to hover the AFM’s probe at a fixed distance above the surface, which decreases the risk of damage to the probe and the surface.

Last month, Fan’s research was published for the first time in an academic journal, the Review of Scientific Instruments — which doesn’t happen to most undergraduates, Sulchek added.

“It’s so amazing to see more than a year’s work finally pay off, ” said Fan, who will spend the summer working in Sulchek’s lab before he moves on to graduate school.

The two do have a few words of advice for faculty members who work with undergraduate researchers. For example, Sulchek recommends that the faculty member ensure that the student’s project be well defined so that progress can be made in the time the student is working in the lab. He also suggests that a graduate student mentor be assigned to each undergraduate researcher.

Fan suggests that faculty members make time to meet with the students one-on-one, as that was an important part of his success in Sulchek’s lab.

For more about the spring symposium and other undergraduate research opportunities at Tech, click here.

 

]]> Amelia Pavlik 1 1333357447 2012-04-02 09:04:07 1475896316 2016-10-08 03:11:56 0 0 news In class, Lin Fan has listened to his professors explain the theory behind mechanical engineering.

]]>
2012-04-02T00:00:00-04:00 2012-04-02T00:00:00-04:00 2012-04-02 00:00:00 Amelia Pavlik
Communications & Marketing
404-385-4142

]]>
120951 120951 image <![CDATA[Todd Sulchek and Lin Fan]]> image/jpeg 1449178279 2015-12-03 21:31:19 1475894741 2016-10-08 02:45:41 <![CDATA[Undergraduate Research at Georgia Tech]]>
<![CDATA[Scientists Study the Catalytic Reactions Used by Plants to Split Oxygen from Water]]> 27303 Splitting hydrogen and oxygen from water using conventional electrolysis techniques requires considerable amounts of electrical energy. But green plants produce oxygen from water efficiently using a catalytic technique powered by sunlight – a process that is part of photosynthesis and so effective that it is the Earth’s major source of oxygen.

If mimicked by artificial systems, this photocatalytic process could provide abundant new supplies of oxygen and, possibly hydrogen, as a by-product of producing electricity. However, despite its importance to the survival of the planet, scientists don’t fully understand the complex process plants use to harness the sun’s energy.

A paper published April 2 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences moves scientists closer to that understanding by showing the importance of a hydrogen bonding water network in that portion of the photosynthetic machinery known as photosystem II. Using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) on photosystem II extracted from ordinary spinach, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology tested the idea that a network of hydrogen-bonded water molecules plays a catalytic role in the process that produces oxygen.

“By substituting ammonia, an analog of the water molecule that has a similar structure, we were able to show that the network of hydrogen-bonded water molecules is important to the catalytic process,” said Bridgette Barry, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences. “Substituting ammonia for water inhibited the activity of the photosystem and disrupted the network. The network could be reestablished by addition of a simple sugar, trehalose.”

The research was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and published in the Early Edition of the journal.

In the chloroplasts of green plants, algae and cyanobacteria, oxygen is produced by the accumulation of photo-induced oxidizing equivalents in a structure known as the oxygen-evolving complex (OEC). The OEC contains manganese and calcium ions. Illumination causes oxidation of manganese ions in the OEC. Short laser flashes can be used to step through the reaction cycle, which involves four sequential light-induced oxidation reactions. Oxygen is produced on the fourth step, and then is released from the OEC.  

This so-called S state cycle resets with the binding of the substrate, water. Scientists have proposed that a hydrogen bond network, which includes multiple water molecules bound to manganese ions, calcium ions, and protein amide carbonyl (C=O) groups, forms an electrostatic network surrounding the OEC. In this scenario, the extensive hydrogen-bond network would then serve as a component of the catalyst, which splits off oxygen.

To study the process, Barry and graduate student Brandon Polander used precision FT-IR spectroscopy to describe how the network reacts to a short laser flash. The second harmonic of a pulsed Nd-Yag laser was used as the light source. This illumination causes the OEC to undergo one step in its catalytic cycle, the so-called S1 to S2 transition. An infrared spectrum was recorded before and after a laser flash to the photosystem sample, which was isolated from supermarket spinach.

The exquisite sensitivity of FT-IR spectroscopy allowed them to measure changes in the bond strength of the protein C=O groups. The energies of these C=O groups were used as markers of hydrogen bond strength. The brief laser flash oxidized a manganese ion and caused a change in the strength of the C=O bond, which reported an increase in hydrogen bonding to water molecules. When ammonia was added as an inhibitor, a decrease in C=O hydrogen bonding was observed instead. Addition of trehalose, which is known to change the ordering of water molecules at the surface of proteins, blocked this effect of ammonia.   

The study describes the coordinated changes that must occur in the protein to facilitate the reaction and shows that the strength of the hydrogen-bonded network is important. 

“This research helps to clarify how ammonia inhibits the photosystem, which is something that researchers have been wondering about for many years,” Barry explained. “Our work suggests that ammonia can inhibit the reaction by disrupting this network of hydrogen bonds.” 

The research also suggests that in design of artificial devices that carry out this reaction, sustaining a similar hydrogen-bonding network may be important. The stabilizing effect of trehalose discovered by Polander and Barry may also be important.

Beyond the importance of understanding the photosynthetic process, the work could lead to new techniques for producing hydrogen and oxygen using sunlight. One possibility would be to add a biomimetic photocatalytic process to a photovoltaic system producing electricity from the sun.

 “In terms of providing new sources of energy, we still have lessons to learn from plants about how they carry out these critical processes,” Barry said. “It would be a great advance for the planet to have new, sustainable, and inexpensive processes to carry out this reaction.”

Ultimately, she hopes the full water oxidizing cycle can be explored and potentially harnessed or imitated for oxygen and energy production.

“We are only looking at a single part of the overall reaction now, but we would like to study the entire cycle, in which oxygen is produced, to see how the interactions in the water network change and how the interactions with the protein change,” Barry said. “The work is another step in understanding how plants carry out this amazing series of photosynthetic reactions.”

Research News & Publications Office

Georgia Institute of Technology

75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314

Atlanta, Georgia  30308  USA

Media Relations Assistance: John Toon (404-894-6986)(jtoon@gatech.edu) or Abby Robinson (404-385-3364)(abby@innovate.gatech.edu).

Writer: John Toon

]]> John Toon 1 1333399081 2012-04-02 20:38:01 1475896316 2016-10-08 03:11:56 0 0 news Green plants produce oxygen from water using a catalytic technique powered by sunlight. Scientists have now shown the importance of a hydrogen-bonding water network to that process -- which is the major source of the Earth's oxygen.

]]>
2012-04-02T00:00:00-04:00 2012-04-02T00:00:00-04:00 2012-04-02 00:00:00 John Toon
Research News & Publications Office
404-894-6986
jtoon@gatech.edu

]]>
121601 121611 121601 image <![CDATA[Preparing FT-IR Equipment]]> image/jpeg 1449178582 2015-12-03 21:36:22 1475894743 2016-10-08 02:45:43 121611 image <![CDATA[Preparing FT-IR Equipment2]]> image/jpeg 1449178582 2015-12-03 21:36:22 1475894743 2016-10-08 02:45:43
<![CDATA[Leading Minority Engineering Researchers Convene at Georgia Tech for National Workshop]]> 27462 In response to both a critical need for technological innovation and for ways to address the disturbing shortage of minority engineering faculty across the country, the Minority Faculty Development Workshop: Engineering Enterprise and Innovation was held at Georgia Tech from March 15 to 18.

Thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation, Gilda Barabino, professor of biomedical engineering at Georgia Tech, organized the workshop to bring together distinguished, talented and innovative engineering professionals to address this challenge, which is related to enhanced global competiveness and an improved national economy.

The workshop attracted more than 70 engineering faculty and innovators from Harvard, Stanford, North Carolina A &T State University and other leading institutions. Researchers who attended gained insight, resources and knowledge toward activities that support innovation, entrepreneurial endeavors and ultimately, the economic status of our nation, Barabino said.

As an internationally recognized researcher and educator and the newly elected president of the Biomedical Engineering Society, Barabino has committed herself to her technical career and to impacting the future by developing opportunities for innovation and career success among minority faculty.

“By providing opportunities for professional development linked to a better understanding of research innovation and translation, the [workshop] contributes to the development and retention of a well equipped faculty cadre,” Barabino said. “It broadens the talent pool for translational research that drives company formation, job creation, a healthy economy and global competitiveness.”

Georgia Tech Dean of Engineering Gary May, who was one of the conference sponsors, said the workshop is a positive step toward increasing underrepresented faculty in the STEM fields.

“Faculty are the intellectual life blood of universities, so faculty development is a critical issue,” May said. “This is particularly true for underrepresented faculty in STEM fields, as there are too few of us to allow any to be unsuccessful. I applaud the Minority Faculty Development Workshop for seeking solutions which will contribute to successful, enriched, and fulfilling careers for its participants.”

National Science Foundation Program Director Omnia El-Hakim stressed the importance of attracting more women to engineering.

“Women constitute 50 percent of the U.S. Population, but are not represented fully in the engineering disciplines nor in entrepreneurship,” El-Hakim said. “The NSF believes in broadening participation through these types of programs because diversification in these realms brings important perspectives in solving challenges of national concern while maintaining excellence.”

The NSF Minority Faculty Development Workshop: Engineering Enterprise and Innovation was the sixth in a series that began in 2001 with funding under the NSF Engineering Directorate. The workshop addressed strategic goals of the National Science Foundation and critical needs of the nation related to enhanced global competiveness and an improved national economy.

 

]]> Liz Klipp 1 1333016281 2012-03-29 10:18:01 1475896316 2016-10-08 03:11:56 0 0 news In response to both a critical need for technological innovation and for ways to address the disturbing shortage of minority engineering faculty across the country, the Minority Faculty Development Workshop: Engineering Enterprise and Innovation was held at Georgia Tech from March 15 to 18.

]]>
2012-03-29T00:00:00-04:00 2012-03-29T00:00:00-04:00 2012-03-29 00:00:00 Georgia Tech Media Relations
Laura Diamond
laura.diamond@comm.gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Jason Maderer
maderer@gatech.edu
404-660-2926

]]>
63743 63743 image <![CDATA[Gilda A. Barabino]]> image/jpeg 1449176708 2015-12-03 21:05:08 1475894559 2016-10-08 02:42:39 <![CDATA[Workshop website]]>
<![CDATA[Novel Compound Halts Tumor Spread, Improves Brain Cancer Treatment in Animal Studies]]> 27206 Treating invasive brain tumors with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation has improved clinical outcomes, but few patients survive longer than two years after diagnosis. The effectiveness of the treatment is limited by the tumor’s aggressive invasion of healthy brain tissue, which restricts chemotherapy access to the cancer cells and complicates surgical removal of the tumor.

To address this challenge, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University have designed a new treatment approach that appears to halt the spread of cancer cells into normal brain tissue in animal models. The researchers treated animals possessing an invasive tumor with a vesicle carrying a molecule called imipramine blue, followed by conventional doxorubicin chemotherapy. The tumors ceased their invasion of healthy tissue and the animals survived longer than animals treated with chemotherapy alone.

“Our results show that imipramine blue stops tumor invasion into healthy tissue and enhances the efficacy of chemotherapy, which suggests that chemotherapy may be more effective when the target is stationary,” said Ravi Bellamkonda, a professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. “These results reveal a new strategy for treating brain cancer that could improve clinical outcomes.”

The results of this work were published on March 28, 2012 in the journal Science Translational Medicine. The research was supported primarily by the Ian’s Friends Foundation and partially by the Georgia Cancer Coalition, the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation and a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship.

In addition to Bellamkonda, collaborators on the project include Jack Arbiser, a professor in the Emory University Department of Dermatology; Daniel Brat, a professor in the Emory University Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; and the paper’s lead author, Jennifer Munson, a former Fulbright Scholar who was a bioengineering graduate student in the Georgia Tech School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering when the research was conducted.

Arbiser designed the novel imipramine blue compound, which is an organic triphenylmethane dye. After in vitro experiments showed that imipramine blue effectively inhibited movement of several cancer cell lines, the researchers tested the compound in an animal model of aggressive cancer that exhibited attributes similar to a human brain tumor called glioblastoma.

“There were many reasons why we chose to use the RT2 astrocytoma rat model for these experiments,” said Brat. “The tumor exhibited properties of aggressive growth, invasiveness, angiogenesis and necrosis that are similar to human glioblastoma; the model utilized an intact immune system, which is seen in the human disease; and the model enabled increased visualization by MRI because it was a rat model, rather than a mouse.”

Because imipramine blue is hydrophobic and doxorubicin is cytotoxic, the researchers encapsulated each compound in an artificially-prepared vesicle called a liposome so that the drugs would reach the brain. The liposomal drug delivery vehicle also ensured that the drugs would not be released into tissue until they passed through leaky blood vessel walls, which are only present where a tumor is growing.

Animals received one of the following four treatments: liposomes filled with saline, liposomes filled with imipramine blue, liposomes filled with doxorubicin chemotherapy, or liposomes filled with imipramine blue followed by liposomes filled with doxorubicin chemotherapy.

All of the animals that received the sequential treatment of imipramine blue followed by doxorubicin chemotherapy survived for 200 days -- more than 6 months -- with no observable tumor mass. Of the animals treated with doxorubicin chemotherapy alone, 33 percent were alive after 200 days with a median survival time of 44 days. Animals that received capsules filled with saline or imipramine blue – but no chemotherapy -- did not survive more than 19 days.

“Our results show that the increased effectiveness of the chemotherapy treatment is not because of a synergistic toxicity between imipramine blue and doxorubicin. Imipramine blue is not making the doxorubicin more toxic, it’s simply stopping the movement of the cancer cells and containing the cancer so that the chemotherapy can do a better job,” explained Bellamkonda, who is also the Carol Ann and David D. Flanagan Chair in Biomedical Engineering and a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar.

MRI results showed a reduction and compaction of the tumor in animals treated with imipramine blue followed by doxorubicin chemotherapy, while animals treated with chemotherapy alone presented with abnormal tissue and glioma cells. MRI also indicated that the blood-brain barrier breach often seen during tumor growth was present in the animals treated with chemotherapy alone, but not the group treated with chemotherapy and imipramine blue.

According to the researchers, imipramine blue appears to improve the outcome of brain cancer treatment by altering the regulation of actin, a protein found in all eukaryotic cells. Actin mediates a variety of essential biological functions, including the production of reactive oxygen species. Most cancer cells exhibit overproduction of reactive oxygen species, which are thought to stimulate cancer cells to invade healthy tissue. The dye’s reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton is thought to inhibit production of enzymes that produce reactive oxygen species.

“I formulated the imipramine blue compound as a triphenylmethane dye because I knew that another triphenylmethane dye, gentian violet, exhibited anti-cancer properties, and I decided to use imipramine -- a drug used to treat depression -- as the starting material because I knew it could get into the brain,” said Arbiser.

For future studies, the researchers are planning to test imipramine blue’s effect on animal models with invasive brain tumors, metastatic tumors, and other types of cancer such as prostate and breast.

“While we need to conduct future studies to determine if the effect of imipramine blue is the same for different types of cancer diagnosed at different stages, this initial study shows the possibility that imipramine blue may be useful as soon as any tumor is diagnosed, before anti-cancer treatment begins, to create a more treatable tumor and enhance clinical outcome,” noted Bellamkonda. 

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

Writer: Abby Robinson

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1332947920 2012-03-28 15:18:40 1475896316 2016-10-08 03:11:56 0 0 news By stopping the spread of cancer cells into normal brain tissue in animal models, researchers from Georgia Tech and Emory University have developed a new strategy for treating brain cancer that could improve clinical outcomes. The researchers treated animals possessing an invasive tumor with a novel molecule called imipramine blue, followed by conventional doxorubicin chemotherapy. The tumors ceased their invasion of healthy tissue and the animals survived longer than animals treated with chemotherapy alone.

]]>
2012-03-28T00:00:00-04:00 2012-03-28T00:00:00-04:00 2012-03-28 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
abby@innovate.gatech.edu
404-385-3364

]]>
120181 120191 120201 120181 image <![CDATA[Imipramine blue]]> image/jpeg 1449178268 2015-12-03 21:31:08 1475894741 2016-10-08 02:45:41 120191 image <![CDATA[Imipramine blue inhibits glioblastoma cells]]> image/jpeg 1449178268 2015-12-03 21:31:08 1475894741 2016-10-08 02:45:41 120201 image <![CDATA[Imipramine blue tumor invasion]]> image/jpeg 1449178268 2015-12-03 21:31:08 1475894741 2016-10-08 02:45:41
<![CDATA[Biomedical Engineering Undergraduate Team Sweeps Business Plan Competition]]> 27462 The “MAID” Team (Magnetically Assisted Intubation Device) of biomedical engineering undergraduates swept the Georgia Tech Business Plan Competition finals on March 9.

Team MAID is composed of seniors Alex Cooper, Elizabeth Flanagan, Shawna Hagen and Jacob Thompson.  Their plan and presentation won first place in the Undergraduate Competition, 1st Place in the Overall Competition, Most Commercializable Plan and the Alumni Award in the poster session for total winnings of $42,500.

Their win represents the first time a team of undergraduates has won the overall competition, which draws undergraduate and graduate students from across Georgia Tech. The Business Plan Competition is organized annually by Georgia Tech’s College of Management.

MAID is a simplified approach to intubation that utilizes magnets to guide the endotracheal tube into the airway of a patient easily and quickly, with less risk and without the need for visualization. MAID has two components: the single-use magnetic stylet and the reusable guide magnet. The external guide magnet is placed above the cricoid cartilage of the patient. When the endotracheal tube with the magnetic stylet is inserted into the patient’s mouth, it is pulled directly into the airway by the guide magnet, resulting in near effortless intubation.

Last year the team MAID also won second place in Georgia Tech’s InVenture Prize competition, winning $10,000 cash and a patent application by the Office of Technology Licensing. In summer 2011, the Translational Research Institute for Biomedical Engineering & Science awarded the team a seed grant of $25,000 to for further prototype development of the device.

The Saint Joseph Translation Research Institute has tested their functioning prototype on multiple human cadavers with considerable success. The Office of Technology Licensing filed a full non-provisional patent in March 2012. Currently, additional design work is being conducted to improve manufacturability and reliability. The MAID design concept to improve the safety and effectiveness of the intubation procedure began as a team design project in BMED 2300, Projects in Biomedical Engineering. Franklin Bost, Professor of the Practice in biomedical engineering, and Leanne West at the Georgia Tech Research Institute, continue to advise the MAID team.

Kevin Lewis, another biomedical engineering student, whose plan for “Cold Crate” came in third in the Undergraduate Track of the Business Plan competition. Graduate student Melissa Li was a finalist for her team’s CARDIAM device and the winner of a $10,000 services package for Most Innovative Technology.  The CARDIAM Team was also a co-winner in the Elevator Pitch Competition.

Written by Adrianne Proeller, Wallace H. Coulter Dept. of Biomedical Engineering.

]]> Liz Klipp 1 1332243808 2012-03-20 11:43:28 1475896312 2016-10-08 03:11:52 0 0 news The “MAID” Team (Magnetically Assisted Intubation Device) of biomedical engineering undergraduates swept the Georgia Tech Business Plan Competition finals.

]]>
2012-03-20T00:00:00-04:00 2012-03-20T00:00:00-04:00 2012-03-20 00:00:00 Georgia Tech Media Relations
Laura Diamond
laura.diamond@comm.gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Jason Maderer
maderer@gatech.edu
404-660-2926

]]>
117881 117881 image <![CDATA[Magnetically Assisted Intubation Device team]]> image/jpeg 1449178256 2015-12-03 21:30:56 1475894736 2016-10-08 02:45:36 <![CDATA[2012 Business Plan Results]]> <![CDATA[College of Management article]]>
<![CDATA[BioEngineering Student and Faculty Awards Winners]]> 27547 Through the generous support of Dean Gary S. May and the College of Engineering, the BioEngineering Interdisciplinary graduate program is pleased announce the winners of the  three new BioEngineering Awards for calendar year 2011 as follows:

Best BioE Student Paper
Rolando Gittens - Ph.D. Student - Boyan Lab - Award Recipient 2012

Best BioE Ph.D. Thesis
Edward Phelps, Ph.D. - Garcia Lab -  Award Recipient 2012

Best BioE Advisor
Dr. Melissa Kemp, BMED - Award Recipient 2012

To honor these recipients, an awards ceremony will be held Fall semester 2012.

]]> Chris Ruffin 1 1331626826 2012-03-13 08:20:26 1475896312 2016-10-08 03:11:52 0 0 news "Through the generous support of Dean Gary S. May and the College of Engineering, the BioEngineering Interdisciplinary graduate program is pleased announce the creation of three new BioEngineering Awards."

]]>
2012-03-13T00:00:00-04:00 2012-03-13T00:00:00-04:00 2012-03-13 00:00:00 "Rewarding Excellence"

]]>
Mr. Christopher Ruffin
IBB Building, Room 1103
(404)385-6655

]]>
69773 69773 image <![CDATA[Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]> image/jpeg 1449177264 2015-12-03 21:14:24 1475894611 2016-10-08 02:43:31
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Graduate Programs Earn High Marks In National Rankings]]> 27304 Georgia Institute of Technology graduate programs continue to earn high marks from U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings.

The Institute’s College of Engineering ranked No. 4 for the eighth consecutive year and all eleven of the programs within the college are ranked in the top 10 including industrial engineering (No. 1), biomedical and bioengineering (No. 2), civil (No. 3), aerospace (No. 4), electrical (No. 5), nuclear (No. 5), environmental (No. 6), computer (No. 6), mechanical (No. 6), materials (No. 7) and chemical (No. 10).

“All of Georgia Tech’s graduate engineering programs are ranked in the top ten in the nation.  We’re proud that our College of Engineering is not only one of the best in the U.S., but also the largest, preparing nearly 3,000 graduates each year,” said Georgia Tech President G. P. “Bud” Peterson.  “We commend our outstanding faculty, staff and students who helped make this a reality.”

Georgia Tech appears on the top 10 list of engineering specialties more than any other ranked institution.

The Georgia Tech College of Management full-time MBA program ranked No. 32, while the Institute’s part-time MBA program ranked No. 28.

]]> Matthew Nagel 1 1331629416 2012-03-13 09:03:36 1475896312 2016-10-08 03:11:52 0 0 news Georgia Institute of Technology graduate programs continue to earn high marks from U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings.

]]>
2012-03-13T00:00:00-04:00 2012-03-13T00:00:00-04:00 2012-03-13 00:00:00 Georgia Tech Media Relations
Laura Diamond
laura.diamond@comm.gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Jason Maderer
maderer@gatech.edu
404-660-2926

]]>
83641 83641 image <![CDATA[Tech Tower]]> 1449178095 2015-12-03 21:28:15 1475894700 2016-10-08 02:45:00 <![CDATA[U.S. News & World Report]]> <![CDATA[College of Engineering]]> <![CDATA[Georgia Tech College of Management]]>
<![CDATA[Two Georgia Tech Faculty Help to Define Emerging U.S Stem Cell Engineering Field through International Study]]> 27224 Robert M. Nerem, Ph.D., professor in mechanical engineering and Todd C. McDevitt, Ph.D., director of the Stem Cell Engineering Center at Georgia Tech, were invited by the lead sponsor, Semahat S. Demir Ph.D. of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to take part in an international assessment of the stem cell engineering field.  Nerem will lead the panel and the findings of this study will result in recommendations to the NSF and other funding agencies on future research directions and investments, recommendations on global initiatives with international partners and public workshops.

The study, which is being conducted by the World Technology Evaluation Center (WTEC), aims to assess the current status and the trends of stem cell engineering, and compare U.S. research and development programs with those abroad.  In addition to the NSF, the study is co-sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

“Tech is fortunate to have two out of the six experts on this panel,” Nerem said. “It conveys Georgia Tech's nascent leadership in this relatively new and rapidly growing field and it is a great opportunity to provide input and leadership to our funding agencies and help our government understand where best to invest.”

President Obama, Congress and numerous states have recognized the value of stem cell research. Knowledge of research activities abroad will help to formulate and prioritize research directions to support President Obama's executive order for expanding stem cell research so that it has the greatest potential for clinical and commercial applications.

Dozens of companies have recently entered the stem cell engineering field in search of clinical and commercial applications.  There is clear impetus for the U.S. to support stem cell research and continue its leadership in the basic sciences for the betterment of humankind.  A Congressional Research Service report on stem cell research, which reviewed the political, moral and ethical issues of the subject, indicated the strengthening interest and economic commitment for stem cell research in the U.S. and the rest of the world.

This study will use WTEC's methodology and an expert panel of six to conduct site visits to overseas laboratories where work in stem cell engineering is done. The panelists began their study in November, when they traveled to China and Japan, and will continue their evaluation this week in Europe.  These visits, combined with the panel's own research experiences and assessments, will help shape a report.  Like the previous WTEC studies on the tissue engineering and nanotechnology fields, this effort will act as a guide for U.S. research investments in this emerging field and will help identify key issues of critical importance to program officers. 


“This is an excellent opportunity to learn what other countries are doing and benchmark against other programs in order to position the U.S. to become leaders in stem cell research and development,” said McDevitt, who is also an associate professor in the Wallace H. Counter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. “Manufacturing, clinical trials and commercializing stem cell-based products, if done strategically, is something that could boost our nation’s economy.”

This week the scientists will travel to Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. In addition to Nerem and McDevitt, other panelists include Jeanne Loring, Ph.D., The Scripps Institute; Sean Palecek, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin; David Schaffer, Ph.D., University California at Berkeley; and Peter Zandstra, Ph.D., University of Toronto.

WTEC is a non-profit 501(c)(3) research institute, which is a spin-off of Loyola University Maryland.  Since 1989, WTEC has provided such assessment studies in more than 60 fields of R&D under peer-reviewed grants from NSF.

 

]]> Megan McDevitt 1 1330359364 2012-02-27 16:16:04 1475896304 2016-10-08 03:11:44 0 0 news Robert M. Nerem, Ph.D., professor in mechanical engineering and Todd C. McDevitt, Ph.D., director of the Stem Cell Engineering Center at Georgia Tech, were invited by the lead sponsor, Semahat S. Demir Ph.D. from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to take part in an international assessment of the stem cell engineering field.  Nerem will lead the panel and the findings of this study will result in recommendations to the NSF and other funding agencies on future research directions and investments, recommendations on global initiatives with international partners and public workshops.

]]>
2012-03-01T00:00:00-05:00 2012-03-01T00:00:00-05:00 2012-03-01 00:00:00 Colly Mitchell

Marketing & Events
Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience
Georgia Institute of Technology

]]>
60434 70893 70131 60434 image <![CDATA[Robert Nerem & Todd McDevitt]]> image/jpeg 1449176267 2015-12-03 20:57:47 1475894523 2016-10-08 02:42:03 70893 image <![CDATA[Robert Nerem]]> 1449177328 2015-12-03 21:15:28 1475894625 2016-10-08 02:43:45 70131 image <![CDATA[Todd McDevitt]]> 1449177288 2015-12-03 21:14:48 1475894616 2016-10-08 02:43:36 <![CDATA[Study website]]> <![CDATA[Stem Cell Engineering Center]]> <![CDATA[National Science Foundation]]> <![CDATA[National Institute of Standards and Technology]]>
<![CDATA[Georgia Research Alliance Names First Eminent Scholar in Nanomedicine]]> 27462 Younan Xia, an internationally recognized leader in the field of nanotechnology, recently joined the Georgia Institute of Technology as the first Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) Eminent Scholar in Nanomedicine.

Xia is the Brock Family Chair and GRA Eminent Scholar in Nanomedicine in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, with a joint appointment in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. His research focuses on nanocrystals -- a novel class of materials with features smaller than 100 nm -- as well as the development of innovative technologies enabled by nanocrystals. These technologies span the fields of molecular imaging, early cancer diagnosis, targeted drug delivery, biomaterials, regenerative medicine and catalysis.

“The possible applications of nanotechnology in medicine have only begun to be explored, said Michael Cassidy, President and CEO of the Georgia Research Alliance. “Dr. Xia’s expertise and collaborative vision will lead to vital new scientific discoveries that can be transformed into new tools to help people live healthier lives.”

Xia received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Harvard University in 1996, his M.S. in inorganic chemistry from University of Pennsylvania (with the late Professor Alan G. MacDiarmid, a Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, 2000) in 1993. He has received a number of prestigious awards, including AIMBE Fellow (2011), MRS Fellow (2009), NIH Director's Pioneer Award (2006), Leo Hendrik Baekeland Award (2005), Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar (2002), David and Lucile Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering (2000), Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (2000), NSF Early Career Development Award (2000) and the ACS Victor K. LaMer Award (1999).

“Dr. Xia is a world-renowned teacher and leader at the forefront of nanomedicine and materials science,” said Larry McIntire, the Wallace H. Coulter Chair of Biomedical Engineering. “His reputation and innovative research in these areas will clearly strengthen our expanding efforts in nanomedicine and biomaterials. We are honored to welcome him to the department and to the Institute.”

]]> Liz Klipp 1 1329999568 2012-02-23 12:19:28 1475896304 2016-10-08 03:11:44 0 0 news Younan Xia, an internationally recognized leader in the field of nanotechnology, recently joined the Georgia Institute of Technology as the first Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) Eminent Scholar in Nanomedicine.

]]>
2012-02-23T00:00:00-05:00 2012-02-23T00:00:00-05:00 2012-02-23 00:00:00  

Adrianne Proeller

Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University

404-894-2357

]]>
<![CDATA[Georgia Research Alliance]]> <![CDATA[Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering]]>
<![CDATA[Blast from the past: resurrecting ancient life (with confidence)]]> 27245 If we were able to resurrect a dinosaur in the laboratory today how could we be certain that the particular dinosaur actually existed in the distant past and does not simply represent some mutant frankensaurus?

Ongoing research at Georgia Tech aims to answer this question in an experimental approach by adding rigor to the methods and protocols used to resurrect components of ancient life.

Dr. Eric Gaucher, Associate Professor in the School of Biology, was recently awarded $700K from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to, for the first time, benchmark ancestral sequence reconstruction methods. Prof. Gaucher’s approach involves generating a known experimental phylogeny in the lab using fluorescent proteins cloned into bacteria. Generating such a “known” phylogeny with evolved sequences will, in turn, allow the group to test resurrection predictions since the true ancestral proteins are generated in the laboratory and are thus known.

An important component of the funding involves integrating evolutionary and molecular biology research into the greater Atlanta community. In collaboration with Dunwoody High school, Dr. Gaucher and Ryan Randall have developed a new Biotechnology curriculum whereby students are introduced to the connections between genotype and phenotype by evolving fluorescent proteins at the high school. In addition, The Gaucher Group annually hosts a team of Dekalb county high school students competing in the National Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, that involves bioengineering of fluorescent proteins.

For his efforts, Prof. Gaucher is also a recent recipient of Georgia Tech’s Class of 1934 Teaching Award. This award is based on student evaluations and presented to faculty with the highest ratings in overall effectiveness in teaching.

]]> Troy Hilley 1 1329905714 2012-02-22 10:15:14 1475896304 2016-10-08 03:11:44 0 0 news If we were able to resurrect a dinosaur in the laboratory today how could we be certain that the particular dinosaur actually existed in the distant past and does not simply represent some mutant frankensaurus?

Ongoing research at Georgia Tech aims to answer this question in an experimental approach by adding rigor to the methods and protocols used to resurrect components of ancient life.

]]>
2012-02-22T00:00:00-05:00 2012-02-22T00:00:00-05:00 2012-02-22 00:00:00 111341 111351 111341 image <![CDATA[Eric Gaucher and Ryan Randall]]> image/jpeg 1449178213 2015-12-03 21:30:13 1475894731 2016-10-08 02:45:31 111351 image <![CDATA[Siemens competition]]> image/jpeg 1449178213 2015-12-03 21:30:13 1475894731 2016-10-08 02:45:31 <![CDATA[School of Biology]]> <![CDATA[Eric Gaucher]]> <![CDATA[Gaucher Group]]> <![CDATA[Siemens Competition]]> <![CDATA[Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL)]]>
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Develops Computational Algorithm to Assist in Cancer Treatments]]> 27560 High-throughput DNA sequencing technologies are leading to a revolution in how clinicians diagnose and treat cancer. The molecular profiles of individual tumors are beginning to be used in the design of chemotherapeutic programs optimized for the treatment of individual patients. The real revolution, however, is coming with the emerging capability to inexpensively and accurately sequence the entire genome of cancers, allowing for the identification of specific mutations responsible for the disease in individual patients.

There is only one downside. Those sequencing technologies provide massive amounts of data that are not easily processed and translated by scientists. That’s why Georgia Tech has created a new data analysis algorithm that quickly transforms complex RNA sequence data into usable content for biologists and clinicians. The RNA-Seq analysis pipeline (R-SAP) was developed by School of Biology Professor John McDonald and Ph.D. Bioinformatics candidate Vinay Mittal. Details of the pipeline are published in the journal Nucleic Acids Research.

“A major bottleneck in the realization of the dream of personalized medicine is no longer technological. It’s computational,” said McDonald, director of Georgia Tech’s newly created Integrated Cancer Research Center. “R-SAP follows a hierarchical decision-making procedure to accurately characterize various classes of gene transcripts in cancer samples.”

There are at least 23,000 pieces of RNA in the human genome that encode the sequence of proteins. Millions of other pieces help regulate the production of proteins. R-SAP is able to quickly determine every gene’s level of RNA expression and provide information about splice variants, biomarkers and chimeric RNAs. Biologists and clinicians will be able to more readily use this data to compare the RNA profiles or “transcriptomes” of normal cells with those of individual cancers and thereby be in a better position to develop optimized personal therapies.

Personalized approaches to cancer medicine are already in widespread use for a few “cancer biomarkers” including variants of the BRAC 1 gene that can be used to identify women with a high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

“Our goal was to design a pipeline that is easily installable with parallel processing capabilities,” said Mittal. “R-SAP can make 100 million reads in just 90 minutes. Running the program simultaneously on multiple CPUs can further decrease that time.”

R-SAP is open source software, freely accessible at the McDonald Lab website.

“This is another example of Georgia Tech’s ability to merge computer technology with science to create an essential feature of next-generation bioinformatics tools,” said McDonald. “We hope that R-SAP will be a useful and user-friendly instrument for scientists and clinicians in the field of cancer biology.”

 

]]> Jason Maderer 1 1329139819 2012-02-13 13:30:19 1475896300 2016-10-08 03:11:40 0 0 news Georgia Tech has created a new data analysis algorithm that quickly transforms complex RNA sequence data into usable content for biologists and clinicians. Scientists will be able to more readily use this data to compare the RNA profiles or “transcriptomes” of normal cells with those of individual cancers and thereby be in a better position to develop optimized personal therapies.

]]>
2012-02-13T00:00:00-05:00 2012-02-13T00:00:00-05:00 2012-02-13 00:00:00 Jason Maderer
Georgia Tech Media Relations
404-385-2966
maderer@gatech.edu

]]>
101211 101211 image <![CDATA[John McDonald]]> 1449178159 2015-12-03 21:29:19 1475894717 2016-10-08 02:45:17 <![CDATA[College of Sciences]]> <![CDATA[School of Biology]]>
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Research: Good for the Heart]]> 27206 Valentine’s Day evokes images of a stylized heart shape, but for a group of Georgia Institute of Technology researchers, the heart is a complex organ that interests them throughout the year.

Georgia Tech researchers are developing new ways to diagnose and treat heart problems -- from advanced imaging techniques and guidance for drug therapies to sophisticated surgical procedures. Georgia Tech’s emphasis on translational research accelerates the pace at which new heart-related discoveries are put to use in patient care.

Improving Heart Surgery

To advance the goal of minimally invasive cardiac surgery, researchers have developed a technology that simplifies and standardizes the technique for opening and closing the beating heart during surgery.

Apica Cardiovascular, a Georgia Tech and Emory University medical device startup, licensed the technology from the two institutions. The firm recently received a $5.5 million investment to further develop the system, which will make the transapical access and closure procedure required for delivering therapeutic devices to the heart more routine for cardiac surgeons. The goal is to expand the use of surgery techniques that are less invasive and do not require stopping the heart.

With research and development support from the Coulter Foundation Translational Research Program and the Georgia Research Alliance, the company has already completed a series of pre-clinical studies to test the functionality of the device and its biocompatibility. James Greene currently serves as the CEO of the company, which has offices in Galway, Ireland, and in Atlanta.

For more information on this work, visit http://gtresearchnews.gatech.edu/apica-cardiovascular/.

Diagnosing Heart Disease

Levent Degertekin is designing tiny devices micromachined from silicon that may make diagnosing and treating coronary artery diseases easier.

Degertekin, the George W. Woodruff Chair in Mechanical Systems, and Paul Hasler, a professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech, micromachined intravascular ultrasound imaging arrays with integrated electronics. Placed on catheters inserted into the body, the devices image the arteries of the heart in three dimensions at high resolution using high-frequency ultrasound waves.

The system boasts a more compact design and three-dimensional imaging capability for guiding cardiologists during interventions, such as those for completely blocked arteries. The technology also offers higher resolution than current intravascular ultrasound systems, which help diagnose vulnerable plaque, a leading cause of heart attacks.

Funding for this research currently is provided by the National Institutes of Health. To commercialize the technology, the researchers have formed a startup company called SIBUS Medical, which is receiving assistance from VentureLab, a unit of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute that nurtures faculty startup companies.

Detecting and Treating Atherosclerosis

With a five-year $14.6 million contract from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Georgia Tech and Emory University researchers are developing nanotechnology and biomolecular engineering tools and methodologies for detecting and treating atherosclerosis. The award supports the interdisciplinary Center for Translational Cardiovascular Nanomedicine, which is led by Gang Bao, the Robert A. Milton Chair in Biomedical Engineering in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.

Atherosclerosis typically occurs in branched or curved regions of arteries where plaques form because of cholesterol build-up. Inflammation can alter the structure of plaques so they become more likely to rupture, potentially causing a blood vessel blockage and leading to heart attack or stroke.

The researchers are working to accomplish four goals:

Additional researchers from the Coulter Department and from Emory University are also contributing to the project. For more information on this work, visit http://gtresearchnews.gatech.edu/cardiovascular-nanomedicine-center/.

Improving Drug Dosing Following a Heart Attack

A research team led by Georgia Tech mechanical engineering assistant professor Craig Forest is designing a device to quickly and accurately personalize a patient’s drug dosage to prevent blood clots that can cause heart attacks.

When someone experiencing heart attack symptoms arrives at an emergency room, he or she typically receives a standard dose of aspirin and/or clopidogrel to prevent further blood clotting. But that standard dose may not be the best dose for a given individual.

With Forest’s device, a small blood sample is sent through a microchip containing a network of microfabricated capillaries that mimic the branching coronary arteries around the human heart. Because the branches contain flow restrictions of different sizes, the failure of blood to flow through the branches with smaller restrictions indicates that a higher drug dose may be required.

Determining the necessary dose of anti-clotting drugs can be difficult. Too much of the drug may cause the patient to experience gastrointestinal bleeding. Too little drug may allow additional clot formation and set the stage for another heart attack. Forest’s device should help determine the right dosage for each patient.

Emory University Department of Emergency Medicine assistant professor Jeremy Ackerman and Georgia Tech Regents’ professor of mechanical engineering David Ku are working with Forest on this project, which is supported by the American Heart Association.

Examining Heart Valve Leakage

An estimated 1.6 million Americans suffer moderate to severe leakage through their tricuspid valve, a complex structure that closes off the heart’s right ventricle from the right atrium. If left untreated, severe leakage can affect an individual’s quality of life and can even lead to death.

Research teams led by Ajit Yoganathan, Georgia Tech Regents’ professor and Wallace H. Coulter Distinguished Faculty Chair in Biomedical Engineering, have discovered causes for the tricuspid valve’s leakage and ways to predict the severity of leakage in the valve. These study results could lead to improved diagnosis and treatment of the condition.

A study published in the journal Circulation found that either dilating the tricuspid valve opening or displacing the papillary muscles that control its operation can cause the valve to leak. A combination of the two actions can increase the severity of the leakage, which is called tricuspid regurgitation.

Standard clinical procedures that detail when and how tricuspid valve repairs should be performed need to be developed and this study suggests several items that should be considered in developing those protocols, according to the researchers.

In another study published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging, researchers found that the anatomy of the heart’s tricuspid valve can be used to predict the severity of leakage in the valve. Using 3-D echocardiograms from 64 individuals who exhibited assorted grades of tricuspid leakage, the researchers found that pulmonary arterial pressure, the size of the valve opening and papillary muscle position measurements could be used to predict the severity of an individual’s tricuspid regurgitation.

The study will change the focus and direction of future surgical therapies for tricuspid regurgitation to make them better and more durable, the researchers said.

Researchers from the Coulter Department, Emory University, Children’s Hospital Boston and Mount Sinai Medical Center contributed to these two studies.

For more information on this work, visit http://gtresearchnews.gatech.edu/tricuspid-valve-leakage/ and http://gtresearchnews.gatech.edu/tricuspid-regurgitation/

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

Writer: Abby Robinson

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1329126944 2012-02-13 09:55:44 1475896300 2016-10-08 03:11:40 0 0 news Georgia Tech researchers are developing new ways to diagnose and treat heart problems -- from advanced imaging techniques and guidance for drug therapies to sophisticated surgical procedures.

]]>
2012-02-13T00:00:00-05:00 2012-02-13T00:00:00-05:00 2012-02-13 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
abby@innovate.gatech.edu
404-385-3364

]]>
64187 61422 108721 64187 image <![CDATA[Apica Cardiovascular co-founders]]> image/jpeg 1449176735 2015-12-03 21:05:35 1475894564 2016-10-08 02:42:44 61422 image <![CDATA[Gang Bao Biomedical Engineering]]> image/jpeg 1449176337 2015-12-03 20:58:57 1475894536 2016-10-08 02:42:16 108721 image <![CDATA[Tricuspid valve - heart research]]> image/jpeg 1449178188 2015-12-03 21:29:48 1475894725 2016-10-08 02:45:25
<![CDATA[Model Analyzes Shape-Memory Alloys for Use in Earthquake-Resistant Structures]]> 27206 Recent earthquake damage has exposed the vulnerability of existing structures to strong ground movement. At the Georgia Institute of Technology, researchers are analyzing shape-memory alloys for their potential use in constructing seismic-resistant structures.

“Shape-memory alloys exhibit unique characteristics that you would want for earthquake-resistant building and bridge design and retrofit applications: they have the ability to dissipate significant energy without significant degradation or permanent deformation,” said Reginald DesRoches, a professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech.

Georgia Tech researchers have developed a model that combines thermodynamics and mechanical equations to assess what happens when shape-memory alloys are subjected to loading from strong motion. The researchers are using the model to analyze how shape-memory alloys in a variety of components -- cables, bars, plates and helical springs -- respond to different loading conditions. From that information, they can determine the optimal characteristics of the material for earthquake applications.

The model was developed by DesRoches, School of Mechanical Engineering graduate student Reza Mirzaeifar, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering associate professor Arash Yavari, and School of Mechanical Engineering and School of Materials Science and Engineering professor Ken Gall.

A paper describing the thermo-mechanical model was published online Feb. 3 in the International Journal of Non-Linear Mechanics. This research was supported by the Transportation Research Board IDEA program.

To improve the performance of structures during earthquakes, researchers around the world have been investigating the use of “smart” materials, such as shape-memory alloys, which can bounce back after experiencing large loads. The most common shape-memory alloys are made of metal mixtures containing copper-zinc-aluminum-nickel, copper-aluminum-nickel or nickel-titanium. Potential applications of shape-memory alloys in bridge and building structures include their use in bearings, columns and beams, or connecting elements between beams and columns. But before this class of materials can be used, the effect of extreme and repetitive loads on these materials must be thoroughly examined.

“For standard civil engineering materials, you can use mechanics to look at force and displacement to measure stress and strain, but for this class of shape-memory alloys that changes properties when it undergoes loading and unloading, you have to consider thermodynamics and mechanics,” explained Yavari.

The Georgia Tech team found that the generation and absorption of heat during loading and unloading caused a temperature gradient in shape-memory alloys, which caused a non-uniform stress distribution in the material even when the strain was uniform.

“Shape-memory alloys previously examined in detail were really thin wires, which can exchange heat with the ambient environment rapidly and no temperature change is seen,” said Mirzaeifar. “When you start to examine alloys in components large enough to be used in civil engineering applications, the internal temperature is no longer uniform and needs to be taken into account.”

To predict the internal temperature distribution of shape-memory alloys under loading-unloading cycles, which could then be used to determine the stress distribution, the researchers developed a model that used the surface thermal boundary conditions, diameter and loading rate of the alloy as inputs.

The team included ambient conditions in the model because shape-memory alloys for seismic applications could operate in a variety of environments -- such as water if used in bridge structures or air if used in building structures -- which would produce different rates of heat transfer. The researchers used a thermal camera to record the variation in surface temperature of shape-memory alloys experiencing loading and unloading.

Using their model, the researchers were able to accurately predict internal temperature and stress distributions for shape-memory alloys. The model results were verified with experimental tests. In one test, they found that a shape-memory alloy loaded at a very slow rate had time to exchange the heat created with the ambient environment and exhibited uniform stress. If it was loaded very rapidly, it did not have enough time to exchange the heat, leading to a non-uniform stress distribution.

“Our analytical solutions are exact, fast and capable of simulating the complicated coupled thermo-mechanical response of shape-memory alloys considering temperature changes and loading rate dependency,” said Mirzaeifar.

In future work, the researchers plan to examine more complicated shapes and the effects of combination loading -- tension, bending and torsion -- to optimize shape-memory alloys for earthquake applications.

This project is supported by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies (Award No. NCHRP-147). The National Academies has rights to the data and the content is solely the responsibility of the principal investigators and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Academies.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

Writer: Abby Robinson

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1328785370 2012-02-09 11:02:50 1475896300 2016-10-08 03:11:40 0 0 news Recent earthquake damage has exposed the vulnerability of existing structures to strong ground movement. At Georgia Tech, researchers are analyzing shape-memory alloys for their potential use in constructing seismic-resistant structures.

]]>
2012-02-09T00:00:00-05:00 2012-02-09T00:00:00-05:00 2012-02-09 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
abby@innovate.gatech.edu
404-385-3364

]]>
108021 108021 image <![CDATA[Shape-memory alloy temperature]]> image/jpeg 1449178188 2015-12-03 21:29:48 1475894725 2016-10-08 02:45:25
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Bio-Graduate Student Group Launches New Website]]> 27349 The Bioengineering and Bioscience Unified Graduate Students (BBUGS) have launched a new website. The new BBUGS website offers features that will enhance the communication and interactions among the students and the bio-community. BBUGS members can now create profiles that will be viewable to the public which allow students to share their current research and accomplishments with other academic and industry organizations within the bioengineering and bioscience fields.

Additionally, the new BBUGS website has incorporated a message board whereby BBUGS members can post announcements pertaining to job openings, scholarship/grant availabilities, seminars/workshops or upcoming social activities. The new website design includes new and improved functionality to make navigation throughout the website less complicated and more manageable.

BBUGS is currently the largest, most diverse, graduate student group on the Georgia Tech campus and is an interdisciplinary student group, comprised of 8 different departments, with their home in the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience. Comprised of over 500 members, BBUGS serves as the core student group for the bioengineering and bioscience community and is open to all Georgia Tech and Emory University students from bio-related fields.  Existing members are encouraged to go to the new website and create a profile to stay engaged. 

]]> Floyd Wood 1 1327662017 2012-01-27 11:00:17 1475896262 2016-10-08 03:11:02 0 0 news 2012-01-27T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-27T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-27 00:00:00 Floyd Wood

]]>
68922 68922 image <![CDATA[Bioengineering & Bioscience Unified Graduate Students (BBUGS)]]> image/png 1449177214 2015-12-03 21:13:34 1475894599 2016-10-08 02:43:19 <![CDATA[http://www.bbugs.gatech.edu/]]>
<![CDATA[Uncovering Life's Beginnings: Tech Awarded $20M for Chemical Center]]> 27349 A team of institutions led by the Georgia Institute of Technology has been awarded a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to pursue research that could lead to a better understanding of how life started on Earth. Researchers will focus their efforts on exploring chemical processes that enable the spontaneous formation of functional polymers — such as proteins and DNA - from much smaller and simpler starting materials.

"Our research team seeks to understand how certain molecules in a complex mixture can work together to form highly ordered assemblies that exhibit chemical properties similar to those associated with biological molecules," said Nicholas V. Hud, a professor in the Georgia Tech School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. "Such a process was likely an essential and early stage of life, so we are also working to understand what chemicals were present on the prebiotic Earth and what processes helped these chemicals form the complex substances ultimately needed for life."

Hud will direct the effort, which is known as the Center for Chemical Evolution. The five-year grant will support research in more than 15 laboratories at institutions including Georgia Tech, Emory University, the Scripps Research Institute, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Jackson State University, Spelman College, Furman University and the SETI Institute.

All of the researchers will work together to accomplish the Center for Chemical Evolution’s three main research goals:

* To identify potential biological building blocks among the products of model prebiotic reactions,
* To investigate the chemical components and conditions that promote the spontaneous assembly of increasingly complex multi-component structures, and
* To prepare and characterize highly-ordered chemical assemblies, and to study their potential to function like biological substances.

"We will work backward from the complex substances found in living organisms today, such as proteins and DNA, and make materials that are a little bit different and simpler in chemical structure," explained Hud. "We will then strive to determine if there were possibly chemicals and conditions on the early Earth that would have given rise to these and similar substances."

In addition, the researchers will translate technological developments into commercially viable products. Facundo Fernandez, an associate professor in the Georgia Tech School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is leading the Center's commercialization efforts.

For the first research theme, which is being led by Georgia Tech chemistry professor Thomas Orlando, creating a model inventory of the chemicals present on the early Earth will require the development of new tools and approaches for analyzing and sorting complex mixtures.

"Complex mixtures are found in many chemical industries - including petroleum, food and pharmaceuticals," said Fernandez. "The instruments and protocols we develop to sort through the complex mixtures that result from model prebiotic chemical reactions are going to be valuable to these industries too."

Charles Liotta, a Regents professor in the Georgia Tech School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is leading the second research theme, which involves exploring alternative media that could have facilitated the assembly of complex substances in the prebiotic world. This research could produce environmentally-friendly procedures leading to new chemical processes, according to the team.

In the third research theme, led by David Lynn, chair of the Department of Chemistry at Emory University, and Ram Krishnamurthy, an associate professor of chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute, methods will be developed to create polymers and assemblies that mimic natural macromolecules, such as DNA and proteins. The resulting methods could be used as a platform to create a range of substances with broad commercial applications across the spectrum of therapeutics, diagnostics and drug delivery materials. Lynn will also lead the Center's education and public outreach programs.

The research efforts of the Center will build on the knowledge and results gained during the past three years, during which time a smaller group of laboratories were funded by the National Science Foundation to conduct collaborative research projects and to develop a larger center.

Research progress made during the initial phase of funding includes a paper published June 14 in the journal ChemBioChem. Center laboratories showed for the first time that guanine, a component of DNA, could be produced from formamide (H2NCOH), a simple chemical known to exist in outer space.

Previous research had shown that the other three building blocks of nucleic acids - cytosine, adenine and uracil - could be synthesized by heating formamide in the presence of mineral catalysts, but not guanine.

Center researchers produced guanine from formamide by subjecting the sample to ultraviolet light during the heating process. The results also demonstrated that guanine, adenine and another building block called hypoxanthine could be produced at lower temperatures than previously reported.

"Our ultimate goal is to create a complete chemical pathway showing how relatively simple substances can interact with the environment and each other to spontaneously produce complex assemblies that exhibit properties normally associated with biological substances, and perhaps shed some light on the earliest stages of life on Earth," noted Hud.

]]> Floyd Wood 1 1280880000 2010-08-04 00:00:00 1475896035 2016-10-08 03:07:15 0 0 news 2010-08-02T00:00:00-04:00 2010-08-02T00:00:00-04:00 2010-08-02 00:00:00 Abby Vogel Robinson
Research News and Publications
Contact Abby Vogel Robinson
404-385-3364]]>
60410 60410 image <![CDATA[Nick Hud]]> 1449176267 2015-12-03 20:57:47 1475894523 2016-10-08 02:42:03
<![CDATA[Researchers Show How New Viruses Evolve, and in Some Cases, Become Deadly]]> 27206 In the current issue of the journal Science, researchers at Michigan State University, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Texas at Austin demonstrate how a new virus evolves, which sheds light on how easy it can be for diseases to gain dangerous mutations.

The scientists showed for the first time how the virus called “Lambda” evolved to find a new way to attack host cells, an innovation that took four mutations to accomplish. This virus infects bacteria, in particular the common E. coli bacterium. Lambda isn’t dangerous to humans, but this research demonstrated how viruses evolve complex and potentially deadly new traits, said Justin Meyer, MSU graduate student, who co-authored the paper with Richard Lenski, MSU Hannah Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.

“We were surprised at first to see Lambda evolve this new function, this ability to attack and enter the cell through a new receptor­ – and it happened so fast,” Meyer said. “But when we re-ran the evolution experiment, we saw the same thing happen over and over.”

This paper comes on the heels of news that scientists in the U.S. and the Netherlands produced a deadly version of bird flu. Even though bird flu is a mere five mutations away from becoming transmissible between humans, it’s highly unlikely the virus could naturally obtain all of the beneficial mutations all at once. However, it might evolve sequentially, gaining benefits one-by-one, if conditions are favorable at each step, he added.

Through research conducted at BEACON, MSU’s National Science Foundation Center for the Study of Evolution in Action, Meyer and his colleagues’ ability to duplicate the results implied that adaptation by natural selection, or survival of the fittest, had an important role in the virus’ evolution.

When the genomes of the adaptable virus were sequenced, they always had four mutations in common.

“The parallelism shown in the evolutionary history of adaptable viruses was striking and was far beyond what is expected by chance,” noted paper co-author Joshua Weitz, an assistant professor in the School of Biology at Georgia Tech.

In contrast, the viruses that didn’t evolve the new way of entering cells had some of the four mutations but never all four together, said Meyer, who holds the Barnett Rosenberg Fellowship in MSU’s College of Natural Science.

“In other words, natural selection promoted the virus’ evolution because the mutations helped them use both their old and new attacks,” Meyer said. “The finding raises questions of whether the five bird flu mutations may also have multiple functions, and could they evolve naturally?”

Additional authors of the paper include Devin Dobias, former MSU undergraduate (now a graduate student at Washington University in St. Louis); Ryan Quick, MSU undergraduate; and Jeff Barrick, a former Lenski lab researcher now on the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin.

Funding for the research was provided in part by the National Science Foundation, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, James S. McDonnell Foundation and Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

This research was supported in part by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) (Award No. HR0011-09-1-0055) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The content is solely the responsibility of the principal investigator and does not necessarily represent the official views of DARPA or NSF.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Georgia Tech -- Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986); Michigan State University -- Layne Cameron (layne.cameron@ur.msu.edu; 517-353-8819)

Writer: Layne Cameron

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1327591801 2012-01-26 15:30:01 1475896262 2016-10-08 03:11:02 0 0 news In the current issue of the journal Science, researchers demonstrate how a new virus evolves, which sheds light on how easy it can be for diseases to gain dangerous mutations.

]]>
2012-01-26T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-26T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-26 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
abby@innovate.gatech.edu
404-385-3364

]]>
96991 97001 96991 image <![CDATA[Joshua Weitz]]> image/jpeg 1449178133 2015-12-03 21:28:53 1475894709 2016-10-08 02:45:09 97001 image <![CDATA[Joshua Weitz]]> image/jpeg 1449178133 2015-12-03 21:28:53 1475894709 2016-10-08 02:45:09
<![CDATA[Julie Champion Receives Grant for Breast Cancer Therapy Research]]> 27255 The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Julie Champion a research grant as part of its Biomaterials Program. Champion, an assistant professor in the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, will investigate engineering effector protein nanoclusters for breast cancer therapy with the grant, valued at $300,000.

“Given that breast cancer is the most common cancer in U.S. women and the second leading cause of cancer death, many people could benefit from the development of effector nanoclusters,” Champion says. “This work validates the idea of using bacterial proteins for therapeutic applications and the concept can be expanded for a variety of drug development and delivery needs for other diseases.”

A select group of bacterial pathogens secrete proteins called effectors during infection, which enable them to survive and grow in a hostile host. Some of these effectors have the capability to interfere with the same pathways that are altered in breast cancer.

“The goal of my research is to use these effector proteins as novel breast cancer therapies,” Champion says. “In order for these proteins to be used as anticancer drugs, the normal bacterial delivery mechanisms must be replaced by a drug delivery system able to deliver biologically active protein to breast cancer cells.” 

To engineer this modified drug delivery system, the effector proteins must be linked together into nano-sized clusters that can enter breast cancer cells and then fall apart to allow the individual proteins to act inside the cells. By fabricating effector nanoclusters, Champion will be able to access their ability to restore normal behaviors in breast cancer cells, such as increased apoptotic cell death, decreased proliferation, decreased metastasis, and increased sensitivity to chemotherapeutics.

After receiving her PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2007, Champion completed a postdoctoral appointment as a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow at the California Institute of Technology. She joined the faculty at Georgia Tech in 2009, where she focuses her research on protein engineering strategies to synthesize novel materials capable of specific interactions with cells or other proteins. The overall goal of her research is to reverse disease through interference with inflammatory pathways or promotion of healing mechanisms.

This project was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) (Award No. DMR-1105248). The content is solely the responsibility of the principal investigators and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NSF.

]]> Josie Giles 1 1327370301 2012-01-24 01:58:21 1475896257 2016-10-08 03:10:57 0 0 news Champion will investigate engineering effector protein nanoclusters for novel breast cancer therapies and a variety of other diseases.

]]>
2012-01-24T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-24T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-24 00:00:00 About the National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2011, its budget is about $6.9 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives over 45,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes over 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

]]>
Josie Giles
School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
(404) 385-2299
news@gatech.edu 

]]>
85771 85781 85771 image <![CDATA[Dr. Julie Champion]]> image/jpeg 1449178110 2015-12-03 21:28:30 1475894706 2016-10-08 02:45:06 85781 image <![CDATA[Dr. Julie Champion]]> image/jpeg 1449178110 2015-12-03 21:28:30 1475894706 2016-10-08 02:45:06
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech’s EVP for Research Testifies before House Armed Services Committee]]> 27281 Georgia Tech’s Executive Vice President for Research Steve Cross testified before the U.S. House Armed Services Committee’s panel on Business Challenges within the Defense Industry earlier today.

Cross was invited to present testimony at the hearing entitled, “Doing Business with the DOD: Getting Innovative Solutions from Concept to the Hands of the Warfighter.” The panel asked for insight on the role that universities, research institutions and laboratories play in developing innovative technologies for the Department of Defense, particularly in the effort to transition research from academic concept into production.

As part of his testimony, Cross highlighted Georgia Tech’s FY 2011 $643 million in research expenditures and how the institute supports and translates defense research through technology transition and innovation programs.

“Defense research and associated technology transition and innovation programs are vital for ensuring the United States retains a competitive advantage in its national security posture,” Cross said. “As shown time and time again, the fruits of defense research seed economic development helping accelerate new technologies to market.”

According to Cross, such technologies are available for use in defense systems at a fraction of what they would otherwise cost and in a much reduced time frame.

 Representatives from the Stanford Research Institute and the MITRE Corporation joined Cross in presenting testimony. A copy of his testimony can be found at the link below.

 

 

]]> Lisa Grovenstein 1 1327345291 2012-01-23 19:01:31 1475896257 2016-10-08 03:10:57 0 0 news Georgia Tech’s Executive Vice President for Research Steve Cross testified before the House Armed Services Committee’s panel on Business Challenges within the Defense Industry earlier today.

]]>
2012-01-23T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-23T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-23 00:00:00 Lisa Grovenstein, 404-894-8835

]]>
85701 85701 image <![CDATA[Steve Cross - Executive Vice President for Research]]> image/jpeg 1449178110 2015-12-03 21:28:30 1475894706 2016-10-08 02:45:06 <![CDATA[Testimony Video]]>
<![CDATA[Petit Institute Announces its 2012 Class of Petit Undergraduate Research Scholars]]> 27195 The Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience at Georgia Tech announces its 2012 class of Petit Undergraduate Research Scholars.  The "Petit Scholars" are top undergraduate students from Atlanta-area universities chosen from a highly competitive selection process to conduct independent research projects for a full year at the Petit Institute. 

The Petit Scholars program is administered by the Petit Institute and Todd McDevitt, a Petit Faculty Fellow and associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, who volunteers as the faculty advisor for the program.

"We had a very competitive applicant pool this year," McDevitt said.  "Due to the generosity of various donors, we were able to award nineteen research scholarships this year."

From January through December of 2012, each of the 19 scholars will be mentored by a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow in a Petit Institute laboratory.  During this period, the scholars will work to develop their own research projects which they themselves have selected after a thorough interview process with potential mentors.  Research is conducted within the areas of cancer biology, biomaterials, drug design, development and delivery, molecular evolution, molecular cellular and tissue biomechanics, regenerative medicine, stem cell engineering and systems biology.  Many scholars will have made enough progress in their research by the end of the year to participate on scientific publications and/or present at conferences.  

The class of 2012 is represented by students from Georgia Tech, Emory University, Spelman College and Agnes Scott College.

2012 Class of Petit Scholars:
Michael Butler - Georgia Tech
Frederick Damen - Georgia Tech
Kyle Ferguson - Georgia Tech
Kelsey Gratton - Georgia Tech
Alexandria Harrison - Spelman College
Susan Hastings - Georgia Tech
Kathleen Heller - Georgia Tech
Jacob Johnson - Georgia Tech
Taylor Kavanaugh - Georgia Tech
Lu Ling - Georgia Tech
Robert Mannino - Georgia Tech
Mohamad Ali Najia - Georgia Tech
Marc Powell - Georgia Tech
Sydney Rowson - Georgia Tech
Abhinav Sharma - Emory University
Andrew St. James - Georgia Tech
Patrick Strane - Georgia Tech
Anirudh Sundararaghavan - Georgia Tech
Alexandra Wagner - Agnes Scott College

Since its inception in 2000, the program has supported hundreds of top undergraduate researchers who have gone on to distinguished careers in research, medicine and industry.  Originally established as a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program from a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant awarded to the Georgia Tech/Emory Center for Tissue Engineering, the program was expanded to a full year research opportunity that has grown from funding 10 scholars per year to 19 scholars in 2012.

Funding for the Petit Scholars is supported by Atlanta area community members, including the Friends of the Petit Institute, as well as corporate sponsorship.  If you are interested in donating to this valuable program, please contact us.

Petit Scholars program information

]]> Colly Mitchell 1 1326814394 2012-01-17 15:33:14 1475896257 2016-10-08 03:10:57 0 0 news Petit Institute announces its 2012 class of Petit Undergraduate Research Scholars - 19 top undergraduate scholars chosen from competitive selection process

]]>
2012-01-23T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-23T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-23 00:00:00 Colly Mitchell

]]>
81151 81151 image <![CDATA[2012 Class of Petit Undergraduate Research Scholars]]> image/jpeg 1449178079 2015-12-03 21:27:59 1475894696 2016-10-08 02:44:56 <![CDATA[Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]> <![CDATA[Petit Scholars info and application]]>
<![CDATA[Select Petit Institute Cores Begin to Recover Costs]]> 27349 In order to continue to provide Georgia Tech researchers with "state of the art" equipment, unparalleled performance and more opportunities to access shared resources, select research cores in the Petit Institute will begin to recover materials, supplies and maintenance-related costs by charging a minimal fee for the use of various pieces of equipment. 

While the Micro CT and histology cores are already set up as cost recovery service centers, we plan to bring the microscopy core online as a cost recovery service center in February of 2012.

Other cores will follow as rates are developed and approved by the Georgia Tech Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting. A phased approach will be used in setting the rates to aid laboratories in planning and provide researchers with an opportunity to make adjustments to budgets.

Beginning in February 2012, users will be charged a small percentage of the cost-based rate for usage. The initial charge to Georgia Tech users for confocal time is anticipated to be $2.75/hr. The rates will be increased in subsequent years but remain highly subsidized by the Petit Institute.

In order to administer the new cost recovery service center, users will access Petit Institute core facilities resources through a new online reservation system, serviced by iLab. The Petit Institute website will remain intact and the only change is that users will register, view and reserve equipment, request services, view bills and enter payment information through the iLab Solutions website.

]]> Floyd Wood 1 1327067702 2012-01-20 13:55:02 1475896257 2016-10-08 03:10:57 0 0 news Petit Institute core facilities begin to recover materials, supplies and maintenance-related costs by charging a minimal fee for the use of selected pieces of equipment.

]]>
2012-01-20T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-20T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-20 00:00:00 Steve Woodard

Core Facilities Manager and Safety Officer
Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience

]]>
69773 69773 image <![CDATA[Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]> image/jpeg 1449177264 2015-12-03 21:14:24 1475894611 2016-10-08 02:43:31
<![CDATA[Snakes Improve Search-and-Rescue Robots]]> 27560 Designing an all-terrain robot for search-and-rescue missions is an arduous task for scientists. The machine must be flexible enough to move over uneven surfaces, yet not so big that it’s restricted from tight spaces. It might also be required to climb slopes of varying inclines. Existing robots can do many of these things, but the majority require large amounts of energy and are prone to overheating. Georgia Tech researchers have designed a new machine by studying the locomotion of a certain type of flexible, efficient animal.

“By using their scales to control frictional properties, snakes are able to move large distances while exerting very little energy,” said Hamid Marvi, a Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. candidate at Georgia Tech.

While studying and videotaping the movements of 20 different species at Zoo Atlanta, Marvi developed Scalybot 2, a robot that replicates rectilinear locomotion of snakes. He unveiled the robot this month at the Society for Integrative & Comparative Biology (SICB) annual meeting in Charleston, S.C.

“During rectilinear locomotion, a snake doesn’t have to bend its body laterally to move,” explained Marvi. “Snakes lift their ventral scales and pull themselves forward by sending a muscular traveling wave from head to tail. Rectilinear locomotion is very efficient and is especially useful for crawling within crevices, an invaluable benefit for search-and-rescue robots.”  

Scalybot 2 can automatically change the angle of its scales when it encounters different terrains and slopes. This adjustment allows the robot to either fight or generate friction. The two-link robot is controlled by a remote-controlled joystick and can move forward and backward using four motors.

“Snakes are highly maligned creatures,” said Joe Mendelson, curator of herpetology at Zoo Atlanta. “I really like that Hamid’s research is showing the public that snakes can help people.”

Marvi’s advisor is David Hu, an assistant professor in the Schools of Mechanical Engineering and Biology. Hu and his research team are primarily focused on animal locomotion. They’ve studied how dogs and other animals shake water off their bodies and how mosquitos fly through rainstorms.

This isn’t the first time Hu’s lab has looked at snake locomotion. Last summer the team developed Scalybot 1, a two-link climbing robot that replicates concertina locomotion. The push-and-pull, accordion-style movement features alternating scale activity.

This project is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) (Award No. PHY-0848894). The content is solely the responsibility of the principal investigators and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NSF.

]]> Jason Maderer 1 1326968252 2012-01-19 10:17:32 1475896257 2016-10-08 03:10:57 0 0 news Designing an all-terrain robot for search-and-rescue missions is an arduous task for scientists. The machine must be flexible enough to move over uneven surfaces, yet not so big that it’s restricted from tight spaces. It might also be required to climb slopes of varying inclines. Existing robots can do many of these things, but the majority require large amounts of energy and are prone to overheating. Georgia Tech researchers have designed a new machine by studying the locomotion of snakes.

]]>
2012-01-19T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-19T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-19 00:00:00 Jason Maderer
Georgia Tech Media Relations
404-385-2966
maderer@gatech.edu

]]>
79321 79321 image <![CDATA[Scalybot 2 Photo]]> image/png 1449178063 2015-12-03 21:27:43 1475894693 2016-10-08 02:44:53 <![CDATA[Scalybot 2 Demonstration]]> <![CDATA[George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering]]> <![CDATA[School of Biology]]> <![CDATA[Zoo Atlanta website]]>
<![CDATA[Non-Invasive Measurements of Tricuspid Valve Anatomy Can Predict Severity of Valve Leakage]]> 27206 An estimated 1.6 million Americans suffer moderate to severe leakage through their tricuspid valves, which are complex structures that allow blood to flow from the heart’s upper right chamber to the ventricle. If left untreated, severe leakage can affect an individual’s quality of life and can even lead to death.

A new study finds that the anatomy of the heart’s tricuspid valve can be used to predict the severity of leakage in the valve, which is a condition called tricuspid regurgitation. The study, conducted by researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, found that pulmonary arterial pressure, the size of the valve opening and papillary muscle position measurements could be used to predict the severity of an individual’s tricuspid regurgitation.

“By being able to identify and measure an individual’s particular tricuspid valve anatomical features that we have shown are correlated with increased leakage, clinicians should be able to better target their repair efforts and create more durable repairs,” said Ajit Yoganathan, Regents’ professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.

The study was published in the January issue of the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging. Funding for this work was provided by the American Heart Association and a donation from Tom and Shirley Gurley.

Yoganathan and recent Coulter Department doctoral graduate Erin Spinner teamed with Stamatios Lerakis, a professor of medicine (cardiology), radiology and imaging sciences at Emory University, to non-invasively collect 3-D echocardiograms from 64 individuals who exhibited assorted grades of tricuspid leakage. Subjects included 20 individuals with “trace,” 13 with “mild,” 17 with “moderate” and 14 with “severe” tricuspid regurgitation. The subjects with “mild” to “severe” leakage exhibited a mix of isolated right, isolated left, and both right and left ventricle dilation.

From the 3-D echocardiography images of the heart they collected, the researchers measured (1) the area of the annulus, which is the fibrous ring that surrounds the tricuspid valve opening; (2) the distance between the annulus and the three right ventricle papillary muscles, which keep the valve shut when the ventricle contracts; and (3) the position of the papillary muscles with respect to the center of the annulus. The clinicians also measured pulmonary arterial pressure using standard clinical methods and assessed the grade of tricuspid regurgitation from “trace” to “severe” with color Doppler imaging.

In collaboration with Emir Veledar, an assistant professor and statistician in the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, the researchers found statistical differences between individuals with ventricular dilation and the control subjects in the parameters of pulmonary arterial pressure, annulus area and papillary muscle displacement. They also found that all three factors were correlated with the grade of tricuspid regurgitation.

“This study’s use of advanced cardiovascular imaging, and more specifically 3-D echocardiography, provided new insight into the pathophysiology of tricuspid regurgitation and a good understanding as to why current surgical treatments for tricuspid regurgitation are not good enough,” explained Lerakis. “I believe this study will change the focus and direction of future surgical therapies for tricuspid regurgitation only to make them better and more durable.”

Based on the findings of this study, said Lerakis, future surgical therapies should not only be focused on the tricuspid annulus, but on the entire tricuspid valve apparatus, including the tricuspid valve papillary muscles and their three-dimensional location within the apparatus.

Individuals in the study with left ventricle dilation exhibited significant displacement of one of the papillary muscles and patients with both ventricles dilated had significant displacement of two papillary muscles. Subjects with right ventricle dilation showed significant displacement of all three papillary muscles.  

The researchers also found that patients with a dilated right ventricle were more likely to have a dilated annulus and exhibited the highest pulmonary arterial pressures and highest levels of tricuspid regurgitation. However, not all patients with a dilated right ventricle had significant increases in annulus area, providing evidence that the right ventricle may become dilated without the annulus being affected.

“We think an increase in pulmonary arterial pressure caused geometric changes in the ventricle, which resulted in alterations to the annulus and papillary muscles,” explained Yoganathan. “The combination of displacement of all three papillary muscles and annular dilatation may account for the patients with isolated right ventricle dilatation having the largest percentage of severe tricuspid regurgitation.”

Knowing which parameters are responsible for significant tricuspid regurgitation and having a non-invasive imaging technique to measure these parameters should help clinicians target repairs to the specific cause of an individual’s tricuspid leakage, according to Yoganathan.

In future studies, the researchers plan to study papillary muscle displacements in individuals with specific diseases to see if different disease manifestations exhibit different characteristics.

“Although it has long been accepted that pulmonary hypertension may result in tricuspid regurgitation, this study is one of the first to provide a clinical correlation between the two,” said Yoganathan, who is also the Wallace H. Coulter Distinguished Faculty Chair in Biomedical Engineering. “We want to know whether treating an individual’s pulmonary hypertension, and thus decreasing one’s pulmonary arterial pressure, can reverse the geometric changes that are causing tricuspid regurgitation and return the annulus and papillary muscles to their original positions.”

Emory University sonographers Jason Higginson, Maria Pernetz and Sharon Howell also contributed to the study.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

Writer: Abby Robinson

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1326880437 2012-01-18 09:53:57 1475896257 2016-10-08 03:10:57 0 0 news A new study finds that the anatomy of the heart’s tricuspid valve can be used to predict the severity of leakage in the valve, which is a condition called tricuspid regurgitation.

]]>
2012-01-18T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-18T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-18 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
abby@innovate.gatech.edu
404-385-3364

]]>
79081 79071 79081 image <![CDATA[Tricuspid valve2]]> image/jpeg 1449178063 2015-12-03 21:27:43 1475894693 2016-10-08 02:44:53 79071 image <![CDATA[Ajit Yoganathan]]> image/jpeg 1449178063 2015-12-03 21:27:43 1475894693 2016-10-08 02:44:53
<![CDATA[Georgia Institute of Technology Receives Grand Challenges Explorations Funding]]> 27255 Georgia Institute of Technology announces that it will receive funding through Grand Challenges Explorations, an initiative created by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that enables researchers worldwide to test unorthodox ideas that address persistent health and development challenges. Dr. Mark Styczynski, assistant professor in the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, will pursue an innovative global health research project, titled “Pigment-Based, Low-Cost, Portable Nutrition Status Tests.”

Grand Challenges Explorations funds scientists and researchers worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges. Styczynski’s project is one of 108 Grand Challenges Explorations grants announced in November 2011 as part of Round 7 of the program.

“We believe in the power of innovation—that a single bold idea can pioneer solutions to our greatest health and development challenges,” said Chris Wilson, Director of Global Health Discovery for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Grand Challenges Explorations seeks to identify and fund these new ideas wherever they come from, allowing scientists, innovators, and entrepreneurs to pursue the kinds of creative ideas and novel approaches that could help to accelerate the end of polio, cure HIV infection, or improve sanitation.”

Projects that are receiving funding show promise in tackling priority global health issues where solutions do not yet exist. This includes finding effective methods to eliminate or control infectious diseases such as polio and HIV as well as discovering new sanitation technologies.

To learn more about Grand Challenges Explorations, visit www.grandchallenges.org.

Styczynski’s project proposes to create portable, low-cost, bacteria-based genetic circuits to measure blood micronutrient levels without requiring sophisticated instrumentation to perform or read the test. These circuits would provide an inexpensive, rapid method to diagnose nutrition levels, such as vitamins and minerals, in the field.

“Sophisticated equipment is not easily operated in the field, which means that samples must be sent to regional labs for nutritional analysis, resulting in delays of potentially life-saving treatment,” Styczynski says. “We are looking to enable more point-of-care diagnostics using synthetic biology to eliminate the long wait and enable more rapid diagnosis and treatment of those with deficiencies.”

Styczynski received his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2007. He joined the faculty at Georgia Tech in 2009 after a postdoctoral appointment at the Broad Institute, a world-renowned genomic medicine research center located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

]]> Josie Giles 1 1326885612 2012-01-18 11:20:12 1475896257 2016-10-08 03:10:57 0 0 news Assistant Professor Mark Styczynski will pursue an innovative global health research project, titled “Pigment-Based, Low-Cost, Portable Nutrition Status Tests.”

]]>
2012-01-18T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-18T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-18 00:00:00 About Grand Challenges Explorations

Grand Challenges Explorations is a $100 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Launched in 2008, Grand Challenge Explorations grants have already been awarded to nearly 500 researchers from over 40 countries. The grant program is open to anyone from any discipline and from any organization. The initiative uses an agile, accelerated grant-making process with short, two-page online applications and no preliminary data required. Initial grants of $100,000 are awarded two times a year. Successful projects have an opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to $1 million.

]]>
Josie Giles
School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
(404) 385-2299
news@chbe.gatech.edu 

]]>
68544 79121 68544 image <![CDATA[Dr. Mark Styczynski]]> image/jpeg 1449177185 2015-12-03 21:13:05 1475894594 2016-10-08 02:43:14 79121 image <![CDATA[Dr. Mark Styczynski working in his lab.]]> image/jpeg 1449178063 2015-12-03 21:27:43 1475894693 2016-10-08 02:44:53 <![CDATA[Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering]]> <![CDATA[Grand Challenges Explorations]]>
<![CDATA[Focus on Glaucoma Origins Continues Path Toward Potential Cure]]> 27560 Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. Nearly 4 million Americans have the disorder, which affects 70 million worldwide. There is no cure and no early symptoms. Once vision is lost, it’s permanent.

New findings at Georgia Tech, published in January during Glaucoma Awareness Month, explore one of the many molecular origins of glaucoma and advance research dedicated to fighting the disease.

Glaucoma is typically triggered when fluid is unable to circulate freely through the eye’s trabecular meshwork (TM) tissue. Intraocular pressure rises and damages the retina and optic nerve, which causes vision loss. In certain cases of glaucoma, this blockage results from a build-up of the protein myocilin. Georgia Tech Chemistry and Biochemistry Assistant Professor Raquel Lieberman focused on examining the structural properties of these myocilin deposits.

“We were surprised to discover that both genetically defected as well as normal, or wild-type (WT), myocilin are readily triggered to produce very stable fibrous residue containing a pathogenic material called amyloid,” said Lieberman, whose work was published in the most recent Journal of Molecular Biology.

Amyloid formation, in which a protein is converted from its normal form into fibers, is recognized as a major contributor to numerous non-ocular disorders, including Alzheimer’s, certain forms of diabetes and Mad Cow disease (in cattle). Scientists are currently studying ways to destroy amyloid fibrils as an option for treating these diseases. Further research, based on Lieberman’s findings, could potentially result in drugs that prevent or stop myocilin amyloid formation or destroy existing fibrils in glaucoma patients.

Until this point, amyloids linked to glaucoma had been restricted to the retinal area. In those cases, amyloids kill retina cells, leading to vision loss, but don’t affect intraocular pressure.

“The amyloid-containing myocilin deposits we discovered kill cells that maintain the integrity of TM tissue,” said Lieberman. “In addition to debris from dead cells, the fibrils themselves may also form an obstruction in the TM tissue. Together, these mechanisms may hasten the increase of intraocular pressure that impairs vision.”

Together with her research team, Lieberman produced WT and genetically defected myocilin variants that had been documented in patients who develop glaucoma in childhood or early adulthood. The experiments were conducted in collaboration with Georgia Tech Biology Professor Ingeborg Schmidt-Krey and Stanford Genetics Professor Douglas Vollrath. Three Georgia Tech students also participated in the research: Susan Orwig (Ph.D. graduate, Chemistry and Biochemistry), Chris Perry (current undergraduate, Biochemistry) and Laura Kim (master's graduate, Biology).

The National Institutes of Health (award number R01EY021205 from the National Eye Institute) funded the research. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Eye Institute or the National Institutes of Health.

]]> Jason Maderer 1 1326797683 2012-01-17 10:54:43 1475896257 2016-10-08 03:10:57 0 0 news Glaucoma is typically triggered when fluid is unable to circulate freely through the eye’s trabecular meshwork (TM) tissue. Intraocular pressure rises and damages the retina and optic nerve, which causes vision loss. In certain cases of glaucoma, this blockage results from a build-up of the protein myocilin. Georgia Tech Chemistry and Biochemistry Assistant Professor Raquel Lieberman focused on examining the structural properties of these myocilin deposits. She was surprised to discover that both genetically defected as well as normal, or wild-type (WT), myocilin are readily triggered to produce very stable fibrous residue containing a pathogenic material called amyloid.

]]>
2012-01-17T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-17T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-17 00:00:00 Jason Maderer
Georgia Tech Media Relations
404-385-2966
maderer@gatech.edu

]]>
78581 78591 78581 image <![CDATA[Raquel Lieberman]]> image/jpeg 1449178063 2015-12-03 21:27:43 1475894691 2016-10-08 02:44:51 78591 image <![CDATA[Amyloid fibril formations]]> image/jpeg 1449178063 2015-12-03 21:27:43 1475894691 2016-10-08 02:44:51 <![CDATA[College of Sciences]]> <![CDATA[School of Chemistry and Biochemistry]]> <![CDATA[Read the full report]]> <![CDATA[Raquel Lieberman]]>
<![CDATA[Searching for Solution in South Africa]]> 27195 It’s not easy battling HIV on two fronts, let alone on two continents, but with the help of his colleagues in Atlanta and in South Africa that’s exactly what Dr. Manu Platt is doing.

If all goes according to plan the Georgia Tech biomedical engineering professor’s cutting-edge research will give doctors the ability to predict, treat, and prevent the occurrence of cardiovascular disease in HIV patients while he also develops a low-cost diagnostic tool that could help monitor patient success with treatment to help stem the spread of HIV in Africa.

At the time not much was known about the connection between HIV and cardiovascular disease; although it was clear that HIV patients were at much higher risk of suffering cardiovascular events than the general population. The risk was even higher for children born with HIV, something that is far too common in countries like South Africa where 10-15% of the population is HIV positive.Dr. Platt, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s Wallace H. Coulter Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, began his foray into HIV research as a first-year professor in 2009 when he answered a call for new researchers that was jointly sponsored by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the International AIDS Society (IAS).

While attending the 2009 IAS conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Cape Town, South Africa, Platt realized that his lab at Georgia Tech was ideally suited for addressing this critical gap in HIV research.

“Here at Georgia Tech we do tissue engineering,” says Platt. “We’ve been doing it for years and we’ve been doing it very effectively in the cardiovascular arena.”

“We can make tissue-engineered arteries with human cells that can be infected by this human virus. We’re also great at having bioreactors that can recreate the human physiological flow environment with shear stress and pressure. We have an excellent test system for HIV-mediated cardiovascular disease. “

The difficulty is that there is limited access to HIV samples within the United States, and that’s where Platt’s collaboration with Dr. Denise Evans in South Africa comes in. The duo met at the IAS conference in Cape Town and instantly realized that their areas of research dovetailed very nicely. Evans works out of the Helen Joseph Clinic in Johannesburg that sees over 400 HIV positive patients per day, that agree to donate their for research purposes and get reimbursed for travel while awaiting their chance to see the doctor.

Knowing what enzymes are tied to cardiovascular events in HIV negative patients, Platt and his Georgia Tech collaborator, Dr. Rudy Gleason (Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering), travelled to South Africa’s University of Witwatersrand last fall and ran tests on samples drawn from patients at the Helen Joseph Clinic in order to determine if those markers were higher than in the general population.

“We knew that these enzymes are important to the disease and we had already developed a test to measure them,” said Platt, “but we had not measured them in HIV patients.”

Platt and Gleason will continue analyzing their results over the next few months while they also work with their other collaborator, Dr. Roy Sutliff, from the Emory University School of Medicine’s Department of Pulmonology, who specializes in mouse models which have been instrumental in the group’s cardiovascular research. Once they complete their analysis of the results the trio should be able to guide other researchers and drug companies in developing new and more effective ways to treat cardiovascular disease in HIV patients.

But that’s not all. Like many fields of research, Dr. Platt’s work had an unforeseen application. When he was developing tests for the enzymes that cause cardiovascular disease it was suggested to Platt by Dr. Evans that he also look for a few other key markers in the samples drawn from the South African samples. The theory was that by measuring viral load and T-cell counts conclusions could be drawn about how well patients are following their drug regimen since t-T-cell counts should be tied to how regularly they are taking the antiretroviral drug cocktail used by HIV patients in Africa.

The problem is that the drugs have to be taken daily, and a single lapse could cause a patient’s viral load to spike and their T-cell count to drop, greatly endangering their health.

While many patients are very adherent to the drug regimen not all are, and local community groups have been looking for a simple, low-cost bio-marker that would help indicate how adherent a patient has been and how well the antiretroviral cocktail is working. Platt and his colleagues are developing that test and are in the process of adapting it for the field so that it can be easily transported and used by traveling doctors.

“If it starts to pan out we’ll have a great test to send out in the field to see if people are taking their drugs,” said Platt. “That’s where the engineering comes in- we’re trying to optimize it to make it even simpler, easier, and inexpensive.

“It’s a test that we also use for cancer studies in my lab. We already have a post-doc working on improving the device so it can be put on a cancer clinician’s bench. While they’re doing that it will totally work in parallel with the HIV analysis.”

HIV patients who are undergoing regular drug treatments greatly reduce their risk of transmitting the virus which is why the phrase “Treatment is Prevention” is the mantra in the world of AIDS.

By developing a tool that can help clinicians monitor patient progress Platt is helping to stem the spread of HIV while simultaneously using his cardiovascular research to improve the lives of those already living with the virus.

]]> Colly Mitchell 1 1326803335 2012-01-17 12:28:55 1475896257 2016-10-08 03:10:57 0 0 news Searching for Solution in South Africa - Research of Manu Platt, PhD, aims to give doctors the ability to predict, treat, and prevent the occurrence of cardiovascular disease in HIV patients

]]>
2012-01-13T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-13T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-13 00:00:00 Georgia Institute of Technology - College of Engineering

]]>
78751 78751 image <![CDATA[Manu Platt, PhD - Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering]]> image/jpeg 1449178063 2015-12-03 21:27:43 1475894693 2016-10-08 02:44:53 <![CDATA[College of Engineering]]> <![CDATA[Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering]]> <![CDATA[Platt lab]]>
<![CDATA[Startup Receives $4 Million to Develop Drug Delivery Targeted to the Back of the Eye]]> 27303 Technology developed by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University for delivering drugs and other therapeutics to specific locations in the eye provides the foundation for a startup company that has received a $4 million venture capital investment.

The Atlanta-based startup, Clearside Biomedical, plans to develop microinjection technology that will use hollow microneedles to precisely target therapeutics within the eye. If the technique proves successful in clinical trials and wins regulatory approval, it could provide an improved method for treating diseases that affect the back of the eye, including age-related macular degeneration.

The technology was developed in collaboration between the research groups of Mark Prausnitz, a Regents' professor in Georgia Tech's School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Henry Edelhauser, a professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at Emory School of Medicine. Research leading to development of the technology was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"We expect that targeting drug delivery within the eye will be helpful because we should be able to concentrate drugs at the disease sites where they need to act, and keep them away from other locations," said Prausnitz. "This could reduce side effects and possibly also decrease the dose required."

Prior to this development, drugs could be delivered to the retinal tissues at the back of the eye in three indirect ways: (1) injection by hypodermic needle into the eye's vitreous humor, the gelatinous material that fills the eyeball, (2) eye drops, which are limited in their ability to reach the back of the eye, and (3) pills taken by mouth that expose the whole body to the drug.

The technology developed by Georgia Tech and Emory uses a hollow micron-scale needle to inject therapeutics into the suprachoroidal space located between the outer surface of the eye -- known as the sclera -- and the choroid -- a deeper layer that provides nutrients to the rest of the eye. Preclinical research has demonstrated that fluid can flow between the two layers, where it can spread out to the entire eye, including structures such as the retina that are now difficult to reach.

By targeting this suprachoroidal space using microscopic needles, the researchers believe they can reduce trauma to the eye, make drugs more effective and reduce complications. The new delivery method could help advance a new series of drugs being developed to target the retina, choroid and other structures in the back of the eye.

"This is a significant advance in the field of ophthalmology," said Edelhauser. "Until now, it has been difficult to target drug delivery to specific locations within the eye. This new microneedle technology enables precise drug targeting to the suprachoroidal space and other locations within the eye."

In research reported in the January 2011 issue of the journal Pharmaceutical Research, the Georgia Tech-Emory team demonstrated for the first time that this technique can be used to deliver nanoparticles and microparticles to specific parts of the eye. In later research, they also showed that microneedle injections into the suprachoroidal space rapidly resulted in concentrations of drugs and particles that could be maintained for several months.

Between two and three million eye injections are made each year, many of them to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The researchers believe that the microneedle-based technique could be useful for treating both AMD and glaucoma, as well as other ocular conditions related to diabetes.

The $4 million in funding for Clearside Biomedical will come from Hatteras Venture Partners, a venture capital firm based in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Hatteras focuses on seed and early-stage investments in companies developing products in biopharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostic and related human health areas.

"Clearside Biomedical represents an ideal fit for Hatteras Discovery as the platform technology is highly innovative, based on elegant science and the lead product is expected to be in clinical trials in the United States in less than 18 months," said Christy Shaffer, Ph.D., venture partner and managing director of the Hatteras Discovery Fund.

So far, the technique has been tested only in animals. The Hatteras funding will allow the company to conduct additional efficacy and safety testing needed to seek regulatory approval. The company's first product is expected to address macular edema and retinal vein occlusion.

Clearside was formed with the assistance of Georgia Tech's VentureLab program, which helped obtain early-stage seed funding from the Georgia Research Alliance. Georgia Tech VentureLab also helped the founders connect with the company's president and CEO, Daniel White, a veteran ophthalmic entrepreneur. Before joining Clearside, White was a co-founder of Alimera Sciences, an Atlanta company that is developing ophthalmic pharmaceuticals.

Two researchers from the Prausnitz lab who have been involved in development of the ocular drug delivery technique will also join the company. They are Samirkumar Patel, a postdoctoral researcher and Vladimir Zarnitsyn, a research scientist.

Research leading to the development of the technology has been supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The content of this article is solely the responsibility of the principal investigators and does not necessarily represent the official view of the NIH.

Henry Edelhauser, Samirkumar Patel, Mark Prausnitz, Vladimir Zarnitsyn, Emory University and Georgia Tech have financial interests in Clearside Biomedical and its ocular platform. Edelhauser, Patel, Prausnitz and Zarnitsyn own equity in Clearside and the terms of this arrangement have been reviewed and approved by Emory University or Georgia Tech in accordance with their conflict of interest policies.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Georgia Tech -- John Toon (404-894-6986)(jtoon@gatech.edu) or Abby Robinson (404-385-3364)(abby@innovate.gatech.edu); Emory University -- Holly Korschun (404-727-3990)(hkorsch@emory.edu).

Writer: John Toon

]]> John Toon 1 1325725200 2012-01-05 01:00:00 1475896253 2016-10-08 03:10:53 0 0 news Technology developed by Georgia Tech and Emory University researchers for delivering drugs and other therapeutics to specific locations in the eye provides the foundation for a startup company that has received a $4 million venture capital investment.

]]>
2012-01-05T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-05T00:00:00-05:00 2012-01-05 00:00:00 John Toon
Research News & Publications Office
Contact John Toon
404-894-6986

]]>
76021 76031 76041 76021 image <![CDATA[Microneedle for eye injections]]> 1449178055 2015-12-03 21:27:35 1475894688 2016-10-08 02:44:48 76031 image <![CDATA[Microneedle for eye injection]]> 1449178055 2015-12-03 21:27:35 1475894688 2016-10-08 02:44:48 76041 image <![CDATA[Microneedle for eye injection]]> 1449178055 2015-12-03 21:27:35 1475894688 2016-10-08 02:44:48 <![CDATA[School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering]]> <![CDATA[Mark Prausnitz]]>
<![CDATA[Eberhard Voit Elected to AIMBE College of Fellows]]> 27195 Biomedical Engineering Professor Eberhard Voit, has been elected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), Class of 2012. He was chosen for the honor: "For outstanding contributions to the development of computational systems biology and the use of model-based problem-solving in biomedical engineering."

Voit holds the David D. Flanagan Chair in Biological Systems in The Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. He is a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and Associate Director of the Integrative BioSystems Institute.

There were 107 individuals elected to the College, who will be inducted at a ceremony at AIMBE’s Annual Event on February 20 in Washington, D.C. The inductees, who were nominated by their peers, were screened by committees of Fellows within their specialty and were finally elected by the full College as the official College of Fellows Class of 2012. The College of Fellows is comprised of the top two percent of medical and biological engineers in the country.

]]> Colly Mitchell 1 1325676441 2012-01-04 11:27:21 1475896253 2016-10-08 03:10:53 0 0 news Eberhard Voit Elected of AIMBE College of Fellows

]]>
2011-01-04T00:00:00-05:00 2011-01-04T00:00:00-05:00 2011-01-04 00:00:00 Adrianne Proeller
PR Strategist/Writer
Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical
Engineering at Georgia Tech & Emory 

]]>
75851 75851 image <![CDATA[Eberhard Voit - David D. Flanagan Chair in Biological Systems in The Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech & Emory University, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, Assoc. Director, Integrative BioSystems Institute]]> image/jpeg 1449178055 2015-12-03 21:27:35 1475894688 2016-10-08 02:44:48 <![CDATA[American Association for the Advancement of Science]]>
<![CDATA[Four Georgia Tech Faculty Named AAAS Fellows]]> 27462 The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has named four Georgia Tech professors as 2011 Fellows. AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society, and the election as a Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. 

Three of the new AAAS Fellows at Georgia Tech hail from the College of Engineering and one is on the faculty in the College of Computing. The Fellows were announced today in the journal Science and will be honored at the Fellows Forum, held Feb. 18 at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

The new AAAS Fellows at Georgia Tech are:

Ali Adibi, professor of electrical and computer engineering, who was honored for his “distinguished contributions to the fields of integrated nanophotonics, photonic crystals, and volume holography."

David Bader, professor of computational science and engineering in the College of Computing, who earned the distinction for “distinguished contributions to the field of computational science and engineering.”

Robert Butera, professor of electrical and computer engineering who also holds a joint appointment in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, was named Fellow “for advances in computational neuroscience and neurotechnology, promoting engineering through society, editorial, and university leadership, and contributing to STEM policy and educational initiatives."

Paul Steffes, professor of electrical and computer engineering, who earned the distinction for “contributions to the understanding of planetary atmospheres through innovative microwave measurements."

AAAS is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world by serving as an educator, leader, spokesperson and professional association. AAAS publishes the journal Science as well as many scientific newsletters, books and reports, and spearheads programs that raise the bar of understanding for science worldwide. The four Georgia Tech faculty members were among 539 Fellows elected by the AAAS Council in November. 

]]> Liz Klipp 1 1324634741 2011-12-23 10:05:41 1475896253 2016-10-08 03:10:53 0 0 news The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has named four Georgia Tech professors as 2011 Fellows.

]]>
2011-12-23T00:00:00-05:00 2011-12-23T00:00:00-05:00 2011-12-23 00:00:00 Georgia Tech Media Relations
Laura Diamond
laura.diamond@comm.gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Jason Maderer
maderer@gatech.edu
404-660-2926

]]>
73936 50723 70369 69139 73936 image <![CDATA[Ali Adibi]]> 1449178028 2015-12-03 21:27:08 1475894683 2016-10-08 02:44:43 50723 image <![CDATA[David Bader]]> image/jpeg 1449175437 2015-12-03 20:43:57 1475894471 2016-10-08 02:41:11 70369 image <![CDATA[Robert Butera]]> 1449177304 2015-12-03 21:15:04 1475894618 2016-10-08 02:43:38 69139 image <![CDATA[Paul Steffes]]> 1449177239 2015-12-03 21:13:59 1475894604 2016-10-08 02:43:24 <![CDATA[American Association for the Advancement of Science]]>
<![CDATA[Petit Institute "Above and Beyond" Awardees Announced]]> 27224 The Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience announces its annual “Above and Beyond” awardees. Loren Williams, Ph.D. and Todd Sulchek, Ph.D are the recipients of the faculty awards and Colly Mitchell has been named the staff recipient. 

The Petit Institute Above and Beyond Awards are selected by the Faculty Steering Committee and given to team-based individuals who demonstrate exemplary service to the institute and contribute to its collegial, collaborative environment.  Three awards are given each year to a senior faculty member, a pre-tenure faculty member and a staff member.

Loren Williams, professor in Chemistry and Biochemistry, has contributed to the Petit Institute significantly this year. Williams is the director of one of the Petit Institute interdisciplinary research centers, RiboEvo.  RiboEvo is a NASA-funded center which is focused on integrated interdisciplinary research and education in astrobiology. As part of the center’s activities, Williams voluntarily participated in the Buzz on Biotechnology high school open house where his center hosted two booths, one with a 3-D visualization of DNA, RNA using PyMol and another demonstration showcasing the use of liquid nitrogen in cryogenics and molecular biology. In addition, Williams organized the 2011 Suddath Symposium and participated in several Petit Institute activities including the Industry Partners Symposium dinner and the Bio-Center Poster Session. Williams also sits on the core facilities steering committee. Williams will have an equally busy 2012 as he is chair of the Astrobiology Science Conference which will attract over 700 scientists to Atlanta and Georgia Tech next year.

Todd Sulchek, assistant professor in Mechanical Engineering, was nominated for his participation and support of the Petit Scholars program over the last several years and for consistently being an active community citizen. Sulchek has participated in many Petit Institute-related events, seminars and community-wide poster sessions.  In addition, Sulchek received a NSF CAREER Award for his proposal titled: "Understanding Multivalent Biological Bonds for Biosensing Applications."  Sulchek will continue to support Petit Institute activities in 2012 as he is scheduled to give a seminar for the Petit Institute’s IBB Breakfast Club seminar series in February.

Colly Mitchell, special program coordinator for marketing and communications, has been working for the Petit Institute since 2007. In 2008, she began to manage the Petit Scholars program.  At the time Mitchell took over, the program was declining.  Over the course of the last 3 years, she has played a key role in improving the number and quality of the applications and in 2011 the program is thriving.  During her tenure at the Petit Institute, Mitchell has made a complex job look easy by supporting a variety of Petit Institute events for groups ranging from students to high-profile donors and administrators. In addition, she is responsible for various communication activities, including display of news and events on the atrium’s flat screen TV and the institute’s website. Perhaps even more impressively, she manages all of this on a part-time basis and does so with a calm demeanor, a constant smile and an easy professionalism that earns her the respect and admiration of her colleagues.  

]]> Megan McDevitt 1 1324310735 2011-12-19 16:05:35 1475896253 2016-10-08 03:10:53 0 0 news 2011-12-19T00:00:00-05:00 2011-12-19T00:00:00-05:00 2011-12-19 00:00:00 Megan Graziano McDevitt, CMP
Marketing Communications Director

]]>
69773 69773 image <![CDATA[Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]> image/jpeg 1449177264 2015-12-03 21:14:24 1475894611 2016-10-08 02:43:31
<![CDATA[Brain Cancer Study Uses Imaging to Gauge Response to Experimental Drug]]> 27195 Winship Cancer Institute researchers are testing an experimental therapy for glioblastoma, the most common and most aggressive form of primary brain cancer. The study uses brain imaging in an effort to detect whether the therapy is having an effect after one week.

The therapy combines vorinostat, an experimental drug, with temozolomide, which is standard treatment for glioblastoma. “Vorinostat is a different type of cancer drug,” says Hyunsuk Shim, PhD, associate professor of radiology at Emory University School of Medicine. “It’s an epigenetic therapy, and the desired effect is to turn genes that could suppress tumor growth back on. One of the desired effects is to restore normal metabolic behavior to the cancer cells, halting tumor growth.”

Epigenetics refers to the study of how genes are packaged or modified, carrying additional information beyond the DNA sequence itself. In many tumor cells, genes that prevent runaway growth in normal cells (tumor suppressor genes) are silenced by epigenetic modification. Inhibiting enzymes called histone deacetylases may reverse this silencing, with possible benefits in treating glioblastoma.

Vorinostat may also help temozolomide, which damages tumor DNA, work better by making tumor cells more sensitive to the drug. Vorinostat, a histone deacetylase inhibitor, is approved by the FDA for CTCL (cutaneous T cell lymphoma) but not brain cancer.

In this National Cancer Institute (NCI)-sponsored clinical trial, the researchers are using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to detect changes in brain metabolism brought on by vorinostat. MRS, a form of imaging similar to MRI, allows doctors to monitor the levels of several brain chemicals. The researchers will gauge the levels of inositol and N-acetylaspartate, which are both indicators of healthy brain metabolism.

“This form of therapy may not be effective for all patients, but it is better to figure out as early as possible which patients the drug is working for,” Shim says.

Researchers want to develop new imaging tools to monitor how vorinostat is affecting the tumor. The study is designed to gather information that will allow doctors to make a quick decision on whether vorinostat is effective for a given patient without injecting contrast material.

Shim is collaborating with Jeffrey Olson, MD, professor of neurosurgery, hematology and medical oncology and the co-director of Winship’s brain tumor program, and Xiaoping Hu, PhD, director of Emory’s Biomedical Imaging Technology Center and professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. Hu is a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar. For more information about the clinical trial, which currently is enrolling patients, contact 404-778-1900.

The study is being supported by the National Cancer Institute.

Writer: Quinn Eastman

The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. 

]]> Colly Mitchell 1 1323952328 2011-12-15 12:32:08 1475896250 2016-10-08 03:10:50 0 0 news Brain Cancer Study Uses Imaging to Gauge Response to Experimental Drug

]]>
2011-12-15T00:00:00-05:00 2011-12-15T00:00:00-05:00 2011-12-15 00:00:00 Lynne Anderson

]]>
74191 74191 image <![CDATA[Tumor cells often produce an excess of lactic acid. MRS brain scans show that lactic acid levels are decreasing as treatment proceeds. This patient is an example of a "good responder."]]> image/jpeg 1449178046 2015-12-03 21:27:26 1475894686 2016-10-08 02:44:46 <![CDATA[Woodruff Health Sciences article]]> <![CDATA[Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]>
<![CDATA[Endowment Supports New Chair in Biomedical Engineering]]> 27462 Professor Ravi Bellamkonda has been named the first Carol Ann and David D. Flanagan Chair in Biomedical Engineering in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory. The award, made possible by a generous $1.5 million gift from the Flanagans, was recently approved by the Georgia Board of Regents. The award recognizes Bellamkonda’s scholarship and thought leadership in regenerative medicine, nanotechnology and cancer research, and will support his active research program.

Bellamkonda directs the Neurological Biomaterials and Cancer Therapeutics Laboratory, a part of the Laboratory for Neuroengineering in the joint Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory. He also serves as associate vice president within the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research (EVPR), directs a T32 training grant called Rational Design of Biomaterials, directs a Graduate Leadership Program for BioE/BME graduate students and is a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Scholar.  

Current research projects in the Neurological Biomaterials and Cancer Therapeutics Laboratory include: developing scaffolds for peripheral nerve regeneration and interfacing; developing vehicles for contrast agents and receptor-targeted nano-scale drug delivery for the treatment of malignant tumors; and engineering a system for tumor exvasion. He is also leading a research team exploring interfacing technologies that will better integrate external electronics to the nervous system. In addition to the Flanagan endowment, Bellamkonda’s research is funded by grants from NIH, NSF, the Coulter Foundation, the Georgia Cancer Coalition, and Ian's Friend's Foundation.

 

]]> Liz Klipp 1 1323770155 2011-12-13 09:55:55 1475896250 2016-10-08 03:10:50 0 0 news Professor Ravi Bellamkonda has been named the first Carol Ann and David D. Flanagan Chair in Biomedical Engineering in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory.

]]>
2011-12-13T00:00:00-05:00 2011-12-13T00:00:00-05:00 2011-12-13 00:00:00 Adrianne Proeller, Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University

404-894-2357

 

]]>
<![CDATA[Ravi Bellamkonda]]>
<![CDATA[Survey Reveals Scientists Have Trouble Accessing Human Embryonic Stem Cell Lines]]> 27303 The promise of stem cell research for drug discovery and cell-based therapies depends on the ability of scientists to acquire stem cell lines for their research.

A survey of more than 200 human embryonic stem cell researchers in the United States found that nearly four in ten researchers have faced excessive delay in acquiring a human embryonic stem cell line and that more than one-quarter were unable to acquire a line they wanted to study.

"The survey results provide empirical data to support previously anecdotal concerns that delays in acquiring or an inability to acquire certain human embryonic stem cell lines may be hindering stem cell science in the United States," said Aaron Levine, an assistant professor in the School of Public Policy in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Results of the survey were published in the December issue of the journal Nature Biotechnology. Funding for the study was provided by the Kauffman Foundation's Roadmap for an Entrepreneurial Economy Program.

Levine administered the web-based survey in November 2010 to more than 1,400 stem cell scientists working at U.S. academic and non-profit medical research institutions. Almost 400 respondents from 32 states completed the survey. Of those, 205 respondents reported using human embryonic stem cells in their research, and their responses were used in this study.

The surveyed scientists cited four main reasons for their problems accessing human embryonic stem cell lines: difficulty obtaining material transfer agreements, failure to acquire research approval from internal institutional oversight committees, cell line owners that were unwilling to share and federal policy considerations.

"Bureaucratic challenges may be inevitable in this ethically contentious and politically sensitive field, but policymakers should attempt to mitigate these issues by doing things like encouraging institutions to accept third-party ownership verification and providing clearer guidance on human embryonic stem cell research not eligible for federal funding," said Levine, who is also a member of the Georgia Tech Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience.

The broad patents assigned to the initial inventors of the method used to isolate embryonic stem cells and numerous narrower patents claiming specific human embryonic stem cell-related techniques are also factors complicating access to human embryonic stem cell lines, according to Levine.

When survey respondents were asked how many of the more than 1,000 existing human embryonic stem cell lines they used, 76 percent reported using three or fewer lines and 54 percent reported using two or fewer lines in their research. More than half of the 130 respondents cited access issues as a major reason they chose to use specific cell lines in their research.

"These results illustrate that many human embryonic stem cell scientists in the United States are not conducting comparative studies with a diverse set of human embryonic stem cell lines, which raises concern that at least some results are cell-line specific rather than broadly applicable," said Levine. "Federal and state funding agencies may want to consider encouraging research using multiple diverse human embryonic stem cell lines to improve the reliability of research results."

Embryonic stem cell lines are being used to develop new cellular therapies for various diseases, to screen for new drugs and to better understand inherited diseases. It's crucial that diverse lines are available for this research to ensure that all individuals benefit from the results.

While availability was cited as the most common factor affecting scientists' choices regarding which cell lines to use, other considerations included suitability for a specific project, familiarity with specific lines, a desire to reduce complications in the laboratory, cost, the extent of relevant literature and the preferences of scientists' colleagues.

Three of the initial human embryonic stem cell lines derived at the University of Wisconsin in the late 1990s were the lines most commonly used by respondents. Cell lines H1, H9 and H7 were used by 79, 68 and 26 percent of respondents, respectively. Scientists also reported using more than 100 other lines, but each of these was used by fewer than 12 percent of respondents.

"Other research communities in the life sciences have experienced material access problems and they addressed them, in part, by creating centralized information and data sharing hubs, including public DNA sequence databases, tissue banks and mouse repositories. The stem cell research community has taken promising steps in this direction, but this analysis should encourage the community to continue and, if possible, accelerate these efforts," added Levine.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

Writer: Abby Robinson

]]> John Toon 1 1323651600 2011-12-12 01:00:00 1475896250 2016-10-08 03:10:50 0 0 news A survey of U.S. stem cell researchers found that nearly four in ten researchers have faced excessive delay in acquiring a human embryonic stem cell line and that more than one-quarter were unable to acquire a line they wanted to study.

]]>
2011-12-12T00:00:00-05:00 2011-12-12T00:00:00-05:00 2011-12-12 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
Contact Abby Robinson
404-385-3364

]]>
73879 73880 73881 73879 image <![CDATA[Aaron Levine]]> 1449178028 2015-12-03 21:27:08 1475894681 2016-10-08 02:44:41 73880 image <![CDATA[Chart on difficulty]]> 1449178028 2015-12-03 21:27:08 1475894681 2016-10-08 02:44:41 73881 image <![CDATA[Chart on choosing stem cells]]> 1449178028 2015-12-03 21:27:08 1475894681 2016-10-08 02:44:41 <![CDATA[School of Public Policy]]> <![CDATA[Levine's Bio]]> <![CDATA[Nature Biotechnology paper]]> <![CDATA[Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]>
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Representatives Participate in STEM Roundtable at the White House]]> 27560 Georgia Tech student Vivian Stepp and faculty member Julie Champion will spend Friday, December 9, at the White House as part of the Obama Administration’s “Champions of Change” roundtable event.  Stepp and Champion were invited to join students and faculty from around the nation to discuss ways of changing the stereotypes of girls in science and technology. They will also brainstorm how to support and retain women in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Stepp, a Computer Science major in the College of Computing, is a former national and regional winner of the Aspirations in Computing Award. Champion is an assistant professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

The Office of Public Engagement is hosting the event, and White House Policy Offices will use the discussions to create best practices for future education initiatives.

]]> Jason Maderer 1 1323359803 2011-12-08 15:56:43 1475895771 2016-10-08 03:02:51 0 0 news Georgia Tech student Vivian Stepp and faculty member Julie Champion will spend Friday, December 9, at the White House as part of the Obama Administration’s “Champions of Change” roundtable event.

]]>
2011-12-08T00:00:00-05:00 2011-12-08T00:00:00-05:00 2011-12-08 00:00:00 Jason Maderer
Georgia Tech Media Relations
404-385-2966
maderer@gatech.edu

]]>
73913 68622 73913 image <![CDATA[Champions of Change award winners]]> image/jpeg 1449178028 2015-12-03 21:27:08 1475894681 2016-10-08 02:44:41 68622 image <![CDATA[Julie Champion, PhD - Assistant Professor, School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering]]> image/jpeg 1449177185 2015-12-03 21:13:05 1475894594 2016-10-08 02:43:14 <![CDATA[School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering]]> <![CDATA[College of Computing]]> <![CDATA[Champions of Change]]> <![CDATA[Aspirations in Computing Award]]> <![CDATA[Julie Champion]]>
<![CDATA[Study Identifies Mechanisms Cells Use to Remove Bits of RNA from DNA Strands]]> 27206 When RNA component units called ribonucleotides become embedded in genomic DNA, which contains the complete genetic data for an organism, they can cause problems for cells. It is known that ribonucleotides in DNA can potentially distort the DNA double helix, resulting in genomic instability and altered DNA metabolism, but not much is known about the fate of these ribonucleotides.

A new study provides a mechanistic explanation of how ribonucleotides embedded in genomic DNA are recognized and removed from cells. Two mechanisms, enzymes called ribonucleases (RNases) H and the DNA mismatch repair system, appear to interplay to root out the RNA components.

"We believe this is the first study to show that cells utilize independent repair pathways to remove mispaired ribonucleotides embedded in chromosomal DNA, which can be sources of genetic modification if not removed," said Francesca Storici, an assistant professor in the School of Biology at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "The results also highlight a novel case of genetic redundancy, where the mismatch repair system and RNase H mechanisms compete with each other to remove misincorporated ribonucleotides and restore DNA integrity."

The findings were reported Dec. 4, 2011 in the advance online publication of the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. The research was supported by the Georgia Cancer Coalition, National Science Foundation and Georgia Tech Integrative BioSystems Institute.

Storici and Georgia Tech biology graduate students Ying Shen and Kyung Duk Koh conducted the study in collaboration with Bernard Weiss, a professor emeritus in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Emory University.

"We wanted to understand how cells of the bacterium Escherichia coli and the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae tolerate the presence of different ribonucleotides embedded in their genomic DNA. We found that the structure of a ribonucleotide tract embedded in DNA influenced its ability to cause genetic mutations more than the tract's length," said Storici.

With double-stranded DNA, when wrong bases are paired or one or few nucleotides are in excess or missing on one of the strands, a mismatch is generated. If mismatches are not corrected, they can lead to mutations.

The researchers found that single mismatched ribonucleotides in chromosomal DNA were removed by either the mismatch repair system or RNase H type 2. Mismatched ribonucleotides in the middle of at least four other ribonucleotides required RNase H type 1 for removal.

"We were excited to find that a DNA repair mechanism like mismatch repair was activated by RNA/DNA mismatches and could remove ribonucleotides embedded in chromosomal DNA," explained Storici. "In future studies, we plan to test whether other DNA repair mechanisms, such as nucleotide-excision repair and base-excision repair, can also locate and remove ribonucleotides in DNA."

Using gene correction assays driven by short nucleic acid polymers called oligonucleotides, the researchers showed that when ribonucleotides embedded in DNA were not removed, they served as templates for DNA synthesis and produced a mutation in the DNA. If both the mismatch repair system and RNase H repair mechanisms are disabled, ribonucleotide-driven gene modification increased by a factor of 47 in the yeast and 77,000 in the bacterium.

Defects in the mismatch repair system are known to predispose a person to certain types of cancer. Because the mismatch repair system is conserved from unicellular to multicellular organisms, such as humans, this study's findings open up the possibility that defects in the mismatch repair system could have consequences more critical than previously thought given the newly identified function of mismatch repair to target RNA/DNA mispairs.

The results also provide new information on the capacity of RNA to play an active role in DNA editing and remodeling, which could be the basis of an unexplored process of RNA-driven DNA evolution.

This project was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) (Award No. MCB-1021763). The content is solely the responsibility of the principal investigators and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NSF.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

Writer: Abby Robinson

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1322960400 2011-12-04 01:00:00 1475896242 2016-10-08 03:10:42 0 0 news When RNA ribonucleotides become embedded in genomic DNA, they can cause problems for cells, but not much is known about the fate of these ribonucleotides. A new study identifies two mechanisms cells use to recognize and remove ribonucleotides from DNA.

]]>
2011-12-04T00:00:00-05:00 2011-12-04T00:00:00-05:00 2011-12-04 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
Contact Abby Robinson
404-385-3364

]]>
73312 73313 73314 73312 image <![CDATA[Ying Shen, Francesca Storici & Kyung Duk Koh]]> 1449178002 2015-12-03 21:26:42 1475894676 2016-10-08 02:44:36 73313 image <![CDATA[Ying Shen & Francesca Storici]]> 1449178002 2015-12-03 21:26:42 1475894676 2016-10-08 02:44:36 73314 image <![CDATA[Ying Shen, Francesca Storici & Kyung Duk Koh]]> 1449178002 2015-12-03 21:26:42 1475894676 2016-10-08 02:44:36 <![CDATA[School of Biology]]> <![CDATA[Francesca Storici]]>
<![CDATA["Breakthrough" Grant Awarded for Promising Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research]]> 27195 The Kenneth Rainin Foundation announced the establishment of its Breakthrough Awards Program, which is designed to enable investigators to further their Inflammatory bowel disease research and increase the likelihood of a breakthrough discovery.

A research proposal by Julie A. Champion, Ph.D, an assistant professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Andrew S. Neish, M.D., professor in anatomic pathology at Emory University School of Medicine, will receive $100,000 to continue the promising research that resulted from the foundation through its Innovator Award program last year. The “Breakthrough Awards” are given to existing Kenneth Rainin Foundation funded Innovator Award recipients that have demonstrated significant research progress during their initial year's work.


Over the course of the next year, the team’s research aims to develop effective therapeutics that harness the immunomodulatory properties of bacterial molecules for the treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The hope is that by exploiting the inherent ability of intestinal pathogens to control inflammatory signaling pathways in a person’s own body, that they can adapt bacterial effector or regulatory molecules and use them as an immunotherapy.

“A major challenge in realizing the therapeutic potential of these molecules is the ability to engineer a delivery system capable of delivering protein inside intestinal epithelial cells,” Champion said.


Inflammatory bowel disease is a chronic disorder in which the intestines become inflamed. The cause of inflammatory bowel disease is not known, although researchers believe that the most likely cause is an immune reaction the body has against its own tissues in the intestine. The disease is thought to affect over 1 million Americans. 


The Kenneth Rainin Foundation is a private family foundation that funds inspiring and world-changing work. The Foundation’s mission is to eliminate any suffering from inflammatory bowel disease.  Breakthrough Awards are determined at an annual meeting of Innovator Awardees with the foundation’s scientific advisory board and other board members. The Innovator Awards Program is open to tenure track professors at all levels from any scientific discipline and from any non-profit research institutions worldwide. Interdisciplinary collaborations, like this proposal by Georgia Tech and Emory, are important to the Foundation.

]]> Colly Mitchell 1 1322753699 2011-12-01 15:34:59 1475896242 2016-10-08 03:10:42 0 0 news "Breakthrough" Grant Awarded for Promising Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research - the program is designed to enable investigators to further their inflammatory bowel disease research and increase the likelihood of a breakthrough discovery.

]]>
2011-12-01T00:00:00-05:00 2011-12-01T00:00:00-05:00 2011-12-01 00:00:00 Megan McDevitt
Marketing Communications Director
Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering & Bioscience
(404) 385-7001 

]]>
73276 68622 73276 image <![CDATA[Protein nanoparticles are used to deliver bacterial proteins for IBD therapy.]]> image/jpeg 1449177990 2015-12-03 21:26:30 1475894673 2016-10-08 02:44:33 68622 image <![CDATA[Julie Champion, PhD - Assistant Professor, School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering]]> image/jpeg 1449177185 2015-12-03 21:13:05 1475894594 2016-10-08 02:43:14 <![CDATA[Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]> <![CDATA[Julie Champion research group]]> <![CDATA[Kenneth Rainin Foundation]]>
<![CDATA[Systems Engineering Helps Improve Flow of Visitors in Georgia Aquarium’s New Dolphin Exhibit]]> 27206 More than 1,800 visitors can move smoothly through the Georgia Aquarium's new AT&T Dolphin Tales exhibit, entering and leaving through the same set of doors. Their experience is not by accident though -- before the exhibit opened, logistics experts at the Georgia Institute of Technology carefully studied how guests would move and recommended ways to improve their experiences while minimizing congestion.

"We offered Georgia Aquarium leaders accurate predictions on how the new AT&T Dolphin Tales exhibit would impact guest flow within the aquarium and how to optimize the operations logistics, efficiency and show schedules for the new exhibit," said Eva K. Lee, a professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech.

The new 84,000-square-foot AT&T Dolphin Tales attraction, which opened in April 2011, includes a theater with performances of Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins in a Broadway-style production with live actors and trainers, all set to an orchestral soundtrack. The exhibit also features a lobby area where visitors can be face-to-face with the dolphins through a 25-foot viewing window.

"We knew that managing the flow of guests through the new AT&T Dolphin Tales exhibit was going to be more difficult than the other aquarium galleries because guests would be entering and exiting the exhibit through the same space," said Brian Davis, director of education and guest programs at the Georgia Aquarium. "The logistical predictions and recommendations Georgia Tech provided us were extremely accurate and enabled us to ensure an amazing guest experience while remaining fiscally responsible."

To provide recommendations to the Georgia Aquarium on how to optimize visitor flow through the new exhibit, Lee and Georgia Tech graduate student Chien-Hung Chen created RealOpt-ABM, a large-scale modeling and decision support software suite that could model guest movement through the entire aquarium.

With this software, the researchers predicted guest flow through the new exhibit and the impact of the new exhibit to surrounding areas and overall visitor flow. They were also able to determine the best strategies for show scheduling, resource allocation, space usage, and theater loading and unloading. RealOpt-ABM produced recommendations that were implemented for operations design of the new exhibit, according to Joe Handy, vice president of guest experience at the Georgia Aquarium.

According to Lee, the software's success lies in its integrated simulation and optimization approach and its inclusion of human cognitive and behavioral elements. The software's computational speed also allowed for rapid solution strategies and on-the-fly reconfigurations. Facility layout, physical design and activities at specific points of interest were captured in sub-models, which were aggregated and coupled to form the overall model.

"RealOpt-ABM incorporated advances in agent-based simulation that capture the stochastic nature of the events within the aquarium, optimization of resource allocation and show schedules, and modeling of human cognitive decisions that affect show preference and guest behavior," explained Lee.

To validate the model, Lee, research engineer Niquelle Brown and 10 Georgia Tech students analyzed guest flow and behavior patterns in the entire aquarium before the new exhibit opened. Through time-motion studies in 2010, they collected guest flow data and captured the decisions guests made, such as turning left or right when they arrived at an intersection and how long guests spent in each exhibit area. The data showed that guest movement changed based on the time of day and what time guests arrived at the museum.

Using RealOpt-ABM, the researchers accurately predicted the amount of time required to load and unload the AT&T Dolphin Tales theater, depending on the number of guests, which led to a recommendation that performances be separated by at least 90 minutes to minimize congestion. The researchers also recommended that on days with fewer than 6,000 aquarium attendees, only two shows should be offered. This recommendation was based on the need to maintain the comfort and health of the dolphins while minimizing unnecessary operations costs.

RealOpt-ABM also detailed the optimal number and location of ticket scanners and traffic controllers and the best time to open the theatre doors so that the waiting time and queue length were acceptable. The study also predicted that unless other provisions were made, a large percentage of the new exhibit's lobby area would be occupied by baby strollers that were not allowed in the theater. Lee's team recommended the creation of valet stroller parking in the main lobby of the aquarium to avoid logistics bottlenecks and congestion in the exhibit lobby area.

This logistics research project is one of six finalists for the 2011 Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellence in Operations Research Practice, which is given by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). The winner will be selected on Nov. 14 at the INFORMS Annual Meeting, following presentations by the finalists.

"Effective strategies for managing guest flow are imperative for the successful operation of the aquarium and we trust Georgia Tech's logistics advice 100 percent," said Davis. "As the Georgia Aquarium continues to grow and expand, we will always look to Georgia Tech's expertise to maximize the experience for our guests."

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

Writer: Abby Robinson

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1321232400 2011-11-14 01:00:00 1475896238 2016-10-08 03:10:38 0 0 news Systems engineers at Georgia Tech offered the Georgia Aquarium accurate predictions on how its new AT&T Dolphin Tales exhibit would impact aquarium guest flow and how to optimize the operations logistics, efficiency and show schedules for the exhibit.

]]>
2011-11-14T00:00:00-05:00 2011-11-14T00:00:00-05:00 2011-11-14 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
Contact Abby Robinson
404-385-3364

]]>
72647 72648 72649 72647 image <![CDATA[Georgia Aquarium dolphin show]]> 1449177942 2015-12-03 21:25:42 1475894661 2016-10-08 02:44:21 72648 image <![CDATA[Eva Lee]]> 1449177942 2015-12-03 21:25:42 1475894661 2016-10-08 02:44:21 72649 image <![CDATA[AT&T Dolphin Tales theater]]> 1449177942 2015-12-03 21:25:42 1475894661 2016-10-08 02:44:21 <![CDATA[2011 Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellence in Operations Research Practice]]> <![CDATA[Eva Lee]]> <![CDATA[Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering]]> <![CDATA[Georgia Aquarium]]>
<![CDATA[Study to Explore Microneedle Patches for Polio Vaccination]]> 27303 The Georgia Institute of Technology will receive funding through Grand Challenges Explorations, an initiative created by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that enables researchers worldwide to test unorthodox ideas that address persistent health and development challenges. Mark Prausnitz, Regents' professor in Georgia Tech's School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, will pursue an innovative global health research project focused on using microneedle patches for the low-cost administration of polio vaccine through the skin in collaboration with researchers Steve Oberste and Mark Pallansch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Grand Challenges Explorations funds scientists and researchers worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges. The Georgia Tech/CDC project is one of 110 Grand Challenges Explorations grants announced November 7th.

"We believe in the power of innovation -- that a single bold idea can pioneer solutions to our greatest health and development challenges," said Chris Wilson, director of global health discovery for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "Grand Challenges Explorations seeks to identify and fund these new ideas wherever they come from, allowing scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs to pursue the kinds of creative ideas and novel approaches that could help to accelerate the end of polio, cure HIV infection or improve sanitation."

Projects that are receiving funding show promise in tackling priority global health issues where solutions do not yet exist. This includes finding effective methods to eliminate or control infectious diseases such as polio and HIV as well as discovering new sanitation technologies.

The goal of the Georgia Tech/CDC project is to demonstrate the scientific and economic feasibility for using microneedle patches in vaccination programs aimed at eradicating the polio virus. Current vaccination programs use an oral polio vaccine that contains a modified live virus. This vaccine is inexpensive and can be administered in door-to-door immunization campaigns, but in rare cases the vaccine can cause polio. There is an alternative injected vaccine that uses killed virus, which carries no risk of polio transmission, but is considerably more expensive than the oral vaccine, requires refrigeration for storage and must be administered by trained personnel. To eradicate polio from the world, health officials will have to discontinue use of the oral vaccine with its live virus, replacing it with the more expensive and logistically-complicated injected vaccine.

Prausnitz and his CDC collaborators believe the use of microneedle patches could reduce the cost and simplify administration of the injected vaccine. Use of the patches, which carry vaccine into the body by dissolving into the skin, could eliminate the need for administration by highly-trained personnel and the "sharps" disposal problems of traditional hypodermic needles. Because skin administration produces an immune response with smaller doses of vaccine than traditional deep intramuscular injection, the researchers expect to reduce the per-person cost of vaccine. And by incorporating dried vaccine into the microneedles, they hope to eliminate the need for vaccine refrigeration -- a challenge in remote areas of the world.

"We envision vaccination campaigns in which minimally-trained personnel go door-to-door administering microneedle patches rather than oral polio vaccine," Prausnitz explained. "Our goal for this study will be to provide the data to scientifically justify moving the microneedle patch for polio vaccination into a human trial."

In research that will complement the Grand Challenges Exploration grant, Prausnitz and his team have also received funding from the World Health Organization (WHO) to support development of the polio vaccine application for microneedle patches. And in a project sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), Prausnitz and other Georgia Tech researchers are collaborating with Emory University scientists on development of a microneedle patch for administering flu vaccine.

About Grand Challenges Explorations: Grand Challenges Explorations is a US $100 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Launched in 2008, Grand Challenge Explorations grants have already been awarded to nearly 500 researchers from over 40 countries. The grant program is open to anyone from any discipline and from any organization. The initiative uses an agile, accelerated grant-making process with short, two-page online applications and no preliminary data required. Initial grants of $100,000 are awarded two times a year. Successful projects have an opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to US $1 million. To learn more about Grand Challenges Explorations, visit www.grandchallenges.org.

About The Georgia Institute of Technology: The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world's premier research universities, ranked second among all U.S. colleges and universities in the amount of engineering research conducted. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities, Georgia Tech's more than 20,000 students are enrolled in its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Georgia Tech is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: John Toon (404-894-6986)(jtoon@gatech.edu) or Abby Robinson (404-385-3364)(abby@innovate.gatech.edu).

]]> John Toon 1 1320627600 2011-11-07 01:00:00 1475896238 2016-10-08 03:10:38 0 0 news Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have received a grant to study the use of microneedle patches for the low-cost administration of polio vaccine.

]]>
2011-11-07T00:00:00-05:00 2011-11-07T00:00:00-05:00 2011-11-07 00:00:00 John Toon
Research News & Publications Office
Contact John Toon
404-894-6986

]]>
72458 72459 72460 72458 image <![CDATA[Microneedle patch]]> 1449177930 2015-12-03 21:25:30 1475894658 2016-10-08 02:44:18 72459 image <![CDATA[Mark Prausnitz and microneedle patch]]> 1449177930 2015-12-03 21:25:30 1475894658 2016-10-08 02:44:18 72460 image <![CDATA[Microneedle patch]]> 1449177930 2015-12-03 21:25:30 1475894658 2016-10-08 02:44:18 <![CDATA[School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering]]> <![CDATA[Mark Prausnitz]]>
<![CDATA["Junk DNA" Defines Differences Between Humans and Chimps]]> 27560 For years, scientists believed the vast phenotypic differences between humans and chimpanzees would be easily explained – the two species must have significantly different genetic makeups. However, when their genomes were later sequenced, researchers were surprised to learn that the DNA sequences of human and chimpanzee genes are nearly identical. What then is responsible for the many morphological and behavioral differences between the two species? Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have now determined that the insertion and deletion of large pieces of DNA near genes are highly variable between humans and chimpanzees and may account for major differences between the two species.

The research team lead by Georgia Tech Professor of Biology John McDonald has verified that while the DNA sequence of genes between humans and chimpanzees is nearly identical, there are large genomic “gaps” in areas adjacent to genes that can affect the extent to which genes are “turned on” and “turned off.” The research shows that these genomic “gaps” between the two species are predominantly due to the insertion or deletion (INDEL) of viral-like sequences called retrotransposons that are known to comprise about half of the genomes of both species. The findings are reported in the most recent issue of the online, open-access journal Mobile DNA.

“These genetic gaps have primarily been caused by the activity of retroviral-like transposable element sequences,” said McDonald. “Transposable elements were once considered ‘junk DNA’ with little or no function. Now it appears that they may be one of the major reasons why we are so different from chimpanzees.”

McDonald’s research team, comprised of graduate students Nalini Polavarapu, Gaurav Arora and Vinay Mittal, examined the genomic gaps in both species and determined that they are significantly correlated with differences in gene expression reported previously by researchers at the Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.

“Our findings are generally consistent with the notion that the morphological and behavioral differences between humans and chimpanzees are predominately due to differences in the regulation of genes rather than to differences in the sequence of the genes themselves,” said McDonald.

The current analysis of the genetic differences between humans and chimpanzees was motivated by the group’s previously published findings (2009) that the higher propensity for cancer in humans vs. chimpanzees may have been a by-product of selection for increased brain size in humans.

 

 

]]> Jason Maderer 1 1319540445 2011-10-25 11:00:45 1475896234 2016-10-08 03:10:34 0 0 news DNA sequences for human and chimpanzees are nearly indentical, despite vast phenotypical differences between the two species. Georgia Tech researchers have determined that the insertion and deletion of large pieces of DNA near genes are highly variable between humans and chimpanzees and may account for these major differences.

]]>
2011-10-25T00:00:00-04:00 2011-10-25T00:00:00-04:00 2011-10-25 00:00:00 Jason Maderer

Georgia Tech Media Relations

404-385-2966

maderer@gatech.edu

]]>
71799 71800 39697 71799 image <![CDATA[Chimpanzee]]> image/jpeg 1449177405 2015-12-03 21:16:45 1475894644 2016-10-08 02:44:04 71800 image <![CDATA[Chimpanzee 2]]> image/jpeg 1449177405 2015-12-03 21:16:45 1475894644 2016-10-08 02:44:04 39697 image <![CDATA[John McDonald]]> image/jpeg 1449174110 2015-12-03 20:21:50 1475894258 2016-10-08 02:37:38 <![CDATA[Full Research Article]]> <![CDATA[School of Biology]]> <![CDATA[College of Sciences]]>
<![CDATA[Hold Your Forces: Mechanical Stress Can Help or Hinder Wound Healing Depending on Time of Application]]> 27224 A new study demonstrates that mechanical forces affect the growth and remodeling of blood vessels during tissue regeneration and wound healing. The forces diminish or enhance the vascularization process and tissue regeneration depending on when they are applied during the healing process.

The study found that applying mechanical forces to an injury site immediately after healing began disrupted vascular growth into the site and prevented bone healing. However, applying mechanical forces later in the healing process enhanced functional bone regeneration. The study’s findings could influence treatment of tissue injuries and recommendations for rehabilitation.

“Our finding that mechanical stresses caused by movement can disrupt the initial formation and growth of new blood vessels supports the advice doctors have been giving their patients for years to limit activity early in the healing process,” said Robert Guldberg, a professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “However, our findings also suggest applying mechanical stresses to the wound later on can significantly improve healing through a process called adaptive remodeling.”

The study was published last month in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Because blood vessel growth is required for the regeneration of many different tissues, including bone, Guldberg and former Georgia Tech graduate student Joel Boerckel used healing of a bone defect in rats for their study. Following removal of eight millimeters of femur bone, they treated the gap with a polymer scaffold seeded with a growth factor called recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2), a potent inducer of bone regeneration. The scaffold was designed in collaboration with Nathaniel Huebsch and David Mooney from Harvard University.

In one group of animals, plates screwed onto the bones to maintain limb stability prevented mechanical forces from being applied to the affected bone. In another group, plates allowed compressive loads along the bone axis to be transferred, but prevented twisting and bending of the limbs. The researchers used contrast-enhanced micro-computed tomography imaging and histology to quantify new bone and blood vessel formation.

The experiments showed that exerting mechanical forces on the injury site immediately after healing began significantly inhibited vascular growth into the bone defect region. The volume of blood vessels and their connectivity were reduced by 66 and 91 percent, respectively, compared to the group for which no force was applied. The lack of vascular growth into the defect produced a 75 percent reduction in bone formation and failure to heal the defect.

But the study found that the same mechanical force that hindered repair early in the healing process became helpful later on.

When the injury site experienced no mechanical force until four weeks after the injury, blood vessels grew into the defect and vascular remodeling began. With delayed loading, the researchers observed a reduction in quantity and connectivity of blood vessels, but the average vessel thickness increased. In addition, bone formation improved by 20 percent compared to when no force was applied, and strong tissue biomaterial integration was evident.

“We found that having a very stable environment initially is very important because mechanical stresses applied early on disrupted very small vessels that were forming,” said Guldberg, who is also the director of the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience at Georgia Tech. “If you wait until those vessels have grown in and they’re a little more mature, applying a mechanical stimulus then induces remodeling so that you end up with a more robust vascular network.”

The study’s results may help researchers optimize the mechanical properties of tissue regeneration scaffolds in the future.

“Our study shows that one might want to implant a material that is stiff at the very beginning to stabilize the injury site but becomes more compliant with time, to improve vascularization and tissue regeneration,” added Guldberg.

Georgia Tech mechanical engineering graduate student Brent Uhrig and postdoctoral fellow Nick Willett also contributed to this research.

]]> Megan McDevitt 1 1319450636 2011-10-24 10:03:56 1475896234 2016-10-08 03:10:34 0 0 news 2011-10-24T00:00:00-04:00 2011-10-24T00:00:00-04:00 2011-10-24 00:00:00 Abby Robinson 
404-385-3364

John Toon
404-894-6986

Research News & Publications Office 

]]>
71712 71712 image <![CDATA[Guldberg Research Image]]> image/jpeg 1449177396 2015-12-03 21:16:36 1475894642 2016-10-08 02:44:02
<![CDATA[Stem Cell Biomanufacturing NSF IGERT Announces 2nd Class of Trainees]]> 27195  Georgia Tech’s Stem Cell Biomanufacturing Integrated Graduate Education Research Training (IGERT) program, recently identified by Nature magazine as one of the “out of the box” manufacturing educational programs in the country, announced its second class of graduate students today. The seven new trainees come from a wide variety of disciplines including the school of chemical and biomolecular engineering, biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering and material science and engineering.

The $3 million NSF-funded IGERT was awarded to Georgia Tech in 2010 to educate and train the first generation of PhD students in the translation and commercialization of stem cell technologies for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. The current state of the field of stem cell research offers a unique opportunity for engineers to contribute significantly to the generation of robust, reproducible and scalable methods for phenotypic characterization, propagation, differentiation and bioprocessing of stem cells.

Directed by Co-Principal investigators, Todd C. McDevitt, PhD, associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Robert M. Nerem, PhD, professor emeritus in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, this grant provides a unique training opportunity to top engineering graduate students looking to understand how to scale and control stem cells into clinically relevant numbers. The goal, to train the next generation of experts in this new field of stem cell biomanufacturing for the development of stem cell technologies, diagnostics, and therapies.

Catalyzed by a surge of activity in the late 1990s, advances in stem cell biology over the past decade have continued to accelerate at a rapid pace. The manufacturing industry is expanding with commercial development of stem cell products projected to be $10 billion within the next 6-8 years. Moreover, the transformation from discoveries in stem cell biology to viable cellular technologies has enormous promise to revolutionize a range of applications for many aspects of society. As a result, stem cell biomanufacturing is on the verge of broadly impacting regenerative medicine, drug discovery and development, cell-based diagnostics and cancer.

Earlier this year, United States President Barack Obama asked Georgia Tech’s President G.P. “Bud” Peterson to join the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership steering committee to revolutionize manufacturing in the United States. Along with other industry and university representatives, the purpose of this committee is to identify and invest in the key emerging technologies, such as information technology, biotechnology and nanotechnology to help U.S. manufacturers improve cost, quality and speed of production in order to remain globally competitive. The stem cell biomanufacturing industry need look no further than President Peterson’s backyard for future experts in stem cell biomanufacturing.

“I have received dozens of calls and emails from industry looking for graduates of this program because of the uniqueness of the training and the need for manufacturing expertise,” stated McDevitt. “Georgia Tech has a real opportunity to become a leader in this emerging field and begin to answer questions about down-stream processes so that when the first clinical therapies are discovered, scientists are prepared to be able to respond with cells in the quantity and quality that will be needed for treatment.”

The Stem Cell Biomanufacturing IGERT is further catalyzed by the Stem Cell Engineering Center, which was also established in 2010 and brings together research laboratories from all over the state of Georgia to discuss and develop collaborative opportunities for research labs engineering novel stem cell based technologies, therapies, and diagnostics.

Georgia Tech's Stem Cell Biomanufacturing IGERT award will train over 30 graduate students in the first 5 years of the program. The IGERT offers a core curriculum in stem cell engineering and analytical design processes coupled with elective tracks in advanced technologies, public policy, ethics or entrepreneurship.

2011 Trainees 
Tom Bongiorno – George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Advisor – Todd Sulchek
Rob Dromms – School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Advisor – Mark Styczynski
Devon Headen – Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Advisor – Andres Garcia
Greg Holst – George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Advisor – Craig Forest
Torri Rinker – Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Advisor – Johnna Temenoff
Shalini Saxena – School of Material Science & Engineering, Advisor – Andrew Lyon
Josh Zimmerman – Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Advisor – Todd McDevitt

2010 Trainees
Amy Cheng – George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Advisor – Andrés García
Alison Douglas – Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Advisor – Thomas Barker
Jennifer Lei – George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Advisor – Johnna Temenoff
Douglas White – Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Advisors – Melissa Kemp & Todd McDevitt
Jenna Wilson – Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Advisor – Todd McDevitt

]]> Colly Mitchell 1 1319204134 2011-10-21 13:35:34 1475896234 2016-10-08 03:10:34 0 0 news Stem Cell Biomanufacturing NSF IGERT Announces 2nd Class.  Seven new graduate students to begin training in manufacturing stem cells.

]]>
2011-10-24T00:00:00-04:00 2011-10-24T00:00:00-04:00 2011-10-24 00:00:00 Megan Richards
Program Coordinator
Stem Cell Biomanufacturing IGERT
Georgia Institute of Technology
404-385-0783 

]]>
71716 71676 71761 71716 image <![CDATA[Stem Cell Biomanufacturing IGERT 2011 Trainee Class]]> image/jpeg 1449177396 2015-12-03 21:16:36 1475894642 2016-10-08 02:44:02 71676 image <![CDATA[IGERT Trainees with NSF Director, Subra Suresh, PhD]]> image/jpeg 1449177396 2015-12-03 21:16:36 1475894642 2016-10-08 02:44:02 71761 image <![CDATA[QR code stem cell IGERT]]> image/png 1449177405 2015-12-03 21:16:45 1475894642 2016-10-08 02:44:02 <![CDATA[Stem Cell Biomanufacturing IGERT]]> <![CDATA[Stem Cell Engineering Center]]> <![CDATA[Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]> <![CDATA[Scaling Up: NSF Awards Stem Cell Biomanufacturing IGERT]]>
<![CDATA[Studying Bacteria Communication for Future Nanoscale Networks]]> 27281 Think the future of communication is 4G? Think again.

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are working on communication solutions for networks so futuristic they don’t even exist yet.

The team is investigating how to get devices a million times smaller than the length of an ant to communicate with one another to form nanonetworks. And they are using a different take on “cellular” communication—namely how bacteria communicate with one another—to find a solution.

Georgia Tech Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Ian Akyildiz and his research team—Faramarz Fekri, professor of electrical and computer engineering; Craig Forest, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; Brian Hammer, assistant professor of biology; and Raghupathy Sivakumar, professor of electrical and computer engineering—were recently awarded a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation for the project.

Over the next four years, the team will study how bacteria communicate with each other on a molecular level to see if the same principles can be applied to how nanodevices will one day communicate to form nanoscale networks.

If the team is successful, the applications for intelligent, communicative nanonetworks could be wide ranging and potentially life changing.

“The nanoscale machines could potentially be injected into the blood, circulating in the body to detect viruses, bacteria and tumors,” said Akyildiz, principal investigator of the study. “All these illnesses—cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, asthma, whatever you can think of—they will be history over the years. And that’s just one application.”

Nanotechnology is the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale, where unique phenomena enable novel applications not feasible when working with bulk materials or even single atoms or molecules. Generally, nanotechnology deals with developing materials, devices or structures possessing at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter.

Most of the nanoscale devices that currently exist are primitive, Akyildiz said, but with communication the devices could collaborate and have a collective intelligence.

That’s the question researchers are tackling—how would such nanonetworks communicate? Because of their size, classical communication solutions will not work. The team is turning its attention to nature for inspiration.

“We realized that nature already has all these nanomachines. Human cells are perfect examples of nanomachines and the same is true of bacteria,” Akyildiz said. “And so, the best bet for us is to look at bacteria behavior and learn how bacteria are communicating and use those natural solutions to develop solutions for future communication problems.” 

Bacteria use chemical signals to communicate with one another through a process called quorum sensing, which allows a population of single-celled microbes to work like a multicellular organism. Originally discovered several decades ago in unusual bioluminescent marine bacteria, it is now believed that all bacteria “talk” to one another with chemical signals.

Microbiologists are beginning to learn the “languages” bacteria speak and what activities are controlled by this cellular communication. Many disease-causing pathogenic bacteria use quorum sensing to turn on their toxins and other factors to use against a host. Potential therapeutics are currently being developed by some researchers that are designed to disrupt quorum sensing by infectious bacteria. 

“A single pathogenic bacterium in your body is unlikely to kill you,” said Hammer, a microbial geneticist. “But since they communicate, the entire group orchestrates this coordinated behavior using chemical communication and the end result is that they work as a group to kill their host. So can we use that same information in a positive way by harnessing and understanding the limits of the communication?”

Georgia Tech researchers Hammer and Forest will focus on experimentation to better understand the elements of bacterial communication, and then work with the electrical and computer engineering experts on the team to translate their findings into a possible communication model for nanonetworks.

“What can bacteria say and hear, and how do they communicate to one another? Information theory research will examine these issues to pave the way for this new networking paradigm," said Fekri, professor of electrical and computer engineering. “This is really revolutionary research. No one has looked at these issues before. We are dealing with the big challenges. It’s going to require a lot of talent and hard work to address them."

The project is expected to pave the way for research in nanoscale communication. The range of applications of nanonetworks is incredibly wide, from intra-body networks for health monitoring, cancer detection or drug delivery to chemical and biological attack prevention systems.

At the end of four years, the team hopes to demonstrate the basic and fundamental underlying theories for communication of nanodevices. They also hope to develop a simulation tool for the public to use to see how machines can mimic bacteria communication, which will hopefully attract other researchers to get involved in investigating this area further.

“Existing paradigms for network protocols and algorithms do not apply anymore. This is beyond the frontiers of networking research,” said Sivakumar.  “It’s really something that could change things and no one has done this before.”

A great strength of the Georgia Tech research team is its interdisciplinary nature.

“We’re excited to combine science and engineering as well as our respective tool sets, whether genetic engineering, genetic sensing or network communications theory to tackle this system-level problem—this grand challenge in nanotechnology,” said Forest, an expert in biomedical engineering.

]]> Lisa Grovenstein 1 1319041657 2011-10-19 16:27:37 1475896230 2016-10-08 03:10:30 0 0 news Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are working on communication solutions for networks so futuristic they don’t even exist yet.

The team is investigating how to get devices a million times smaller than the length of an ant to communicate with one another to form nanonetworks. And they are using a different take on “cellular” communication—namely how bacteria communicate with one another—to find a solution.

]]>
2011-10-19T00:00:00-04:00 2011-10-19T00:00:00-04:00 2011-10-19 00:00:00 Georgia Tech Media Relations
Laura Diamond
laura.diamond@comm.gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Jason Maderer
maderer@gatech.edu
404-660-2926

]]>
71623 72080 71623 image <![CDATA[Nanotechnology Research]]> image/jpeg 1449177396 2015-12-03 21:16:36 1475894639 2016-10-08 02:43:59 72080 image <![CDATA[Nanonetworks communication research team]]> image/jpeg 1449177434 2015-12-03 21:17:14 1475894649 2016-10-08 02:44:09
<![CDATA[Petit Institute Seeking Mentors for Incoming Class of 2012 Petit Scholars]]> 27195 The Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience is accepting project submissions from graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who are interested in mentoring a member of the incoming class of 2012 Petit Undergraduate Research Scholars.  

The Petit Scholars program is a competitive scholarship program that offers highly innovative research opportunities to top undergraduate students for a full year.  The Petit Scholars mentoring program offers the mentor a unique, full-year mentoring and project management experience while simultaneously furthering their own research interests.  Mentors also receive travel funds and funds for materials and supplies.

Interested candidates must be currently conducting their own research in an IBB laboratory and must be available from January through December of 2012.  Faculty approval will be required.

Online project submissions will be accepted through Monday, October 31, 2011 and should outline an independent research project for a potential undergraduate scholar.   For full details about the Petit Mentor program, visit the website below. 

]]> Colly Mitchell 1 1318412736 2011-10-12 09:45:36 1475896226 2016-10-08 03:10:26 0 0 news Petit Institute seeking graduate students and postdocs to mentor incoming class of 2012 Petit Scholars.  Accepting online project submissions through October 31, 2011.

]]>
2011-10-12T00:00:00-04:00 2011-10-12T00:00:00-04:00 2011-10-12 00:00:00 Colly Mitchell, Petit Scholars Program Administrator 
Todd McDevitt, Faculty Advisor 

]]>
71145 71145 image <![CDATA[Become a Petit Mentor]]> image/jpeg 1449177348 2015-12-03 21:15:48 1475894630 2016-10-08 02:43:50 <![CDATA[IBB Petit Mentor website]]>
<![CDATA[FDA Grant Launches Atlanta Pediatric Device Consortium]]> 27206 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has awarded the Georgia Institute of Technology, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory University and Saint Joseph's Translational Research Institute (SJTRI) a two-year, $1.8 million grant to foster the development of medical devices focused on the special needs of children. The award will launch the new Atlanta Pediatric Device Consortium, which will provide assistance with engineering design, prototype development, pre-clinical and clinical studies and commercialization for novel pediatric medical devices.

"By developing, testing and refining medical devices specifically for children, we hope to produce safer, more effective devices that will improve their lives," said Barbara Boyan, the Price Gilbert, Jr. Chair in Tissue Engineering in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.

The consortium will be led by Boyan, along with consortium co-directors Kevin Maher, a cardiologist and researcher specializing in pediatrics with appointments at the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Sibley Heart Center and Emory University, and Wilbur Lam, a pediatric hematologist/oncologist and bioengineer with appointments at Emory, the Aflac Cancer Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Georgia Tech.

Historically, devices designed for adults have been used in children. However, differences in body size and immune system responses between adults and children, and the lack of appropriate models to assess how a device might function in a growing child, can result in poor device performance and responses that are less than optimal.

"There is little information as to what devices are working well for children and what complications occur," explained Boyan, who is also a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar. "In addition, the high cost of clinical trials for a small market like pediatrics has made conducting pediatric trials cost-prohibitive for many manufacturers."

The consortium will try to reduce these barriers by creating a product development pathway that will provide support for commercialization of devices for pediatric health care from initial concept to the completed product.

To do this, the consortium will build on partnerships the institutions have with the Georgia Tech Translational Research Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Science (TRIBES), which focuses on the need for engineering systems that result in commercial products; the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI), which includes a prototyping design and development facility; and the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) at Georgia Tech, a startup accelerator that helps Georgia technology entrepreneurs launch and build successful companies. Consortium institutions will also partner with SJTRI and the National Institutes of Health-sponsored Atlanta Clinical & Translational Science Institute (ACTSI) for pre-clinical, first-in-child testing and clinical assessments.

Additional consortium leadership will be provided by Franklin Bost, professor and director of design instruction in the Coulter Department; David Ku, a Regents professor with appointments in the Georgia Tech School of Mechanical Engineering and College of Management, and Emory's Department of Surgery; and Nicholas Chronos, president of SJTRI.

The consortium will provide assistance for pediatric medical devices from academic institutions and small businesses. The three technologies that will be investigated initially are:

The first innovation is the RemOtoscope -- a smartphone attachment designed by Lam for at-home ear examinations. Ear infections result in more than 15 million doctor office visits each year in the United States because diagnosing them requires direct observation of the child's eardrum and ear canal with a device called an otoscope. Lam envisions a physician remotely guiding placement of the device and diagnosing the condition via real-time video consultation with parents at home. The smartphone capabilities will also enable the transmission of other relevant clinical information to guide the physician in making the correct diagnosis.

The second device the consortium will bring into the pipeline is a renal dialysis device designed especially for children with kidney failure. There is currently no FDA-approved continuous bedside dialysis device for children. When critically ill children need kidney dialysis, doctors are forced to adapt adult-size dialysis equipment. These adapted adult devices can withdraw too much fluid from a pediatric patient, leading to dehydration, shock and loss of blood pressure. Matthew Paden, a pediatric critical care physician at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory realized this problem and has collaborated with Ajit Yoganathan, a Georgia Tech Regents professor and the Wallace H. Coulter Distinguished Faculty Chair in Biomedical Engineering, to develop the device.

The consortium will also investigate the development of a gel designed to delay the re-fusion of a child's skull bones after surgery for craniosynostosis. Craniosynostosis affects approximately one in every 2,500 babies in the United States and is caused by the premature closure of gaps between skull bones. The gel is being developed by Boyan; Joseph Williams, clinical director of craniofacial plastic surgery at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and clinical assistant professor in the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Emory University; and Coulter Department M.D./Ph.D. student Chris Hermann, senior scientist Rene Olivares-Navarrete, visiting professor Zvi Schwartz and associate professor Niren Murthy.

Future projects will be selected through the consortium's seed grant competition, which will provide awards between $25,000 and $50,000 to inventors in the partnering institutions and the business community to develop a pediatric medical device through the consortium. Entries are due Nov. 1, 2011.

Additional devices will also be identified through technology development and commercialization programs, including the Coulter Department capstone design class, the TI:GER (Technological Innovation: Generating Economic Results) program in the Georgia Tech College of Management, Georgia Tech's comprehensive center for technology commercialization called VentureLab and the Goizeuta Business School at Emory.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

Writer: Abby Robinson

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1318377600 2011-10-12 00:00:00 1475896226 2016-10-08 03:10:26 0 0 news A two-year, $1.8 million grant from the Food and Drug Administration will launch the new Atlanta Pediatric Device Consortium and foster the development of medical devices for children.

]]>
2011-10-12T00:00:00-04:00 2011-10-12T00:00:00-04:00 2011-10-12 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
Contact Abby Robinson
404-385-3364

]]>
71151 71152 71153 71151 image <![CDATA[RemOtoscope]]> 1449177348 2015-12-03 21:15:48 1475894630 2016-10-08 02:43:50 71152 image <![CDATA[Renal dialysis device]]> 1449177348 2015-12-03 21:15:48 1475894630 2016-10-08 02:43:50 71153 image <![CDATA[Barbara Boyan Joseph Williams]]> 1449177348 2015-12-03 21:15:48 1475894630 2016-10-08 02:43:50 <![CDATA[Seed Grand Competition]]> <![CDATA[Atlanta Pediatric Device Consortium]]> <![CDATA[Barbara Boyan]]> <![CDATA[Wilbur Lam]]> <![CDATA[David Ku]]> <![CDATA[Franklin Bost]]>
<![CDATA[Cell Therapy for Diabetes Neurovascular Complications: NIH $6.1M Grant Funds New Studies]]> 27195 ATLANTA—Two of the most common and debilitating complications of diabetes are the subject of new NIH-funded studies at Emory University School of Medicine. Researchers are working to re-program cells taken from the bone marrow or peripheral blood of patients with diabetes to treat neurovascular complications such as peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and diabetic neuropathy (DN).

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has awarded the research team, consisting of investigators at Emory, Georgia Tech, University of Alabama and University of California at San Diego, a $6.1 million grant.

Principal investigators of the study, called “Cell therapy for diabetic peripheral neurovascular complications,” are Young-Sup Yoon, MD, PhD, director of stem cell biology and associate professor of medicine (cardiology) in Emory School of Medicine, and Xiaodong Cheng, PhD, professor of biochemistry in Emory School of Medicine and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar.  Andres García, professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, is the investigator for Georgia Tech.

Patients with diabetes are frequently affected by PAD and DN, but despite the increase in incidence of diabetes, no current treatments effectively treat these conditions, notes Yoon. “Even after patients achieve glucose control, diabetes can lead to long-term complications,” he says. 


Patients with PAD experience blocked arteries in the legs and feet, which can lead to leg amputation in advanced cases. Because advanced PAD in diabetes frequently affects small vessels, conventional intervention and surgical treatment are ineffective in many cases.

DN, which damages the neural vasculature and neuronal cells, is the most common complication of diabetes, affecting 60 percent of patients.

Growing evidence has shown that cells taken from a patient’s own bone marrow, called bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), can be effective in treating various cardiovascular diseases and diabetic neuropathy by repairing blood vessels. Thus far, however, EPCs derived from diabetic patients have been only modestly effective for these autologous (self-directed) therapies.

The Emory research team, based on earlier findings, believes epigenetic changes in the EPCs of diabetic patients may be at fault. Epigenetic factors direct genes to be either expressed or silenced, but they don’t affect the underlying DNA sequence of an organism. Epigenetic alterations in the chromatin of the EPCs of diabetic patients seem to be the culprit. Chromatin is the packaging mechanism for DNA in the nucleus of cells.

“We plan to investigate epigenetic chromatin changes in diabetic EPCs, and to reprogram or re-engineer these EPCs with small molecular epigenetic regulators and biomaterial to enhance or restore their function,” Yoon explains. “Other research has shown the ability of small molecules to induce chromatin remodeling of affected genes and alter gene expression, and we believe this is a promising approach.”

The research team will use animal models to test the therapeutic effects of the reprogrammed cells for PAD and DN. The next step will be a pilot clinical trial in human patients with complications of diabetes.

EMORY Health Sciences News
Yoon lab
Garcia lab 

 

 

]]> Colly Mitchell 1 1317816431 2011-10-05 12:07:11 1475896226 2016-10-08 03:10:26 0 0 news Cell Therapy for Diabetes Neurovascular Complications:  NIH $6.1M Grant Funds New Studies
Researchers re-programming cells to treat neurovascular complications 

]]>
2011-10-04T00:00:00-04:00 2011-10-04T00:00:00-04:00 2011-10-04 00:00:00 Holly Korschun
404-727-3990 

]]>
70918 70918 image <![CDATA[Young-sup Yoon, PhD]]> image/jpeg 1449177328 2015-12-03 21:15:28 1475894625 2016-10-08 02:43:45 <![CDATA[EMORY Health Sciences News]]> <![CDATA[Yoon lab]]> <![CDATA[Garcia lab]]> <![CDATA[Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]>
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Researchers Receive Three NSF Emerging Frontiers Awards]]> 27174 The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $6 million to fund three projects involving researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Each four-year, $2 million grant was awarded through the NSF's Division of Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI).

"The EFRI research teams will probe some profound aspects of the interface of biology and engineering," said Sohi Rastegar, director of EFRI. "If they are successful, the principles and theories uncovered in their investigations could unlock many technological opportunities."

This year, 14 transformative, fundamental research projects were awarded EFRI grants in two emerging areas: technologies that build on understanding of biological signaling, and machines that can interact and cooperate with humans.

The three Georgia Tech projects include:

The therapeutic robot could enhance, assist and improve motor skills in humans with varying motor capabilities and deficits. The goal of the project is to program a humanoid rehabilitation robot to perform a "partnered box step," which is a defined pattern of weight shifts and directional changes, solely based on interpreting movement cues from subtle changes in forces between the hands and arms of the robot and the person.

To do this, researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory University will study how humans use their muscles to walk, balance and generate force signals with the hands for guidance when moving in cooperation with another person. They will also study "rehabilitative partnered dance," which has been specifically adapted to help improve gait and balance in individuals with motor impairments.

"Our vision is to develop robots that will interact with humans as both assistants and movement therapists," explained principal investigator Lena Ting, an associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. "We expect our project to have a long-term impact on quality of life of individuals with movement difficulties, such as those caused by Parkinson's disease, stroke and injury by improving fitness, motor skills and social engagement."

Working with Ting on the project are Emory University School of Medicine (geriatrics) assistant professor Madeleine Hackney, Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering assistant professor Charlie Kemp and Georgia Tech School of Interactive Computing assistant professor Karen Liu.

For the second project, researchers at Georgia Tech and The City College of New York will investigate devices for "alternative perception" and the principles underlying the human-machine interaction. Alternative perception combines electronics and the other senses to emulate vision. In addition to aiding the visually impaired, the findings are expected to have other applications, such as the development of intelligent robots.

The researchers plan to untangle how humans learn to coordinate input from their senses -- e.g. vision, touch -- with movements, like reaching for a glass or moving through a crowded room. They will then map out how machines, such as robots and computers, learn similar tasks, to model devices that can assist humans.

The team envisions a multifunctional array of sensors on the body and has already developed prototypes for some of the devices. The full complement of wearable sensors would help a sightless person navigate by conveying information about his or her surroundings.

The researchers hope their findings on perception, and the prototypes they develop, will spawn a raft of wearable electronic devices to help blind people "see" their environment at a distance through touch, hearing and other senses. The technology would also benefit sighted individuals who must navigate in poor visibility, such as firefighters and pilots.

Principal investigator Zhigang Zhu, professor of computer science and computer engineering in City College's Grove School of Engineering, will collaborate with City College professor of psychology and director of the Program in Cognitive Neuroscience Tony Ro, City College professor of electrical engineering Ying Li Tian, Georgia Tech Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering professor Kok-Meng Lee, and Georgia Tech School of Applied Physiology associate professor Boris Prilutsky.

The third project will address a fundamental question of developmental biology: what controls the spatial and temporal patterns of cell differentiation? Answering this question will lead to a better understanding of the basic principles of embryogenesis, explain origins of developmental disorders, and provide guidelines for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

The research will be conducted by principal investigator and Princeton University Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering associate professor Stanislav Shvartsman, Georgia Tech School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering associate professor Hang Lu, New York University Department of Biology professor Christine Rushlow, and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Department of Computer Science associate professor Saurabh Sinha.

Scientists know that among an embryo's first major developments is the establishment of its dorsoventral axis, which runs from its back to its belly. The researchers plan to study how this axis development unfolds -- specifically the presence and location of proteins during the process, which give rise to muscle, nerve and skin tissues.

To enable large-scale quantitative analyses of protein positional information along the dorsoventral axis, Lu and Shvartsman will further develop a microfluidic device they previously designed to reliably and robustly orient several hundred embryos in just a few minutes.

"By understanding this system at a deeper, quantitative level, we will elucidate general principles underlying the operation of genetic and multicellular networks that drive development," said Lu.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

]]> Mike Terrazas 1 1317308368 2011-09-29 14:59:28 1475896214 2016-10-08 03:10:14 0 0 news The National Science Foundation has awarded $6 million through its Division of Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation to fund three projects involving researchers from Georgia Tech, including Karen Liu and Charlie Kemp (Interactive Computing). Source: GT Research News

]]>
2011-09-29T00:00:00-04:00 2011-09-29T00:00:00-04:00 2011-09-29 00:00:00 70367 70367 image <![CDATA[(L-R) Lena Ting, Karen Liu, Charlie Kemp and Madeleine Hackney]]> image/jpeg 1449177304 2015-12-03 21:15:04 1475894618 2016-10-08 02:43:38
<![CDATA[NIH Awards Blueprint Training Grant in Computational Neuroscience]]> 27224 Faculty at Emory and Georgia Tech are training young scientists in how to use the tools of biomedical computation to solve challenging problems of neuroscience.

A new five-year grant of $1.6 million from the National Institutes of Health will create a training center in computational neuroscience, one of only five national training centers supported by the NIH through its NIH Blueprint training grant program.

The grant is entitled “From cells to systems and applications: computational neuroscience training at Emory and Georgia Tech.” Principal investigators are Dieter Jaeger, PhD, professor of biology, Emory University and Garrett Stanley, PhD, associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. 

“The NIH Blueprint training grants are particularly innovative in that they combine undergraduate and graduate training programs and provide trainee support at both levels,” says Jaeger. “This is a mission that is highly synergistic with the training mission at Emory and Georgia Tech.”

The NIH Blueprint is a framework to enhance cooperative activities among 16 NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices that support research on the nervous system.

The core training group will initially consist of 16 faculty members from departments spanning Emory University School of Medicine (physiology, neurology, anesthesiology, biomedical engineering) and Emory College of Arts and Sciences (biology, psychology) as well as Georgia Tech (biomedical engineering, electrical engineering)

“This impressive range of faculty and departments provides testimony to the highly collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of this field of study at Georgia Tech and Emory,” notes Stanley.

The training grant funds students in the Emory Neuroscience Program and the joint Emory/Georgia Tech BME PhD program, and undergraduates on both campuses.

]]> Megan McDevitt 1 1317225395 2011-09-28 15:56:35 1475896214 2016-10-08 03:10:14 0 0 news 2011-09-28T00:00:00-04:00 2011-09-28T00:00:00-04:00 2011-09-28 00:00:00 Holly Korschun: 404-727-3990

Beverly Clark: 404-712-8780

]]>
62916 62916 image <![CDATA[Garrett Stanley]]> image/jpeg 1449176409 2015-12-03 21:00:09 1475894549 2016-10-08 02:42:29
<![CDATA[Robots as Rehab Assistants: NSF Emerging Frontiers Award Supports Development of Human-Machine Cooperation]]> 27224 Scientists at Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology will develop a “therapeutic robot” to help rehabilitate and improve motor skills in people with mobility problems.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded the scientists a $2M research grant over four years through its Division of Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation. The project is called “Partnered Rehabilitative Movement: Cooperative Human-robot Interactions for Motor Assistance, Learning, and Communication.”

“Our vision is to develop robots that will interact with humans as both assistants and movement therapists,” explains principal investigator Lena Ting, PhD, associate professor in the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. “We expect our project to have a long-term impact on quality of life of individuals with movement difficulties, such as those caused by Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and injury, by improving fitness, motor skills and social engagement.”

The robot developed through the project could enhance, assist and improve motor skills in humans with varying motor capabilities and deficits. Other applications of the technologies and theories developed could include the design of prosthetic devices or sports robots that entertain and improve fitness. The researchers also believe their work will advance understanding of how the brain controls movement and other functions. Madeleine Hackney, PhD, assistant professor of medicine (geriatrics) in Emory University School of Medicine is co-principal investigator of the project. Co-PIs at Georgia Tech are biomedical engineering assistant professor Charlie Kemp, PhD, and assistant professor of interactive computing, Karen Liu, PhD.

The scientists will begin their work by studying how humans use their muscles to walk, balance and generate force signals with the hands for guidance when moving in cooperation with another person. They will study “rehabilitative partnered dance,” which has been specifically adapted to help improve gait and balance in individuals with motor impairments. The partnered dance is based on tactile and motor cooperation between two individuals. Prior work by Hackney showed that participation in partnered rehabilitative movement improved balance and walking skills in individuals with motor deficits due to Parkinson’s disease.

The goal is to then program a humanoid rehabilitation robot to perform a “partnered box step,” which is a defined pattern of weight shifts and directional changes, solely based on interpreting movement cues from subtle changes in forces between the hands and arms of the robot and the person.

Over the course of the project, the team will test their models of human sensorimotor coordination, cooperation and communication by demonstrating the robot’s ability to participate in the box step as a leader or follower and adapt its movements to the motor skill level of a human partner.

]]> Megan McDevitt 1 1317224642 2011-09-28 15:44:02 1475896214 2016-10-08 03:10:14 0 0 news 2011-09-28T00:00:00-04:00 2011-09-28T00:00:00-04:00 2011-09-28 00:00:00 Holly Korschun: 404-727-3990

]]>
70367 70367 image <![CDATA[(L-R) Lena Ting, Karen Liu, Charlie Kemp and Madeleine Hackney]]> image/jpeg 1449177304 2015-12-03 21:15:04 1475894618 2016-10-08 02:43:38
<![CDATA[Transformative NIH Grant Will Support Development of Tissue Regeneration Therapeutics]]> 27206 The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded nearly $2 million to researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University to develop a new class of therapeutics for treating traumatic injuries and degenerative diseases.

The five-year project focuses on developing biomaterials capable of capturing certain molecules from embryonic stem cells and delivering them to wound sites to enhance tissue regeneration in adults. By applying these unique molecules, clinicians may be able to harness the regenerative power of stem cells while avoiding concerns of tumor formation and immune system compatibility associated with most stem cell transplantation approaches.

"Pre-clinical and clinical evidence strongly suggests that the biomolecules produced by stem cells significantly impact tissue regeneration independent of differentiation into functionally competent cells," said Todd McDevitt, director of the Stem Cell Engineering Center at Georgia Tech and an associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. "We want to find out if the signaling molecules responsible for scarless wound healing and functional tissue restoration during early stages of embryological development can be used with adult wounds to produce successful tissue regeneration without scar formation."

In addition to McDevitt, Coulter Department associate professor Johnna Temenoff and Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering professor Robert Guldberg are also investigators on the project.

Regenerative medicine seeks to restore normal structure and function to tissues compromised by degenerative diseases and traumatic injuries. The contrast between embryonic and adult wound healing suggests that molecules that facilitate tissue regeneration during embryonic development are distinctly different from those of adult tissues.

This grant includes plans for engineering biomaterials that can efficiently capture morphogens, which are molecules secreted by embryonic stem cells undergoing differentiation. The study will also evaluate the regenerative activity of molecule-filled biomaterials in animal models of dermal wound healing, hind limb ischemia and bone fractures. Examining the effects of the morphogens on a range of animal wound models will increase the likelihood of success and define any limitations of the technology, such as its use for specific tissues or injuries.

"Biomaterials have largely been used in an attempt to direct stem cell differentiation or serve as passive cell transplantation vehicles for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering purposes," said McDevitt, who is also a Petit Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience at Georgia Tech. "The idea of specifically engineering biomaterial properties to capture and deliver complex assemblies of stem cell-derived morphogens without transplanting the cells themselves represents a novel strategy to translate the potency of stem cells into a viable regenerative medicine therapy."

The award was one of 17 granted this year through the NIH Director's Transformative Research Projects Program (T-R01), which was created to challenge the status quo with innovative ideas that have the potential to advance fields and speed the translation of research into improved health for the American public.

Another T-R01 grant was awarded to Coulter Department professor Shuming Nie, associate professor May Wang and University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Thoracic Surgery Research Laboratory director Sunil Singhal. That $7 million, five-year grant will support continuing work by the Emory-Georgia Tech Nanotechnology Center for Personalized and Predictive Oncology team on developing fluorescent nanoparticle probes that hone in on cancer cells and on creating instruments that visualize them for cancer detection during surgery.

Since its inception in 2009, the NIH Director's Award Program has funded a total of 406 high-risk research projects, including 79 T-R01 awards.

"The NIH Director's Award programs reinvigorate the biomedical work force by providing unique opportunities to conduct research that is neither incremental nor conventional," said James M. Anderson, director of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives, who guides the NIH Common Fund's High-Risk Research program. "The awards are intended to catalyze giant leaps forward for any area of biomedical research, allowing investigators to go in entirely new directions."

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

Writer: Abby Robinson

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1316476800 2011-09-20 00:00:00 1475896209 2016-10-08 03:10:09 0 0 news The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded nearly $2 million to researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University to develop a new class of therapeutics for treating traumatic injuries and degenerative diseases.

]]>
2011-09-20T00:00:00-04:00 2011-09-20T00:00:00-04:00 2011-09-20 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
Contact Abby Robinson
404-385-3364

]]>
70131 70132 70133 70131 image <![CDATA[Todd McDevitt]]> 1449177288 2015-12-03 21:14:48 1475894616 2016-10-08 02:43:36 70132 image <![CDATA[Todd McDevitt/Marissa Cooke/Alyssa Ngangan]]> 1449177288 2015-12-03 21:14:48 1475894616 2016-10-08 02:43:36 70133 image <![CDATA[Todd McDevitt/Marissa Cooke/Alyssa Ngangan]]> 1449177288 2015-12-03 21:14:48 1475894616 2016-10-08 02:43:36 <![CDATA[Todd McDevitt]]> <![CDATA[Johnna Temenoff]]> <![CDATA[Robert Guldberg]]> <![CDATA[Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering]]> <![CDATA[George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering]]>
<![CDATA[Transformative NIH Grant to Support Imaging of Lung Cancer During Surgery]]> 27195 If a tumor is more visible and easier to distinguish from surrounding tissues, surgeons will be more likely to be able to remove it completely. That’s the rationale behind a new $7 million, five-year “transformative” grant from the National Institutes of Health to a team of researchers from Emory, Georgia Tech and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

The grant is part of the NIH Director’s Awards Program funded by the NIH Common Fund. Shuming Nie, PhD, and his colleagues at the Emory-Georgia Tech Nanotechnology Center for Personalized and Predictive Oncology have been developing fluorescent nanoparticle probes that hone in on cancer cells. The grant will support the team’s continuing work on the nanoparticles and instruments that visualize them for cancer detection during surgery.

The project team includes May Wang, PhD, director of biocomputing and bioinformatics at the Nanotechnology Center and Sunil Singhal, MD, director of the Thoracic Surgery Research Laboratory at the Perelman School of Medicine. Nie is a professor and Wang is associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.

“At present, a significant group of patients who undergo surgery leave the operating room without a complete resection due to missed lesions,” Nie says. “Our main goals are to help surgeons distinguish tumor margins, identify diseased lymph nodes and micrometastases, and to determine if the tumor has been completely removed. Having these capabilities can be expected to make a major impact in reducing recurrence rates of lung cancer after surgery.”

The grant includes plans for tests of the nanoparticles and cancer detection instruments on dogs with naturally occurring lung tumors and a first-in-human clinical trial for patients with lung cancer at the University of Pennsylvania.

The proposed technologies could be broadly applicable to many types of solid tumors. The project includes two types of contrast agents for detecting cancer: a fluorescent dye (indocyanine green, approved for in vivo use by the FDA) conjugated to the protein albumin, and polymer-coated gold particles coupled to a reporter dye and an antibody that binds to tumor cells. The gold in the particles amplifies the signal from the dye through an effect called surface-enhanced Raman scattering.

Nie and his colleagues have developed a hand-held device called a SpectroPen that can detect both fluorescence and Raman signals. The SpectroPen combines a near-infrared laser and a detector, and is connected by a fiber optic cable to a spectrometer, computer and video monitor.

Previous research leading to the current grant was supported by a Grand Opportunities grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the NIH Director’s Office, and by the NCI Centers of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence (CCNE) at Emory and Georgia Tech.

The award was one of 17 granted this year through the NIH Director’s Transformative Research Projects Program (T-R01), which was created to challenge the status quo with innovative ideas that have the potential to advance fields and speed the translation of research into improved health for the American public. The first group of Transformative R01 grants was funded in 2009.

Another T-RO1 grant, for $2 million over five years, was awarded to Todd McDevitt, PhD, director of the Stem Cell Engineering Center at Georgia Tech and an associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, along with Coulter Department Associate Professor Johnna Temenoff, PhD, and Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering Professor Robert Guldberg, PhD. The grant will support the development of tissue regeneration therapeutics for traumatic injuries and degenerative diseases.

“The NIH Director’s Award programs reinvigorate the biomedical work force by providing unique opportunities to conduct research that is neither incremental nor conventional,” says James M. Anderson, MD, PhD, director of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives, who guides the Common Fund’s High-Risk Research program. “The awards are intended to catalyze giant leaps forward for any area of biomedical research, allowing investigators to go in entirely new directions.”

More information on the Transformative Research Projects Award is at http://commonfund.nih.gov/T-R01 including information on this year's awardees

Writer: Quinn Eastman

The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Learn more about Emory’s health sciences: Blog: http://emoryhealthblog.com Twitter: @emoryhealthsci Web: http://emoryhealthsciences.org

]]> Colly Mitchell 1 1316605115 2011-09-21 11:38:35 1475896209 2016-10-08 03:10:09 0 0 news If a tumor is more visible and easier to distinguish from surrounding tissues, surgeons will be more likely to be able to remove it completely. That’s the rationale behind a new $7 million, five-year “transformative” grant from the National Institutes of Health to a team of researchers from Emory, Georgia Tech and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

]]>
2011-09-20T00:00:00-04:00 2011-09-20T00:00:00-04:00 2011-09-20 00:00:00 Holly Korschun - Media Contact

]]>
70146 70146 image <![CDATA[Shuming Nie, PhD]]> image/jpeg 1449177288 2015-12-03 21:14:48 1475894616 2016-10-08 02:43:36
<![CDATA[Fast-Evolving Genes Control Developmental Differences in Social Insects]]> 27206 Genes essential to producing the developmental differences displayed by social insects evolve more rapidly than genes governing other aspects of organismal function, a new study has found.

All species of life are able to develop in different ways by varying the genes they express, ultimately becoming different shapes, sizes, colors and sexes. This plasticity permits organisms to operate successfully in their environments. A new study of the genomes of social insects provides insight into the evolution of the genes involved in this developmental plasticity.

The study, which was conducted by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, showed that genes involved in creating different sexes, life stages and castes of fire ants and honeybees evolved more rapidly than genes not involved in these developmental processes. The researchers also found that these fast-evolving genes exhibited elevated rates of evolution even before they were recruited to produce diverse forms of an organism.

"This was a totally unexpected finding because most theory suggested that genes involved in producing diverse forms of an organism would evolve rapidly specifically because they generated developmental differences," said Michael Goodisman, an associate professor in the School of Biology at Georgia Tech. "Instead, this study suggests that fast-evolving genes are actually predisposed to generating new developmental forms."

The results of the study will be published in the Sept. 20, 2011 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This research was supported by the National Science Foundation.

The project was an international collaboration between Goodisman, associate professor Soojin Yi and postdoctoral fellow Brendan Hunt from the Georgia Tech School of Biology, and professor Laurent Keller, research scientist DeWayne Shoemaker, and postdoctoral fellows Lino Ometto and Yannick Wurm from the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Lausanne.

Social insects exhibit a sophisticated social structure in which queens reproduce and workers engage in tasks related to brood-rearing and colony defense. By investigating the evolution of genes associated with castes, sexes and developmental stages of the invasive fire ant Solenopsis invicta, the researchers explored how social insects produce such a diversity of form and function from genetically similar individuals.

"Social insects provided the perfect test subjects because they can develop into such dramatically different forms," said Goodisman.

Microarray analyses revealed that many fire ant genes were regulated differently depending on whether the fire ant was male or female, queen or worker, and pupal or adult. These differentially expressed genes exhibited elevated rates of evolution, as predicted. In addition, genes that were differentially expressed in multiple contexts -- castes, sexes or developmental stages -- tended to evolve more rapidly than genes that were differentially expressed in only a single context.

To examine when the genes with elevated rates of evolution began to evolve rapidly, the researchers compared the rate of evolution of genes associated with the production of castes in the fire ant with the same genes in a wasp that does not have a caste system. They found that the genes were rapidly evolving in the genomes of both species, even though only one produced a caste system. These results were also replicated for the honeybee Apis mellifera.

"This is one the most comprehensive studies of the evolution of genes involved in producing developmental differences," Goodisman noted.

This study helps explain the fundamental evolutionary processes that allow organisms to develop different adaptive forms. Future research will include determining what these fast-evolving genes do and how they're involved in the production of different sexes, life stages and castes, said Goodisman.

This project is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) (Award No. DEB-0640690). The content is solely the responsibility of the principal investigators and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NSF.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

Writer: Abby Robinson

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1316390400 2011-09-19 00:00:00 1475896209 2016-10-08 03:10:09 0 0 news A new study found that genes involved in creating different sexes, life stages and castes of fire ants and honeybees evolved more rapidly than genes not involved in these developmental processes.

]]>
2011-09-19T00:00:00-04:00 2011-09-19T00:00:00-04:00 2011-09-19 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
Contact Abby Robinson
404-385-3364

]]>
70064 70065 70066 70064 image <![CDATA[queen and worker fire ants]]> 1449177288 2015-12-03 21:14:48 1475894614 2016-10-08 02:43:34 70065 image <![CDATA[fire ant castes, sexes and life stages]]> 1449177288 2015-12-03 21:14:48 1475894614 2016-10-08 02:43:34 70066 image <![CDATA[fire ant swarm]]> 1449177288 2015-12-03 21:14:48 1475894614 2016-10-08 02:43:34 <![CDATA[PNAS paper]]> <![CDATA[Michael Goodisman]]> <![CDATA[Soojin Yi]]> <![CDATA[School of Biology]]>
<![CDATA[Scientists Turn Back the Clock on Adult Stem Cells Aging]]> 27310 Researchers have shown they can reverse the aging process for human adult stem cells, which are responsible for helping old or damaged tissues regenerate. The findings could lead to medical treatments that may repair a host of ailments that occur because of tissue damage as people age. A research group led by the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and the Georgia Institute of Technology conducted the study in cell culture, which appears in the September 1, 2011 edition of the journal Cell Cycle.

The regenerative power of tissues and organs declines as we age. The modern day stem cell hypothesis of aging suggests that living organisms are as old as are its tissue specific or adult stem cells. Therefore, an understanding of the molecules and processes that enable human adult stem cells to initiate self-renewal and to divide, proliferate and then differentiate in order to rejuvenate damaged tissue might be the key to regenerative medicine and an eventual cure for many age-related diseases. A research group led by the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in collaboration with the Georgia Institute of Technology, conducted the study that pinpoints what is going wrong with the biological clock underlying the limited division of human adult stem cells as they age.

“We demonstrated that we were able to reverse the process of aging for human adult stem cells by intervening with the activity of non-protein coding RNAs originated from genomic regions once dismissed as non-functional  ‘genomic junk’,” said Victoria Lunyak, associate professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging.

Adult stem cells are important because they help keep human tissues healthy by replacing cells that have gotten old or damaged. They’re also multipotent, which means that an adult stem cell can grow and replace any number of body cells in the tissue or organ they belong to. However, just as the cells in the liver, or any other organ, can get damaged over time, adult stem cells undergo age-related damage. And when this happens, the body can’t replace damaged tissue as well as it once could, leading to a host of diseases and conditions. But if scientists can find a way to keep these adult stem cells young, they could possibly use these cells to repair damaged heart tissue after a heart attack; heal wounds; correct metabolic syndromes; produce insulin for patients with type 1 diabetes; cure arthritis and osteoporosis and regenerate bone.

The team began by hypothesizing that DNA damage in the genome of adult stem cells would look very different from age-related damage occurring in regular body cells. They thought so because body cells are known to experience a shortening of the caps found at the ends of chromosomes, known as telomeres. But adult stem cells are known to maintain their telomeres. Much of the damage in aging is widely thought to be a result of losing telomeres. So there must be different mechanisms at play that are key to explaining how aging occurs in these adult stem cells, they thought.

Researchers used adult stem cells from humans and combined experimental techniques with computational approaches to study the changes in the genome associated with aging.  They compared freshly isolated human adult stem cells from young individuals, which can self-renew, to cells from the same individuals that were subjected to prolonged passaging in culture. This accelerated model of adult stem cell aging exhausts the regenerative capacity of the adult stem cells. Researchers looked at the changes in genomic sites that accumulate DNA damage in both groups.

“We found the majority of DNA damage and associated chromatin changes that occurred with adult stem cell aging were due to parts of the genome known as retrotransposons,” said King Jordan, associate professor in the School of Biology at Georgia Tech.

“Retroransposons were previously thought to be non-functional and were even labeled as ‘junk DNA’, but accumulating evidence indicates these elements play an important role in genome regulation,” he added.

While the young adult stem cells were able to suppress transcriptional activity of these genomic elements and deal with the damage to the DNA, older adult stem cells were not able to scavenge this transcription. New discovery suggests that this event is deleterious for the regenerative ability of stem cells and triggers a process known as cellular senescence.

“By suppressing the accumulation of toxic transcripts from retrotransposons, we were able to reverse the process of human adult stem cell aging in culture,” said Lunyak.

“Furthermore, by rewinding the cellular clock in this way, we were not only able to rejuvenate ’aged’ human stem cells, but to our surprise we were able to reset them to an earlier developmental stage, by up-regulating the “pluripotency factors” – the proteins that are critically involved in the self-renewal of undifferentiated embryonic stem cells.” she said.

Next the team plans to use further analysis to validate the extent to which the rejuvenated stem cells may be suitable for clinical tissue regenerative applications.

The study was conducted by a team with members from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of California, San Diego, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, International Computer Science Institute, Applied Biosystems and Tel-Aviv University.

Citation:
Inhibition of activated pericentromeric SINE/Alu repeat transcription in senescent human
adult stem cells reinstates self-renewal.
  Cell Cycle, Volume 10, Issue 17, September 1, 2011

Written by David Terraso, Georgia Tech/Kris Rebillot, Buck Institute

]]> David Terraso 1 1316507982 2011-09-20 08:39:42 1475896209 2016-10-08 03:10:09 0 0 news Researchers have shown they can reverse the aging process for human adult stem cells, which are responsible for helping old or damaged tissues regenerate. The findings could lead to medical treatments that may repair a host of ailments that occur because of tissue damage as people age. 

]]>
2011-09-20T00:00:00-04:00 2011-09-20T00:00:00-04:00 2011-09-20 00:00:00 Jason Maderer, 404-385-2966

]]>
<![CDATA[Petit Institute Seeking Top Undergraduate Research Scholars]]> 27195 The Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences is now accepting applications for the 2012 Class of Petit Undergraduate Research Scholars. The Petit Scholars program is a competitive scholarship program that serves to develop the next generation of leading bioengineering and bioscience researchers by providing a comprehensive and independent research experience.  In the full-year program, undergraduates conduct independent research in the Petit Institute's state-of-the-art laboratories in the areas of cancer biology, biomaterials, drug design, development and delivery, molecular evolution, molecular cellular and tissue biomechanics, regenerative medicine, stem cell engineering and systems biology.  

Since its beginning in 2000, the program has supported hundreds of top undergraduate researchers who have gone on to distinguished careers in research, medicine and industry.  As biotechnology research has grown significantly throughout the Georgia Tech campus, so has the number of Petit Scholars with the funding of 19 scholars in 2011.  To date, the program has funded students from Georgia Tech, Morehouse College, Georgia State University, Emory University, Agnes Scott College and Georgia Gwinnett College.  The Petit Scholars program is funded by Friends of the Petit Institute donors in addition to its endowment from Parker H. "Pete" Petit.  To make a donation to this program, visit:  Petit Scholars Donations


Beginning October 10, 2011, IBB will begin accepting research project submissions from graduate student and/or postdocs to be considered to serve as mentors to the incoming class of Petit Scholars. 

The application submission deadline for the 2012 Petit Scholars is Friday, October 7, 2011 at 5:00pm. For complete program requirements and online application, visit:  2012 Petit Scholars 

]]> Colly Mitchell 1 1315390869 2011-09-07 10:21:09 1475896205 2016-10-08 03:10:05 0 0 news Petit Institute Seeking Top Undergraduate Research Scholars - Applications for 2012 Petit Scholars now being accepted.  Deadline Friday, October 7, 2011

]]>
2011-09-07T00:00:00-04:00 2011-09-07T00:00:00-04:00 2011-09-07 00:00:00 Colly Mitchell
Petit Scholars Program Administrator
Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience 

]]>
69856 69856 image <![CDATA[Katy Hammersmith, Petit Scholar, conducts research with mentor, Andres Bratt-Leal, in the Todd McDevitt laboratory]]> image/jpeg 1449177275 2015-12-03 21:14:35 1475894611 2016-10-08 02:43:31 <![CDATA[Petit Scholars info and application]]> <![CDATA[Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]>
<![CDATA[Researchers are Developing Technologies to Improve the Treatment for Premature Fusion of Skull Bones in Children]]> 27206 Engineers and surgeons are working together to improve the treatment of babies born with craniosynostosis, a condition that causes the bone plates in the skull to fuse too soon. Treating this condition typically requires surgery after birth to remove portions of the fused skull bones, and in some cases the bones grow together again too quickly -- requiring additional surgeries.

Researchers in the Atlanta-based Center for Pediatric Healthcare Technology Innovation are developing imaging techniques designed to predict whether a child's skull bones are likely to grow back together too quickly after surgery. They are also developing technologies that may delay a repeat of the premature fusion process.

"Babies are usually only a few months old during the first operation, which lasts more than three hours and requires a unit of blood and a stay in the intensive care unit, so our goal is to develop technologies that will simplify the initial surgery and limit affected babies to this one operation," said center co-director Joseph Williams, clinical director of craniofacial plastic surgery at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite and clinical assistant professor in the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Emory University.

Craniosynostosis affects approximately one in every 2,500 babies in the United States. The condition is caused by the premature closure of sutures with bone. Sutures, which are made of tissue that is more flexible than bone, play an important role in brain growth by providing a method for the skull to increase in size. If the sutures close too soon and get replaced with bony tissue, the skull may limit the normal expansion of the brain.

If untreated, craniosynostosis can cause a range of developmental problems. If treated using the standard treatment course, surgeons remove the fused skull bones, break them up, reposition them, and hold them in place with plates and screws. This usually slows bone growth between the bone pieces, allowing room for expansion of the brain. However, studies show that more than six percent of babies need a second operation to separate the bones again and 25 percent of those require a third operation.

"Following the first surgery, there's a clinical need to be able to screen children on a regular basis to predict when their skull bones are going to fuse together again so that the surgeons can determine if additional intervention will be required," said center director Barbara Boyan, the Price Gilbert, Jr. Chair in Tissue Engineering in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University and associate dean for research and innovation in the Georgia Tech College of Engineering.

To address this need, the researchers have developed a non-invasive technique to monitor bone growth with computed tomography images. They created software that identifies bone in the images, quantifies the distance between the bones, the mass of bone in the gap, and the area and volume of the gap. The research team has demonstrated the utility of this "snake" algorithm using a mouse model of cranial development and recently presented their findings at the 2011 Plastic Surgery Education Foundation conference.

"Using our snake algorithm to analyze computed tomography images of developing skulls in mice, we were able to monitor different types and speeds of bone growth on a daily basis for many weeks," said Chris Hermann, an M.D./Ph.D. student in the Coulter Department. "While one suture fused between 12 and 20 days and then significantly increased in mass for the next 20 days, another came closer together and increased in mass but remained largely open."

The research team recently adapted the technology for use in children and began a clinical study to determine the effectiveness of the algorithm to diagnose cases of craniosynostosis. The researchers hope this technology will improve the ability of physicians to diagnose and determine the severity of craniosynostosis.

In addition, the researchers are studying the biological basis of the condition and developing technologies they hope will delay bone growth and eliminate the need for additional operations. In one project, Coulter Department research scientist Rene Olivares-Navarrete and Williams are examining individuals with craniosynostosis to identify genes that influence suture fusion. Determining the genes that control suture closure may help the researchers identify potential therapeutic targets to prevent premature suture fusion.

The research team has also designed a gel to be injected into the gap created between skull bones during the first surgery. The material -- called a hydrogel because it contains a significant amount of water -- would deliver specific proteins to the area to delay, but not prevent, bone growth.

"The hydrogel cross-links spontaneously because of a reaction between a polyethylene-glycol monomer and a cross-linking molecule, allowing for polymerization without the use of chemical initiators or the production of free radicals," explained Hermann.

Preliminary results in a mouse model of cranial development indicate that the gel, developed in collaboration with Coulter Department associate professor Niren Murthy, can be injected into a gap between skull bones, firm up rapidly and not injure underlying soft tissues or impair bone healing. These pre-clinical results were presented at the Society for Biomaterials Annual Meeting in April 2011.

Both Boyan and Williams see promise in using these technologies to improve the treatment of children with craniosynostosis and eliminate additional operations sometimes needed to treat the condition.

"During the initial surgery, injecting the gel may reduce the operation's severity if it eliminates the need for plates and screws to hold the skull bones in place afterward," explained Boyan, who is also a Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) Eminent Scholar. "After the surgery, if the computed tomography images tell us that the skull is closing too quickly, we may be able to inject the gel through the skin overlying the skull without surgery to further delay the bones from fusing."

The researchers are currently improving the protein release kinetics of the hydrogel and conducting pre-clinical experiments to determine which proteins successfully delay bone growth when included in the gel. Approval from the Food and Drug Administration will be required before this system and hydrogel can be used as a treatment for craniosynostosis.

The Center for Pediatric Healthcare Technology Innovation is supported by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, in collaboration with Georgia Tech.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

Writer: Abby Robinson

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1315267200 2011-09-06 00:00:00 1475896205 2016-10-08 03:10:05 0 0 news Researchers in the Atlanta-based Center for Pediatric Healthcare Technology Innovation are developing technologies to better diagnose and treat children with craniosynostosis.

]]>
2011-09-06T00:00:00-04:00 2011-09-06T00:00:00-04:00 2011-09-06 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
Contact Abby Robinson
404-385-3364

]]>
69842 69843 69844 69842 image <![CDATA[Barbara Boyan/Joseph Williams]]> 1449177275 2015-12-03 21:14:35 1475894611 2016-10-08 02:43:31 69843 image <![CDATA[Chris Hermann]]> 1449177275 2015-12-03 21:14:35 1475894611 2016-10-08 02:43:31 69844 image <![CDATA[Barbara Boyan/Joseph Williams]]> 1449177275 2015-12-03 21:14:35 1475894611 2016-10-08 02:43:31 <![CDATA[Barbara Boyan]]> <![CDATA[Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering]]> <![CDATA[Center for Pediatric Healthcare Technology Innovation]]>
<![CDATA[New Collaborative Initiative Funds Interdisciplinary Research]]> 27224 The Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience awarded $100,000 to two interdisciplinary teams under a new initiative, the Petit Bioengineering and Bioscience Collaborative Grant program, which was created to support early-stage innovative biotechnology research.

The seed grant recipients address a wide range of topics including profiling  single cells to understand the heterogeneity of different cell types and new approaches to traumatic brain injury.  The call for proposals was welcomed by teams of Petit Institute faculty with one faculty member from Georgia Tech’s College of Science and one from the College of Engineering. 

“This new program aims to promote the collaboration of new teams of researchers and help them establish preliminary results to apply for large external grant proposals,” said Robert Guldberg, PhD, director of the Petit Institute.  “This initiative is directly in-line with the Petit Institute’s mission, funding cutting-edge research at the interface of bioengineering and the biosciences.”

Melissa Kemp, assistant professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department for Biomedical Engineering and Greg Gibson, professor in the School of Biology, proposed a project which aims to develop the measurement tools for relating variability in both genomic and protein information at the single cell level. The ability to conduct this type of profiling in single cells represents a remarkable technological advance in the last two years.

“Studies of genomic data often fail to bridge the observed variation in DNA sequences to cellular function, in part due to the variation that is present by both types of measurement,” Kemp said, “with the technologies this project is developing, we will be able to compare population-averaged data to single cell measurements in order to gain new insight in relating genes to phenotype.” 

Michelle LaPlaca, associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering and Al Merrill, professor in the School of Biology, are partnering to merge traumatic brain injury with lipid biology in the hopes of evaluating, for the first time, plasma membrane breakdown mechanisms and lipid signaling following traumatic brain injury. 

“Traumatic brain injury remains a major clinical problem with few effective treatments and the devastating sequelae following this type of injury leads to chronic neural deficits,” LaPlaca stated. “We are optimistic that these funds will propel this important research forward.”

Funding for the new seed grants comes chiefly from Petit Institute's endowment as well as contributions from the College of Science and College of Engineering.  Each team will receive $50,000 a year for two years, however, the second year of funding will be contingent on submission of an external collaborative grant proposal by July 2012.

]]> Megan McDevitt 1 1314892240 2011-09-01 15:50:40 1475896205 2016-10-08 03:10:05 0 0 news The Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience awarded $100,000 to two interdisciplinary teams under a new initiative, the Petit Bioengineering and Bioscience Collaborative Grant program, which was created to support early-stage innovative biotechnology research.

]]>
2011-09-01T00:00:00-04:00 2011-09-01T00:00:00-04:00 2011-09-01 00:00:00 Megan McDevitt

Marketing Communications Director

Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience

404-385-7001

]]>
69773 69773 image <![CDATA[Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]> image/jpeg 1449177264 2015-12-03 21:14:24 1475894611 2016-10-08 02:43:31
<![CDATA[New Georgia Tech/Emory shuttle schedule announced]]> 27195 In response to feedback received in a recent survey regarding the Georgia Tech-Emory Intercampus Shuttle, a new shuttle schedule for the 2011-2012 academic year has been created with increased departure frequency.  The shuttle will now run a full loop every hour and will continue service to the Biotech Quad at GT. It is important to note that the shuttle will no longer drop off at the Georgia Tech CRC, as that route is already served by the Tech Trolley and Red Route buses.

The new schedule is set to begin service August 22, 2011 on weekdays during the fall and spring semesters. The Emory Hospital-Midtown shuttle currently provides service several blocks away from GT campus and also stops at Civic Center Marta Station, for those at Emory needing access to GT or Marta trains in the summer.

The slight offset in the schedule from 9:15am-9:45am and again at 11:15am-11:45am. This allows the shuttle to serve students attending the IBS555/556 classes at Emory as well as those at Emory desiring to attend IBB seminars at GT, which are typically from 11am-12pm. Additionally, these offsets allow some buffer for the shuttle to stay on schedule after morning rush hour so that morning delays don't make the shuttle late for the rest of the day.

To view new schedule, visit:  GT/Emory Schedule 

To check the status of the shuttle arrivals in REAL TIME, visit:  GT/Emory NextBus 

]]> Colly Mitchell 1 1314001119 2011-08-22 08:18:39 1475896199 2016-10-08 03:09:59 0 0 news New Georgia Tech/Emory shuttle schedule announced

]]>
2011-08-22T00:00:00-04:00 2011-08-22T00:00:00-04:00 2011-08-22 00:00:00 Ian Campbell
BME Graduate Student Advisory Board 

]]>
69527 69527 image <![CDATA[GT Shuttle]]> image/jpeg 1449177264 2015-12-03 21:14:24 1475894609 2016-10-08 02:43:29
<![CDATA[Five Georgia Tech Faculty Appointed Regents’ Professors, Researchers]]> 27462 The University System of Georgia Board of Regents today appointed three Georgia Tech faculty members as Regents’ Professors and two as Regents’ Researchers.

The three new Regents’ Professors at Georgia Tech are Mark Prausnitz, professor and director of the Center for Drug Design, Development and Delivery in the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering; Seth Marder, professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and founding director of the Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics in the colleges of Engineering and Sciences; and Gary Schuster, Vasser Woolley Professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Two Regents’ Researchers appointed include Gisele Bennett, professor and director of the Electro-Optical Systems Laboratory in the Georgia Tech Research Institute; and Suzanne Eskin, principal research scientist in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.

“We are immensely proud of our new Georgia Tech Regents’ Professors and Researchers,” said G. P. “Bud” Peterson, Georgia Tech’s president.  “They are conducting breakthrough research that is gaining national attention.  The fact that we have five Georgia Tech faculty members receiving this honor from the Board of Regents in one year is a reflection of the caliber of scholars we have at Tech.”

A Regents' Professorship and Regents’ Researcher title represents the highest academic status bestowed by the University System of Georgia. It is meant to recognize a substantial, significant and ongoing record of scholarly achievement that has earned high national esteem over a sustained period. 

Prausnitz has received international acclaim for his research on biophysical methods of drug delivery, which employ microneedles, ultrasound, lasers, electric fields, heat, convective forces and other physical means to control the transport of drugs, proteins, genes and vaccines into and within the body.

Marder is working on bringing nanotechnology out of the lab and into the marketplace. Using a process known as two-photon absorption, the research groups of Marder and colleague Joseph Perry are developing a broad set of materials for 3D micro- and nanolithography.

Schuster is a nationally known scholar and researcher with an extensive list of published articles on topics ranging from biochemistry through physical chemistry, as well as a number of scientific discoveries with commercial applications. He also held top leadership roles at Georgia Tech such as interim president, provost and dean of the College of Sciences.

Bennett has been praised for the programs she has built around automatic identification technologies using radio frequency identification and container security. Her research activities include the study of optical coherence imaging systems.

Eskin has contributed to research on vascular biology, cardiovascular tissue engineering and gene expression of vascular cells. She studies the comparative effects of mechanical forces accompanying blood flow and pressure on the blood vessel wall.

The titles are awarded by the Board of Regents, which governs the University System of Georgia, upon the unanimous recommendation of the president, the chief academic officer, the appropriate academic dean and three other faculty members named by the president, and upon the approval of the chancellor and the committee on academic affairs.

 

]]> Liz Klipp 1 1312899785 2011-08-09 14:23:05 1475896195 2016-10-08 03:09:55 0 0 news A Regents' Professorship and Regents’ Researcher title represents the highest academic status bestowed by the University System of Georgia. It is meant to recognize a substantial, significant and ongoing record of scholarly achievement that has earned high national esteem over a sustained period.

]]>
2011-08-09T00:00:00-04:00 2011-08-09T00:00:00-04:00 2011-08-09 00:00:00 Georgia Tech Media Relations
Laura Diamond
laura.diamond@comm.gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Jason Maderer
maderer@gatech.edu
404-660-2926

]]>
69253 53840 40382 69256 69251 69253 image <![CDATA[Professor Mark Prausnitz]]> image/jpeg 1449177239 2015-12-03 21:13:59 1475894606 2016-10-08 02:43:26 53840 image <![CDATA[Professor Seth Marder]]> image/jpeg 1449175342 2015-12-03 20:42:22 1475894406 2016-10-08 02:40:06 40382 image <![CDATA[Professor Gary Schuster]]> 1449174185 2015-12-03 20:23:05 1475894334 2016-10-08 02:38:54 69256 image <![CDATA[Professor Gisele Bennett]]> image/jpeg 1449177252 2015-12-03 21:14:12 1475894606 2016-10-08 02:43:26 69251 image <![CDATA[Principal Research Scientist Suzanne Eskin]]> image/jpeg 1449177239 2015-12-03 21:13:59 1475894606 2016-10-08 02:43:26 <![CDATA[Mark Prausnitz]]> <![CDATA[Professor Seth Marder]]> <![CDATA[Professor Gary Schuster]]> <![CDATA[Professor Gisele Bennett]]> <![CDATA[Principal Scientist Suzanne Eskin]]>
<![CDATA[Study of Tricuspid Valve Mechanics Uncovers Causes for Leakage]]> 27206 A new study into the causes of leakage in one of the heart's most complex valve structures could lead to improved diagnosis and treatment of the condition.

An estimated 1.6 million Americans suffer moderate to severe leakage through their tricuspid valve, a complex structure that closes off the heart's right ventricle from the right atrium. Most people have at least some leakage in the valve, but what causes the problem is not well understood.

A new study, published online in the journal Circulation on August 1, 2011, found that either dilating the tricuspid valve opening or displacing the papillary muscles that control its operation can cause the valve to leak. A combination of the two actions can increase the severity of the leakage, which is called tricuspid regurgitation.

"We think this is the first in vitro investigation into the mechanics of the tricuspid valve, and that our findings into the mechanisms that cause tricuspid regurgitation could lead to improved diagnosis and treatment," said Ajit Yoganathan, Regents professor and Wallace H. Coulter Distinguished Faculty Chair in Biomedical Engineering in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.

The tricuspid valve consists of three flaps that open to allow blood to flow from the heart's upper right chamber to the ventricle. To close the valve, the flaps re-cover the opening, keeping blood from flowing back into the chamber it just left. When the valve is leaky or doesn't close tightly enough, blood flows backward into the chamber just after the heart contracts.

Tricuspid regurgitation has been increasingly recognized as a source of disease in patients with chronic mitral valve regurgitation, but surgical repair of the tricuspid valve alone is recommended only in rare cases. If an individual suffers from severe tricuspid regurgitation, surgeons will sometimes repair the tricuspid valve during a surgery to repair other leaky heart valves.

"Standard clinical procedures that detail when and how tricuspid valve repairs should be performed need to be developed and this study suggests several items that should be considered," said one of the study’s co-authors David H. Adams, chair of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. "Current repairs for tricuspid regurgitation focus mainly on remodeling the valve's opening to correct enlargement, but this study shows that it may also be important to restore the position of the papillary muscles, providing as much overlap as possible, in order to conduct effective and durable tricuspid valve repairs."

With funding from the American Heart Association, Yoganathan and Coulter Department graduate student Erin Spinner conducted experiments with porcine tricuspid valves to determine possible causes of tricuspid regurgitation. The valves were attached to a plate designed to create physiological dilation and then placed inside a right heart simulator.

The researchers first investigated the effect of dilating the opening of the tricuspid valves. When the openings stretched to an area 40 percent larger than their normal size, a hole appeared in the central region of the valve. The hole caused leakage, and increased in size with further dilatation. This finding surprised the researchers because similar studies using the same method had shown that the heart's mitral valve could withstand dilation of 75 percent before leaking.

"These results tell us that the tricuspid valve is a much more complex valve than the mitral valve, which only has two flaps," explained Spinner. "Forming a proper seal over the valve opening might be more difficult with three flaps, which could be why such a large percentage of the population experiences some level of tricuspid regurgitation and why some individuals with annular dilation have tricuspid regurgitation and others do not."

The research team also investigated the effect of displacing the valve's three papillary muscles, which attach to the valve via threads. Contraction of the papillary muscles opens the valve and relaxation of the muscles closes the valve. The study showed that papillary displacement alone resulted in significant tricuspid leakage.

"While isolated displacement of the papillary muscles is rare, these results are relevant toward understanding what may happen if the size of the valve opening is repaired, but the papillary muscles are left displaced," noted Yoganathan.

The study also showed that higher levels of tricuspid leakage resulted when the researchers combined the conditions -- dilation of 40 percent or greater and displacement of all papillary muscles.

In their future work, the Coulter Department researchers plan to look at the effect of pulmonary hypertension on the tricuspid valve, because tricuspid regurgitation usually develops in association with pulmonary hypertension -- which is abnormally high blood pressure in the lungs. They also plan to work with their clinical collaborators to extend their findings to humans.

"In our in vitro study we were able to select specific porcine valves, but with human subjects there will be more anatomical variety. For example, two people may have valves of the same diameter, but one person may have longer flaps that are able to compensate for dilation whereas the other might not," noted Yoganathan.

In addition to those already mentioned, Pedro del Nido, a professor in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Children's Hospital Boston; Emir Veledar, an assistant professor with a joint appointment in the Division of Cardiology and Division of Epidemiology at Emory University; and Coulter Department research engineer Jorge Jimenez and undergraduate students Patrick Shannon and Dana Buice also contributed to this work.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

Writer: Abby Robinson

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1312848000 2011-08-09 00:00:00 1475896195 2016-10-08 03:09:55 0 0 news Millions experience leakage from their heart's tricuspid valve, but what causes it is not well understood. A new study found that either dilating the valve opening or displacing the papillary muscles that control its operation can cause the valve to leak.

]]>
2011-08-09T00:00:00-04:00 2011-08-09T00:00:00-04:00 2011-08-09 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
Contact Abby Robinson
404-385-3364

]]>
69242 69243 69244 69242 image <![CDATA[Tricuspid valve]]> 1449177239 2015-12-03 21:13:59 1475894606 2016-10-08 02:43:26 69243 image <![CDATA[Right heart simulator]]> 1449177239 2015-12-03 21:13:59 1475894606 2016-10-08 02:43:26 69244 image <![CDATA[Tricuspid regurgitation]]> 1449177239 2015-12-03 21:13:59 1475894606 2016-10-08 02:43:26 <![CDATA[Circulation paper]]> <![CDATA[Ajit Yoganathan]]> <![CDATA[Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering]]>
<![CDATA[Unstable Protein Can Mediate Effects of Cellular Stress on Prions]]> 27310 It’s a chicken and egg question. Where do the infectious protein particles called prions come from? Essentially clumps of misfolded proteins, prions cause neurodegenerative disorders, such as mad cow/Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, in humans and animals. Research in fungi has suggested that sometimes prions can also help cells adapt to different conditions. Prions trigger the misfolding and aggregation of their properly folded protein counterparts, but they usually need some kind of “seed” to get started.

Scientists have studied a yeast protein called Lsb2 that can promote spontaneous prion formation. This unstable, short-lived protein is strongly induced by cellular stresses such as heat. Lsb2’s properties also illustrate how cells have developed ways to control and regulate prion formation. The results are published in the July 22 issue of the journal Molecular Cell.

The study was conducted by members of the Center for Nanobiology of the Macromolecular Assembly Disorders (NanoMAD) which is made up of scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University. Scientists from the National Institues of Health and the University of Illinois at Chicago also contributed to the study. The first author is senior associate Tatiana Chernova, PhD at Emory.

The aggregated, or amyloid, forms of proteins connected with several other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s can, in some circumstances, act like prions. So the findings provide insight into how the ways that cells deal with stress might lead to poisonous protein aggregation in human diseases.

“A direct human homolog of Lsb2 doesn’t exist, but there may be a protein that performs the same function,” said Keith Wilkinson, professor of biochemistry at Emory University School of Medicine. “The mechanism may say more about other types of protein aggregates than about classical prions in humans. This mechanism of seeding and growth may be more important for aggregate formation in diseases such as Huntington’s.”

Lsb2 does not appear to form stable prions by itself. Rather, it seems to bind to and encourage the aggregation of another protein, Sup35, which does form prions.

“Our model is that stress induces high levels of Lsb2, which allows the accumulation of misfolded prion proteins,” Wilkinson said. “Lsb2 protects enough of these newborn prion particles from the quality control machinery for a few of them to get out.”

In continuation of previous research by Yury Chernoff, director of NanoMAD and professor in the School of Biology at Georgia Tech, the new data also show that in addition to promoting new prions, Lsb2 strengthens existing prions during stress.

"Little is known about physiological and environmental conditions influencing amyloid diseases in humans," said Chernoff. "Therefore, prophylactic measures, which could end up being more effective than therapies, are essentially non-existant. We hope that yeast model will help to fill this gap."

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Written by: Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology

]]> David Terraso 1 1311934419 2011-07-29 10:13:39 1475896192 2016-10-08 03:09:52 0 0 news Scientists discover how an unstable protein, known as Lsb2 can control and regulate the formation of infectious protein particles called prions. 

]]>
2011-07-29T00:00:00-04:00 2011-07-29T00:00:00-04:00 2011-07-29 00:00:00 David Terraso

Georgia Tech College of Sciences

404-385-1393

]]>
69075 69070 69075 image <![CDATA[Professor Yury Chernoff]]> image/jpeg 1449177228 2015-12-03 21:13:48 1475894604 2016-10-08 02:43:24 69070 image <![CDATA[Lsb2 Expression in Yeast Cells]]> image/jpeg 1449177228 2015-12-03 21:13:48 1475894604 2016-10-08 02:43:24 <![CDATA[Center for Nanobiology of the Macromolecular Assembly Disorders]]> <![CDATA[Yury Chernoff]]>
<![CDATA[Heated AFM Tip Draws Ferroelectric Nanostructures Directly on Plastic]]> 27303 Using a technique known as thermochemical nanolithography (TCNL), researchers have developed a new way to fabricate nanometer-scale ferroelectric structures directly on flexible plastic substrates that would be unable to withstand the processing temperatures normally required to create such nanostructures.

The technique, which uses a heated atomic force microscope (AFM) tip to produce patterns, could facilitate high-density, low-cost production of complex ferroelectric structures for energy harvesting arrays, sensors and actuators in nano-electromechanical systems (NEMS) and micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS). The research was reported July 15 in the journal Advanced Materials.

"We can directly create piezoelectric materials of the shape we want, where we want them, on flexible substrates for use in energy harvesting and other applications," said Nazanin Bassiri-Gharb, co-author of the paper and an assistant professor in the School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "This is the first time that structures like these have been directly grown with a CMOS-compatible process at such a small resolution. Not only have we been able to grow these ferroelectric structures at low substrate temperatures, but we have also been able to pattern them at very small scales."

The research was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition to the Georgia Tech researchers, the work also involved scientists from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the University of Nebraska Lincoln.

The researchers have produced wires approximately 30 nanometers wide and spheres with diameters of approximately 10 nanometers using the patterning technique. Spheres with potential application as ferroelectric memory were fabricated at densities exceeding 200 gigabytes per square inch -- currently the record for this perovskite-type ferroelectric material, said Suenne Kim, the paper's first author and a postdoctoral fellow in laboratory of Professor Elisa Riedo in Georgia Tech's School of Physics.

Ferroelectric materials are attractive because they exhibit charge-generating piezoelectric responses an order of magnitude larger than those of materials such as aluminum nitride or zinc oxide. The polarization of the materials can be easily and rapidly changed, giving them potential application as random access memory elements.

But the materials can be difficult to fabricate, requiring temperatures greater than 600 degrees Celsius for crystallization. Chemical etching techniques produce grain sizes as large as the nanoscale features researchers would like to produce, while physical etching processes damage the structures and reduce their attractive properties. Until now, these challenges required that ferroelectric structures be grown on a single-crystal substrate compatible with high temperatures, then transferred to a flexible substrate for use in energy-harvesting.

The thermochemical nanolithography process, which was developed at Georgia Tech in 2007, addresses those challenges by using extremely localized heating to form structures only where the resistively-heated AFM tip contacts a precursor material. A computer controls the AFM writing, allowing the researchers to create patterns of crystallized material where desired. To create energy-harvesting structures, for example, lines corresponding to ferroelectric nanowires can be drawn along the direction in which strain would be applied.

"The heat from the AFM tip crystallizes the amorphous precursor to make the structure," Bassiri-Gharb explained. "The patterns are formed only where the crystallization occurs."

To begin the fabrication, the sol-gel precursor material is first applied to a substrate with a standard spin-coating method, then briefly heated to approximately 250 degrees Celsius to drive off the organic solvents. The researchers have used polyimide, glass and silicon substrates, but in principle, any material able to withstand the 250-degree heating step could be used. Structures have been made from Pb(ZrTi)O3 -- known as PZT, and PbTiO3 -- known as PTO.

"We still heat the precursor at the temperatures required to crystallize the structure, but the heating is so localized that it does not affect the substrate," explained Riedo, a co-author of the paper and an associate professor in the Georgia Tech School of Physics.

The heated AFM tips were provided by William King, a professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

As a next step, the researchers plan to use arrays of AFM tips to produce larger patterned areas, and improve the heated AFM tips to operate for longer periods of time. The researchers also hope to understand the basic science behind ferroelectric materials, including properties at the nanoscale.

"We need to look at the growth thermodynamics of these ferroelectric materials," said Bassiri-Gharb. "We also need to see how the properties change when you move from the bulk to the micron scale and then to the nanometer scale. We need to understand what really happens to the extrinsic and intrinsic responses of the materials at these small scales."

Ultimately, arrays of AFM tips under computer control could produce complete devices, providing an alternative to current fabrication techniques.

"Thermochemical nanolithography is a very powerful nanofabrication technique that, through heating, is like a nanoscale pen that can create nanostructures useful in a variety of applications, including protein arrays, DNA arrays, and graphene-like nanowires," Riedo explained. "We are really addressing the problem caused by the existing limitations of photolithography at these size scales. We can envision creating a full device based on the same fabrication technique without the requirements of costly clean rooms and vacuum-based equipment. We are moving toward a process in which multiple steps are done using the same tool to pattern at the small scale."

In addition to those already mentioned, the research team included Yaser Bastani from the G.W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech, Seth Marder and Kenneth Sandhage, both from Georgia Tech's School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and School of Materials Science and Engineering, and Alexei Gruverman and Haidong Lu from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: John Toon (404-894-6986)(jtoon@gatech.edu) or Abby Robinson (404-385-3364)(abby@innovate.gatech.edu).

Writer: John Toon

]]> John Toon 1 1310947200 2011-07-18 00:00:00 1475896184 2016-10-08 03:09:44 0 0 news Using a technique known as thermochemical nanolithography (TCNL), researchers are fabricating nanometer-scale ferroelectric structures directly on flexible plastic substrates that would be unable to withstand the processing temperatures normally required to create such structures.

]]>
2011-07-18T00:00:00-04:00 2011-07-18T00:00:00-04:00 2011-07-18 00:00:00 John Toon
Research News & Publications Office
Contact John Toon
404-894-6986

]]>
68850 68849 68851 68850 image <![CDATA[Ferroelectric nanostructures]]> 1449177214 2015-12-03 21:13:34 1475894599 2016-10-08 02:43:19 68849 image <![CDATA[Studying ferroelectric nanostructures]]> 1449177214 2015-12-03 21:13:34 1475894599 2016-10-08 02:43:19 68851 image <![CDATA[SEM of ferroelectric nanostructures]]> 1449177214 2015-12-03 21:13:34 1475894599 2016-10-08 02:43:19 <![CDATA[Nazanin Bassiri-Gharb]]> <![CDATA[Elisa Riedo]]> <![CDATA[George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering]]> <![CDATA[Georgia Tech School of Physics]]> <![CDATA[Advanced Materials paper]]>
<![CDATA[New Contrast Agents Detect Bacterial Infections with High Sensitivity and Specificity]]> 27206 A new family of contrast agents that sneak into bacteria disguised as glucose food can detect bacterial infections in animals with high sensitivity and specificity. These agents -- called maltodextrin-based imaging probes -- can also distinguish a bacterial infection from other inflammatory conditions.

"These contrast agents fill the need for probes that can accurately image small numbers of bacteria in vivo and distinguish infections from other pathologies like cancer," said Niren Murthy, an associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. "These probes could ultimately improve the diagnosis and treatment of bacterial infections, which remains a major challenge in medicine."

The imaging probes were described in the July 17, 2011 advance online edition of the journal Nature Materials. The research was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health.

Coulter Department postdoctoral fellows Xinghai Ning and Seungjun Lee led the project. University of Georgia Complex Carbohydrate Research Center postdoctoral associate Zhirui Wang; and Georgia State University Department of Biology associate professor Eric Gilbert and student Bryan Subblefield also contributed to the work.

In the United States in 2010, bacterial infections caused 40,000 deaths from sepsis and were the leading cause of limb amputations. A major limitation preventing the effective treatment of bacterial infections is an inability to detect them inside the body with accuracy and sensitivity. To image bacterial infections, probes must first deliver a large quantity of the contrast agent into bacteria.

"Most existing imaging probes target the bacterial cell wall and cannot access the inside of the bacteria, but maltodextrin-based imaging probes target a bacterial ingestion pathway, which allows the contrast agent to reach a high concentration within bacteria," said Murthy.

Maltodextrin-based imaging probes consist of a fluorescent dye linked to maltohexaose, which is a major source of glucose for bacteria. The probes deliver the contrast agent into bacteria through the organism's maltodextrin transporter, which only exists in bacterial cells and not mammalian cells.

"To our knowledge, this represents the first demonstration of a targeting strategy that can deliver millimolar concentrations of an imaging probe within bacteria," noted Murthy.

In experiments using a rat model, the researchers found that the contrast agent accumulated in bacteria-infected tissues, but was efficiently cleared from uninfected tissues. They saw a 42-fold increase in fluorescence intensity between bacterial infected and uninfected tissues. However, the contrast agent did not accumulate in the healthy bacterial microflora located in the intestines. Because systemically administered glucose molecules cannot access the interior of the intestines, the bacteria located there never came into contact with the probe.

They also found that the probes could detect as few as one million viable bacteria cells. Current contrast agents for imaging bacteria require at least 100 million bacteria, according to the researchers.

In another experiment, the researchers found that the maltodextrin-based probes could distinguish between bacterial infections and inflammation with high specificity. Tissues infected with E. coli bacteria exhibited a 17-fold increase in fluorescence intensity when compared with inflamed tissues that were not infected.

Additional laboratory experiments showed that the probes could deliver large quantities of imaging probes to gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria for internalization. Both types of bacteria internalized the maltodextrin-based probes at a rate three orders of magnitude faster than mammalian cells.

"Maltodextrin-based probes show promise for imaging infections in a wide range of tissues, with an ability to detect bacteria in vivo with a sensitivity two orders of magnitude higher than previously reported," said Murthy.

This project is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) (NSF Career Award No. BES-0546962) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (Award Nos. RO1 HL096796-01 and HHSN268201000043C). The content is solely the responsibility of the principal investigator and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NSF or NIH.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Vogel Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

Writer: Abby Vogel Robinson

 

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1310947200 2011-07-18 00:00:00 1475896184 2016-10-08 03:09:44 0 0 news Novel contrast agents that sneak into bacteria disguised as glucose food can detect bacterial infections in animals with high sensitivity and specificity. These agents can also distinguish a bacterial infection from other inflammatory conditions.

]]>
2011-07-18T00:00:00-04:00 2011-07-18T00:00:00-04:00 2011-07-18 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
Contact Abby Robinson
404-385-3364

]]>
68860 68860 image <![CDATA[Maltodextrin-based imaging probes]]> 1449177214 2015-12-03 21:13:34 1475894599 2016-10-08 02:43:19 <![CDATA[Nature Materials paper]]> <![CDATA[Niren Murthy]]> <![CDATA[Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering]]>
<![CDATA[Study Shows H1N1 Microneedle Vaccine Protects Better Than Injection]]> 27303 A vaccine delivered to the skin using a microneedle patch gives better protection against the H1N1 influenza virus than a vaccine delivered through subcutaneous or intramuscular injection, researchers from Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology have found. Their research is published online in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Mice given a single H1N1 vaccine through the skin using a coated metal microneedle patch as well as mice vaccinated through subcutaneous injection were 100 percent protected against a lethal flu virus challenge six weeks after vaccination. However, when challenged with the H1N1 virus six months later, the injected mice had a 60 percent decrease in antibody production against the virus and extensive lung inflammation. Mice that were vaccinated with microneedles, on the other hand, maintained high levels of protection and antibody production after six months, with no signs of lung inflammation.

"A major goal of influenza vaccine development has been to confer strong immune responses, including immunological memory and cellular immune responses for long-term protection, and to limit virus spread after infection," said first author Dimitrios Koutsonanos, MD, post-doctoral fellow of microbiology and immunology at Emory University School of Medicine.

The research team also included Ioanna Skountzou, MD, PhD, Richard Compans, PhD, Maria del Pilar Martin, PhD, and Joshy Jacob, PhD, from Emory, and Georgia Tech bioengineers Mark Prausnitz, PhD, and Vladimir Zarnitsyn, PhD.

Researchers already have found that intramuscular injection is not the most efficient way to deliver vaccines. The muscles have a low concentration of cells needed to relay immune signals and activate a T-cell response, including dendritic cells, macrophages, and MHC class II-expressing cells. The skin, however, contains a rich network of antigen-presenting cells, including macrophages, Langerhans cells and dermal dendritic cells that activate cytokines and chemokines – immune signaling cells responsible for initiating an immune response.

The Emory/Georgia Tech research team previously reported that delivery of seasonal influenza vaccine through the skin using antigen-coated metal microneedle patches or dissolving microneedles elicited strong immune responses that can confer protection at least equal to conventional intramuscular injections. The team has developed dissolving microneedle technology that could be used in easy-to-administer, painless patches.

"The pandemic H1N1 A/California/04/09 influenza virus continues to be the predominant strain," said lead researcher Ioanna Skountzou, MD, PhD, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at Emory University School of Medicine. "Our research shows that skin-based vaccination, made possible through microneedle technology, may now be a viable and more effective alternative to intramuscular injection for H1N1 flu and other strains as well."

"Microneedle delivery also offers other logistical advantages that make this method attractive for influenza vaccination, such as inexpensive manufacturing, small size for easy storage and distribution, and simple administration that might enable self-vaccination to increase patient coverage," said Prausnitz.

This news release was written by Emory University.

Media Contacts: Holly Korschun, Emory University (404-727-3990)(hkorsch@emory.edu) or John Toon (404-894-6986)(jtoon@gatech.edu).

 

]]> John Toon 1 1310342400 2011-07-11 00:00:00 1475896184 2016-10-08 03:09:44 0 0 news Vaccine delivered to the skin using a microneedle patch gives better protection against the H1N1 influenza virus than a vaccine delivered through subcutaneous or intramuscular injection, researchers have found.

]]>
2011-07-11T00:00:00-04:00 2011-07-11T00:00:00-04:00 2011-07-11 00:00:00 John Toon
Research News & Publications Office
Contact John Toon
404-894-6986

]]>
68791 68791 image <![CDATA[Steel microneedle array]]> 1449177201 2015-12-03 21:13:21 1475894599 2016-10-08 02:43:19 <![CDATA[School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering]]> <![CDATA[Mark Prausnitz]]>
<![CDATA[Unique Gel Capsule Structure Enables Multiple Drug Delivery]]> 27206 Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have designed a multiple-compartment gel capsule that could be used to simultaneously deliver drugs of different types. The researchers used a simple "one-pot" method to prepare the hydrogel capsules, which measure less than one micron.

The capsule's structure -- hollow except for polymer chains tethered to the interior of the shell -- provides spatially-segregated compartments that make it a good candidate for multi-drug encapsulation and release strategies. The microcapsule could be used to simultaneously deliver distinct drugs by filling the core of the capsule with hydrophilic drugs and trapping hydrophobic drugs within nanoparticles assembled from the polymer chains.

"We have demonstrated that we can make a fairly complex multi-component delivery vehicle using a relatively straightforward and scalable synthesis," said L. Andrew Lyon, a professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Georgia Tech. "Additional research will need to be conducted to determine how they would best be loaded, delivered and triggered to release the drugs."

Details of the microcapsule synthesis procedure were published online on July 5, 2011 in the journal Macromolecular Rapid Communications.

Lyon and Xiaobo Hu, a former visiting scholar at Georgia Tech, created the microcapsules. As a graduate student at the Research Institute of Materials Science at the South China University of Technology, Hu is co-advised by Lyon and Zhen Tong of the South China University of Technology. Funding for this research was provided to Hu by the China Scholarship Council.

The researchers began the two-step, one-pot synthesis procedure by forming core particles from a temperature-sensitive polymer called poly(N-isopropylacrylamide). To create a dissolvable core, they formed polymer chains from the particles without a cross-linking agent. This resulted in an aggregated collection of polymer chains with temperature-dependent stability.

"The polymer comprising the core particles is known for undergoing chain transfer reactions that add cross-linking points without the presence of a cross-linking agent, so we initiated the polymerization using a redox method with ammonium persulfate and N,N,N’,N’-tetramethylethylenediamine. This ensured those side chain transfer reactions did not occur, which allowed us to create a truly dissolvable core," explained Lyon.

For the second step in the procedure, Lyon and Hu added a cross-linking agent to a polymer called poly(N-isopropylmethacrylamide) to create a shell around the aggregated polymer chains. The researchers conducted this step under conditions that would allow any core-associated polymer chains that interacted with the shell during synthesis to undergo chain transfer and become grafted to the interior of the shell.

Cooling the microcapsule exploited the temperature sensitivities of the polymers. The shell swelled with water and expanded to its stable size, while the free-floating polymer chains in the center of the capsule diffused out of the core, leaving behind an empty space. Any chains that stuck to the shell during its synthesis remained. Because the chains control the interaction between the particles they store and their surroundings, the tethered chains can act as hydrophobic drug carriers.

Compared to delivering a single drug, co-delivery of multiple drugs has several potential advantages, including synergistic effects, suppressed drug resistance and the ability to tune the relative dosage of various drugs. The future optimization of these microcapsules may allow simultaneous delivery of distinct classes of drugs for the treatment of diseases like cancer, which is often treated using combination chemotherapy.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

Writer: Abby Robinson

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1309910400 2011-07-06 00:00:00 1475896184 2016-10-08 03:09:44 0 0 news Chemists have designed a multiple-compartment gel capsule that can simultaneously deliver hydrophilic and hydrophobic drugs. The microcapsules could be used for the treatment of diseases like cancer, which is often treated using combination chemotherapy.

]]>
2011-07-06T00:00:00-04:00 2011-07-06T00:00:00-04:00 2011-07-06 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
Contact Abby Robinson
404-385-3364

]]>
68720 68721 68722 68720 image <![CDATA[Microcapsule synthesis schematic]]> 1449177201 2015-12-03 21:13:21 1475894597 2016-10-08 02:43:17 68721 image <![CDATA[3D AFM images of microcapsules]]> 1449177201 2015-12-03 21:13:21 1475894597 2016-10-08 02:43:17 68722 image <![CDATA[AFM images of microcapsules]]> 1449177201 2015-12-03 21:13:21 1475894597 2016-10-08 02:43:17 <![CDATA[Macromolecular Rapid Communications paper]]> <![CDATA[Andrew Lyon]]> <![CDATA[School of Chemistry and Biochemistry]]>
<![CDATA[Vasculata 2011 to be held at Georgia Tech]]> 27195 With the Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) serving as the lead host institution in conjunction with Emory University School of Medicine and the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), the 2011 annual workshop will take place on the Georgia Tech campus. This meeting aims to inspire young investigators from a variety of disciplines to enter the field of vascular biology by providing trainees with a robust introductory learning experience, facilitate the rapid integration of new research trainees into vascular biology research programs by enhancing their exposure and understanding of the latest experimental approaches employed in the field and finally to orient new investigators to the breadth and depth of the frontiers of knowledge of vascular biology through state-of-the-art presentations and scientific interchange with leading investigators.

Vasculata® is a summer course/workshop that promotes the study of vascular biology.  It is designed to present an overview of the field and future areas of active research.  Individuals with little or no background in vascular biology are encouraged to attend, and current trainees in the field and all interested individuals are invited to participate.  This includes students (undergraduates, graduate students, medical students), trainees (postdocs, research fellows, residents) and others (junior and senior faculty).

This meeting builds upon the legacy of research training provided by previous Vasculata conferences by leveraging the superb critical mass of vascular biology investigators at the three partner institutions in Atlanta. The Vasculata 2011 conference will be a distinctive addition that will incorporate several new programmatic elements to enrich the training experience and develop a special thematic emphasis on preparing a new generation of vascular biologists to extend the frontiers of discovery science as well as engage in translational science that bridges from ‘bench-to-bedside.” The proposed meeting builds upon the complementary strengths of the tri-institutional partnership such that the program reflects the inter-disciplinary nature of vascular biology. The conference will capture the breadth of the field in its inclusion of investigators from a wide variety of disciplines such as: bioengineering, systems biology, developmental biology, clinical science, regenerative medicine and genetic epidemiology. 

Moreover, Vasculata 2011 will be a novel addition to the series by incorporating new programmatic elements that emphasize the mentorship of trainees as well as major initiatives to expand the gender and racial/ethnic diversity of biomedical scientists in the field. Overall, the Vasculata 2011 conference promises to be an exciting and uniquely rich research training experience.

Organizing Committee: 

Gary Gibbons, MD, Morehouse School of Medicine 

Kathy Griendling, PhD, Emory University 

Hanjoong Jo PhD, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University 

Arshed Quyyumi MD, Emory University

]]> Colly Mitchell 1 1309872930 2011-07-05 13:35:30 1475896180 2016-10-08 03:09:40 0 0 news Vasculata 2011, with the Morehouse School of Medicine, Emory University and Georgia Tech, to be held on Georgia Tech's campus

]]>
2011-07-05T00:00:00-04:00 2011-07-05T00:00:00-04:00 2011-07-05 00:00:00 Bernadette Englert

]]>
68683 68683 image <![CDATA[NAVBO]]> image/gif 1449177185 2015-12-03 21:13:05 1475894597 2016-10-08 02:43:17 <![CDATA[Vasculata website]]>
<![CDATA[Sulchek Receives 2011 CAREER Award]]> 27224 The George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering is pleased to announce that Dr. Todd Sulchek, Assistant Professor, has won a prestigious 2011 Faculty Early Career Award from the National Science Foundation's Biosensing Program for his proposal titled: "Understanding Multivalent Biological Bonds for Biosensing Applications."

For this project, Dr. Sulchek will be studying multivalent protein adhesion in order to improve how well biosensors can bind target molecules. He hopes to create methods to watch the binding and unbinding of multiple protein bonds in quick succession and close proximity.

As part of the CAREER Award outreach component, Dr. Sulchek will work with local high schools to match biology students with physical science students into teams, in order to emphasize the overlapping nature of the scientific and engineering disciplines. The goal is to portray science and engineering in a more exciting and interesting light. Currently, there are two high school students working in Dr. Sulchek's lab this summer, testing out a concept to rapidly measure protein adhesion. After knowledge is gained from this trial run working with students, Dr. Sulchek will organize 10-20 teams in the next year to compete in a cross-disciplinary science fair.

Upon learning about this award, Woodruff School Chair Dr. Bill Wepfer said, "Congratulations! Along with your recent NIH R21 award, this is a tremendous affirmation of your research program." Dean of Engineering, Dr. Don Giddens said, "Great news, Todd, and a hearty congratulations!!" Further hats off came from Georgia Tech's President, Dr. G.P. "Bud" Peterson, "Congratulations! Off to a great start!"

Dr, Sulchek received both his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees (Applied Physics) from Stanford University in 2000 and 2006, respectively. He earned his B.A. (Physics and Mathematics) at Johns Hopkins University in 1996. Dr. Sulchek started at Georgia Tech in June 2008 as an Assistant Professor. Prior to his current appointment, he was a staff scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Lab.

Currently, there are twenty-seven Woodruff School faculty members who have at one time held a CAREER Award. In addition, the Woodruff School has fifteen Ph.D. graduates who have won these awards and are on the faculty of universities other than Georgia Tech.

]]> Megan McDevitt 1 1309465361 2011-06-30 20:22:41 1475896180 2016-10-08 03:09:40 0 0 news 2011-06-30T00:00:00-04:00 2011-06-30T00:00:00-04:00 2011-06-30 00:00:00 Melissa D Zbeeb
Director of Communications
Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

]]>
68659 68659 image <![CDATA[Todd Sulchek]]> image/jpeg 1449177185 2015-12-03 21:13:05 1475894597 2016-10-08 02:43:17 <![CDATA[Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]> <![CDATA[Sulchek Lab Website]]> <![CDATA[George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering]]>
<![CDATA[Assistant Professor Styczynski Receives DARPA Young Faculty Award]]> 27462 Mark Styczynski, an assistant professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech, has received a 2011 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Young Faculty Award for his research on metabolites, the small molecule building blocks necessary for all cellular functions.

DARPA presents the Young Faculty Award to outstanding junior faculty whose research will enable revolutionary advances in the areas of the physical sciences, engineering, and mathematics. The Young Faculty Award program will fund Styczynski’s research through 2013.

Styczynski’s work involves identifying millions of allosteric metabolite and protein interactions both efficiently and accurately.

“Metabolites are one of the most direct, real-time readouts of cellular state that researchers can assay,” Styczynski said. “But they also play a significant regulatory role, which is only beginning to be understood on a large scale.”



Potential applications of Styczynski’s research fall into the division of DARPA known as the Defense Sciences Office, which focuses on developing technologies that will radically transform battlefield medical care. By cataloging the infinite number of metabolite-protein interactions, his research may lead to the development of a self-regulating drug for soldiers in the field that shuts itself down when no longer needed.

Styczynski received his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2007. He joined the faculty at Georgia Tech in 2009 after a postdoctoral appointment at the Broad Institute, a world-renowned genomic medicine research center located in Cambridge, Mass.

]]> Liz Klipp 1 1309189551 2011-06-27 15:45:51 1475896180 2016-10-08 03:09:40 0 0 news Mark Styczynski, an assistant professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech, has received a 2011 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Young Faculty Award for his research on metabolites, the small molecule building blocks necessary for all cellular functions.

 

]]>
2011-06-27T00:00:00-04:00 2011-06-27T00:00:00-04:00 2011-06-27 00:00:00 Georgia Tech Media Relations
Laura Diamond
laura.diamond@comm.gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Jason Maderer
maderer@gatech.edu
404-660-2926

]]>
68544 68544 image <![CDATA[Dr. Mark Styczynski]]> image/jpeg 1449177185 2015-12-03 21:13:05 1475894594 2016-10-08 02:43:14 <![CDATA[Dr. Mark Styczynski]]>
<![CDATA[Regenerative Medicine Seed Grant Announcement]]> 27195  

The Georgia Tech/Emory initiative in Regenerative Medicine, in partnership with the Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute (ACTSI), is pleased to invite seed grant proposals in Regenerative Medicine. The research seed grant program will fund both multi-investigator teams and single investigators. The review committee will strive to make awards that reflect a balance between multi and single investigators and between basic science and translational research, with the latter including large animal studies and initial clinical studies. The desired portfolio should include a balance of Emory and Georgia Tech faculty. The award program also is available to be used to fund junior investigators in team or individual grants and can be used for the recruitment of outstanding young investigators.

 

Strategic Priority Team Grants

● Applications should have a clinical target.

● A team must have a minimum of two investigators and may include both basic scientists and clinicians. Collaborations among Emory and Georgia Tech and other ACTSI partner faculty will be encouraged.

● Awards in general may be for up to $100,000 per year for no more than three years; however, where a larger budget is required, e.g. for large animal studies or a clinical study, an additional supplement may be possible.

 

Innovative Research Grants

● These grants will be funded at up to $50,000 per year, and based on satisfactory progress can be for up to three years.

● Awards can be made to investigators who are addressing new questions or taking new approaches.

● Awards can be made to investigators not previously engaged in regenerative medicine research.

 

The success of the research grant program will be measured by the number of publications and follow-on extramural funding that is achieved from the seed grants and/or the initiation of clinical studies. Any publications arising from a grant funded by this program is required to acknowledge this program and the ACTSI as the source of funds.

 

Purpose of the funds: Seed grant funds are intended to enable PI’s to generate preliminary data that facilitates the submission of proposals for subsequent external funding or to provide the initial studies leading to a clinical trial.

 

Who may apply: Proposals may originate from a single PI or may be a collaboration between investigators. All tenured faculty, tenure-track faculty and clinical faculty whose appointments reside at Emory and Georgia Tech are eligible to apply.

 

Budget Information: Funds may be used for Ph.D. student/postdoc support, animal studies, supplies, and limited travel as related to the conduct of the research. Faculty salary support is not appropriate. For Georgia Tech students supported on these funds, their tuition will be waived. Note that these are not intended to be multi-year grants, but rather to facilitate the generation of critical preliminary data or demonstrate feasibility of concepts that will lead to external support through other federal or state agencies and/or to clinical studies. At the time of this announcement the amount of funds available for this seed grant program has not been determined. Thus, the review committee reserves the right to make adjustments to the budgets of funded projects based on the total funds available. Furthermore, funds provided from ACTSI must be spent by May 31, 2012 and those provided by Georgia Tech by June 30, 2012.

 

Deadline: The deadline for submission of proposals is August 5th; however, a letter of intent with the title of the project, the names of investigators, and the proposed total budget must be submitted by e-mail no later than July 15th to Robert Nerem (robert.nerem@ibb.gatech.edu). Funding period will start no later than September 2011. IACUC/IRB approvals (when appropriate) are necessary before funding can commence.

 

Proposal Format: The technical aspect of the proposal cannot exceed five pages and should include the following sections: a) brief introduction outlining the general problem and the specific aspect tackled by the proposed research; b.) specific aims; c.) a brief description of experiments proposed; and d.) outcomes anticipated. Budget request and a brief budget justification may be submitted using an additional page.

 

Submission Instructions and Questions: Technical questions regarding the program may be addressed to Robert Nerem (robert.nerem@ibb.gatech.edu).  Proposal should be submitted via email by 5 pm on August 5th to Megan McDevitt (megan.mcdevitt@ibb.gatech.edu).

 

 

]]> Colly Mitchell 1 1309354241 2011-06-29 13:30:41 1475896180 2016-10-08 03:09:40 0 0 news Regenerative Medicine Seed Grant Announcement

Letter of Intent due July 15, 2011

Proposal Deadline:  August 5, 2011

]]>
2011-06-29T00:00:00-04:00 2011-06-29T00:00:00-04:00 2011-06-29 00:00:00 Megan McDevitt

]]>
68646 68646 image <![CDATA[Regenerative Medicine]]> image/jpeg 1449177185 2015-12-03 21:13:05 1475894597 2016-10-08 02:43:17 <![CDATA[ACTSI website]]>
<![CDATA[AAAS Profiles Gilda Barabino]]> 27195 Author: Freelance Writer Jenisha Watts

 

Gilda Barabino teaches chemical engineering at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. She decided to study chemistry in college after her high school teacher told her class "chemistry was not for girls." Walk into Dr. Gilda Barabino’s office at Georgia's Institute of Technology in Atlanta and scan the room. Each wall is lined with shelves, filled with thick science journals, hardback copies of Langston Hughes poems, and soft vintage novels by James Baldwin. Tucked between the shelves, a poster with a picture of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the bold words, “The Right to be Free.”

It is a commemorative of Brown vs. the Board of Education, the landmark 1954 case where the Supreme Court ruled that state laws establishing "separate but equal" public schools for white and black students was unconstitutional.The ruling paved the way for integration and the civil rights movement. For Barabino, an African American woman, the words on the wall are more than an inspirational slogan. They serve as a “daily reminder” on how far black people have advanced in America. Gazing up at the poster, Barabino, says, "The best science is conducted when we have the most inclusive group of people involved. You can’t possibly have the best minds at the table if you exclude certain groups.”

Barabino is Professor and Associate Chair for Graduate Studies at Georgia Tech and Emory University. She has degrees from Xavier University, B.S., and Rice University, Ph.D. In 1994, she received the Outstanding Engineering Faculty Award and in 2007, she was a fellow at the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. She’s penned articles for numerous publications sharing her research on adhesion mechanisms in sickle cell disease, cellular, and tissue engineering. Chemistry helps explain the substances we ingest through the air we breathe and food we eat, she said. As a chemical engineer, Barabino applies her knowledge to help solve problems in medicine.

While testing different experiments for her sickle cell research, she has learned, with medicine, “many times it is not the substance itself that is bad, but how it is being used,” she said. “We have an agent that will prevent your cells from sickling, but will cause other problems because it is toxic,” Barabino said. “If we use hydroxyurea, the body can tolerate that form, and we have an alternative antisickling agent.”

She credits her high school only educated parents for her ambitious track record. “They instilled in me every day that education is important.” A soft-spoken Barabino is quick to add, “In our family, it was just understood that you were going to college to obtain the highest degree.”

A naturally curious girl, she had multiple interests in school subjects."I loved everything," she says. It was her high school teacher who unknowingly set her down on a career path in science. “She told the class that chemistry was not for girls,” Barabino recalls. “I thought how dare you pick a group and say a particular subject is not acceptable for them!” The pupil with the wide attentiveness roped in her focus. “And that’s really how I got started in chemistry,” a proud Barabino said.

These days, she splits her time directing a laboratory and teaching chemical engineering courses and polymer science. She enjoys the research atmosphere, with lab benches as resting chairs, and bright colored molecules hanging up like wallpaper, just as much as she relishes sharpening future scholars minds in science.

“I am so passionate about broadening the community of science. I don’t want us to lose talent,” Barabino said. “I think it is important to give back because everyone does not have that same inner drive, some people need a little more nudging and support. I think it is even more important for people of color to give back. That’s part of my mission.”

]]> Colly Mitchell 1 1309356951 2011-06-29 14:15:51 1475896180 2016-10-08 03:09:40 0 0 news The American Association for the Advancement of Science recently profiled BME's Gilda Barabino as part of their Member Spotlight. 

]]>
2011-06-29T00:00:00-04:00 2011-06-29T00:00:00-04:00 2011-06-29 00:00:00 Jenisha Watts, AAAS

]]>
39912 39912 image <![CDATA[BME Professor Gilda Barabino]]> 1449174136 2015-12-03 20:22:16 1475894244 2016-10-08 02:37:24 <![CDATA[Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]> <![CDATA[Barabino lab]]>
<![CDATA[Obama Taps Georgia Tech President for National Manufacturing Steering Committee]]> 27154 President Barack Obama today named Georgia Tech President G. P. “Bud” Peterson to the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership steering committee. The partnership will bring together industry, universities and the federal government to identify and invest in the key emerging technologies, such as information technology, biotechnology and nanotechnology. The national initiative is designed to help U.S. manufacturers improve cost, quality and speed of production in order to remain globally competitive.

“We applaud this initiative, and Georgia Tech is honored to collaborate to identify ways to strengthen the manufacturing sector to help create jobs in Georgia and across the United States,” said Peterson, who also serves as a member of the Secretary of Commerce's National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The steering committee will guide the efforts of industry leaders, federal agency heads and university presidents, and will partner universities with industry and government agencies to develop new research and education agendas related to advanced manufacturing.

The president also announced a new National Robotics Initiative as part of the advanced manufacturing and technology focus. Henrik Christensen, KUKA Chair of Robotics for Georgia Tech, serves as an academic and research leader on the National Robotics Initiative.

According to Christensen, this is a critical time for the U.S. While the last 25 years saw tremendous progress due to the Internet, the next game-changing revolution will be robotics.

“Robotics technology addresses a number of our nation’s most critical needs, including reinvigorating the U.S. manufacturing base, protecting our citizens and soldiers, caring for our aging population, preserving our environment, and reducing our dependence on foreign oil,” Christensen said. “Through the National Robotics Initiative, the United States can regain our leadership position from Europe, Japan and South Korea, both in terms of basic research and in terms of the application of the technology to secure future growth. As home to one of the nation’s top robotics programs, Georgia Tech is an enthusiastic member of this strategic effort.”

The Advanced Manufacturing Partnership will commit to form a multiuniversity, collaborative framework for the sharing of educational materials and best practices relating to advanced manufacturing and its linkage to the innovation.

Susan Hockfield, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Andrew Liveries of Dow Chemical are chairing the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership steering committee.  In addition to Peterson, other committee members include University of California at Berkley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, Stanford President John Hennessy and Carnegie Mellon President Jared Cohon.

“Many of our challenges can be solved through innovation and fostering an entrepreneurial environment, as well as collaboration between industry, education and government to create a healthy economic environment and an educated workforce,” Peterson said. “This collaborative effort will facilitate job creation and global competitiveness and is a component of Georgia Tech’s strategic plan.”

]]> Louise Russo 1 1308929649 2011-06-24 15:34:09 1475896177 2016-10-08 03:09:37 0 0 news Henrik Christensen (Interactive Computing), KUKA Chair of Robotics for Georgia Tech, to serve as an academic and research leader on a new National Robotics Initiative announced by President Obama today. Source: GT Communications & Marketing

]]>
2011-06-24T00:00:00-04:00 2011-06-24T00:00:00-04:00 2011-06-24 00:00:00
<![CDATA[Alumnus Endows First Director's Chair for Research Institute at Georgia Tech]]> 27462 Alumnus Parker H. “Pete” Petit (ME 1962, MS EM 1964) recently made a commitment to establish the first endowed director’s chair for a research institute at Georgia Tech.

The Parker H. Petit Director’s Chair in Bioengineering and Bioscience will be within the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience (IBB), an interdisciplinary research facility that Petit helped create with an endowment 15 years ago.

The new endowed director’s chair position is designed to significantly enhance IBB’s ability to attract and retain an eminent researcher-scholar to this position of academic leadership without regard to the academic discipline of 
the incumbent.

Robert E. Guldberg, director of IBB, will be the first to hold the endowed position. A professor of mechanical engineering, Guldberg was named IBB director in 2009 after serving as associate director since 2004. Guldberg is widely recognized for his research in biomechanics, biomaterials and tissue engineering with an emphasis on orthopedic applications.

“Pete’s past generosity and good will toward Georgia Tech and IBB catalyzed the formation and growth of a unique and thriving bio-community,” Guldberg said. “Now, he is once again paving the way in support of innovation and interdisciplinary research by providing this unique endowment—the first of its kind on the Georgia Tech campus.”
 

Petit is chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based MiMedx Group, an integrated developer, manufacturer and marketer of patent-protected biomaterial-based products focused on augmenting the repair of traumatized tissues and structures. An exceedingly active alumnus for nearly five decades, Petit serves on the IBB Advisory Board, the Campaign Georgia Tech Steering Committee and the Alexander-Tharpe Fund Board of Trustees.

Petit is also among a handful of Georgia Tech pioneers who recognized very early the vast potential of bioengineering and bioscience, and provided the significant support required for that potential to be realized.

Twenty-five years ago, Petit established the Parker H. Petit Distinguished Chair for Engineering in Medicine in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. In 1995, Petit committed an additional $5 million to establish an endowment for IBB. Petit is once again leading the way in providing vital support for the life sciences at his alma mater.

“What started in the mid 1980s as an initial investment on my part has resulted in this amazing program at Georgia Tech,” Petit said. “To see this facility, and the students and faculty and the groundbreaking interdisciplinary research they’re doing in the facility—there’s no other word for it—it’s overwhelming.”
  

 

]]> Liz Klipp 1 1308221847 2011-06-16 10:57:27 1475896133 2016-10-08 03:08:53 0 0 news The Parker H. Petit Director’s Chair in Bioengineering and Bioscience will be within the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience (IBB), an interdisciplinary research facility that Petit helped create with an endowment 15 years ago.

]]>
2011-06-16T00:00:00-04:00 2011-06-16T00:00:00-04:00 2011-06-16 00:00:00 Georgia Tech Media Relations
Laura Diamond
laura.diamond@comm.gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Jason Maderer
maderer@gatech.edu
404-660-2926

]]>
65673 65935 65673 image <![CDATA[Parker H. Pete Petit - Chairman & CEO MiMedx Group]]> image/png 1449176863 2015-12-03 21:07:43 1475894582 2016-10-08 02:43:02 65935 image <![CDATA[Robert E. Guldberg, Director, Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering & Bioscience]]> image/jpeg 1449176884 2015-12-03 21:08:04 1475894585 2016-10-08 02:43:05 <![CDATA[Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]> <![CDATA[Robert E. Guldberg, director of Georgia Tech’s Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]>
<![CDATA[Engineers Control the Environment to Direct Stem Cell Differentiation]]> 27206 Stem cell technologies have been proposed for cell-based diagnostics and regenerative medicine therapies. However, being able to make stem cells efficiently develop into a desired cell type -- such as muscle, skin, blood vessels, bone or neurons -- limits the clinical potential of these technologies.

New research presented on June 16, 2011 at the annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) shows that systematically controlling the local and global environments during stem cell development helps to effectively direct the process of differentiation. In the future, these findings could be used to develop manufacturing procedures for producing large quantities of stem cells for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. The research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

"Stem cells don't make any decisions in isolation; their decisions are spatially and temporally directed by biochemical and mechanical cues in their environment," said Todd McDevitt, director of the Stem Cell Engineering Center at Georgia Tech and an associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. "We have designed systems that allow us to tightly control these properties during stem cell differentiation, but also give us the flexibility to introduce a new growth factor or shake the cells a little faster to see how changes like these affect the outcome."

These systems can also be used to compare the suitability of specific stem cell types for a particular use.

"We have developed several platforms that will allow us to conduct head-to-head studies with different kinds of stem cells to determine if one type of stem cell outperforms another type for a certain application," said McDevitt, who is also a Petit Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience at Georgia Tech.

Many laboratory growth methods allow stem cells to aggregate in three-dimensional clumps called "embryoid bodies" during differentiation. McDevitt and biomedical engineering graduate student Andres Bratt-Leal incorporated biomaterial particles directly within these aggregates during their formation. They introduced microparticles made of gelatin, poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) or agarose and tested their impact on the assembly, intercellular communication and morphogenesis of the stem cell aggregates under different conditions by varying the microsphere-to-cell ratio and the size of the microspheres.

The researchers found that the presence of the biomaterials alone modulated embryoid body differentiation, but did not adversely affect cell viability. Compared to typical delivery methods, providing differentiation factors -- retinoic acid, bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) -- via microparticles induced changes in the gene and protein expression patterns of the aggregates.

By including tiny magnetic particles into the embryoid bodies during formation, the researchers also found they could use a magnet to spatially control the location of an aggregate and its assembly with other aggregates. The magnetic particles remained entrapped within the aggregates for the duration of the experiments but did not adversely affect cell viability or differentiation.

"With biomaterial and magnetic microparticles, we are beginning to be able to recreate the types of complex geometric patterns seen during early development, which require multiple cues at the same time and the ability to spatially and temporally control their local presentation," noted McDevitt.

While microparticles can be used to control differentiation by regulating the local environment, other methods exist to control differentiation through the global environment. Experiments by McDevitt and biomedical engineering graduate student Melissa Kinney have demonstrated that modulating hydrodynamic conditions can dictate the morphology of cell aggregate formation and control the expression of differentiated phenotypic cell markers.

"Because bioreactors typically impose hydrodynamic forces on cells to cultivate large volumes of cells at high density, our use of hydrodynamics to control cell fate decisions represents a novel, yet simple, principle that could be used in the future for the scalable efficient production of stem cells," added McDevitt.

Technologies capable of being directly integrated into bioprocessing systems will be the best choice for manufacturing large batches of stem cells, he noted. In the future, the development of multi-scale techniques that combine different levels of control -- both local and global -- to regulate stem cell differentiation may help the translation of stem cells into viable clinical therapies.

This project is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) (Award No. CBET 0651739) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (R01GM088291). The content is solely the responsibility of the principal investigator and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NSF or NIH.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

Writer: Abby Robinson

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1308182400 2011-06-16 00:00:00 1475896133 2016-10-08 03:08:53 0 0 news New research shows that systematically controlling the local and global environments during stem cell development helps to effectively direct their differentiation.

]]>
2011-06-16T00:00:00-04:00 2011-06-16T00:00:00-04:00 2011-06-16 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
Contact Abby Robinson
404-385-3364

]]>
66545 66546 66547 66545 image <![CDATA[Todd McDevitt]]> 1449177176 2015-12-03 21:12:56 1475894592 2016-10-08 02:43:12 66546 image <![CDATA[Magnetic embryoid bodies]]> 1449177176 2015-12-03 21:12:56 1475894592 2016-10-08 02:43:12 66547 image <![CDATA[Shaking stem cells]]> 1449177176 2015-12-03 21:12:56 1475894592 2016-10-08 02:43:12 <![CDATA[Todd McDevitt]]> <![CDATA[Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering]]> <![CDATA[Stem Cell Engineering Center]]> <![CDATA[Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]>
<![CDATA[Nature Magazine features GT's "Out-of-the-box" Stem Cell Biomanufacturing IGERT]]> 27487 The Stem Cell Biomanufacturing IGERT program at the Georgia Institute of Technology was mentioned in Nature Magazine on June 9th in Growing with the flow by Meredith Wadman as one of the few programs providing young researchers with “outside-the-box opportunities” for stem cell research amidst the funding feud. 

Last year, the appeal to repeal the injunction blocking the NIH from funding research using embryonic stem cells was passed. A second victory for scientists recently occurred when courts ruled that “the Department of Health and Human Services would not prevent future presidents or Congresses from acting anew to limit government funding for research.” However, there is still some public opposition to using human embryos for research. The NIH will fund $125 million to stem cell research this year alone, but scientists are wary knowing this funding comes without long-term security.

The article details programs available to young scientist considering careers in stem-cell research in the US and around the world. Ms. Wadman recommended stem cell PhD programs at Stanford, the Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at New York University School of Medicine, the University of Minnesota, and the Hanover Biomedical Research School in Germany.

She also commented on “the emerging need for biomanufacturures with stem-cell experitise, as exemplified by a new PhD prgoramme in stem-cell biomanufacturing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, funded by the US National Science Foundation. The programme opened its doors last year and is admitting six students per year. “If stem cells are going to move out of the lab, there will be lots of need for engineers to produce a large number of identical cells,” says Aaron Levine, assistant professor of public policy at Georgia Tech and researcher involved in the IGERT.

The Stem Cell Biomanufacturing IGERT program is headed by co-directors, Todd McDevitt, PhD and Bob Nerem, PhD, and offers enormous promise for researchers to become experts in stem cell biomanufacturing for the development of cell-based therapies, including regenerative medicine, drug discovery and development, cell-based diagnostics, and cancer. With funding for the next 4 years, this IGERT program is transforming the potential of stem cells for PhD scientists and engineers. 

View Article Here.

]]> Megan Richards 1 1308136841 2011-06-15 11:20:41 1475896133 2016-10-08 03:08:53 0 0 news The Stem Cell Biomanufacturing IGERT program at the Georgia Institute of Technology was mentioned in Nature Magazine on June 9th  in Growing with the flow by Meredith Wadman as one of the few programs providing young researchers with “outside-the-box opportunities” for stem cell research amidst the funding feud. 

]]>
2011-06-15T00:00:00-04:00 2011-06-15T00:00:00-04:00 2011-06-15 00:00:00 Megan Richards

]]>
66532 66532 image <![CDATA[Stem Cells]]> image/jpeg 1449177176 2015-12-03 21:12:56 1475894592 2016-10-08 02:43:12 <![CDATA[Biomedical Research: Growing with the flow]]> <![CDATA[Stem Cell IGERT website]]> <![CDATA[Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]> <![CDATA[SCEC]]>
<![CDATA[RNA-driven genetic changes in bacteria and in human cells]]> 27349 A new study demonstrates RNA-driven genetic changes in bacteria and in human cells.
Not long ago, it was considered that the major role played by RNA was to carry genetic information for protein synthesis. Although an astonishing variety of RNA functions have been found in the last few decades, it has always been very difficult to determine if any RNA has the capacity to genetically modify the DNA of cells.

A double-strand break in the DNA genome of human embryonic kidney cells was repaired by RNA-containing molecules, which restored the function of the green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene, making the human cells fluoresce green.

By using RNA-containing oligos, the Storici’s team (Assistant Professor, School of Biology) has found that RNA can function as a template for DNA synthesis without being reverse transcribed into cDNA, not only in yeast but also in Escherichia coli and in the human embryonic kidney (HEK-293) cells. These findings establish that a direct flow of genetic information from RNA to DNA can occur in organisms as diverse as bacteria and humans, and thus, it can be a significant source of genetic variation. The goal of future research is to understand the mechanisms by which RNA can directly transfer information to the DNA of cells and to reveal the circumstances in which RNA information can flow to DNA.
The study, which was published April 14 in the advance online edition of the journal Mutation Research, was conducted by a group of graduate and undergraduate students in the Storici’s lab in the School of Biology at Georgia Tech in collaboration with Bernard Weiss from Emory University School of Medicine.

]]> Floyd Wood 1 1309264361 2011-06-28 12:32:41 1475896180 2016-10-08 03:09:40 0 0 news 2011-06-13T00:00:00-04:00 2011-06-13T00:00:00-04:00 2011-06-13 00:00:00 School of Biology

admin@biology.gatech.edu

]]>
68624 68624 image <![CDATA[RNA Strand]]> image/jpeg 1449177185 2015-12-03 21:13:05 1475894597 2016-10-08 02:43:17
<![CDATA[Professor Lu Receives Prize in Systems Biology]]> 27462 Hang Lu, associate professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has been selected to receive the CSB2 Prize in Systems Biology, which is sponsored by Merrimack Pharmaceuticals and by the Council for Systems Biology in Boston. 

The CSB2 Prize in Systems Biology is awarded annually to a young scientist for exceptional contributions to the development and implementation of new methods in biomedical research. Lu was selected for development of microfluidic and lab-on-a-chip instruments for manipulating and studying living embryos and nematodes.

Lu, who is part of Georgia Tech’s Parker H. Petit Institute of Bioengineering and Bioscience, received her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2003 and served as a postdoc at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of California and the Rockefeller University before coming to Georgia Tech. 

She has received other awards including the DARPA Young Faculty Award, the DuPont Young Professor Award and the National Institutes of Health Mentored Quantitative Research CAREER Development Award. Her research lies at the interface of engineering and biology. Lu's lab engineers microfluidic devices and BioMEMS (Bio Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) to study neuroscience, genetics, cancer biology, systems biology, and biotechnology. 

The Council for Systems Biology in Boston builds local, regional, and national links between academic and industrial laboratories active in the areas of systems and computational biology. CSB2 is dedicated to promoting quantitative, systems and synthetic biology in the Boston area and beyond by promoting interactions among academic and pharmaceutical laboratories, organizing international symposia and recognizing the achievements of promising young scientists and engineers.

]]> Liz Klipp 1 1307530593 2011-06-08 10:56:33 1475896129 2016-10-08 03:08:49 0 0 news Hang Lu, associate professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has been selected to receive the CSB2 Prize in Systems Biology, which is sponsored by Merrimack Pharmaceuticals and by the Council for Systems Biology in Boston

]]>
2011-06-08T00:00:00-04:00 2011-06-08T00:00:00-04:00 2011-06-08 00:00:00 Georgia Tech Media Relations
Laura Diamond
laura.diamond@comm.gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Jason Maderer
maderer@gatech.edu
404-660-2926

]]>
56261 56261 image <![CDATA[Dr. Hang Lu]]> image/jpeg 1449175629 2015-12-03 20:47:09 1475894499 2016-10-08 02:41:39 <![CDATA[Hang Lu]]>
<![CDATA[COE Associate Dean Named ITI Fellow]]> 27195 Barbara Boyan, Ph.D., professor  and Price Gilbert Jr. Chair in Tissue Engineering, has recently been named a Fellow of the International Team for Implantology (ITI). ITI is a unique network that unites professionals around the world from every field of implant dentistry and related tissue regeneration. As an independent academic association, it actively promotes networking and exchange among its membership.

ITI Fellows are recognized for their leadership in international, national or regional activities; record of publication and research in the area of implant dentistry; engagement in dental implant education; and demonstration of innovation and further development in the clinical implant dentistry field. Fellowship is conferred for a period of four years and is reviewed at the end of this period. It is only possible to become an ITI Fellow by nomination.

Boyan, a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, has research interests in bone and cartilage cell biology in the fields of orthopaedics, plastic and reconstructive surgery, and oral health, with specific emphasis on the role of sex in determining how cells respond to steroid hormones and to biomaterials used in medical devices. She is past president, American Association for Dental Research; past secretary/treasurer, Orthopaedic Research Society; member, Board of Directors: ArthroCare, Inc., IsoTis, Inc., and Carticept Medical, Inc.; and founder, OsteoBiologics, Inc.; Orthonics, Inc.; Biomedical Development Corporation; and Spherigenics, Inc.

]]> Colly Mitchell 1 1305713272 2011-05-18 10:07:52 1475896125 2016-10-08 03:08:45 0 0 news Barbara Boyan, Ph.D., professor  and Price Gilbert Jr. Chair in Tissue Engineering

]]>
2011-05-18T00:00:00-04:00 2011-05-18T00:00:00-04:00 2011-05-18 00:00:00 66219 66219 image <![CDATA[Barbara Boyan, PhD, Professor and Price Gilbert Jr. Chair in Tissue Engineering]]> image/jpeg 1449176931 2015-12-03 21:08:51 1475894589 2016-10-08 02:43:09 <![CDATA[COE article]]>
<![CDATA[Petit Undergraduate Research Scholars Annual Fundraising Dinner at Georgia Tech]]> 27224 On Saturday, May 21, 2011, the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering & Bioscience (IBB) will host its third annual Petit Undergraduate Research Scholars fundraising dinner on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology. This event welcomes members of Atlanta’s business community, university leaders and government officials to come and support the innovative undergraduate research at IBB. 

This year’s dinner will feature guest speaker Mitchell H. Gold, MD, who currently serves as president and chief executive officer for Dendreon Corporation. Gold will be describing an innovative new cancer therapy in his presentation entitled, “Winning the War." 

Dendreon, a Seattle-based company, recently completed a $70 million Immunotherapy Manufacturing Facility in Union City which brought over 450 jobs to Georgia. Dendreon’s product, Provenge, is the first ever FDA-approved immunotherapy for prostate cancer. 

The Petit Scholars program began in 2000 as part of a ten-year National Sciences Foundation grant and has been continued and expanded with the help of private donations.  With this year’s fundraising goal of $100,000, sponsorship opportunities are available at platinum, gold, silver and bronze levels as well as individual dinner ticket purchases. 

To date, the Petit Scholars program has provided funding and programs for 166 students from Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University, Georgia State University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, Agnes Scott College, Gwinnett Technical College and the University of Georgia over the past 12 years. IBB Undergraduate Research Scholars program is a competitive scholarship program that allows undergraduates to develop independent research projects in Petit Institute laboratories under the director mentorship of a graduate student and faculty member.  The programs’ alumni go on to use their valuable research experiences in careers as research scientists, academics and physicians.

]]> Megan McDevitt 1 1305300090 2011-05-13 15:21:30 1475896125 2016-10-08 03:08:45 0 0 news 2011-05-13T00:00:00-04:00 2011-05-13T00:00:00-04:00 2011-05-13 00:00:00 Megan Graziano McDevitt

Marketing and Event Manager
Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience (IBB)

]]>
66209 66209 image <![CDATA[Petit Scholars 2011-12]]> image/png 1449176931 2015-12-03 21:08:51 1475894587 2016-10-08 02:43:07 <![CDATA[Dinner info and registration]]> <![CDATA[Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]>
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Announces New Programs to Foster Entrepreneurship and Innovation]]> 27154 As part of an ongoing effort to foster innovation and entrepreneurship within its campus community, the Georgia Institute of Technology has announced the creation of three new programs that will complement several well-established initiatives.

The new programs stem from the findings of an innovation task force, co-chaired by Associate Vice President for Research Ravi Bellamkonda and College of Computing Professor Merrick Furst, that was created to support the strategic plan. The task force recommended a number of transformational changes in the Institute’s approach to innovation, including new or expanded programs designed to provide both education and resources to campus innovators.

“Innovation is one of the Institute’s primary strategic goals, so it’s essential that we provide the Tech community with the support they need to develop and ultimately commercialize their research and ideas,” said Stephen E. Cross, executive vice president for research. 

The new initiatives include:

The new programs will complement the following existing initiatives at Tech:

]]> Louise Russo 1 1304958338 2011-05-09 16:25:38 1475896121 2016-10-08 03:08:41 0 0 news As part of an ongoing effort to foster innovation and entrepreneurship within its campus community, the Georgia Institute of Technology has announced the creation of three new programs that will complement several well-established initiatives. Merrick Furst (Computer Science) to co-direct program for early-stage startups. Source: GT Communications & Marketing

]]>
2011-05-09T00:00:00-04:00 2011-05-09T00:00:00-04:00 2011-05-09 00:00:00 Georgia Tech Media Relations
Laura Diamond
laura.diamond@comm.gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Jason Maderer
maderer@gatech.edu
404-660-2926

]]>
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Hosts Workshop on Stem Cell Engineering]]> 27195 Georgia Tech’s Stem Cell Engineering Center is hosting a half-day workshop on May 9, 2011 at the Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience.  Seventy-five scientists and trainees from seven different departments at Georgia Tech, Emory University, Morehouse School of Medicine and the University of Georgia are convening to discuss research from various fields relating to stem cell engineering.  

Aligned with the mission of the Stem Cell Engineering Center, the purpose of this workshop is to cultivate teams of researchers from the basic sciences to address key hurdles and technological challenges currently impeding the development of stem cell therapeutics and diagnostics.  

Stem cells, or unspecialized cells, hold tremendous promise as a biological resource for regenerative medicine therapies, pharmaceutical discovery and development, and cell-based diagnostic assays. Transforming the potential of stem cells into viable biomedical technologies and commercial applications is dependent on developing efficient, robust, non-destructive and scalable strategies to control, assay and manufacture stem cells and stem cell-derived products.  

Many of the unique challenges posed by stem cell research could be addressed by applying innovative technological advances occurring in adjacent disciplines for similar purposes, but different applications. Presentations during the workshop will include talks on differentiation technologies, bioanalytical techniques, multi-scale phenotypic analysis and stem cell biomanufacturing.  

 

]]> Colly Mitchell 1 1304946810 2011-05-09 13:13:30 1475896121 2016-10-08 03:08:41 0 0 news Georgia Tech hosts half-day workshop on stem cell engineering

]]>
2011-05-09T00:00:00-04:00 2011-05-09T00:00:00-04:00 2011-05-09 00:00:00 Colly Mitchell

]]>
66036 66036 image <![CDATA[Stem cell bioprocessing]]> image/jpeg 1449176916 2015-12-03 21:08:36 1475894585 2016-10-08 02:43:05 <![CDATA[Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]> <![CDATA[Stem Cell Engineering Center]]>
<![CDATA[A Tiltable Head Could Improve Robot Navigation of Disaster Debris]]> 27206 Search and rescue missions have followed each of the devastating earthquakes that hit Haiti, New Zealand and Japan during the past 18 months. Machines able to navigate through complex dirt and rubble environments could have helped rescuers after these natural disasters, but building such machines is challenging.

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology recently built a robot that can penetrate and "swim" through granular material. In a new study, they show that varying the shape or adjusting the inclination of the robot's head affects the robot's movement in complex environments.

"We discovered that by changing the shape of the sand-swimming robot's head or by tilting its head up and down slightly, we could control the robot's vertical motion as it swam forward within a granular medium,” said Daniel Goldman, an assistant professor in the Georgia Tech School of Physics.

Results of the study will be presented on May 10 at the 2011 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Shanghai. Funding for this research was provided by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, National Science Foundation and Army Research Laboratory.

The study was conducted by Goldman, bioengineering doctoral graduate Ryan Maladen, physics graduate student Yang Ding and physics undergraduate student Andrew Masse, all from Georgia Tech, and Northwestern University mechanical engineering adjunct professor Paul Umbanhowar.

"The biological inspiration for our sand-swimming robot is the sandfish lizard, which inhabits the Sahara desert in Africa and rapidly buries into and swims within sand," explained Goldman. "We were intrigued by the sandfish lizard's wedge-shaped head that forms an angle of 140 degrees with the horizontal plane, and we thought its head might be responsible for or be contributing to the animal's ability to maneuver in complex environments."

For their experiments, the researchers attached a wedge-shaped block of wood to the head of their robot, which was built with seven connected segments, powered by servo motors, packed in a latex sock and wrapped in a spandex swimsuit. The doorstop-shaped head -- which resembled the sandfish's head -- had a fixed lower length of approximately 4 inches, height of 2 inches and a tapered snout. The researchers examined whether the robot's vertical motion could be controlled simply by varying the inclination of the robot's head.

Before each experimental run in a test chamber filled with quarter-inch-diameter plastic spheres, the researchers submerged the robot a couple inches into the granular medium and leveled the surface. Then they tracked the robot's position until it reached the end of the container or swam to the surface.

The researchers investigated the vertical movement of the robot when its head was placed at five different degrees of inclination. They found that when the sandfish-inspired head with a leading edge that formed an angle of 155 degrees with the horizontal plane was set flat, negative lift force was generated and the robot moved downward into the media. As the tip of the head was raised from zero to 7 degrees relative to the horizontal, the lift force increased until it became zero. At inclines above 7 degrees, the robot rose out of the medium.

"The ability to control the vertical position of the robot by modulating its head inclination opens up avenues for further research into developing robots more capable of maneuvering in complex environments, like debris-filled areas produced by an earthquake or landslide," noted Goldman.

The robotics results matched the research team's findings from physics experiments and computational models designed to explore how head shape affects lift in granular media.

"While the lift forces of objects in air, such as airplanes, are well understood, our investigations into the lift forces of objects in granular media are some of the first ever," added Goldman.

For the physics experiments, the researchers dragged wedge-shaped blocks through a granular medium. Blocks with leading edges that formed angles with the horizontal plane of less than 90 degrees resembled upside-down doorstops, the block with a leading edge equal to 90 degrees was a square, and blocks with leading edges greater than 90 degrees resembled regular doorstops.

They found that blocks with leading edges that formed angles with the horizontal plane less than 80 degrees generated positive lift forces and wedges with leading edges greater than 120 degrees created negative lift. With leading edges between 80 and 120 degrees, the wedges did not generate vertical forces in the positive or negative direction.

Using a numerical simulation of object drag and building on the group’s previous studies of lift and drag on flat plates in granular media, the researchers were able to describe the mechanism of force generation in detail.

"When the leading edge of the robot head was less than 90 degrees, the robot's head experienced a lift force as it moved forward, which resulted in a torque imbalance that caused the robot to pitch and rise to the surface," explained Goldman.

Since this study, the researchers have attached a wedge-shaped head on the robot that can be dynamically modulated to specific angles. With this improvement, the researchers found that the direction of movement of the robot is sensitive to slight changes in orientation of the head, further validating the results from their physics experiments and computational models.

Being able to precisely control the tilt of the head will allow the researchers to implement different strategies of head movement during burial and determine the best way to wiggle deep into sand. The researchers also plan to test the robot's ability to maneuver through material similar to the debris found after natural disasters and plan to examine whether the sandfish lizard adjusts its head inclination to ensure a straight motion as it dives into the sand.

This material is based on research sponsored by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Award Number PHY-0749991, and the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) under Cooperative Agreement Number W911NF-08-2-0004. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of NSF, ARL or the U.S. government.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

Writer: Abby Robinson

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1304899200 2011-05-09 00:00:00 1475896121 2016-10-08 03:08:41 0 0 news Researchers built a robot that can penetrate and "swim" through granular material. In this study, they show that by varying the shape of the robot's head or by tilting it up or down, they can control the robot's vertical movement in complex environments.

]]>
2011-05-09T00:00:00-04:00 2011-05-09T00:00:00-04:00 2011-05-09 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
Contact Abby Robinson
404-385-3364

]]>
66066 66046 66047 66066 image <![CDATA[Sandfish lizard]]> image/jpeg 1449176916 2015-12-03 21:08:36 1475894587 2016-10-08 02:43:07 66046 image <![CDATA[Sandfish robot]]> 1449176916 2015-12-03 21:08:36 1475894585 2016-10-08 02:43:05 66047 image <![CDATA[wood blocks]]> 1449176916 2015-12-03 21:08:36 1475894585 2016-10-08 02:43:05 <![CDATA[Daniel Goldman]]> <![CDATA[School of Physics]]>
<![CDATA[Gary May Named Dean of the College of Engineering]]> 27299 Following a national search, Gary S. May, alumnus, professor and current chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been appointed as the next dean of Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering, effective July 1.  

“Gary exemplifies the type of leadership qualities we hope to instill in each of our students,” Provost Rafael L. Bras said. “As a faculty member, administrator and representative of Georgia Tech, his impact on his profession and on this institution has been profound.”

May will succeed Don Giddens, who will be stepping down as dean of the College of Engineering, a post he has held since 2002, and retiring from the Institute at the end of June.

As dean, May will assume responsibility for directing the nation’s largest engineering program, one that enrolls nearly 60 percent of Georgia Tech’s student body and is home to about half of its tenured and tenure-track faculty.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead a premier institution like the College of Engineering,” said May. “It is truly an honor and a privilege to be entrusted with one of the world’s most respected brands, and I am looking forward to working with faculty across the college to advance the quality of our education and research programs.”

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, May earned his bachelor’s in electrical engineering at Georgia Tech as a student in Georgia Tech's Cooperative Education Program, a five-year accredited, academic program in which students alternate semesters of full-time study with semesters of full-time, paid employment directly related to their major. Current College of Engineering Dean Giddens was also a co-op student at Georgia Tech.

For his graduate studies, May pursued both his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. He returned to Tech as an assistant professor in 1991, achieving full professor status in 2000. Two years later he was tapped by then-President Wayne Clough to serve as his faculty executive assistant, a role that introduced him to administrative responsibilities at an institutional level.

May, who has chaired the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering since 2005, shared his aspirations for the future of the college during a public presentation last month.

“My vision is to create an environment where anyone with the aptitude and inclination to study engineering will want to come to Georgia Tech,” he said. In partnership with colleagues in the other colleges, he added, “we will build a community of scholars to address the issues and challenges of the world through technology.”

“Gary’s record of scholarship, his collaborative nature and his tireless mentorship to students are admirable,” President Bud Peterson said. “We are very excited about the future of engineering education and research at Georgia Tech under Gary’s leadership.”

Bras thanked the members of the search committee for their service, as well as the members of the larger campus community who participated in the evaluation process.

“We conducted an international search to identify the best possible candidates to lead our largest academic unit,” Bras said. “That the final choice for this most important and desirable position is one of our own , as a graduate, professor and academic leader, speaks to the excellence of Georgia Tech."

]]> Michael Hagearty 1 1304672364 2011-05-06 08:59:24 1475896121 2016-10-08 03:08:41 0 0 news Following a national search, Gary S. May, alumnus, professor and current chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been appointed as the next dean of Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering, effective July 1. 

]]>
2011-05-06T00:00:00-04:00 2011-05-06T00:00:00-04:00 2011-05-06 00:00:00 Georgia Tech Media Relations
Laura Diamond
laura.diamond@comm.gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Jason Maderer
maderer@gatech.edu
404-660-2926

]]>
<![CDATA[College of Engineering]]>
<![CDATA[CoE Dean Don Giddens Wins GT Ambassadors Award]]> 27195 CoE Dean Don Giddens was recently awarded the GT Ambassadors Award for The Most Georgia Tech Spirit. The award is one of five awards given annually at the Up With the White and Gold Awards Ceremony to outstanding faculty and staff nominees by the GT Ambassadors as part of an effort to recognize those who work hard to positively affect the quality of education, research, and student life at Tech.  As with all of the GT Ambassadors' awards, a number of nominations are submitted anonymously by the entire organization, and then the top honorees (receiving the most nominations) are placed on a ballot for the organization to select a winner. 

This particular award recognizes those professional members of the Tech community whose commitment extends beyond their realm of expertise to the a genuine love of and spirit for the Institute. Dean Giddens was naturally one of the top candidates for the Most Georgia Tech Spirit Award, as his commitment has spanned over 50 years from his time as a student here for all of his degrees, up until his impending retirement. 

This year, the award was presented at the Up With the White and Gold ceremony on April 28th, in the Student Center Ballroom. 

]]> Colly Mitchell 1 1304516043 2011-05-04 13:34:03 1475896121 2016-10-08 03:08:41 0 0 news 2011-05-03T00:00:00-04:00 2011-05-03T00:00:00-04:00 2011-05-03 00:00:00 63744 63744 image <![CDATA[Don P. Giddens]]> image/jpeg 1449176708 2015-12-03 21:05:08 1475894559 2016-10-08 02:42:39 <![CDATA[Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering]]> <![CDATA[College of Engineering]]>
<![CDATA[NIH Awards $5 Million for Development of Hemorrhagic Fever Vaccines]]> 27303 The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded nearly $5.4 million to a collaborative team of scientists at Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Texas Biomedical Research Institute to develop vaccines for prevention of deadly hemorrhagic fevers.

The project focuses on the development of an effective vaccine for Ebola and Marburg virus infections, two members of a family named "filoviruses" because they produce long filamentous particles.

The lead investigators include Richard Compans and Chinglai Yang at Emory University, Mark Prausnitz at Georgia Tech, and Jean Patterson and Ricardo Carrion at Texas Biomedical Research Institute.

According to Compans, "These viruses cause severe hemorrhagic fevers with up to 90 percent mortality, and can be passed via person-to-person contact, thus posing a high risk in case of an epidemic outbreak as well as a possible bioterrorism threat.”

In ongoing research, the Emory group has developed virus-like particle (VLP) vaccines to prevent virus infection, and has shown that the Ebola VLPs stimulate immune cell activity and induce strong antibody responses, indicating that such VLPs could be effective vaccines to induce protective immunity against infection. They also have found that immunization with a mixture of DNA and VLP vaccines (DNA/VLP) induced higher levels of protective immune responses in comparison to immunization with either vaccine alone.

"We consider this to be one of the most promising and safest approaches to protecting against hemorrhagic fever viruses," said Patterson, chair of the Department of Virology and Immunology at Texas Biomedical Research Institute.

In addition, the researchers are testing these vaccines with a new skin delivery technology developed at Georgia Tech that could further increase such responses, with the aim of having a vaccine that can confer rapid and long-lasting protection against Ebola and Marburg virus infection. The results will identify the most effective candidate vaccine for human trials. The successful development of this vaccine strategy may also lead to vaccines against other viral hemorrhagic fevers, which still lack effective vaccines.

"Administering these vaccines with a microneedle skin patch may increase the effectiveness of the vaccine, as well as potentially make vaccination simple and painless," said Prausnitz, professor of chemical and biomedical engineering at Georgia Tech.

The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University produced this news release.

Media Relations Contacts: Holly Korschun, Emory University (hkorsch@emory.edu)(404-727-3990) or John Toon, Georgia Tech (jtoon@gatech.edu)(404-894-6986).

 

]]> John Toon 1 1304294400 2011-05-02 00:00:00 1475896118 2016-10-08 03:08:38 0 0 news The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded nearly $5.4 million to a collaborative team of scientists at Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Texas Biomedical Research Institute to develop vaccines for prevention of deadly hemorrhagic fevers.

]]>
2011-05-02T00:00:00-04:00 2011-05-02T00:00:00-04:00 2011-05-02 00:00:00 John Toon
Research News & Publications Office
Contact John Toon
404-894-6986

]]>
65921 65921 image <![CDATA[Marburg virus virion]]> image/jpeg 1449176884 2015-12-03 21:08:04 1475894585 2016-10-08 02:43:05 <![CDATA[Mark Prausnitz]]> <![CDATA[School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering]]>
<![CDATA[One Helluva Engineer]]> 27349 Following a presentation to an alumni group in Chattanooga, Tenn., in March, Georgia Tech’s dean of engineering Don Giddens was posed a question: How will a University of Georgia engineering degree compare to one from Georgia Tech?

Perhaps it was a rhetorical question, but after some of the snickers in the crowd subsided, Giddens replied, “First of all, one of the arguments that the University of Georgia used was that … they really needed to offer engineering and medicine both in order to be a first-tier university. So our kind of tongue-in-cheek comeback to that was, ‘Are you going to add a third-rate engineering program and become a first-rate university?’” Read Full Article

]]> Floyd Wood 1 1306916895 2011-06-01 08:28:15 1475896129 2016-10-08 03:08:49 0 0 news Following a presentation to an alumni group in Chattanooga, Tenn., in March, Georgia Tech’s dean of engineering Don Giddens was posed a question: How will a University of Georgia engineering degree compare to one from Georgia Tech?

]]>
2011-04-29T00:00:00-04:00 2011-04-29T00:00:00-04:00 2011-04-29 00:00:00 40276 40276 image <![CDATA[Don Giddens]]> 1449174171 2015-12-03 20:22:51 1475894298 2016-10-08 02:38:18
<![CDATA[An Update on Budgets and Tuition]]> 27195 To the campus community of Georgia Tech:


With the conclusion of the state legislative session and the monthly Board of Regents meeting occurring within the same week, I wanted to take the opportunity to provide an update on our current financial situation, as well as how some of the actions to date will impact the members of our community.


Prior to its adjournment last week, the Georgia General Assembly passed its proposed Fiscal Year 2012 budget and sent it to the governor for his review and signature. At this point, the expectation is that Georgia Tech will receive another significant reduction in its state appropriation. In addition, the state formula funding — money allocated by the legislature to support growth of an institution’s enrollment — has been frozen for the first time.  All told, this represents an additional reduction in the funds available to the Institute of between $16 to $18 million.


To offer some perspective: over the past four years, Georgia Tech’s state allocation has been reduced by almost $90 million, or approximately 31 percent, and the state contribution now accounts for less than 17 percent of our overall budget. While we have taken steps to mitigate the effect of these reductions, we are not able to absorb these cuts and still preserve the quality of our academic programs, and provide the educational experience consistent with other top-tier public research universities.  With pay freezes already in place for three years, cuts to our state appropriation and increased efficiencies already implemented, it is necessary to seek other alternatives, including additional tuition and fees, to offset these reductions in state support for higher education.


Tuition and fees are directly responsible for the quality of the student education and experience. These include instructional and student-related activities; critical academic issues such as the student-faculty ratio, which has increased from 21 to 1 four years ago to 23 to 1 today; the availability of course sections for our undergraduates; and the operation of world-class academic and research facilities.


As some of you know, the HOPE Scholarship was the subject of intense debate during the recent legislative session.  Due to rising student enrollment and tuition costs, Governor Nathan Deal and the General Assembly leaders recalibrated the merit-based program in order to preserve its financial health for future generations of Georgians. All of us applaud those efforts by the governor and the legislature. In another year of tough choices, preserving as much of the HOPE Scholarship program as possible was the right thing to do.


This week, the University System of Georgia's Board of Regents met to set tuition and fees for its member institutions, taking in to consideration the needs of our institutions, the declining direct state budget support and the overall economic condition of Georgia and the nation. In so doing, the Regents voted to approve a 3 percent tuition increase for resident students as well as an additional mandatory $350 special institutional fee per semester for Georgia Tech. With these funds we plan to hire additional faculty to accommodate our enrollment growth, continue financial aid relief for our neediest students and support our important academic initiatives, including funds to operate the new Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons.


Georgia Tech, like families throughout the state and nation, continues to face challenging economic times. Our first priority is to preserve the value of the degrees that we award to our students to ensure that we prepare them for an increasingly competitive and global job market. These increases represent an investment in the future of our institution, and I want to express my deepest appreciation to our faculty, staff, students and alumni as we work to ensure the quality of our educational and research programs and maintain our status as Georgia’s premier public university.
 
G. P. “Bud” Peterson


President, Georgia Institute of Technology

]]> Colly Mitchell 1 1303309615 2011-04-20 14:26:55 1475896114 2016-10-08 03:08:34 0 0 news 2011-04-19T00:00:00-04:00 2011-04-19T00:00:00-04:00 2011-04-19 00:00:00 46093 46093 image <![CDATA[G.P. "Bud" Peterson]]> image/jpeg 1449174347 2015-12-03 20:25:47 1484079169 2017-01-10 20:12:49
<![CDATA[Get Ready to Flash Your Intelligence]]> 27462 Don’t miss out on a chance to participate in a unique event that brings together public art and science in an innovative way.

“Group Intelligence,” a flash-mob inspired MP3 experience is coming to Atlanta this month, sponsored by the Out of Hand Theater and the Center for Chemical Evolution. The center is a collaboration of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, funded by the National Science Foundation and NASA.

The first “Group Intelligence” flash mob will be held at the Emory quad at 7 p.m. April 14-16.  Group Intelligence will spread to downtown Atlanta’s Woodruff Park at 7 p.m. April 21-23. From there, the mob will go international to the Oreol Festival in the Netherlands this June.

This experiment in the convergence of science and art will help participants understand the behavior of molecules.

Once participants have registered for one of six performances, they receive an MP3 track to download, or they sign up to borrow an MP3 player at the event. Following cues on the MP3 track, participants transform into performers and a spontaneous spectacle unfolds for onlookers.

During the experience, participants travel together, solve problems, do a little work, have a lot of fun, build something extraordinary together and ultimately, achieve "Group Intelligence." How hard they work is up to each individual, but the diversity of the group is key.

“The behavior of a group of molecules can be much more complex than the individual molecules alone, much more than the sum of its parts,” said Martha Grover, Georgia Tech associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and member of the Center for Chemical Evolution.  “This is especially true when the group contains a diverse set of molecules.”

“A similar emergence of complexity occurs in groups of people.  In ‘Group Intelligence’, the participants will actively experience this important scientific concept.  We think this will be more effective than simply lecturing about it.  We also think it will be more fun,” Grover added.

The “Group Intelligence” performances are free and open to the public, including children ages 12 and older. Visit the Out of Hand Theater website to register.  

The Center for Chemical Evolution strives to educate the public on current scientific theories pertaining to the chemical origins of life and early evolution.

By participating in “Group Intelligence,” two things will be clear:  Order comes out of disorder and chemistry is much more fascinating than we ever imagined.

“All too often, science is seen as dull and irrelevant to our daily lives,” said Meisa Salaita, coordinator for education, outreach and diversity at the Center for Chemical Evolution.  “By working with a group like Out of Hand Theater, we are able to work on reversing this bad reputation, bringing our science out to the public in a way that is fun and non-threatening – teaching them about the scientific advances we are making thanks to their tax dollars. “ 

 

]]> Liz Klipp 1 1302786175 2011-04-14 13:02:55 1475896114 2016-10-08 03:08:34 0 0 news “Group Intelligence,” a flash-mob inspired MP3 experience is coming to Atlanta this month, sponsored by the Out of Hand Theater and the Center for Chemical Evolution. The center is a collaboration of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, funded by the National Science Foundation and NASA.

 

]]>
2011-04-14T00:00:00-04:00 2011-04-14T00:00:00-04:00 2011-04-14 00:00:00 Georgia Tech Media Relations
Laura Diamond
laura.diamond@comm.gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Jason Maderer
maderer@gatech.edu
404-660-2926

]]>
65567 65567 image <![CDATA[Group Intelligence, a mass MP3 experience]]> image/jpeg 1449176863 2015-12-03 21:07:43 1475894579 2016-10-08 02:42:59 <![CDATA[Out of Hand Theater - "Group Intelligence" information]]> <![CDATA[Center for Chemical Evolution]]> <![CDATA[Emory University]]>
<![CDATA[Two Georgia Tech Students Win Goldwater Scholarships]]> 27462 Two undergraduates from Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering have been named 2011 Goldwater Scholars.

Allison Del Giorno, a sophomore majoring in electrical engineering and minoring in biomedical engineering, and Chun Yong, a junior biomedical engineering student, were awarded Goldwater Scholarships for the 2011-2012 academic year. Del Giorno will also receive the scholarship for her senior year.  Each scholarship covers eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books, and room and board, up to a maximum of $7,500 annually.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation awarded a total of 275 scholarships to undergraduate sophomores and juniors from the United States. The purpose of the foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.

It’s clear why Georgia Tech’s Del Giorno and Yong were recommended for and honored with the Goldwater Scholarship.

Del Giorno, a Georgia Tech President’s Scholar, has held a National Institutes of Health Intramural Research Training Award at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and another at the National Institute of Bioengineering and Biomedical Imaging.  She received a Northrop Grumman Engineering Scholarship upon entering Georgia Tech.  Del Giorno is studying electrical engineering approaches to the nervous system, specifically investigating the spatiotemporal electrical properties of neurons that control respiration.

Once finished with her undergraduate studies, Del Giorno plans to pursue a doctorate in computational neuroscience to conduct neuroscience research focused on fundamental discoveries for clinical applications.  

"I feel so blessed that I was chosen for the Goldwater Scholarship,” said Del Giorno, a native of Eldersburg, Md. “I have amazing family, friends and professors who continue to encourage and guide me as I pursue a career in the neuroscience field."

Another Goldwater Scholar, Yong has received many accolades during his time at Georgia Tech. He was honored as a 2010 Petit Research Scholar and also won several President’s Undergraduate Research Awards. Yong participated in the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates and held a Russ Bell Undergraduate Research Scholarship. This summer, he will be attending the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., for the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships program.

Yong is co-founder of a new Biomedical Research and Opportunities Society, executive vice president of the American Medical Student Association and a member of the Biomedical Engineering Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

In 2003, Yong and his family moved to Suwanee, Ga., after living in Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia. He is providing for his family as well as doing research, which focuses on insulin-dependent diabetes. He has worked with Professor Athanassios Sambanis’ Lab in the Institute of Bioengineering and Bioscience at Georgia Tech to develop cell-delivering microcapsules for the treatment of diabetes.

In addition to Del Giorno and Yong, Georgia Tech’s Katy Hammersmith, a biomedical engineering sophomore, and Jason Frieman, an aerospace engineering junior, received Honorable Mention from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program.

Georgia Tech can nominate only four students for the Goldwater Scholarship, and it is unusual for all to receive recognition as they did this year, said Karen Adams, interim director of the Fellowship Office at Georgia Tech.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate.

 

]]> Liz Klipp 1 1302088198 2011-04-06 11:09:58 1475896110 2016-10-08 03:08:30 0 0 news Allison Del Giorno, a sophomore majoring in electrical engineering and minoring in biomedical engineering, and Chun Yong, a junior biomedical engineering student, were awarded Goldwater Scholarships for the 2011-2012 academic year. 

]]>
2011-04-06T00:00:00-04:00 2011-04-06T00:00:00-04:00 2011-04-06 00:00:00 Georgia Tech Media Relations
Laura Diamond
laura.diamond@comm.gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Jason Maderer
maderer@gatech.edu
404-660-2926

]]>
65411 65411 image <![CDATA[Allison Del Giorno]]> image/jpeg 1449176831 2015-12-03 21:07:11 1475894579 2016-10-08 02:42:59 <![CDATA[Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships]]>
<![CDATA[Adaptation in Proteins Provides Evidence that Organisms on Early Earth Lived in a Hot, Acidic Environment]]> 27206 A new study reveals that a group of ancient enzymes adapted to substantial changes in ocean temperature and acidity during the last four billion years, providing evidence that life on Early Earth evolved from a much hotter, more acidic environment to the cooler, less acidic global environment that exists today.

The study found that a group of ancient enzymes known as thioredoxin were chemically stable at temperatures up to 32 degrees Celsius (58 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than their modern counterparts. The enzymes, which were several billion years old, also showed increased activity at lower pH levels -- which correspond to greater acidity.

"This study shows that a group of ubiquitous proteins operated in a hot, acidic environment during early life, which supports the view that the environment progressively cooled and became more alkaline between four billion and 500 million years ago," said Eric Gaucher, an associate professor in the School of Biology at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The study, which was published April 3 in the advance online edition of the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, was conducted by an international team of researchers from Georgia Tech, Columbia University and the Universidad de Granada in Spain.

Major funding for this study was provided by two grants from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to Georgia Tech, a grant from the National Institutes of Health to Columbia University, and a grant from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation to the Universidad de Granada.

Using a technique called ancestral sequence reconstruction, Gaucher and Georgia Tech biology graduate student Zi-Ming Zhao reconstructed seven ancient thioredoxin enzymes from the three domains of life -- archaea, bacteria and eukaryote -- that date back between one and four billion years.

To resurrect these enzymes, which are found in nearly all known modern organisms and are essential for life in mammals, the researchers first constructed a family tree of the more than 200 thioredoxin sequences available from the three domains of life. Then they reconstructed the sequences of the ancestral thioredoxin enzymes using statistical methods based on maximum likelihood. Finally, they synthesized the genes that encoded these sequences, expressed the ancient proteins in the cells of modern Escherichia coli bacteria and then purified the proteins.

"By resurrecting proteins, we are able to gather valuable information about the adaptation of extinct forms of life to climatic, ecological and physiological alterations that cannot be uncovered through fossil record examinations," said Gaucher.

The reconstructed enzymes from the Precambrian period -- which ended about 542 million years ago -- were used to examine how environmental conditions, including pH and temperature, affected the evolution of the enzymes and their chemical mechanisms.

"Given the ancient origin of the reconstructed thioredoxin enzymes, with some of them predating the buildup of atmospheric oxygen, we thought their catalytic chemistry would be simple, but we found that thioredoxin enzymes use a complex mixture of chemical mechanisms that increases their efficiency over the simpler compounds that were available in early geochemistry," said Julio Fernández, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences professor at Columbia University.

Fernández led a team that included Columbia University postdoctoral researchers Raul Perez-Jimenez, Jorge Alegre-Cebollada and Sergi Garcia-Manyes, and graduate student Pallav Kosuri in using an assay based on single molecule force spectroscopy to measure the activity level of the thioredoxin enzymes under different pH levels.

For their experiments, the researchers used an atomic force microscope to pick up and stretch an engineered protein in a solution containing thioredoxin. They first applied a constant force to the protein, causing it to rapidly unfold and expose its disulfide bonds to the thioredoxin enzymes. The rate at which a thioredoxin enzyme snipped the disulfide bonds determined the enzyme's level of efficiency.

The study results showed that the three oldest thioredoxin enzymes -- those thought to have inhabited Earth 4.2 to 3.5 billion years ago -- were able to operate in lower pH environments than the modern thioredoxin enzymes.

"Our analysis indicates that ancient thioredoxin enzymes were well adapted to function under acidic conditions and that they maintained their high level of activity as they evolved in more alkaline environments," said Fernández.

To measure the temperature range in which the enzymes operated, professor Jose Sanchez-Ruiz and graduate student Alvaro Inglés-Prieto from the Departamento de Química-Física at the Universidad de Granada in Spain used a technique called differential scanning calorimetry. This method measures the stability of enzymes by heating the enzymes at a constant rate and measuring the heat change associated with their unfolding.

The researchers found that the ancient proteins were stable at temperatures up to 32 degrees Celsius higher than the modern thioredoxins. The experiments showed that the enzymes exhibited higher temperature stability the older they were. The results provide evidence that ancestral thioredoxins adapted to the cooling trend of ancient oceans, as inferred from geological records.

"Our results confirm that life has the remarkable ability to adapt to a wide range of historical environmental conditions; and by extension, life will undoubtedly adapt to future environmental changes, albeit at some cost to many species," said Gaucher.

This study also showed that the experimental resurrection of ancient proteins together with the sensitivity of single-molecule techniques can be a powerful tool for understanding the origin and evolution of life on Earth.

The researchers are currently using this strategy to assess other enzymes to get a clearer picture of what life was like on Early Earth. They are also applying these tools to the field of biotechnology, where enzymes play important roles in many industrial processes.

"The functions and characteristics we observed in the ancestral enzymes show that our techniques can be implemented to generate improved enzymes for a wide range of applications," added Perez-Jimenez.

This project was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) (Award Nos. NNX08AO12G and NNA09DA78A). The content is solely the responsibility of the principal investigator and does not necessarily represent the official view of NASA.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

Writer: Abby Robinson

 

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1301875200 2011-04-04 00:00:00 1475896098 2016-10-08 03:08:18 0 0 news A new study reveals that a group of ancient enzymes adapted to substantial changes in ocean temperature and acidity during the last four billion years, providing evidence that life on Early Earth evolved from a much hotter, more acidic environment.

]]>
2011-04-04T00:00:00-04:00 2011-04-04T00:00:00-04:00 2011-04-04 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
Contact Abby Robinson
404-385-3364

]]>
65367 65368 65367 image <![CDATA[Eric Gaucher and Zi-Ming Zhao]]> image/jpeg 1449176831 2015-12-03 21:07:11 1475894577 2016-10-08 02:42:57 65368 image <![CDATA[Eric Gaucher]]> image/jpeg 1449176831 2015-12-03 21:07:11 1475894577 2016-10-08 02:42:57 <![CDATA[Nature Structural & Molecular Biology paper]]> <![CDATA[Eric Gaucher]]> <![CDATA[School of Biology]]>
<![CDATA[Prof’s Teaching Reaches Students Beyond Tech]]> 27445 Thanks to videoconferencing equipment and a few large-screen televisions, Jennifer Curtis is reaching out to students beyond Tech’s Midtown campus.  

Curtis, an assistant professor in the School of Physics, participates in the Direct to Discovery program, a Georgia Tech Research Institute program that brings research labs into K-12 classrooms with a little help from technology. 

The program’s goal is to help students better understand various areas of science and mathematics in a way that fosters ongoing interest in these areas.   

“Since my lab is so interdisciplinary, we can tie into the curriculum of a physics, chemistry or biology class,” she said. 

According to Kimm Bankston, the Winder-Barrow high school teacher Curtis has worked with, the demos have been quite successful and have stimulated student discussions about science that extend beyond the classroom.

“I think the program is an excellent way to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists,” Curtis added. 

Recently, The Whistle had an opportunity to learn more about Curtis and her approach to teaching. Here’s what we learned:  

How did you get to Georgia Tech? 

In 2006, both my husband and I were seeking tenure-track academic positions. In the end, it was clear that Tech was the best fit for our combined interests both professionally and personally.

How did you become interested in your area of teaching and research?    

When I started out as an undergraduate at Columbia University, I wanted to pursue photography and writing. But I experienced a major creative block, which led me back to my first love, science and mathematics. The next semester, I started taking physics classes and the rest is history. As for becoming a biophysicist, I always loved biology and after observing that some of the most interesting work done by physicists was in the area of biophysics, I knew where I needed to be.    

In a few sentences, tell us a little bit about your research focus.

My research group studies the mechanics of cells and biomaterials. Also, we invent or develop unique tools to help answer questions about, for example, the coating of a  cell.       

What is your greatest challenge as an instructor, and how have you dealt with it? 

Helping students figure out how to learn and study effectively is always a challenge. For example, there is always a large group of students who work very hard and spend vast amounts of time studying for my introductory physics course. Yet, their performance on tests does not reflect their efforts. I am experimenting with how to instruct students to get to the point where they can internalize and comprehend the difference between deeply understanding how and why they solve problems a certain way versus superficially memorizing or accepting a concept or problem-solving strategy in physics.  

What piece of technology could you not live without as an instructor?

I think a tablet PC works wonders for large classroom lecture halls.   

Where is the best place to grab lunch and what do you order? 

My favorite place used to be Bobby and June’s, but it recently closed. I’d order the Salisbury steak with a side or two of vegetables.

Tell me something unusual about yourself. 

When I was younger, I was a competitive épée fencer and trained several hours a day while I was in high school and for part of my time in college.

]]> Amelia Pavlik 1 1302169513 2011-04-07 09:45:13 1475896110 2016-10-08 03:08:30 0 0 news Thanks to videoconferencing equipment and a few large-screen televisions, Jennifer Curtis is reaching out to students beyond Tech’s Midtown campus.

]]>
2011-04-04T00:00:00-04:00 2011-04-04T00:00:00-04:00 2011-04-04 00:00:00 Amelia Pavlik
Communications & Marketing
404-385-4142 

]]>
65421 65421 image <![CDATA[Jennifer Curtis]]> image/jpeg 1449176831 2015-12-03 21:07:11 1475894579 2016-10-08 02:42:59
<![CDATA[New Pediatric Nanomedicine Center Links Health Care and Engineering]]> 27462 Physicians and engineers within a new center devoted to pediatric nanomedicine will develop targeted, molecular-sized nanoparticles as part of a unique approach to treating pediatric diseases. Specific focus areas will include pediatric heart disease and thrombosis, infectious diseases, cancer, sickle cell disease and cystic fibrosis. 

The Center for Pediatric Nanomedicine (CPN) is the first of its kind in the world.

Directed by Gang Bao, the center will involve researchers from Emory University, the Georgia Institute of Technology and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

“Because nano-scale structures are compatible in size to biomolecules, nanomedicine provides unprecedented opportunities for achieving better control of biological processes and drastic improvements in disease detection, therapy and prevention,” says Bao, the Robert A. Milton Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.

Nanomedicine involves the development of engineered nanoscale structures and devices for better diagnostics and highly specific medical interventions to treat diseases and repair damaged tissues. One nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.

The CPN is part of the Emory-Children’s Pediatric Research Center led by the two institutions, including partnerships with Georgia Institute of Technology and Morehouse School of Medicine.

With the leadership of Dr. Paul Spearman, Children’s chief research officer and vice chair for research in the Emory University Department of Pediatrics, 14 key priority centers have been identified. These are hematology and oncology; immunology and vaccines; transplant immunology and immune therapeutics; pediatric healthcare technology innovation; cystic fibrosis; developmental lung biology; endothelial biology; cardiovascular biology; drug discovery; autism; neurosciences; nanomedicine; outcomes research and public health; and clinical and translational research.

Emory and Georgia Tech already have had significant and successful research partnerships in nanomedicine funded by the National Institutes of Health. These have included nanotechnology center of excellence for the detection and treatment of cardiovascular disease, the development of personalized and predictive oncology, and the development of engineered protein machines for treating single-gene disorders.

“Nanotechnology can be applied to many diseases, and the application of nanotechnology could have a profound impact on improving children’s health,” says Bao.

Current centers located in the joint Georgia Tech-Emory biomedical engineering department include the Center for Translational Cardiovascular Nanomedicine (funded by a $14.6 million, five-year grant from NHLBI/NIH) and the Nanomedicine Center for Nucleoprotein Machines (funded by a $16.1 million, five-year grant from NIH).

The discoveries made in these centers also will be applied to research in pediatric diseases. For example, scientists in the center for nucleoprotein machines are focused on developing a technology to correct single-gene defects that lead to human disease. They hope to use this approach to treat and eventually cure sickle cell disease, first focusing on curing a mouse model of sickle cell. The new technology would then be applied to human sickle cell patients.

“Nanomedicine is expected to dramatically exceed what has occurred in the field thus far, and our belief is that it will revolutionize medicine,” says Bao. “We plan to make this new pediatric nanomedicine center a leader in applying these unique discoveries to treating and curing children’s diseases.”

The biomedical engineering faculty members who are involved in the CPN activities include: Dr. Wilbur Lam, biomedical engineer; Barbara Boyan, professor and Price Gilbert Jr. Chair in Tissue Engineering and associate dean for research; Niren Murthy, associate professor of biomedical engineering; Michael Davis, assistant professor of biomedical engineering; Phil Santangelo, assistant professor of biomedical engineering; Shuming Nie, professor and the Wallace H. Coulter Distinguished Faculty Chair in Biomedical Engineering; Thomas Barker, assistant professor of biomedical engineering; and Ravi Bellamkonda, professor and associate vice president for research.

 

]]> Liz Klipp 1 1301310254 2011-03-28 11:04:14 1475896106 2016-10-08 03:08:26 0 0 news Physicians and engineers within a new center devoted to pediatric nanomedicine will develop targeted, molecular-sized nanoparticles as part of a unique approach to treating pediatric diseases. The Center for Pediatric Nanomedicine (CPN) is the first of its kind in the world.

]]>
2011-03-28T00:00:00-04:00 2011-03-28T00:00:00-04:00 2011-03-28 00:00:00 Georgia Tech Media Relations
Laura Diamond
laura.diamond@comm.gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Jason Maderer
maderer@gatech.edu
404-660-2926

]]>
46888 46888 image <![CDATA[Researcher Gang Bao]]> image/jpeg 1449174507 2015-12-03 20:28:27 1475894435 2016-10-08 02:40:35 <![CDATA[Emory news release]]> <![CDATA[Children's Healthcare of Atlanta - news release]]>
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Hosts Symposium on the Ribosome]]> 27224 For the 19th year, Georgia Tech is hosting the Suddath Symposium in honor of Leroy "Bud" Suddath, a late professor of the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  This year's meeting focuses on the ribosome and its structure, function and evolution, exploring scientific implications ranging from understanding the origin and early evolution of life to the development of novel pharmaceuticals.  The symposium is organized by the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience (IBB), the Center for Ribosomal Origins and Evolution, and NASA on April 1-2.

“We are excited that this year's symposium will feature foremost experts on the ribosome, including the 2009 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry – Professor Ada Yonath (Weizmann Institute)," said Adegboyega Oyelere, assistant professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the symposium chair.

This annual symposium celebrates the life and contributions of Suddath by discussing the latest developments in the fields of bioengineering and bioscience. The speakers include leading researchers from across the globe. Due to the high quality of the speakers, the 2011 meeting sold out weeks ago.

“If you can not register for the in-person meeting, which is now at capacity, you still have an opportunity to attend virtually. We are using social networking tools for world-wide participation in the meeting,“ said co-organizer, Loren Williams, professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and director of the Center for Ribosomal Origins and Evolution.

Georgia Tech has partnered with NASA to showcase the symposium, in its entirety, over the internet. Virtual participants will view the presentations in real-time and can chat with the other cyber-attendees using Facebook on the home page of the symposium's website. Over 200 attendees, more than twice the number that will attend in person, from around the globe have registered to participate virtually. Countries represented include Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, India, Iran, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Turkey, Portugal and Venezuela.

“IBB will be showcased around the world as people beam into the seminar room to see our local symposium worldwide,” Williams said.

The ribosome is a molecular machine that is responsible for protein synthesis in all living cells. This indispensable component of life, which contains both RNA and proteins, can be viewed as a molecular fossil. That is, the comparison of ribosomal RNA and proteins from distantly related organisms suggests that the origins and evolution of protein synthesis remain imprinted in present day ribosomes, providing a “rewindable” molecular recording of early evolution that appears to go all the way back to the origin of life. Because the ribosome is central to the biochemistry of all life, it is a major target for drug development.

Each year, the Suddath Symposium theme changes, although the scientific committee selects an interdisciplinary topic that they feel Suddath would have been excited about. "A symposium focusing on the ribosome is particularly fitting, as Bud (Suddath) contributed to solving the structure of tRNA, a key substrate which is used by the ribosome to make proteins,” Oyelere explained.  Suddath’s research efforts ultimately led to a set of protein growth experiments aboard the Space Shuttle in 1988.

]]> Megan McDevitt 1 1301319350 2011-03-28 13:35:50 1475896106 2016-10-08 03:08:26 0 0 news For the 19th year, Georgia Tech is hosting the Suddath Symposium in honor of Leroy "Bud" Suddath, a late professor of the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  This year's meeting focuses on the ribosome and its structure, function and evolution, exploring scientific implications ranging from understanding the origin and early evolution of life to the development of novel pharmaceuticals.  The symposium is organized by the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience (IBB), the Center for Ribosomal Origins and Evolution and NASA on April 1-2.

]]>
2011-03-28T00:00:00-04:00 2011-03-28T00:00:00-04:00 2011-03-28 00:00:00 Megan Graziano McDevitt
Marketing and Event Manager
Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience (IBB)
(404) 385-7001

]]>
65185 65185 image <![CDATA[Thermus thermophilus - large submit ribosomal RNA]]> image/png 1449176801 2015-12-03 21:06:41 1475894577 2016-10-08 02:42:57 <![CDATA[Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]> <![CDATA[2011 Suddath Symposium site]]> <![CDATA[Center for Ribosomal Origins and Evolution]]>
<![CDATA[Bird Embryo Provides Unique Insights into Developmental Phenomena]]> 27206 Avian embryos could join the list of model organisms used to study a specific type of cell migration called epiboly, thanks to the results of a study published this month in the journal Developmental Dynamics. The new study provides insights into the mechanisms of epiboly, a developmental process involving mass movement of cells as a sheet, which is linked with medical conditions that include wound healing and cancer.

The study, published online on March 15, explains how epithelial cells expand as a sheet and migrate to engulf the entire avian egg yolk as it grows. It also reveals the presence of certain molecules during this process that have not been previously reported in other major developmental models, including Xenopus frogs and zebrafish.

"These molecules and mechanisms of early development in the avian embryo may demonstrate evolutionary differences across species in the collective movement of epithelial cells and motivate additional studies of avian embryo development," said Evan Zamir, an assistant professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech.

Matt Futterman, who worked on the project as a graduate student at Georgia Tech, and mechanical engineering professor Andrés García also contributed to this study. The research was funded by Zamir's new faculty support from Georgia Tech and by a grant to García from the National Institutes of Health.

In the study, the researchers conducted immunofluorescence and high-resolution confocal microscopy experiments to examine the spatial distribution and expression of five proteins -- vimentin, cytokeratin, β-catenin, E-cadherin and laminin -- as cells moved to wrap the yolk sac of quail embryos during development.

The results showed that during this process, four of the proteins -- vimentin, cytokeratin, β-catenin and E-cadherin -- appeared in the cells located at the free edge of the migrating cell sheet. Finding dense interconnected networks of both vimentin and cytokeratin in the edge cells surprised the researchers.

"Since cytokeratin is generally associated with the epithelial phenotype and vimentin is generally associated with the mesenchymal phenotype, it's rare to see them expressed in the same cells, but this does occur in metastasizing tumor cells," said Zamir.

Cells expressing the mesenchymal phenotype are typically found in connective tissues -- such as bone, cartilage, and the lymphatic and circulatory systems -- whereas cells of the epithelial phenotype are found in cavities and glands and on surfaces throughout the body.

This finding provides evidence that epithelial cells normally attached to a membrane surface underwent biochemical changes that enabled them to assume a mesenchymal cell phenotype, which enhanced their migratory capacity. This process, called partial epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, has many similarities to the initiation of tumor cell metastasis and wound healing.

Since this epithelial and mesenchymal expression pattern in the edge cells has not previously been reported in Xenopus or zebrafish, it may be unique to the avian embryo. This discovery would make the avian embryo a valuable model for studying tumor cell migration and wound healing.

In addition to detailing protein expression in the quail embryo during development, the researchers also determined the origin of the new cells required at the migrating edge to cover the growing yolk. During development, the radius of the quail yolk doubles every day for the first few days, representing a hundreds-fold increase in the egg yolk surface area.

"For each individual cell that has to cover the egg yolk as it grows, the migration around the yolk is extraordinary, because it's such a large territory -- it would be like an ant walking across the earth," explained Zamir.

Looking more closely at the edge cells, the researchers found strong evidence that expansion of the edge cell population was due exclusively to cells relocating from an interior region to the edge as the embryo expanded. The cells located at the free edge generated the bulk of the traction force necessary for expansion and towed the cells within the interior of the epithelium.

"These experiments confirm that edge cell proliferation is not the primary mechanism for expansion of the edge cell population," noted Zamir. "And our observation of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in the edge cells explains how these epithelial cells might be changing phenotype to become migratory in this rapidly expanding sheet."

To determine if this study's findings are indeed unique to the avian embryo, Zamir plans to conduct further studies to characterize protein expression and cell migration in Xenopus and zebrafish.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

Writer: Abby Robinson

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1300838400 2011-03-23 00:00:00 1475896106 2016-10-08 03:08:26 0 0 news Avian embryos could become model organisms used to study a specific type of cell migration called epiboly, a developmental process involving mass movement of cells as a sheet that is linked with medical conditions that include wound healing and cancer.

]]>
2011-03-23T00:00:00-04:00 2011-03-23T00:00:00-04:00 2011-03-23 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
Contact Abby Robinson
404-385-3364

]]>
65120 65121 65122 65120 image <![CDATA[Quail eggs]]> image/jpeg 1449176801 2015-12-03 21:06:41 1475894574 2016-10-08 02:42:54 65121 image <![CDATA[vimentin expression]]> image/jpeg 1449176801 2015-12-03 21:06:41 1475894574 2016-10-08 02:42:54 65122 image <![CDATA[BrDU cell proliferation]]> image/jpeg 1449176801 2015-12-03 21:06:41 1475894574 2016-10-08 02:42:54 <![CDATA[Developmental Dynamics paper]]> <![CDATA[Evan Zamir]]> <![CDATA[Andres Garcia]]> <![CDATA[George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering]]>
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Program Celebrates Diversity of Engineering Students, Faculty]]> 27462 As Georgia Tech celebrates the 50th anniversary of the matriculation of African-American students, the Institute is proud of the achievements of the FACES program in bringing diversity to science and engineering education.

Since 1998, more than 300 minority students earned their doctorate in science, technology, engineering and math, thanks in part to the FACES program.

Georgia Tech ranked no. 1 in the U.S. last year for awarding the most engineering doctoral degrees to African-American students and all minority students, according to Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

Georgia Tech oversees the FACES program, which stands for Facilitating Academic Careers in Engineering and Science, in partnership with Emory University, Morehouse College and Spelman College. The National Science Foundation funds the program.

“Over the last decade, the FACES program has contributed significantly to the formation of an environment at Georgia Tech in which the completion of a STEM doctorate and consideration of an academic career are valued by talented minority students and supported by the campus," said Gary May, Georgia Tech’s Steve W. Chaddick School Chair of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "We are very proud of what has been created here and look forward to the contributions of our students as they pursue their careers."

A shining example of the FACES program’s success is Manu Platt, assistant professor of biomedical engineering in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. 

Platt not only received a FACES grant that allowed him to pursue professional development while a postdoctoral fellow at M.I.T., but also received the FACES Career Initiation Grant when he joined the Georgia Tech faculty in 2009 to kick-start his research.

Platt, who this fall received a $1.5 million NIH Director's New Innovator Award to support his research on reducing stroke in children with sickle cell disease, said the prestige of being a FACES recipient has enriched his career.

“Georgia Tech is a special place to be such a top-quality engineering school and to have a diverse faculty,” Platt said. I probably wouldn’t be as happy as a professor as I am today without the FACES program. Truly, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to be mentored by the African-American professors who helped me build a community and have showed me how to avoid the brick walls that you inevitably run into."

Today, Platt sits on the FACES steering committee that oversees the program and helps mentor African-American undergraduate and graduate students from Georgia Tech, Emory, Morehouse and Spelman, who will become the next generation of STEM professors.

“I enjoy just talking to them and selling them on why being a professor is so great,” Platt said. “You get to see students develop, learn and grow, and eventually move forward with their career.”

The FACES program includes three components:

All of the pieces of FACES contribute to the program’s success, May said.

“At Georgia Tech, we’ve seen that a key factor for motivating students to pursue advanced degrees and research careers in science and engineering is fruitful research experiences,” he said. “Quality interactions with engineering faculty can have a significant impact on a student’s decision to pursue graduate education.” 

]]> Liz Klipp 1 1299760896 2011-03-10 12:41:36 1475896102 2016-10-08 03:08:22 0 0 news As Georgia Tech celebrates the 50th anniversary of the matriculation of African-American students, the Institute is proud of the achievements of the FACES program in bringing diversity to science and engineering education. 

]]>
2011-03-10T00:00:00-05:00 2011-03-10T00:00:00-05:00 2011-03-10 00:00:00 Georgia Tech Media Relations
Laura Diamond
laura.diamond@comm.gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Jason Maderer
maderer@gatech.edu
404-660-2926

]]>
41345 61386 41345 image <![CDATA[Gary May]]> 1449174301 2015-12-03 20:25:01 1475894368 2016-10-08 02:39:28 61386 image <![CDATA[Manu Platt biomedical engineer]]> image/jpeg 1449176322 2015-12-03 20:58:42 1475894536 2016-10-08 02:42:16 <![CDATA[FACES program at Georgia Tech]]>
<![CDATA[Institute Director at Georgia Tech Named Chairperson of NIH Study Section]]> 27462 Robert E. Guldberg, director of Georgia Tech’s Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience (IBB), has been appointed chairperson of the Musculoskeletal Tissue Engineering Study Section in the Center for Scientific Review – part of the National Institutes of Health.

Guldberg will serve as chairperson of the study section from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2013. The study section will contribute to the national biomedical research effort and assure the quality of the NIH peer review process.

Guldberg's research interests focus on musculoskeletal growth and development, functional regeneration following traumatic injury and degenerative diseases, including skeletal fragility and arthritis

According to Dr. Toni Scarpa, director of the Center for Scientific Review in NIH’s Department of Health and Human Services, Guldberg was selected for the chair position because of his demonstrated achievement in his scientific discipline, quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals and overall judgment and objectivity.

At Georgia Tech, Guldberg studies cell-based therapies, bone biomechanics, musculoskeletal injury, joint degeneration, biomaterials and delivery, and micro-CT imaging. His laboratory creates strategies and enables technologies for the functional restoration of damaged or degenerated musculoskeletal tissues, with a focus on bone and cartilage.

In 1996, Guldberg joined Georgia Tech, serving both in IBB and the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. He was appointed director of IBB in November 2009.

Guldberg holds an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, a master’s degree in bioengineering and mechanical engineering, and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan.

 

]]> Liz Klipp 1 1299691360 2011-03-09 17:22:40 1475896102 2016-10-08 03:08:22 0 0 news Robert E. Guldberg, director of Georgia Tech’s Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience, has been appointed chairperson of the Musculoskeletal Tissue Engineering Study Section in the Center for Scientific Review – part of the National Institutes of Health.

]]>
2011-03-09T00:00:00-05:00 2011-03-09T00:00:00-05:00 2011-03-09 00:00:00 Georgia Tech Media Relations
Laura Diamond
laura.diamond@comm.gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Jason Maderer
maderer@gatech.edu
404-660-2926

]]>
45991 45991 image <![CDATA[Professor and IBB Director Robert Guldberg]]> image/jpeg 1449174347 2015-12-03 20:25:47 1475894406 2016-10-08 02:40:06 <![CDATA[Robert E. Guldberg, director of Georgia Tech’s Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]> <![CDATA[Guldberg Musculoskeletal Research Lab]]>
<![CDATA[Researchers Predict Age of T Cells to Improve Cancer Treatment]]> 27206 Manipulation of cells by a new microfluidic device may help clinicians improve a promising cancer therapy that harnesses the body's own immune cells to fight such diseases as metastatic melanoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and neuroblastoma.

The therapy, known as adoptive T cell transfer, has shown encouraging results in clinical trials. This treatment involves removing disease-fighting immune cells called T cells from a cancer patient, multiplying them in the laboratory and then infusing them back into the patient's body to attack the cancer. The effectiveness of this therapy, however, is limited by the finite lifespan of T cells -- after many divisions, these cells become unresponsive and inactive.

Researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory University have addressed this limitation by developing a microfluidic device for sample handling that allows a statistical model to be generated to evaluate cell responsiveness and accurately predict cell "age" and quality. Being able to assess the age and responsiveness of T cells -- and therefore transfer only young functional cells back into a cancer patient's body -- offers the potential to improve the therapeutic outcome of several cancers.

"The statistical model, enabled by the data generated with the microfluidic device, revealed an optimal combination of extracellular and intracellular proteins that accurately predict T cell age," said Melissa Kemp, an assistant professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. "Knowing this information will help facilitate the clinical development of appropriate T cell expansion and selection protocols."

Details on the microfluidic device and statistical model were published in the March issue of the journal Molecular & Cellular Proteomics. This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health, Georgia Cancer Coalition, and Georgia Tech Integrative Biosystems Institute.

Currently, clinicians measure T cell age by using multiple assays that rely on measurements from large cell populations. The measurements determine if cells are exhibiting functions known to appear at different stages in the life cycle of a T cell.

"Since no one measurement is a perfect predictor, it is advantageous to concurrently sample multiple proteins at different time points, which we can do with our microfluidic device," explained Kemp, who is also a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Professor. "The wealth of information we get from our device for a small number of cells far exceeds a single measurement from a population the same size by another assay type."

For their study, Kemp, electrical engineering graduate student Catherine Rivet and biomedical engineering undergraduate student Abby Hill analyzed CD8+ T cells from healthy blood donors. They acquired information from 25 static biomarkers and 48 dynamic signaling measurements and found a combination of phenotypic markers and protein signaling dynamics -- including Lck, ERK, CD28 and CD27 -- to be the most useful in predicting cellular age.

To obtain biomarker and dynamic signaling event measurements, the researchers ran the donor T cells through a microfluidic device designed in collaboration with Hang Lu, an associate professor in the Georgia Tech School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering. After stimulating the cells, the device divided them into different channels corresponding to eight different time points, ranging from 30 seconds to seven minutes. Then they were divided again into populations that were chemically treated to halt the biochemical reactions at snapshots in time to build up a picture of the signaling events that occurred as the T cells responded to antigen.

"While donor-to-donor variability is a confounding factor in these types of experiments, the technological platform minimized the experimental data variance and allowed stimulation time to be precisely controlled," said Lu.

With the donor T cell data, the researchers developed a model to assess which biomarkers or dynamical signaling events best predicted the quality of T cell function. The model found the most informative data in predicting cellular age to be the initial changes in signaling dynamics.

"Although a combination of biomarker and dynamic signaling data provided the optimal model, our results suggest that signaling information alone can predict cellular age almost as well as the entire dataset," noted Kemp.

In the future, Kemp plans to use this approach of combining multiple cell-based experiments on a microfluidic chip to integrate single-cell information with population-averaged techniques, such as multiplexed immunoassays or mass spectrometry.

This project is supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)(Grant No. R21CA134299). The content is solely the responsibility of the principal investigator and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

Writer: Abby Robinson

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1299027600 2011-03-02 01:00:00 1475896098 2016-10-08 03:08:18 0 0 news Researchers are accurately predicting T cell age and quality in order to improve the effectiveness of the cancer therapy known as adoptive T cell transfer, which is currently limited by the cells' finite lifespan.

]]>
2011-03-02T00:00:00-05:00 2011-03-02T00:00:00-05:00 2011-03-02 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
Contact Abby Robinson
404-385-3364

]]>
64717 64718 64719 64717 image <![CDATA[Catherine Rivet, Abby Hill and Melissa Kemp]]> image/jpeg 1449176765 2015-12-03 21:06:05 1475894569 2016-10-08 02:42:49 64718 image <![CDATA[Melissa Kemp]]> image/jpeg 1449176765 2015-12-03 21:06:05 1475894569 2016-10-08 02:42:49 64719 image <![CDATA[Microfluidic device]]> image/jpeg 1449176765 2015-12-03 21:06:05 1475894569 2016-10-08 02:42:49 <![CDATA[Melissa Kemp]]> <![CDATA[Hang Lu]]> <![CDATA[Molecular & Cellular Proteomics paper]]> <![CDATA[Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering]]> <![CDATA[School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering]]>
<![CDATA[Vaccine Development: Virus-Mimicking Nanoparticles Can Stimulate Long Lasting Immunity]]> 27195 Vaccine scientists say their "Holy Grail" is to stimulate immunity that lasts for a lifetime. Live viral vaccines such as the smallpox or yellow fever vaccines provide immune protection that lasts several decades, but despite their success, scientists have remained in the dark as to how they induce such long lasting immunity.


Researchers at Emory University and Georgia Tech have designed tiny nanoparticles that resemble viruses in size and immunological composition and induce lifelong immunity in mice. They designed the particles to mimic the immune-stimulating effects of one of the most successful vaccines ever developed — the yellow fever vaccine. The particles, made of biodegradable polymers, have components that activate two different parts of the innate immune system and can be used interchangeably with material from many different bacteria or viruses.


The results are described in this week's issue of Nature. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
These results address a long-standing puzzle in vaccinology: how do successful vaccines induce long lasting immunity? said senior author Bali Pulendran, Charles Howard Candler professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and a researcher at Yerkes National Primate Research Center.  These particles could provide an instant way to stretch scarce supplies when access to viral material is limited, such as pandemic flu or during an emerging infection. In addition, there are many diseases, such as HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and dengue, that still lack effective vaccines, where we anticipate that this type of immunity enhancer could play a role.


One injection of the live viral yellow fever vaccine, developed in the 1930s by Nobel Prize winner Max Theiler, can protect against disease-causing forms of the virus for decades. Pulendran and his colleagues in the Emory Vaccine Center have been investigating how humans respond to the yellow fever vaccine, in the hopes of imitating it.


Several years ago, they established that the yellow fever vaccine stimulated multiple Toll-like receptors (TLRs) in the innate immune system. TLRs are present in insects as well as mammals, birds and fish. They are molecules expressed by cells that can sense bits of viruses, bacteria and parasites and can activate the immune system. Pulendran's group demonstrated that the immune system sensed the yellow fever vaccine via multiple TLRs, and that this was required for the immunity induced by the vaccine.


TLRs are like the sixth sense in our bodies, because they have an exquisite capacity to sense viruses and bacteria, and convey this information to stimulate the immune response, explained Pulendran. We found that to get the best immune response, you need to hit more than one kind of Toll-like receptor. Our aim was to create a synthetic particle that accomplishes this task.
Emory postdoctoral fellow Sudhir Pai Kasturi worked with Niren Murthy, an associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, to create tiny particles studded with molecules that turn on Toll-like receptors.
Given the ability of these nanoparticles to tune T and B cell responses, I anticipate they will be the focus of numerous vaccine developments in the future, said Murthy.


One of the particles components is MPL (monophosphoryl lipid A), a component of bacterial cell walls, and the other is imiquimod, a chemical that mimics the effects of viral RNA. The particles are made of PLGA — poly(lactic acid)-co-(glycolic acid) — a synthetic polymer used for biodegradable grafts and sutures.


All three components are FDA-approved for human use individually. For several decades, the only FDA-approved vaccine additive was alum, until a cervical cancer vaccine containing MPL was approved in 2009. Because of immune system differences between mice and monkeys, the scientists replaced imiquimod with the related chemical resiquimod for monkey experiments.


In mice, the particles can stimulate production of antibodies to proteins from flu virus or anthrax bacteria several orders of magnitude more effectively than alum, the authors found. In addition, the immune cells persist in lymph nodes for at least 18 months, almost the lifetime of a mouse. In experiments with monkeys, nanoparticles with viral protein could induce robust responses greater than five times the response induced by a dose of the same viral protein given by itself, without the nanoparticles.


Research News & Publications Office

Georgia Institute of Technology

75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314

Atlanta, Georgia  30308  USA


Media Relations Contacts: Emory University — Holly Korschun (hkorsch@emory.edu; 404-727-3990); Georgia Tech — Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364)
Writer: Quinn Eastman/Emory University

 

]]> Colly Mitchell 1 1298546837 2011-02-24 11:27:17 1475896095 2016-10-08 03:08:15 0 0 news Researchers at Emory University and Georgia Tech have designed tiny nanoparticles that resemble viruses in size and immunological composition and induce lifelong immunity in mice.

]]>
2011-02-23T00:00:00-05:00 2011-02-23T00:00:00-05:00 2011-02-23 00:00:00 Abby Robinson

]]>
64519 64519 image <![CDATA[Blue shows resting B cells. Red shows activated B cells that are being "trained" to produce high-quality antibodies. Green shows specialized antibody-producing cells.]]> image/jpeg 1449176735 2015-12-03 21:05:35 1475894523 2016-10-08 02:42:03 <![CDATA[Microneedles: Flu Vaccine in Painless Skin Patches under Development at Emory and Georgia Tech with $11.5 Million in NIH Grants]]> <![CDATA[Molecular imaging yields information on childhood respiratory virus, may lead to earlier diagnosis]]> <![CDATA[Flu Immunization: Vaccine Given with Microneedle Patches Proves Effective]]> <![CDATA[Power of Gold: Nanoparticles May Enhance Circulating Tumor Cell Detection]]> <![CDATA[Microneedle Flu Immunization: NIH Awards $10 Million to Advance Technology for Painless, Self-Administration of Vaccine]]> <![CDATA[Murthy Lab]]>
<![CDATA[Apica Cardiovascular Receives $5M Investment for Heart Surgery System]]> 27206 A Georgia Tech and Emory University medical device startup that has developed a system to simplify and standardize the technique for opening and closing the beating heart during cardiac surgery has received a $5.1 million investment.

Apica Cardiovascular has licensed the Georgia Tech/Emory technology and will further develop the system, which will make the transapical access and closure procedure required for delivering therapeutic devices to the heart more routine for all surgeons. The goal is to expand the use of surgery techniques that are less invasive and do not require stopping the heart.

"Our company has leveraged the expertise in cardiovascular technology at Georgia Tech and the clinical experience of surgeons at Emory University to develop a technology that has the potential to revolutionize the delivery of different types of medical devices to the heart, including aortic and mitral valves," said the company's CEO James Greene.

With research and development support from the Coulter Foundation Translational Research Program and the Georgia Research Alliance VentureLab program, the company has already completed a series of pre-clinical studies to test the functionality of the device and its biocompatibility.

The improved heart surgery system consists of a conduit with proprietary technology inside that allows the conduit to be securely attached to the beating heart. Surgeons can then deliver therapeutic devices, such as heart valves or left ventricular assist devices, into the beating heart without loss of blood or exposure to air. Once a therapeutic device has been delivered and surgery is complete, the company's system closes and seals the access site with a biocompatible implant. The closure site can be reopened if necessary.

"By minimizing the incision size to gain access to the beating heart and eliminating the need for conventional sutures, our system improves safety, decreases procedure time and reduces the technical challenges associated with these new minimally invasive procedures," explained Vinod Thourani, an associate professor of surgery and associate director of the Structural Heart Center in Emory University's Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery.

With the new investment from Ireland-based Seroba Kernel Life Sciences and Israel-based TriVentures, the company will continue to conduct research and pre-clinical trials in Atlanta, ultimately leading up to regulatory approval. These efforts will be led by Jorge H. Jimenez, the chief technology officer of the company, which is in the VentureLab process at ATDC, Georgia Tech’s startup company accelerator.

"Our goal is to accelerate and expand the adoption of less-invasive therapeutic procedures to a greater number of surgeons and as a result, many underserved patients will receive needed treatment for valve disease and end-stage heart failure," said Ajit Yoganathan, Regents professor and Wallace H. Coulter Distinguished Faculty Chair in Biomedical Engineering in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.

The startup will also have an office in Ireland, which will benefit from the strong research collaborations between Georgia Tech, Georgia Tech Ireland and the National University of Ireland, Galway.

"We seek to contribute to and benefit from a global innovation ecosystem in ways that accelerate research results to the market while enhancing economic development opportunities here in Georgia," said Stephen E. Cross, Georgia Tech's executive vice president for research. "Apica Cardiovascular is a perfect example of the synergy between our leading edge work in Atlanta, our Irish translational unit GT Ireland, and our partnership with the National University of Ireland, Galway."

Apica Cardiovascular was founded in 2009 based on technology invented by Jimenez, Thourani, Yoganathan and Thomas Vassiliades, who was an associate professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Emory University at the time. The company was named Emory University's Startup Company of 2010.

About ATDC:
The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) is a startup accelerator that helps technology entrepreneurs in Georgia launch and build successful companies. Founded in 1980, ATDC has graduated more than 120 companies, which together have raised more than a billion dollars in outside financing. In 2010, ATDC was named to Forbes Magazine’s list of the “10 technology incubators that are changing the world.”

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

Writer: Abby Robinson

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1297299600 2011-02-10 01:00:00 1475896090 2016-10-08 03:08:10 0 0 news 2011-02-10T00:00:00-05:00 2011-02-10T00:00:00-05:00 2011-02-10 00:00:00 Abby Robinson
Research News and Publications
Contact Abby Robinson
404-385-3364]]>
64187 64188 64187 image <![CDATA[Apica Cardiovascular co-founders]]> image/jpeg 1449176735 2015-12-03 21:05:35 1475894564 2016-10-08 02:42:44 64188 image <![CDATA[Apica Cardiovascular co-founders]]> image/jpeg 1449176735 2015-12-03 21:05:35 1475894564 2016-10-08 02:42:44 <![CDATA[Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering]]> <![CDATA[Advanced Technology Development Center]]> <![CDATA[Ajit Yoganathan]]> <![CDATA[Georgia Tech Executive Vice President for Research]]>
<![CDATA[BME Students Present CardioScout Project at State Capital]]> 27195 Georgia Tech BME students presented their "CardioScout" project done at SJTRI to the Science and Technology Committee at the Georgia State Capital. They were introduced by Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson and SJTRI Chairman Mr. Bruce Simmons.

]]> Colly Mitchell 1 1298644442 2011-02-25 14:34:02 1475896098 2016-10-08 03:08:18 0 0 news Georgia Tech BME students presented their CardioScout project done at SJTRI to the Science and Technology Committee at the Georgia State Capital.

]]>
2011-02-09T00:00:00-05:00 2011-02-09T00:00:00-05:00 2011-02-09 00:00:00 James Fonger, MD

]]>
64643 64643 image <![CDATA[Georgia Tech BME students presented their CardioScout project done at SJTRI to the Science and Technology Committee at the Georgia State Capital. They were introduced by Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson and SJTRI Chairman Mr. Bruce Simmons.]]> image/png 1449176765 2015-12-03 21:06:05 1475894569 2016-10-08 02:42:49 <![CDATA[BME Students Present CardioScout Project at State Capital]]> <![CDATA[Pictures of BME Students at State Capital 2.9.11]]>
<![CDATA[Discovery May Lead to Turning Back the Clock on Ovarian Cancer]]> 27310 Cancer researchers have discovered that a type of regulatory RNA may be effective in fighting ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer isn't typically discovered until it’s in the advanced stages, where it is already spreading to other organs and is very difficult to fight with chemotherapy. This new discovery may allow physicians to turn back the clock of the tumor's life cycle to a phase where traditional chemotherapy can better do its job.

Scientists at the Ovarian Cancer Institute Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology have found in initial tests that a regulatory RNA called miR-429 may be successful in inducing metastatic or spreading cancer cells to convert back to a less metastatic, non-invasive form. The research appears online in the journal Gynecologic Oncology.

“Primary tumors are rarely fatal,” said John F. McDonald, director of the Integrated Cancer Research Center in Georgia Tech’s School of Biology and chief research scientist at the Ovarian Cancer Institute. “Most cancer patients succumb because the cancer metastasizes, and current chemotherapies are not designed to kill metastasizing cancer cells.”

 Cancer cells exist in two forms: epithelial cancer cells and mesenchymal cancer cells.  The primary tumor is mostly comprised of rapidly dividing epithelial cancer cells that are “sticky” so they stay together, they’re not mobile and generally not invasive. Cells at the edge of tumors often change into mesenchymal cancer cells; they lose their adhesiveness and become highly mobile and invasive, allowing the cancer to spread, or metastasize, to other areas of the body.

 In the new trial, McDonald’s lab used two ovarian cancer cell lines, one with epithelial characteristics, like primary tumor cells, and the other with mesenchymal traits, like metastasizing cancer cells. They used miR-429, one of a family of microRNAs previously implicated in epithelial to mesencymal changes in other cancers, to see if it could turn the mesenchymal cancer cells back into epithelial cancer cells. They found that miR-429 was highly successful in helping cells turn back the clock.

“We found that when we introduced miR-429 into the highly metastatic ovarian cancer cells, they became less invasive, less migratory and more like the cancer cells associated with primary tumors,” said McDonald.

Currently the McDonald lab is testing to see if cells that have been treated with miR-429 to change from mesenchymal to epithelial cancer cells are more susceptible to chemotherapy than metastasizing cells that haven’t undergone this change.

“We are hopeful that we have found an effective way to drive metastasizing ovarian cancer cells back to their primary cancer stage where they can be more effectively treated with existing chemotherapies.” added McDonald.

 

 

]]> David Terraso 1 1296729190 2011-02-03 10:33:10 1475896086 2016-10-08 03:08:06 0 0 news Cancer researchers have discovered that a type of regulatory RNA may be effective in fighting ovarian cancer. This new discovery may allow physicians to turn back the clock of the tumor's life cycle to a phase where traditional chemotherapy can better do its job.

]]>
2011-02-03T00:00:00-05:00 2011-02-03T00:00:00-05:00 2011-02-03 00:00:00 Georgia Tech Media Relations
Laura Diamond
laura.diamond@comm.gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Jason Maderer
maderer@gatech.edu
404-660-2926

]]>
64037 64040 64041 64042 64037 image <![CDATA[Turning Back the Clock on Ovarian Cancer]]> image/jpeg 1449176720 2015-12-03 21:05:20 1475894561 2016-10-08 02:42:41 64040 image <![CDATA[Starting Mesenchymal Cells]]> image/jpeg 1449176720 2015-12-03 21:05:20 1475894561 2016-10-08 02:42:41 64041 image <![CDATA[Cells Treated with miR-429]]> image/jpeg 1449176720 2015-12-03 21:05:20 1475894561 2016-10-08 02:42:41 64042 image <![CDATA[Control Cells]]> image/jpeg 1449176720 2015-12-03 21:05:20 1475894561 2016-10-08 02:42:41
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech and TERMIS Partner for 2013 Annual Meeting]]> 27224 The Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) will partner with the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience at Georgia Tech in 2013 by hosting its annual North American Conference in Atlanta.

Two members of the Petit Institute’s faculty have been designated to head the 2013 TERMIS conference. The conference chair will be Robert E. Guldberg, Ph.D., the director of the Petit Institute and professor in mechanical engineering and the program chair will be Todd McDevitt, PhD, associate professor in biomedical engineering and the director of the Stem Cell Engineering Center at Georgia Tech.

“We are honored to be selected and look forward to putting on a great meeting,” Guldberg said. TERMIS brings together an international community to promote discussion of the scientific challenges and therapeutic benefits for the development and application of the tissue engineering and regenerative medicine fields. TERMIS’ mission is to promote worldwide science and technology advancement and education in these fields. It does so through regular worldwide conferences, publishing the Tissue Engineering journal that it endorses and providing quarterly newsletters and other communications for its members.

“Bob and I are dedicated to creating a dynamic program that will honor the meetings of the past as well as introduce some new elements,” McDevitt remarked. TERMIS has been evolving over the last decade. Its roots began in 2001 as an annual workshop called “Tissue Growth Engineering” that was organized by the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative. In 2004, this small workshop evolved into the larger, national meeting called Regenerate. In 2006, the Regenerate World Congress was held in Pittsburgh where the meeting had grown significantly and had a large international following. By the following year, the society was rebranded into TERMIS to encompass its international presence. The society has continued to grow and now has chapters in Europe and Asia. TERMIS is open to anyone engaged in research in the tissue engineering or regenerative medicine arenas.

The 2011 TERMIS North American conference was held in Houston, Texas and in 2012 the entire society will come together for the TERMIS World Congress in Vienna, Austria.

]]> Megan McDevitt 1 1294966800 2011-01-14 01:00:00 1475896086 2016-10-08 03:08:06 0 0 news The Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) will partner with the Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience (IBB) at Georgia Tech in 2013 by hosting its annual North American Conference in Atlanta.

]]>
2011-01-18T00:00:00-05:00 2011-01-18T00:00:00-05:00 2011-01-18 00:00:00 Megan McDevitt
IBB
Contact Megan McDevitt
404-385-7001

]]>
64111 64111 image <![CDATA[TERMIS]]> image/jpeg 1449176720 2015-12-03 21:05:20 1475894559 2016-10-08 02:42:39 <![CDATA[Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience]]> <![CDATA[TERMIS]]> <![CDATA[Stem Cell Engineering Center]]>
<![CDATA[Storici awarded NSF grant for studying RNA-driven DNA modifications]]> 27349 Atlanta (September 24, 2010) — Assistant Professor Francesca Storici (Biology) has been awarded a research grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a 3 year project focusing on “Mechanisms of RNA/DNA hybrid stability and of information flow from RNA to DNA in yeast cells". The goal of this research is to understand the mechanisms by which RNA can directly transfer information to the DNA of cells. The main objectives are: 1) to identify the main protein factors cleaving the RNA tract in an RNA/DNA hybrid during RNA-driven DNA repair and DNA modification and to characterize their in vivo functions, and 2) to reveal the role of DNA repair mechanisms in the removal of RNA embedded into DNA. This project addresses challenging questions in molecular biology: How likely is information flow from RNA to DNA in cells? How well is RNA tolerated in DNA? What are the consequences of RNA-driven modifications in cells? The study will be done using newly developed systems in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which will be exploited to perform molecular and cellular biology experiments to identify and characterize the molecular mechanisms of RNA-driven DNA repair and editing.

Related Links

School of Biology

Francesca Storici

]]> Floyd Wood 1 1285804800 2010-09-30 00:00:00 1475896066 2016-10-08 03:07:46 0 0 news 2010-09-24T00:00:00-04:00 2010-09-24T00:00:00-04:00 2010-09-24 00:00:00 School of Biology
Biology
Contact School of Biology
404-894-3700]]>
62749 62749 image <![CDATA[Prof. Storici]]> image/jpeg 1449176394 2015-12-03 20:59:54 1475894547 2016-10-08 02:42:27
<![CDATA[$1.48 M Awarded for Single Molecule Probes]]> 27349 Phillip Santangelo, assistant professor in the Coulter Department, has received an R01 NIH/National Institute for General Medicine Sciences award to develop single molecule sensitive probes for the study of virus replication, assembly and budding. The $1.48 million project will focus on the human respiratory syncytial (hRSV) virus. hRSV is recognized as the most important viral agent of serious pediatric respiratory tract disease. Worldwide, acute respiratory tract disease is the leading cause of mortality due to infectious disease, and hRSV remains one of the pathogens deemed most important for vaccine and antiviral development. He will collaborate with James E. Crowe, Jr., MD, The Departments of Microbiology and Immunology, and Pediatrics and The Vanderbilt Vaccine Center; Vanderbilt University Medical Center for the 5-year study.

]]> Floyd Wood 1 1285804800 2010-09-30 00:00:00 1475896066 2016-10-08 03:07:46 0 0 news 2010-09-23T00:00:00-04:00 2010-09-23T00:00:00-04:00 2010-09-23 00:00:00 Adrianne Proeller
Wallace H. Coulter Dept. of Biomedical Engineering
Contact Adrianne Proeller]]>
62747 62747 image <![CDATA[Prof. Santangelo]]> image/jpeg 1449176394 2015-12-03 20:59:54 1475894547 2016-10-08 02:42:27
<![CDATA[New Nanoelectronics Technology Could Replace Conventional Microplate]]> 27349 Essentially arrays of tiny test tubes, microplates have been used for decades to simultaneously test multiple samples for their responses to chemicals, living organisms or antibodies. Fluorescence or color changes in labels associated with compounds on the plates can signal the presence of particular proteins or gene sequences.

The researchers hope to replace these microplates with modern microelectronics technology, including disposable arrays containing thousands of electronic sensors connected to powerful signal processing circuitry. If they're successful, this new electronic biosensing platform could help realize the dream of personalized medicine by making possible real-time disease diagnosis - potentially in a physician's office - and by helping select individualized therapeutic approaches.

Read Full Article

]]> Floyd Wood 1 1285113600 2010-09-22 00:00:00 1475896066 2016-10-08 03:07:46 0 0 news 2010-09-21T00:00:00-04:00 2010-09-21T00:00:00-04:00 2010-09-21 00:00:00 Floyd Wood
IBB
Contact Floyd Wood]]>
62751 62751 image <![CDATA[Prof. John McDonald]]> image/jpeg 1449176394 2015-12-03 20:59:54 1475894547 2016-10-08 02:42:27
<![CDATA[Record Attendance at Buzz on Biotechnology High School Open House]]> 27195 Georgia Tech's largest graduate student organization, Bioengineering and Bioscience Unified Graduate Students (BBUGS), with the support of the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience (IBB), hosted its annual Buzz on Biotechnology High School Open House.

Open to all Atlanta area high school students, parents and teachers, this year's event drew a record 400+ attendees from 56 different schools. Visitors came to engage in a wide variety of hands-on, innovative science and engineering demonstrations such as "Edible Cells," "Virtual Stomach Surgery," "Acids and Bases," "Electromyography Recordings of Muscles," "Protein Folding." They were able to tour the state-of-the-art laboratories of IBB such as neuroengineering, robotics, atomic force microscopy and biomedical engineering labs. Many guests also attended bioengineering and stem cell seminars and even had the opportunity to take Georgia Tech campus tours and talk with an admissions representative.

The day wrapped up with the always-popular "Egg Drop" contest to find the safest, and lightest, "egg helmet" by dropping all those constructed throughout the day from the atrium's third floor.

The open house event was created in 2003 by BBUGS to reach out to area high school students to indulge their curiosity by introducing them to the world of science and engineering in a fun and accessible way.

]]> Colly Mitchell 1 1285200000 2010-09-23 00:00:00 1479840852 2016-11-22 18:54:12 0 0 news Record Attendance at Buzz on Biotechnology High School Open House Event held at IBB

]]>
2010-09-20T00:00:00-04:00 2010-09-20T00:00:00-04:00 2010-09-20 00:00:00 Colly Mitchell
Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience
Contact Colly Mitchell
404-894-5982

]]>
61170 61170 image <![CDATA[Prosthetic Pete demonstration teaches students abo]]> image/jpeg 1449176308 2015-12-03 20:58:28 1475894533 2016-10-08 02:42:13
<![CDATA[DARPA Young Faculty Awards Received by Soper and Kelly]]> 27349 Professors Wendy Kelly and Jake Soper both received Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Young Faculty Awards. This program selects rising research stars from around the country and exposes them to the needs of the Department of Defense. DARPA’s goal is to fund researchers who will focus a significant portion of their careers on Department of Defense and National Security issues. Only 33 awards were made nationally in 2009, with two awarded to faculty in Georgia Tech’s School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. DARPA is funding Dr. Kelly’s research on “Biosynthetic engineering of thiopeptide antibiotics” and Dr. Soper’s research on “Redox-Active Ligand-Mediated Radical Coupling at Terminal Metal Oxo Ligands: Reactions Relevant to Water Oxidation for Artificial Photosynthesis”.

]]> Floyd Wood 1 1284336000 2010-09-13 00:00:00 1475896047 2016-10-08 03:07:27 0 0 news 2010-09-01T00:00:00-04:00 2010-09-01T00:00:00-04:00 2010-09-01 00:00:00 Shirley Tomes
Chemistry & Biochemistry
Contact Shirley Tomes
404-894-0591]]>
<![CDATA[Paving A New Way With Pigs]]> 27349 Reproduction can be pressing business, fraught with challenges. But two University of Georgia scientists made a breakthrough discovery in reproduction and regeneration that has thrown open the doors to wide-ranging possibilities, including new therapies for devastating human diseases and the preservation of endangered animal species.

Steve Stice and Franklin West won what amounted to a hotly contested race to become the first scientists to produce induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from adult livestock

Scientists Make Breakthrough

]]> Floyd Wood 1 1284076800 2010-09-10 00:00:00 1475896047 2016-10-08 03:07:27 0 0 news 2010-09-01T00:00:00-04:00 2010-09-01T00:00:00-04:00 2010-09-01 00:00:00 Floyd Wood
IBB
Contact Floyd Wood]]>
<![CDATA[Gibson receives grant for study of childhood cancer]]> 27349 Professor Greg Gibson (Biology) has received a 1 year pilot grant from the AFLAC Cancer Center for “Genomic profiling of late outcomes in survivors of childhood cancer". The study involves a collaboration with Drs. Ann Mertens and Karen Wasilewski in the Department of Hematology/Oncology at Emory University, and Dr. Ken Brigham, Director of the Center for Health Discovery and Well Being (CHDWB) at Emory. The objective of the project is to use a systems biology approach to try to understand why so many survivors of early childhood cancers begin to have a range of serious health problems as they reach adulthood, and to see if the CHDWB health care model might be an effective intervention. More information about the Emory childhood cancer survivor program can be found at http://www.choa.org/default.aspx?id=399

]]> Floyd Wood 1 1284336000 2010-09-13 00:00:00 1475896047 2016-10-08 03:07:27 0 0 news 2010-08-31T00:00:00-04:00 2010-08-31T00:00:00-04:00 2010-08-31 00:00:00 School Biology
School of Biology
Contact School Biology
404-894-3700]]>
<![CDATA[Eva Lee JoinsTeam at Emory's New Ctr for Systems Vaccinology]]> 27349 Eva Lee Joins Interdisciplinary Team at Emory's New Center for Systems Vaccinology

Eva K. Lee, professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech and director of the Center for Operations Research in Medicine and HealthCare, joins a highly integrated and interdisciplinary team conducting research in the newly established Center for Systems Vaccinology at Emory University.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health awarded a five-year, $15.5 million grant to the Emory Vaccine Center at Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta. Scientists in the new Center will employ the modern analytic tools of systems biology to understand the immune responses vaccines stimulate in humans and will use this knowledge to guide design of vaccines against HIV, malaria and other global pandemics

Bali Pulendran, the Charles Howard Candler professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Emory University, the Emory Vaccine Center, and Yerkes Research Center, is principal investigator of the center. Rafi Ahmed, director of the Emory Vaccine Center and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, will serve as co-principal investigator.

Lee and other researchers at the center will address a major challenge thus far in the development of vaccines - that the effectiveness of vaccination can only be ascertained after vaccinated individuals have been exposed to infection. To study vaccine-induced immunity in humans, they will use a multidisciplinary approach Pulendran developed, which involves immunology, genomics and bioinformatics to predict the immunity of a vaccine without exposing individuals to infection.

Researchers working in the new Center for Systems Vaccinology will determine whether Pulendran's approach can be used to predict the effectiveness of other vaccines, including common vaccines against influenza, pneumococcal disease and shingles. The ability to successfully predict the immunity and efficacy of vaccines would facilitate the rapid evaluation of new and emerging vaccines and the identification of individuals who are unlikely to be protected by a vaccine.

The team's initial work will focus on two major projects on innate immunity and adaptive immunity that ultimately will facilitate vaccine development in several ways: (1) by enabling a strategy to prospectively predict the immunogenicity of vaccines; (2) by offering new and fundamental insights into the genes, cells and networks that orchestrate vaccine-induced immunity in the young and elderly; and (3) by facilitating the generation of an open access database of vaccine-induced molecular signatures.

The Center's interdisciplinary team comprises researchers and clinicians in areas as diverse as immunology, vaccinology, clinical medicine, computational modeling, and mathematics. In addition to Lee, the team includes Nick Haining (Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston), Shankar Subramaniam (University of California, San Diego), Alex Sette (La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, La Jolla), Mark Mulligan (Hope Clinic, Emory Vaccine Center,; and Myron Levine and Adriana Weinberg (University of Colorado, Denver).

Lee, along with Haining and Subramaniam, co-direct the "Genomics and Computational Biology" core of the initiative. The Core will provide expertise, analysis, and experimental platforms to systematically interrogate the immune response to the inactivated trivalent influenza vaccine, the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, and the live attenuated varicella-zoster vaccine. Two major goals in this Core involve development of gene expression-based predictors of vaccine response in humans and use of genomic techniques as discovery tools to better understand the innate and adaptive immune response to vaccines.

Support for the first year of the Center initiative will come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

]]> Floyd Wood 1 1282694400 2010-08-25 00:00:00 1475896039 2016-10-08 03:07:19 0 0 news 2010-08-24T00:00:00-04:00 2010-08-24T00:00:00-04:00 2010-08-24 00:00:00 Barbara Christopher
Industrial and Systems Engineering
Contact Barbara Christopher
404.385.3102]]>
60672 60672 image <![CDATA[Eva Lee]]> image/jpeg 1449176281 2015-12-03 20:58:01 1475894528 2016-10-08 02:42:08
<![CDATA[Garcia Lab Research ft. in Science Translational Medicine Journal]]> 27349 Researchers have developed an improved coating technique that could strengthen the connection between titanium joint-replacement implants and a patient's own bone. The stronger connection - created by manipulating signals the body's own cells use to encourage growth - could allow the implants to last longer.

Implants coated with "flower bouquet" clusters of an engineered protein that mimics the body's own cell-adhesion material fibronectin made 50 percent more contact with the surrounding bone than implants coated with protein pairs or individual strands. The cluster-coated implants were fixed in place more than twice as securely as plugs made from bare titanium - which is how joints are currently attached.

Researchers believe the biologically-inspired material improves bone growth around the implant and strengthens the attachment and integration of the implant to the bone. This work also shows for the first time that biomaterials presenting biological sequences clustered together at the nanoscale enhance cell adhesion signals. These enhanced signals result in higher levels of bone cell differentiation in human stem cells and promote better integration of biomaterial implants into bone.

"By clustering the engineered fibronectin pieces together, we were able to create an amplified signal for attracting integrins, receptors that attached to the fibronectin and directed and enhanced bone formation around the implant," said Andres Garcia, professor in Georgia Tech's Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience.

Details of the new coating were reported in the August 18 issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Arthritis Foundation, and the Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute through the Georgia Tech/Emory Center for the Engineering of Living Tissues.

Total knee and hip replacements typically last about 15 years until the components wear down or loosen. For many younger patients, this means a second surgery to replace the first artificial joint. With approximately 40 percent of the 712,000 total hip and knee replacements in the United States in 2004 performed on younger patients 45-64 years old, improving the lifetime of the titanium joints and creating a better connection with the bone becomes extremely important.

In this study, Georgia Tech School of Chemistry and Biochemistry professor David Collard and his students coated clinical-grade titanium with a high density of polymer strands - akin to the bristles on a toothbrush. Then, Garcia and Tim Petrie - formerly a graduate student at Georgia Tech and currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington - modified the polymer to create three or five self-assembled tethered clusters of the engineered fibronectin, which contained the arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD)sequence to which integrins binds.

To evaluate the in vivo performance of the coated titanium in bone healing, the researchers drilled two-millimeter circular holes into a rat's tibia bone and pressed tiny clinical-grade titanium cylinders into the holes. The research team tested coatings that included individual strands, pairs, three-strand clusters and five-strand clusters of the engineered fibronectin protein.

"To investigate the function of these surfaces in promoting bone growth, we quantified osseointegration, or the growth of bone around the implant and strength of the attachment of the implant to the bone," explained Garcia, who is also a Woodruff Faculty Fellow at Georgia Tech.

Analysis of the bone-implant interface four weeks later revealed a 50 percent enhancement in the amount of contact between the bone and implants coated with three- or five-strand tethered clusters compared to implants coated with single strands. The experiments also revealed a 75 percent increase in the contact of the three- and five-strand clusters compared to the current clinical standard for replacement-joint implants, which is uncoated titanium.

The researchers also tested the fixation of the implants by measuring the amount of force required to pull the implants out of the bone. Implants coated with three- and five-strand tethered clusters of the engineered fibronectin fragment displayed 250 percent higher mechanical fixation over the individual strand and pairs coatings and a 400 percent improvement compared to the unmodified polymer coating. The three- and five-cluster coatings also exhibited a twofold enhancement in pullout strength compared to uncoated titanium.

Georgia Tech bioengineering graduate students Ted Lee and David Dumbauld, chemistry graduate students Subodh Jagtap and Jenny Raynor, and research technician Kellie Templeman also contributed to this study.

This work was partly funded by Grant No. R01 EB004496-01 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and PHS Grant UL1 RR025008 from the Clinical and Translational Science Award program, NIH, National Center for Research Resources. The content is solely the responsibility of the principal investigator and does not necessarily represent the official view of the NIH.

]]> Floyd Wood 1 1282089600 2010-08-18 00:00:00 1475896039 2016-10-08 03:07:19 0 0 news 2010-08-18T00:00:00-04:00 2010-08-18T00:00:00-04:00 2010-08-18 00:00:00 Abby Vogel Robinson
Research News and Publications
Contact Abby Vogel Robinson
404-385-3364]]>
60674 60674 image <![CDATA[Garcia]]> image/jpeg 1449176281 2015-12-03 20:58:01 1475894528 2016-10-08 02:42:08
<![CDATA[Initial Trials on New Ovarian Cancer Tests Exhibit Ext. High Accuracy]]> 27195 Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology have attained very promising results on their initial investigations of a new test for ovarian cancer. Using a new technique involving mass spectrometry of a single drop of blood serum, the test correctly identified women with ovarian cancer in 100 percent of the patients tested. The results can be found online in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention Research.

"Because ovarian cancer is a disease of relatively low prevalence, it's essential that tests for it be extremely accurate. We believe we may have developed such a test," said John McDonald, chief research scientist at the Ovarian Cancer Institute (Atlanta) and professor of biology at Georgia Tech.

The measurement step in the test, developed by the research group of Facundo Fernandez, associate professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Tech, uses a single drop of blood serum, which is vaporized by hot helium plasma. As the molecules from the serum become electrically charged, a mass spectrometer is used to measure their relative abundance. The test looks at the small molecules involved in metabolism that are in the serum, known as metabolites. Machine learning techniques developed by Alex Gray, assistant professor in the College of Computing and the Center for the Study of Systems Biology, were then used to sort the sets of metabolites that were found in cancerous plasma from the ones found in healthy samples. Then, McDonald's lab mapped the results between the metabolites found in both sets of tissue to discover the biological meaning of these metabolic changes.

The assay did extremely well in initial tests involving 94 subjects. In addition to being able to generate results using only a drop of blood serum, the test proved to be 100 percent accurate in distinguishing sera from women with ovarian cancer from normal controls. In addition it registered neither a single false positive nor a false negative

The group is currently in the midst of conducting the next set of assays, this time with 500 patients.

"The caveat is we don't currently have 500 patients with the same type of ovarian cancer, so we're going to look at other types of ovarian cancer," said Fernandez. "It's possible that there are also signatures for other cancers, not just ovarian, so we're also going to be using the same approach to look at other types of cancers. We'll be working with collaborators in Atlanta and elsewhere."

In addition to having a relatively low prevalence ovarian cancer is also asymptomatic in the early stages. Therefore, if further testing confirms the ability to accurately detect ovarian cancer by analyzing metabolites in the serum of women, doctors will be able detect the disease early and save many lives.

]]> Colly Mitchell 1 1281484800 2010-08-11 00:00:00 1475896039 2016-10-08 03:07:19 0 0 news 2010-08-11T00:00:00-04:00 2010-08-11T00:00:00-04:00 2010-08-11 00:00:00 Georgia Tech Media Relations
Laura Diamond
laura.diamond@comm.gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Jason Maderer
maderer@gatech.edu
404-660-2926

]]>
<![CDATA[NIH EUREKA Award Will Enable Design of New Brain Tumor Treatment]]> 27206 The Georgia Institute of Technology has received a EUREKA grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to design a new way to treat invasive brain tumors by capturing the migrating cells that spread the disease. The EUREKA -- Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration -- program helps scientists test new, unconventional ideas or tackle major methodological or technical challenges.

The research team plans to develop a system that will excavate brain tumor cells by directing them away from their location in the interior of the brain to a more external location where they can be removed or killed. Nanofiber-based polymer thin films coated with biochemical cues will be aligned in the brain to provide a corridor for tumor cells to follow to a gel-based ‘sink’ where they will be captured and safely removed or encouraged to die through chemical signaling.

“We believe this is the first attempt to exploit the invasive, migrating properties of brain tumors by engineering a path for the tumors to move away from the primary site to a location where treatment can occur,” said lead investigator Ravi Bellamkonda, a professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.

Collaborating with Bellamkonda on this project are Tobey MacDonald, director of the pediatric neuro-oncology program at the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and an associate professor of pediatrics at the Emory University School of Medicine; and Barun Brahma, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The initial partnership between the researchers began with seed funding from the Georgia Cancer Coalition and Ian’s Friends Foundation.

The National Cancer Institute is providing more than $1 million for the EUREKA grant. For the project, Bellamkonda, MacDonald and Brahma are focusing on treating medulloblastomas -- highly malignant brain tumors that account for more than 20 percent of pediatric brain tumors.

“Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor we see in children, but unfortunately the five-year survival rates for children with this cancer only range from 50 to 70 percent and the majority of survivors have a significantly reduced quality of life as a result of treatment-related toxicities,” said MacDonald, who is also a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Scholar. “An increasing number of survivors are also at risk for developing secondary malignancies as a result of the treatment we now administer. Clearly we have to do a much better job at treating these tumors; however, improving survival while reducing the toxic effects of treatment will require a highly innovative approach.”

Medulloblastoma treatment currently involves surgery followed by radiation therapy to the entire brain and spine and up to one year of intensive intravenous chemotherapy. However, radiation is often delayed or omitted altogether in young children due to its debilitating long-term side effects on the developing central nervous system.

These changes to the timing of radiation administration can adversely impact survival. And while surgery is a mainstay of treatment, it too can cause a significant loss of cognitive and neurological function due to the critical areas of the brain that may be involved by the tumor’s spread but require an extensive surgical area to remove as much of the tumor as possible.

This EUREKA grant aims to address the urgent need to develop therapies to safely treat invasive medulloblastomas in children.

“Our plan is to deliver the tumor to the drug -- by directing tumor cells to a specially engineered gel that can be removed or designed to kill the cells -- rather than the current strategy of delivering the drug to the tumor, which is problematic due to the irregular vasculature and poor diffusivity of the tumor tissue,” explained Bellamkonda, who is also a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Scholar.

The researchers plan to design a polymer thin film system that will include topographical and biochemical cues similar to those that guide the initial brain tumor invasion. The thin films will be rolled up and deployed with minimally invasive catheters. Because neural tissue will not be suctioned and the films are very thin, there should be minimal tissue and tumor disruption.

The films will also be non-toxic to the patient because they will be engineered with biocompatible, stable polymers. In previous studies, the polymers have been implanted in the nervous systems of small animals for more than 16 weeks with no adverse tissue reactions.

“This research represents a radical approach to treating invasive tumors that is based on the universal properties and mechanics of cell motility and the migration characteristic of metastasis, regardless of the molecular and genetic origins of the tumor,” added Bellamkonda.

If successful, this approach would identify a new and innovative way to treat pediatric medulloblastomas and has the potential to open a new avenue for the treatment of other invasive solid tumors, such as brain stem tumors. These cancers are incurable because they are located in an inoperable region and/or they are resistant or inaccessible to the delivery of chemotherapy agents.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts: Abby Vogel Robinson (404-385-3364; abby@innovate.gatech.edu) or John Toon (404-894-6986; jtoon@gatech.edu)

Writer: Abby Vogel Robinson

]]> Abby Vogel Robinson 1 1281398400 2010-08-10 00:00:00 1475896035 2016-10-08 03:07:15 0 0 news The Georgia Institute of Technology has received a EUREKA grant from the National Cancer Institute to design a new way to treat invasive brain tumors by capturing the migrating cells that spread the disease.

]]>
2010-08-10T00:00:00-04:00 2010-08-10T00:00:00-04:00 2010-08-10 00:00:00 Abby Vogel Robinson
Research News and Publications
Contact Abby Vogel Robinson
404-385-3364

]]>
60386 60387 60388 60386 image <![CDATA[Ravi Bellamkonda]]> image/jpeg 1449176267 2015-12-03 20:57:47 1475894523 2016-10-08 02:42:03 60387 image <![CDATA[Ravi Bellamkonda]]> image/jpeg 1449176267 2015-12-03 20:57:47 1475894523 2016-10-08 02:42:03 60388 image <![CDATA[Ravi Bellamkonda]]> image/jpeg 1449176267 2015-12-03 20:57:47 1475894523 2016-10-08 02:42:03 <![CDATA[Ravi Bellamkonda]]> <![CDATA[Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering]]>
<![CDATA[NSF Awards Stem Cell Bio-Manufacturing Research and Edu. Program to GT]]> 27349 The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $3 million to the Georgia Institute of Technology to fund a unique research program on stem cell bio-manufacturing. The program is specifically focused on developing engineering methods for stem cell production, in order to meet the anticipated demand for stem cells. The award comes through the NSF's Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Program, which supports innovation in graduate education in fields that cross academic disciplines and have broad societal impact.

While stem cell research is on the verge of broadly impacting many elements of the medical field - regenerative medicine, drug discovery and development, cell-based diagnostics and cancer - the bio-process engineering that will be required to manufacture sufficient quantities of functional stem cells for these diagnostic and therapeutic purposes has not been rigorously explored.

"Successfully integrating knowledge of stem cell biology with bioprocess engineering and process development into single individuals is the challenging goal of this program," said Todd McDevitt, an associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University and a Petit Faculty Fellow in the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences at Georgia Tech.

McDevitt is leading the IGERT with Robert M. Nerem, professor emeritus of the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech. Nerem is also director of the Georgia Tech/Emory Center (GTEC) for Regenerative Medicine, which will administer this award.

Ph.D. students funded by Georgia Tech's stem cell bio-manufacturing IGERT will receive interdisciplinary educational training in the biology, engineering, enabling technologies, commercialization and public policy related to stem cells. Their research efforts will focus on developing innovative engineering approaches to bridge the gap between basic discoveries made in stem cell biology and therapeutic stem cell-based technologies.

"This program provides a unique opportunity for engineers to generate standardized and quantitative methods for stem cell isolation, characterization, propagation and differentiation," said Nerem. "These techniques must be developed in a scalable manner to efficiently produce sufficient numbers of stem cells and derivatives in accessible formats in order to yield a spectrum of novel therapeutic and diagnostic applications of stem cells."

The Georgia Tech program is centered around three main research thrusts, which focus on several critical technologies that must be developed to enable the application and use of stem cell-based products:

* Creating reproducible, controlled and scalable methods to expand and differentiate stem cells with defined phenotypes and epigenetic states.
* Developing reliable, rapid and quantifiable methods to characterize the composition and function of stem cells to be generated.
* Designing low-cost systems capable of producing large populations of defined stem cells and derivatives.

Students in the program will be able to take advantage of the core facilities provided by the new Stem Cell Engineering Center at Georgia Tech, which is directed by McDevitt. Technologies developed by the students supported through this IGERT will be rapidly integrated into academic and industrial stem cell practices and cell-based products.

The award will support 30 new Ph.D. students over the next five years and brings together more than two dozen faculty members from Georgia Tech, Emory University, the University of Georgia and the Morehouse School of Medicine. In addition, plans are being made for students to participate in international research collaborations with the National University of Ireland at Galway, Imperial College London, the University of Cambridge and the University of Toronto.

"We anticipate this program will produce the future leaders and innovators in the field of stem cell bio-manufacturing who will contribute significantly at the interface of stem cell engineering, biology and therapy," added McDevitt.

]]> Floyd Wood 1 1281916800 2010-08-16 00:00:00 1475896039 2016-10-08 03:07:19 0 0 news 2010-08-16T00:00:00-04:00 2010-08-16T00:00:00-04:00 2010-08-16 00:00:00 Abby Vogel Robinson
Research News and Publications
Contact Abby Vogel Robinson
404-385-3364]]>
60676 60676 image <![CDATA[Todd McDevitt]]> image/jpeg 1449176281 2015-12-03 20:58:01 1475894528 2016-10-08 02:42:08
<![CDATA[Scientists Cut Ribbon on the Center for Chemical Evolution]]> 27349 Researchers engaged in studying the origins of life celebrated a new $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration yesterday at a gala presided over by Provost Gary Schuster. Researchers will focus their efforts on exploring chemical processes that enable the spontaneous formation of functional polymers -- such as proteins and DNA -- from much smaller and simpler starting materials.

"Our research team seeks to understand how certain molecules in a complex mixture can work together to form highly ordered assemblies that exhibit chemical properties similar to those associated with biological molecules," said Nicholas V. Hud, a professor in the Georgia Tech School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. "Such a process was likely an essential and early stage of life, so we are also working to understand what chemicals were present on the prebiotic Earth and what processes helped these chemicals form the complex substances ultimately needed for life."

Hud will direct the effort, which is known as the Center for Chemical Evolution. The five-year grant will support research in more than 15 laboratories at institutions including Georgia Tech, Emory University, the Scripps Research Institute, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Jackson State University, Spelman College, Furman University and the SETI Institute.

All of the researchers will work together to accomplish the Center for Chemical Evolution's three main research goals:

To identify potential biological building blocks among the products of model prebiotic reactions,to investigate the chemical components and conditions that promote the spontaneous assembly of increasingly complex multi-component structures, and to prepare and characterize highly-ordered chemical assemblies, and to study their potential to function like biological substances.
Representatives from some of the partner institutions and the National Science Foundation (NSF) were on hand to mark the occasion with remarks and a ribbon cutting.

"The Georgia Research Alliance is proud to have at least two of our universities, Georgia Tech and Emory, collaborating with others on this project," said Susan Shows, senior vice president of the Georgia Research Alliance. "There are many groundbreaking programs under way on our campuses - more than my company can support in many cases. So when federal agencies put competitive funding into a program, it makes it easy for the GRA to know where to invest its strategic dollars."

Other speakers included: Charles Liotta, interim chair of the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Georgia Tech; Pat Marsteller, director of the Emory College Center for Science Education at Emory University; Loren Williams, director of Tech's NASA Ribosome Center; Katherine Covert, NSF program director for Integrative Chemistry Activities; and Matthew Platz, incoming director of the NSF Division of Chemistry.

]]> Floyd Wood 1 1280880000 2010-08-04 00:00:00 1475896035 2016-10-08 03:07:15 0 0 news 2010-08-03T00:00:00-04:00 2010-08-03T00:00:00-04:00 2010-08-03 00:00:00 Georgia Tech Media Relations
Laura Diamond
laura.diamond@comm.gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Jason Maderer
maderer@gatech.edu
404-660-2926

]]>
60412 60412 image <![CDATA[Nick Hud]]> 1449176267 2015-12-03 20:57:47 1475894523 2016-10-08 02:42:03
<![CDATA[Ravi Bellamkonda Named Associate Vice President for Research]]> 27349 Ravi Bellamkonda, a professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, has been named an associate vice president within the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research (EVPR). The three-year appointment, which begins on August 1, enables Bellamkonda to divide his time evenly between his own research and the administrative responsibilities of this new position.

In announcing the appointment, Executive Vice President for Research Steve Cross said, "I worked closely with Ravi during the strategic planning process of the past year and was pleased to learn of his continued interest in supporting Georgia Tech research on an institutional level. Ravi is a first-rate scientist with excellent intellectual curiosity and temperament, and I am excited about his joining our leadership team."

A Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Scholar, Bellamkonda directs the Neurological Biomaterials and Cancer Therapeutics Laboratory and a National Institutes of Health (NIH) T32 training program in the Rational Design of Biomaterials. He also served as deputy director for research at the Georgia Tech & Emory Center for Regenerative Medicine (GTEC).

Visit URL below to view full article:
http://www.ibb.gatech.edu/hg_news/60222

]]> Floyd Wood 1 1280188800 2010-07-27 00:00:00 1475896035 2016-10-08 03:07:15 0 0 news Ravi Bellamkonda, a professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, has been named an associate vice president within the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research (EVPR). The three-year appointment, which begins on August 1, enables Bellamkonda to divide his time evenly between his own research and the administrative responsibilities of this new position.

]]>
2010-07-26T00:00:00-04:00 2010-07-26T00:00:00-04:00 2010-07-26 00:00:00 Floyd Wood
IBB
Contact Floyd Wood

]]>
60223 60223 image <![CDATA[Ravi Bellamkonda]]> 1449176253 2015-12-03 20:57:33 1475894523 2016-10-08 02:42:03
<![CDATA[IBB Industrial Partners Video Now on YouTube]]> 27349 IBB Industrial Partners Program has created a new YouTube video detailing its mission and importance in the biotechnology community.

This video is complete with interviews of industry partners, faculty, students and staff, explaining the history of the program and their roles as it relates to the necessity of these collaborations.

View Industrial Partners YouTube Video

]]> Floyd Wood 1 1277424000 2010-06-25 00:00:00 1475896031 2016-10-08 03:07:11 0 0 news 2010-06-25T00:00:00-04:00 2010-06-25T00:00:00-04:00 2010-06-25 00:00:00 Floyd Wood
IBB
Contact Floyd Wood]]>
<![CDATA[View Industrial Partners Video on YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[Research Could Lead to New Diagnostics, Treatments for Atherosclerosis]]> 27349 A new animal model of atherosclerosis has allowed researchers to identify a host of genes turned on or off during the initial stages of the process, before a plaque appears in the affected blood vessel.

The model is the first to definitively show that disturbances in the patterns of blood flow in an artery determine where atherosclerosis will later appear, says senior author Hanjoong Jo, PhD, Ada Lee and Pete Correll professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.

The first author of the paper is Chih-Wen Ni, a graduate student in biomedical engineering.

Atherosclerosis describes a process where the arterial walls thicken and harden, because of a gradual build-up of white blood cells, lipids and cholesterol. This process can lead to plaque formation, and eventually to heart attacks and strokes.

Jo says his team's results could provide insight into how aerobic exercise, known to provide protection against atherosclerosis, improves the patterns of blood flow and encourages protective genes to turn on in blood vessels.

Scientists have previously observed that atherosclerosis occurs preferentially in branched or curved regions of arteries, because of the "disturbed flow" branches and curves create. Constant, regular flow of blood appears to promote healthy blood vessels, while low or erratic flow can lead to disease.

The standard laboratory model of atherosclerosis has scientists feeding a high-fat diet to mice with mutations in a gene (ApoE) involved in removing fat and cholesterol from the blood. Even then, atherosclerosis usually takes a few months to develop. In these models, clogs in a mouse's arteries tend to appear in certain places, such as the aortic arch, but flow patterns are set up at birth and thus are poor gauges of cause and effect, Jo says.

"We have developed a model where we disturb blood flow in the carotid artery by partial ligation, and atherosclerosis appears within two weeks," he says. "This rapid progression allows us to demonstrate cause and effect, and to examine the landmark events at the beginning of the process."

Jo says that endothelial cells, which form the inner lining of blood vessels, are equipped with sensors that detect changes in fluid flow.

"Disturbed flow is what causes the endothelial cells to become inflamed," he says.

The inflammation resulting from "bad flow" conditions in a stretch of artery causes white blood cells to accumulate there, followed by buildup of cholesterol and lipids and plaque formation.

Just 48 hours after blood flow in the carotid arteries was disturbed, Ni and colleagues dissected the carotid arteries from the mice and used genome-wide microarray technology to identify hundreds of genes that were turned on or off in the endothelial cells.

In past experiments, scientists grew endothelial cells in dishes to probe how different patterns of fluid flow affected their patterns of genes. However, growing cells in dishes alters them enough that many of the genes Jo's team found have not been identified before in this context.

For example, the team showed that the gene LMO4 - not previously known to be involved in atherosclerosis - is turned on in their mouse model and also in human coronary arteries. Scientists studying breast cancer think LMO4 is involved in tumor migration and invasion, making an interesting parallel between atherosclerosis and cancer, Jo says.

He says his laboratory is now probing which of the newly identified genes are most important in atherosclerosis and searching for ways to manipulate them with drugs or genetic techniques, with an eye towards possible diagnostic and pharmaceutical applications.

The research was supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the Ada Lee and Pete Correll Professorship at Emory and Georgia Tech, and the World Class University project at Ewha Womans University in South Korea.

The results were published June 15 in Blood, the journal of the American Society of Hematology.

]]> Floyd Wood 1 1277683200 2010-06-28 00:00:00 1475896031 2016-10-08 03:07:11 0 0 news 2010-06-23T00:00:00-04:00 2010-06-23T00:00:00-04:00 2010-06-23 00:00:00 Floyd Wood
IBB
Contact Floyd Wood]]>