Biotechnology Research Center Research Forum Awards

Caleb Vogt
Caleb Vogt
The Eleventh Annual Research Forum sponsored by the Biotechnology Research Center was held on Wednesday, Oct. 22, and Thursday, Oct. 23. Forty-one graduate and undergraduate students conducting research in life science, biotechnology, human health and related areas presented posters. Oral presentations were also given. Speakers included Jeremy Goldman (Bio Med), Ashutosh Tiwari (Chem), Hairong Wei (SFRES), Justin Segula (SFRES graduate student), Jingtuo Zhang (Chem graduate student) and Caleb Vogt (Bio Med undergrad student).

Thank you to the participants, the judges and all who helped with another successful BRC Research Forum. A list of BRC award winners is below.

Graduate Grand Prize
Maria Gencoglu (ChE) “A New Virus Purification Process: Virus Flocculation in the Presence of Osmolytes”
Advisor: Caryn Heldt

Graduate Merit Awards
Emily Shearier (Bio Med) “Mesenchymal Stem Cell Spheroids for Therapy Following Axillary Lymph Node Dissection” Advisor: Feng Zhao

Yu Wang (Bio Med) “Building a Virtual Breast Elastography Phantom Lab Using Open Source Software”
Advisor: Jingfeng Jiang

Undergraduate Grand Prize
Caleb Vogt (Bio Med) “Human Mesenchymal Stem Cell Response to Nitric Oxide Relesasing Materials”
Advisors: Megan Frost and Feng Zhao

Undergraduate Merit Award
Mitchell Tahtinen (Bio Med) “Prevascularization of Natural Extracellular Matrix Scaffold”
Advisor: Feng Zhao

Biomedical Engineering Graduate Seminar: R&D in the Medical Device Industry

oct24Biomedical Engineering Graduate Seminar: Orhan Soykan, Ph.D., Professor of Practice—Biomedical Engineering, Michigan Technological University; Friday, October 24; 3:00 in U113 M&M;
Sponsored by: Department of Biomedical Engineering

Title: R&D in the Medical Device Industry

A significant percentage of engineers with M.S. and Ph.D. degrees work in the medical device industry. In addition to conducting research, they also participate in the product development, technology assessment, due diligence, market research, clinical trials, preclinical studies as well as regulatory and quality assurance tasks. During the last ten years, the medical device sector followed the general industrial trends in the Unit-ed States and began to outsource a good portion of internal work to subcontractors, both at domestic and overseas locations. In this presentation, a general overview of both the large and the small medical device companies as well as the work environment of the technical staff working in this sector will be presented.

Attendees are urged to bring their questions for an interactive discussion that is planned for the last 15 minute of the seminar.

Orhan Soykan obtained his Ph.D. degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1990. O. Soykan’s career took him to engineering, academic, applied research, and business and product development positions at diverse or-ganizations such as the Military Electronics Industries (ASELSAN), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Medtronic, Inc. (serving in Minneapolis and in Tokyo). He has 22 issued U.S. patents and 48 pending U.S. patent ap-plications. In January 2013, Twin Cities Business Magazine listed him as one of the “Top 500 Inventors in Minnesota.”

Biomedical Engineering Graduate Seminar: Stem Cell-based Musculoskeletal Tissue Regeneration

oct17Biomedical Engineering Graduate Seminar: Wan-Ju Li, Phd, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Friday, October 17; 3:00 in U113 M&M;
Sponsored by: Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Biotechnology Research Center (BRC)

Title: Stem Cell-based Musculoskeletal Tissue Regeneration

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can be isolated from several adult tissues, such as bone marrow, fat, and blood, and cultured in vitro for extensive propagation. These cells are multi-potent, and with proper biochemical or physical cues, they can differentiate into various connective tissue linage cells, such as osteoblast, chondrocyte, adipocyte, and tenocyte. Notably, transplanted allogeneic MSCs can regulate the activity of recipient’s immune cells to reduce the immune response. These unique properties make MSCs an attractive cell source for cell therapy and re-generative medicine applications.
Using MSCs to regenerate cartilage for tissue repair is a promising treatment to osteoarthritis (OA) or other cartilage defects. However, one of the challenges using MSCs for regenerative medicine is that the cells isolated from adult tissues are often composed of heterogeneous cell popu-lations, and the heterogeneity increases the difficulty of using the cells for cartilage regeneration. Another challenge is that MSCs become aged and senescent after several cell passages in vitro culture, limiting the use for clinical applications. To overcome the challenges, we derive MSCs from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and study the potential of hESC-MSCs for cartilage regeneration. We compare the phenotype of hESC-MSCs with that of bone marrow-derived MSCs. Flow cytometry analysis shows that MSCs and hESC-MSCs express similar cell surface markers. In terms of the potential for chondrogenesis, the mRNA transcript levels of chondrocyte-related matrix proteins and transcription factors, such as collagens type II, IX, and X, aggrecan, and Sox9, are upregulated in MSCs compared to those in hESC-MSCs during chondrogenesis, suggesting that the current differentiation protocol more effectively induces MSCs into chondrocytes than hESC-MSCs, and an improved differen-tiation protocols should be developed to induce chondrogenesis of hESC-MSCs.
For tissue engineering applications, we demonstrate a unique approach using a biomimetic scaffold, intervertebral disc (IVD) and stem cell coculture, and mechanical stimulation to tissue-engineer a biological IVD substitute. The results show that our approach provides both favorable physical and chemical cues through cell-matrix and cell-cell interactions and mechanobiological induction to enhance IVD generation ex vivo. Taken together, we have shown the potential of using stem cell and nanofabrication technologies to regenerate functional tissue for orthopedic treatment.

Professor Wan-Ju Li is the Principal Investigator of the Musculoskeletal Biology and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States of America. He is also an affiliated faculty member in Cellular and Molecular Biology Program, and Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center. His research interests include stem cell, tissue engineering, nanobiomaterial, and skeletal biology.

“Virtual Breast” Could Improve Cancer Detection

image113672-horizNext to lung cancer, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women, according to the American Cancer Society. That’s why so many medical professionals encourage women to get mammograms, even though the tests are imperfect at best: only a minority of suspicious mammograms actually leads to a cancer diagnosis.
That results in lots of needless worry for women and their families—not to mention the time, discomfort and expense of additional tests, including ultrasounds and biopsies.
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Biomedical News Briefs

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Technology Century, an online and print publication of the Engineering Society of Detroit, featured editor Matt Roush’s interviews with faculty and graduate students from the College of Engineering at Michigan Tech, the first stop on his annual Tech Tour of university campuses in Michigan.

Tech Times, a technology news website, published an article about Assistant Professor Jingfeng Jiang’s (Biomed) “virtual breast” to improve breast cancer detection.

Jingfeng Jiang, Sean Kirkpatrick and Rupak Rajachar (Biomed/BRC) have received $452,780 from the US Department of Health and Human Services National Institute of Health for a two-year project titled “Virtual Breast Project: Improving Noninvasive Characterization of Tumors.”

Tolou Shokuhfar (ME-EM/Biomed//MuSTI) received $29,600 from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for a research and development project titled “In Situ Liquid Microscopy of Biological Materials.”

Science 2.0, a science news website, reported on Assistant Professor Jingfeng Jiang’s (BME) research on a “virtual breast” for improved cancer detection.

Megan Frost (Biomed) has recieved $150,000 from the National Science Foundation for a research and development project titled “Tunable Nitric Oxide Releasing Polymeric Materials.”

Seminar: Instrumenting the Human Body

sep22Seminar presentation jointly sponsored by Michigan Technological University’s College of Engineering and the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering
Date: Monday, September 22, 2014; Time: 4:00-5:00 p.m.; Location: M&M U115
Title: Instrumenting the Human Body
Richard B. Brown, Ph.D., Dean of Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City

Abstract: Advances in semiconductor technology are enabling research into, and treatment of, many human diseases. Prof. Brown will present a highly‐integrated, low‐power, wireless, mixed-signal microprocessor that was designed for implantable biomedical applications, and braincomputer interfaces that enable researchers to monitor electrical firing of individual neurons, local field potentials, and chemical signaling in the brain.

Biography: Prof. Brown earned the degrees BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from Brigham Young University. After working in industry for six years, he returned to school at the University of Utah and received the degree PhD in EE in 1985, developing one of the first “smart sensors,” an array of liquid chemical sensors with integrated electronics. Upon graduation, he joined the faculty of the University of Michigan, where he developed their VLSI program and conducted research on circuits (high‐speed, low‐power, high‐temperature, and radiation hard), microprocessors (high‐performance, low‐power, and mixed‐signal), sensors (for ions, heavy metals, and neurotransmitters), and brain‐machine interfaces. At Michigan he held an Arthur F. Thurnau Endowed Professorship. In 2004, he was appointed Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Utah, where he has continued to do research on circuits, mixed-signal microcontrollers and neural interfaces. Prof. Brown has been a founder with his students of Mobius Microsystems (all‐silicon clock generators), i‐SENS (glucose sensors), Sensicore (water chemistry sensors), and e‐SENS (chemical sensors). He holds 17 patents, has authored more than 225 peer‐reviewed publications, and graduated 30 PhD students.

Richard B. Brown, Ph.D., Dean of Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City presented a seminar at Michigan  Title: Instrumenting the Human Body; Shown here 2nd from left with Michigan Tech faculty, Paul Bergstrom, ECE Chair Daniel Fuhrmann and Saeid Nooshabadi
Richard B. Brown, Ph.D., Dean of Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City presented a seminar at Michigan Title: Instrumenting the Human Body; Shown here 2nd from left with Michigan Tech faculty, Paul Bergstrom, ECE Chair Daniel Fuhrmann and Saeid Nooshabadi

Seminar: Vascularized Bone Grafts for Craniofacial Regeneration

sep5Biomedical Engineering Graduate Seminar: Warren Grayson, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University; Friday, September 5 – 138 Fisher at 10:00 a.m.

Title: Vascularized Bone Grafts for Craniofacial Regeneration

The treatment of large bone loss due to congenital defects, trauma or cancer resection remains a huge clini-cal challenge. There are approximately one million fractures requiring bone transplantation annually in the US and it is predicted that within the next 10 years this number will significantly increase, particularly in per-sons over 50 years of age. Tissue engineering provides a viable means of obtaining ‘autologous’ bone grafts for the treatment of large bone defects. Successful application of tissue-engineered grafts however requires that we can couple the formation of de novo vasculature in tandem with new bone growth. Our lab has investigated methods for cultivating anatomically-shaped bone grafts in bioreactors and pre-vascularizing these grafts via co-culture techniques. More recent studies have examined the use of adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) to engineer vascularized bone grafts that can be used to repair craniofacial de-fects. We have found that heterotypic interaction among endothelial and non-endothelial sub-populations mediate by growth factor effects can choreograph the formation of complex tissue grafts. These findings suggest the tremendous potential for using ASCs in concert with engineering techniques to provide clinically relevant vascularized bone grafts for the repair and regeneration of craniofacial bone loss.

This seminar is partially funded by the Visiting Women & Minority Lecturer/Scholar Series which is funded by the President’s Office and a grant to the Office of Institutional equity from the State of Michigan’s King-Chavez-Parks Initiative

Feng Zhao Named an Academic Editor

image51532-persFeng Zhao, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, has been named an academic editor for PLOS ONE. PLOS ONE is the largest journal in the world, publishing well over 2000 articles per month. The underlying philosophy of PLOS ONE is that all research, if well-performed and well-reported, has something of value to offer the scientific community, and accordingly, PLOS ONE’s editorial criteria focuses on the technical quality of the work rather than any subjective judgments such as perceived novelty or limited relevance to a specialist field. Editorial Board members at PLOS ONE are given a high degree of editorial autonomy over the papers that they handle and are responsible for deciding whether a manuscript adheres to the journal’s criteria for publication.

Study of Key Biomolecule Earns Tolou Shokuhfar CAREER Award

Tolou Shokuhfar will be investigating the inner workings of a protein that plays a key role in human health with funding from a five-year, $400,000 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award.

Shokuhfar,a faculty member of both departments of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics at Michigan Technological University, will study the biomolecule ferritin, which stores iron in the body in a non-toxic, mineralized form and releases it safely. In humans, ferritin serves as a buffer between iron deficiency and iron overload, and when it malfunctions, it may be involved in a number of degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
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See previous article: A graphene water balloon may soon open up new vistas for scientists seeking to understand health and disease at the most fundamental level.
It’s the Water: Graphene Balloon Yields Unprecedented Images of Hydrated Protein Molecules

Biomedical Engineering Announces the 2014 Kenneth L. Stevenson Research Fellows

The Department of Biomedical Engineering announces the recipients of the 2014 Kenneth L. Stevenson Research Fellows. Two undergraduate and two graduate students are selected annually to receive these competitive research fellowships. The Stevenson Fellows program provides an opportunity for upper-level undergraduate and early-stage graduate students to spend the summer in a total immersion research experience in a biomedical engineering research laboratory. The annual competition is open to students from all academic departments who wish to explore biomedical engineering research and provides a generous research stipend.

This year’s undergraduate recipients are Mitchell Tahtinen and Mitchell Kirby, both third-year biomedical engineering students. Mitch Tahtinen will work with Assistant Professor Feng Zhao on a project entitled, “Prevascularization of Natural Extracellular Matrix Scaffold.” Mitch Kirby will work with Assistant Professor Xuan Liu on 3-D optical coherence tomography-based microangiography.

Mitchell Kirby

Mitchell Tahtinen

Graduate students receiving Stevenson fellowships this year are Yuting Li and Ameya Narkar. Both are biomedical engineering doctoral students working with Bruce Lee, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering. Ameya and Yuting will be working on the development and medical applications of biomimetic adhesives.

Yuting Li

Ameya Narkar

The Stevenson fellowship program is made possible through generous support from Charles ’81 and Joni Stevenson.