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.
Title: Endothelialization of Vascular Biomaterials
In developing blood-contacting vascular biomaterials, a confluent endothelial cell (EC) monolayer may be required to avoid adverse blood reactions. In vitro, the hemostatic properties (“thrombogenicity”) of ECs have typically been char-acterized using anticoagulated blood, static or non-physiologic flow conditions, and short blood exposure times. Con-sequently, the relevance of these findings for in vivo applications remains uncertain. Moreover, there have been few studies of the reactivity of EC constructs in vivo, and no studies have been reported that systematically relate the in vitro properties of endothelialized surfaces with their responses in vivo. Accordingly, it is now recognized within the tissue engineering community that a key impediment to further progress towards applications in man is the lack of predictive animal models that will enable the rational design of cellular constructs. We are characterizing the in vitro and ex vivo pro-hemostatic and anti-hemostatic properties of ECs (that can affect platelets and coagulation), and im-portant in vivo responses of thrombosis and vascular healing in a physically relevant primate model. Endothelial out-growth cells (EOCs), isolated from the circulating endothelial progenitor cells of baboons, have been seeded on pro-tein-coated ePTFE vascular grafts. We have studied the role of extracellular matrix coatings and hemodynamic pre-conditioning on the EOC phenotype, particularly related to coagulation and inflammation. Subsequently, in an ex vivo baboon shunt model, platelet and fibrin accumulation were measured under conditions of controlled, native blood flow. Finally, the endothelialized vascular grafts were implanted as aorto-iliac interposition grafts for 28 days. After a thorough evaluation of potential correlations, a linear regression model using in vitro data was established to predict platelet accumulation. This regression correlated significantly and strongly to both ex vivo platelet and in vivo intimal hyperplasia data. This is the first work of this type—attempting to determine predictors for vascular graft performance from in vitro endothelial markers, and while future work should examine the scope of the model by applying it to other endothelialized grafts, we are encouraged by these results, which may aid in improving translation of small diameter vascular grafts into clinical improvements.
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
Keegan Yates, a third-year biomedical engineering major, has been selected to participate in the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates, to be held this summer at Virginia Tech.
He is among 10 students selected nationwide to participate in the program, which will focus on multiscale approaches to biomechanics.
Yates has been working on research projects in Assistant Professor Feng Zhao’s (Biomedical Engineering) Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering Laboratory since his freshman year. His major focus has been on the development and characterization of naturally derived biomaterials for tissue engineering. Dr. Zhao said “Keegan is a very smart, reliable, highly motivated and independent student who has good sense of science. Keegan has great potential to become an outstanding scientist.”
He has coauthored three papers and presented at the Biomedical Engineering Society national meeting in 2013, as well as twice at the Biotech Research Center’s student research forum, where he won a merit award in 2013 and a grand prize for best poster in 2014.
Yates will investigate mechanical properties of structures ranging from cellular component to the whole body and determine how this knowledge can help create devices to prevent, diagnose and treat injuries and disease.
The award includes a $4,000 stipend, lodging and transportation to Virginia Tech.
Biomedical Engineering Graduate Seminar:
Dr. Jan-Marten Seitz, Institut für Werkstoffkunde, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Garbsen, Germany
Friday, April 4 at 3:00 in U113 M&M
Title: “Development and Characterization of Magnesium-Neodymium Alloys for Biomedical Applications”
The aim of the presented study is to investigate and demonstrate the potential of neodymium additions as a substitute for rare earth (RE) misch-metal in magnesium alloys for biomedical applications. Here, the alloys LAE442, LANd442, ZEK100, ZNdK100, and Nd2 were manufactured and processed to evaluate their material characteristics in different states and to investigate the effects of Nd additions. To determine the mechanical characteristics of these alloys, tensile tests were initially carried out in the hot extruded state. Subsequent T5- and T6-heat treatments were con-ducted to reveal their effect on the alloys’ strength and elongation values. The general degradation behavior of the alloys in a 0.9% NaCl solution was investigated by means of polarization curves and hydrogen evolution. In addition, by using various in-vivo-parameters, a corrosion environ-ment was established to determine the alloys’ degradation in vitro. Comparing LAE442 and LANd442, a lack of corrosive stability could be ob-served while the mechanical strength remained constant in the latter alloy’s Nd substitution for the RE mischmetal. A contrary effect was deter-mined for the alloy ZEK100 compared with ZNdK100. In both substitutional approaches, heat treatment procedures could not align the substi-tutes’ material properties with the educts’ material properties. However, in the case of Nd2, which was initially chosen as relevant alloy to deter-mine the effects of Nd on Mg in a simple binary composition, excellent ductility and corrosion properties could be observed. This makes the alloy a promising candidate for use as resorbable implant material, especially in the field of stenting applications. Here, the enormous increase of duc-tility, promoted by an advantageous microstructural behavior under loadings, could be attributed to additions of Nd.
Biography: Within the past 5 years, Dr. Seitz has worked as a PhD Student and Scientist at Leibniz Universität in Hannover, Germany, with a focus on lightweight materials research and biomedical engineering applications. He developed process chains for resorbable Mg-implant applications such as stents, intramedullary nails, and sutures. This work included basic processes such as casting, hot-extrusion, heat treatment, drawing and coating procedures, as well as many analytical processes. The impact of different alloying elements on the mechanical and corrosive behavior of Mg in different conditions was one of the biggest challenges in this context. Besides the development of promising biodegradable Mg alloys, he also worked on the manufacture of thin wires from magnesium by means of extrusion and drawing processes. During an overseas stay at The University of Auckland, he developed polymer and ceramic based coatings for medical applications with magnesium and analyzed their structural behavior in a corrosive environment.
$300 Grand Prizes
Biotechnology Research Center
Connor McCarthy (Biomedical Engineering) for “Native Elastin Scaffolds as Blood Contacting Surfaces Incorporating Nitric Oxide Release,” Advisors: Megan Frost and Jeremy Goldman
Ecosystem Science Center
Adam Coble (SFRES) for “Both Height and Light Influence Leaf Morphology in Sugar Maple Canopy,” Advisor: Molly Cavaleri
$100 Merit Awards
Biotechnolgy Research Center
Yiping Mao (Biological Sciences) for “Overexpression of microRNA-30d increases insulin biosynthesis and protects against high-fat diet induced glucose intolerances,” Advisor Xiaoqing Tang
Mu Yang (Chemistry) for Reduction of Porcine Parvovirus Infectivity in the Presence of Protecting Osmolytes,” Advisor: Ashutosh Tiwari
Ecosystem Science Center
Cameron Goble (Biological Sciences for “Assessment of Fish Communities in Tributary Streams of the Big Manistee,” Advisor: Nancy Auer
Mickey Jarvi (SFRES) for “Sugar Maple Fine-Root Respiration is Mechanistically Constrained by Adenylate Control,” Advisor: Andrew Burton
Alida Mau (SFRES) for “Variation in photosynthetic temperature responses across vertical forest canopy gradients: Comparisons between temperate and tropical trees,” Advisor: Molly Cavaleri.
Justina Silva (US Forest Service) for “Assessment of Spatial and Temporal Sedge Mediated Oxygen Dynamics,” Advisor: Erik Lilleskov
$150 Grand Prizes
Biotechnology Research Center
Keegan Yates (Biomedical Engineering) for “Decellularization of Fibroblast Cell Sheets for Natural Extracellular Matrix Scaffold Preparation)”, Advisor: Feng Zhao
Ecosystem Science Center
Brittany VanderWall (SFRES) for “Leaf Mass Per Area of Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) Varies Seasonally and Across a Vertical Gradient”, Advisor: Molly Cavaleri
$100 Undergrad Merit Award
Biotechnology Research Center
Michael Bostwick (Biomedical Engineering) for “Biomimetic Adhesive Containing Nanocomposite Hydrogels with Enhanced Mechanical Properties,” Advisor: Bruce Lee
2014 MSGC Awardees Announced: Michigan Tech faculty, staff members and students received awards tallying $71,175 in funding through the Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) sponsored by the NASA.
Undergraduates receiving $2,500 research fellowships are:
Laura Lynch (Biomed): “Prevention of Secondary Lymphedema with Biomaterial Hydrogels”
Roger Guillory (Biomed): “Characterization of the Biocompatibility of Zinc-Magnesium Alloys for Bioabsorable Coronary Stents”
NASA implemented the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program in 1989 to provide funding for research, education, and public outreach in space-related science and technology. The program has 52 university-based consortia in the United States and Puerto Rico. As an affiliate of the Michigan Consortium, Michigan Tech has been an active participant in MSGC for over fifteen years. For more information, please contact Robert Warrington or Paige Hackney in the Institute for Leadership and Innovation
Kenneth L. Stevenson Biomedical Engineering Fellowship Program
The Department of Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Technological University is now accepting applications for the Kenneth L. Stevenson Biomedical Engineering Summer Research Fellowship Program. The primary goal of the program is to provide deserving undergraduate and beginning graduate students the opportunity to participate in meaningful Biomedical Engineering research at Michigan Technological University. Specifically:
a) Undergraduate students (2 awards): Undergraduates will receive undergraduate-to-graduate transitional research fellowships of $4000 each. Students entering their junior and senior years will be considered. The award is intended to introduce students to the rigors associated with graduate level research in Biomedical Engineering.
b) Graduate students (2 awards): Students who have completed an undergraduate degree prior to the fellowship period and are beginning studies in Michigan Technological University’s Biomedical Engineering graduate program (PhD or MS) will receive fellowships of $5000 each in support of intensive summer research. These awards will allow students to establish their research in the initial phase of their graduate studies.
The application process is now open! Program requests for applications will be announced in Tech Today beginning in mid-March, with applications for these annual awards due March 31, 2014 by noon (EST). Fellowship recipients will conduct a research project under the guidance of a Michigan Tech Department of Biomedical Engineering faculty mentor, during the summer semester. Fellowship recipients will be required to:
- Submit a final progress report of their work and/or evidence clearly showing the work has contributed significantly to a work being prepared for peer-reviewed publication.
- Present their research in poster or oral form, preferably at a nationally recognized research meeting or the University BRC research forum, or the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Research Forum.
Each applicant should submit the following (Incomplete applications at the deadline will not be considered):
- Application Coversheet (pick up in Biomed main office MM309, or email malabeau@mtu for a copy)
- Project Description (2-page limit, 12-pt font- Arial, ¾-inch margins)
- Faculty mentor letter of support
- Application Coversheet. Completed coversheet should be included with each application.
- Project Description. Project description should be prepared with (not by) a faculty mentor, and at a minimum address the following regarding the proposed project:
- Motivation and Significance
- Specific objectives, hypotheses, and aims
- Brief description of the work that will be done to specifically address aims
- Time-line for work to be completed
The Project Description is limited to 2 pages (12-pt font, Arial, ¾-inch margins minimum) and is to be submitted as a PDF file. You may include graphs, images and tables as needed. A separate page may be used for references as needed. All references however must be cited in the text of the project description.
- Faculty mentor Letter of support. Letters of support should at the minimum address the following:
- How long have you known the student and in what capacity?
- Why do you think the student is likely to succeed in the project?
- Where does the student’s project fit into your overall research program?
To submit application, email a PDF file that includes both the Application Coversheet and Project Description to Judy Schaefer (firstname.lastname@example.org). Ask your faculty mentor to email the letter of support to the same address.
Our cells don’t live in a vacuum. They are surrounded by a complex, nurturing matrix that is essential for many biological functions, including growth and healing. Feng Zhao of Michigan Technological University has persuaded fibroblasts, cells that makes the extracellular matrix, to make just such a well-organized scaffold.
Protein from a small, tasty mollusk inspired Michigan Technological University’s Bruce P. Lee to invent a new type of hydrogel actuator.
Hydrogels are soft networks of polymers with high water content, like jello. Because of their soft, gentle texture, they have the potential to interact safely with living tissues and have applications in a number of medical areas, including tissue engineering. Lee, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering, wanted to make a hydrogel that wouldn’t just sit there.
Michigan Technological University’s Adrienne Minerick has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.