Engineering Diversity

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Prophylactic Drug Delivery System for COVID-19
Heather Sheardown | May 22, 2020

The Heather Sheardown lab (McMaster University, Canada) is home to an interdisciplinary team of scientists and trainees with expertise in ophthalmology, polymer and biomaterial engineering, chemistry, pharmaceutical formulation and drug delivery, animal/ex-vivo/in-vitro models of disease and drug delivery, early stage material design and synthesis, and synthetic method scalability optimization.

As the availability of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is still far off, there is an immediate global need for prophylactic prevention strategies, particularly for vulnerable populations including seniors and frontline workers. The Sheardown lab has developed a mucoadhesive polymeric micelle that allows for the encapsulation of a range of therapeutics, providing local, controlled delivery to mucosal surfaces. This technology overcomes traditional solubility concerns, allowing formulations at higher drug concentrations. Its mucosal binding significantly reduces dosing frequency, increases local bioavailability and improves clinical efficacy. Developed and validated for safety and efficacy in the eye, this system is now being repurposed for the mucosa of the respiratory tract, formulated as a nasal spray or inhaled aerosol, incorporating two treatments that are currently under study internationally: hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and remdisivir.

UC Davis engineering projects fight COVID-19
Cristina Davis | May 20, 2020

With new seed grants from the UC Davis Office of Research’s COVID-19 Research Accelerator Funding Track (CRAFT), three teams of UC Davis engineers are applying their expertise toward the pandemic response to help people become safer, healthier and better-tested.

Mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) professor and chair Cristina Davis and chemical engineering (CHE) faculty Priya Shah, Karen McDonald and Roland Faller received $25,000 project awards for research that rapidly generates new insights about COVID-19, while biological and agricultural engineering (BAE) professor Gang Sun received a $5,000 small award to apply current research to the pandemic response. These proposals were chosen out from more than 100 applications and were awarded with the expectation that these projects will lead to larger collaborations.

Natalia Trayanova to use machine learning to predict heart damage in COVID-19 victims
Natalia Trayanova | May 18, 2020

Johns Hopkins researchers recently received a $195,000 Rapid Response Research grant from the National Science Foundation to, using machine learning, identify which COVID-19 patients are at risk of adverse cardiac events such as heart failure, sustained abnormal heartbeats, heart attacks, cardiogenic shock and death.

Increasing evidence of COVID-19’s negative impacts on the cardiovascular system highlights a great need for identifying COVID-19 patients at risk for heart problems, the researchers say. However, no such predictive capabilities currently exist.

“This project will provide clinicians with early warning signs and ensure that resources are allocated to patients with the greatest need,” says Natalia Trayanova, the Murray B. Sachs Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at The Johns Hopkins University Schools of Engineering and Medicine and the project’s principal investigator.

“Microbubbles” and ultrasound bombard cancer cells in mice
Katherine Ferrara | May 14, 2020

In the lab of Katherine Ferrara, PhD, bubbles spell trouble for cancer cells in mice — and maybe one day for humans, too.

Specifically, Ferrara, a Stanford Medicine professor of radiology, is using “microbubbles” to damage the structure of cancer cells and cause them to die. The tiny gas-filled spheres are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and are typically used to enhance vasculature imaging in patients. However, Ferrara and her team have repurposed them for a new type of targeted cancer therapy guided by ultrasound.

The new treatment platform is designed to deliver a one-two punch. First, the microbubbles attack cancer cells, then an additional therapeutic agent, such as a gene, beckons immune cells to further pummel the tumor.

Researchers to develop AI to help diagnose, understand COVID-19 in lung images
Maryellen Giger | May 6, 2020

As physicians and researchers grapple with a rapidly-spreading, deadly and novel disease, they need all the help they can get. Many centers are exploring whether artificial intelligence can help fight COVID-19, extracting knowledge from complex and rapidly growing data on how to best diagnose and treat patients.

One University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory collaboration believes that AI can be a helpful clinical partner for a particularly important kind of medical data: images. Because severe cases of COVID-19 most often present as a respiratory illness, triggering severe pneumonia in patients, chest X-rays and thoracic CT scans are a potential exam. With a grant from the new c3.ai Digital Transformation Institute, computer-aided diagnosis expert Maryellen Giger will lead an effort to develop new AI tools that use these medical images to diagnose, monitor and help plan treatment for COVID-19 patients.

MRI Technique Could Reduce Radiation Dose in Assessing Pediatric Cancer Treatment
Heike Daldrup-Link | May 5, 2020

Using whole body diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW MRI) to evaluate the efficacy on cancer treatment in children can potentially provide a more than three-quarters cut in radiation exposure, according to new research.

A study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), published today in Radiology shows that DW MRI can track tumor response to therapy as effectively as techniques using CT scans, but without radiation.

The researchers had financial support from the NIH Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

María José Alonso leads a USC project aimed at developing a new vaccine against COVID-19 based on mRNA
María José Alonso | May 4, 2020

Developing and evaluating in preclinical studies a new vaccine based on mRNA against SARS-CoV2 capable of inducing long-term immune responses against the virus is the ultimate goal of the research project in which the laboratory led by María José Alonso participates together with the group led by Mabel Loza, both at CiMUS and FIDIS – University of Santiago de Compostela (USC). The objective of the USC laboratories is to produce a synthetic vehicle based on innocuous biomaterials, capable of transporting the mRNA into the target cells and enabling the production of the antigen in the human body.

The project has obtained funding from the Health Department of the Generalitat de Catalunya and the Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII).

NLM Highlights Essential Role of Clinical Databases in Pandemic
Patricia Brennan | May 4, 2020

The National Library of Medicine is embarking on an extensive modernization effort of the world’s largest public clinical trial registry and results database, ClinicalTrials.gov, with the COVID-19 response underpinning the importance of the multi-year project.

“This effort to improve the user experience and update the technology platform is critically important for so many things that we do at NIH, our partnerships across the government and our commitment to the American public — the taxpayers and the research participants,” Kelly Wolinetz, associate director for the agency’s Office of Science Policy and NIH’s acting chief of staff, said in a virtual public meeting Thursday.

Bonnie Berger elected to the National Academy of Sciences for 2020
Bonnie Berger | May 1, 2020

On April 27, the National Academy of Sciences elected 120 new members and 26 international associates, including three professors from MIT — Abhijit Banerjee, Bonnie Berger, and Roger Summons — recognizing their “distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.” Current membership totals 2,403 active members and 501 international associates, including 190 Nobel Prize recipients.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution for scientific advancement established in 1863 by congressional charter and signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln. Together, with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine, the 157-year-old society provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.

Bonnie Berger is the Simons Professor of Mathematics and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. She is the head of the Computation and Biology group at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). She is also a faculty member of the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology and an associate member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

Breakthrough helps fight ‘cold’ tumors that don’t respond to immunotherapy
Melody Swartz | April 30, 2020

Immunotherapy, which unleashes the power of the body’s own immune system to find and destroy cancer cells, has shown promise in treating several types of cancer.

But the disease is notorious for cloaking itself from the immune system, and tumors that are not inflamed and do not elicit a response from the immune system—so-called “cold” tumors—do not respond to immunotherapies.

Researchers at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago have taken a step toward solving this problem with an innovative immunotherapy delivery system. The system finds tumors by seeking out and binding to the tumors’ collagen, then uses a protein called IL-12 to inflame the tumor and activate the immune system, thereby activating immunotherapy.

Texas A&M Chemist Karen Wooley Elected To National Academy Of Sciences
Karen Wooley | April 29, 2020

Texas A&M University Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Karen L. Wooley has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Wooley, holder of the W.T. Doherty-Welch Chair in Chemistry and one of the world’s top chemists in the burgeoning field of materials and polymer chemistry and in creating new materials at the nanoscale level, is among the 120 new members and 26 foreign associates announced Monday, April 27)by the Academy on the final day of its 157th Annual Meeting in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Election to Academy membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive.

BU Engineers Are Taking on the Coronavirus Pandemic
Joyce Wong and Catherine Klapperich | April 17, 2020

Across Boston University’s School of Engineering, researchers are pivoting their work to tackle the many engineering problems associated with the global coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m glad I’m an engineer right now,” says Joyce Wong, professor of biomedical and materials science engineering. “There are so many problems that need to be solved in this crisis and I can actually use my expertise to help.”

Wong, like many other engineers and researchers, is diving in to do what she can to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. These efforts are in addition to the first wave of help, across BU’s Charles River and Medical Campuses, that gathered personal protective equipment (PPE) from labs—shuttered by Governor Charlie Baker’s stay-at-home advisory—to donate to healthcare workers in Massachusetts. Here are four ways that BU engineers are using technology to tackle the coronavirus pandemic:

Making sense of scents: 3D videos reveal how the nose detects odor combinations
Elizabeth Hillman | April 9, 2020

Every moment of the day we are surrounded by smells. Odors can bring back memories, or quickly warn us that food has gone bad. But how does our brain identify so many different odors? And how easily can we untangle the ingredients of a mixture of odors? In a new study in mice published today in Science, Columbia scientists have taken an important step toward answering these questions, and the secret lies inside the nose.

“From garbage to cologne, the scents we encounter every day are comprised of hundreds or even thousands of individual odors,” said Stuart Firestein, PhD, a Columbia professor of biological sciences and the co-senior author of today’s study. “Your morning cup of coffee can contain more than 800 different types of odor molecules. Although much work has been done to understand how the nose and brain work together to identify individual odors, scientists have long struggled to explain how this system works when multiple odors are mixed together.

UConn Researchers Find Blacks Are Disproportionately Impacted By COVID-19
Cato Laurencin | April 8, 2020

The team led by Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, former dean of the UConn School of Medicine, analyzed and reviewed the Department of Public Health’s data on COVID-19 outcomes and found that Blacks have a higher rate of infection and death in comparison to the percentage of the population they represent in the state.

However, the information collected on race and ethnicity is incomplete.

“The scarcity of this information generates a more substantial concern in which insufficiently identifying the affected may ultimately result in historically marginalized groups shouldering the greatest burden of disease and disproportionately bearing the social impact,” Laurencin and his team wrote in their paper.

Gel smooths cells’ ride through syringes in regenerative therapy
Sarah Heilshorn | April 8, 2020

An innovative delivery technology vastly improves the viability of tissue regenerating cells, and enhances strength and coordination in animals with spinal-cord injury.

In a study published in Science Advances, Stanford neurosurgical researcher Giles Plant, PhD, and materials engineer Sarah Heilshorn, PhD, and their colleagues report that a customized gel — developed in Heilshorn’s lab as a shock absorber for regenerative cells during and after their perilous journey through the tip of a syringe to the targeted tissue — kept those cells safe.

As a vehicle for delivering regenerative cells to rats with movement-impairing spinal-cord injuries, this gel overwhelmingly outperformed saline (the current clinical standard). It boosted the numbers of successfully-delivered cells by more than sevenfold compared with saline, as measured two days after the procedure. At four weeks, the gel’s advantage over saline was more than tenfold.

New sensors could offer early detection of lung tumors
Sangeeta Bhatia | April 1, 2020

People who are at high risk of developing lung cancer, such as heavy smokers, are routinely screened with computed tomography (CT), which can detect tumors in the lungs. However, this test has an extremely high rate of false positives, as it also picks up benign nodules in the lungs.

Researchers at MIT have now developed a new approach to early diagnosis of lung cancer: a urine test that can detect the presence of proteins linked to the disease. This kind of noninvasive test could reduce the number of false positives and help detect more tumors in the early stages of the disease.

New Biochip Tech Shows Promise in Traumatic Hemorrhage Outcomes
Anthony Guiseppi-Elie | March 20 2020

Traumatic hemorrhage is a condition of bleeding resulting from a significant wound; such wounds as might be sustained in an automobile accident, a natural disaster such as a tornado, or on the battlefield (combat casualty).

Trauma accounts for 47% of mortalities in individuals 1-46 years of age in the United States and is the most likely source of demise for the warfighter (50-68%). Trauma-induced hemorrhage can, beyond the “golden hour,” lead to death or may be followed by Multiple Organ Dysfunction Syndrome (MODS), a consequence of a “cytokine storm,” and be fatal.

Anthony Guiseppi-Elie, ScD, is a biomedical engineer who studies the pathophysiology of hemorrhage using biosensors and serves as TEES Professor of Engineering, professor of biomedical engineering and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas and is a Full Affiliate Member, Houston Methodist Research Institute in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas.

Coronavirus Testing Shouldn’t Be This Complicated
Catherine Klapperich | March 17 2020

Engineers have the technology to make it better

The US reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19 on January 21st. Eight weeks later, there still aren’t enough tests for the virus available for everyone who needs them. “It is a failing,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, at a House briefing last week. “The system is not really geared to what we need right now.”

People who are sick or have been in contact with sick people are struggling to get tested. Until last week, the number of tests that could be run per day in the United States was limited to around 7,000. Labs are struggling to get the supplies they need to meet the demand.

Ranu Jung on Neural Engineering and Her Philosophy Behind Bringing Discoveries to Humans
Ranu Jung | March 16, 2020

As director of the Adaptive Neural Systems Laboratory and the owner of more than a half dozen patents, Ranu Jung designs neural engineering projects that drive the process of transforming basic discoveries into clinical applications. In this interview she explains how collaborative projects can at once advance the understanding of the brain and the development of medical devices. She also talks about what sparks questions for her, the advantages of adaptability, and where to find support.

This article is part of Neuronline’s interview series “Entrepreneurial Women Combining Neuroscience, Engineering, and Tech,” which highlights the career paths and scientific accomplishments of female leaders and role models who are creatively bridging disciplines to improve lives.

CHOP Study Demonstrates How to Collect True Impact Incidents from Head Impact Sensors in Youth Sports
Kristy Arbogast | March 11, 2020

An increased awareness of concussion risks in young athletes has prompted researchers to use a variety of head impact sensors to measure frequency and severity of impacts during sports. A new study from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) shows these head sensors can record a large number of false positive impacts during real game play. The CHOP team’s study emphasizes that an extra step to video-confirm the sensor data is essential for research and for use of this data in injury prevention strategies for player safety.

The findings were published online this month by the American Journal of Sports Medicine.

Approximately 1 in 5 high school athletes who plays a contact sport – such as soccer, lacrosse, and American football – suffers a concussion each year. To understand the frequency, magnitude and direction of head impacts that athletes sustain, a wide variety of sensors have been developed to collect head impact biomechanics data, including instrumented helmets, skull caps, headbands, mouthguards and skin patches.

New Classification System Developed for Regenerative Cell-Based Therapies
Cato Laurencin | February 19, 2020

Doctors at UConn Health have developed the first classification system for regenerative cell-based therapies designed to stratify therapies based on scientific evidence and potential for harm. Today, there are concerns regarding the clinical safety and efficacy of cell-based therapies throughout the scientific community and within public discourse. The unregulated U.S. stem cell market has been widely reported as it offers potentially harmful therapies to patients without FDA approval. Currently, there are no regenerative cell-based therapies approved by the FDA, although high demand for such treatments is ongoing.

In light of these concerns, the current climate has generated demand for a systematic method to assess potential therapies. Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, CEO of The Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering at UConn Health, has created a new classification system for cell-based therapies. The objective was to create a strategy that will benefit patients, encourage regulatory efforts, and further inform the scientific community.

“The rapidly expanding direct-to-consumer marketplace allows for public consumption of unregulated treatments, so we identified an opportunity to enhance regulation and ensure greater public health,” says Laurencin.

The new system will aid in categorizing proposed interventions to determine suitability for immediate clinical use or therapies that require further investigational studies prior to clinical use. Utilization of this system will result in increased regulation and widespread standardization, which in turn decreases patient health and financial risks associated with unregulated treatments. To learn more about the new classification system, view the newly published article here.

Cocoa could bring sweet relief to walking pain for people with peripheral artery disease
Melina Kibbe | February 14, 2020

Consumption of cocoa may improve walking performance for patients with peripheral artery disease, according to the results of a small, preliminary, phase II research trial published today in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation Research.

In a small study of 44 peripheral artery disease patients over age 60, those who drank a beverage containing flavanol-rich cocoa three times a day for six months were able to walk up to 42.6 meters further in a 6-minute walking test, compared to those who drank the same number and type of beverages without cocoa. Those who drank the flavanol-rich cocoa also had improved blood flow to their calves and some improved muscle function compared to the placebo group…

FDA grants de novo clearance for vascular access device
Gabi Niederauer | February 13, 2020

The FDA has granted a de novo classification order to Bluegrass Vascular Technologies for its Surfacer Inside-Out Access Catheter System. The device was designed to enable central venous access in patients with venous obstructions, according to a press release.

“The Surfacer system offers a safe and effective approach to reliably preserve and restore critical upper body vascular access sites,” Mahmood Razavi, MD, an interventional radiologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, and lead principal investigator of the Surfacer System to Facilitate Access in Venous Occlusions – United States (SAVE-US) IDE study, said in the release. “This is an unmet clinical need for patients who require life-saving therapies, such as dialysis, and who have limited options due to venous obstructions…

Susan Margulies Elected to National Academy of Engineering
Susan Margulies | February 11, 2020

Four Georgia Institute of Technology faculty members have been elected as new members of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Marilyn Brown, Thomas Kurfess, Susan Margulies, and Alexander Shapiro join 83 other new NAE members for 2020 when they are formally inducted during a ceremony at the academy’s annual meeting on Oct. 4 in Washington, D.C.

Election of new NAE members, the culmination of a yearlong process, recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature” and to “the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education…

Laura Niklason Elected To The National Academy of Engineering
Laura Niklason | February 7, 2020

Laura Niklason, the Nicholas M. Greene Professor in Anesthesia and Biomedical Engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

Cited for her contributions to research in cardiovascular tissue engineering, lung regeneration, and biomedical imaging, Niklason was among 87 new members elected to the academy. Niklason will be formally inducted during a ceremony at the NAE’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 30, 2018…

In A Different Vein
Laura Niklason | February 6, 2020

It was her experience as a physician in the intensive care unit that pointed Laura Niklason in the direction of making engineered blood vessels for kidney dialysis patients. She worked with countless patients requiring needle injections multiple times per week, whose veins weren’t up for the job.

“Some patients had failures over and over and over,” said Niklason, the Nicholas M. Greene Professor in Anesthesia and Biomedical Engineering. “They’re in the operating room all the time and they get infections and they get hospitalized for those infections. And it’s just miserable…

New Discovery About Cathepsins May Improve Drug Research
Manu Platt | January 21, 2020

Like motley bandits, certain enzymes implicated in cancer and other diseases also annihilate each other. A new study reveals details of their mutual foils in the hopes that these behaviors can be leveraged to fight the enzymes’ disease potential.

The bandits are cathepsins, enzymes that normally dispose of unneeded protein in our cells. But in unhealthy scenarios, cathepsins can promote illnesses like cancer, atherosclerosis, and sickle cell disease. Many experimental drugs that inhibit them, while effective, have failed due to side effects that could not be well explained, so researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology abandoned the common focus on single cathepsins to model three key cathepsins as a system…

AI software for breast cancer diagnosis makes TIME’s list of Best Inventions for 2019
Maryellen Giger | December 4, 2019

Artificial intelligence software developed by University of Chicago Medicine researchers to help radiologists more accurately diagnose breast cancer made TIME’s list of Inventions for 2019.

QuantX — the first-ever, FDA-cleared software to aid in breast cancer diagnosis — aims to reduce missed cancers as well as false positives that can lead to unnecessary biopsies. The technology is based on two decades of research by Maryellen Giger, PhD, Professor of Radiology and a world-renowned pioneer in computer-aided diagnosis (CAD)…

Sensory simulators give doctors a better feel for performance improvement
Carla Pugh | November 11 2019

It’s long been said that medicine is part science, part art. The science tells you so much, but while you may have one way of performing a procedure or exam, a colleague down the hall approaches it in a slightly different way.

For example, when performing a breast exam: how much pressure do you use? Do you use a rubbing technique, a patting technique or a piano fingers technique? Is one better than another? In a complex surgery, what are the differences in decisions and technical approaches? Does that affect the outcome of the surgery…

Protein decoy stymies lung cancer growth in mice, study finds
Jennifer Cochran | November 7, 2019

Scientists at Stanford and UC-San Francisco have developed an experimental drug that targets a currently untreatable type of lung cancer responsible for generating roughly 500,000 newly diagnosed cases worldwide each year.

A paper to be published online Nov. 7 in Nature Medicine reports that the researchers slowed the spread of this cancer in mice by neutralizing a single protein that would otherwise set off a chain reaction, causing runaway growth…

Purigen Debuts New Advanced Technology System to Simplify and Improve the Purification of Nucleic Acids from Precious Clinical Genomic Samples
Juan Santiago | November 6, 2019

Purigen Biosystems, Inc., a leading provider of next-generation technologies for extracting and purifying nucleic acids from biological samples, today announced the launch of its Ionic™ Purification System. The small benchtop system utilizes the company’s core isotachophoresis (ITP) technology to extract, purify, and concentrate nucleic acids from biological samples in one hour with less than three minutes of hands-on time per sample. Purigen will unveil the new system and present data during the Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) 2019 Annual Meeting and Expo.

The Ionic Purification System enables the automated extraction of nucleic acids with dramatically increased yields and improved purity from a wide range of sample types, including cultured or sorted cells and formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues. Biological samples are gently lysed and then loaded into the Ionic™ Fluidics Chip. The Ionic system then applies an electric field to the chip and the nucleic acids are isolated in their natural, native form using the company’s proprietary ITP technology. The nucleic acids are not denatured or dehydrated, and there is no binding or stripping from fixed surfaces. The process minimizes fragmentation and eliminates any bead or buffer contamination. The extracted nucleic acids are pure, abundant, and ready for analysis by any downstream technique such as next-generation sequencing or PCR…

Pettigrew Receives National Academy Of Engineering Award
Roderic Pettigrew | October 28, 2019

Roderic Pettigrew is the recipient of the 2019 National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) Arthur M. Bueche Award for his contributions to technology research, policy, and national and international cooperation.

Pettigrew is CEO of Engineering Health (EnHealth) and executive dean for Engineering Medicine (EnMed) at Texas A&M University and Houston Methodist Hospital, as well as the Robert A. Welch Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering…

Pope names Nobel-winning U.S. chemical engineer to papal think tank
Frances H. Arnold | October 24, 2019

Pope Francis appointed Frances H. Arnold, a Nobel-winning chemical engineer from the United States, to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Arnold, 63, is the Linus Pauling professor of chemical engineering, biochemistry and bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology and director of its bioengineering center. Her appointment to the papal think tank was announced by the Vatican Oct. 24…

Sangeeta Bhatia elected to the National Academy of Medicine for 2019
Sangeeta Bhatia | October 21, 2019

Sangeeta Bhatia, an MIT professor of electrical engineering and computer science and of health sciences and technology, and Richard Young, an MIT professor of biology, are among the 100 new members elected to the National Academy of Medicine today.

Bhatia is already a member of the National Academies of Science and of Engineering, making her just the 25th person to be elected to all three national academies. Earlier this year, Paula Hammond, head of MIT’s Department of Chemical Engineering, also joined that exclusive group; MIT faculty members Emery Brown, Arup Chakraborty, James Collins, and Robert Langer have also achieved that distinction…

Sharon Gerecht Elected to National Academy of Medicine
Sharon Gerecht | October 21, 2019

Four faculty members of The Johns Hopkins University have been elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Announcement of new NAM members (100 total) was made today in conjunction with the academy’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

NAM is an independent organization of eminent professionals from diverse fields including health, medicine and the natural, social and behavioral sciences. It serves alongside the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering as adviser for the nation and the international community. Through its domestic and global initiatives, the NAM works to address critical issues in health, medicine and related policy. Membership in the NAM is considered one of the highest honors in health and medicine…

Denise Aberle named to National Academy of Medicine
Denise Aberle | October 21, 2019

Two UCLA professors, Dr. Denise Aberle and Dr. Carol Mangione, have been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, one of the highest honors in health and medicine.

Aberle is a professor of radiology and bioengineering, and vice chair for research in the department of radiological sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Mangione is the Barbara A. Levey & Gerald S. Levey Professor of Medicine and Public Health and chief of the division of general internal medicine and health services research. They were among 100 new members announced Oct. 21 during the academy’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C…

Changes in bone density linked to reduced fracture risk
Mary Bouxsein | October 16, 2019

Building on prior observations, a meta-regression of published trials has concluded that larger improvements in bone mineral density (BMD) via dual‐energy X‐ray absorptiometry (DXA) are associated with greater reductions in fracture risk, particularly for vertebral and hip fractures. First author Mary Bouxsein, PhD, of the Center for Advanced Orthopedic Studies at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues published their findings in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research (JBMR).

“Although these results cannot be directly applied to predict the treatment benefit in an individual patient, they provide compelling evidence that improvements in BMD with osteoporosis therapies may be useful surrogate endpoints for fracture in trials of new therapeutic agents,” the authors wrote…

UCSF Launches Artificial Intelligence Center to Advance Medical Imaging
Sharmila Majumdar | October 11, 2019

UC San Francisco is launching a new center to accelerate the application of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to radiology, leveraging advanced computational techniques and industry collaborations to improve patient diagnoses and care.

The Center for Intelligent Imaging, or ci2, will develop and apply AI to devise powerful new ways to look inside the body and to evaluate health and disease. Investigators in ci2 will team with Santa Clara, Calif.-based NVIDIA Corp., an industry leader in AI computing, to build infrastructure and tools focused on enabling the translation of AI into clinical practice…

Pamela Palmer, MD, Ph.D., Has Developed a New Wonder Drug for her Company
Pamela Palmer | October 10, 2019

Pamela P. Palmer, M.D., Ph.D., has been Chief Medical Officer and Co-Founder of AcelRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. since she co-founded the company in July 2005. Earlier, she was an anesthesiologist at University California San Francisco — UCSF.

She was director of the UCSF Pain Center for Advanced Research and Education — PainCARE — between 2005 and 2009. The American Pain Society named the UCSF Pain Management Center and PainCARE jointly as one of only six centers of excellence nationwide.

Opioid Breathalyzer Test Developed
Cristina Davis | October 4, 2019

In a small pilot study, researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed and successfully tested a device that collects minute droplets in breath that can be analyzed in a laboratory for morphine, hydromorphone (Dilaudid) and other opioids.

“Exhaled breath collection represents a painless, easily available, and non-invasive technique that would enable clinicians to make quick and well-informed decisions,” said lead author Cristina Davis, PhD, chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC Davis. “There are a few ways we think this could impact society.

Computer models show promise for personalizing chemotherapy
Sylvia Plevritis | October 4, 2019

Computers have revolutionized many fields, so it isn’t surprising that they may be transforming cancer research. Computers are now being used to model the molecular and cellular changes associated with individual tumors, allowing scientists to simulate the tumor’s response to different combinations of chemotherapy drugs.

Modeling big data to improve personalized cancer treatment was the focus of a recent episode of the Sirius radio show “The Future of Everything.” On hand was Sylvia Plevritis, PhD, a professor of biomedical data science and of radiology at Stanford, who discussed her work with Stanford professor and radio show host Russ Altman, MD, PhD.

National Academy of Engineering Announces Winners of 2019 Arthur M. Bueche Award
Rod Pettigrew | October 4, 2019

On Sunday, Oct. 6, during its 2019 annual meeting, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) will present two awards for extraordinary impact on the engineering profession. The Simon Ramo Founders Award will be presented to Cato Thomas Laurencin for his research contributions and leadership in engineering. The Arthur M. Bueche Award will be given to Roderic Ivan Pettigrew for his contributions to technology research, policy, and national and international cooperation.

Roderic Ivan Pettigrew is CEO of Engineering Health (EnHealth) and executive dean for Engineering Medicine (EnMed) at Texas A&M and Houston Methodist Hospital. He will be presented the Arthur M. Bueche Award “for leadership at the NIH and for academic and industrial convergence research and education, resulting in innovations that have improved global health care.” The award recognizes an engineer who has shown dedication in science and technology as well as active involvement in determining U.S. science and technology policy, and includes a commemorative medal.

National Academy of Engineering Announces Winners of 2019 Simon Ramo Founders Awards
Cato Laurencin | October 4, 2019

On Sunday, Oct. 6, during its 2019 annual meeting, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) will present two awards for extraordinary impact on the engineering profession. The Simon Ramo Founders Award will be presented to Cato Thomas Laurencin for his research contributions and leadership in engineering. The Arthur M. Bueche Award will be given to Roderic Ivan Pettigrew for his contributions to technology research, policy, and national and international cooperation.

Cato T. Laurencin is known worldwide as a leader in biomaterials, nanotechnology, stem cell science, drug delivery systems, and a field he has pioneered, regenerative engineering. Laurencin is being recognized with the Simon Ramo Founders Award “for fundamental, critical, and groundbreaking scientific advances in the engineering of tissues, guiding technology and science policy, and promoting diversity and excellence in science.” The award acknowledges outstanding professional, educational, and personal achievements to the benefit of society and includes a commemorative medal.

This flat structure morphs into shape of a human face when temperature changes
Jennifer Lewis | September 30, 2019

Researchers at MIT and elsewhere have designed 3-D printed mesh-like structures that morph from flat layers into predetermined shapes, in response to changes in ambient temperature. The new structures can transform into configurations that are more complex than what other shape-shifting materials and structures can achieve.

As a demonstration, the researchers printed a flat mesh that, when exposed to a certain temperature difference, deforms into the shape of a human face. They also designed a mesh embedded with conductive liquid metal, that curves into a dome to form an active antenna, the resonance frequency of which changes as it deforms.

High-speed microscope illuminates biology at the speed of life
Elizabeth Hillman | September 27, 2019

The Columbia team behind the revolutionary 3D SCAPE microscope announces today a new version of this high-speed imaging technology. In collaboration with scientists from around the world, they used SCAPE 2.0 to reveal previously unseen details of living creatures — from neurons firing inside a wriggling worm to the 3D dynamics of the beating heart of a fish embryo, with far superior resolution and at speeds up to 30 times faster than their original demonstration.

These improvements to SCAPE, published today in Nature Methods, promise to impact fields as wide ranging as genetics, cardiology and neuroscience.

Malawi study confirms lasting impact of life-saving technology
Rebecca Richards-Kortum | September 20, 2019

Malawi’s national adoption of affordable, rugged, neonatal CPAP technology as a part of routine hospital care resulted in sustained improvements in the survival of babies with respiratory illness, according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics.

Malawi, in southeast Africa, has the world’s highest preterm birth rate, with almost 1 in 5 babies born premature. A study conducted at 26 Malawi government hospitals found that the national adoption of rugged, low-cost, neonatal “continuous positive airway pressure” (CPAP) devices improved survival rates from 49% to 55% for newborns admitted with breathing problems. For newborns with severe breathing problems, survival improved from 40% to 48%.

On-the-move cancer cells prefer a “comfort cruise,” follow predictable paths of least resistance
Cynthia Reinhart-King | September 13, 2019

According to the researchers, migrating cancer cells decide which path in the body to travel based on how much energy it takes, opting to move through wider, easier to navigate spaces rather than smaller, confined spaces to reduce energy requirements during movement. These findings suggest energy expenditure and metabolism are significant factors within metastatic migration, which lends credence to recent clinical interest in the study of metabolomics and the targeting of cellular metabolism as a way to prevent metastasis.

The discoveries appear in a new paper, “Energetic costs regulated by cell mechanics and confinement are predictive of migration path during decision-making,” published today in the journal Nature Communications.

Led by Cynthia Reinhart-King, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Engineering, the research is the first study to quantify the energetic costs of cancer cells during metastasis – enabling the prediction of specific migration pathways. These new findings build on similar research from the Reinhart-King Lab, published earlier this year, which discovered “drafting” techniques used by cancer cells to conserve energy during migration.

Could an Extracellular Matrix Gel Rebuild MI-Damaged Hearts?
Karen Christman | September 11, 2019

For MI survivors with moderate left ventricular (LV) dysfunction, an injectable biomaterial designed to mimic healthy extracellular matrix (ECM) was found to be safe in a phase I study.

Billed as a potential new approach to heart failure, VentriGel is an ECM hydrogel made from decellularized porcine myocardium and delivered by transendocardial injection using a catheter.

No adverse events definitely related to VentriGel were reported among 15 study subjects with LV dysfunction persisting at 60 days to 3 years post-MI and who had received percutaneous coronary intervention, according to Karen Christman, PhD, of the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine in La Jolla, California, and colleagues in their study published online in JACC: Basic to Translational Science.

Anaerobically Stored Red Blood Cells May Improve Transfusion Outcomes in Hemorrhagic Shock
Pedro Cabrales | September 3, 2019

Transfusion of red blood cells (RBCs) stored anaerobically – in the absence of oxygen – is a promising technique to improve resuscitation from hemorrhagic shock, according to animal studies reported in SHOCK®: Injury, Inflammation, and Sepsis: Laboratory and Clinical Approaches, Official Journal of the Shock Society. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

“Resuscitation from hemorrhagic shock via transfusion of anaerobically stored RBCs recovered cardiac function, restored hemodynamic stability, and improved outcomes,” write Pedro Cabrales, PhD, of University of California, San Diego, and colleagues. But more research is needed to determine whether the improved recovery seen with anaerobically stored RBCs in rats will translate into benefits for patients in hemorrhagic shock after trauma.

Most Patients Willing to Share Medical Records for Research Purposes
Lucila Ohno-Machado | August 21, 2019

As medicine becomes both bigger and more personalized, the need for massive databases of patient records, such as the 1 million person All of Us Research Program , become increasingly essential to fueling both new discoveries and translational treatments.

But the looming, lingering question is to what degree are individual patients willing to share medical records and biospecimens with researchers and institutions beyond their personal physician or health care system? And more specifically, how should patients be asked and what information are they most likely to share?

In a novel attempt to answer these questions, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with collaborators in California, North Carolina and Texas, asked patients at two academic hospitals to respond to a variety of different approaches seeking to share their medical data with other researchers.