Page 1

The Pioneer Newsletter is brought to you by the students, faculty, and staff of the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. The newsletter staff and its collaborators strive to bring you the latest news from all aspects of the BME community. To submit articles, opinions, ideas, or events for publication and for more information about the newsletter, please visit:

Inside this issue: Osteopathic Medicine: A Brief Intro on Getting Your D.O.


The 5th Annual Spring Symposium BME Student Experiences & Awards


The InVenture Prize 6 A Brief Recap of the Event Student Spotlight: Anthony Schwartz


Senior Reflections: 7 James Molini & Ginger Tsai

April 2010

Volume IV, Issue 7

Researchers Identify Gene That May Play Key Role in Atherosclerosis

By Abby Vogel


o understand the role of inflammation in cardiovascular and other diseases, it is essential to identify and characterize genes that induce an inflammatory response in the body – and the genes that regulate them. A study published online this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that a gene called Hu antigen R (HuR) plays a critical role in inducing and mediating an inflammatory response in cells experiencing mechanical and chemical stresses. The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health. The findings may open up new possibilities for developing treatments of metabolic diseases associated with inflammation, such as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis typically occurs in...

Continued on Page 4

Distinguished Professor Gang Bao. (Photo: GTRC / GIT)

BME Advisor Paul Fincannon On Hiatus Indefinitely

By Karan Patel


ast cars. Loose Women. Sold out concerts. This is the life of a professional Haiku writer. As many of you well know, Paul Fincannon has announced a temporary hiatus from advising to pursue a life in fast lane – as a touring Haiku star. He had his humble beginnings at the tender age of four months before his birth when he wrote his first haiku from inside the womb:

Events & Deadlines April’s Events and Other Opportunities


Recent Publications Of the Coulter Dept.


Only four more months…

Faculty Spotlight: Thomas Barker, Ph.D.


Unsurprisingly, he was hailed as a Haiku prodigy as soon as the literary community caught wind of his abilities in the first

And More !

Continued on Page 10

It’s dark in this place I have just grown more fingers

“That’s So BME!”

By You!

Voices From The Student Body “BME: Sometimes it's digging through 80 pages of legislation on labeling medical devices --- even though you're not making a medical device. FML.” “I spent three hours troubleshooting a piece of lab equipment that I was very familiar with. I couldn't figure it out until I realized that the one knob that no one ever touches had been flipped.” “Everyone told me that 2210 is the biggest hurdle for BMEs. Now that I'm taking 2210, my friends tell me 3300, 3400, 3600, and 3110 are really hard classes too. I'm not sure what I can look forward to anymore for the future semesters.”


Staff Members Editors in Chief Willa Ni Chun Yong Staff Writers Joseph Abrahamson Jerome Choo Alex Cooper Eric Huang Nancy Kim Andrew Lei Stacie Leung Graham McAdory Aswin Natarajan Ayesha Patel Karan Patel Elina Sarmah Rosemary Song Dhruv Vishwakarma Layout Editors Kevin Lam Annie Macedo Webmaster Elysia Hwang

Page 2

Faculty Sponsor Wendy Newstetter Editors Nida Dharani Kanav Jain Nikolaus Shrum Photographers Debika Mitra Kelli Koenig Gopi Patel Collaborators Karen Adams Don Fernandez Paul Fincannon Sally Gerrish Karen Harwell Jennifer Kimble Megan McDevitt Adrianne Proeller Shannon Sullivan David Terraso John Toon Abby Vogel

A Couple of Words From the Editors in Chief


his April issue of The Pioneer not only marks the final issue for the spring semester, but also the end of The Pioneer’s first volume as a re-launched newsletter. Throughout this past year we have fully distributed 500 copies of each of the seven issues, debuted a new layout, introduced a new website and covered a wider variety of content. Our hard working staff, supportive faculty sponsor, Wendy Newstetter, Ph.D., and insightful collaborators, have given The Pioneer the momentum to take this step forward. Along this journey we have delved deeper into the Georgia Tech biotechnology community and met people who saw the same vision that we pitched last summer. As The Pioneer winds down to this milestone, we look back to this vision. The Pioneer intends to provide a channel of communication among students, faculty, and staff while representing the unique culture in the Georgia Tech biotechnology community. We have enjoyed the pursuit of this goal, and we continue to pursue it yet. These next months will be spent realigning our content to the readers. As usual, we encourage and look forward to feedback and suggestions. In fact, we hope that one day this channel of communication will also be a channel of conversation. We will also be taking advantage of our website and adding more interactive features and media. As we continue to improve, we would like to thank the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, the Parker H. Petit Institute of Bioengineering and Biosciences, the Georgia Tech Student Foundation, and Coffee Snobs for their financial support. Good luck on finals, have an amazing summer, and see you next fall! Yours sincerely,

Chun Yong and Willa Ni Editors in Chief The Pioneer

Osteopathic Medicine: A Brief Introduction On Getting Your Doctor of Osteopathy


hile I include an introduction to osteopathic medicine at Mandatory Pre-Health Advising workshops, I will take this opportunity to go into more detail. A Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) requires four years of the same type of medical school classes that an allopathic doctor (M.D.) takes. The difference is that a D.O. is trained in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM), which involves hands-on treatment of patients. Think about it given an overmedicated patient, the last thing you want to do is prescribe medicine to interfere with his other prescriptions. Or perhaps your patients might not be able to afford their medications. Your practice would provide an alternative! Of course, you will still have full prescriptive and diagnostic rights as a D.O. and your patients probably will not know the difference between an M.D. and a D.O.! The Georgia Campus of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (GAPCOM) is our closest osteopathic medical school and is located in Suwanee, GA. They have an OMM clinic, so you can see it in action. Please contact the Admissions Coordinator (info on right) if you want to tour the school and learn more about admissions. The average GPA for acceptance into an osteopathic medical school is 3.4. The MCAT is about 8-9 for each section. Though osteopathic medical schools are not “easier” to get accepted to, the application statistics work in your favor. Instead of 6200 applicants vying for 120 seats in an osteopathic school, 2200 applicants compete for 86 seats in GA-PCOM. As for residency, you take the COMLEX (“osteopathic boards”) to participate in an osteopathic residency. On the other hand, you can also go through an allopathic residency and go through “The Match,” which requires the USMLE (“allopathic boards”). Even if you participate in an allopathic residency, you would still be a D.O.

Another option includes specializing as a D.O., though D.O.'s more holistic approach to the patient makes this a less popular decision. Many students also ask if they can be a surgeon as a D.O. The answer is yes! In fact, students should put to rest all worries on the negative impact or stigma of being a D.O. on their careers. My primary care doctor is a D.O. He is the director of a group practice and just hired an M.D. to help out since his calendar was so booked! Working abroad as a D.O. is also an option. Visit the website on the right for great information on that opportunity. Last year the Bureau on International Osteopathic Medical Education and Affairs (BIOMEA) conducted a survey of the colleges of osteopathic medicine regarding their programs and activities in international student clinical electives, medical outreach, and professional interactions with international organizations. The survey, which aims to expand awareness of and opportunities for osteopathic medical students and physicians in the international community, was originally presented at the 2009 International Seminar, “Redefining Osteopathic Medicine Globally”, and has recently been updated (website on right). If this gets you excited about being a D.O., the central application is called AACOMAS (Ah-COME-as); it will be available for the Fall 2011 entry class at the beginning of May 2010. Note that rolling admissions is still important for D.O.s! I would recommend applying during the summer and interviewing in the fall. The Osteopathic Medical College Information Book is in my office, or you can review the resources to the right. For more information on advice and upcoming workshops, contact GT’s pre-health advisor, Jennifer Kimble at:

By Jennifer Kimble

Osteopathic Medicine Resources & Websites Please visit the following websites for more information on osteopathic medicine and achieving a D.O.! American Osteopathic Association Osteopathic International Alliance Central Application Website Working Abroad as a D.O. International Osteopathic Medicine w w w . do - o n l i n e .o r g /i n de x . c f m ? PageID=lcl_main&au=A&SubPageID= lcl_interntnl GA-PCOM Admissions Coordinator Trena Gologan (

Upcoming Workshops With summer steadily approaching, it is very important to attend the following workshops to learn more about how to work on your application over the next few months! Apr 13, 7:00 PM, location TBA Apr 20, 6:00 PM, Clary Theatre Apr 21, 3:30 PM, Pres. Suite A All workshops are located in the Student Success Center.

Pre-health? Join the American Medical Student Association at Georgia Tech for medical school admissions visits, leadership and volunteer opportunities, advocacy and shadowing events, conferences, and much more!

Page 3

Atherosclerosis Gene from Page 1 branched or curved regions of arteries where plaques form because of cholesterol build-up. Inflammation can alter the structure of plaques so that they become more likely to rupture, causing a blood vessel blockage and leading to heart attack or stroke. “This is the first systematic study showing that HuR not only responds to external stimuli as a stress-sensitive gene, but it also regulates other stress-sensitive genes,” said senior author 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. The study results show that HuR promotes the expression of genes that support atherosclerosis and inhibits the expression of genes that combat atherosclerosis. “We found that suppressing expression of HuR inhibited the inflammatory response of cells, which shows that designing drugs that block HuR function may reduce the risk of plaques rupturing,” explained Bao. Bao guided Won Jong Rhee, a former postdoctoral fellow in his laboratory, to conduct a series of experiments investigating the biology, behavior and pathways of HuR. The researchers first studied how the HuR gene responds to different flow environments and chemical treatments. They exposed human umbilical vein endothelial cells to disturbed flow – which occurs in artery regions where plaques form – and found that the cells expressed higher levels of HuR than when they experienced a static or laminar flow environment. This finding was validated in tissue experiments with results showing increased amounts of HuR in regions of a mouse aorta that were exposed to disturbed flow. Then the researchers treated endothelial cells with statins, medications used to treat atherosclerosis by reducing the number of cholesterol-containing lowdensity lipoprotein (LDL) molecules in the blood and inhibiting inflammation. The results indicated a decreased level of HuR with statin treatment. After establishing HuR as a stresssensitive gene regulated by external stimuli, including flow and statin treatment, the researchers conducted experiments to determine whether HuR regulates the expression of other stress-sensitive genes. They found that reducing the level of HuR in cells increased the levels of two genes

Page 4

that combat atherosclerosis – Kruppel-like factor 2 (Klf2) and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). The reduction in HuR also decreased the expression of bone morphogenic protein-4 (BMP-4), a gene that supports atherosclerosis. Reducing the level of HuR in cells also significantly inhibited many inflammatory responses of the endothelial cells, including the expression of two potential atherosclerosis drug targets: inter-cellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM1). Though this study showed that HuR plays a critical role in inducing and mediating an inflammatory response in cells subjected to a stressful environment, the underlying mechanism for this regulation is still not known. “HuR protein often binds to messenger RNAs to increase their stability and translation, but we found that regulation of other stress-sensitive genes by HuR was not due to changes in mRNA stability by direct protein binding,” explained Bao. To uncover the pathways that lead to HuR’s stress sensitivity, the researchers conducted a series of studies to reveal that HuR functions by adding a phosphate group to the transcriptional factor nuclear factor kappa B (NFkB) and its inhibitor IkBa. Additional research is underway to reveal what mRNAs HuR binds to and the mechanisms used to respond to mechanical and chemical stresses. Identifying the triggers for inflammation and unraveling the details of inflammatory pathways may eventually furnish new therapeutic targets. Hanjoong Jo, the Coulter Department’s Ada Lee and Pete Correll Professor in Biomedical Engineering, Kyunghwa Chang, graduate student Chih-Wen Ni and research scientist Zhilan Zheng also contributed to this research. For more info, visit: Abby Vogel is a communications officer in the GT Research News & Publications Office and a collaborator of The Pioneer.

Images showing reduced levels of HuR (red) in areas with greater curvature, compared to a region with less curvature, which is prone to atherosclerosis because endothelial cells (blue) are exposed to disturbed flow there. (Photo: Gang Bao) Full color available online.

Enjoyed this article? Keep up with more groundbreaking research in the Georgia Tech news room!

The 5th Annual Spring Symposium By Alex Cooper & Aswin Natarajan

BME Student Experiences & Awards


he 5th Annual Spring Symposium was co-hosted by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) and the Student Activities Board for Undergraduate Research (SABUR) on March 16, 2010. It was a lively occasion with posters and presenters from every college and nearly every major. The Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University had a strong presence at the event with 25 posters, six oral presentations, and one recipient of the Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award and the Outstanding Poster Presentation Award. For some students, the symposium was the first time that they got to present their research. Encouraged by her mentor, Melissa Kemp, Ph.D., Debika Mitra submitted her abstract for the symposium poster session. A junior in the Coulter Department, Mitra presented her work on “Determination of IKK (IκB kinase) glutathionylation during T-cell receptor stimulation.” Specifically, she attempted to confirm previously published results of glutathionylation, an oxidative modification of IKK, and tested for potential changes in IKK during T-cell activation. “I definitely would like to come back next year with more results if I have them,” said Mitra, reflecting on her experience. Curious attendees approaching Mitra’s poster also made the occasion not only a show of achievement but a transfer of ideas and knowledge. Abby Hill, a third year who has spent two years also working in the Kemp Lab,

stressed the valuable skills students can learn by conducting research and presenting their work. “Getting up in front of people you don't know and having to explain what you've been working on for two years isn't easy. But it doesn't just have to be about research; it's a skill that can be applied universally.” Hill's work to develop a method to quantify senescence in T-cells is a promising alternative to methods currently used in the clinical setting. “It's something that I hope doctors will find easier to use,” she remarked. Another presenter, Maya Uddin in the Young-Hui Chang Lab, designed a machine that tests the durability of a new synthetic cartilage. “I really got into it [the project] because it wasn't just applicable to the real world, but it was applicable to me personally. I really like to exercise, so there's a good chance I might have a problem with my cartilage in the future,” said Uddin. For students looking into research opportunities, Uddin explains that “anyone can get data, but what you really learn in the lab is how to conclude something meaningful and apply it to the real world.” Uddin also advises fellow students to “apply anywhere you can.” She explains that even a “clean the lab position” allows students to learn lab basics. Ted Chen, winner of the Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award and a recent Tech graduate currently employed in the Kemp Lab, returned to the symposium for his third and final time. The moment was even more unique to Chen, VP of Programs in SABUR who has organized t h e c e r e m o n y l e a d in g u p t o the Outstanding Researcher Awards, as he

Ted Chen (right), winner of an Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award, is a researcher in Melissa Kemp’s (left) lab. (Photo: Debika Mitra)

received it himself at his final symposium. Rania Khan, a member of the Ravi Bellamkonda Lab, also won third place in the Outstanding Poster Presentation Award in the College of Engineering. At the end of the Spring 2010 Undergraduate Research Symposium, Karen Harwell, Ph.D., Director of Undergraduate Research, concluded, “Every year, the spring symposium is an overwhelming success because of these young men and women you see before you.” Congratulations again to all of the outstanding undergraduate researchers. Alex Cooper and Aswin Natarajan are undergraduate students in the Coulter Department.

Looking For A Research Position? Undergraduates should attend the following research fairs to “match” with a research laboratory! Graduates and professors may participate by bringing posters for the poster sessions. Undergraduate/Graduate Research Connection Poster Session April 1 - 11:00-1:00 PM, IBB Atrium GT Inaugural Undergraduate Research Fair April 13 - 10:00-2:00 PM, Student Center Ballroom Undergraduate researchers presenting at a poster session in the symposium. (Photo: UROP)

Page 5

The InVenture Prize at Georgia Tech A Brief Recap Of The Event

By Jerome Choo


ight Inventure teams took the stage March 17 in the Ferst Center for the Arts at Georgia Tech to present a final showcase of their innovations which was broadcasted live on Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB). Representing biomedical engineering are three members of Team EEGle-Eye - Neil Shah, Brandon Fox and Rohan Trivedi. Other members are aerospace engineering students, Ganesh Nair and Robert Lindemann. Their team’s invention is a headset fitted with two electrodes designed to pick up the different brain waves associated with sleep. The biomedical engineers of the team designed a fitted headset, while the aerospace engineers worked on circuitry and soldering. With an estimated 1,500 people dying each year due to sleep related incidents behind the wheel, Team EEGle-Eye’s invention intends to solve this dilemma. Victor Malchesky, Corporate Fleet Safety Manager of Swift Transportation Co, Inc., agreed to field test this device, stressing the significance of this problem in major trucking industries. Following their presentation, the team turns to the panel of judges for their opinions. David Ku, Ph.D., and Lawrence P. Huang, Chair Professor of Engineering Entrepreneurship Regents Professor, noted that for a brain wave detection system to work there has to be a 100% connection to the brain at all times, questioning if this is actually possible with the EEGle-Eye. The team responded quickly, pointing out that the electrodes in the headset actually make contact with the scalp of the head. Thus, as long as the headset stays on the head, there should not be any problems with disconnections. Lara O’Connor Hodgson, CEO of Insomnia LLC, was concerned that users might attempt to drive even while tired and rely on the EEGle-Eye to keep them awake. The team countered

The members of Team EEGle-Eye who participated in InVenture 2010.

this liability issue with the assurance that users should have the sense to refrain from driving while weary, but the judges appeared unconvinced. Unfortunately, the unswayed judges decided not to place Team EEGle-Eye. At the end of the night, Patrick Whaley’s Omega Wear won first place and Sarah Vaden’s Pneumatically Elevated Pitch Pedal won second place. Better luck next time, BMEs! Jerome Choo is an undergraduate student in the Coulter Department.

Student Spotlight: Anthony Schwartz Winner Of The CEED Cooperative Education Student Of The Year Award


he CEED Cooperative Education Student of the Year award for 2009 goes to Anthony Schwartz, a senior BME from Fayetteville, Georgia. Started summer of 2006, Schwartz has served five work terms in C.R. Bard's Urological Division. During that time he has contributed to a suburethral sling device, which treats female urinary stress incontinency, and a surgical implant for female pelvic floor repair. Often working 50 to 60 hour workweeks, including nights and weekends, Schwartz immersed himself in every aspect of design and development. This ranged from building prototype medical devices, conducting product testing, learning to use basic machine shop equipment and conducting clinical literature searches for new product ideas. A willing hand involved Schwartz in virtually every activity going on in the R&D groups. When work was slow, he taught himself SolidWorks 3-D modeling, machine design, how to operate a metal lathe and

Page 6

CNC mill and learned relevant anatomy. Schwartz quickly established himself at C.R. Bard as someone who would always find a way to get the job done on time. Schwartz says his capacity to find "something that interested [him] in each project" allowed him to do the best job possible and go the extra mile. And that extra mile was not without it's own rewards. "Working first hand with world renowned physicians in cadaver labs and in operating rooms was a priceless experience," says Schwartz, "giving me a greater understanding of the life of a surgeon." One of the most enjoyable experiences of Schwartz's co-op was to see months of his hard work on a device realized in a physicians hand where it would make a positive difference for thousands of afflicted patients. Additionally, at C.R. Bard, Schwartz gained valuable experience communicat…

By Eric Huang

Anthony Schwartz, undergraduate student of the Coulter Department and CEED Cooperative Education Student of the Year. (Photo: Joey Cerone)

Senior Reflections: James Molini and Ginger Tsai


ifth year James Molini and fourth year Ginger Tsai are proof that Georgia Tech biomedical engineering students can travel abroad, have healthy social lives, be involved around campus, find time to sleep, and graduate. Though admittedly, Molini and Tsai concur that the journey has not been easy. James Molini With a job lined up at St. Jude Medical as a Cardiac Surgery Sales Representative, Molini, as a first year, was surprisingly contemplating what being an engineer really meant. After his first year, Molini was already stepping out of his comfort zone by enrolling in the National Guard. While unrelated to engineering, he still grew from this experience. Molini learned how to interact with different groups of people that he normally did not meet at Georgia Tech. Then last summer, Molini traveled to Africa to volunteer as a hospital technician. There, he got a glimpse into real world engineering problems, such as fixing pump seals and batteries. This hands-on experience helped Molini think like an engineer and develop critical thinking and analytical skills. Molini now serves as President of Engineering World Health (EWH) at Georgia Tech. EWH teams up with MedShare, a nonprofit organization that redistributes surplus medical supplies to underserved healthcare facilities in developing countries, to help repair any broken equipment stored in the warehouse. Molini, who has a certificate in Finance, also recommends that fellow engineering

Student Spotlight from Page 6 ing in a technical field and mediating between individuals with differing views. Both are "requirements for success that must be learned outside the classroom," notes Schwartz. In addition to his regular co-op duties at Bard, Schwartz worked as a research assistant in a preclinical study to evaluate the in vivo properties of a revolutionary minimally invasive suburethral sling that he had helped design. Schwartz's co-authored research paper is expected to be published in The International Urogynecological Journal in fourth quarter 2009.

Rosemary Song students take business classes or get a certificate. After all, a job is part of a business and understanding the business behind a job, a project, or a company opens up opportunities beyond strict engineering. Talking to people from different majors and working on collaborative projects also expands horizons and networks. For more tips, Molini names the book Never Eat Alone by Keith Farazi as a great source for learning how to network. Now about to graduate, he says he wouldn't take back his experience for anything, "except for maybe 10 million dollars, an island, and a sailboat." Ginger Tsai "BME has certainly been different from what I expected." As a fourth year, Tsai currently plans to go into education teaching biology or chemistry to high school students. Taking a few steps back, the path to this career choice was not as clean cut as it seems. As a first year, Tsai planned to pursue research or become a doctor, career choices her parents still believe she should pursue. Following this original plan, Tsai worked for professors Todd McDevitt and Mark Prausnitz. Though she enjoyed the research, she also realized that this was not her strongest skill set. From then on Tsai decided to "take a different approach to helping people." The summer after her junior year, she settled on teaching as her career path. Change also visited Tsai as a third year when the department completely revamped the curriculum and added problem After graduating this May, 2010, Schwartz plans to return to medical school in 2011 to pursue his dreams of becoming a surgeon. Before that however, he plans to travel through Central America, South America and Africa to document the use of alternative medicine in third world countries. To other students, Schwartz offers this advice, "Search strongly for something that you love to do - whether that is engineering, medicine, marketing, business etc. Once you find what makes you happy, success in every aspect will follow." Eric Huang is an undergraduate student in the Coulter Department.

BME Excellence Awards The Pioneer congratulates all graduating seniors of the 2009-2010 academic year and the following seniors for receiving the 2010 BME Excellence Awards! Joseph Mets, Outstanding Senior Rafeed Chaudhury, Outstanding Leader Aileen Li, Outstanding Research Lazarina Gyoneva, Academic Award

-based learning (PBL) classes. Though originally an unwelcome transition, Tsai appreciates the real-world applications taught in the PBL classes and even wants to bring that experience to high school students in preparation for college. Besides academics, Tsai is also the current President of the Taiwanese-American Student Association (TASA). As President, her time management and problem solving skills have been exercised and nurtured. Joining the organization as a freshman, she found a place she fit in, so she invested herself in it and decided she wanted to lead and develop the Taiwanese-American community to expose others to the culture. At the end of this journey, Tsai feels that the additional difficulty of the biomedical program has prepared her to face the world armed with a strong skill set. Rosemary Song is an undergraduate student in the Coulter Department.

Looking for an Internship? All undergrads are invited to learn how to find an internship, including networking, databases, corporate websites, LinkedIn, and company directories. Hosted by the Division of Professional Practice, workshops are offered every Thursday: 11:00-12:00 PM, Clary Theatre, Student Success Center

Page 7

April Events & Deadlines April 1 - Ph.D. Proposal Join Jaemin Shin, from the Hu group, on for his proposal entitled “Characteristic and Compensation of Physiological Fluctuations in Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging.” 9.30 AM, Emory University Hospital, Radiology Conference Room CG26. April 1 - IBB Special Seminar Join Swee-Hin Teoh, Ph.D., for his seminar “Bone Tissue Engineering Bioresorbable Scaffolds in Craniofacial Surgery and Dentistry.” 11:30 AM, IBB 1128. April 6 - Bioengineering Seminar Join John Hossack, Ph.D., for his seminar “Intravascular Ultrasound for Guided Delivery of Drug, or Gene, to Blood Vessel Walls .” 11:00 AM, IBB 1128. April 6 - BMES: Spring Banquet Members of the Biomedical Engineering Society at Georgia Tech will celebrate the end of the academic year with the traditional spring banquet. For more details, please visit:

NeuroTalks The director of the Laboratory for Neuroengineering, Steve Potter, Ph.D., invites you to join in biweekly seminars. Two Neurolab researchers, undergraduate and graduate, will present a 20-minute informal talk followed by a 10-minute discussion. Lunch will be provided. Upcoming sessions in April are as follows: April 9, 1:00-2:00 PM April 23, 1:00-2:00 PM Contact Dr. Potter for more information on locations and opportunities to present!

April 8 - Young Innovators Seminar Join Tatiana Segura, Ph.D., assistant professor of the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at the University of California - Los Angeles, for her seminar “Materials for Local Gene Delivery .” 11:00-12:00 PM, Whitaker 1103. April 17 - Annual Petit Scholars Dinner & Reception The Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience at the Georgia Institute of Technology presents the 2010 Petit Scholars Reception and Dinner. Times TBA. Sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information, contact Megan McDevitt at April 20 - IBB Breakfast Club Join Rudy Gleason, Ph.D., for his seminar “Biomechanics and Remodeling in Native and Engineered Arteries.” Continental breakfast will be provided. 8:30-9:30 AM, IBB 1128. April 20 - Bioengineering Seminar Join Frances Ligler, Ph.D., for his seminar “Hydrodynamic Focusing for Sensing and Micro/Nano-Fabrication.” 11:00 AM, IBB 1128. April 28 - 2010 IBB Vendor Showcase Over 35 companies will be on hand to display and demonstrate their equipments and research techniques. 10:00-2:00 PM, IBB Atrium. April 30 - Last Day of Classes May 3-7 - Final Examinations All events are subject to change. For more information and updates on locations and times, please visit:,, and

Page 8

For more information on the Suddath Symposium and the First International Conference on Microneedles, please visit: and, respectively.

Join the Georgia Tech Biomedical Engineering Society today! Meet new people in your department, learn about the biomedical engineering industry, and attend numerous seminars hosting BME alumni and company representatives from around the country! Fill out an application now! More info can be found at:

Fly Over the Seas and Study Abroad! Interested in an academic adventure overseas? Need info on the options that GT provides to students? Have questions about how study abroad works at GT? A Study Abroad Advisor will be available to answer questions and provide information about GT study abroad. Topics include: how to choose a program, academics and credit transfer, GT mandatory forms, financial considerations, insurance, and other campus regulations. Please note that you do not have to call ahead to RSVP to attend these info sessions! April 7, 11:30-12:30 PM April 7, 4:00-5:00 PM April 13, 11:30-12:30 PM April 14, 11:30-12:30 PM April 14, 3:00-5:00 PM

April 20, 11:30-12:30 PM April 21, 11:30-12:30 PM April 21, 4:00-5:00 PM April 26, 2:00-3:00 PM April 27, 11:30-12:30 PM

All sessions are located in Savant Room 211.

Looking for BME undergraduate and graduate career opportunities? Visit: In the spirit of volunteerism, the Emory School of Medicine is hosting the International Medical Volunteerism Conference on April 16-18 on the Emory University Campus. Listen to numerous lectures, enjoy insightful presentations, and participate in exhibits, a talent show, and the 9th Annual Care to Share 5K Fun Run and Kids Mile! For more information and a full program of events, visit:

Page 9

Haiku Extraordinaire from Page 1 grade. He wrote extensively on many of the probing issues of elementary school life at the time, from learning arithmetic to the ongoing cootie epidemic plaguing the playground. Some of the great minds of his era, such as Steven, who already knew all of his times tables, saw in Paul’s poetry his ability to probe deep into the dark recesses of the human soul and would often seek advice from Paul. From this, Paul discovered a lifelong love for advising, and gave up his dream of Haiku writing in favor of a less shaky career. However, that has all changed as our beloved advisor has left the country in hopes of rekindling the literary flame which once sustained him. As I left his office, hoping to find clues of his current location, I saw hoards of students dressed in black, sobbing in sorrow after learning of Paul’s departure. “H-h-h-e always knew… just what to say during dead week… and now he’s gone! How will I get through my exams now!?” undergraduate Willa Ni managed to stammer through her hysterics as mascara ran down her face, “I tried to write my own haiku to remember him. Listen to this: Paul is gone/No Paul/Why have you deserted us, oh great Paul?” Clearly, her Haikus could have used some help from the master himself, but I did not feel like this was the time to bring it up. “Do you have any words for The Pioneer regarding Paul’s departure?” I asked undergraduate Kanav Jain, another griefstricken student. His silent weeping as he covered up his brand new “I Heart Paul

Fincannon” tattoo said it all. As I walked out of the Wallace H. Coulter building (now tentatively named The Paul Fincannon Memorial Building in honor of Paul), I saw undergraduate Chun Yong sitting atop a thirty foot tall block of marble in the middle of the Biotechnology Quad, chiseling it into Paul’s likeness. “He’s basically one of the greatest people who ever lived, and I think students should remember his legacy,” Yong stated, climbing the ladder down for his interview. “But to be honest, I feel kind of betrayed,” he explained, “I mean, how could he abandon us? I don’t even know what to take now. Am I supposed to take Library Science? …Advanced Cooking? …IceCream Appreciation? WHAT DO I NEED TO GRADUATE, PAUL?” As Yong began to pound the marble with his fists in frustration with tears pouring down his cheeks, I decided to follow my only lead regarding Paul’s whereabouts. I arrived in Tokyo a few days later with an address written on a slip of paper I found in his office. It made sense that Paul would be in Japan – the birthplace of the Haiku. I found Paul after one of his concerts being mobbed by fans. One of his fans even grabbed the star shaped sunglasses he was wearing and ran off with them to show her friends as Paul, in clear anger, yelled after her: You who have stolen, The glasses off of my face, A pox on your kids! When the last fan got her autograph (signed: “This, the autograph/of the Great Paul Fincannon/Don’t sell on E-Bay” for


id you know? The IBB has recently launched a new website, receiving an increase of 47.81% new visitors over the previous time period last year! Although we are proud of our new website and online core facilities reservation system, we still have a long way to go! Features that will be added over the course of the next several months include: a career portion with a resume upload function as well as the ability for companies and other universities to post positions, an improved news and events section, and other content including funding opportunities pages with listed grants and a Distinguished Lecturer video page. If you have any suggestions or comments, please feel free to email them to Megan McDevitt and/or Tanner Dorheim at:,

Page 10

those wondering) Paul agreed to sit down with me for a quick interview. I quickly learned he was a man of few words (or seventeen syllables in this case), but that didn’t stop him from giving me some profound insight into his life. Q: What prompted the sudden career change, Paul? Sick of advising Wanted the life of a star Now I am famous Q: Are you enjoying the lifestyle? Haikus have made me Rich like a cup of Starbucks But I do miss home Q: We all miss you too. Do you think you will ever come back? It may take some time But I think soon, I’ll be back Like Schwarzenegger Q: Do you have any final words of advice for students back home? Remind Chun to take Ice-Cream Appreciation For graduation I don’t know when he’ll be back, but as he promised it will be soon. Until then, all we can do is wait. Karan Patel is an undergraduate student in the Coulter Department. The Pioneer staff and Paul Fincannon wishes everyone a happy April Fool’s Day filled with harmless pranks such as ridiculous newsletter articles!


pdate your IBB website profile now! Faculty, graduates, post-docs, and all other members of the IBB have the ability to build their personal profiles on the new website. Please visit and create an account to log into the website (if you have not already done so). New features for faculty profiles include links to your PubMed profile, Google Scholars, and YouTube videos. Videotaping will resume in June if you have not had the opportunity to create your video profile yet! Petit Scholars of 2010 and alumni are also listed on:

Recent Coulter Department Publications The Pioneer congratulates the following faculty, post-docs, and students for this past month’s research publications. Analytical Biochemistry Detection of femtomole quantities of mature cathepsin K with zymography. Li WA, Barry ZT, Cohen JD, Wilder CL, Deeds RJ, Keegan PM, Platt MO

Brain Research Altered local coherence in the default mode network due to sevoflurane anesthesia. Deshpande G, Kerssens C, Sebel PS, Hu X

Analytical Chemistry Imaging of Meningioma Progression by Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry. Agar NY, Malcolm JG, Mohan V, Yang HW, Johnson MD, Tannenbaum A, Agar JN, Black PM

Gene Therapy Cutaneous vaccination using microneedles coated with hepatitis C DNA vaccine. Gill HS, Söderholm J, Prausnitz MR, Sällberg M

Biomaterials Coating of biomaterial scaffolds with the collagen-mimetic peptide GFOGER for bone defect repair. Wojtowicz AM, Shekaran A, Oest ME, Dupont KM, Templeman KL, Hutmacher DW, Guldberg RE, García AJ

Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 24R,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [24R,25(OH)(2)D(3)] Controls Growth Plate Development by Inhibiting Apoptosis in the Reserve Zone and Stimulating Response to 1alpha,25(OH)(2)D(3) in Hypertrophic Cells. Boyan BD, Hurst-Kennedy J, Denison TA, Schwartz Z

Direct and indirect effects of microstructured titanium substrates on the induction of mesenchymal stem cell differentiation towards the osteoblast lineage. Olivares-Navarrete R, Hyzy SL, Hutton DL, Erdman CP, Wieland M, Boyan BD, Schwartz Z

Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A Chronic inflammatory responses to microgel-based implant coatings. Bridges AW, Whitmire RE, Singh N, Templeman KL, Babensee JE, Lyon LA, García AJ

Engineering fibrin matrices: the engagement of polymerization pockets through fibrin knob technology for the delivery and retention of therapeutic proteins. Soon AS, Stabenfeldt SE, Brown WE, Barker TH

Dendritic cell responses to self-assembled monolayers of defined chemistries. Shankar SP, Petrie TA, García AJ, Babensee JE

Physiologic compliance in engineered small-diameter arterial constructs based on an elastomeric substrate. Crapo PM, Wang Y The synergistic effects of 3-D porous silk fibroin matrix scaffold properties and hydrodynamic environment in cartilage tissue regeneration. Wang Y, Bella E, Lee CS, Migliaresi C, Pelcastre L, Schwartz Z, Boyan BD, Motta A The roles of Wnt signaling modulators Dickkopf-1 (Dkk1) and Dickkopf-2 (Dkk2) and cell maturation state in osteogenesis on microstructured titanium surfaces. Olivares-Navarrete R, Hyzy S, Wieland M, Boyan BD, Schwartz Z The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery Larger aortic reconstruction corresponds to diminished left pulmonary artery size in patients with single-ventricle physiology. Dasi LP, Sundareswaran KS, Sherwin C, de Zelicourt D, Kanter K, Fogel MA, Yoganathan AP

Compete In National Scholarships! Ever heard of the Goldwater, Udall, Truman, Rhodes, Marshall, Gates, Fulbright, Mitchell, and Churchill Scholarships? Many prestigious opportunities await undergraduates and graduates! Contact Paul Hurst for the Rhodes or Truman Scholarships ( and Dr. Karen Adams for all other scholarships ( to find out how you may apply!

Microsphere size effects on embryoid body incorporation and embryonic stem cell differentiation. Carpenedo RL, Seaman SA, McDevitt TC Profiles of carbohydrate ligands associated with adsorbed proteins on self-assembled monolayers of defined chemistries. Shankar SP, Chen II, Keselowsky BG, García AJ, Babensee JE Neuropsychologia Sensorimotor function and sensorimotor tracts after hemispherectomy. Choi JT, Vining EP, Mori S, Bastian AJ NMR in Biomedicine DTI at long diffusion time improves fiber tracking. Rane S, Nair G, Duong TQ The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Sustained delivery of thermostabilized chABC enhances axonal sprouting and functional recovery after spinal cord injury. Lee H, McKeon RJ, Bellamkonda RV Receive Fulbright funding to lecture, research, or study abroad. Find out more: June 8 - 11:00 AM, Crescent Room, Student Center

Students going into or currently in graduate STEM programs: find out more about the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship ($30,000 stipend for three years)! April 6 - 11:00 AM, Piedmont Room, Student Center June 8 - 11:00 AM, Piedmont Room, Student Center

Page 11

Faculty Spotlight: Thomas Barker, Ph.D. And His Matrix Biology & Engineering Laboratory


homas Barker, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, joined the department in 2006 after completing two post-doctoral fellowships in Seattle, WA and Lausanne, Switzerland. His goal is clear and his approach, holistic: Barker and his lab hope to ultimately develop biomaterials that induce the regeneration of complex tissues and organ systems. His preferred approach involves developing a fundamental knowledge base of the processes and materials involved and then applying those concepts towards engineering novel bio-inspired solutions. The focus of Barker’s lab involves the “intersection of mechanobiology, traditional cell and molecular biology and the extracellular matrix.” The intricacies and interdependence of these three distinct concepts is vital to formulating specific solutions for regenerative medicine. The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a complex composite material comprised of protein polymers, proteogylcans and bioactive factors that constantly interact with the cells it surrounds. These interactions are biochemical as well as mechanical in nature. This means that the proteins in the ECM and receptors on cells are involved in relaying cascades of chemical signals as well as producing physical responses to the mechanical forces that are inflicted upon them.

What sets the Barker Lab apart is that they “are definitely a more fundamental lab in the sense that [they] are really interested in the conceptual mechanisms – how mechanical forces alter the biochemical nature of proteins”. Of particular interest among the various ECM proteins is fibronectin, a glycoprotein involved in directing embryonic development and wound healing. Fibronectin interacts with integrins, cellular membrane proteins, to initiate a cascade of cell signals that instruct cell behavior and eventually lead to healing and/or scar formation. Fibronectin has also been found to be integral in branching morphogenesis, the biological process that creates a lung by branching off precursor buds. This indicates that the specific biochemical role of fibronectin links the formation of embryonic organs to the preservation of those organs. The engineering goal is to harness this intimate link to control fibronectin’s activity in response to injury depending on the situation and its needs – in essence, to be smarter than our bodies. One of the tenets of Barker’s research is to focus on embryonic tissue-patterning events. This is important in wound-healing and tissue regeneration because an embryo has the elusive ability to grow a functional, if not flawless, organ or limb. An adult comprising the same genetic material as the embryo is incapable of regenerating an organ. Rather, the adult body will minimize

Members of the Barker Lab. (Photo: Thomas Barker) For more information, visit:

Page 12

By Dhruv Vishwakarma

The Barker Lab focuses on “understanding and treating Extracellular Matrix (ECM)-centric processes such as tissue patterning/regeneration and disorders such as fibrosis and metastasis.” (Photo: Thomas Barker)

the damage by rebuilding the required tissue for survival. In what will have been a monumental achievement, Barker hopes to reprogram the cells around a wound in a specific and directed manner. The reprogrammed cells, instead of rushing to cover the wound to minimize blood loss, will treat the site as an undeveloped embryonic organ, which will cause the growth of a replacement organ. Though clinical viability for something of this sort is still far from reach, the research conducted so far shows promise that this, theoretically, can be accomplished. Barker’s research presents great promise to fibrosis patients on a short term basis, but it has even greater implications for anyone requiring a replacement organ in the long term. Meanwhile, Barker continues to ask, “What is it about fibronectin that causes scarring and what it is about fibronectin that guides the normal development of the lung? …If we can figure out those differences, we could potentially develop therapeutic technologies.” Dhruv Vishwakarma is an undergraduate student in the Coulter Department.

April 2010  

Osteopathic Medicine: A Brief Intro on Getting Your D.O. That May Play Key Role in Atherosclerosis And More ! By Karan Patel On Hiatus Indef...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you