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TABLE OF CONTENTS Looking Back . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 1 INBT in Numbers. . . . . . . . . . . page 2 Research Portfolio. . . . . . . . . . page 3 Training Programs. . . . . . . . . . page 8 Partnership. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 14 Outreach. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 16 Accolades . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 23 About Us. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 25 Giving. . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 27 Contact .. . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 28

Cover illustration by Martin Rietveld.

Looking Back In 2006, a handful of researchers from different disciplines got together with one idea: to create a hub where people across departments and divisions could work together to solve problems that affect human health. That hub became the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology (INBT) and continues to be one of the University’s most successfully funded and most frequently emulated research entities. As we begin to close out our first decade, we look back on some of the milestones we have achieved thus far. INBT also must look ahead to the challenges we face. Research is constantly innovating to meet the changing needs of society and industry. Training programs must evolve to educate graduates who are highly sought after by employers. As competition for federal and state research dollars increases, we rely more and more on private philanthropy to fund our goals. By diversifying our research portfolio and increasing our multidisciplinary collaborations, we are confident that INBT will attain its objectives.

Our significant milestones include: • Netting more than $60 million in research funds over eight years • Launching several research centers and initiatives under the INBT umbrella to investigate questions relating to the applications of nanotechnology to cancer and to basic biomolecular processes. • Training several dozen graduate, undergraduate and pre college students in the multidisciplinary field of nanobiotechnology • Hosting eight successful research symposia and poster sessions that have featured leading experts in medicine, engineering, science, public health and industry from both inside and outside the university Peter C. Searson Joseph R. and Lynn C. Reynolds Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Director, Institute for NanoBioTechnology Co-director, Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence

Denis Wirtz Vice Provost for Research, Johns Hopkins University Director, Physical Sciences-Oncology Center Theophilus H. Smoot Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Associate Director, Institute for NanoBioTechnology

2014–2015 Progress Report


INBT By the Numbers School of Medicine


Whiting School of Engineering


Krieger School of Arts and Sciences


Bloomberg School of Public Health


Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab


School of Education


Total Affiliated Faculty 226

2014 Undergraduate Summer Interns (REU)


2015 Undergraduate Summer Interns (REU)


2014 International Research Students (IRES)


2015 International Research Students (IRES)


2014 Summer Academic Research Experience High School Scholars (SARE)


2015 Summer Academic Research Experience High School Scholars (SARE)


Postdoctoral fellows


Pre-doctoral (PhD) training grant students


Master’s students


Undergraduate researchers


Total Trainees 253


Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology

Research Portfolio INBT’s research collaborations across disciplines and divisions continue to push boundaries, resulting in research innovations that address fundamental questions in basic science, engineering and medicine. INBT has been focused on cultivating existing research initiatives, including those focused on developing engineered components to simulate the blood-brain barrier, initiatives exploring the mechanisms of cancer metastasis, the devotion of more time and effort to cloud-based pathology, and to the study of basic cellular processes through the lens of nanotechnology.

2014–2015 Progress Report



Delivery of Neurotoxicant Antidotes Across the

of the Brain Science Institute at the Johns Hopkins

Blood-Brain Barrier

School of Medicine. The Working Group meets several

Building on some of the innovations that evolved from

times a year to hear presentations from Hopkins and

INBT’s Blood-Brain Working Group, the Institute landed

invited faculty, industry leaders and, in some cases, Hop-

a grant from the Defense Threat Destruction Agency to

kins postdocs and graduate students doing compelling

provide new insight into the transport of neurotoxicant

work. Speakers over the last 18 months included Harold

antidotes (known as oximes) across the blood-brain barrier.

Selnick of Merck; Eric Shusta, professor of chemical and

The grant, initially for $1.3 million for two years with the

biological engineering at the University of Wisconsin,

opportunity to extend it three more years, involves profes-

Madison; Dennis Grab, associate professor of pathology

sor and INBT director Peter Searson and assistant profes-

and Il Minn, instructor of Radiology, both from the Johns

sor Martin Ulmschneider, both from the Department of

Hopkins School of Medicine; and Greg Wiedman and

Materials Science and Engineering at the Whiting School

Andrew Wong, both recent PhD recipients from the JHU

of Engineering in collaboration with professor Dwight

Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

Bergles from the Department of Neuroscience of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The project has three

Center for Digital Pathology

components: one will use a previously developed artificial

Denis Wirtz, Vice Provost for Research, the Smoot Professor

blood vessel to measure how oximes perfuse through a

of Engineering and Associate Director of INBT, was the

manufactured system; one will conduct imaging studies

keynote speaker at The Celebration of Data Symposium

using transgenic mouse models whose blood-brain barrier

on June 20, 2014 on the Homewood campus. Speakers

epithelium expresses fluorescent proteins; and a third that

discussed how they are leveraging data in a variety of

will use computational models to predict outcomes.

research arenas, including academic science, the biotech industry and the private and government sectors. Other

Blood-Brain Barrier Working Group

INBT affiliated speakers included Konstantinos Konstan-

Formed in 2012, the Johns Hopkins Blood-Brain Barrier

topoulos, PhD Professor and Chair, Chemical & Biomo-

Working Group brings together researchers with diverse

lecular Engineering and several alumni of the Wirtz lab

interests and expertise to address key problems associated

including Soichiro Yamada, PhD Associate Professor, UC

with drug delivery, the role of the blood-brain barrier (BBB)

Davis; Daniele Gilkes, PhD, Assistant Research Professor

in disease, and the structure and function of the BBB.

at JHU; and Shyam Khatau, PhD, Senior Consultant,

Chairs of the working group include INBT Director Peter

Navigant and others.

C. Searson and Jeffrey D. Rothstein, MD, PhD, director


Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology

Physical Sciences-Oncology Center

exploring current use of hydrogels and their design

May 31, 2015 marked the end of the fifth and final year of

parameters to engineer vasculogenesis and angiogenesis

NIH funding for the Physical Sciences-Oncology Center (PS-OC),

and to evaluate the angiogenic capability of cancerous

which was established in 2009 with a $14.8 million grant

cells and tissues. Researchers from the Gregg Semenza and

from the National Cancer Institute. The Center studied

Denis Wirtz lab published the review, “Hypoxia and the

metastasis through the lens of the physical scientist and

extracellular matrix: drivers of tumor metastasis,” in which

examined biophysical markers for the spread of cancer.

they discuss how emerging data indicate that hypoxia and

Dozens of significant papers were published under the

the extracellular matrix (ECM) might have crucial roles in

auspices of the PS-OC over the last year and a half. Some

metastasis. Originally thought of as independent contrib-

publications included, but were not limited to: From the

utors to metastatic spread, recent studies have established

Sharon Gerecht lab came a report on “Hypoxia-inducible

a direct link between hypoxia and the composition and

hydrogels,” where she discusses how hypoxia plays a pivotal

the organization of the ECM, suggesting a new model in

role during development, regeneration and cancer. The

which multiple microenvironmental signals might con-

Gerecht lab also published the review “Hydrogels to model

verge to synergistically influence metastatic outcomes.

3D in vitro microenvironment of tumor vascularization,”

2014–2015 Progress Report



Osmotic Engine Model

High-throughput Screening Technologies

Researchers affiliated with the laboratories of Konstantinos

for Breast Cancer

Konstantopoulos, Denis Wirtz and Sean Sun published

The National Cancer Institute awarded a $3.3 million bio-

“Water permeation drives tumor cell migration in confined

engineering partnership grant to the Konstantinos Kon-

microenvironments,” in which they presented an integrated

stantopoulos laboratory to collaborate with the Aikaterini

experimental and theoretical approach (“Osmotic Engine

Kontrogianni-Konstantopoulos laboratory at the University

Model”) and demonstrated that directed water permeation

of Maryland School of Medicine to validate a microfluidic

is a major mechanism of cell migration in confined micro-

assay designed to quickly predict the metastatic propensity of

environments. Sun and Konstantopoulos received $1.6 million

patient-derived biopsy cells. The tool will help optimize and

over five years in additional funding from the National In-

personalize cancer therapies. The team also will evaluate the

stitutes of Health to pursue further study in the Osmotic

giant protein obscurin as a novel, early-stage metastatic biomarker.

Engine Model.

Hopkins faculty members Denis Wirtz and David Huso (Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology/SoM) will also participate.


Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology

• 3D Dynamic Organization of Eukaryotic Genome— Sean Sun (WSE) & Karen Reddy (SOM) • Engineering Artificial Lymph Nodes for Cancer Immunotherapy—Hai-Quan Mao (WSE) & Jonathan Schneck (SOM) • Lung Cancer Early Diagnosis Using Biomarkers from Multiple Platforms—Peng Huang (SOM), Malcolm Brock (SOM), Zaver Bhujwalla (SOM), Linda Chu (SOM), Elliot Fishman (SOM), Junghoon Lee (SOM), Jeff Wang (WSE) • Molecular Imaging of Mechano-Transduction in Breast Cancer Metastasis—Zaver Bhujwalla (SOM), Steven An (BSPH), Saraswati Sukumar (SOM) • Nanoparticle-based Therapeutic Strategy to Target an RNA-binding Protein Termed TDP-43 in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis—Philip Wong (SOM) & Hai-Quan Mao (WSE) Discovery Awards

• An Interdisciplinary Investigation of the Mechanism

Several affiliated faculty members were among the

of Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease—

23 university wide who received an inaugural Discovery

Rong Li (SOM), Takanari Inoue (SOM), Rebecca Shul-

Award ranging from $100,000 to $150, 000. These grants

man (WSE), Sean Sun (WSE), Sharon Gerecht (WSE)

are designed to provide seed funding for cross-divisional

• Human Performance: Role of Acute Exercise in En-

research teams to create new knowledge and solve global

hancing Cognitive Function—Peter Searson (WSE),

challenges. The Discovery Awards program is part of a

Kerry Stewart (SOM), Howard Egeth (KSAS)

$15 million commitment to cross-university, faculty-led

• Animals, Public Health, and Ethics—Jeffrey Kahn

research over three years. Winners and projects include

(BSPH/BIB), Joanne Zurlo (BSPH), Dara Kraitchman

those listed below, with INBT affiliate names in italic:


2014–2015 Progress Report


Training OutreachPrograms From INBT thefaculty pre-college members, yearsstudents through and postdoctoral staff looktraining, for opportunities INBT’s education to shareprograms their research, are expertise producingand theknow-how next generation with colleagues of scientists and and theengineers general public. with skills In addition ready to to take our on new annual challenges symposium, in healthcare, INBT affiliates medicine haveand participated basic science. in many Our programs individualcontinue ways to raise to focus awareness on theabout interface nanotechnology of the physical and sciences/engineering its relation to healthand andbiology/medicine, medicine. Now more while than remaining ever, INBT flexible is becoming to meetinvolved the employment with its constituent demands ofcommunities. industry, government, academia and entrepreneurship.


Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology

Nanotechnology for Cancer Research (NTCR)

an important emerging area and an important component

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recently awarded INBT

of the life sciences initiative. INBT is proud to continue

a T32 grant supporting the training of predoctoral

to confer this important distinction to students who have

students and postdoctoral fellows in nanotechnology for

met the program’s requirements. Doctoral students ac-

cancer research. The proposal will support two postdocs

cepted into many of the engineering, science or medical

and six PhD students. Recruitment began in the Fall

disciplines at Johns Hopkins University are eligible to

2015 and will continue in the third and fifth year of this

apply for admission into the certificate program. They are

5-year grant, as each student and postdoc will be funded

required to complete extra courses, attend professional

for two years. This T32 represents another great partner-

development seminars, present work at INBT’s annual

ship between a total of 22 faculty members at the Johns

symposium, participate in a weekly journal club and tuto-

Hopkins School of Medicine and the Whiting School

rial clubs with doctoral fellows from other disciplines, and

of Engineering. Departments from the medical school

work on a video news release about their research. One of

include oncology, pathology, ophthalmology, radiology,

the most unique features of this training program is the

neuroscience, urology, molecular biology and genetics.

Nano-Bio Laboratory course, where students learn a vari-

Departments from the engineering school include faculty

ety of nanotechnology relevant skills by rotating through

members from biomedical engineering, materials science

different affiliated laboratories. Graduates of the training

and engineering, chemical and biomolecular engineering,

program not only present potential employers with a

and mechanical engineering.

prestigious Johns Hopkins degree, but also an additional credential that represents a more sophisticated level of

Certificate of Advanced Study in Nanobiotechnology

expertise in the field of nanobiotechnology.

INBT enhances the doctoral education experience for Johns Hopkins students through its Certificate of Advanced

NanoBio Research Experience for Undergraduates

Study in Nanobiotechnology program. The certificate, ap-


proved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission,

INBT’s Nanobio Research Experience for Undergraduates

offers PhD students an additional credential proving their

(Nanobio-REU) program was again funded by the National

mastery of skills and knowledge relevant to nanobiotech-

Science Foundation. In the summer of 2014, 10 students

nology. The certificate fulfills both the educational and

were hosted in affiliated laboratories across the university

economic goals for postsecondary education in the state of

including our first student in the Johns Hopkins Bloom-

Maryland, which recognizes nanobiotechnology as both

berg School of Public Health. In summer 2015, a supplementary grant allowed INBT to add three high

2014–2015 Progress Report



school students to the 13 undergraduate student cohort.

Rosetta Research Experience for Undergraduates

The goal of the program for all students who are chosen is


to allow them to experience what it takes to be a full-time

With the help of a $200,000, two-year grant to INBT from

academic researcher. Competition for positions in INBT

the National Science Foundation, Jeffrey Gray, professor

labs is fierce and underrepresented groups are encouraged

of chemical and biomolecular engineering, spearheaded a

to apply. More than 700 applicants vie for the internships.

first-of-its-kind training program, where students collabo-

Undergraduate research interns are matched with faculty,

rate with others from distant host university labs and use

graduate students and postdoctoral mentors in laboratories

computer software to build vaccines, biofuels, and protein

across the Hopkins campuses. At the end of their research

circuits in living cells. Typical summer internships bring

experience, students present their findings at a university-

students together to one host university, but students in

wide Career Academic and Research Experience for Students

the Computational Biomolecular Training Program use

poster session and symposium, held at the School of Medicine

an open-source software called Rosetta to work together

in conjunction with interns from other Hopkins programs.

on problems, regardless of physical location. Participants

10 Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology

“My interdisciplinary education has certainly been an asset moving beyond graduate school. I was quite comfortable looking for positions that required experience from either my physics training, my biology/bio-engineering training, or both. In particular, when interviewing for my current position, I spent the day meeting with various members of the (National Institutes of Standards and Technology) Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology and found it surprisingly easy to talk science with folks working in a broad range of research areas.” —Craig Copeland, Physics ’13 are mentored by members of a global collaborative team

International Research Experience for Students (IRES)

known as the Rosetta Commons, and users analyze

INBT, in collaboration with The Inter-University Micro-

massive amounts of data to predict the structure of real

Electronics Centre (IMEC) in Leuven, Belgium and the

and imagined proteins, enzymes, and other molecules.

National Science Foundation supports undergraduate

In 2015, the students in the pilot program began with a

research internships abroad. The International Research

weeklong boot camp at the University of North Carolina

Experience for Students (IRES) program, funded by the

at the end of May. They, then traveled to host universities,

National Science Foundation, provides support for students

which included Johns Hopkins; University of California,

to work at IMEC’s world-class microfabrication facility

Davis; Scripps Research Institute; Stanford University;

and to learn to design, fabricate and test a wide range of

New York University; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute;

biomedical devices. During the summer of 2014, four

and Vanderbilt University. Morgan Nance, a biochemistry

undergraduate students from Johns Hopkins conducted

and molecular biology major from the University of Cali-

research at IMEC. They included Polly Ma from the De-

fornia, Davis, worked in the Gray Lab at Johns Hopkins

partment of Biomedical Engineering, Matthew Gonzalez

Homewood campus.

and Rustin Golnabi from the Department of Materials

2014–2015 Progress Report



INBT Courses 670.609 Communication for Scientists and Engineers: Video News Releases (Summer) INBT’s science writer Mary Spiro trains students to present complex research ideas to nontechnical audiences, such as the mass media or policy makers. Skills learned in this course include script writing, storyboarding and editing and learning to become more effective communicators to their colleagues, to the general public and to those who may influence funding decisions. 670.615 (Fall), 670.616 (Spring) Introduction to NanoBio Tutorials 670.617 Cancer Nanotechnology Training Center Tutorials 670.618 (Fall), 670.628 (Spring) NanoBio Tutorials 670.619 Fundamental Physics & Chemistry of Nanomaterials (Fall) 670.620 Fundamental Laboratory Principles of Nanobiotechnology (Spring) 670.621 NanoBio Laboratory (Spring) 670.622 (Fall), 670.623 (Spring) Advanced NanoBio Tutorials 670.624 (Fall), 670.625 (Spring) NanoBio Tutorials: Special Topics 670.495/695 (Fall), 670.497/697 (Spring) Animation in Nanotechnology and Medicine is INBT’s animation course, taught by the Institute’s web/animation director, Martin Rietveld. The course continues to attract students from many university disciplines, such as Film and Media Studies, as well as from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Students directly involved with research will also work on projects to illustrate their laboratory work. 670.800 Independent Study Global Engineering Innovation

“Every lab is run in different ways and has a very different atmosphere. This experience has shown me how research in conducted in different labs.” —Alexa Wnorowski, Biological Engineering, Cornell University who worked in the materials science and engineering laboratory of INBT Director Peter Searson/ 2014. Science and Engineering, and Eugene Yoon from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. During the summer of 2015, another cohort traveled overseas including Rachel Bang, Sophomore in Mechanical Engineering; Rebecca Black, Junior in Molecular and Cell Biology; Gwendolyn Hoffmann, Senior in Materials Science and Engineering; and Victoria Laney, Senior in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. The students conduct research projects designed in collaboration with their home laboratories and with project leaders at IMEC. This unique academic/industrial partnership is funded through INBT and IMEC and managed by the Institute’s Director for Corporate Partnerships, Tom Fekete. In 2015, the NSF further funded this program for $76,000.The students write about their experiences both scientifically and culturally on a blog (

12 Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology

“It has already been a great experience working in the IMEC labs, as well as enduring a very steep learning curve. Outside of the lab, I still get the opportunity to interact with my coworkers. Last Sunday, two of my colleagues at IMEC hosted a musical concert, complete with a 5-piece brass ensemble, drums, and a singer. I really enjoyed seeing my coworkers out of the IMEC environment and the concert was extremely fun!” —Polly Ma/Summer 2014

Educational Recruitment

of students who attend STEM conferences for under-

INBT is devoted to finding the best and the brightest

represented groups, has helped drive a more diverse

candidates for all of its programs. INBT representatives

population of applicants to the Johns Hopkins Office of

have attend the Society for Advancement of Hispanics/

Admissions. In addition, INBT’s then Academic Program

Chicanos and Native Americans in Science and the Annual

Administrator, Ashanti Edwards, spoke at Howard Com-

Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students.

munity College in a panel discussion in 2014 about the

INBT does not directly admit students and is therefore

graduate school application process and helped dispel some

limited to graduate students to its training programs

of the myths students had about Johns Hopkins not

that have already been admitted to the University overall.

accepting students from community colleges. Currently,

However, the Institute’s presence at these meetings,

INBT’s Academic Program Administrator Camille Bryant

and by the capturing of names and contact information

facilitates all the Institute’s educational programs.

2014–2015 Progress Report


Partnership Since its inception, INBT has cultivated a diverse portfolio of corporate partnerships. Our mission is to explore many avenues to seek the most mutually beneficial and scientifically productive outcomes for both the Institute and for the partners engaged, whether it involves the goals of a small biotech startup or a large government agency, and whether the corporation is domestic or international in origin.

14 Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology

Corporate Partnership Program

Below are some of INBT’s current corporate relationships:

INBT established the Corporate Partnership Program to create strong bonds between industry and INBT. Our Di-

Secant Medical Technologies

rector of Corporate Partnerships, Tom Fekete establishes

Long-time INBT affiliate with projects relating to poly-

liaisons with corporations in market sectors such as phar-

meric scaffolds for nerve guides and cardiac vasculature

maceuticals, medical devices, medical instrumentation,

with Hai Quan Mao (Materials Science) and Narutoshi

sensors, microelectronics, advanced materials, and chemical

Hibino (Cardiac Surgery).

products, all of who have significant interests in nanobiotechnology and nanomedicine. Likewise INBT seeks to

Becton Dickinson

liaise with industry to transfer Hopkins-created technologies

Long-time INBT affiliate with projects relating to high

to market for the benefit of humanity. Corporate partici-

throughput phenotyping to cervical cytology with Denis

pation in INBT is vital to ensure that emerging technology

Wirtz (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering); Micro-

moves from the laboratory to the marketplace. Our

fluidic technology to be used in hand-held diagnostic with

Corporate Partners play a crucial role in helping INBT

Jeff Wang (Mechanical Engineering) and Zachary Gagnon

research teams define objectives and identify barriers to

(Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering); tuberculosis di-

commercialization, as well as in creating products for end-

agnostic technology with Hai Quan Mao (Materials Science).

users and in the development of techniques for large-scale manufacturing processes. The Corporate Partnership


Program establishes a framework to facilitate interactions

Long-time INBT affiliate with discussions on projects

with companies interested in a mutually beneficial rela-

regarding nanoparticulate imaging with Martin Pomper

tionship with INBT.

(Radiology) and the quantification of the enhanced permeability and retention effect with Peter Searson (Materials Science). Other groups with whom we are exploring research collaborations include Life Technology-Thermo Fisher; GE-Cell Technology; Lockheed Martin; Novara; Biogen; Wuhan Kuangchao; The BowTie Foundation; and Advanced Materials.

2014–2015 Progress Report


Outreach Outreach can take many forms, and INBT strives to find innovative ways to communicate with its constituents. From large events to training programs to media relations and coffee breaks, INBT researchers and staff are devoted to sharing our discoveries.

16 Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology

Annual Symposium INBT’s annual symposium draws upwards of 300 people each year and nearly 100 poster presentations from across the University’s various divisions. The symposium provides a platform where faculty and students can discuss their ongoing research, get feedback from their peers and also engage with members of the public, industry or press who attend. In 2014 the theme for our symposium was stem cell science and featured speakers that included faculty experts Linzhao Cheng, founder of Hopkins Stem Cell Program; Warren Grayson, expert in tissue engineering; Linda Resar, who discussed using stem cells in cancer therapy; Hai-Quan Mao, who specializes in using engineered biomaterials to enhance stem cell potential, and Guo-li Ming, who talked about the role of stem cells in mental illness. Industry expert Mark Powers from Thermo Fischer Scientific presented a talk on commercially available products for stem cell engineering. In 2015, the topic of the symposium was Neuro X, where “x” stood

Research; and Martin G. Pomper, the William R. Brody

for engineering, medicine, biology, etc. Expert faculty

Professor of Radiology; Professor of Radiology and Radio-

presenters included Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, Professor

logical Science.

of Neurological Surgery and Oncology Neuroscience and Cellular and Molecular Medicine; Jordan J. Green, Associ-

Global Engineering Innovation

ate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Ophthalmology,

International outreach through our Global Engineering

Neurosurgery; Ahmet Hoke, Professor, Neurology and

Innovation (GEI) program has taken students to Tanza-

Neuroscience; Patricia H. Janak, Professor, Department of

nia, Brazil, India, Bali and Laos. This hybrid outreach and

Psychological and Brain Sciences/Department of Neuro-

training program was started with a grant to INBT to af-

science; Piotr Walczak, Associate Professor, Department

filiated faculty member Jennifer Elisseeff, professor in Bio-

of Radiology and Radiological Science, Division of MR

medical Engineering, with the goal of bringing engineered solutions to everyday problems in developing nations.

2014–2015 Progress Report



• In 2014, the Brazil GEI Team of Nathan Nicholes

of small entrepreneurs, they set out to engineer the

(PhD, ChemBE), Tânia Perestrelo (PhD candidate,

prototype for a low-cost, detachable cargo and people

ChemBE), Zinnia Xu (PhD candidate, BME), Saman-

carrier that was modular, durable and easy to install.

tha Brandon(senior, ChemBE), and Hanh Le (PhD

Future work will involve conducting a cost benefit

candidate, EE), team traveled to Amazonas, Brazil to

analysis to determine if such a cart would improve

continue work with hosts from the Federal University

earning potential and to prioritize the features of the

of the State of São Paulo and the Federal University


of Amazonas (UFAM) and to seek out new projects

• Three members of our Indonesia GEI Team had the

and collaborations. The primary objectives for this trip

opportunity to attend the conference, Poverty Al-

included: sharing the cassava mill plans at the Feira

leviation: A Role for Technology and Infrastructure,

de Produção Familiar (Family Agriculture Fair, similar

which took place in Rome, Italy on May 11-12, 2015.

to a farmer’s market), with the professors from the

The purpose of the conference was to evaluate current

Socioeconomics Center at the UFAM, with an NGO

technology-based solutions tackling poverty alleviation

called the Fundação Vitória Amazônica and other

and the socio-economic and political barriers and

potential end users, such as cassava flour producers

implications associated with it. Having completed a

in Nazaré and Bom Socorro. The team also tested a

second trip to the rural city of Tuban, Indonesia,

retinal imager on patients participating in the Projeto

Ronann Carrero (junior, ME); Sakina Girnary

BARES with our ophthalmology hosts, and evaluated

(MS candidate, BME), and Yunuscan Sevimli (MS

new project opportunities and collaborations for the

candidate, ME) were able to describe to conference

team to work on during the upcoming year.

attendees their experience using engineering and tech-

• The Laos GEI Team traveled to the capital city of

nologies to affect change on poverty in rural areas. The

Vientiane to conduct preliminary research on a project

students explained that how, aided by a partnership

to design a cargo and people carrier for motorbikes.

with local NGO Kopernik, they were able to delve

Participants included Lingga Adidharma (Junior, Epi-

into the practices employed by locals who partake

demiology), Kaitlyn Sadtler (PhD candidate, BME),

in the smoked- and dried-fish markets. Then, using

and Alex Komin (PhD candidate, Materials Science).

this knowledge they designed, built, and tested a fish

Their goal was to help small entrepreneurs improve

smoker that will serve as a superior alternative to those

their earning potential by enhancing their ability to

currently employed without interfering with either the

transport goods and people to more locations safely and

culture or traditions of the area.

cost-effectively. Following their survey of various types

18 Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology

Summer Academic Research Experience (SARE)

their research at a university wide symposium for summer

Since 2008, INBT’s SARE program has provided

interns. At the end of the summer, the students present an

economically disadvantaged students with a summer

additional one-hour scientific poster presentation detail-

experience that was enriching, challenging and personally

ing their summer research. Students are recruited from

rewarding. This hybrid outreach and training program has

public and private high schools in Baltimore city as well

become one of INBT’s most successful outreach programs.

as from the Maryland SEED School, which is the state’s

Spearheaded by professor Douglass Robinson from the

public boarding school. The impact of SARE is long

Department of Cell Biology, students work in research labs

lasting. Over its history, SARE has supported a total of

at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where they are

23 students, all of who have gone on to enroll in college

mentored by faculty and graduate students and participate

with half of that number choosing STEM majors. In the

actively in a research project. Each weekday, they receive

summer of 2014, SARE hosted a cohort of five students.

academic enrichment in math, reading, writing and even

Just prior to the summer of 2015, they received additional

bioethics through classes taught by staff and graduate

funding from the Family League for $20,000, which

student tutors. Six weeks into SARE, students presented

allowed the program to host four additional students,

2014–2015 Progress Report



raising the cohort total to nine. At the conclusion of the

Career Coaching

2015 summer program, SARE was awarded $2 million

In addition to his work as INBT’s Director of Corporate

over three years through a Health Careers Opportunity

Partnerships, Tom Fekete maintains an open-door policy

Program proposal sponsored by Health Resources and

to advise and assist both undergraduates and graduate

Services. This government funding allows SARE to double

students on their career paths. Drawing upon decades

the number of high school students to more than 25 stu-

of experience in industry as well as his current corporate

dents per year. Together with SARE’s partnering program,

connections, Fekete is able to help students to learn to

Johns Hopkins Biophysics Research for Baltimore Teens,

network and to launch their professional careers. He has

post baccalaureate students will now be included. This

also presented workshops during the semester and over

expansion allows SARE to develop a full pipeline program

the summer on career networking for job hunting. He is a

that accepts students from disadvantaged backgrounds

valuable resource to our affiliated students.

from high school through post-baccalaureate levels and prepares them to pursue advanced degrees in medical and STEM fields. This comprehensive effort will impact 48, 52, and 56 students in 2016, 2017, and 2018, respectively

20 Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology


Professional Development Seminars

Each Wednesday, INBT hosts a 30-minute coffee, tea and

Our visiting research interns join with our full-time stu-

treat break for students and faculty. The mid-afternoon break

dent cohorts at four summer professional development

is designed to draw people from different INBT affiliated

seminars that are aimed at engaging our scholars in im-

labs operating on the Homewood campus and to offer an

portant conversations about topics relevant to their lives

informal platform to make connections, get to know one

outside of the laboratory. The topics change, but have

another and ultimately break down research silos and en-

included networking and career development, trends in

courage collaboration. It’s a simple thing, but this regular

research, the graduate school application process, financial

event has strengthened student bonds with the Institute

literacy and panel discussions with alumni. We have also fea-

and is certainly something INBT affiliates look forward to

tured the INBT student film fest, which allows students

on a weekly basis.

from the course Communication for Scientists and Engineers to show off their final video projects.

2014–2015 Progress Report



and in departmental newsletters. Our research publication, Nano-Bio Magazine, is distributed to audiences both internal and external to the University. Monthly e-newsletters keep our constituents informed of more recent events. The Nano-Bio blog on our website provides a platform for current news and for students to share insights into their experience at Johns Hopkins and with INBT. The recently launched Nano-Bio podcast, produced periodically and in conjunction with press releases or other publications, is our newest communication channel. Externally, INBT affiliates and programs were featured in media outlets such as the The Baltimore Sun; the website of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers; Bioscience Technology; the website of the National Science Foundation; Computer World; Oncology Nurse Advisor;;; and INBT engages the public on social media via a Facebook page and a Twitter account with 1,667 likes and 914 followers, respectively. Media Relations Media Relations Director Mary Spiro exploits a number

INBT Animation Studio

of channels to promote the discoveries and programs of the

The Animation Studio provides INBT scientists a chance

Institute. INBT collaborates with the Johns Hopkins News

to promote research through art and design. Martin Rietveld,

and Information team and other internal communication

INBT’s Web and Animation Director, teaches the course

personnel to explain and promote the activities of the

Animation for Nanotechnology and Medicine available to

Institute. Internally, stories about INBT research and

both graduate and undergraduate students.

researchers have been featured on the University’s primary

Projects completed during the reporting period in-

online news outlet, The HUB; the Whiting School of

clude illustrations for the Mao, Wirtz, Gracias, and Wang

Engineering Magazine; Johns Hopkins Magazine; pub-

labs as well as an animation for the DrinkSync senior

lications at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and

design project, many of which can be seen throughout

Bloomberg School of Public Health, the JHU Gazette,

this publication.

22 Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology

Accolades INBT faculty and students were recognized for their contributions to academia, public policy and the University.

Green Among Popular Science’s Brilliant Ten

Gerecht nets AHA and Frontier Awards

Jordan Green, associate professor of biomedical engineer-

Sharon Gerecht, associate professor of chemical and

ing, was named one of Popular Science magazine’s Brilliant

biomolecular engineering, received one of four prestigious

Ten for 2014. Green was recognized for his innovative

American Heart Association Established Investigator Award

work that focuses on using nanoscale particles made in the

worth $400,000 in fall 2014. The funding is designed to

shape of footballs, that can train the body’s own immune

support mid-career investigators who show unusual prom-

system to tackle cancer cells. Particles with the elongated

ise and accomplishments in the study of “cardiovascular

ovoid shape have a slightly larger surface area, which gives

or cerebrovascular science.” Gerecht’s research focuses

them an edge over spherical particles. The football-shaped

on engineering platforms, specifically hydrogels that are

particles did a better job of triggering the immune system

designed to coax stem cells to develop into the building

to attack the cancer cells.

blocks of blood vessels. In 2015, Gerecht also received the inaugural Johns Hopkins President’s Frontier Awards worth $250,000. The President’s Frontier Award launches a series of efforts by university leadership to support faculty as they pursue innovative and important research.

2014–2015 Progress Report



Cells Performing “Secret Handshake” Wins Grand Prize Sebastian F. Barreto, a doctoral student of chemical and biomolecular engineering in the laboratory of Sharon Gerecht, won the inaugural grand prize for his image “Cells Performing Secret Handshake” from the Regenerative Medicine Foundation. Another image that Barreto submitted received 3rd place and a third image received honorable mention. The winning images were displayed in a special Giddens Lectures Features all INBT Affiliates

public patron gallery exhibition component during the

In 1993, the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns

Regenerative Medicine Foundation annual meeting held

Hopkins University started a tradition to honor faculty

in San Francisco, May 5-7, 2014

members who had been newly promoted to full professors through a special lecture series named for the school’s fifth

REU Intern Takes Stage with Nobel Prize Winner

dean. All three of the 2014 Don P. Giddens Inaugural

During their final poster session and symposium, INBT’s

Professorial Lecture Series were INBT affiliated faculty.

Nanobio REU summer intern Kelcee Everette of Har-

They included David Gracias, Russell Croft Faculty

vard University, was selected to speak about her personal

Scholar, professor of chemical and biomolecular engi-

inspirations and challenges to study science, medicine

neering; Hai-Quan Mao, professor of materials science

and engineering. She shared the platform with keynote

and engineering; and Tza-Huei “Jeff” Wang, professor of

speaker, Peter Agre, the Hopkins professor who won the

mechanical engineering.

2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

24 Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology

About Us Launched on May 15, 2006, Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology was created as an interdivisional entity to exploit Johns Hopkins University’s strengths in nanotechnology and medicine. We define nanobiotechnology as nanotechnology applied to biology and medicine. INBT’s goals include: • creating programs that integrate research, education, corporate relations and technology transfer; and • providing an infrastructure that fosters faculty collaboration and improves opportunities for research funding Organization INBT was created to promote interdivisional collaborations

nancial Analyst); Ellie Boettinger Heasley (Senior Admin-

among the University schools of medicine, engineering,

istrative Coordinator); Gregg Nass (Senior Administrative

public health, arts and sciences, and the Applied Physics

Manager); Martin Rietveld (Web Director); Mary Spiro

Laboratory (APL). The Institute is led by Director Peter C.

(Science Writer/Media Relations Director); and Kierra

Searson, the Joseph R. and Lynn C. Reynolds Professor of

Suggs (Senior Research Service Analyst).

Materials Science and Engineering at the Whiting School of Engineering, and Associate Director Denis Wirtz, Vice


Provost for Research at the University and the Theophilus

Croft Hall on the Homewood campus has been INBT’s

H. Smoot Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engi-

headquarters since 2011. Croft Hall is adjacent to and

neering at the Whiting School of Engineering. Administra-

connected with Shaffer Hall on the Wyman Quadrangle

tive support staff at INBT includes Camille Bryant (Aca-

and was named for L. Gordon Croft, a 1956 Johns Hopkins

demic Program Administrator); Thomas Fekete (Director

graduate, who made a $5.4 million commitment to the

of Corporate Partnerships); Warren Fewster (Senior Fi-

university’s Whiting School of Engineering.

2014–2015 Progress Report




to ongoing INBT programs. INBT will provide laboratory

INBT already occupies the 3rd, 1st, ground and base-

space for five engineering faculty including Sean Sun and

ment levels of Croft. In 2014, the Institute began a 12,000

Jeff Wang from Mechanical Engineering; Kalina Hristova

square-foot expansion to the 2nd floor of Croft Hall that

and Martin Ulmschneider from Materials Science and

has created a highly interdisciplinary and flexible environ-

Engineering; and Feilim Mac Gabhann and Jordan Green

ment for nano-bio research that includes both laboratory

from Biomedical Engineering. Lastly, Hai-Quan Mao in

and faculty and student office space for INBT affiliated

Materials Science and Engineering and Sharon Gerecht

personnel from other departments and divisions. The ex-

in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering will have

pansion also encompasses part of Shaffer Hall and will be

student office space in Shaffer Hall. Along with lab and

completed in the fall of 2015. Housed in this new space

office space, there will be an imaging core composed of a

will be two faculty members from the Johns Hopkins

suite of specialty microscopes managed by the Integrated

School of Medicine, Martin Pomper, MD, PhD from Ra-

Imaging Center (IIC), which is led by Michael McCaffery,

diology and Oncology and Laura Wood, MD, PhD from

whose main facilities are located in Dunning Hall on the

Pathology and Oncology, both of whom are contributing

Homewood campus.

26 Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology

Giving Anyone can support the ongoing research efforts of INBT faculty and students. With state and federal funding more challenging to come by, we count on a variety of funding sources to maintain our momentum toward solving some of the major health challenges facing humanity. Any size donation is welcome, and without the support of individuals like you, we could not carry out our mission and goals. What you give can help us: • purchase new equipment or supplies for our laboratories. • provide a stipend for one or more graduate student researchers. • promote established research on a specific disease, such as cancer. • help launch a pilot project so that it produces results that aid in winning larger state or federal monies. • help bring a new technology to clinical trials or the marketplace Can we count on you? Giving to INBT is easy. Please make your check out to JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY and mail to: Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology 100 Croft Hall 3400 N. Charles St. Baltimore, MD 21218 Attention: Warren Fewster You also may donate online at

2014–2015 Progress Report



Contact Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology 100 Croft Hall 3400 North Charles Street Baltimore, MD 21218 Email: Phone: (410) 516-5634 Fax: (410) 516-2355

Staff Camille Bryant Academic Program Administrator (410) 516-6572

Ellie Boettinger-Heasley Senior Administrative Coordinator (410) 516-5634

Mary Spiro Science Writer/Media Relations (410) 516-4802

Tom Fekete Director of Corporate Partnerships (410) 516-8891

Gregg Nass Senior Administrative Manager (410) 516-3423

Kierra Suggs Sr. Research Service Analyst (410) 516-3853

Warren Fewster Senior Financial Analyst (410) 516-5636

Martin Rietveld Web / Animation Director (410) 516-4127

Denis Wirtz Vice Provost for Research Associate Director, Professor (410) 516-8094 (Admin: Tracy Smith)

Peter Searson Director, Professor (410) 516-8774

Executive Committee Dwight Bergles, PhD Neuroscience

Kalina Hristova, PhD Materials Science and Engineering

Dan Reich, PhD Physics and Astronomy

Jennifer Elisseeff, PhD Biomedical Engineering

Konstantinos Konstantopoulos, PhD Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Sean Sun, PhD Mechanical Engineering

Sharon Gerecht, PhD Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Jordan Green, PhD Biomedical Engineering

28 Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology

Hai-Quan Mao, PhD Materials Science and Engineering Martin Pomper, MD, PhD Radiology

Jeff Wang, PhD Mechanical Engineering

Credits Artwork Cover Page 3 Page 5 Page 6 Page 8 Page 10

Martin Rietveld Mary Spiro Mary Spiro Martin Rietveld Will Kirk Mary Spiro

Page 13 Page 14 Page 16 Page 17 Page 19

Mary Spiro; Courtesy of Gwen Hoffmann Martin Rietveld Mary Spiro Mary Spiro Courtesy of Nathan Nicholes

Page 20 Mary Spiro Illustrations by Martin Rietveld Page 22 Illustration by Martin Rietveld Page 23 Will Kirk; Mary Spiro Page 24 Mary Spiro Page 27 Mary Spiro

Design Brio Design Printing Schmitz Press Š 2015 Johns Hopkins University Institute for NanoBioTechnology.

Profile for Institute for NanoBioTechnology

INBT Progress Report 2014-2015  

Read about the latest milestones and achieves for the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology.

INBT Progress Report 2014-2015  

Read about the latest milestones and achieves for the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology.


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