Growth Factors, news from the Department of Bioengineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.



Three from Bioengineering graduate faculty elected to National Academy of Sciences

Photo of Profs. Ha, Murphy, and Rogers. Taekjip Ha, Catherine J. Murphy, and John Rogers (pictured here, left to right), professors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Ha is an Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Endowed Professor in Physics, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, and Co-director of the Center for the Physics of Living Cells. Murphy is a Peter C. and Gretchen Miller Markunas Professor of Chemistry and Associate Director of the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory. Rogers is a Swanlund Chair Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Professor of Chemistry, and Director of the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory. All three are on the Graduate Program Faculty in Bioengineering at Illinois. Ha also was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Biomedical breakthrough: Carbon nanoparticles you can make at home

Photo of University of Illinois postdoctoral researcher Prabuddha Mukherjee, Bioengineering professors Rohit Bhargava and Dipanjan Pan, and postdoctoral researcher Santosh Misra; Photo by L. Brian Stauffer.With a few common household items, including store-bought molasses, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created a new way of producing carbon nanoparticles. The work is led by Bioengineering's Rohit Bhargava, professor, and Dipanjan Pan, assistant professor, and it shows promise for a new safe and effective way of delivering drugs to treat cancer and other diseases. The research was published in the journal Small. Pictured here, left to right, are postdoctoral researcher Prabuddha Mukherjee, Bhargava, Pan, and postdoctoral researcher Santosh Misra.


Graduate students will collaborate with physicians in Illinois' new cancer education program

Photo of student in lab coat and safety glasses looking into microscope; Photo by L. Brian Stauffer. Graduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will soon have the option to delve deep into translational medicine as they work alongside physicians from Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana, Ill., in cancer research. A new educational program -- spearheaded by Bioengineering Professor Rohit Bhargava -- provides matching funds for graduate fellowships and release time for participating physicians. Names of students selected for the first cohort are expected to be announced in July.


Personalized 3D-printed biodegradable stent earns research award for three Bioengineering undergraduates

A team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, including three Bioengineering undergraduates, developed personalizable coronary stents that could help clear blocked arteries more efficiently. Students Ramya Babu, Joseph Kus and Divya Tankasala worked on the new stent, which is bio-absorbable, releases plaque-dissolving drugs, and can be custom sized for each patient's needs. The stents are "3D-printed according to sizes determined from a CT scan of the occluded vessel," said Babu. As a team, the three undergraduates recently earned an Outstanding poster award in the Health category at the University's annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. Future plans for the new stent design include modeling blood flow, plaque deformation, and stability of vessel walls; observing changes over time; and eventually determining optimal stent architecture. Babu, who will be a senior in the fall, and Kus and Tankasala, May 2015 graduates, were advised by Assistant Professor Dipanjan Pan and conducted the research in his laboratory.

Hackathon team speeds up MRI reconstructions

Image of GPU Hackathon logo. To make use of supercomputers' increasingly greater abilities, student groups around the country have been participating in hackathons -- intensive code writing competitions. "PowerGrid," a team of graduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, recently competed with three other teams in a hackathon hosted by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at Illinois. Using the NCSA's Blue Waters supercomputer, the UI students delivered 70 times greater than the original speed of solving their problem on a workstation, and that new efficiency enabled the reconstruction of 3,000 functional brain images in less than 24 hours (rather than months). The Illinois team includes Bioengineering students Alex Cerjanic, Joe Holtrop and Giang-Chau Ngo, and Electrical and Computer Engineering student Genevieve LaBelle. All four are members of the lab group of Bioengineering Associate Professor Brad Sutton.


Photo of Prof. Liang. 2015 IEEE EMBS Distinguished Service Award goes to Zhi-Pei Liang

Zhi-Pei Liang, professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and member of the Bioengineering Graduate Program Faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, earned the Distinguished Service Award of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. The award will be presented in Milan, Italy, in August 2015 during the EMBS annual meeting. Liang was selected for his "outstanding service to EMBS and the field of biomedical engineering," according to EMBS.


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