Symposium speakers 2015: Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa

Neuro X is the title and theme for the May 1 symposium hosted by Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology. The event kicks off with a continental breakfast at 8 a.m. in the Owens Auditorium, between CRB I and CRB II on the Johns Hopkins University medical campus. Talks begin at 9 a.m. Posters featuring multidisciplinary research from across many Hopkins divisions and departments will be on display from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

One of this year’s speakers is Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, MD

Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, MD

Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, MD

Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa is an internationally renowned neurosurgeon and neuroscientist who leads cutting edge research to cure brain cancer at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He directs the Brain Tumor Surgery Program at Bayview Medical Center, the Pituitary Surgery Program at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and the Brain Tumor Stem Cell Laboratory at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Named as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in 2008, he was also selected by Popular Science magazine as one of their 6th Annual Brilliant Ten in their search for young researchers influencing the course of science. Dr. Quiñones has published over 260 peer-reviewed articles and over 40 book chapters and has edited two books on stem cells.  He is the lead editor for the 6th edition of Schmidek and Sweet’s Operative Neurosurgical Techniques, the world’s preeminent encyclopedia of neurosurgery, as well as an upcoming Video-Atlas of Neurosurgery: Tumors and Contemporary Skull Base Surgery.

Dr. Quiñones conducts numerous research efforts on elucidating the role of stem cells in the origin of brain tumors and the potential role stem cells can play in fighting brain cancer and regaining neurological function.  He has received R01 funding from the National Institutes of Health for his work with stem cells and cancer. His awards also include grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Physician-Scientist Early Career Award, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Maryland Stem Cell Foundation.  He has been invited to give more than 250 lectures nationally and internationally, including visiting professorships at several universities. An active science communicator, he has appeared in print and broadcast media, including NOVA, CNN, CBS News, NBC’s The Today Show, and National Public Radio. In 2014, he was the recipient of Voices Against Brain Cancer’s Neurosurgeon of the Year Award for his patient care and research strides to find a cure for brain cancer. He has also published an autobiography, “Becoming Dr. Q”, about his journey from migrant farm worker to brain surgeon, in both English and Spanish.

Additional speakers will be profiled in the next few weeks. To register your poster and for more details visit http://inbt.jhu.edu/news/ symposium/

For all press inquiries regarding INBT, its faculty and programs, contact Mary Spiro, mspiro@jhu.edu or 410-516-4802.

 

Symposium speakers 2015: Martin Pomper

Neuro X is the title and theme for the May 1 symposium hosted by Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology. The event kicks off with a continental breakfast at 8 a.m. in the Owens Auditorium, between CRB I and CRB II on the Johns Hopkins University medical campus. Talks begin at 9 a.m. Posters featuring multidisciplinary research from across many Hopkins divisions and departments will be on display from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

One of this year’s speakers is Martin G. Pomper, MD, PhD.

Martin Pomper, MD, PhD

Martin Pomper, MD, PhD

Martin Pomper is the William R. Brody Professor of Radiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, with a joint appointment in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Whiting School of Engineering. He received his undergraduate, graduate (organic chemistry) and medical degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His postgraduate medical training was at Johns Hopkins and included an internship (Osler Medical Service), residencies (diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine) and fellowship (neuroradiology). He is board-certified in diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine. He has been on the Radiology faculty at Johns Hopkins since 1996. He is currently the director of the Johns Hopkins Small Animal Imaging Resource and associate director of the In Vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center, both funded by the National Cancer Institute to support molecular imaging research.

Dr. Pomper is director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Translational Molecular Imaging. He is co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence and the Positron Emission Tomography Center. His interests are in the development of new radiopharmaceuticals, optical probes and techniques for molecular imaging of cancer and central nervous system disease. His research group consists of chemists, physicists, molecular biologists and clinicians working together toward clinical molecular imaging. He is Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Imaging and a past President of the Society of Nuclear Medicine’s Molecular Imaging Center of Excellence. He has numerous patents related to medical imaging, many of which have been licensed, as well as several imaging agents in clinical trials.

Additional speakers will be profiled in the next few weeks. To register your poster and for more details visit http://inbt.jhu.edu/news/symposium/

For all press inquiries regarding INBT, its faculty and programs, contact Mary Spiro, mspiro@jhu.edu or 410-516-4802.

Symposium speakers 2015: Patricia Janak

Neuro X is the title and theme for the May 1 symposium hosted by Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology. The event kicks off with a continental breakfast at 8 a.m. in the Owens Auditorium, between CRB I and CRB II on the Johns Hopkins University medical campus. Talks begin at 9 a.m. Posters featuring multidisciplinary research from across many Hopkins divisions and departments will be on display from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

One of this year’s speakers is Patricia Janak, PhD.

Patricia Janak, PhD

Patricia Janak, PhD

Patricia Janak is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, with joint appointments in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and at the Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She is known for her research on behavioral and neurobiological mechanisms of associative learning to better understand how stimuli associated with drugs and alcohol can cause addicts to relapse. Dr. Janak is interested in neural mechanisms underlying reward learning, for both natural and drug rewards. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and biology from Rutgers University and her PhD in biopsychology from the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Janak conducted postdoctoral research at the Wake Forest School of Medicine and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health. From 1999 to 2014, Dr. Janak was faculty at the University of California, San Francisco where she was the Howard J. Weinberger, MD Endowed Chair in Addiction Research at the University of California, San Francisco, where she researched potential treatments for addiction. She joined the Hopkins faculty in 2014 as a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor. She serves on numerous advisory boards and committees, including serving as an NIH study section chair and as an associate editor for Science Advance. In addition, she is involved with the newly created Science of Learning Institute Signature Initiative, an interdisciplinary effort dedicated to improving how people think and learn.

Additional speakers will be profiled in the next few weeks. To register your poster and for more details visit http://inbt.jhu.edu/news/symposium/

For all press inquiries regarding INBT, its faculty and programs, contact Mary Spiro, mspiro@jhu.edu or 410-516-4802.

Nano-bio lab course: microvasculature scaffolds

Editor’s note: Over the next several days, we will share the student impressions of some of the techniques learned in INBT’s nano-bio laboratory course (670.621). These reports demonstrate the wide variety of techniques students trained at the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology are expected to understand. Each technique is taught in a different affiliated faculty lab. More lab techniques to come.

Tiny scaffolds build microvessels

In the Sharon Gerecht lab led by her PhD candidate Sebastian Barreto, we learned about the protocol they use for constructing microvasculature using a 250-micron diameter fibrin fiber scaffold. The scaffold has endothelial colony forming cells seeded on the surface that rapidly proliferate and excrete ESM to form a cell-based structure around the fibrin fiber scaffold.

Lab6 Figure DRW

A) Confocal microscopy image of collagen IV from endothelial colony forming cells seeded on fibrin fibers of various diameters. (B) Scatter plot of angle of collagen IV deposition showing significance between the 445 um fiber and 105-370 um fibers. The significance of the finding is that the endothelial cells are unable to sense the curvature of the fiber above 445 um.

The addition of plasmin to the media allows the fibrin scaffold to be rapidly degraded leaving the cell construct in the shape of a micro-vessel, after which media can be perfused through the vessel with a pulsatile pump to simulate heart powered blood flow and stimulate the cells within the construct. The method of creating the cell construct also allows for the seeding of perivascular cells on the surface of the endothelial cells to study the interaction between the two cell types.

Confocal microscopy following fixing and staining of the cell construct allows the orientation of the ECM and cell proliferation to be analyzed. As a tool for studying endothelial blood vessel formation this platform technology is very interesting. Of particular interest is the fact that above a certain diameter of the fibrin fiber the endothelial cells do not rearrange, indicating that they have a mechanism for sensing the effective radius of curvature of the vessel.

Reference: Barreto-Ortiz SF, Zhang S, Davenport M, Fradkin J, Ginn B, et al. (2013) A Novel In Vitro Model for Microvasculature Reveals Regulation of Circumferential ECM Organization by Curvature. PLoS ONE 8(11): e81061. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081061

About the author: David Wilson is a first year PhD student in biomedical engineering working in the drug delivery laboratory of Jordan Green.

For all press inquiries regarding INBT, its faculty and programs, contact Mary Spiro, mspiro@jhu.edu or 410-516-4802.

New eyes for diagnostics

Initial medical diagnoses are done based on physical examination by a health care professional. However, as the technology of optics, computing, and biology continues to advance, engineers have essentially developed “enhanced eyes” for health care professionals to see beyond the limits of our natural vision to diagnose patients. For example, with the advent of ultrasound, doctors are able to see into a pregnant mother’s womb to monitor the health of a developing baby.

Figure 1: How imaging modalities are being combined to more precisely diagnose patients. In this image high levels of cell activity are being identified to pinpoint cancer existence. Source: http://www.upmc.com/patients-visitors/education/tests/pages/petct-scan.aspx

Figure 1: How imaging modalities are being combined to more precisely diagnose patients. In this image high levels of cell activity are being identified to pinpoint cancer existence. Source: http://www.upmc.com/patients-visitors/education/tests/pages/petct-scan.aspx

New imaging techniques and machines are combining existing modalities. This improves diagnoses and combines the strengths of each imaging modality. For example, cancer diagnosis can now be achieved by scanning a patient with a dual PET/CT machine (Fig. 1). In this method, imaging specialists combine the strength of CT scans, which shows high resolution of organ location and tissue distribution, and PET scans, which determines molecular/cellular activity by introducing a radioactive molecule into the body.

These technologies have also increased our understanding of diseases and are used frequently in research to develop new theories for disease mechanisms. Nevertheless, because of the amount of technology and engineering that has gone into developing these machines, they are still very costly both to patients and researchers.

About the author: John Hickey is a second year Biomedical Engineering PhD candidate in the Jon Schneck lab researching the use of different biomaterials for immunotherapies and microfluidics in identifying rare immune cells.

For all press inquiries regarding INBT, its faculty and programs, contact Mary Spiro, mspiro@jhu.edu or 410-516-4802.

Symposium speakers 2015: Ahmet Hoke

Neuro X is the title and theme for the May 1 symposium hosted by Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology. The event kicks off with a continental breakfast at 8 a.m. in the Owens Auditorium, between CRB I and CRB II on the Johns Hopkins University medical campus. Talks begin at 9 a.m. Posters featuring multidisciplinary research from across many Hopkins divisions and departments will be on display from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

One of this year’s speakers is Ahmet Hoke MD, PhD.

Ahmet Hoke, MD, PhD

Ahme Hoke, MD, PhD

Dr. Ahmet Hoke received his medical degree from Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey. He then completed an internship and residency in medicine at MetroHealth Saint Luke’s Medical Center in Cleveland, OH. He completed his Ph.D. in Neuroscience at Case Western Reserve University before joining Johns Hopkins for his neurology residency. He went on to the University of Calgary for a neuromuscular fellowship. Dr. Hoke is currently a professor of Neurology and Neuroscience and the director of the Daniel B. Drachman Division of Neuromuscular Diseases at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he focuses on neuromuscular diseases with a particular interest in peripheral nerve diseases. He has specialized expertise in nerve conduction studies, electromyography and nerve and muscle biopsy reading. In 2005, he received the coveted Derek Denny Brown Young Neurological Scholar Award given by the American Neurological Association to a member of the association who has achieved significant stature in neurological research and whose promise of continuing major contributions to the field of neurology is anticipated.

Dr. Hoke’s research interests includes studies on biology of peripheral axons and Schwann cells and disorders affecting the peripheral nervous system. He uses in vitro and in vivo models of peripheral neuropathies (HIV-associated sensory neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy and toxic neuropathies) to study the mechanism of axonal damage and develop therapeutic targets for drug development. In addition, he has an additional research interest focusing on mechanisms of axonal degeneration and regeneration using in vitro and in vivo models. He researches novel chemicals to treat peripheral neuropathies and utilizes engineered stem cells as therapeutic gene delivery tools to promote axonal regeneration in chronically denervated nerves as seen in nerve injuries and many degenerating disorders of the peripheral nervous system such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and inherited neuropathies.

Additional speakers will be profiled in the next few weeks. To register your poster and for more details visit http://inbt.jhu.edu/news/symposium/

For all press inquiries regarding INBT, its faculty and programs, contact Mary Spiro, mspiro@jhu.edu or 410-516-4802.

Vredenburg Scholarship winner headed to Japan

For the last two years, I have worked at INBT as a member of Peter Searson’s laboratory in the Department of Materials Sciences and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. I have primarily studied the response of glioma cells exposed to direct current electric field. In this work and from listening to and observing others, I have developed an understanding of the brain’s support network including micro-blood vessels and the characteristics of glial cells.

In my classes this year, as a Junior in Biomedical Engineering, System BioEngineering has introduced me to a networks and bioelectrical examination of the brain’s computing parts, its neurons. In this class we learned the basics of neuroscience and how to model the processes of the brain using computer simulations. Getting to study this organ from a structural as well as computational perspective has been intriguing and insightful.

Benjamin Wheeler

Benjamin Wheeler

I have been awarded the Vredenburg Scholarship, which will allow me to study the brain further and work in Dr. Masashi Yanagisawa’s laboratory at the International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine at the University of Tsukuba in Japan. Dr. Yanagisawa and others working at IIIS are investigating neuroscience’s remaining black box: sleep. They are addressing questions such as why do we sleep, how is sleep controlled, and what it is the cause of sleepiness. This kind of work has many different applications and uses. Understanding which receptors and circuits are involved in sleep and wakefulness could be used to design drugs and develop treatments for various sleep disorders. For instance, the neuropeptide Orexin is one of the primary molecules involved in sleep/wake regulation. Those at IIIS are pursuing a small molecule agonist to the orexin receptor as a possible way to treat narcolepsy, the disease caused by abnormalities in the orexin-signaling pathway.

The project I will work on involves examining the role of specific receptors in regulating the behavior of neural circuits in the hypothalamus. To do so, I will use genetically altered mice whose receptors no longer respond to their natural agonist. However, these receptors will respond to a normally inert drug whose only effect is on the altered receptors. This will allow me to investigate how the activity of these receptors affects the behavior of the entire animal. Carrying out these experiments will expose me to new techniques such as patch clamp measurements and calcium recording. This will help me to develop an understanding of neuroscience on a scale smaller and a scale larger than I had been previously exposed. Additionally, the grant will allow me to travel and learn the language and culture of Japan. I am very excited to see the beautiful country and also gain a wider view of the global human condition, while getting to investigate some of neuroscience’s most pertinent questions.

About the author: Benjamin Wheeler is a third year undergraduate student at Johns Hopkins University Department of Biomedical Engineering, currently working in professor Peter Searson’s lab.

For all press inquiries regarding INBT, its faculty and programs, contact Mary Spiro, mspiro@jhu.edu or 410-516-4802.

 

Symposium speakers 2015: Piotr Walczak

Neuro X is the title and theme for the May 1 symposium hosted by Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology. The event kicks off with a continental breakfast at 8 a.m. in the Owens Auditorium, between CRB I and CRB II on the Johns Hopkins University medical campus. Talks begin at 9 a.m. Posters featuring multidisciplinary research from across many Hopkins divisions and departments will be on display from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

One of this year’s speakers is Piotr Walczak, MD, PhD.

Piotr Walczak, MD, PhD

Piotr Walczak, MD, PhD

Piotr Walczak is an assistant professor in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, Division of Magnetic Resonance (MR) Imaging. He specializes in magnetic resonance research and neuroradiology with an emphasis on stem and progenitor cell transplantation. Dr. Walczak received his MD in 2002 from the Medical University of Warsaw in Poland. He then completed a research fellowship in cell-based therapy for neurodegenerative disorders at the University of South Florida. After a fellowship in cellular imaging at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dr. Walczak joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins in 2008. He is an affiliated faculty member at the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s F.M. Kirby Research Center and the Institute for Cell Engineering.

Dr. Walczak’s research focuses primarily on noninvasively monitoring the status of stem and progenitor cells transplanted into the disease-damaged central nervous system. Stem cells are labeled with MR contrast agents, such as iron oxide nanoparticles, to precisely determine the position of the cells after transplantation. By modifying the cells using bioluminescence and MR reporter genes, as well as the use of specific promoter sequences, Dr. Walczak is working to extract information about cell survival and differentiation.

Additional speakers will be profiled in the next few weeks. To register your poster and for more details visit http://inbt.jhu.edu/news/symposium/

For all press inquiries regarding INBT, its faculty and programs, contact Mary Spiro, mspiro@jhu.edu or 410-516-4802.

Nanodevices built with DNA origami

Did you know DNA could be used for origami?

Not actual DNA origami.

Not actual DNA origami.

The precise control and organization of nanoscale devices has shown a great potential for ultimately creating “nano-devices” that can perform nanoscale biological measurements, deliver medicine in vivo, among many other applications. A recent article from Carlos E. Castro and colleauges from The Ohio State University demonstrates the use of DNA origami with programmable complex and reversible 1D, 2D and 3D motions.

By varying the DNA origami design, they were able to observe different mechanisms for the DNA origami’s 3D motion such as the crank-slider and four bar mechanism. The research team mainly utilized transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to follow the morphology changes as the origami moves.

DNAUsing a fluorescence quenching assay (attaching a fluorescent label on one arm and a quencher on the other), they have characterized the timescale of DNA origami motion. Overall, their group sees this technology as a “foundation for developing and characterizing a library of tunable DNA origami kinematic joints and using them in more complex controllable mechanisms similar to macroscopic machines, such as manipulators to control chemical reactions, transport biomolecules, or assemble nanoscale components in real time.”

 

Shown below are some of the videos showing the motions of the DNA origami that they have reported:

About the author: Herdeline Ann M. Ardoña is a third year graduate student at Johns Hopkins University Department of Chemistry, currently working in chemistry professor J.D. Tovar’s lab and co-advised by professor Hai-Quan Mao, in materials science and engineering.

Reference: Programmable motion of DNA origami mechanisms. (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 2015, 112, 713-718)

For all press inquiries regarding INBT, its faculty and programs, contact Mary Spiro, mspiro@jhu.edu or 410-516-4802.

Prizes offered for top poster presenters

We need your posters! INBT’s annual symposium theme relates to neuroscience, but posters on any multidisciplinary topic are encouraged. Submission deadline for posters is April 27. Posters will be judged and prizes will be awarded to top presenters!

Erlenmeyer_Flasks.-awardJohns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology hosts its annual symposium May 1 in the Owens Auditorium (between CRB I and CRB II) at the medical campus. Faculty expert speakers present in the morning on our theme, Neuro X, where x can be medicine, engineering, science, etc. The poster session begins in the afternoon. Posters on ANY MULTIDISCIPLINARY TOPIC are encouraged, and we welcome submissions from any department or division. Prizes will be awarded to top presenters. Submission guidelines, the full speaker agenda and additional information can be found online. Submit your poster now at http://inbt.jhu.edu/news/symposium/