First annual NCI physical sciences-oncology center investigators’ meeting held

Bryan Smith (Stanford) and Christopher Hale (JHU) shared a PS-OC Young Investigators’ Trans Network Award. (Photo/Mary Spiro)

The First Annual Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers Network Investigators’ Meeting was held April 5-7, at the National Harbor in Washington, D.C. Johns Hopkins Engineering in Oncology Center director Denis Wirtz, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering,  presented a tutorial on particle tracking, presented a talk on mechanobiology, and chaired a panel discussion on cancer cell mechanics.

In addition, several researchers affiliated with the EOC were awarded Young Investigators Trans-Network Project Awards. Wirtz’s doctoral student Christopher Hale, working with Bryan Smith of Stanford University, was recognized for the poster presentation “Tracking the Mechanics of Cancer in Living Subjects Using Intracellular Nanorheology.” Wirtz’s postdoctoral fellow Daniele Gilkes, working with colleagues at Cornell University, earned accolades for the poster presentation “Synergistic Effects of Hypoxia and Substrate Stiffness on Cancer Cell Force Generation.”

A total of 13 research posters from Johns Hopkins PS-OC were presented at the three-day meeting.

NanoBio Magazine premieres at INBT annual symposium

INBT launches new annual magazine.

As attendees arrived at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health for the Institute for NanoBioTechnology’s (INBT) fourth annual symposium on April 29, they received the first edition of NanoBio Magazine. The new 32-page publication, which served as both the symposium program and as an attractive way to highlight some of INBT’s research in a more comprehensive way, will be published annually.

NanoBio Magazine, produced under the direction of INBT science writer Mary Spiro and INBT web director Martin Rietveld, showcases articles and photography about the institutes’s research, educational, corporate partnership and outreach programs. Articles were written by INBT staff, as well as students from the science communications course taught by Spiro each January during intersession. Photography came  from students who have participated in INBT supported educational programs, INBT staff, and from affiliated faculty members. The graphic design was created by Y.L. Media, LLC. of Baltimore.

“The magazine represents, in a creative and artistic way, the highly interdisciplinary spirit that is a fundamental mission of INBT,” Spiro said. “It was truly a collaborative effort that pulled content from our affiliated faculty and students  in every division and at every academic level that INBT serves. I hope people will learn what INBT is all about by reading it.”

Printed copies of NanoBio Magazine are available upon request by contacting Mary Spiro at mspiro@jhu.edu. Or, download a PDF version of NanoBio Magazine here:  nanobio-magazine_fordownload

Andrew Wong and Noah Tremblay peruse the first issue of NanoBio Magazine. (Photo by Charli Dvoracek/INBT)

INBT students to teach about self assembly during national science expo

USA Science and Engineering Festival, Oct 23-24

Predoctoral students, faculty and staff affiliated with INBT, including students in INBT’s National Science Foundation funded IGERT program, will help demonstrate the principles of self-assembly to children and adults alike. Participants at the INBT booth will be able to see at the macro scale what happens when materials of various shapes and sizes assemble into more complex structures at the nanoscale. Through a variety of hands-on experiments and by watching a variety of movies and animations about self assembly produced by the INBT Animation Studio, the students hope to be able to share their expertise in science and engineering with the general public.

During the two-day expo, USA Science and Engineering Festival organizers anticipate at least 750 exhibits from more than 350 of the nation’s leading science and engineering organizations including colleges and universities, corporations, federal agencies, museums and science centers, and professional engineering and science societies. Topics represented range from aerospace, green energy, medicine, biotechnology, climatology to robotics, nanotechnology, botany, neuroscience, genetics, and more.

The USA Science & Engineering Festival is the result of the highly successful inaugural San Diego Science FestivalSM held in April 2009 and both are the brainchild of life science and high technology entrepreneur Larry Bock. The festival is hosted by Lockheed Martin and sponsors include Life Technologies Foundation, Clean Technology and Sustainability Industries Organization (CTSI), Larry and Diane Bock, ResMed Foundation, Farrell Family Foundation, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Agilent Technologies, Amgen, Celgene Corporation, The Dow Chemical Company, National Institutes of Health, Illumina, You Can Do the Rubik’s Cube, Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., Genentech Inc., MedImmune, Sandia National Laboratories, Project Lead The Way (PLTW), K&L Gates, NuVasive Inc., FEI Company, Case Western Reserve University, Silicon Valley Bank, Bechtel Corporation, SpaceX and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Media partners include Popular Science and Science Illustrated, New Scientist, EE Times Group, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, POPULAR MECHANICS, Forbes Wolfe Emerging Tech Report, FAMILY Magazine and SciVee, Inc.

Additional Information:

Preview of the types of exhibits planned for the National Expo and view a short video of what happened in San Diego here.

For a complete list of sponsors, partners and exhibitors, click here.

EOC leader Gregg Semenza wins Canada Gairdner Award

Gregg Semenza

Gregg Semenza, associate director of Johns Hopkins Engineering in Oncology Center (EOC), has been named among seven 2010 winners of Canada’s international prize for medical research–the Canada Gairdner Award. The award is among the most prestigious for medical research and comes with a $100,000 cash prize.

The Canada Gairdner Award recognized Semenza for his work on how cells respond to oxygen availability in the body. He was the first to identify and describe hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1), which switches genes on or off in response to oxygen levels.

Semenza leads a research project related to this topic for EOC with Sharon Gerecht, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. Their work focuses on analyzing the makeup and physical properties of the extracellular matrix, the three-dimensional scaffold in which cells live.

“Normal cells live in a flexible scaffold, but cancer cells create a rigid scaffold that they climb through to invade normal tissue,” Semenza said. “We will study how this change occurs and how it is affected by the amount of oxygen to which cancer cells are exposed. Our studies have shown that cancer cells are deprived of oxygen, which incites them to more aggressively invade the surrounding normal tissues where oxygen is more plentiful. Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 controls the responses of cancer cells to low oxygen, and we have recently identified drugs that block the action of HIF-1 and inhibit tumor growth in experimental cancer models.”

Semenza is the C. Michael Armstrong Professor in Medicine and founding director of the Vascular Biology program at  Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering at the School of Medicine. He also is a member of the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine, is an affiliated faculty member of Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology, and has ties to the Department of Biological Chemistry and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, both at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

The Johns Hopkins Engineering in Oncology Center, launched October 2009, is one of 12 funded by the National Cancer Institute to bring a new cadre of theoretical physicists, mathematicians, chemists and engineers to the study of cancer. During the five-year initiative, the NCI’s Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers (PS-OC) will take new, nontraditional approaches to cancer research by studying the physical laws and principles of cancer; evolution and evolutionary theory of cancer; information coding, decoding, transfer and translation in cancer; and ways to deconvolute cancer’s complexity.

Read more about Gregg Semenza winning the Canada Gairdner Award in the Johns Hopkins Gazette story by Audrey Huang here.

Johns Hopkins Engineering in Oncology Center

Poster presenters needed for symposium on environmental, health impacts of nanotech

2009 INBT Poster Session (Photo: Jon Christofersen)

Poster titles are now being accepted for Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology’s fourth annual symposium, “Environmental and Health Impacts of Engineered Nanomaterials” set for Thursday, April 29, at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Researchers from across the university, from government and industry, and from other universities are invited to submit posters by the deadline of April 22.

All students, faculty and staff affiliated with any Johns Hopkins campus or school may attend the symposium for free. Students from UMBC and Morgan State University may also attend at no cost.

This year’s symposium brings together faculty experts engaged in various aspects of nanotechnology risk assessment and management research. Jonathan Links, an INBT-affiliated professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Bloomberg School, assembled the slate of speakers from across four divisions of the university.

Links said that this diversity reflects the multidisciplinary approach needed to effectively address questions of how nanomaterials move through and interact with the environment, and how they may impact biological organisms, including humans. Links added that despite some concerted efforts to assess risk, many questions remain unanswered about how engineered nanomaterials and nanoparticles impact human health and the environment.

“Without these data, we are flying blind. But when risk assessment is performed in tandem with research into beneficial applications, it helps researchers make better decisions about how nanotechnology is used in the future,” Links said.

Along with Links, professors from the Bloomberg School presenting talks at the symposium include Ellen Silbergeld, of Environmental Health Sciences, and Patrick Breysse, of Environmental Health Engineering and Environmental Health Sciences. William P. Ball, a professor in the Whiting School of Engineering’s Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering; Justin Hanes, a professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Ophthalmology, with joint appointments in the Whiting School’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the Bloomberg School’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences; and Howard Fairbrother, a professor in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Chemistry, will talk about the transport of nanomaterials through environmental and biological systems, as well as the unusual properties of manufactured nanomaterials.

Tomas Guilarte, recently appointed chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and a former professor at the Bloomberg School, will provide a presentation on neurotoxicity of nanoparticles. Ronald White, an associate scientist and deputy director of the Bloomberg School’s Risk Sciences and Public Policy Institute, will discuss policy implications based on risk assessment.

Symposium talks will be from 8:30 a.m. until noon in Sheldon Hall (W1214), and a poster session, with prizes for top presenters, will be held from 1:30 to 3 p.m. in Feinstone Hall (E2030).

To register for the symposium or to display a poster, click here.

For more information about INBT’s fourth annual symposium, click here.

Story by Mary Spiro

Nonlinear Optics on the Nanoscale: Towards Terabit Optical Processors

Ben Eggleton

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering presents The Jan M. Minkowski Memorial Lecture in Quantum Electronics, “Nonlinear Optics on the Nanoscale: Towards Terabit Optical Processors”, with speaker Dr. Benjamin J. Eggleton, ARC Federation Fellow, School of Physics, University of Sydney, Friday, March 26, 2010, 3:00 p.m., Mason Hall Auditorium, Homewood Campus. Reception to follow.

Abstract

Nonlinear optics describes the behavior of light in media in which the dielectric polarization P responds nonlinearly to the electric field E of the light. This nonlinearity is generally only observed with very high power pulsed lasers. For this nonlinearity to be useful – as an optical switch, for example – we need a material with a massive nonlin-ear response so that the nonlinear effects can be generated at low power levels. This talk will review our progress on developing photonic inte-grated circuits based on breakthroughs in highly nonlinear materials and nanophotonics. We have demonstrated all-optical ultrafast information processing and we have demonstrated a monolithic integrated photonic chip with terabit per-second bandwidth. Our approach takes advantage of different ultrafast nonlinear processes, such as four-wave-mixing and stimulated Raman scattering processes and also exploits dispersion engineering and slow-light effects. I will present our recent record-breaking results demonstrating information processing at terabit per second speeds and will discuss prospects for implementation in next generation high bandwidth information systems.

About the Minkowski Memorial Lecture

Jan Minkowski was born in Zurich, Switzerland and raised in Warsaw, Poland. He received his first degree in Electrical Engineering in 1938 from the Warsaw Polytechnic Institute. He served as an officer in the signal corps of the Polish Cavalry from September, 1939, until his liberation from six years as a prisoner of war in 1945. He then resumed his studies in the Department of Mathematics and Physics at E.T.H., Zurich. He wrote his Diplomarbeit dissertation under the direction of Prof. Wolfgang Pauli and continued to work under his supervision at the Institute of Theoretical Physics until 1950.

Prof. Minkowski emigrated to the United States and joined the Radiation Laboratory of the Johns Hopkins University in 1952. He entered the graduate program of the Department of Physics at Johns Hopkins and received his Ph.D. in physics in 1963. He then became a faculty member in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Johns Hopkins where he remained until his retirement in 1987. His research interests were in the areas of masers, lasers, solid state physics, microwaves, coherence properties of light, and quantum optics.

Link to the flyer here.

Probing the Soft Side with Nanoindentation Techniques

Michelle Oyen

Michelle L. Oyen of Cambridge University Engineering Department  will present the talk  “Probing the Soft Side with Nanoindentation Techniques” on Wednesday, March 24 at 3 p.m. in Maryland Hall 110. Dr. Oyen is a lecturer in Mechanics of Biological Materials in the Mechanics and Materials Division and the Engineering for the Life Sciences group at Cambridge University. This seminar is hosted by Professor Tim Weihs and the Johns Hopkins University Department of Materials Science and Engineering. The talk is free and open to all Johns Hopkins faculty, staff and students.

Abstract

The mechanical properties of many “soft” materials are of interest for biomedical applications, including both natural tissues and hydrogels for tissue engineering applications. In the last 15 years, nanoindentation techniques have gained prominence in the mechanical testing community for three reasons: first, the fine resolution in load and displacement transducers, second the fine spatial resolution for mapping local mechanical properties, and finally the relative ease of performing mechanical testing. In the current studies, we extend the scope of nanoindentation testing with commercial indenters to quantitative measurements on kPa materials. Different forms of the material constitutive response were considered with an emphasis on time-dependent viscoelastic or poroelastic deformation. Applications are the considered for hydrated tissues and hydrogels including articular cartilage, bone and mechanically graded hydrogels. Further investigations using adaptations of these nanoindentation techniques examine nano-scale adhesion and mechanical outcomes in stem cell differentiation. This study demonstrates the potential for high-throughput mechanical screening of soft materials and for mapping property gradients in inhomogeneous materials as these approaches can now be extended to materials in the kilopascal elastic modulus range.

Hopkins biomedical engineering doctoral student wins Weintraub Award

Deok-Ho Kim

Deok-Ho Kim, currently a postdoctoral fellow in the department of Biomedical Engineering, was among 13 graduate students from North America chosen to receive the 2010 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award, sponsored by the Basic Sciences Division of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Wash. Nominations were solicited internationally and winners were selected on the basis of the quality, originality and significance of their work.

The award, established in 2000, honors the late Harold M. Weintraub, Ph.D., a founding member of the FHC’s Basic Sciences Division, who in 1995 died from brain cancer at age 49. According to a press release from FHC, “Weintraub was an international leader in the field of molecular biology; among his many contributions, he identified genes responsible for instructing cells to differentiate, or develop, into specific tissues such as muscle and bone.”

Kim will receive a certificate, travel expenses and an honorarium from the Weintraub and Groudine Fund, established to foster intellectual exchange through the promotion of programs for graduate students, fellows and visiting scholars. Kim works in the laboratory of Andre Levchenko, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering and an affiliated faculty member of the Institute for NanoBioTechnology.

Read more about Kim’s research with Levchenko here.

APL scientist to explain self-assembled artificial cilia from cobalt nanoparticles

Jason Benkoski

Jason Benkoski

Can nanoparticles be used to engineer structures that could be as flexible and useful as the cilia that help bacteria move around?

Jason Benkoski, a senior scientist at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and an affiliated faculty member of Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology, will discuss his current research in this endeavor on March 1  at 1:30 p.m. in the Rome Room, Clark 110 at the Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus. Hosted by the Department of Biomedical Engineering, this talk also will be teleconferenced to the Talbot Library in Traylor 709 at the School of Medicine.

Abstract: Taking inspiration from eukaryotic cilia, we report a method for growing dense arrays of magnetically actuated microscopic filaments. Fabricated from the bottom-up assembly of polymer-coated cobalt nanoparticles, each segmented filament measures approximately 5–15 microns in length and 23.5 nanometers in diameter, which was commensurate with the width of a single nanoparticle. Boasting the flexibility of biological cilia, we envision applications for this technology that include micropumps, micro-flow sensors, microphones with hardware-based voice detection, surfaces with enhanced thermal transfer, switchable, tunable filters, and microscopic locomotion.

Additional Links:

Jason Benkoski’s INBT profile

Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab

Drazer wins NSF Career Award

German Drazer

German Drazer (Photo: Will Kirk)

German Drazer, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and affiliated faculty member of Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology was recently named a recipient of the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) awards, given in recognition of a young scientist’s commitment to research and education. Drazer was given the award for “Deterministic and Stochastic Transport of Suspended Particles in Periodic Systems: Fundamentals and Applications in Separation Science.” The grant will support his investigations into the transport phenomena that arise in the motion of suspended particles in spatially periodic systems, and the translation of these phenomena into new principles for the manipulation of suspended particles in fluidic devices.

Read more about the work in the Drazer Lab here.

INBT researchers use LEGO to study what happens inside lab-on-a-chip devices