REU student profile: Ian Reucroft

Sitting at what looks like a pottery wheeled turned on its side, Ian Reucroft is using a method called electrospinning to create a nano-scale polymer fiber embedded with a drug that encourages nerve growth. The strand is barely visible to the eye, but the resulting fibers resemble spider web.

Ian Reucroft, a rising junior in Biomedical Engineering at Rutgers University, is working in the medical school campus laboratory of Hai-Quan Mao, professor of materials sciences and engineering at Johns Hopkins University. He is part of Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology’s summer REU, or research experience for undergraduates program.

Ian Reucroft in the Mao lab. Photo by Mary Spiro.

Ian Reucroft in the Mao lab. Photo by Mary Spiro.

“We are developing a material to help regrow nerves, either in central or peripheral nervous systems,” said Ian. One method of doing that he explained is to make nanofibers and incorporating a drug into those fibers, drugs that promote neuronic growth or cell survival or various other beneficial qualities. The Mao lab is looking into a relatively new and not well-studied drug called Sunitinib that promotes neuronal survival.

“We make a solution of the component to make the fiber, which is this case is polylactic acid (PLA), and the drug, which I have to dissolve into the solution,” Ian said. Although the drug seems to remain stable in solution, one of the challenges Ian has faced has been improving the distribution of the drug along the fiber.

This is Ian’s first experience with electrospinning but not his first time conducting research. He plans to pursue a PhD in biomedical engineering and remain in academia.

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

The IMEC blog and why you should read it

Every summer since 2009, Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology has been sending students to the lovely town of Leuven in Belgium to conduct 10 weeks of research at IMEC, that country’s leader in nanoelectronics fabrication and testing. The students, both undergraduates and pre-doctoral students, collaborate on projects coordinated by Hopkins and IMEC faculty.

The research program is co-funded by the National Science Foundation International Research Experience for Students (IRES) program, by INBT and by IMEC. Travel, housing and a stipend are covered for each student. They work hard during the week, but weekends are open for European travel, which they all take advantage of.

IMEC summer researchers from left, Matthew Gonzalez, Polly Ma, Rustin Golnabi and Eugene Yoon.

IMEC summer researchers from left, Matthew Gonzalez, Polly Ma, Rustin Golnabi and Eugene Yoon.

We ask the students to blog about their experiences there. Four students are currently working at IMEC for summer 2014. This year the blog has been pretty active, so we invite you to check it out. Find out what it is like to conduct research in a foreign country. Find out about Belgian beer. Experience their summer away vicariously through their writings and photos.

You can find the IMEC blog here.

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

REU student profile: Sierra Atwater

Sierra Atwater just completed her freshman year as a biology major at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She works in the chemical and biomolecular engineering laboratory of professor Denis Wirtz at Johns Hopkins University and is part of the Institute for NanoBioTechnology REU program. REU stands for Research Experience for Undergraduates and is a National Science Foundation funded program administered by INBT.

Sierra explained that the Wirtz group is “looking at cell motility and proliferation to see how different cancer cells move and what affects that movement.”

Sierra Atwater

Sierra Atwater

“I’ve been looking at cell division and cell density over a 16-hour period,” she added said. “I have learned how to do a lot in this lab such as how to make 3D collagen gel matrices and how to make 2D gels, how to use T2000 microscopes and the confocal microscopes and how to do ELISAs.” Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays or tests use antibodies to detect substances.

Hasini Jayatilaka, PhD student in ChemBE, mentors Sierra. In addition, Sierra says she feels she can call upon the expertise of other students working in the Wirtz lab. This is her first research experience, and she says, the hardest thing so for has been just remembering how to do so many different techniques.

For more information about INBT’s summer REU program, visit this link.

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

 

 

 

LinkedIn Advice from the experts

INBT undergraduates attended a session, giving expert advice on how to build an effective profile and how to use LinkedIn for visibility, networking, and finding your next step.  The presenter discusses the latest features, and find connections you didn’t even know about. The presenter is Donna Vogel, MD, PhD, Professional Development Office (JHMI) Director and LinkedIn member since 2003.

 

In celebration of data

The Celebration of Data Symposium features a keynote talk by Denis Wirtz, Vice Provost for Research, Theophilus Halley Smoot Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and associate director of INBT. Speakers will be discussing how they have been using and leveraging data in their new lives. Topics will vary widely, from academic science, to the biotech industry, to work in the private and government sectors. The symposium will be held Friday, June 20 in Hackerman Hall B-17 (basement auditorium) from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on the Homewood campus. This event is free and open to the Hopkins community.

Former PhD Shyam Khatau with Dens Wirtz. Photo by Will Kirk

Former PhD Shyam Khatau (left) with Dens Wirtz. Photo by Will Kirk

Agenda

  • 9:00 – 9:10 am Andrew Douglas Vice Dean for Faculty, WSE, Opening Remarks
  • 9:10 – 9:30 am Soichiro Yamada, PhD Associate Professor, UC Davis, To adhere or not to adhere: self-contact elimination by membrane fusion
  • 9:30 – 9:50 am Osi Esue, PhD, MBA Strategy Manager, Genentech, From single cells to the clinic: the roadmap of drug discovery and development
  • 9:50 – 10:10 am Daniele Gilkes, PhD, Assistant Research Professor, JHU Hypoxia and the ECM: drivers of tumor metastasis
  • 10:10 – 10:30 am Shyam Khatau, PhD, Senior Consultant, Navigant The secret life of a consultant
  • 10:30 – 11:00 am Coffee Break
  • 11:00 – 11:20 am Jerry S.H. Lee, PhD Health Sciences Director, NCI, Advancing Convergence and Innovation in Cancer Research
  • 11:20 – 11:40 am Tom Kole, MD, PhD Radiation Oncology Resident, Georgetown, Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy of Prostate Adenocarcinoma
  • 11:40 – 12 noon Owen McCarty, PhD Associate Professor, OHSU, Cytoskeletal remodeling of blood cells
  • 12 noon – 1 pm Lunch
  • 1:00 – 1:20 pm Steph Fraley, PhD BWF CASI Fellow, JHU, Digital Nucleic Acid Melting Analysis for Rapid Infectious Disease Diagnostics
  • 1:20 – 1:40 pm Brian Daniels, PhD Program Manager, Draper Laboratory, Design, development, and deployment
  • 1:40 – 2:00 pm Michelle Dawson, PhD Assistant Professor, Georgia Tech, Mechanosensitivity and the Rho/ROCK pathway
  • 2:00 – 2:20 pm Eva Lai, PhD Innovation Officer, JHU, Translational medicine in the DoD
  • 2:20 – 2:40 pm Coffee Break
  • 2:40 – 3:00 pm Konstantinos Konstantopoulos, PhD Professor and Chair, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, JHU, The physical biology of cancer metastasis
  • 3:00 – 3:45 pm Denis Wirtz, PhD VP of Research, TH Smoot Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Oncology and Pathology, JHU, The measurement science of cell migration
  • 3:45 Owen McCarty, PhD Associate Professor, OHSU, Closing Remarks

 

 

INBT Seminar: the graduate school admissions process

The next professional development seminar hosted by Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology will be held Wednesday, June 18 at 10:30 a.m. in the Schaffer 3 Auditorium. The speaker is Maya Suraj, new Director of Graduate Admissions and Enrollment for Arts & Sciences and Engineering at the Homewood campus.

Maya Suraj

Maya Suraj

Prior to Hopkins, she was at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where she focused on streamlining the graduate process. This included making the graduate office proficient in credential evaluation, redesigning workflows, integrating technology and developing recruitment plans. Suraj will talk to the students about the graduate admissions process from cradle to grave, best practices and tips. A Q&A will follow.

This seminar is free and open to the Hopkins community, but an RSVP is required to Danielle Tiggle at dtiggle1@jhu.edu.

Seminar on bioinspired micropatterned surfaces

The Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute hosts the talk, “Bioinspired Micropatterned Surfaces with Switchable Functionality” with speaker Eduard Arzt, Scientific Director of the Leibniz Institute for New Materials and Department of Materials Science, Saarland University (Germany) on Wednesday, June 18 at 11 a.m. in B17 Hackerman Hall.

Eduard Arzt

Eduard Arzt

Abstract: New surfaces and coatings can drastically improve the properties and applicability of materials. At INM, we develop  and investigate new micro- and nanopatterned surfaces for diverse functionalities: low friction, adhesion, corrosion protection, anti-reflection, electric storage and combinations of these. Such surfaces either exhibit new chemistries or new topographies, sometimes on different hierarchical levels. This talk will first summarize some of our developments by bridging the scientific principles with existing or emerging applications. It will then focus on micropatterning of surfaces for novel adhesive functionalities: the exploitation of judiciously designed surface protrusions, “fibrils” and other features at the micron scale – as insects, spiders and geckos – to create fundamentally new degrees of freedom for mechanical and other surface functions. Our extensive research in this area has recently led to the following results: i)design of active surfaces that exploit a transition from an adhesive to non-adhesive state, ii) first implementation in active pick-and-place systems, and iii) our recent developments in producing functional surfaces for interaction with soft materials, such as human skin. Our current emphasis is on controlling adhesion and friction, which is of great potential interest in microfabrication, construction industry, and sports equipment. Such developments require modeling and simulation activities which help understand the micromechanics of patterned adhesion and identify optimum parameters in a vast parameter space.

This talk is free and open to the Hopkins community. Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBiotechnology supports this event.

HEMI

INM

 

 

 

 

Apply now for Certificate of Advanced Studies in Nanobiotechnology

Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology is recruiting for the fall and spring cohorts for our graduate training program. Doctoral students who successfully complete the program will receive a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Nanobiotechnology. Students already admitted to graduate programs in most science and engineering disciplines are invited to apply.

Read a full description of the program in this certificate flyer. Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 3.30.11 PM

If accepted, INBT training program students participate in:

  • weekly journal clubs and tutorials
  • additional education through an engineering course and dvanced cell biology course
  • the intersession Nanobio Bootcamp
  • a science communications course

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Ashanti Edwards directly at Ashanti@jhu.edu or reach out to INBT directors Peter Searson or Denis Wirtz. We look forward to reviewing the files of prospective applicants for the program.

For more information on our graduate programs visit this link.

For media inquires regarding Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology or its programs, centers or faculty experts, contact Mary Spiro, Media Relations Director, at mspiro@jhu.edu or 410-516-4802.

 

INBT seminar focuses on grad school process

inbt-abstractJohns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnolgy’s first professional development seminar of the summer will be held June 4 at 10:30 a.m. in Schaffer 3 (downstairs). This week we will have a graduate panel give three different perspectives of the graduate school process. The panel consists of current PhD students and recent graduates of INBT laboratories, all from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

Speakers include:

Quinton Smith was a previous REU (twice!) and works in Sharon Gerecht lab. He will give his perspective of how you can transitions from being an REU to a graduate student.

Luisa Russell can give a general perspective on graduate school, the admissions process, choosing a lab, etc. She is a second-year PhD candidate in the materials science department working on hybrid multifunctional nanoparticles in Peter Searson’s research group.

Allison Chambliss recently defended her PhD and can give the full perspective of being a graduate student, research, defending and looking for a job. She was part of the Denis Wirtz laboratory.

This event is free and open to the Hopkins community.

 

 

Applications now being accepted for Global Engineering Innovation

THE DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO NOON ON JUNE 10.

The Global Engineering Innovation (GEI) program was started by Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology (INBT) to give Hopkins-trained engineers the chance to to solve the community problems of developing nations. Now it it’s third year, INBT seeks new applicants for the next round of projects.

“As a part of GEI, I was able to collaborate with the staff of the Indonesian non-profit, Kopernik – some of the coolest, most passionate people I have ever met,” said Sakina Girnary, biomedical engineering (Class of 2015). “The interactions I had with the warm and friendly locals felt truly genuine, and the work we carried out was the most fulfilling I have ever accomplished in my life”

DSCF9434-webINBT has obtained university funding to annually support two engineering mission teams composed of two to four students at a variety of international host sites. Teams will have two mentors: one from the Johns Hopkins faculty and one from the host site. Together, they will develop budgets, timelines and project plans to address a problem identified at a host location.

Once teams, mentors and challenges are defined, the team or team leader will travel to site to further evaluate the challenge and design constraints. Returning to Baltimore, the teams will meet to further research the challenge and brainstorm potential solutions. The Global Engineering Innovation program gives Johns Hopkins’ graduate students and select undergraduates an opportunity to investigate and tackle engineering challenges in the developing world. The JHU School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) will be consulted so that students will be aware of the social and political atmosphere that may impact utilization and potential distribution of the engineering solutions.

Applications are now being accepted for Global Engineering Innovation projects designed to give Johns Hopkins’ graduate students and select undergraduates an opportunity to investigate and tackle engineering challenges in the developing world. CIMG1403-webJohns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology has funding for five additional students to join a team working on a Fish Dryer and Rice Harvesting machine for Rural East Java, Indonesia. The team is mentored by Professor Jennifer Elisseeff and partnering with Kopernik, a non-profit that balances a philanthropic and business approach to distributing technology in last-mile communities around the world. The team will have to build prototypes to be tested at the end of this summer in Indonesia.

To be eligible to apply, undergraduate and graduate students should be public health or engineering majors (other majors will be considered if a fit is evident based on application material). Students available this summer are particularly encouraged to apply.

To apply for this unique opportunity, go to this link for application instructions and forms. After the new team is defined, they will immediately start contributing in the development of the prototype to be tested this summer. If the test is successful, potential avenues of translation will be investigated with advisory board members with relevant experience.

If you have additional questions, please contact Makesi Paul (mpaul18@jhu.edu), Yunuscan Sevimli (yunuscan.sevimli@jhu.edu) or Sakina Girnary (sakinagirnary@gmail.com), for more information on the application process.

For media inquires regarding Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology or its programs, centers or faculty experts, contact Mary Spiro, Media Relations Director, at mspiro@jhu.edu or 410-516-4802.