INBT symposium poster session prize winners

Over 80 posters were presented at the 3rd Annual NanoBio Symposium hosted by Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology on May 18. Posters came from four divisions of the university, the Applied Physics Lab and also from industry. The first authors on six outstanding student research posters were awarded prizes. Winners include:

First Prize, iPod Nano, valued at $150

“MS-qFRET: A Quantum Dot-Based Method for Analysis of DNA Methylation,“ Vasudev Bailey, Alic Chen, Jeff Wang, collaboration between the School of Medicine’s Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Whiting School of Engineering Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Second Prize, Springer textbook, valued at $125

“Human Neural Stem Cell-Biomatrix Preparations as Tools in Reconstructing Neural Pathways,“ V. Machairaki, C. Yu, S. H. Lim, I. Nasonkin, H.-Q. Mao, and V. E. Koliatsos, a collaboration between the Whiting School of Engineering departments of Materials Science and Engineering and the School of Medicine Department of Neuropathology.

Third Prize Runners Up, $25 iTunes gift cards

“Chemiluminescent Solid Lipid Nanoparticles and Interactions with Intact Skin,“ Julia B. Patrone, Huong Le, Jennifer Breidenich, Lisa Kelly, Jason J. Benkoski, Amit Banerjee, and Jennifer L. Sample from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.

“Neural Open Culture System Reveals Cellular Mechanisms of Axon Degeneration and Microglial Response,“ Suneil Hosmane, In Hong Yang, April Ruffin, Shilpa Sakhalkar, Parastoo Jangouk, Prech Uapinyoying, Nitish Thakor, and Arun Venkatesan, a collaboration between the School of Medicine’s departments of Biomedical Engineering and Neuroimmunology.

Fourth Prize Runners Up, $15 Barnes and Nobel gift cards

“One-Dimensional Optoelectronic Nanostructures Derived from the Aqueous Self-Assembly of Ï€-Conjugated Oligopeptides,“ J.D. Tovar, Stephen Diegelmann and Brian Wall from the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences Department of Chemistry

“Dynamic Response of Low-Density Monolayers,“ Gloria K. Olivier, Donghoon Shin and Joelle Frechette from the Whiting School of Engineering Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Mechanical engineers use magnets, nanobeads to measure DNA torque

Schematic of Magnetic Nano-rod
DNA fiber attached to magnetic nano-rod bead can be wound and unwound using magnetic “tweezers“ shown above as blue (north) and red (south) magnets. Credit: Sun Lab/JHU

Torque measures the tendency of a force to rotate something around an axis—think of a tether ball on a string. Torque also comes into play when the enzymes that read genetic code travel along a length of DNA. The segment behind the enzyme unwinds, while the portion ahead becomes more coiled and compact. Researchers from Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology have developed a method that uses magnets and a nanobead to measure, for the first time, single molecule rotational forces involved in the winding and unwinding of DNA fibers within the chromosome. Understanding these forces could help scientists predict gene regulation and provide important information on molecular targets for the development of disease-fighting drugs. [Read more...]

Johns Hopkins Nanoscience, Neuroscience Symposium, May 18

Presentation at the poster session of the 2008 NanoBio Symposium. Credit: Will Kirk/JHU

Students and faculty are encouraged to submit posters for the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology third annual symposium Monday, May 18, 2009 at the School of Medicine. “Nanoscience for Neuroscience and Neurosurgery“ features Johns Hopkins faculty experts in nanobiotechnology, engineering, neuroscience, medicine, imaging, and public health. The poster submission deadline is May 4, 2009. Registration and poster title submissions may be made online at Prizes will be awarded for the best poster presentations. [Read more...]

‘Shape-shifting’ protein could form basis for universal biohazard sensor

See full image. Ribbon diagram of the prediction of the protein switch structure. Purple indicates “receptor” part of the protein switch.Yellow represents the target molecule and also the region where the catalytic reaction takes place. Light blue marks the enzyme part of the switch that catalyzes the chemical reaction. Credit: Monica Berrondo/Gray Lab/JHU

Biosensors—devices that convert biological responses into readable signals— detect tiny amounts of single target molecules. Single molecule detection systems form the foundation of biosensors, like the ones used to recognize biohazards such as anthrax. A better biosensor, however, would be able to change to detect not one, but hundreds of different target molecules. [Read more...]

Lab-on-a-Chip Shows How Cells Break Free

Bridget Wildt, a Johns Hopkins materials science and engineering doctoral student, describes how the lab-on-a-chip device enables her to trigger the cell detachment process and capture it on camera. Credit: Martin Rietveld/Mary Spiro/JHU

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering have invented a method that could be used to help figure out how cancer cells break free from neighboring tissue, an “escape“ that can spread the disease to other parts of the body. The new lab-on-a-chip, described in the March issue of the journal Nature Methods, could lead to better cancer therapies. [Read more...]

INBT Welcomes Director of Corporate Partnerships

Picture of Tom Fekete
Tom Fekete, Director of Corporate Partnerships. Credit: Mary Spiro/JHU

The Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology (INBT) welcomes Thomas M. Fekete as its new Director of Corporate Partnerships. In this role, Fekete will act as a liaison between INBT faculty researchers and industry leaders. His aim will be to facilitate technology transfer from INBT affiliated labs to commercialization through industry. He also will work to coordinate student education and training opportunities through corporate partnerships.

Fekete comes to Johns Hopkins University with more than three decades of experience in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, primarily in a senior management role. He last worked for KV Pharmaceuticals of St. Louis, Missouri, as Director of Operations Projects. Prior to that, he directed manufacturing sites for Astaris LLC of St. Louis and held executive level positions in research, engineering and manufacturing for the chemicals operations for FMC Corporation in Baltimore and Philadelphia.

The holder of four U.S. patents, Fekete, earned his Master’s in Chemical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University and his Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Fekete will be working part-time from his office located at 211 Maryland Hall on the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins University. His office phone number is 410-516-8891 and email is

Researcher Seeks to Turn Stem Cells into Blood Vessels

Stem cells possess the potential to become any type tissue. This quality makes them ideal tools for possible therapeutic applications to treat or even cure many kinds of human suffering. Sharon Gerecht, affiliated faculty member of Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology (INBT) and assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, is using nanoengineered surfaces adorned with chemical cues, among other methods, to direct stem cells to differentiate into blood vessels. She also serves as a faculty mentor to students in INBT’s graduate training programs, postdoctoral program in Nanotechnology for Cancer Medicine, and the International Research Experience for Students. Read a recent faculty profile published by the Johns Hopkins Office of News and Information here:

A Finer Mesh

Ying-Ying Wang, a biomedical engineering doctoral student; and Samuel Lai, an assistant research professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. Will Kirk/JHU

Johns Hopkins researchers affiliated with the Institute for NanoBioTechnology have discovered a way to chemically shrink the naturally occurring holes in the body’s protective mucus layer so that it will keep out more unwanted particles. Read more here.

Johns Hopkins NanoBio Students Enlist in ‘Boot Camp’

Garrett Jenkinson(left) and Teaching Assistant Terrence Dobrowsky during the 2009 Nanobio Boot Camp. Credit: Mary Spiro / JHU

Graduate student fellows affiliated with Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology (INBT) training programs hail from diverse academic backgrounds. Some are electrical or biomedical engineers, others are chemists and biologists. But all of them at some point during their academic careers at Hopkins are required to take the core course NanoBio Laboratory (EN 500.621). To make sure that everyone taking the course is familiar with state-of-the-art laboratory techniques, INBT students enlist in a weeklong “boot camp.“ The 2009 boot camp occurred during the third week of January during intersession. [Read more...]

Offering a ‘Sweet’ Clue to Blood Borne Cancers

Simulation of Cell Rolling. Credit: Konstantopoulos Lab/JHU

Faculty Profile: Konstantinos Konstantopoulos

The surfaces of all cells, both normal ones and cancer causing, are coated with tiny sugar molecules that bind to compatible sites on blood vessel walls and allow the cell to travel around the body and into tissues. But what starts out as a friendly molecular “handshake“ for normal cells turns into a deadly embrace where tumor cells are involved. [Read more...]