IGERT Profile: Tania Chan

Picture of Tania Chan
Tania Chan. Graduate student in the NanoBio IGERT program. Credit: Mary Spiro / JHU

Tania Chan is a first year PhD student in materials science at Johns Hopkins University and member of the NanoBio IGERT with the Institute for NanoBioTechnology. IGERT stands for Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship and is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Working with Michael (Seungju) Yu, associate professor of materials science and engineering and INBT affiliated faculty member, Chan has synthesized a protein, called QK, which mimics VEGF, the natural growth factor responsible for new blood vessel growth. The QK will be paired with a synthetic peptide that mimics natural collagen—a protein found in connective tissues, bone, muscle and skin. This synthetic combination will be used to modify collagen scaffolds with the long term goal of controlling microvasculature formation in artificial tissue and wound healing. [Read more...]

Hopkins Faculty Affiliated with INBT Receive Recognition

Hai-Quan Mao

Hai-Quan Mao, Johns Hopkins University assistant professor of materials science and engineering and affiliated faculty member of the Institute for NanoBioTechnology received a $500,000 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award, given in recognition of young scientists’ commitment to research and education. The award offers $100,000 each year for five years. One aspect of Mao’s research centers on creating nanofiber scaffolds that mimic the topography and biochemical cues found in the extracellular matrix—that is, the “basement“ membrane that provides structure and support to cells. This CAREER award supports his research in how these nanofiber scaffolds can serve to direct and control the adhesion and growth of neural stem cells. The ultimate goal of this work, Mao says, could lead “stem cell-based regenerative therapies, particularly for treating degenerative diseases and traumatic injuries of the central nervous system.“

Howard E. Katz

Johns Hopkins Professor of materials science and engineering and INBT affiliate Howard E. Katz recently was honored with title of inaugural Fellow of the Materials Research Society (MRS). He was one of 34 distinguished scholars who received this lifetime designation. The title of MRS fellow honors its members who are notable for their distinguished research accomplishments and their outstanding contributions to the advancement of materials research, worldwide. The official presentation took place, March 26 at the 2008 Spring Meeting of the MRS in San Francisco, Calif. Katz was lauded “for introducing multifunctional organic materials into electronic and optical devices including transistors and electro-optic modulators; for innovation in materials synthesis; and for serving the materials community through society leadership, editorship, and government outreach.“ Katz has served on the MRS board from 2000 to 2005 and will assume the Presidency of the International Union of Materials Research Societies in 2009. He leads the Congressional Visit Days and is an Associate Editor of the MRS Journal of Materials Research.

Related Web sites:

Book Explains Nanotechnology Use in Biomedical Imaging

“Nanoparticles in Biomedical Imaging,“ is the title of a new book co-edited by Jeff W.M. Bulte, professor in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and affiliated faculty member of the Institute for NanoBioTechnology, and his colleague Mike M.J. Modo, of the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College in London, UK. Published by Springer, Bulte says this volume “would be an excellent textbook for materials scientists and chemical engineers working on fabricating all sorts of particles, but who need more information about their various biological and medical applications.“ [Read more...]

Johns Hopkins NanoBio Symposium Set for May 1-2: New workshop focuses on nanotechnology for cancer

All facets of research relating to the emerging discipline of nanobiotechnology—a science that operates at the scale of one-billionth of a meter—will be explored at the second annual Johns Hopkins NanoBio Symposium, May 1 -2, 2008. This year’s event will be held at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md. and is hosted by the Institute for NanoBioTechnology (INBT). [Read more...]

2008 NanoBio Symposium Preview: Jeffery Schloss

A Nanoscale Solution to the $1,000 Genome


Jeffery Schloss, speaker at the 2008 Nanobio Symposium at Johns Hopkins University.
Credit: Jeffery Schloss

One day physicians may be able to personalize our medical care based on the genetic information we carry around with us on a thumb-drive. Using nano-scale structures, researchers are trying to develop inexpensive ways to sequence a complete genome, says Jeffery Schloss, Program Director for Technology Development Coordination at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). At the May 2 Johns Hopkins NanoBio Symposium, hosted by the Institute for NanoBioTechnology, Schloss will discuss current research in this area, as well as the nanotechnology related activities of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). [Read more...]

“Lab On a Chip” Mimics Brain Chemistry

Levchenko flood chamber image
A. The lab on a chip includes a bottom fluidic layer (red) with a gradient generating network,
a cell seeding network, and observation chamber; a top layer (blue) with valves to control the
flow of channels in the bottom layer, and a glass lid with micro-wells (darker red) where neuronal
cell samples are placed. B. A 3D schematic image of the chip assembly.
Credit: Lab on a Chip / Royal Society of Chemistry.

Will speed studies of brain cells

Johns Hopkins researchers from the Whiting School of Engineering and the School of Medicine have devised a micro-scale tool – a lab on a chip – designed to mimic the chemical complexities of the brain. [Read more...]

INBT Hosts 11 Undergraduates for Summer Research Experience

2008 Research Experience for Undergraduates Students at the Institute for NanoBioTechnology. Credit: INBT/ JHU

Conducting original research is not strictly the realm of graduate students and faculty. Undergraduates from universities across the nation have gathered at the Institute for NanoBioTechnology at Johns Hopkins University to participate in the Nanotechnology for Biology and Medicine summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Eleven students were chosen to participate in this highly selective REU from a pool of more than 240 applicants for the opportunity to perform research in nanotechnology—science at the scale of one billionth of a meter. Each student was chosen because of their superior academic performance, interest in pursuing research, and faculty recommendations. This is the first time INBT has offered an REU program.

“INBT’s Nanotechnology for Biology and Medicine summer REU provides opportunities for individuals who demonstrate academic excellence and dedication to research,“ says program lead Denis Wirtz, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Johns Hopkins and associate director of the Institute for NanoBioTechnology. “We strive to give our students a truly unique educational experience with research at its core, which will serve as the ideal foundation for future graduate research.“

REU participants will conduct a 10-week research project in a lab supervised by an INBT affiliated faculty member. Two research projects will be based in the School of Medicine and nine will be hosted in the Whiting School of Engineering. Project themes range from basic cell biology to biomedical engineering to materials science.

The following students are participating in the Nanotechnology for Biology and Medicine summer REU program:

Juri Bassuner.
  • Juri Bassuner of St. Louis, Mo. is a senior at University of Missouri majoring in Biomedical Engineering. He will be working in the lab of associate professor Michael Bevan in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering. Bassuner previously conducted undergraduate research at the St. Louis University Department of Chemistry and at Clemson University at the Center for Advanced Engineering Fibers and Films.
Tiara Byrd.
  • Tiara Byrd of Tallahassee, Fla., is a senior at Florida A & M University majoring in Chemistry/Biochemistry. Byrd will be working in the lab of assistant professor Jeffery Gray in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Whiting School of Engineering. She previously conducted undergraduate research at the University of California, Los Angeles through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Exceptional Research Opportunity Program.
Nicholas Hagerty.
  • Nicholas Hagerty of Portland, Ore., is a junior at Brown University majoring in Biological Physics. Hagerty will be working in the lab of assistant professor Kalina Hristova in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering. He previously conducted undergraduate research in the Department of Physics at Brown University and also at the Center for Coastal Margin Observation and Prediction at the Oregon Health and Science University.
You K. (Chloe) Kim.
  • You K. (Chloe) Kim of Houston, Texas is a sophomore at Johns Hopkins University studying Materials Science and Engineering. Kim will be working in the lab of professor Peter Searson in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering. Her research interests include nanobiotechnology applied to drug-delivery for the treatment of cancer and other diseases and the usage of synthetic and biological materials for medical implant applications.
Casey Kirkpatrick.
  • Casey Kirkpatrick of Manteo, N.C., is a senior at North Carolina State University majoring in Electrical Engineering. Kirkpatrick will be working in the lab of assistant professor David Gracias in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering. He conducted previous undergraduate research in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at North Carolina State University and was a lab instructor for an introductory course on circuits.
Deonnae Lopez.
  • Deonnae Lopez of Piscataway, N.J., is a senior at Rutgers University majoring in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. Lopez will be working in the lab of associate professor Doug Robinson in the Department of Cell Biology at the School of Medicine. She previously conducted undergraduate research at the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and currently does research at Rutgers on Epstein-Barr Virus.
David Nartey.
  • David Nartey of Richmond, Va. is a senior at Morgan State University majoring in Biology. Nartey will be working in the lab of assistant professor Hai-Quan Mao in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering. He previously conducted undergraduate research in the Department of Biology at Morgan State University and has served as an Academic Enrichment Program tutor to his classmates, also at Morgan.
Colbert Sesanker.
  • Colbert Sesanker of West Hartford, Conn., is as sophomore at Worcester Polytechnic Institute majoring in Computational and Applied Analysis. Sesanker will be working in the lab of assistant professor Dilip Asthagiri in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering. His research interests relate to the improvement or repair of the cardiovascular systems including the removal of arterial plaque via nanotechnology.
Adongo Tia-Okwee.
  • Adongo Tia-Okwee of Baltimore, Md., (formerly of San Fernando, Trinidad), is a senior majoring in Biology at Morgan State University. She will be working in the lab of professor Denis Wirtz in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering. Her primary interests include medical research into new technologies to treat HIV/AIDS and cancer.
Sean Virgile.
  • Sean Virgile of Franklin, Pa., is a junior at University of Rochester majoring in Biomedical Engineering. Virgile will be working in the lab of assistant professor Jeff Wang in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering. He previously attended the Pennsylvania Governor’s School of Health Care at University of Pittsburgh.
Jessica Wang.
  • Jessica Wang of College Station, Texas, is a junior at University of Michigan majoring in Biomedical Engineering. Wang will be working in the lab of associate professor Guo-li Ming in the Department of Neuroscience in the School of Medicine. She previously conducted undergraduate research at the University of Michigan and also the University of Texas at Arlington.

The Institute for NanoBioTechnology at Johns Hopkins promotes programs in research, education, outreach, and technology transfer designed to foster the next wave of nanobiotechnology innovation. More than 155 faculty members are affiliated with INBT and also are members of Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences , Whiting School of Engineering , School of Medicine , Bloomberg School of Public Health , and Applied Physics Laboratory. For more information about INBT’s programs for graduate research or independent study, go to http://inbt.jhu.edu .

NanoBioMed Student Profile: Tovah Honor Aronin

Tovah Honor
Tovah Honor Aronin. Graduate student in the NanoBioMed program. Credit: Mary Spiro / JHU

Calcium signals are involved in cell death, heart development, immune response, brain function, and many other cellular processes. A doctoral candidate in biology affiliated with the Institute of NanoBioTechnology at Johns Hopkins University, Tovah Honor Aronin studies calcium signaling in yeast using fluorescent probes to track calcium concentration or the activity of calcium-dependent proteins.

Aronin is a graduate student in the NanoBioMed program funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and is now in her second year. She recently joined the lab of Kyle Cunningham, professor of biology in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. In addition, Andre Levchenko, associate professor of biomedical engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering, serves as her co-adviser. [Read more...]

Cell Division Studies May Hold Keys to Cancer Treatments

Left: Contractile proteins (bright green) accumulate where micropipette deforms cell shape. Right: Contractile proteins redistribute along cell's midsection to drive division; mitotic spindle—microtubules apparent in early stages of cytokinesis—shown in red. Credit: Robinson Lab / JHU
Left: Contractile proteins (bright green) accumulate where micropipette deforms cell shape.
Right: Contractile proteins redistribute along cell’s midsection to drive division;
mitotic spindle-microtubules apparent in early stages of cytokinesis—shown in red.
Credit: Robinson Lab / JHU

INBT Faculty Profile: Doug Robinson

Through a comprehensive investigation of the fundamental process of cell division, Doug Robinson— assistant professor in the Department of Cell Biology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Institute for NanoBioTechnology affiliated faculty member—hopes to spur interest in some novel approaches to cancer treatment and prevention. [Read more...]

Leong Lauded for Science and Art at Materials Meeting

Dirty Dice -six patterned, self-assembled micro-cubes made of nickel and gold. Full image here. Credit: Timothy Leong / JHU
Dirty Dice -six patterned, self-assembled micro-cubes made of nickel and gold.
See the full image here. Credit: Timothy Leong / JHU

A doctoral student in chemical and biomolecular engineering working with a Johns Hopkins University faculty member affiliated with the Institute for NanoBioTechnology, won first prize awards for both his research and his scientifically inspired art during the 2007 Materials Research Society (MRS) meeting, held in Boston, Mass., in November 2007.

Timothy Leong, who works in the lab of David Gracias, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering was awarded a Graduate Student Gold Award and $400 for his presentation on applications of self-assembling nano-liter containers. MRS gives six such awards (three silver and three gold) during their fall meeting to honor graduate students who authored or co-authored symposium papers that exemplified significant and timely research. Leong was recognized for his oral presentation describing his personal contribution to the ongoing research in the Gracias Lab and also for expounding on the overall significance of the work.

“The nano-liter containers can be manipulated externally with a magnet and by using an inductive heating element,“ says Leong. “What is special is that now we have a platform that gives us wireless spatial and time control over microchemistry.“

Tim Leong
MRS “Science as Art” competition winner Timothy Leong. Credit: Mary Spiro / JHU

The MRS also sponsors a “Science as Art“ competition where entrants can show off their artistically interesting scientific images. Out of fifty entries, Leong received one of three first place awards and $400 for his electron micrograph image titled “Dirty Dice“ -six patterned, self-assembled micro-cubes made of nickel and gold (click for image).

“The hardest thing to do when you make a tiny 3-D object is to put a pattern on all the faces of it,“ Leong says. “One of the strengths of our container folding process is that we can put any arbitrary pattern on one or all six faces really easily.“ Leong also says he constructed the dice version of the cubes “to have a little fun in the lab.“

Leong says he is excited to be working in an area of chemical engineering research that is so multidisciplinary and that it can make people say, “Wow,“ both scientifically as well as artistically.

The Gracias lab research interests include micro- and nano-technology, self-assembly, non-linear optics, nanoelectronics, interfacial science, biomedical devices and nano-medicine. For more information, go to http://www.jhu.edu/chbe/gracias/

To see all current and previous year’s winners of the MRS “Science as Art“ contest, go to http://www.mrs.org/s_mrs/doc.asp?CID=1803&DID=171434#2007Fall