Johns Hopkins Vascular Medicine Research Initiative Announced

Date: Monday, Sept. 24, 8 a.m.
Location: The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center Owens Auditorium

The Institute for NanoBioTechnology supports efforts to encourage interdisciplinary research. The Johns Hopkins Vascular Medicine Research Initiative aims to bring a programmatic approach to vascular research at Johns Hopkins, facilitating interaction and growth within disciplines across all campuses, schools and departments, including research in nanobiotechnology.

The Johns Hopkins Vascular Medicine Research Initiative kicks off with an all-day conference, Monday, Sept. 24, at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center Owens Auditorium. Speakers begin at 8 a.m., and a buffet lunch will be provided.

The conference will include presentations and poster sessions on state-of-the-art vascular medicine research taking place at Johns Hopkins. New initiatives to facilitate interactions between investigators will be introduced and resources to support vascular research will be highlighted.

Download the full agenda here.

Submit Your Abstract
If you would like to have an abstract of your research published in the conference program, please submit all abstracts to Nick Flavahan at by Monday, Aug. 27, at 5 p.m. Read the guidelines for abstract submission. Authors will be notified by Sept. 1 if their abstract is to be included in the program.

Request for Information
If you would like to receive further information about the Johns Hopkins Vascular Medicine Research Initiative and/or have your information posted on its forthcoming interactive Web site, please complete the information form. Submit to Nick Flavahan at before or after the conference.

For more information about the initiative or the conference, please contact Nick Flavahan at

HHMI and NIBIB Officers Pay Positive Visit to Hopkins NBMed Program

In December 2005, Johns Hopkins University received a $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to establish a graduate training program in nanotechnology for biology and medicine (NBMed). The goal of the NBMed program is to train graduate students with various undergraduate backgrounds at the multidisciplinary interface of nanotechnology, biology, and medicine and involves faculty from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the Whiting School of Engineering, and the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. [Read more…]

First Nano-Bio Symposium at Hopkins a Great Success

Johns Hopkins University held its first Nano-Bio Symposium on Friday, April 27, 2007. The event, organized by the Institute for NanoBioTechnology, took place at the Homewood Campus. “We had a great program and the symposium went extremely well“, says Peter Searson, Director of INBT. “Based on comments from those in attendance, I think it was a great success“.

Speaker Session

Piotr Grodzinski, Gang Boa, Michael Sheetz, David Mooney, Wendy Sanhai, Dennis Discher, and Gunter Oberdorster
Speakers: Piotr Grodzinski, Gang Boa, Michael Sheetz, David Mooney, Wendy Sanhai, Dennis Discher, and Gunter Oberdorster. Credit: Jay Van Rensselaer / JHU.

The speaker session, which took place in Remsen Hall, was attended by an estimated hundred and fifty students and faculty from Hopkins and local universities, as well as representatives from government, industry, and venture capital firms interested in nanobiotechnology.

The featured talks covered a wide range of topics in nanobiotechnology, from the use of nanotools to gain new insight in cell adhesion, to the development of new worm-like nanoparticles as drug delivery carriers, to the development of fluorescence-based molecular moieties to probe gelation processes in biomaterials for tissue engineering applications. Wendy Sanhai of FDA talked about the challenges that her organization is facing with the rapid growth of nano-based biotechnologies and Piotr Grodzinski of the National Cancer Institute discussed funding opportunities in nanobiotechnology at NCI.

A diverse group of speakers from academic and government institutions was brought together for the symposium. The group included Michael P. Sheetz, professor of biological sciences at Columbia University; David J. Mooney, professor of bioengineering at Harvard University; Gunter Oberdorster, professor of environmental medicine at the University of Rochester; Dennis Discher, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Pennsylvania; Gang Bao, professor of biomedical engineering at Georgia Tech; Wendy Sanhai, Senior Scientific Advisor at the Food and Drug Administration; and Piotr Grodzinski, Director of the Nanotechnology Alliance for Cancer at the National Cancer Institute.

Poster Session

INBT poster sessions
Poster session during the first Hopkins Nano-Bio Symposium. Credit INBT / JHU

During the afternoon a poster session was held in the Mattin Center where over one hundred poster presentations were on display offering a broad overview of current nano-bio research efforts at the School of Medicine, the School of Engineering, the School of Public Health, and the School of Arts and Sciences at Hopkins. “I am very pleased that we had so many posters, it shows how eager researchers are to share their work and find out what others in the Hopkins community are doing“, says Denis Wirtz, Associate Director of INBT. The organizers also noted the overall high quality of the posters.

Four best posters were each awarded a $50 Barnes and Noble gift card. Michael Edidin, Professor of Biology in the Krieger School for Arts and Sciences and chairman of the judges, explained that the posters chosen had a scientific idea to test and used nanoscience or some other aspect of nanotechnology to address the problem. “We were also swayed by clarity of the poster and by the presentations made“, he said.

Presenters of 'best poster': Billy Smith, Manu Kanwar, Bridget Wildt and Yu Li
Presenters of ‘best poster': Billy Smith, Manu Kanwar, Bridget Wildt and Yu Li. Credit INBT / JHU

The winning posters are:

– Profiling the Mammalian Cell Surface Glycome. Authors; Sheng-ce Tao, Yu Li, Jiang Qian, Ronald L. Schnaar, Irwin J. Goldstein, Heng Zhu, Jonathan P. Schneck.

– Focal Adhesion Disassembly Using Electrochemically Programmed Sub-Cellular Release. Authors; Bridget Wildt, Peter Searson, Denis Wirtz.

– Environmental Fate and Impact of Nanomaterials: Effect of Surface Oxidation on the Colloidal Stability and Sorption Properties of Carbon Nanotubes. Authors; D. H. Fairbrother, W.P. Ball, B. Smith, M. Shin, H.-H. Cho, F. K. Bangash, J. D. Wnuk.

-Circular permutation of TEM1 b-lactamase improves catalytic activity. Authors; M. Kanwar, G.Guntas, M.Ostermeier.


Next year INBT plans to hold the symposium at the campus of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

For more photos visit the speaker session gallery and the
poster session gallery.

Johns Hopkins Nano-Bio Symposium Debuts Friday

The Institute for NanoBioTechnology, an ambitious research effort drawing on diverse researchers from four Johns Hopkins divisions, will host its first Nano-Bio Spring Symposium on Friday, April 27.

The event, which is open to the entire university community, will feature presentations by eight prominent speakers from outside institutions, plus a large poster session calling attention to current nanobiotechnology research taking place at Hopkins.

Read more on the website of the JHU Gazette

Polymer Coated Curcumin Promises Effective Against Cancer

Nanocurcumin SolutionSolutions of curcumin (left) and nanocurcumin (right) in equal amounts. Credit: Johns Hopkins University.

Curcumin, an element found in the cooking spice turmeric has long been known to have positive effects against certain types of cancer. Effective treatments based on curcumin however have been limited due to its poor dissolving capabilities in water based substances, leading to low absorption rates when ingested. Researchers affiliated with the Institute for NanoBioTechnology at Johns Hopkins University report to have overcome this problem by encapsulating free curcumin with a polymeric nanoparticle, creating nanocurcumin.
[Read more…]

Winning Proposals in Therapeutics

Last December the Institute for NanoBioTechnology placed a call for proposals in the area of therapeutics. This was the third funding opportunity supported by INBT in one of it’s core research areas. Five winning proposals by Johns Hopkins faculty have been selected to receive $15,000 – $25,000 each.

[Read more…]

Johns Hopkins Nano-Bio Spring Symposium 2007

Spring SymposiumJHU NanoBio Spring Symposium, April 27, 2007

The first annual symposium for nanobiotechnology at Johns Hopkins Universtity will be held on Friday, April 27, 2007. The event takes place on JHU’s Homewood campus and will bring together faculty, students, industrial scientists and engineers, along with representatives from the federal government with an interest in the development and application of nanotechnology for biology and medicine.
[Read more…]

Nanomolecular Imaging at Johns Hopkins University

Cancer detection in intact animal. 23 g mouse, 300 mCi 18F-labeled PSMA, tumor on left side. Credit: SAIRP / JHU

Recent advances in materials science and in vivo molecular imaging have been the catalyst for an explosion in molecular imaging research. The use of nanodevices and nanoparticles has enabled the study of a wide variety of biological phenomena ranging from protein-protein interaction mapping to cancer detection in intact animals and man.

Key to those advances has been the emergence of functionalized nanoparticles which can be targeted specifically to molecules of biological importance such as receptors, enzymes and transporters, and have the ability to interact at the cellular level. Over the last five years there has also been a proliferation of high-resolution devices for in vivo imaging in animal models of human disease and high-throughput, such as microarray- and combinatorial-, techniques which are used to generate new targets and probes for diagnostics and therapeutics.

[Read more…]

Profile: Kate Stebe, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Stebe's research interests include the engineering of fluid interfaces, nanomaterials, and microfluidics.Stebe’s research interests include the engineering of fluid interfaces, nanomaterials, and microfluidics.

Kate Stebe is chair of the department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at Johns Hopkins University and program director for one of INBT’s graduate degree programs. The following interview was previously published in Johns Hopkins Engineering, the magazine of the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering, winter 2007 (PDF).

Last July, professor Kate Stebe became chair of the Whiting School’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, a rapidly growing department with a faculty of 13. A member of the engineering school’s faculty since 1991, Stebe has served on the university’s Academic Council and was previously director of her department’s graduate program. Her research interests include the engineering of fluid interfaces, nanomaterials, and microfluidics. She holds a joint appointment with the Department of Biomedical Engineering and secondary appointments in Materials Science and Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. At the start of the fall semester, the magazine’s Abby Lattes sat down with Stebe, to talk about her vision for the future of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

ChemBE is a fast-growing department. Can you discuss that growth and how you’re managing it?

This year alone we have 120 freshmen and have increased our graduate student yield by 100 percent— from 8 to 16 new graduate students. At the graduate level, we introduced a revised curriculum this past fall. We’ve returned to the fundamental courses in each discipline and amended them to include more timely examples. We’ve added required non-classical courses in topics such as interfaces and materials and others that emphasize opportunities and techniques in biomolecular engineering. At the undergraduate level, we’ve also seen explosive growth. This growth is due in part to students’ understanding of the scope of the problems we attack and their relevance to bio-related industries, such as protein-based pharmaceuticals and lab-on-a-chip devices. Meeting the challenges this growth presents while honoring our commitment to quality education will require care, focus, creativity, and plain old hard work.

In 2002 the department changed its name from Chemical Engineering to Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. What prompted that change?

This department is built on a clear understanding of our strengths. We were a chemical engineering department with half of our faculty working as applied scientists on biological themes. Our redefinition was a recognition of this strength and where we knew we could make the greatest impact. We have two centers of excellence in the
Department — biomolecular engineering and our deep expertise in interfaces. We’re configured very tightly around these areas and poised to do fundamental work at their intersection.

How do you view advances in the field and your role as department chair?

Chemical engineering expertise in interfaces, made possible through our ability to control surfaces at the molecular level, now has important applications in micro- or nano-fluidics devices, micro mechanical electrical systems, and controlling the interactions of nanomaterials. Since the early 1990s, there’s been a lot of elegant work done by chemical engineers in bio-related problems—where complex ideas about chemical systems far from equilibrium are applied to our understanding of synthesis in cells and cell-cell interactions, for example. There are important applications to this work that range from using cells to produce chemical products to understanding plaque formation in heart disease or metastatic events in cancer. As a department, we all took part in the process of redefining who we are and have a highly unified vision about the direction in which we’re going. Now I’m in the driver’s seat to implement the vision.

What is the most fundamental element to the program’s success?

Our faculty. They are individual experts in their fields and highly integrated throughout the department and across other departments, divisions, and research centers and institutes. They’re young and ready to move in a common direction to pull us forward. This balance of individual expertise and shared vision makes the department a special place.

What message do you give to female students looking at careers in academia?

The life balance issues will always be there for women and I talk about this with my students. For example, when I go home, I’m “Mom,“ and turn my attention to my 5-year-old daughter. A tremendous advantage to working in academia is that we’re measured according to whether or not we’re productive and creative, not the hours we’ve logged. It’s an incredibly demanding profession, but it is also flexible. I don’t know if the opportunities created by that flexibility are always made clear to young people of either gender considering academic careers. It is possible to make it all work and it can be very rewarding.

What’s on the horizon?

We’re defining what the field should be. We’re attacking problems on the molecular and nano scale. We are poised to make a strong contribution to the fundamental issues in our field. It’s an exciting time in our department.

More info:

Nanomedicine Research Day at the University of Maryland

The Center for Nanomedicine and Cellular Delivery at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy will organize their first Nanomedicine Research Day on March 23, 2007. The purpose of this symposium is to provide an overview of the research activities of the center and the local/regional nanomedicine community in an attempt to foster interactions in this new area of research.

Download the complete program (PDF format).

Visit the website of the Center for Nanomedicine at UMD.