There will be a new trainee orientation at 10 am on January 23 in NEB 170. This orientation is to give an overview of the requirements of the INBT NanoBio Training program.
Growing new blood vessels in the lab is a tough challenge, but a Johns Hopkins engineering team has solved a major stumbling block: how to prod stem cells to become two different types of tissue that are needed to build tiny networks of veins and arteries.
The team’s solution is detailed in an article appearing in the January 2013 print edition of the journal Cardiovascular Research. The article also was published recently in the journal’s online edition. The work is important because networks of new blood vessels, assembled in the lab for transplanting into patients, could be a boon to people whose circulatory systems have been damaged by heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses.
“That’s our long-term goal—to give doctors a new tool to treat patients who have problems in the pipelines that carry blood through their bodies,” said Sharon Gerecht, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering who led the research team. “Finding out how to steer these stem cells into becoming critical building blocks to make these blood vessel networks is an important step.”
In the new research paper, the Gerecht team focused on vascular smooth muscle cells, which are found within the walls of blood vessels. Two types have been identified: synthetic smooth muscle cells, which migrate through the surrounding tissue, continue to divide and help support the newly formed blood vessels; and contractile smooth muscles cells, which remain in place, stabilize the growth of new blood vessels and help them maintain proper blood pressure.
To produce these smooth muscle cells, Gerecht’s lab has been experimenting with both National Institutes of Health-approved human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells. The induced pluripotent stem cells are adult cells that have been genetically reprogrammed to act like embryonic stem cells. Stem cells are used in this research because they possess the potential to transform into specific types of cells needed by particular organs within the body.
In an earlier study supervised by Gerecht, her team was able to coax stem cells to become a type of tissue that resembled smooth muscle cells but didn’t quite behave properly. In the new experiments, the researchers tried adding various concentrations of growth factor and serum to the previous cells. Growth factor is the “food’ that the cells consume; serum is a liquid component that contains blood cells.
“When we added more of the growth factor and serum, the stem cells turned into synthetic smooth muscle cells,” Gerecht said. “When we provided a much smaller amount of these materials, they became contractile smooth muscles cells.”
This ability to control the type of smooth muscle cells formed in the lab could be critical in developing new blood vessel networks, she said. “When we’re building a pipeline to carry blood, you need the contractile cells to provide structure and stability,” she added. “But in working with very small blood vessels, the migrating synthetic cells can be more useful.”
In cancer, small blood vessels are formed to nourish the growing tumor. The current work could also help researchers understand how blood vessels are stabilized in tumors, which could be useful in the treatment of cancer.
“We still have a lot more research to do before we can build complete new blood vessel networks in the lab,” Gerecht said, “but our progress in controlling the fate of these stem cells appears to be a big step in the right direction.”
In addition to her faculty appointment with Johns Hopkins’ Whiting School of Engineering, Gerecht is affiliated with the university’s Institute for NanoBioTechnology (INBT) and the Johns Hopkins Engineering in Oncology Center.
The lead author of the new Cardiovascular Research paper is Maureen Wanjare, a doctoral student in Gerecht’s lab who is supported both by the INBT, through a National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship, and by the NIH. Coauthors of the study are Gerecht and Frederick Kuo, who participated in the research as an undergraduate majoring in chemical and biomolecular engineering. The human induced pluripotent stem cells used in the study were provided by Linzhao Cheng, a hematology professor in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
This research was supported by an American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant and NIH grant R01HL107938.
Original press release can be found here.
During finals, INBT will have refreshments from noon to 2pm in NEB 100. Stop by, get a snack, and get on the INBT undergraduate mailing list…receive a free T-shirt too!
Undergraduate students can now apply for the 2013 REU in Nanotechnology for Biology and Engineering. Visit - http://inbt.jhu.edu/education/undergraduate/reu/
Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology, Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence and Physical Science-Oncology Center are hosting a mini-symposium highlighting current research in these entities on Wednesday, October 24 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Clipper Room of Shriver Hall on the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins University.
The Johns Hopkins University is hosting the 86th American Chemical Society’s Colloid and Surface Science Symposium in Baltimore, MD on June 10-13, 2012. The meeting includes 13 parallel sessions, a poster session, 28 invited speakers, and 28 session organizers. A new addition to this meeting is the Langmuir Student Awards presentation session with application details given on the conference website.
Abstract submission is now open and the deadline is February 7, 2012. Up-to-date information on the meeting can be found at the website: www.colloids2012.org.
For further details about this meeting please contact the symposium co-organizers Mike Bevan (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Joelle Frechette (email@example.com). Bevan and Frechette are affiliated faculty members of Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology and members of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
Download the symposium flyer here.
Belgium is well known for developing many fine things: chocolate…beer…waffles.
Nanobiotechnology also tops the country’s list of research and development activities. Undergraduate and graduate students at Johns Hopkins University now have the chance to apply for a short-term nanobio research program in Belgium hosted by the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology (INBT).
Applications are now being accepted for INBT’s summer 2012 International Research Experience for Students (IRES) program. The application deadline is March 25, 2012. INBT funds several research internships at IMEC, The Inter-University MircroElectronics Centre, in Leuven, Belgium through the IRES program, funded by the National Science Foundation. Students work on collaborative research projects organized between Hopkins faculty and IMEC researchers at IMEC’s world-class microfabrication facility and learn to design, fabricate and test a wide range of biomedical devices. The internships are for 10 to 12 weeks and include travel expenses, accommodations and a stipend.
The IRES program is open to Johns Hopkins undergraduate and graduate students who are science or engineering majors and have at least one year of research experience. Graduate students should have additional relevant research experience. Students from under-represented racial/minority groups and women in science and engineering are especially encouraged to apply.
To apply for this unique opportunity, send your resume along with a summary of your research experience and the name and contact information of at least one faculty research advisor to Ashanti Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org. Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply. A very limited number of IRES positions are available, so don’t wait until the deadline to apply.
If you have additional questions, please contact Ashanti Edwards at email@example.com or (410) 516-6572 for more information on the application process.
Summer at IMEC Video Blog
Story by Mary Spiro
NBT affiliated researcher Dr. Aleksander Popel seeks an independent and motivated researcher for a Postdoctoral Fellowship in his Systems Biology laboratory in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
The successful candidate will join a research team that combines molecular and imaging tools to discover and elucidate mechanisms of tumor angiogenesis and drug action.
Specific skills will include cell-surface receptor biology and imaging, flow cytometry (FACS) (see Imoukhuede PI, Popel AS. Quantification and cell-to-cell variation of vascular endothelial growth factor receptors. Exp Cell Res. 317:955-65, 2011). Experiences with Quantum Dots imaging and tissue dissociation are a plus. Knowledge of murine models of cancer is desirable.
Applicant must have a recent doctoral degree with a demonstrated record of innovative scientific accomplishments as evidenced by first-author papers published or accepted in a premiere journal.
Qualified candidates must also demonstrate outstanding communication skills, have a strong passion and commitment to science, and work well within a group.
This position is for US citizens, permanent residents or holders of an F1/OPT visa with at least six months of work authorization left.
Johns Hopkins University is an Equal Opportunity Employer with a commitment to diversity. All individuals are encouraged to apply.
How to apply: Email curriculum vitae and names of three references to: Dr. A.S. Popel, Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205. Telephone 410-955-6419, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit Dr. Popel’s website here.
Learn about state-of-the-art imaging methods at the In Vivo Preclinical Imaging: an Introductory Workshop, March 20-21 at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine Turner Auditorium. Co-hosted by Johns Hopkins University, the University of Virginia and the Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM), this workshop will bring together gifted lecturers to cover the fundamentals of in vivo small animal imaging.
The workshop will cover an incredible breadth of material of interest and value to physicians, scientists (including postdoctoral fellows and graduate students) and scientific laboratory professionals interested in using molecular imaging for in vivo biomedical applications. Individuals with experience in small animal imaging as well as beginners are welcome. Participants learn the fundamentals of various small animal imaging modalities. A limited number of participants will also have the opportunity to register to attend a half-day, hands on workshop held on the afternoon of the second day, March 21. Registration for this unique opportunity is on first-come first-served, so don’t wait to register.
Speakers will address imaging modalities including MRI and MRS, PET, SPECT, optical imaging (bioluminescence & fluorescence imaging/tomography), ultrasound, x-ray CT, photoacoustic imaging and multimodality imaging. Speakers will also examine instrumentation, acquisition and reconstruction, MR/SPECT/PET imaging probes, targets and applications, small animal handling, techniques for imaging infectious disease models and data analysis.
More information about the workshop, including a full agenda of topics, registration and details about transportation and lodging can be found at the workshop website. www.snm.org/pci2012.
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