Through a National Science Foundation grant, Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology has been able to offer the chance for several students to conduct research abroad. INBT’s International Research Experience for Students (IRES) has been sending undergraduates and some grad students to Leuven, Belgium to conduct 10 weeks of summer research at IMEC since 2009. IMEC is known as for its state-of-the-art nano- and micro fabrication facilities and for being a hub of international collaborative multi-disciplinary work. IMEC researchers from Johns Hopkins are supported with travel expenses, housing and a stipend. Come find out more at these two info sessions on October 22. Session 1 is from 1-2 p.m. in Shaffer 100 and Session 2 is from 5-6 p.m. in the Mason Hall Alumni boardroom. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each summer, Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology (INBT) has funding to support research internships abroad. The International Research Experience for Students (IRES) program, funded by the National Science Foundation, provides support for students to work with researchers at The Inter-University MircroElectronics Centre (IMEC) in Leuven, Belgium. Students work at IMEC’s world-class microfabrication facility and learn to design, fabricate and test a wide range of biomedical devices.
Over the next several weeks, each student will blog about their experiences both as researchers in an international laboratory, but also as a visitor to Europe. Expect to see some lab photos and some tourist trip photos.
For 2015, four students have arrived in Belgium. They include Rachel Bang, Sophomore in Mechanical Engineering; Rebecca Black, Junior in Molecular and Cell Biology; Gwendolyn Hoffmann, Senior in Materials Science and Engineering; and Victoria Laney, Senior on Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. For more information about the IRES program through INBT, visit http://inbt.jhu.edu/
All press inquiries about this program or about INBT in general should be directed to Mary Spiro, INBT’s science writer and media relations director at mspiroATjhu.edu. For information about INBT’s collaboration with IMEC, contact INBT’s director of corporate partnerships, Tom Fekete at tfekete1ATjhu.edu
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.
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, email@example.com or 410-516-4802.
If you have been curious to discover what laboratory work is like in another country, now is your chance to apply for one of INBT’s coveted positions as an international undergraduate researcher. Applications are now being accepted for our National Science Foundation funded International Research Experience for Undergraduates in Leuven, Belgium with IMEC. The deadline for applications is February 14, 2014. The opportunities are for Johns Hopkins University students.
IMEC boasts world-class micro- and nano-fabrication facilities and a campus with more than 1,000 researchers from around the globe who are collaborating on leading-edge projects. Belgium boasts waffles, beer and chocolate. Really, you can’t go wrong here.
INBT international research internships focus on a project of mutual interest to Johns Hopkins faculty and to IMEC investigators. INBT has a long-standing research collaboration agreement with IMEC, one of the world’s leading research organizations focusing on silicon nanotechnology headquartered in Leuven, Belgium. Since 2009, students, both undergraduates and postgraduates, from INBT labs have had the opportunity to participate in internships at IMEC’s state-of-the-art research facility. These internships have the dual purpose of providing international research experience for students as well as furthering the research interests of both Hopkins and IMEC.
To read about some of the previous experiences of our IRES participates, visit INBT’s Summer at IMEC blog here.
To apply, send the following items to Tom Fekete, INBT’s director of corporate partnerships, before Feb. 1: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Research Statement
- Letter of Recommendation
If you are not sure what you would like to work on, Tom has a list of possible research areas that you can inquire about as well. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Tom. If he is unavailable, please contact Ashanti Edwards, INBT’s Academic Program Administrator at email@example.com.
Johns Hopkins Medicine recently announced exciting news of a joint collaborative agreement with IMEC, a leading nano-electronics research center based in Belgium. The objective of the partnership is to advance applications of silicon nanotechnology in health care, beginning with development of a point-of-care device to enable a broad range of clinical tests to be performed outside the laboratory. This unique venture will combine Johns Hopkins clinical and research expertise with IMEC’s technical and engineering capabilities.
The two organizations plan to forge strategic ties with additional collaborators across the value chain in the health care and technology sectors. Development of a next generation ”lab-on-a-chip”, making diagnostic testing faster and easier for applications such as disease monitoring and management, disease surveillance, rural health care and clinical trials, will form the initial focus of the partnership. Denis Wirtz, Associate Director of INBT, will serve on the Advisory Board for the collaboration.
The roots of the new Hopkins-IMEC partnership were initiated over five years ago when Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology (INBT) established a collaborative relationship with IMEC. Since its inception in 2009, the INBT-IMEC partnership has blossomed into a number of collaborative projects, which enabled both graduate and undergraduate students from Hopkins to broaden their research experience with internships at IMEC’s state-of-the-art laboratories in Leuven, Belgium (with some students from IMEC also interning at Hopkins).
These projects were built around Hopkins/INBT research interests in nanobiotechnology such as controlled drug delivery, microfluidics, stem cell platforms and neural networks to mention a few. IMEC’s massive expertise in nanofabrication, darkfield and lens-free microscopy, neuro-electronics and lithography provides a huge opportunity for JHU researchers to evaluate translational pathways for basic discoveries.
Initial discussions about a broader relationship between the two institutions originated with an INBT-IMEC team exploring possible additional opportunities building on our existing partnership. A visit to Hopkins by senior IMEC management in August 2012 was organized by INBT, and laid the groundwork for subsequent next steps which included a University-wide team. We are delighted to have identified an opportunity for Hopkins to create a collaborative model to develop potentially revolutionary new techniques combining the unique advantages of silicon technology to a new generation of diagnostics and cures.
Separate from this recent collaboration, INBT has hosted students to conduct research at IMEC since 2009. Funding to support students abroad has come from INBT and the National Science Foundation International Research Experience for Students (IRES) program.
Read the official announcement from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine here.
Check out the INBT/IMEC blog.
Read about the INBT/IMEC IRES program here.
By Tom Fekete, INBT director of corporate partnerships.
Before enrolling in the PhD program in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Johns Hopkins, I didn’t know that academic internships were available for graduate students. When I was an undergraduate, I spent one summer working at a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at Iowa State University. REU programs are paid research internships that are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and hosted by universities throughout the country, and they are well-advertised by academic advisors. They provide great opportunities for undergraduate students to see what full-time research in an academic setting is like before committing to graduate school. My undergraduate research experiences were instrumental as I made the decision to apply to PhD programs.
However, I didn’t realize that similar opportunities would be available once I’d entered grad school. I was very excited to learn that INBT offers an International Research Experience for Students (IRES) program that is open to both graduate and undergraduate students. This program offers an incredible opportunity to work internationally. By partnering with the Inter-University MicroElectronics Centre (IMEC) in Leuven, Belgium, INBT gives students the chance to work in IMECs microfabrication facilities to develop biomedical devices. They have incredible fabrication facilities at IMEC, and students traveling there learn a lot about how microelectronics manufacturing techniques can be translated to answer biological questions.
In July and August of 2013, I visited IMEC to work on using new imaging techniques to study cell migration. We are trying to make cell motility studies easy, affordable, and high-throughput. Time-lapse motility experiments are typically limited to labs focused on cell motility because they require expensive microscopes and specialized equipment. Therefore, not every lab that cultures cells can perform these experiments, even though tests of cell motility can tell researchers a lot about other cellular behavior.
At IMEC, I worked on using an affordable imager that could be placed directly in cell culture incubators to study cells in wound healing, random motility, microcontact printing migration, and microchannel migration assays. We had some promising early results, and our collaboration is continuing. The internship provided me exposure to techniques I wouldn’t have otherwise known about, and I learned a lot about building collaborations with other researchers.
Colin Paul is a fourth-year PhD student in the laboratory of Konstantinos Konstantopoulos in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Institute for NanoBioTechnology.
What’s better than working on a cool research project in your lab? Why it’s working on a cool research project in a fascinating European country, of course!
Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology offers undergraduate and graduate research internships at IMEC’s world-class nanofabrication laboratory in Belgium. Internships last approximately 10 weeks and include housing and a stipend. Find out how to apply and what kinds of projects are being sought at one of our upcoming informational sessions. Two sessions will be held October 8, one at 1 p.m. with light refreshments and a second at 5 p.m. with pizza, both in Croft Hall, Room 170.
RSVP is required to Tom Fekete at firstname.lastname@example.org
During the summer, a select group of researchers from Johns Hopkins travel to Leuven, Belgium to work at the micro- and nano- electronics fabrication laboratories of IMEC. Usually three to five students are able to go over for up to three months to work on a research project that is collaboratively arranged by both IMEC researchers and Johns Hopkins University faculty.
The students usually are advancing some aspect of a project they have started here at JHU. In a few instances, researchers from IMEC come to JHU to work. Faculty at both locations work together to develop projects that are mutually beneficial to all parties.
Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology provides financial support for our research through the National Science Foundation’s International Research Experience for Students (IRES) program. The arrangement with IMEC has been in place since 2009.
IMEC, which used to be referred to as the Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre, is an unusual research entity that grew out of an agreement between the Flemish government and the academic community at Catholic University of Leuven They now have more than 2,000 researchers from all around the globe working at their high tech facility.
To keep in touch with our researchers while they are away and to find out about their outside of laboratory adventures, INBT established the IMEC blog. Click here to check out what our students have done, this summer and over the last several years.
Each summer, Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology (INBT) has funding to support several summer research internships abroad. The International Research Experience for Students (IRES) program, funded by the National Science Foundation, provides support for students to work with researchers at The Inter-University MircroElectronics Centre (IMEC) in Leuven, Belgium. Students work at IMEC’s world-class microfabrication facility and learn to design, fabricate and test a wide range of biomedical devices.
Internships can last two to three months, although they can be much shorter depending on the project. They include travel expenses, accommodation and a stipend. The IRES program is open to Johns Hopkins undergraduate and graduate students.
Students are selected through discussions with and recommendation from their advisers. Interns selected must also have a research project that is mutually of interest to investigators at both Johns Hopkins and IMEC. Interested students should contact INBT’s Academic Program Administrator Ashanti Edwards (email@example.com) to being the process of applying for upcoming internships.
During the summer of 2012 five students from Johns Hopkins conducted research at IMEC. They included the following:
Gregg Duncan is a doctoral student in the lab of Michael Bevan, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. Duncan used dark field microscopy to quantify nanoparticle-cell interactions.
Colin Paul is a doctoral student in the lab of Konstantinos Konstantopoulos, professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Paul brought cell migration devices fabricated in the Konstantopoulos lab to IMEC to perform proof-of-concept experiments with Nicolas Barbera (see below).
Nicolas Barbera is a rising senior working in the Konstantopoulos lab. Barbera gained skills in fluorescence microscopy, dark field microscopy and hyperspectral imaging.
Sarah Friedrich is a doctoral student from the laboratory of Andre Levchenko, professor of biomedical engineering. Friedrich worked on a platform that could expose cells to both chemical and topographical stimulation at the same time.
Peter Nelson is a rising sophomore working in the lab of Jordan Green, assistant professor of biomedical engineering. Nelson worked developing on a polymer-nanoparticle with the ability to apply hyperthermia (heat) and chemotherapy treatments.
Story by Mary Spiro
In life, we sort soiled laundry from clean; ripe fruit from rotten. Two Johns Hopkins engineers say they have found an easy way to use gravity or simple forces to similarly sort microscopic particles and bits of biological matter—including circulating tumor cells.
In the May 25 online issue of Physical Review Letters, German Drazer, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and his doctoral student, Jorge A. Bernate, reported that they have developed a lab-on-chip platform, also known as a microfluidic device, that can sort particles, cells or other tiny matter by physical means such as gravity. By moving a liquid over a series of micron-scale high diagonal ramps—similar to speed bumps on a road—the device causes microscopic material to separate into discrete categories, based on weight, size or other factors, the team reported.
The process described in the journal article could be used to produce a medical diagnostic tool, the Whiting School of Engineering researchers say. “The ultimate goal is to develop a simple device that can be used in routine checkups by health care providers,” said doctoral student Bernate, who is lead author on the paper. “It could be used to detect the handful of circulating tumor cells that have managed to survive among billions of normal blood cells. This could save millions of lives.”
Ideally, these cancer cells in the bloodstream could be detected and targeted for treatment before they’ve had a chance to metastasize, or spread cancer elsewhere. Detection at early stages of cancer is critical for successful treatment.
How does this sorting process occur? Bernate explained that inside the microfluidic device, particles and cells that have been suspended in liquid flow along a “highway” that has speed-bump-like obstacles positioned diagonally, instead of perpendicular to, the path. The speed bumps differ in height, depending on the application.
“As different particles are driven over these diagonal speed bumps, heavier ones have a harder time getting over than the lighter ones,” the doctoral student said. When the particles cannot get over the ramp, they begin to change course and travel diagonally along the length of the obstacle. As the process continues, particles end up fanning out in different directions.
“After the particles cross this section of the ‘highway,’” Bernate said, “they end up in different ‘lanes’ and can take different ‘exits,’ which allows for their continuous separation.”
Gravity is not the only way to slow down and sort particles as they attempt to traverse the speed bumps. “Particles with an electrical charge or that are magnetic may also find it hard to go up over the obstacles in the presence of an electric or magnetic field,” Bernate said. For example, cancer cells could be “weighted down” with magnetic beads and then sorted in a device with a magnetic field.
The ability to sort and separate things at the micro- and nanoscale is important in many industries, ranging from solar power to bio-security. But Bernate said that a medical application is likely to be the most promising immediate use for the device.
He is slated to complete his doctoral studies this summer, but until then, Bernate will continue to collaborate with researchers in the lab of Konstantinos Konstantopoulos, professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and with colleagues at InterUniversity Microelectronics Center, IMEC, in Belgium. In 2011, Bernate spent 10 weeks at IMEC in a program hosted by Johns Hopkins’ Institute for NanoBioTechnology and funded by the National Science Foundation.
His doctoral adviser, Drazer, said, the research described in the new journal article eventually led Jorge down the path at IMEC to develop a device that can easily sort whole blood into its components. A provisional patent has been filed for this device.
The research by Bernate and Drazer was funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.
Story by Mary Spiro.
German Drazer’s Web page: http://microfluidics.jhu.edu/
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering: http://www.jhu.edu/chembe/