In this issue: Chair’s Letter – Features – News Briefs – In the Media – Events
Dear Alumni and Friends,
n this new year, UW Bioengineering is invigorated by several new opportunities. An international search for the new Hunter and Dorothy Simpson Endowed Chair and Professor in Bioengineering is underway. We look forward to this new leader fostering our robust research and exceptional students while pursuing our goal to invent the future of medicine.
After welcoming new students in the fall, we are excited for our annual graduate student recruitment weekend coming up in March. As in prior years, this event will coincide with the 26th annual Rushmer Lecture. This year’s lecture features Dr. Paul Yock of Stanford University.
In this issue we report on some of our critical mass of faculty expanding access to healthcare and developing solutions to global health challenges. You’ll also read about students Anh Ta, who gained early entry to UW, and Wilbert Copeland, who pursues cutting-edge frontiers in synthetic biology while mentoring undergraduate and K-12 students. Both students’ lives have been transformed by scholarship and fellowship support. If you are inspired by their stories, please consider making a gift to support scholarships. Your gift, magnified by support from others, will positively impact students’ lives.
Cecilia Giachelli, Ph.D., Professor and Acting Chair
Department of Bioengineering
University of Washington
Rapid results lead the way in inventing the high-tech, low-cost future of medicine
The world does not yet have a Star Trek tricorder. But UW bioengineers are developing an array of devices and technology that may be powerful precursors to Dr. McCoy’s handy 23rd century diagnostic device, and may make improving health faster and easier than ever before. Read more
Lutz commentary highlights promise, challenges of new point-of-care tests
Advances in the field of microfluidics have the potential to transform health care by allowing “gold standard” laboratory-based testing to be transferred to the point of care, say Barry Lutz, research assistant professor of bioengineering, and Elain Fu, affiliate faculty member. In a commentary published online Nov. 7 on the Project Syndicate website, they write about the challenges facing effective point-of-care tests now in development, including accounting for factors such as harsh environmental conditions, lack of user training and mobile phone compatibility. Read more
Senior Anh Ta helping develop hydrogels to tackle brain cancer
Ngoc-Anh Ta, a senior working with Suzie Pun, the Robert F. Rushmer Associate Professor, is helping design a drug delivery system that targets a deadly brain cancer. As an undergraduate, he has contributed to the synthesis and validation of a cross-linker for a drug delivery hydrogel and became a published author on his first research paper. He also has presented his research findings at a symposium and garnered scholarships from Mary Gates, NASA, Stratos and others. Anh is plotting his path to becoming a pediatric oncologist and drug designer. At only 19 years old, he’s well on his way. Read more
Graduate student Wilbert Copeland pursues synthetic biology frontiers, gives back to the academic community
Wilbert Copeland, a fifth year graduate student, works in the complex discipline of synthetic biology. He is pursuing a specific niche application of synthetic biology: techniques to quantify and measure biologic phenomena to better predict cell behavior. Wilbert’s work draws upon core principles of synthetic biology to offer potential solutions to problems posed by current studies of RNA expression. Strongly influenced by mentors who helped him discover research opportunities as an undergraduate and encouraged him to apply for graduate school, Wilbert gives back to the UW academic community by working with undergraduates, as well as K-12 students. Read more
UW Bioengineering news briefs
Mary Gates Research Scholarship Awardees Announced
Eighteen UW Bioengineering undergraduate students received Mary Gates Research Scholarships for Autumn 2013. These competitive scholarships are intended to enhance the educational experiences of UW undergraduates while they are pursuing faculty-mentored research. Read more
Buddy Ratner named POLY Fellow
Buddy Ratner, professor of bioengineering and chemical engineering, has been selected as a 2014 POLY Fellow of the Polymer Division of the American Chemical Society. This prestigious award recognizes the most outstanding achievements in and contributions to polymer science and the profession. Read more
Albert Folch Elected AIMBE Fellow
UW Bioengineering associate professor Albert Folch has been elected to the AIMBE College of Fellows, bringing the department’s total number of AIMBE Fellows to 16. AIMBE, or the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, is a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to improving lives through medical and biological engineering. Read more
Charles Murry, François Baneyx named AAAS fellows
Charles Murry, professor of bioengineering, cardiology and pathology, and François Baneyx, adjunct faculty in bioengineering and professor of chemical engineering, are among five UW faculty members named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on Nov. 25. AAAS fellows are recognized for meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications. Read more
Ying Zheng receives NIH Director’s New Innovator Award
Ying Zheng, assistant professor of bioengineering, has received an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award to recognize her work creating organ-specific microenvironments for regenerative medicine and therapeutic development.
The New Innovator Award, part of the NIH’S High Risk-High Reward program, stimulates highly innovative research and supports promising new investigators in the areas of biomedical and behavioral research. Zheng is one of three UW investigators to receive the innovator awards, announced Sept. 30. Read more
Deok-Ho Kim receives LSDF grant to help make “heart-safe” drugs
Deok-Ho Kim, assistant professor of bioengineering, was awarded a $250,000 Proof of Concept Grant to create an assay that allows drug developers to identify therapies that are potentially harmful to the heart, before those therapies are used in humans. Success of the project would help drug developers create safer drugs for a range of health conditions.
The grant was one of five Proof of Concept awards made in Septembe r to Washington organizations by the Life Sciences Discovery Fund (LSDF), a Washington state agency, to accelerate the translation of promising health-related technologies from concept to commercialization. The LSDF Board of Trustees made the final award selections following review of proposals for scientific and technical merit, potential impact on health and health care in Washington, and future economic and commercial returns to the state.
For more information, visit the LSDF website.
Senior Cameron Nemeth receives BMES award, WRF fellowship
Cameron Nemeth, UW Bioengineering senior, was selected as one of six BMES Undergraduate Design and Research Awardees for BMES 2013. Cameron received the award at the BMES Annual Town Hall and Awards Ceremony at the BMES Annual Meeting in Seattle on Thursday, September 26.
Cameron also received a 2013-’14 Washington Research Foundation Fellowship. Read more
In the Media
Seattle team developing card-sized pathogen test
Puget Sound Business Journal | February 7, 2014
The University of Washington has teamed up with Bothell-based Epoch Biosciences Inc., Seattle-based health nonprofit PATH, Seattle Children’s and GE Global Research to create a small, paper-based device that will be able to test for pathogens through something as simple as a nasal swab. Read more
Titanium-based materials fight oral bacteria, lead to new patent
UW Today | Jan. 21, 2014
Research conducted by James Bryers and collaborators in the UW School of Dentistry, which aimed to discover new ways to use titanium-based materials to fight oral bacteria, has resulted in a recently patented antibacterial agent. Read more
New strategy lets cochlear implant users hear music
UW News and Information | Oct. 9, 2013
Jay Rubinstein and his UW colleagues’ interdisciplinary research on algorithms for hearing implants is poised to change the musical landscape for the deaf. Read more
UW surgical robot featured in 2013 movie ‘Ender’s Game’
UW Today | Nov. 1, 2013
Bioengineering PhD alumnus Lee White was one of two UW students who operated the UW surgical robot during filming of the movie “Ender’s Game.” Read more
Viewpoint on “Dissolvable fluidic time delays for programming multi-step assays in instrument-free paper diagnostics”
Lab on a Chip | Aug. 21, 2013
Harvard chemist George Whitesides expresses support for Lutz et al.’s research, writing, “The spirit of this demonstration…is exactly the correct one, and this work…will ultimately combine into the technology base that will support some of the lowest-cost, most robust and most fieldable of the diagnostic systems.” Read more
Paul Yock of Stanford University to deliver 26th Annual Rushmer Lecture
The 26th annual Rushmer Lecture will be held Friday, March 21, 2014 at 4:30 PM in Foege S060 (Foege Auditorium). This year’s Rushmer Lecture will be presented by Paul Yock, the Martha Meier Weiland Professor of Medicine and Mechanical Engineering and Founding Co-Chair of the Department of Bioengineering at Stanford University. Dr. Yock’s talk will be entitled “The (radically) changing landscape in biomedical technology innovation.” The 2014 BIOE Awards for Outstanding Faculty Mentor, Outstanding Student Mentor and Outstanding Staff Member will also be announced at this event. 2014 Rushmer Lecture abstract and speaker bio
Join us for the Winter and Spring 2014 Department of Bioengineering Seminar Series
Next up: Feb. 20, Lei (Stanley) Qi, Center for Systems Biology, University of California, San Francisco
“Repurposing CRISPR for versatile mammalian genome engineering and imaging”
12:30 – 1:20pm, Foege N130A (Wallace H. Coulter Seminar Room)
View the schedule of upcoming speakers, abstracts and a video archive of past seminar sessions here.
Save the Date – Biomaterials Day, April 11
This student-led event, funded in part by a $5,000 grant from the Society for Biomaterials, features lead speaker Cato Laurencin, University Professor at the University of Connecticut, where he is also director of the Institute of Regenerative Medicine and former dean of the School of Medicine. Biomaterials Day will also feature invited speakers from the greater Pacific Northwest region. Additional sponsors to date include the UW Department of Bioengineering, College of Engineering and School of Medicine. Read more