2019 REU Applications Open Now

Published: December 3, 2018

Applications for the 2019 Research Experience for Undergraduates program are open now! This funded summer research program matches undergraduate students with researchers at MIT, Georgia Tech, and UIUC. Applications are open until February 15th, 2019.

EBICS Distinguished Lecture Series ft. Dr. Nigel Goldenfeld

Published: November 28, 2018

11/26/18 - Dr. Nigel Goldenfeld presented his lecture, "Emergence", at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. Dr. Goldenfeld discussed the collective behavior of complex systems and the new laws of physics which describe these emergent states of matter. A full recording of his lecture is available here.

Linda Griffith on PBS NewsHour

Published: November 26, 2018

MIT's Dr. Linda Griffith and PBS NewsHour's Hari Sreenivasan talk about her work on "Body on a Chip" models, which allow researchers to study the effects of new drugs on multiple interacting tissue types. Watch the full interview here.


Christina Haase Wins NAVBO Outstanding Poster Award

Published: November 1, 2018

Congratulations to Christina (Tina) Haase for winning an Outstanding Poster Award at the North American Vascular Biology Organization's 2018 conference for her poster: Placental pericytes contribute to dysfunction and inflammation in a 3D model of placental microvasculature through VEGF-Ang-Tie2 signaling

M-CELS Perspective Published

Published: October 12, 2018

Congratulations to Roger D. Kamm, Rashid Bashir, Natasha Arora, Roy D. Dar, Martha U. Gillette, Linda G. Griffith, Melissa L. Kemp, Kathy Kinlaw, Michael Levin, Adam C. Martin, Todd C. McDevitt, Robert M. Nerem, Mark J. Powers, Taher A. Saif, James Sharpe, Shuichi Takayama, Shoji Takeuchi, Ron Weiss, Kaiming Ye, Hannah G. Yevick, and Muhammad H. Zaman on the publication of Perspective: The promise of multi-cellular engineered living systems in APL Bioengineering on October 11, 2018!

Testing new drugs with “ALS-on-a-chip”

Published: October 12, 2018

Congratulations to MIT postdoc Tatsuya Osaki, Harvard postdoc Sebastien G. M. Uzel, and MIT Professor Roger D. Kamm on the publication of Microphysiological 3D model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) from human iPS-derived muscle cells and optogenetic motor neurons in the journal Science Advances. The research and the article were featured on the front page of the MIT website on October 11.

NSF EBICS Outreach at UC Merced: McCloskey Lab Tour

Published: June 27, 2018

NSF EBICS Outreach at UC Merced: McCloskey Lab Tour

On a warm spring Sunday morning, the Minds in Motion Merced Track team visited the McCloskey lab at UC Merced. EBICS graduate trainees (with aid of a former EBICS REU summer student) lead an EBICS related outreach activity aimed at educating the high school students about EBICS themes and the power of Bioengineering. Rachel Hatano started the event with a short presentation about what bioengineering entails and explained the interesting research being conducted throughout the EBICS center. She emphasized the construction/development of the biobots and the complex behavior that emerges when cells come together. Later, the students were lead to the McCloskey lab where they received a lab tour and were split into three groups. Group one worked with Anley to culture stem cells. Group two worked with Gregory to thaw stem cells from liquid nitrogen. Group three worked with Jose to practice the fundamentals of microfluidic device fabrication. With these hands-on activities the students began to understand in what it means to work with cell and how these cells can later be used to create bigger systems such as the biobots.

Congratulations to Rajashekar Iyer of the Gillette Lab!

Published: June 27, 2018

Congratulations to Rajashekar Iyer of the Gillette Lab!

Rajashekar Iyer's presentation at the 2017 Society for Neuroscience meeting has won a 2018 Platform Presentation Award in the UIUC Department of Cell and Developmental Biology. The School of Molecular and Cellular Biology Awards Ceremony will be held May 3, 2018.

Citation: Iyer R., T. Kim, M. Kandel, Y.S. Kim, J. Mitchell, G. Popescu, M.U. Gillette. "miR-125b Toggles  Dynamics and Structure of Dendritic Filopodia in Developing Hippocampal Neurons." SfN Annual Meeting, Washington DC. November 2017. (Link the underlined part to the SfN annual meeting website.)

2017 Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting Information

First Place Winner Austin Payne Passaro, at the 2018 UGS RBC Fellow Symposium! Congratulations!

Published: June 27, 2018

First Place Winner Austin Payne Passaro, at the 2018 UGS RBC Fellow Symposium! Congratulations! 

Austin Payne Passaro won first place in the 2018 UGA RBC Fellow Symposium oral presentation for his work titled: Functional outcomes of crosstalk between neural networks and muscles during early in vitro development are revealed by a novel 3D neuromuscular co-culture platform. As part of his presentation, he talked about his collaborations through EBICS: at MIT, where the group is using a novel microfluidic device for angiogenesis assays, and with the University of Illinois on a novel three-dimensional culture platform for neuromuscular junction research.

More Details

ENGAGES Scholar Tatiyanna Singleton named valedictorian

Published: June 27, 2018

ENGAGES Scholar Tatiyanna Singleton named valedictorian

Congratulations to Project ENGAGES student Tatiyanna Singleton who graduated as the valedictorian and STAR student for KIPP Atlanta Collegiate High School, Class of 2018! Tatiyanna has been assisting Simone Douglas in the Platt lab since 2016. Her works with cathepsin-mediated fibrin degradation experiments aims to better understand mechanisms of destabilization and destruction of fibrin matrices in "bio-bots" and microvascular networks. Tatiyanna competed in the Atlanta regional and state science fairs, where she received fourth honors ribbon, and won 1st place in the Project ENGAGES Winter 2017 Celebration Poster competition. She is also listed as a co-author on "Human Cathepsins K, L, and S: Related Proteases, but Unique Fibrinolytic Activity" Tatiyanna will be majoring in engineering at Vanderbilt University in the fall.

Register for EBICS Annual Retreat and M-CELS Workshop

Published: June 27, 2018

The 2018 EBICS Annual Retreat will take place Monday, July 30th - Thursday, August 2nd , 2018.

The Retreat will be immediately followed by the Multi-Cellular Engineered Living Systems (M-CELS) Workshop Thursday, August 2nd - Saturday, August 4th.

Both meetings will take place at the Q Center in St. Charles, Illinois, outside Chicago.

Local airports include O’Hare International Airport (35 miles away) and Midway International Airport (46 miles away). Please secure your flight arrangements early.


REGISTER NOW. The final deadline for registration is Friday, July 6th, at 9am ET. This form will allow registration for TWO events. If you are only planning on attending one, those sections will be skipped for you. Please only complete the sections that are relevant for your attendance. All participants must register to attend.

For the EBICS Annual Retreat:
• Trainees should plan to arrive at Q Center by 6:00pm CST on Monday, July 30th.
• Faculty/EAC members/IAC members should plan to arrive at Q Center before 3:00 pm CST on Tuesday, July 31st.

• The Retreat will begin at 3:00pm CST on Tuesday, July 31st.
• The Retreat will end by 1:45pm CST on Thursday, August 2nd.
• The Faculty Collaboration Forum will immediately follow, at 2:00pm on Thursday, August 2nd.

• The M-CELS Workshop will begin at 5:00pm CST on Thursday, August 2nd.
• The M-CELS Workshop will end by 2:30pm CST on Saturday, August 4th.

Carpooling logistics to/from the Q Center will be circulated upon completion of the registration form by all attendees.


Your registration will reserve you a room at the Q Center. Please indicate the dates you will be staying at the Q Center on the registration form.


When booking flights, please note your receipt must indicate economy/coach class. We cannot reimburse for receipts that are not labeled economy/coach class. If this is not possible, submit a photograph of your boarding pass with seat grade marked along with your receipt.

Please keep all receipts. We will create a Dropbox upload link for reimbursement after the meeting.




Welome REU 2018 Cohorts!

Published: June 27, 2018

Welcome to REU cohorts:


University of Ilinois Urbana-Champaign

Hamzah Ahmed, a rising Sophomore at Texas A & M University

Michael Chi, a rising Senior at UC-Merced

Wil Desposorio, a rising Senior at the University of Utah

Stephanie Lopez Alvarado, a rising Senior at UC-Merced

Jasmine Thornhill, a rising Sophomore at Oakwood University, Alabama


Georgia Institute of Technology

Kevin Baez, a rising Sophomore at Clark Atlanta University

Arshay Grant, a rising Senior at Fayetteville State University

Dakota Lee, a rising Junior at UNC Pembroke

Carina Rojanaroj, a rising Freshman at Augusta University

Cara Young, a rising Sophomore at University of Michigan



Christopher Carlson, a rising Senior at the University of California Merced

Kendreze Holland, a rising Junior at Georgia State University

Patricia Garcia, a rising Sophomore at Florida International University

Alexxa Cruz-Bonilla is a rising Sophomore at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez 

Hana Grubb, a rising Junior at Florida State University 

Jane Akintoye, a rising Sophomore at the University of Maryland - Baltimore County

Georgia Institute of Technology welcomes Project ENGAGES, Cohort 6.

Published: June 27, 2018

Georgia Institute of Technology welcomes Project ENGAGES, Cohort 6.

A new class of scholars will complete a four-week bootcamp inclusive of biology, physics, coding and math to prepare for their full-time lab and research experience during the month of July.  The summer component will end with a grand finale oral and poster presentation on July 24, 2018 and then the students will return part-time on August 15, 2018.  

To learn more about Project ENGAGES, click here. 

Hang Lu and Melissa Kemp join new Southeast Center for Mathematics and Biology!

Published: June 27, 2018

Hang Lu and Melissa Kemp join new Southeast Center for Mathematics and Biology!


The new Southeast Center for Mathematics and Biology (SCMB), which includes the Georgia Institute of Technology, aims to convey the benefits of physics' age-old intertwining with math upon biology, a science historically less connected with it.

The National Science Foundation and the Simons Foundation have launched a large collaboration of bioscientists and mathematicians to advance both fields. The project will have a total of four centers funded with a total of $40 million, one of which is headquartered at Georgia Tech and will receive a fourth of the funding. The SCMB is one of four NSF-Simons Research Centers for Mathematics of Complex Biological Systems.


"Math can potentially change the way we do our experiments," said Hang Lu, who co-leads of the center. "If you model your data with topology (a field of mathematics) you see that your data can have a shape," Lu said. "And that can make you go look for different kinds of data."

More Details

Taher Saif wins Koiter Medal

Published: June 27, 2018

Taher Saif wins Koiter Medal

Taher Saif has been named the 2018 recipient of the Warner T. Koiter Medal, granted by ASME in recognition of distinguished contributions to the field of solid mechanics. He is the first winner of this award from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Pradeep Sharma, the Chair of ASME's AMD Executive Committee noted, "Professor Saif receives the Koiter Medal for employing principles of mechanics to explore phenomena at small scale providing the first evidence of plastic strain recovery in nanograined metals, and neuronal tension and its influence on neurotransmission; as well as providing leadership in promoting mechanics research in frontier areas."

Platt Lab & EBICS Take Over Protease Conference in Italy

Published: June 27, 2018

Platt Lab & EBICS Take Over Protease Conference in Italy


EBICS trainee Simone Douglas, PhD student of Dr. Manu Platt, attended the Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) and Conference (GRC) on Proteolytic Enzymes and Their Inhibitors in Lucca (Barga), Italy! Simone delivered a talk titled "Human Cathepsins K, L, and S: Related Proteases, but Unique Fibrinolytic Activity" at the GRS and presented a poster on the topic. At the GRC, she had an opportunity to give a 3-minute rapid fire talk as a preview to the poster session. Simone talked to other researchers about EBICS and how regulation of proteolytic activity is important in the design of engineered living systems. The data presented was well received by the protease community! Fibrin as a substrate for degradation by cathepsins is novel, and many researchers believe understanding this proteolytic mechanism is important for future fibrin-based tissue engineered constructs. Simone acknowledges that her collaborations through EBICS sparked the exploration of this topic and was grateful for the opportunity to present her work at an international conference.

Dr. Ritu Raman is organizing and presenting at a workshop focused on bio-hybrid machines at the IEEE EMBS Conference

Published: June 27, 2018

Dr. Ritu Raman is presenting at the Hamlyn Symposium on Medical Robotics in London

"Optogenetic Skeletal Muscle-Powered Adaptive Biological Machines".

Understanding the design rules that govern the structure and function of natural biological systems gives us the ability to forward engineer machines integrated with and powered by biological components. Such machines, or "bio-bots," can sense, process, and respond to dynamic environmental signals in real time, enabling a variety of applications. Here we present a modular optogenetic muscle actuator used to power actuation and locomotion of 3D printed flexible skeletons. Observing and controlling the functional response of such muscle-powered machines helps replicate the complex adaptive functionality we observe in natural biological systems. This demonstration thus sets the stage for building the next generation of bio-integrated machines and systems targeted at a diverse array of functional tasks.

More Details

PrePARE (Paths Afforded by the Research Enterprise) Applications

Published: May 16, 2018

A National Science Foundation sponsored professional development workshop for Ph.D. students (and postdocs if appropriate). EBICS accepts at least 3 students every year - so there's a place for you! 

The workshop, which will run from August 5 to August 10, 2018 in Indianapolis, IN, 

Participants will be taught strategies to:

  • Identify and assess the distinct combination of their expertise, interests, skills, and values and through this process be able to articulate their distinctiveness to others.
  • Learn the skills of self-advocacy and negotiation as owners of their own professional development and career choices.
  • Become more aware of their biases and understand how to work collaboratively with others in interdisciplinary teams.
  • Further enhance their verbal/written communications, teaching/training, resource development and knowledge transfer skills, through actual team projects and presentations.
  • Research career fields beyond traditional academic opportunities and launch a job search.
  • Create their own developmental professional/personal network and manage those relationships professionally and effectively.  

More information/Application is available at  

Applications are due by June 15, 2018.  

Paula Hammond and Rashid Bashir are Presenting at the MIT Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research Annual Summer Symposium: Breakthrough Cancer Nanotechnologies

Published: May 16, 2018

EBICS faculty members Paula Hammond and Rashid Bashir are presenting on June 15, 2018, MIT's Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research will present its 17th annual Summer Symposium: Breakthrough Cancer Nanotechnologies.  Experts will discuss how nanotechnology can provide rapid and sensitive detection of cancer, as well as generate entirely novel and highly effective therapeutic agents. The symposium will also feature an industry panel to discuss the impact of nanomedicine on the future of cancer care.

If you are local to Boston or will be visisting the area, REGISTER HERE

(Use your MIT, Broad, or Whitehead email address to receive the registration discount!)

ENGAGES (Engaging New Generations at Georgia Tech through Engineering & Science) at the Center for Civil and Human rights museum!

Published: May 16, 2018

ENGAGES students and mentors took a tour of the Center for Civil and Human rights museum to observe the achievements of both the civil rights movement and the broader human rights movement.  The tour was followed by an informative panel discussion which included GT faculty member, Dr. Sam Graham, Mercedes Benz Diversity and Inclusion Director, Tamika Curry-Smith, IBB Assistant Director of Core Facilities, Steve Woodard, GT Alumni and GTBAO Member, Cornell Seymour, and Xeron Pledger, Constituents Services  Coordinator from the Office of Congressman Henry Johnson.

More about Project ENGAGES

Congratulations: Dr. Rashid Bashir named Royal Society of Chemistry Fellow!

Published: May 16, 2018

Professor Rashid Bashir, a Grainger Distinguished Chair in Bioengineering, earned the honor in recognition of his research contributions in the broad field of BioMEMS and biomedical nanotechnology.

More details on the Fellowship

Mikhail Kandel (Graduate Trainee, Popescu Lab) presents Research on QLI Lab Microscope Add-On Module at EBICS Illinois Research seminars!

Published: May 16, 2018

Mikhail Kandel presented his research April 18 with colleague Chenfei Hu in conjunction with their work via EBICS and the QLI Lab.

Kandel's presentation showed the lab's new microscope add-on module, which improves contrast in reflected light imaging by using phase shifting. "It opened up a bunch of new avenues, as our module can be integrated into a high throughput imaging instruments," he explained. The module "provides a significant improvement in resolution and sectioning."

More Details HERE

Congratulations to Ghazal Naseri Kouzehgarani for achieving two awards!

Published: May 16, 2018

EBICS trainee Ghazal Naseri Kouzehgarani was recently awarded a Beckman Graduate Fellowship and the University of Illinois' Molecular and Cellular Biology Teaching Excellence Award. Her proposal featured collaborative research between the laboratories of EBICS faculty Martha Gillette and Gabriel Popescu:

In April, Ghazal Naseri Kouzehgarani, an EBICS trainee in Martha Gillette's laboratory at the University of Illinois, was awarded a 2018 Beckman Institute Graduate Fellowship for her research proposal entitled, "Advanced Technological Imaging to Investigate Morphological and Coupling Heterogeneity of Astrocytes in Hippocampal Dentate Gyrus." The Beckman Graduate Fellows Program offers University of Illinois graduate students the opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary research at the Institute. Preference is given to those proposals that are interdisciplinary and involve the active participation of two Beckman faculty members from two different research groups. Ghazal's research will utilize an emerging technology in real-time imaging, gradient light interference microscopy (GLIM), developed in the laboratory of Gabriel Popescu, well-established tracing techniques supported by a newly-acquired, high-resolution 2-photon Bruker imaging set-up in the Beckman laboratory of Professor Dan Llano, combined with Martha Gillette's lab's expertise in astrocyte electrophysiology and coupling. This interdisciplinary project will allow Ghazal to advance knowledge of the role of astrocytic networks in regulating the neuronal circuitry important in learning and memory.

In addition to her Beckman Fellowship, Ghazal Naseri will be recognized at an awards ceremony on May 3rd for the University of Illinois' Molecular and Cellular Biology Teaching Excellence Award.

Congratulations! Gelson Pagan-Diaz recognized at UIUC Celebrating Diversity, Recognizing Excellence Event!

Published: May 16, 2018

Congratulations to Gelson Pagan-Diaz for being recognized by the University of Illinois Graduate College Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at its Celebrating Diversity, Recognizing Excellence event in March.  Nominated by the Bioengineering department, two graduate students were honored for their published research; for receiving awards or fellowships; for teaching, service or community awards; and other noteworthy achievements. Gelson also was recognized for a top paper/poster award.

The University of Illinois' Graduate College Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs and initiatives improve educational access, encourage a sustainable student experience, and promote successful outcomes for traditionally underrepresented communities. The work of diversity, equity, and inclusion is critical to fostering the inclusive climate and culture necessary to achieving excellence at Illinois.

Click HERE to see the full announcement

Please join EBICS in congratulating some of our REUs on their next steps!

Published: May 16, 2018

Greg Girardi will be pursuing his PhD at UC Davis! REU 2017, MIT (McCloskey Lab and Asada Lab, mentor Hyeonyu Kim)

Kwasi Amofa will be pursuing his PhD at UC Berkely! REU 2016, MIT (Griffith Lab, mentor Marianna Sofman), Fulbright Scholar '18

Elijah Karvelis will be pursuing his PhD at MIT! REU 2015, MIT Griffith Lab, mentor Natasha Arora and Marianna Sofman) 

Greg Girardi will be pursuing his PhD at UC Davis! REU 2017, MIT (McCloskey Lab and Asada Lab, mentor Hyeonyu Kim)

Published: May 16, 2018

To better understand the anatomical, morphological, and emergent properties of the mammalian spinal cord, collected samples were stained using immunohistological techniques with confocal and brightfield microscopy for visualization.  This allowed for the presence of specific diverse cell types to be found as well as the ability to quantify both the mean process length and the relative amounts of each cell type over time. Such work will be key in contributing to the optimization and development of a novel neuromuscular system that can exhibit both complex behaviors and a high degree of autonomy.

More Details HERE

EBICS at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C.

Published: May 15, 2018

EBICS was invited to demonstrate at the 2018 USA Science and Engineering Festival (USA Science & Engineering Festival) in Washington, DC, sponsored by the NSF. The Festival showcases their demos of 3D printing, Biobots, and light-controlled synthetic robots.

Click HERE to learn more about the exhibit

Griffith lab - Body on a Chip to Study Drug Effects on Multiple Organ Systems Simultaneously

Published: May 15, 2018

Researchers at MIT have developed an advanced microfluidic system that encompasses tissues from up to 10 organs. The device allows scientists to test the effects of drug candidates on multiple organ systems simultaneously. Screening drug candidates in this way reduces the chance of unexpected side-effects during subsequent clinical trials, and reduces the need for animal testing.

News Item

Nature Article

Stice lab - Stem-cell based stroke treatment repairs brain tissue

Published: May 15, 2018

A team of researchers at the University of Georgia's Regenerative Bioscience Center and ArunA Biomedical, a UGA startup company, have developed a new treatment for stroke that reduces brain damage and accelerates the brain's natural healing tendencies in animal models. They published their findings in the journal Translational Stroke Research.

The research team led by UGA professor Steven Stice and Nasrul Hoda of Augusta University created a treatment called AB126 using extracellular vesicles (EV), fluid-filled structures known as exosomes, which are generated from human neural stem cells.

Full Article

EBICS participants contribute to the NSF-funded Miniature Brain Machinery (MBM) Program

Published: May 15, 2018

The NSF-funded Miniature Brain Machinery (MBM) Program continues to blaze a trail at the University of Illinois in its emerging field combining cognitive & behavior studies with brain cell & tissue studies, with the goal of training the next generation of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) workforce to advance discovery in the interdisciplinary field of brain organoids.

EBICS participants Lauren Grant, Mikhail Kandel, Collin Kaufman, and Gelson Pagan-Diaz are among the first cohort of NRT fellows. Martha Gillette serves as program director with several EBICS members in Illinois among the Co-PIs and faculty, including Joon Kong, Rashid Bashir, and Gabriel Popescu.

Trainees have taken a special topics course featuring lectures by program faculty. This course is accompanied by guest lectures as part of a Frontiers in Miniature Brain Machinery lecture series, which has been open to the public, providing more outreach to packed rooms of attendees from across campus. Guest lecturers have included Drs. Sung Gap Im and EBICS faculty Rashid Bashir. Course lecturers have included Drs. Martha Gillette, Joon Kong, Gabi Popescu, Brad Sutton, and Jonathan Sweedler, with Drs. Hee-Jung Chung and Neal Cohen to teach future sessions.

Learn more HERE

EBICS at the USA Science and Engineering Festival

Published: April 6, 2018

April 6-8th, 2018 - EBICS trainees will be presenting their demos of 3D printing, Biobots, and light-controlled synthetic robots, at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C.

Click here for more on the EBICS exhibit!

Michael Elowitz to present EBICS Distinguished Lecture

Published: April 3, 2018

Communication and Computation in Mammalian Cells

Michael B. Elowitz

Professor of Biology and Bioengineering;

CalTech, Investigator for Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Executive Officer for Biological Engineering


Circuits of interacting proteins can perform a variety of "computational" functions in living cells. They allow cells to encode and decode signals, and respond to complex stimuli. What kinds of design principles allow natural protein circuits to function effectively? How can we design effective synthetic protein circuits? This talk will explore paradigms of natural and synthetic protein circuit design in mammalian cells. 


Click HERE for Biography


Congratulations: Dr. Rashid Bashir named Royal Society of Chemistry Fellow

Published: March 14, 2018

Professor Rashid Bashir, a Grainger Distinguished Chair in Bioengineering, earned the honor in recognition of his research contributions in the broad field of BioMEMS and biomedical nanotechnology.

Engineering Cellular Systems Summer School @ University of Illinois

Published: March 14, 2018

AUGUST 6 – 10, 2018
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

A week of lectures and hands-on training in engineering, biological, and physical science laboratory techniques covering topics such as cell biology, engineering tools, biomachines, organs on a chip, neuroengineering and computational tools. This Summer School is co-organized by MIT, Georgia Tech and UIUC. See Sample Schedule by clicking the title above.

We encourage advanced undergraduates, graduate students, post-docs, and faculty from engineering, physical sciences, and biological sciences who are interested in state-of-the-art interdisciplinary research at the intersection of engineering and biology to apply

$1,500/selected participant (Financial assistance may be available toward this fee. Please indicate your need for aid on the application form)

Room and board from August 5 – August 11, 2018

Dr. Ritu Raman returns to Science Friday!

Published: February 23, 2018

EBICS affiliate Dr. Ritu Raman will be reprising her visit with NPR's Science Friday to discuss recent work on healing bots and multicellular bots. She will also be discussing work to make a hands-on tutorial for educational purposes, and a recent invitation to present a booth on biobots at the the USA Science & Engineering Festival in April! Tune in for what is sure to be an exciting discussion.

Listen in at 3pm ET on Boston-area NPR station WBUR 90.9, online at Science Friday, or via your favorite podcast app.

EBICS Annual Retreat Recap - Callaway Gardens, Georgia

Published: January 16, 2018

EBICS 2017 ANNUAL RETREAT - Members of the EBICS community including faculty, trainees, REUs, External Advisory Committee (EAC), Industry Advisory Committee (IAC), and staff, will participate in the 2017 EBICS Annual Retreat at Callaway Gardens, in Pine Mountain, Georgia.

Highlights are:
Presentations on diversity and education in EBICS, the Student Leadership Council (SLC), and all seven working group research presentations
The annual Technology Conceptualization Plan Competition (largest-ever cohort!)
A new Ethics module
Trainee and REU poster presentations
Working group breakout sessions

Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University for Regenerative and Developmental Biology: "Reading and Writing the Morphogenetic" by Dr. Michael Levin

Published: January 16, 2018

"Living systems are able not just to grow tissues, but to maintain them over time and, in some cases, regenerate them when they are altered by injury or disease. Underlying this ability is the morphogenetic code, which consists of the mechanisms and information structures by which networks of cells represent and dynamically regulate the target" morphology of the system.

Simone Douglas receives NSF Graduate Fellowship and Teaching Award

Published: January 16, 2018

Simone Douglas, EBICS trainee at Georgia Tech and mentored by Dr. Manu Platt, was awarded the prestigious 2017 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. She is 1 of 2,000 awardees selected from over 13,000 applicants.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program aims to develop the nation's leadership in science and engineering research and innovation. The fellowship lasts for 5 years with financial support for 3 years along with a Cost of Education Allowance for the fellow's institution.
This past month, Simone was also named the 2017 Biomedical Engineering Teaching Assistant of the Year and given the BME Graduate Teaching/Mentorship Award.

She was a TA for "Introduction to Biomedical Engineering Design" and the instructor for the course, Martin Jacobson, said "Simone is one of the top 5 TA's I've worked with in the past six years here at Tech. Her manner of address to the students is clear, to the point, and respectful but firm. Her communication of deliverables and expectations on the first go-around sounds more like a professor who's taught the class many times before. With her technical skills and infectious enthusiasm for sharing her knowledge, she gets the students engaged and the students respond well to her encouragement."

Simone contributes to the Vascularization Working group; her research focuses on studying non-plasmin fibrinolysis pathways to characterize and control fibrin degradation in vascularized constructs. Congratulations Simone!

Project ENGAGES participates in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

Published: January 16, 2018

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), is the world's largest international pre-college science competition. Each year, Intel ISEF provides approximately 1,800 top young scientific high school students from more than 75 countries, regions, and territories the opportunity to showcase their independent research where doctoral level scientists review and judge their work to compete for, on average, $4 million in prizes. Project ENGAGES have three scholars who were selected to participate in this competition which will take place in Los Angeles, California May 14-19, 2017.

More Biobots highlights in the Alliance of Advanced BioMedical Engineering: "Living Machines begin to Emerge"

Published: January 10, 2018

"When we put these building blocks together, we can capitalize on their individual functionalities and make something new to serve whatever purpose we want," said Caroline Cvetkovic, a postdoctoral bioengineer from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, one of the 10 research institutions on the NSF project, which is called Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems (EBICS).

The microswimmer, a cell-based robot built by bioengineer Taher Saif and colleagues, consists of beating heart cells arranged on a flexible microfilament string, and it propels by flexing and extending, much like the tale of sperm. Image: Brian Williams, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University for Regenerative and Developmental Biology: "Reading and Writing the Morphogenetic" by Dr. Michael Levin

Published: January 10, 2018

"Living systems are able not just to grow tissues, but to maintain them over time and, in some cases, regenerate them when they are altered by injury or disease. Underlying this ability is the morphogenetic code, which consists of the mechanisms and information structures by which networks of cells represent and dynamically regulate the target" morphology of the system.

EBICS Research Experience for Undergraduates - Application for Summer 2018 is now OPEN!

Published: November 15, 2017

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Center on Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems (EBICS) invites all undergraduates who are U.S. citizens/permanent residents AND currently enrolled in a science/engineering undergraduate program to apply! We strongly encourage students from underrepresented minority groups, women, and individuals with disabilities to submit an application! Learn about what EBICS REU offers and APPLY! Deadline Friday, February 16, 2018.

Dr. Rashid Bashir receives the 2018 Robert A. Pritzker Distinguished Lecture Award

Published: October 10, 2017

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Bioengineering Professor Rashid Bashir has been selected to receive the 2018 Robert A. Pritzker Distinguished Lecture Award, the Biomedical Engineering Society's (BMES) premier recognition for outstanding achievements and leadership in the science and practice of biomedical engineering.

Bashir's research focuses on integrating engineering and technology with biology, from the molecular scale to tissues and systems. Among other innovations, his group has developed various lab-on-a-chip technologies, miniature biological robots, and point-of-care diagnostic devices, leading to the creation of multiple startup companies.

Dr. Manu Platt delivers the 2017 Diversity Award Lecture: Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting

Published: October 5, 2017

"We are excited to highlight Manu's activities and many contributions to our community with the opening plenary lecture," said BMES President Lori Setton.

Platt is an engaging speaker and should be a familiar face to regular attendees of the BMES Annual Meeting. He is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech & Emory, a Georgia Research Alliance Distinguished Scholar, and Diversity Director for the Science and Technology Center on Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems.

Steve Stice and the Regenerative Bioscience Center enter research consortium with Georgia Tech: CMaT will develop advanced cell therapies for chronic diseases

Published: September 25, 2017

"Steven Stice is leading researchers at the University of Georgia's Regenerative Bioscience Center in a newly funded research consortium designed to hasten the development of advanced cell therapies for a range of chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer.

With $20 million in funding from the National Science Foundation, the Engineering Research Center for Cell Manufacturing Technologies, dubbed CMaT, will bring together RBC researchers, industry partners, clinicians, engineers, cell biologists and immunologists."

Illinois News Bureau: New microscope technique reveals internal structure of live embryos

Published: August 8, 2017

University of Illinois researchers have developed a way to produce 3-D images of live embryos in cattle that could help determine embryo viability before in vitro fertilization in humans.

Infertility can be devastating for those who want children. Many seek treatment, and the cost of a single IVF cycle can be $20,000, making it desirable to succeed in as few attempts as possible. Advanced knowledge regarding the health of embryos could help physicians select those that are most likely to lead to successful pregnancies.
The new method, published in the journal Nature Communications, brought together electrical and computer engineering professor Gabriel Popescu and animal sciences professor Matthew Wheeler in a collaborative project through the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the U. of I.
Called gradient light interference microscopy, the method solves a challenge that other methods have struggled with - imaging thick, multicellular samples.
In many forms of traditional biomedical microscopy, light is shined through very thin slices of tissue to produce an image. Other methods use chemical or physical markers that allow the operator to find the specific object they are looking for within a thick sample, but those markers can be toxic to living tissue, Popescu said.

"When looking at thick samples with other methods, your image becomes washed out due to the light bouncing off of all surfaces in the sample," said graduate student Mikhail Kandel, the co-lead author of the study. "It is like looking into a cloud."

Biobots on the front cover of Advanced Healthcare Materials: "Damage, Healing, and Remoeling in Optogenetic Skeletal Muscle Bioactuator"

Published: May 10, 2017

A deeper understanding of biological materials and the design principles that govern them, combined with the enabling technology of 3D printing, has given rise to the idea of "building with biology". With these materials and tools in hand, we are ideally poised to manufacture bio-hybrid robots, or bio-bots, that adaptively sense and respond to their environment. We have developed skeletal muscle bioactuators to power these bio-bots, and present an approach to make them dynamically responsive to changing environmental loads and robustly resilient to induced damage. Specifically, since the predominant cause of skeletal muscle loss of function is mechanical damage, we have investigated the underlying mechanisms of damage in vitro, and developed an in vivo-inspired healing strategy to counteract this damage. The protocol we have developed yields complete recovery of healthy tissue functionality within two days of damage, setting the stage for a more robust, resilient, and adaptive bioactuator technology than previously demonstrated. Understanding and exploiting the adaptive response behaviors inherent within biological systems in this manner is a crucial step forward in designing bio-hybrid machines that are broadly applicable to grand engineering challenges.

Professor Maribel Vazquez receives the 2017 CCNY President's Award for Excellence

Published: May 9, 2017

The President's Award for Excellence is an annual award granted to an individual faculty member whose creativity and commitment to student learning improves the learning experiences that students have in multiple disciplines at City College. This award recognizes the important relationship between research and the undergraduate and graduate experience and involves joining faculty with student research so that there is a seamless connection between the scholarship and the teaching experience. This award recognizes faculty members for their innovative approaches in mentoring, research, teaching, scholarship and serving as exemplary models for excellence in scholarship, teaching and student success.

2016 REU student Kwasi Amofa wins Fulbright and Whitacre Scholarships

Published: April 27, 2017

What started as a typical summer research program in Boston, MA for undergraduate engineering students, turned into the opportunity of a lifetime for Western New England University senior Kwasi Amofa from Glastonbury, CT. Amofa was recently accepted to participate in research as a prestigious Fulbright Scholar. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, and their record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.

Amofa spent the summer of 2016 doing research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where one of his mentors (previously a Fulbright Scholar) encouraged Amofa to apply to the highly respected program. The application process was rigorous, however, Amofa had the support he needed from his faculty advisor and several faculty at Western New England University.
"The support that I received from my professors was tremendous. They were a great help in putting together my application and all the other requirements," Amofa explained. "My education at Western New England prepared me to dive into the research environment, and my advisors helped me discover the type of research I wanted to pursue, which is a critical first step."
Amofa will spend next year in the Netherlands working on a new project to bioengineer a cornea, the eye's outermost layer, which could potentially have a great impact on medical treatment. He will work with a group of researchers across many disciplines, including engineering, biology, chemistry, and material science, which Amofa believes will make the experience even more enriching.

"Kwasi Amofa is an exceptional student and a rigorous young researcher," remarked Hossein Cheraghi, professor and dean of the College of Engineering at Western New England University. "We are excited for this opportunity he has received, and we know he will make the most of it as he works with top researchers from various other institutions in the Netherlands next year."
The Fulbright Program, which began in 1948, is funded through an annual appropriation by the United States Congress to the U.S. Department of State, and managed by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating foreign governments and host institutions also provide support.

Dr. Bob Nerem and Dr. Manu Platt receives the Georgia Tech Faculty Award and Outreach

Published: April 20, 2017

This award rewards faculty members for productive academic outreach in which they go beyond their normal duties to enrich the larger educational community with their subject matter knowledge. The goal is to grant one or two awards annually, depending on the number and quality of nominations. However, no more than one faculty member from any given academic unit will be selected in the same year. The award amount is $2,500. If two awards are given, this sum will be evenly split between the two winners.