How emerging medical robotics is changing surgical medicine

Published: December 6, 2010


The emergence of medical robotics has changed the way surgical medicine is performed and perceived today. These intelligent machines enable surgeons to perform complex operations with unprecedented precision and in the process, reduce surgical risks, speed up patients' recovery times, and improve cost-efficiencies for healthcare providers. In this round of the Singapore Sessions, we sit with a diverse group of experts to find out how the use of robotics in surgery is opening up a new era of medical innovation and how else can we harness technology to complement the skills of human doctors in the future.

Campus Day at GA Tech

Published: December 1, 2010

On Thursday, December 2, 2010, EBICS partnered with CMDITR, another Science and Technology Center, to host a Campus Day with Langston Hughes High School. The students were able to go on lab tours in the Kemp, Platt and Nerem labs, do hands on demonstrations with chemistry student and had small group discussions with faculty and current graduate students. After lunch, they then went on a campus tour and were very excited about the day's activities. Of the 33 students present that day, 64% stated that they are more likely to pursue a career in the STEM fields and 97% stated they had an increased awareness of opportunities in STEM. EBICS plans to duplicate this event on each campus in the future.

EBICS attends ABRCMS Conference in Charlotte, NC

Published: November 9, 2010

From November 10th-13th, 2010 EBICS attended ABRMCS, the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students held in Charlotte, NC. At that conference, we met with over 100 highly qualified students who were interested in summer research programs, attending graduate school and applying for post-doc positions at the EBICS institutions. At that conference, the students heard from Dr. Francis Collins from NIH, Dr. Jeremy Berg from NIH, and Dr. Maya Angelou, renowned author and poet. EBICS is committed to maintaining diversity in all center activities, and attending conferences like these is a part of that commitment.

ASME Magazine Publishes Article on EBICS

Published: October 31, 2010

Cells into systems

Procter & Gamble Science Diversity Summit at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Published: October 26, 2010

On October 27, Jimmy Hsia and Phoebe Lenear participated in a Science Diversity Summit located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Sponsored by Proctor & Gamble, the summit was designed to facilitate opportunities for students and faculty from four historically minority serving institutions in the U.S.--Haskell Indian Nations University, Tuskegee University, University of the Virgin Islands, and Universidad del Este. Hsia and Lenear shared information about the EBICS Education, Diversity, and Research Programs. As a result of the Science Diversity Summit, plans are underway for the institutions to participate in the Seminar Series, the Summer Research Experience for Undergraduate program, and the GEM4 Summer School.

Stice Comments on first stem cell treatment for human administered in Atlanta

Published: October 10, 2010

First stem cell treatment for human administered in Atlanta

McDevitt comments on stem cells on Atlanta's Fox 5

Published: October 9, 2010

Posted: Oct 11, 2010 10:40 PM EDT


For the very first time, embryonic stem cells are being used on a human with a spinal cord injury and it's happening at Shepherd Center in Atlanta. 

It's the first study approved by the Food and Drug Administration to test the controversial therapy. Some are calling it a major breakthrough in medicine using embryonic stem cells.

But there are others who say there is no need to use embryonic stem cells when adult stem cells have been proven to work.

Inside Shepherd Center a patient, paralyzed with a spinal cord injury, is hoping that a procedure using embryonic stem cells will help.

The patient is the first ever to be injected with millions of embryonic stem cells.

"This is a huge landmark in the field," said Dr. Todd McDevitt, a stem cell engineer at Georgia Tech. 

Dr. McDevit says he received his training from the Geron Corporation , the California company conducting the research. The trial will study about a dozen patients and could take two years for the drug to be tested for safety and doctors to study its effectiveness.

McDevitt says the cells that were injected come from cells derived from invitro fertilized embryos.

"They were donated, left over embryos that were not going to be used for implantation," said Dr. McDevitt.

McDevitt says using embryonic stem cells holds more promise than adult stem cells because they're more versatile and can morph into any type of cell.

"There is not an adult cell type that has been successfully used to treat spinal chord repair because those cells can't turn into the cells for a spinal cord, whereas embryonic has the potential to turn into these cell types," said Dr. McDevitt.

While the patient Shepherd Center is the very first human, the Geron company says it has used the treatment in animal trials and in many cases, paralyzed rats have regained some movement.

Still, there are those who call the research just plain wrong because it involves destroying human embryos.

"Its life at its earliest beginning," said Catherine Davis of Georgia Right to Life. "Someone has to die in order for this experiment to happen."

Davis says more emphasis should be put on adult stem cell research.

"Why go there when adult stem cells has such great promise and has done so many good things for a lot of people including spinal cord injuries?" asked Davis.

Shepherd Center is one of seven sites across the country where the therapy will be used. It is the first to use it on a patient.


Record Attendance at the Buzz on Biotechnology Open House

Published: September 17, 2010

On Saturday September 18th, GA Tech hosted its Buzz on Biotechnology High School Open House. This annual science fair is organized entirely by graduate students from Bioengineering and Bioscience Unified Graduate Students (BBUGS) education and outreach committees to encourage high school students to indulge in their scientific curiosity. This year there was a record turnout with students from all over the Atlanta metro region.
After the Open House, Dr. Manu Platt, an EBICS co-PI, spoke to students from Langston Hughes High School who brought a busload of 40. He talked about his journey to becoming a professor and enlightened the students on the process of applying to college and graduate school. Many students and chaperones said it was the best part of the day!