Benninger to receive 2015 Young Fluorescence Investigator Award

Richard Benninger has been selected for the 2015 Young Fluorescence Investigator Award, to be presented at this year’s Biophysical society annual meeting. The Young Fluorescence Investigator Award is given to an outstanding researcher at the beginning of his or her career for significant advancements and/or contributions in or using fluorescence methodologies. This award is sponsored by Horiba Jobin Yvon and consists of a $1,000 honorarium and an invitation to present a 20-minute research talk at the Fluroescence Subgroup Meeting during the Biophysical Society Annual meeting.

Carpenter and Yakacki published in the Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials

Mechanical engineering assistant professors Dana Carpenter and Christopher Yakacki have published their first jointly authored paper, which is featured in this month’s issue of Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials.

The study, titled “Monotonic and cyclic loading behavior of porous scaffolds made from poly (para-phenylene) for orthopedic applications,” was designed to integrate medical imaging, computer models, and mechanical testing to uncover the relationships between the porous structure and mechanical behavior of porous polymer scaffolds. These scaffolds have potential applications in a range of different medical devices, including orthopedic implants.

This research is the result of a collaboration between the CU Denver Smart Materials and Biomechanics Lab and investigators Carl Frick, Ray Fertig and Joe Hoyt at the University of Wyoming.

Marshall aims to discover why cyclists break the law

Wesley Marshall, Assistant Professor Civil Engineering

Wesley Marshall, Assistant Professor
Civil Engineering

Have you ever seen a cyclist run a red light or fly through a stop sign? Our very own, Wesley Marshall, assistant professor of civil engineering, is looking for the answer as to why some cyclists don’t follow the law.

Read about his research in the Washington Post and on CBC News in British Columbia.

EnteroTrack Commercializing Device for Non-Invasive Inflammation Monitoring

Non-invasive device enables better monitoring of esophageal disease and inflammation. 

AURORA, Colo., January 6, 2015 – EnteroTrack, LLC and the University of Colorado (CU) have executed an exclusive license agreement that will allow the company to develop and market a novel device to monitor inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

Diagnosing inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract such as eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), severe gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), eosinophilic gastroenteritis (EGE), food allergic enteropathy (FAE), and inflammatory bowel disease (lBD) is often difficult, since blood tests and radio-imaging aren’t able to pinpoint the cause of inflammation. Ultimately, many patients must undergo endoscopy – use of an instrument to visualize the esophagus and collect samples for testing.

EnteroTrack LLC is developing a capsule that allows for simple, low-cost analysis of esophageal content. The capsule can help identify the presence of esophageal inflammation, leading to faster treatment. The capsule can also be used to monitor the effectiveness of treatment, and in the future may also be used to help diagnose esophageal diseases.

The company was formed as a result of a partnership between Glenn T. Furuta, M.D., a professor of pediatrics at the CU School of Medicine at the Anschutz Medical Campus and a pediatric gastroenterologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado; Robin Shandas, Ph.D., professor and chair of bioengineering at the University of Colorado Denver, College of Engineering and Applied Science; and Steven Ackerman, Ph.D., a professor of biochemistry at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago.

“This partnership represents the best aspect of academic medicine,” said Furuta. “We have been able to successfully collaborate in a multi-disciplinary fashion to develop and execute a plan that will ultimately improve the lives children and adults with gastrointestinal diseases.” Furuta developed the technology in collaboration with Ackerman; the duo then approached Shandas to move the idea from the university research lab into a commercial entity.

At that time, Children’s Hospital Colorado stepped in to provide seed funding to the company, supporting the innovative research of the researchers and recognizing the opportunity to positively impact the lives of children with inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal track.

“Given the increasing pressures to contain costs, there is clear rationale for innovative, cost-effective methods to monitor esophageal diseases,” said Shandas, who is acting as the company’s interim CEO. “This technology holds particular promise because it can reduce total patient care costs while keeping good margins. We hope to obtain FDA approval for the device in 2015.”

About EnteroTrack
EnteroTrack aims to be a key player in the field of detecting gastrointestinal (GI) biomarkers to monitor various diseases in children and adults. In contrast to current, more invasive approaches or less direct methods, the company’s products are minimally invasive and targeted for specific organs and diseases. The diagnostic market for GI diseases in the US exceeds $1B annually. The company has received funding from Children’s Hospital Colorado, and from the State of Colorado’s Bioscience Discovery and Evaluation Grant program.

Shandas shares patent for drug delivery to the eye

Robin Shandas, chair and professor, bioengineering

Robin Shandas, chair and professor, bioengineering

The CU Technology Transfer Office is pleased to announce that researchers from CU’s Anschutz and Denver campuses have been awarded a patent for an implantable device to treat dry-eye and deliver medications to the eye. Based on shape-memory polymer materials developed at CU, the patented ‘punctal plug’ is easy to insert, stays properly and comfortably positioned, and can deliver a continuous supply of topical pharmacological treatments for eye conditions like glaucoma.

The CU inventors on the patent are Robin Shandas (CU Denver, Bioengineering; CU SOM, Pediatrics; Children’s Hospital), and Naresh Mandava and Malik Kahook (both of the CU School of Medicine, Ophthalmology, and University of Colorado Hospital). U.S. 8,911,495 (Reliably Retained Shape Memory Ophthalmological Implants) was issued on December 16, 2014.


Dr. Bodine and Assistive Technology Partners featured in CU Connections

bodineAlthough Assistive Technology Partners (ATP)  is a program of both CU Anschutz (the School of Medicine) and CU Denver (the College of Engineering and Applied Science), it is located on neither campus. In a low-slung building at East 18th Avenue and Pearl Street in Denver, 15 faculty, staff and students – including engineers, clinicians, therapists and educators – transform lives and society every day.

They are led by the boundless energy of Executive Director Cathy Bodine, PhD, CCC-SLP, who has been with the organization for 18 years and can remember when it operated with a single grant and four people.

To read the full story, visit CU Connections

Professor Lewis discusses internet reputations with 9News

Jason Lewis, a computer science professor at CU Denver, knows once a story makes its way online, it becomes virtually impossible to remove.

“It’s this black hole. It gobbles up everything. It never goes away,” he said. “There really is no true way to get something off of the internet.”

Read the full story

Study by Kim, Marshall and Pal says 2013 floods could have been less destructive

The severe flooding that devastated a wide swath of Colorado last year might have been less destructive if the bridges, roads and other infrastructure had been upgraded or modernized, according to a new study from the University of Colorado Denver.

“People need to understand the importance and seriousness of infrastructure,” said Jimmy Kim, associate professor of civil engineering and lead author the study. “There is an assumption that a bridge will stand forever and that’s simply not true.”

Kim along with co-authors Wesley Marshall, and Indrani Pal, both assistant professors of civil engineering, examined the causes of the flooding and its impact on infrastructure.

The stage was set for the deluge when an unusual low pressure system generated a steady plume of monsoonal moisture flow from the Pacific Ocean toward Colorado’s Front Range communities.

The rain began on Sept. 9, 2013 and didn’t stop until the 16th. In just days, places like Boulder County received three-quarters of its yearly precipitation, the study said. Bridges collapsed, roads failed and homes were swept away.

According to the study, 120 bridges now need structural repair. Many were damaged by rushing water which washed out backfill soil and exposed bridge foundations.

Kim said new `scour control’ methods, aimed at reducing these washouts, should be developed to help bridges withstand future flooding.

“You can do that by upgrading existing piers (columns) supporting the bridge or changing current design approaches” he said. “The Colorado Department of Transportation is currently working on improving scour design for bridge structures.”

The researchers also suggested improving roads made of concrete or bituminous material like asphalt since they often disintegrate when flooded. Kim said fiber, nano-particles or polymeric admixtures could be added to these construction materials to increase tensile strength and flexibility while reducing cracking.

The study noted the successful use of geographic information systems (GIS) to help supply up-to-the-minute mapping and alerts about flood damage.

“The production of such data and maps extended well beyond the typical GIS community and included local news affiliates and even the City of Boulder itself,” said study co-author Wesley Marshall.

For example, on September 27, 2013, Boulder launched a `Community Flood Assessment’ crowd-sourced map using the Crowdmap application. The city asked users to submit flood reports via the website or smartphone apps. They were also asked how deep the flooding was and if they lost power. Video and photos could be uploaded to locate the event on an interactive map.

“Such efforts were not only useful during the recovery efforts but will continue to be used toward helping increase the resiliency of Colorado during such events,” Marshall said.

Overall, the researchers revealed a much wider problem.

From 1980 to 2007, about 90 percent of all global disasters were caused by flooding either by rain, tsunami, hurricane or some other natural event.

At the same time, the American Society of Civil Engineer’s 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure gave the country a dismal D+. The group said $3.6 trillion was needed by 2020 to address the most serious problems.

In Colorado, the report card says, 70 percent of major roads are poor or mediocre and 566 bridges are structurally deficient.

“Reconstruction is very expensive and should be the last resort,” Kim said. “But we can repair or strengthen existing systems less expensively. We are looking at a growing national problem, one that will only get worse if we ignore it.”

The study was published last week in the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

This research was also featured on Channel 7 News and Colorado Public Radio.

Marshall’s study examines bias in roadway design; featured on 9News

Wesley Marshall, Assistant Professor Civil Engineering

Wesley Marshall, Assistant Professor
Civil Engineering

According to a new study co-authored by Wesley Marshall, assistant professor of civil engineering, America’s streets are designed and evaluated with a an inherent bias toward the needs of motor vehicles, ignoring those of bicyclists, pedestrians, and public transit users. His study was featured in CU Today and on 9News and published in the Institute of Transportation Engineers Journal.

“The most common way to measure transportation performance is with the level-of-service standard,” said Marshall. “But that measure only tells us about the convenience of driving a car.”

Read the entire story here.
Watch the clip from 9News.