Karunanithi receives CU Denver Excellence in Research and Creative Activities award

Arun Karananithi 432Arunprakash Karunanithi, associate professor in civil engineering, is the CU Denver campus winner of the Faculty Excellence in Research and Creative Activities. He will be honored at a campuswide event on September 5, 2014. Congratulations, Arun, on this well-deserved honor.

Find a complete list of CU Denver faculty award winners here.


CU Denver bioengineering student to participate in American Physiological Society (APS) Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship (UGSRF)

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 3.53.33 PMRachelle Walter, an undergraduate in the Department of Bioengineering at CU Denver, will be participating in the American Physiological Society (APS) Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship (UGSRF) this summer of 2014.

The APS funds 24 undergraduate students in this program to do research for a 10-week period over the summer. It is designed to introduce students to a scientific research career where each student works on his/her own research question in an established APS investigator laboratory. Rachelle Walter will be working in Dr. Richard Benninger’s lab at the Anschutz Medical Campus to study islet dysfunction and changes in gap junction coupling in the pancreas due to pro-inflammatory cytokines. This study is important to learn more about the early stages of development in Type I and Type II Diabetes and could potentially lead to therapeutic targets to inhibit or delay development of diabetes. In addition, Rachelle will also receive a travel grant to next year’s APS annual Experimental Biology meeting in Boston, MA in order to present her research data.

Rachelle is looking forward to this amazing experience to gain more knowledge about research and also contribute to the advancement of Medicine.

Engineering colleagues awarded NIH grant to develop spinal cages

Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professors Christopher Yakacki and Dana Carpenter have received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Award (R21) to develop spinal cages.

Yakacki and Carpenter have partnered to establish the Smart Materials and Biomechanics Lab to discover new biomedical materials and to investigate uses for biomedical devices.

This new funding of more than $348,000 is supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. It is for their project “Porous, Patient Specific Interbody Fusion Cages with Enhanced Loading Characteristics to Reduce Subsidence”

The research interests of these colleagues complement one another: Yakacki studies the materials used to build devices, and Carpenter uses imaging techniques to create models of the devices and test their functionality.

To obtain a clinical perspective, the pair also collaborates with colleagues in the CU School of Medicine. Vikas Patel, associate professor in orthopaedics, and Andriy Noshchenko, a research assistant in orthopaedics, play an integral part in
the development of these devices. As the “end users”, their perspective is key to developing a successful, useful product.

Typically, spinal cages are made with titanium, carbon fiber epoxy or grafted tissue from a donor. However, Yakacki has found a polymer called polyparaphenylene that maintains strength when made into a porous material.

Through digital models of the spine, Carpenter is able to determine load distributions, and then uses imaging software to insert the device into the modeled spine to see how it will work.

The researchers say with this approach, they can simulate the amount of bone that will be absorbed, the mechanics of the bone and how it will interact with the device – over time.

ASCE Steel Bridge Team wins at regional conference

On April 3 – 5, the CU Denver ASCE Steel Bridge Team competed in the  at Colorado State University.
Please join me in congratulating them for wins in two categories:

  • 1st Place in Mystery Design (to student Fernando Molina)
  • 2nd place in Steel Bridge Display (to the Steel Bridge Team)

This year’s ASCE Steel Bridge Team was headed by Justin Dorough, with participation at the Prince Appiah, Jimmy Botsonis, Peter Botsonis,
Christopher Florence, Ronson Fox, Omer Karaketir, Doron Levary, Fernando Molina, Brian Vines, Christopher Shipman, Rajan Parajuli, and Nate Parker.

Well done team!

The 2014 CU Denver ASCE Steel Bridge Team.
Fernando Molina receives the first place award for mystery design.

Denver Post features new Bioscience 2 Building

New building on Fitzsimons campus will house CU bioengineering students

By Megan Mitchell
YourHub Reporter

The University of Colorado Denver and the Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority are ready to begin construction on the 578-acre health campus’ second medical research incubator building, Bioscience 2.

“This is our first, real collaboration with CU,” said Steve VanNurden,  president and CEO of the FRA, which was formed in 1996. “We meet every week to work on the design and final details. This project has been in the works for six or seven years.”

Crews are working on the 112,000-square-foot Bioscience 2 building at East Montview Boulevard and North Troy Street after the groundbreaking Wednesday.

Li named Assistant Dean of International Education

Cheng Yu LiProfessor Chengyu Li has been offered and accepted the position of Assistant Dean of International Education.  This is an important position in the college as we try to grow several collaborations with international universities. As many of you know, Professor Li has been instrumental in the development of the 3+1+1 program with the Northeast Forestry University. He is currently negotiating MOUs with two additional Chinese universities to develop similar programs.  Please join the college in congratulating Professor Li.