Daewon Park, Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering, received an NIH R21 grant in the amount of $409,255 from the National Eye Institute.
With this grant, Park will develop an extracellular matrix-mimicking polymeric injectable system for the regeneration of injured retinal ganglion cell axons. This next generation biomaterial will have the ability to readily access the optic nerves, which sit in an anatomically challenging location, will harmonize with the host neuro-retinal environment to minimize introduction of counter-productive host reactions such as inflammatory responses, and will create a growth-permissive environment that encourages organized neuronal regeneration.
In June, the College of Engineering and Applied Science signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Harbin Institute of Technology at Weihai and with Dalian Jiaotong University in China. Both MOUs outlined cooperation in the fields of development of 3+1+1 program, exchange and/or collaborative engagement of faculty, collaborative study abroad or joint-student and/or faculty projects and seminars and conferences, collaboration on scholarly publications, and collaboration in the development of external funding.
Currently 24 students from Northeast Forestry University are in the 3+1+1 program. With the newly signed two MOUs, the college is expecting to receive more students with the program. Assistant Professor and Assistant Dean of International Education Chengyu Li has been integral for the MOUs and participated in the signing ceremonies.
Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT) was founded in 1920. It has been ranked in the top 10 universities in China for decades. HIT Weihai, as an indispensable part of HIT, was founded in 1985 in Weihai, a coastal city on the Jiaodong Peninsula in China. HIT Weihai comprises 11 schools and departments, including School of Automobile Engineering, School of Information Science and Engineering, School of Computer Science and Technology, School of Marine Resources and Environmental Engineering, School of Material Science and Engineering, and School of Software Engineering. HIT Weihai has more than 100 modern laboratories and engineering technology centers. There are more than 10,000 full-time students. The university is best known for its research in marine engineering, automobile engineering and electronic engineering. Its student HRT racing team has competed in Japan, Germany and many other countries.
Dalian Jiaotong University was founded in 1956 as Dalian Railway Vehicle Manufacturing School and changed to its current name in 2004. The university consists of two campuses in Dalian, a coastal city in eastern China. The engineering colleges include Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering, Transportation Engineering, Civil Engineering, Software Engineering and Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Automation, Environmental Engineering, and Measurement Control Technology and Instruments. There are about 20,000 full-time students and 1,100 full-time faculties. The university is best known for its strong program in railway and high-speed rail engineering and has developed many technologies that are currently used in high-speed rail system in China.
Department of Civil Engineering CTT Professor Chengyu Li was invited to present seminars at the College of Civil and Architectural Engineering of Heilongjiang Institute of Technology and the Department of Civil Engineering of Harbin Institute of Technology at Weihai, China, in June 2014. The topics he presented are Bridge Accelerated Construction and Special Design Methods in Bridge Engineering.
Baris Ozbay, a PhD candidate in the department of bioengineering, was awarded the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences Alumni Association scholarship.
Baris is working in close collaboration with the neuroscience program under the advice of Emily Gibson, PhD in the department of bioengineering and Diego Restrepo, PhD in the department of cell and developmental biology. His work combines optical engineering and molecular physiology to innovate on cutting-edge microscopy tools for the field of chemosensory neuroscience. This scholarship will allow Baris the flexibility to better interact with engineers and neuroscientists by opening pathways for collaborations and travel.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) has awarded Dr Richard Benninger, Assistant Professor in Bioengineering, a career development award (CDA) totaling $750,000 over 5 years. The title of the project is “Interactions between islet function and beta cell autoimmunity during the pathogenesis of type1 diabetes”.
Type1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease which leads to an imbalance in blood sugar levels, requiring life-long insulin therapy and increasing risks for widespread kidney, vascular, heart or retinal diseases. The precise causes of the disease and role of environmental and genetic factors remain to be determined; however we know that the immune-mediated destruction of insulin producing beta-cells is a central factor in the development of this disease. Research is investigating ways to alter the immune system to prevent the destruction of beta-cells, however recent research is discovering that an altered function of the beta-cells themselves during the disease progression may be an important factor. The CDA will build upon the Benninger lab’s recent work in applying advanced microscopy approaches and understanding pancreatic islet function, and develop further interactions within the Barbara Davis center for childhood diabetes where the Benninger lab is housed. This will help discover new ways in which beta-cells are disrupted in the disease pathogenesis and determine whether control of certain factors in these cells will blunt or prevent the emergence of diabetes in at risk populations.