Westacott receives Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship (Parent F31)

Matthew Westacott, a PhD student in bioengineering mentored by Richard Benninger has been awarded a F31 pre-doctoral fellowship by the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Matthews project titled “Examination of Functional Subpopulations in the Islet of Langerhans Using Optogenetics” will use light-activated ion channels to precisely control and understand the spatiotemporal regulation of electrical activity within the islets of Langerhans. Matthew will specifically study how subpopulations of β-cells exert disproportionate control over the system electrical dynamics and insulin release, and how this  control is disrupted under diabetic conditions.


Year-End Celebration recap

On May 13, more than 250 faculty, students, staff, alumni and guests attended the fifth annual College of Engineering and Applied Science Year-End Celebration. Guests enjoyed a catered BBQ lunch, photobooth, badminton, and an awards ceremony.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the 2017 event, scheduled for May 12, 2017.

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Erickson awarded CCTSI pre-doctoral fellowship for translational research on treatment for growth plate injuries

Chris Erickson, a second year bioengineering PhD student, was awarded the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI) TL-1 Pre-doctoral Fellowship for his proposed thesis work on treating growth plate injuries. The growth plate is a cartilaginous region found at the ends of long bones in children, and is responsible for bone elongation. Injury to the growth plate from trauma or disease in the young child can result in bone growth abnormalities. Unfortunately, there is no clinical treatment that can fully correct these injuries, which may result in skeletal deformities that persist throughout life. However, tissue engineering offers a promising alternative treatment by using stem cells, biologics, and biomimetic materials to regenerate the injured growth plate. Chris will be investigating a tissue engineering approach to treating growth plate injuries under the mentorship of Dr. Karin Payne, a basic scientist in orthopedic regenerative medicine, and Dr. Nancy Hadley-Miller, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. Support by this scientist-physician team and the CCTSI will help advance the translation of basic science discoveries into clinical treatments.

Elson awarded CCTSI TL1 Fellowship for her proposed research into an optogenetic neural interface for users of prosthetic limbs

laura elsonBioengineering PhD student Laura Elson was awarded the CCTSI TL1 Fellowship for the 2016-2017 academic year for her proposed research into an optogenetic neural interface for users of prosthetic limbs. This design uses optical proteins to connect the mechanical limb with the peripheral nervous system that can provide both sensory feedback and motor output to the user. Currently, in vitro tests are being conducted, and ultimately in vivo tests will be performed in rodents. Through this fellowship she will also be afforded the opportunity to gain clinical experience in two settings: the Assistive Technology Partners Clinic headed by Dr. Cathy Bodine, and the Amputee Program at Children’s Hospital Colorado, headed by Dr. Travis Heare.