To see the full Childrens Hospital Colorado story, please follow the URL: https://www.childrenscolorado.org/pediatric-innovation/research/fetal-care-research/neural-tube-defect-repair-research/
Pulmonary Hypertension is a progressive disease that ultimately leads to right heart failure. This K25 award looks at the mechanical and biochemical interaction between the right and left heart, during the progression of this cardio-pulmonary disease. Both sides of the heart are both moving “pumps” that are physically connected to one another. The study utilizes magnetic resonance imaging, computational modeling, and gene expression analysis of animal tissue to establish two key concepts: (1) declining right heart function during pulmonary hypertension can be improved by targeting the left heart; and (2) the left heart can be targeted through genes that control the contraction speed of the left heart muscle. If this approach proves to be successful, it could lead to novel therapies for treating right heart failure in children with pulmonary hypertension.
Kailey Beck, Matt Kiselevach, Vinh Pham and Mackenzie Wilderman traveled with Senior Design Instructor Casey Howard to Coulter College in Atlanta, Georgia at the beginning of August. Coulter College is a workshop (a crash-course of sorts) focused on teaching students how to develop commercially viable device solutions to unmet needs. This year students prepared a summer homework assignment and all the students were excited to work together in a team to represent CU Denver. When the workshop started however, everyone learned that teams would be scrambled and each Coulter College team would be made up of students from 4 different institutions from around the country and that each team would be advised by a faculty member from yet a different institution.
The CU Denver students all focused on developing solutions in the same ‘need area’ which was: helping alleviate issues with access to healthcare for individuals with disabilities in low resource settings. The student teams worked tirelessly for 3 days to develop and refine concepts and business models. The concepts evolved through conversations with experts, clinicians and industrial designers. The students also learned about topics such as Intellectual Property, medical device reimbursement, funding and business models, clinical trials, and regulatory pathways.
The teams gave a concept pitch on day 2 and a final 8 minute venture-style pitch on the concluding day of the conference. Prizes were awarded in each need area. All of the CU students and teams came up with interesting solutions tackling various issues including pressure sores and beyond. Mackenzie Wilderman and her team won both pitch contests in their ‘need area’.
This experience should provide a great foundation to help the students in their capstone design experience this academic year.
Daewon Park, assistant professor of bioengineering, received American Heart Association Grant-in-Aid with his research titled “Engineered biomimetic injectable system towards cardiac repair”.
Myocardial infarction (MI) is a leading ischemic cardiovascular disease. Over recent decades, the number of medical treatment methodologies for patients with MI has steadily increased, with new treatments being developed every few years. However, even with this concerted attention from the medical and research communities, a significant percentage of MI patients have suffered a recurrent attack, despite receiving proper medical treatment. There is a clear unmet need for MI treatment that prevents recurrent attacks.
With this grant, Dr. Park will develop an alternative treatment strategy, using an injectable biomaterial with the capacity for localized co-delivery of therapeutic agents, to target key endogenous processes of the post-MI healing process: the anti-inflammatory reaction and the formation of new blood vessels.
This injectable biomaterial system addresses MI in a one-time treatment platform, removing the critical barrier of patient compliance thereby promoting therapeutic success.
With the graduation of the class of 2017 comes the culmination of a vision nearly a decade in the making. The Department of Bioengineering celebrated the graduation of the inaugural undergraduate class. Welcoming friends and family to join in the festivities, the department hosted a banquet to acknowledge the accomplishments of each senior and their contributions to the program.
The fifteen graduates from the program have set high standards for their predecessors, with students continuing to industry, graduate programs, medical school, and even MD/PhD programs. Throughout their time as undergraduates, many students have excelled in undergraduate research. Others placed into competitive industry internships, linking them with full-time offers after graduation. As the bioengineering graduates of 2017 end their time on the Anschutz Medical Campus, some students will stay local and begin their professional careers, while others are relocating across the country.
The Department of Bioengineering is grateful is have such a dedicated and incredible inaugural class and looks forward to all they will accomplish in the future.
Coulter College is a BMES program that is focused on translation research. The University of Colorado Denver Bioengineering team was accepted into the program for 3 days this summer in Atlanta. The team is made up of in-coming seniors: Vinh Pham, Kailey Beck, Mackenzie Wilderman and Matt Kiselevach with Casey Howard, one of the senior design faculty. The team will learn about the innovation process and the steps to commercialization of medical devices and technologies. Topics such as intellectual property, regulatory approval processes, reimbursement and business model development.
Richard Benninger, Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering, has been awarded a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Innovation award entitled “Non-Invasive Imaging of Pancreas Blood Flow Redistribution to Assess Insulitis and Islet Decline in Type1 Diabetes”. Type1 diabetes involves autoimmune destruction of insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. As a result, lifelong insulin therapy is required, with significant elevation in the risk of diabetic complications including blindness, kidney disease, and cardiovascular diseases. There are currently no clinical approaches to monitor the ongoing decline in beta cells prior to clinical presentation of diabetes, as well as to monitor the success of any preventative treatment. This JDRF Innovation award will build upon recent findings in the Benninger Research Group showing that contrast enhanced ultrasound can detect changes in islet microvascular function in animal models during the preclinical stage of type1 diabetes progression. Specifically it will validate whether the success of preventative therapeutic treatments can be predicted early, prior to diabetes onset. It will also investigate ways to translate this approach to clinical testing. Ultimately the goal is to develop a means to improve the early diagnosis of underlying disease development and enable successful treatments to prevent diabetes.
The Office of Undergraduate Experiences announced the next round of Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) recipients. UROP is a competitive program designed to financially support undergraduate research, most broadly understood as including all creative and other scholarly activities. The goal of UROP is to provide an opportunity to extend learning outside the traditional classroom, laboratory, or studio.
Congratulations to Kateryna Biryukova, Ryan Gerstenberger, Alexander Ho, Cameron Mattson, Damon Pool and Robert Wood who received these awards.
Kateryna Biryukova will use the immortalized human derived SH-SY5Y cell line to develop protocols and methodology for printing neurons using a 3D bioprinter. Differentiated SH-SY5Y cells acquire morphological and biochemical characteristics of mature neurons, thus providing means to generate a cost-effective reproducible model of bioprinting neural cells. This research is a part of Dr. Lammer’s open source 3D bioprinter project.
Ryan Gerstenberger will be working on a joint project between Children’s Hospital Colorado physician Stephen Hawkins and Department of Bioengineering Instructor Jennifer Wagner. The title of his project is 3D Printed Custom Mask for Pediatric Sleep Apnea Therapy. Ryan will work to create a method for producing patient specific, pediatric, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks.
Alexander Ho will investigate pelvic anatomy and geometry, and tissue deformation using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on 20 adults who have used a wheelchair for at least 3 years. Pressure ulcers have negative consequences for the health, activities of daily living, employment, and quality of life for wheelchair users. The results of the study could lead to methods for reducing the incidence rate and severity of pressure ulcers, and improvements in wheelchair seating design. Alexander will be working with Dr. Levin Sliker in Assistive Technology Partners (ATP), Dept. of Bioengineering.
Cameron Mattson’s research project is titled “Development of volume-changing shape memory polymer as a gutta percha filling material in root canals.” This research is an important first step to develop a replacement of the gutta percha using a shape memory polymer. He will conduct this research under the guidance of Dr. Daewon Park, Assistant Professor in Bioengineering.
Damon Pool, an undergrad (and future BS-MS student) working with Dr. Jeffrey Jacot in his research laboratory. He will be investigating whether including native heart extracellular matrix in an electrospun heart patch material can enhance the attachment, migration and viability of heart cells.
Robert Wood will study the mechanical and physiological impacts of constant-flow left ventricular assist devices on the proximal Aorta. He will be working with Dr. Kendall Hunter (BioE) and Dr. Amrut Ambardekar (SOM Cardiology).
Dr. Bradford Smith, Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering was awarded $747,000 over three years to study The Importance of Inhomogeneity in the Pathogenesis of Lung Injury (NIH R00 HL128944). This work is motivated by Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a condition that causes more deaths per year than breast or prostate cancer. Treatment for ARDS is based around supportive mechanical ventilation, but this can cause ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI) and worsen outcomes. The major obstacle to developing personalized mechanical ventilation strategies that prevent VILI is an incomplete understanding of the microscale fluid-mechanical forces responsible for injury. In the proposed research, Dr. Smith will investigate the role of alveolar interdependence in the parenchymal stress balance and VILI pathogenesis. A detailed understanding of the stresses and strains that cause VILI will improve the treatment of ARDS and thus reduce mortality for a significant number of people.
The purpose of this $50,000 Foundation grant is to inaugurate the CTA/Qualcomm Assistive Technology Fellowship/Young Investigator program within the Department of Bioengineering, University of Colorado, to build research capacity, knowledge utilization and dissemination and industry partnerships leading to technology transfer. Dr. Cathy Bodine will serve as the Principle Investigator and Dr. Levin Sliker will serve as the inaugural Fellow.
Short-term results include the establishment of a CTA/Qualcomm Fellow/Young Investigator program at the University of Colorado, Department of Bioengineering focused on Assistive Technology for persons with disabilities and seniors; development and execution of a research agenda by the Fellow; and the development and launch of an Industry Advisory Council to facilitate knowledge transfer.
The long-term results include knowledge dissemination, utilization, and potential technology transfer to industry. Access by both parties to state-of-the-art information related to improved device design and ongoing and developing technology needs for seniors and persons with disabilities will lead to increased access to needed technologies and to opportunities for new discoveries.
Building reciprocal relationships between industry and university researchers has the potential to create a pipeline for students from internships and employment to opportunities for joint research and development work in the future.