We just wrapped up the first session of our Bioengineering Opportunities and Leadership Training (BOLT) Camp, and it was an amazing week! Students from all over Colorado came to the Anschutz Campus for 4 days packed full of hands-on learning.
BOLT campers did everything from learning to solder, to building optical heart rate monitors, to running tissue engineering experiments. They got to visit the roof of Children’s Hospital to check out the specially engineered pediatric Flight For Life helicopter, and they learned about anatomy and the human body from the Anschutz AHEC Anatomy team. Throughout the week, students heard from clinicians, researchers, students, and faculty on all facets of bioengineering. In between all of this, students prototyped their own engineering solutions to real clinical problems. The whirlwind week of learning and fun ended with design presentations to a panel of judges, camp awards, and an ice cream social.
Students left BOLT with a greater understanding of the field of bioengineering, applicable knowledge and practical lab skills, and hopefully even more passion for STEM than before! Now it’s time for the team to prep for the next group – BOLT Session Two starts in less than a month!
Hassan El-Batal, a junior in the Department of Bioengineering was recently awarded a 2018-2019 Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) mini grant while working in the Magin Lab. The UROP is funded through the Colorado Clinical Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI). This research collaboration focuses on the multiple particle tracking (MPT) and he will be programing a user-friendly graphical interface purposed for MPT. This investigation and software design may help overcome limitations of studying mucociliary clearance (MCC) defects in preclinical animal models and answer questions about MCC dysfunction in pulmonary diseases. As part of the award he looks forward to presenting their findings at the Research and Creative Activities Symposium (RaCAS).
Associate Professor Richard Benninger and his lab recently published a research article in Nature Communications “Contrast-enhanced ultrasound measurement of pancreatic blood flow dynamics predicts type 1 diabetes progression in preclinical models”. Non-invasive techniques to assess the progression of type 1 diabetes prior to clinical onset are needed, both for disease diagnosis and for monitoring the efficacy of therapeutic reversal. The Benninger lab applied a contrast-enhanced ultrasound measurement of mouse pancreatic blood flow to detect changes in the islet microvasculature that undergoes rearrangements during diabetes. These measurements predicted both rapid disease progression as well as the success of therapeutic interventions to reverse disease progression. This study is particularly significant as both the widespread deloyment of ultrasound modalities and the clinical approval of ultrasound contrast agents will facilitate clinical translation for monitoring disease progression in populations at risk for type1 diabetes. This study was primarily supported by funding from the JDRF and NIH, and lead author Josh St Clair was funded by the “Cardiovascular Imaging and Biomechanics” T32 training program and an F32 NRSA postdoctoral fellowship.
Assistive Technology Partners (ATP) is deeply grateful for the ongoing support from the Colorado construction industry’s annual Déjà vu Rendezvous event. Held May 18, 2018, this eleventh event offered a chance to unite past and current members of the Colorado construction community while supporting a worthwhile cause. Proceeds from the event help ATP, housed in the Department of Bioengineering, meet their mission for persons with cognitive, sensory, and/or physical disabilities to reach their highest potential at home, school, work and play through the addition of appropriate assistive technologies to their lives. This year the event hosted 800 guests at Denver’s Mile High Station and brought cumulative donations to more than $2.3M.
The event created by retired Trautman & Shreve CEO, Bill Caile, is sponsored by more than 100 corporations.
Cathy Bodine, executive director of ATP and associate professor of bioengineering, says, “We are so grateful to the local construction companies and our generous sponsors for choosing ATP to benefit from such a wonderful annual event.” Funds will be used to support persons with disabilities, their families and others who are unable to afford services.
“The Déjà-vu event has always been focused on the wonderful people that make up the construction industry in Colorado and the relationships we all have,” says Marc Able, Steering Committee Chair and President, ABLE Consulting Group, LLC.. “It is one night a year where we leave the business at the door and celebrate everyone on a personal level. It is such a fun night and to be able to support the great work ATP does is icing on the cake.”
A medical device company founded by two University of Colorado Denver and CU Anschutz Medical Campus professors was recently acquired by Stryker, one of the world’s leading medical technology companies.
Dr. Omer Mei-Dan, a sports surgeon and associate professor of orthopedics at the CU School of Medicine and Dr. Robin Shandas, chair of bioengineering in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus collaborated on the Pivot Guardian, the industry’s first post-free hip distraction system, designed to mitigate groin complications and heel slip associated with hip arthroscopy.
Working with Dr. Jacob Segil, Instructor in Engineering Plus at the University of Colorado Boulder, and Brett Schumer, an orthopedic device consultant, Drs. Mei-Dan and Shandas created MITA LLC to bring Dr. Mei-Dan’s novel hip distraction technique to market. The terms of the sale were not disclosed.
The acquisition shows the impact of pairing clinical faculty with bioengineers to bring promising ideas to market. The total time between initial discussions and company exit was less than two years.
“The fact that our Bioengineering Department is located on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus really facilitates such multi-disciplinary interactions,” said Professor Shandas, founding chair of the department who has co-founded several other companies with clinical faculty. “We built a technical team very quickly to execute on Dr. Mei-Dan’s vision to help his patients, while at the same time building the startup company to carry the idea into commercial reality.”
Dr. Mei-Dan agreed.
“Having biomedical engineers as in-house partners who can quickly understand the clinical need, assemble a business-savvy technical team, and iterate through multiple prototypes efficiently is a huge great asset we have here on campus,” he said. “This great success gives me much confidence for future endeavors.”
About the Department of Bioengineering, College of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus
The Department of Bioengineering at the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus performs interdisciplinary research and training at undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels in bioengineering, focused on catalyzing technology development to cure and prevent disease. One of the few cross-campus programs in Colorado, Bioengineering also partners with clinicians and entrepreneurs to bring products to market efficiently and quickly. More information is available at http://www.ucdenver.edu/bioengineering
About Sports Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine
The CU Sports Medicine division treats competitive and recreational athletes of all types and ages across the Colorado Front Range, encompassing care for hip, knee, hand, foot & ankle, elbow & shoulder, and spine. CU Sports Medicine physicians lead their field performing groundbreaking procedures including stem cell therapies, orthobiologics, innovative devices and clinical trials. They are also the head team physicians for the Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Mammoth as well as NCAA teams at the University of Colorado and the University of Denver.
Maria Bortot, a third-year PhD candidate in the Department of Bioengineering and Department of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus, has been awarded the American Heart Association (AHA) predoctoral fellowship under the mentorship of Dr. Jorge DiPaola. Non-surgical bleeding (NSB) is a major complication among patients with aortic stenosis and end-stage heart failure supported by ventricular assist devices or blood pumps such as extracorporeal mechanical oxygenators. Although the mechanism for NSB amongst these patients is not clearly understood, it has been associated with acquired von Willebrand syndrome, a disorder characterized by loss of high molecular weight multimers of von Willebrand factor (VWF). It has been proposed, but not yet demonstrated, that the high shear stress associated with VADs and AS can cause VWF elongation, facilitating excessive cleavage by its main protease, ADAMTS-13. Maria’s project is focused on assessing the effects of fluid dynamics on VWF conformation, cleavage as well as platelet activation and receptor shedding. Maria obtained her BS in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sydney, Australia. Then she was awarded a scholarship by the Argentinean National Atomic Energy Commission in Argentina were she completed her Masters in Materials Engineering at Instituto Balserio, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo. She was then awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and moved to the University of Colorado, AMC to first complete a the Masters program in Bioengineering before joining the DiPaola Laboratory to pursue her PhD.
Last Friday, 30 engineering students participated in the university’s annual Research and Creative Activities Symposium—11 bioengineering, 5 computer science, 13 electrical engineering and 1 mechanical engineering—and students from the college won first through third place in the Engineering and Math Division, first place in the Biomedical Sciences Division, and an Emerging Scholars award.
Engineering and Math
First place: Electrical engineering PhD student, Zeinab Mohammadi won first place for her poster “Real time spike clustering for electrophysiology recording” (sponsored by Tim Lei and Chao Liu)
Second place: Bioengineering undergraduate students Jacqueline Chavez, Anne Lyons, Ean Peterson, Jonathan Platt, Ian Garvin, Michel Manzanares, Mikala Mueller and Sarah Lamb won second place for their poster “Craniotomy Training Devices with Reusable Thermoplastics to Help Train Emergency Room and Trauma Surgeons” (sponsored by Craig Lanning)
Third place: Electrical engineering undergraduate student Kyle McGrath won third place for his poster “Exploring Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) to Recognize Human Gestures in Edge Computing Environments” (sponsored by Dan Connors and a UROP)
First place: Bioengineering undergraduate Damon Pool won first place for his presentation entitled, “Optimization of a human induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocyte differentiation method to increase reliability and efficiency for downstream applications” (sponsored by Jeffrey Jacot)
Emerging Scholars Award
Computer science undergraduate students Chris Renden, Lewis Sammons and Jordan Stein won the Emerging Scholars award for their project “Shared rapid prototyping space using hand tracking and virtual reality” (sponsored by Min Choi)
Also, many thanks to the faculty, staff and graduate students who served as judges (my apologies if I missed anyone):
Bioengineering: Liliya Vugmeyster, Craig Lanning, Jennifer Wagner
Computer Science: Min Choi
Electrical Engineering: Md Habib Ullah, Stephen Gedney, Tim Lei
Baris Ozbay, PhD, was selected as the 2018 winner of the Dean’s Outstanding Dissertation Award, which honors a doctoral student who demonstrates an outstanding commitment to academic excellence. His award will be listed in the 2018 commencement program and featured on a plaque in the Graduate School.
Mallory Lennon, a second-year PhD candidate in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus, has been awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) predoctoral fellowship under the mentorship of Dr. Jeffrey Jacot, Associate Professor of bioengineering. Mallory’s project seeks to understand structural heart development in children born with only one ventricle in the heart, a birth defect known as Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), which occurs in about 1,800 births per year in the United States,has a survival rate of only 27% in the first year, and requires several surgeries over many years. Mallory will collect cells from amniotic fluid at the birth of infants with HLHS, make those cells into heart muscle in the laboratory using a recently published technique from the Jacot lab, and measure specific responses to the mechanical forces encountered during development. She expects that this understanding can be matched to genetic signaling and increase the prediction and diagnosis of HLHS as well as suggest future treatments. Mallory obtained her BS in Biomedical Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology, graduating Summa Cum Laude. She has previously been a recipient of the American Heart Association summer fellowship, and the TL1 (T32) Pre-doctoral Fellowship from the Colorado Clinical and Translational Science Institute.