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Bioengineering News

DesJardins Drives Industry and University Collaboration

Dr. John DesJardins en route to the site of Clemson’s Developing World Biomedical Device Innovation Co-Op program.

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BEST Design Workshop

Clemson Bioengineering annually sponsors the Biomedical Engineering and Surgical Technology (BEST) Design Workshop, where stakeholders evaluate how design of medical-device prototypes may affect patient safety.

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Dr. John DesJardins awarded CECAS 2017 Mentoring Award

Dr. John DesJardins, Hambright Distinguished Professor in Engineering Leadership, was awarded the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Science’s 2017 Mentoring Award. According to Dr. DesJardins, this recognition affirms his belief that mentoring is a slow and consistent process of gaining and maintaining the trust of another person, placing their interests, aspirations and successes above your own, for the common good of everyone.

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2017 Bioengineering Senior Design EXPO

On May 5, 2017, more than 50 student teams and research groups showcased their novel biomedical technologies and competed for design awards at TD Convention Center in Greenville, South Carolina. This year’s exposition featured Masters of Engineering design teams, Clemson Creative Inquiry groups, Project Lead The Way high school teams, and faculty innovators. The designers presented their technologies alongside the department of bioengineering’s 22 senior design teams and their clinical collaborators. According to Dr. John DesJardins, founder of the annual exposition, the day is a celebration of design and technology achievements that have been supported by laboratory research, clinical collaborations and industry partnerships.


Rugby Explores Prostheses, Bioengineering with “The Running Dream”

Dr. John DesJardins and Ph.D. student Meredith Owen contributed their expertise and themselves to explicating prostheses for students at Rugby Middle School in Henderson County, North Carolina.

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Melissa McCullough awarded Frank A. Burtner Award for Excellence in Advising


Melissa McCullough, front row, far right

At the 2017 University-wide faculty meeting, Melissa McCullough, the department’s electrical and communication services coordinator, was awarded the Frank A. Burtner Award for Excellence in Advising. Presented by President James Clements, the annual award includes an cash prize. The Burtner Award recognizes an advisor of students (academic or nonacademic) or student organizations who excels in developing students in the area of leadership, devotion to duty and service.

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Dr. Vladimir Reukov Wins Creative Inquiry Mentoring Award

Dr. Vladimir Reukov was selected by Clemson Creative Inquiry to receive the 2017 Phil and Mary Bradley Award for Mentoring in Creative Inquiry. The award is given to a faculty member in recognition of outstanding work with undergraduate students, who are the nominators for this award. In addition to receiving a monetary award, Dr. Reukov will act as an ambassador for the program and will be a plenary speaker at next year’s Focus on Creative Inquiry.


2017 Awards Banquet and Senior Celebration

The department held its annual Awards Banquet and Senior Celebration on April 13, 2017. The following students were recognized:

2017 College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Science Award Winners
  • J. Wesley Davis Leadership Award—Joey Wilson
  • Hambright Scholarship Fellow—Natalie Ivey
2017 Undergraduate Award Winners
  • S. W. Shalaby Outstanding Bioengineering Sophomore Award—Cassidy Barringer
  • Larry S. Bowman Outstanding Bioengineering Junior Award—Natalie Ivey
  • Poly-Med Outstanding Bioengineering Senior Award—Katelyn Ragland
  • Barry W. Sauer Outstanding Bioengineering Undergraduate Researcher Award—Taylor Rothermel
  • Jonathan Black Undergraduate Leadership in Bioengineering Award—Anna Lu Carter
  • C. William Hall Undergraduate Departmental Honors Award—Lauren Pruett
  • R. Larry Dooley Entrepreneurship Award—Carlie Van
2017 Graduate Award Winners
  • Austin T. Moore Leadership Award—Alan Marionneaux
  • Outstanding Graduate Bioengineering Teaching Assistant Award—Dmitry Gil
  • Page Morton Hunter Bioengineering Graduate Researcher Award—Dylan Richards
  • R. Larry Dooley Entrepreneurship Award—Bre Przestrzelski

International Biomaterials Symposium 2017 - China

Madren Center, Clemson, SC
April 10th, 2017

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Dr. Frank Alexis recognized by Clemson PEER & WISE

Clemson’s PEER & WISE have recognized Dr. Frank Alexis for his exceptional service and support of the programs. PEER & WISE are designed to increase and retain women and underrepresented minorities in engineering and science majors.


Drs. Dan and Agneta Simionescu have edited a second book on angiogenesis

Physiologic and Pathologic Angiogenesis - Signaling Mechanisms and Targeted Therapy, edited by Drs. Dan and Agneta Simionescu, is an updated second edition of a previous publication that has accumulated 23,743 chapter downloads since 2011. Physiologic and Pathologic Angiogenesis - Signaling Mechanisms and Targeted Therapy ISBN 978-953-51-3024-6 is published online by INTECH as an Open Access resource.


Joey Wilson Receives Cambridge Trust Scholarship

After a year of study as a Schwarzman Scholar at Tsinghua University in Beijing, Joey will take up studies and research toward a Ph.D. in Oncology at Cambridge University.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to earn a Ph. D. in Oncology at Cambridge University, where I will conduct research on how nanotechnology can be developed to better prevent and treat cancer under Dr. Daniel Munoz-Espin! I believe that Cambridge is like Clemson—with an amazing "family" environment and beautiful community that will provide opportunities for immense intellectual, professional, and personal growth inside and outside of the lab and classroom. I hope to take full advantage of my time there by joining a great college, meeting new people, and staying involved on campus—my ultimate dream would be to join the rowing team and compete against Oxford on the River Thames. I'm so thankful for all of the constant support given by Clemson's Bioengineering Department and the Honors College in my quest to attend Cambridge—I wouldn't be the person I am or have the opportunities I do without them."

Lowcountry Science Fair

In Summer 2016, the Clemson-MUSC Program hosted three Academic Magnet High School Summer students. They were Kerri Wong and Jenny Yao, who were mentored by Dr. Ying Mei, and Hannah Frankel, who was mentored by Dr. Renee Cottle. During the first week in April, the students participated in the Lowcountry Regional Science and Engineering Fair, where Ms. Frankel won 3rd Place in Biological Science. Ms. Yao, the overall winner, was selected as a finalist to compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, May 14-19 2017.


VRM Labs: A Startup to Watch

Alexey Vertegel and Vladimir Reukov’s company, VRM Labs, is one of Upstate Business Journal’s “10 Startups to Watch in 2017."

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Dr. Perry Sprawls presented Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award

The Clemson University Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award honors individuals dedicated to enhancing the quality and value of the university. On March 31, Dr. Perry Sprawls was awarded the DSA. With research on using nuclear medicine to detect cancer and other abnormalities, Perry Sprawls received Clemson’s first Ph.D. in Bioengineering in 1968. He already had a Clemson Bachelor’s degree in physics, a minor in engineering and a Master’s degree in nuclear science. The degrees were the foundation of a career devoted to the science and engineering of medical imaging and radiology. His 45-year tenure on the faculty of Emory University School of Medicine concluded in 2005 with the title of Distinguished Emeritus Professor. At Emory, a major focus of his effort was development of educational programs and resources to support the many new developments in medical imaging technology including mammography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging. Simultaneously, he conducted research and development in using technology to improve the educational process, for which he received national and international innovation awards.

Dr. Sprawls realized that his Clemson education and extensive clinical medical imaging experience at Emory would be of value to the entire world, especially to emerging market economies, as new imaging methods were becoming available. For 25 years, this has been a major effort for Dr. Sprawls. The Sprawls Educational Foundation is the organization under which much of this work is accomplished. The Foundation also collaborates with national and international scientific organizations. Dr. Sprawls’s extensive collection of educational materials, including textbooks, online modules, and high-quality visuals for classroom use, the Sprawls Resources, are freely available. These resources are used in the Sprawls Collaborative Teaching Network, through which Dr. Sprawls supports development of medical imaging education programs and teachers worldwide. His has taught face-to-face in classrooms in 15 countries, to students from over 50 countries. As Dr. Sprawls notes, through his continuing efforts, “Clemson Bioengineering Tiger Paw Prints are all over the world.”

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Clemson Distinguished Service Award Winners


Jeannette Rodriguez Poster Takes 2nd Place at 33rd SEBEC

Jeannette Rodriguez, a student of Dr. Vladimir Reukov, took 2nd place in the 2017 Conference Poster Competition with “Towards The Prevention Of Oxidative Damage Via Novel Antioxidant Conjugates."


Dylan Richards Awarded National Institutes of Health T32 Renewal

In 2014, Dylan was awarded two years of support through Medical University of South Carolina's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute T32, "Training to Improve Cardiovascular Therapies." He re-applied for an additional year, and in 2017 was awarded a 3rd year on the training grant.

Asked about his research, Dylan, a student of Dr. Ying Mei of the Clemson-MUSC Bioengineering Program, said: “My PhD research has focused on engineering human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte (hiPSC-CM) microtissues to address the major challenges in cardiac-tissue engineering solutions for heart failure. I have addressed advancing the maturation of hiPSC-CMs and creating a more biomimetic model using cardiac organoids that incorporate cell-cell, cell-matrix, and structural (e.g., vessels) components in the heart.”

Dylan enjoys collaborating with his lab mates and others. “Two minds are better than one, especially in the field of bioengineering. In the end, the freedom I have in Dr. Mei's lab to work across projects/field has encouraged me to strengthen my own capabilities to better contribute to the next project.” Outside the lab, Dylan likewise enjoys spending time with friends and volunteering. “When I'm not working, I enjoy helping others, whether it's helping someone move (there's always somebody moving in Charleston), helping out homeless friends, and most recently using my French minor from college to help translate/teach English for a local Congolese refugee family. I also really enjoy being in the ocean, playing strategy board games (Killer Bunnies=best game), playing percussion/piano in jam bands, growing vegetables, and a million other things.”

According to the NIH, the T32 award helps ensure a diverse, highly trained workforce to meet the Nation’s biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs. The T32 provides a strong foundation in research design, methods, and analytic techniques; training to conceptualize research problems; experience in research, presentation, and publication; interaction with the scientific community; and enhanced understanding of the health-related sciences.


Ryan Borem Awarded NSF GRFP Renewal

A United States Army combat veteran and current BIOE Ph.D. student, Ryan’s research focuses on the development of a tissue engineering scaffold to assist in the repair and regeneration of intervertebral discs in people suffering from back pain. He describes his life and work:

"By supporting me in pursuit of a doctorate in bioengineering, The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP) has allowed me to continue my research, which focuses on the development of a tissue-engineered device for intervertebral disc repair. This medical device works to promote tissue regeneration of an intervertebral disc through incorporation of biologic tissue and human stem cells. I have the opportunity to work for an advisor (Dr. Jeremy Mercuri) who ensures that our research always has a translational aspect to it. We never lose sight that at the end of the day, we are trying to help patients through basic science studies and the development of biomaterials and stem cell technologies. With Dr. Mercuri’s mentorship, my wife’s ongoing love and support, and the NSF GRFP, I am able to focus on research that will one day improve the quality of life for future generations."


Senior Emily Gullette receives scholarship, internship opportunity from Hubbell Lighting Inc.

Hubbell Lighting Inc., a world leader in lighting innovation, and the Hubbell Foundation have pledged $250,000 to Clemson University to establish the Hubbell Foundation Engineering Scholarship Endowment.

A celebration at Clemson this week honored the first five engineering students to receive scholarships as part of the endowment.


Cottle Speaks About Disparities

Dr. Renee Cottle was asked to join a faculty-student panel to discuss racial and gender disparities in science, technology, engineering and math.


DesJardins and Bina Study Helmet Safety

facemask

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 75 percent of traumatic brain injuries that occur each year are concussions. A team of Clemson University researchers and an Upstate businessman believe they can help make football a little safer by creating a facemask that can help reduce the severity of head injuries by increasing overall helmet protection.


American Heart Association Funds Richardson

BMES

Dr. William Richardson and his lab were recently awarded a Scientist Development Grant from the American Heart Association to support highly promising beginning scientists in cardiovascular and stroke research. The $231,000 grant will support investigation of mechano-adaptive cell signaling related to cardiac healing after a heart attack. According to Dr. Richardson, “Our lab is using a computer model of scar healing to test the effects of potential drugs that could allow us to control, based on local mechanical forces, where, when, and how much scar is deposited. Such a drug would improve cardiac function after a heart attack. Furthermore, we will continue developing the computer model as a tool to predict effects of numerous drugs and devices on long-term scar structure.”


Joey Wilson named Schwarzman Scholar

BIOE and Honors College senior Joey Wilson has been named a Schwarzman Scholar. Often referred to as the Rhodes Scholarship to China, the Schwarzman will send 129 men and women from 30 countries to study for one year at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

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McMahan Receives Helping Hand Award

BMES

Chad McMahan, the department’s Histology Lab manager and officer for safety and compliance, was recognized by the National Society for Histotechnology at its 42nd annual NSH Symposium in Long Beach, California, September 18-21, 2016. The society’s Helping Hand Award recognized McMahan’s excellence in sharing scientific and technical knowledge in the histology community.

McMahan has just completed a two-year term as president of the SC Society of Histology Technicians. He said, “I value leadership in both members and officers. Encouraging students to be thinkers and leaders in their profession is my greatest contribution as president.” McMahan presided over the state’s 2016 meeting of histologists at Litchfield, SC, November 3-6. Activities included hosting career days for over 200 students from five high schools in the Pawley’s Island area. Beginning with lectures covering histology fundamentals and pathological diagnosis, the experience provided several wet-lab workstations including microtomy, cryotomy, staining, microscopy slide review and hands-on exploration of biomaterial implants. The experience complemented STEM activities held at each school. Of his term in office, McMahan said, “Participating on the state and national level greatly encourages me because I have the opportunity to support, challenge and connect with my peers. My greatest desire is that cancer research will continue locally, statewide and across the world.”

As a member of the department’s research staff, McMahan has a range of responsibilities. “I ensure that students working in the histology labs have proper training. I assist with sample preservation, sectioning samples with biomedical implant devices and staining slides with various techniques. I assist in all methodologies of histology fundamentals to produce a slide with values of complete sample morphology and cellular details. Graduate and undergraduate students encourage me to stretch my limits to assist them with great challenges. Repeating experiments, sectioning difficulties and staining variabilities are several roadblocks that students face. My duties include being research safety liaison and manager of our $10M inventory. Through our department, I collaborate with researchers and students from CECAS, CAFLS and CES.

Regarding his role as safety officer, McMahan stated, “We consistently ensure safety showers and eye washes are functioning properly. Fire extinguishers and other aspects of building safety compliance are monitored. We keep accurate training logs for all students who complete required safety modules. Safety is top priority when researchers and students are involved with biologics and the chemicals required in bioengineering research. We train, train and re-train to insure student compliance. Students are our greatest asset: I would not do what I do without our students.


New Clemson Bioengineering Traveling Exhibit

BMES

Always seeking the best ways to communicate with future bioengineers, the department specified a traveling exhibit that debuted at the 2016 BMES annual meeting. The exhibit includes a 10 ft. truss for three vertical banners, adjustable tabletops, a monitor mount, a counter and spotlights. Assembly is toolless. According to Graduate Student Services Coordinator Maria Torres, the exhibit is “techie, slick and vibrant. The crowd in Minneapolis was impressed and had very good comments about our video and the ability to fill out a short online application on site.” As Team BIOE, Torres and several graduate students managed the display throughout the meeting, encouraging passersby to enter a raffle for Clemson headphones, take a set of tiger paw logo retractable earbuds, talk with Clemson students, and apply online.


Dr. John Desjardins Delivers Winning Pitch at 6th Annual SCBIO Conference

Desjardins

At SCBIO Live 2016, South Carolina’s annual life science industry conference, Dr. John Desjardins of Aravis Biotech and Clemson’s Department of Bioengineering won the SCRA Pitch Contest. The $2,500 prize was sponsored by Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology, South Carolina Research Authority and Carolina Biotech Group. It was awarded at SCBIO’s sixth annual conference, held November 10-11 at Greenville’s Westin Poinsett.

Two CU bioengineering alumni, Rebecca DeLegge, co-founder and president of DeLegge Medical, and Matthew R. Gevaert, co-founder and CEO of Kiyatec, were recognized for their dedication to advancement of the life sciences in South Carolina. At the career fair that preceded the conference, students with industry representatives advertising 40 open technical positions. A platinum sponsor, Clemson Bioengineering hosted the panel breakfast with keynote speaker Dr. Christopher Austin, Director of the National Institutes of Health National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

SCBIO is a member organization that supports South Carolina’s life science industry through collaboration, advocacy, workforce development, and business operations support. Its goal is to ensure that South Carolina’s companies, research institutions, and citizens reap the economic and societal benefits of a world-class life sciences cluster. The following companies were represented at the career fair: AmbioPharm, AVX, Capsugel, Foster Healing, Milliken Healthcare Products, Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Poly-Med, Inc., SCRA and The Ritedose Corporation.


Bioengineering Lunch and Learn Series

Lunch and Learn Logos

The Department of Bioengineering’s Lunch and Learn Series is an industry- and business-related event where biotech professionals describe their work or focus, answer students’ questions, and dine with students. Most of the sessions address professional development and how students can best position themselves to obtain experience and prepare for a career. Speakers during the Fall 2016 semester were

  • Drew Green (CU BIOE Alumnus), CEO at Cormatrix.
  • Ray Boudreaux, PhD (CU BIOE Alumnus), and Emma Moran, PhD, Research Engineers at Cook Medical
  • Jerome Klawitter, PhD (CU BIOE Alumnus), VP of Advanced Development at Integra Life Sciences
  • Richard Hing, Sales Engineer at Zeus

The Fall series concluded with a product demonstration from Zeus. The South Carolina-based company, a worldwide leader in polymer tubing, presented a locker of materials to the Senior Design class to support student design of prototype devices. If you would like to be a guest in our Spring 2017 Lunch and Learn Series, please contact Jennifer Hogan at jrhogan@clemson.edu.


Dabo Swinney All In Foundation Supports Bioengineering

Brian Booth

Recently appointed assistant professor of bioengineering Dr. Brian Booth received another vote of confidence on October 17, 2016. For the third time, Tiger football coach Dabo Swinney’s All In Team Foundation funded Booth’s proposed breast cancer research. The foundation has been behind Booth from his first studies showing that tannic acid, a naturally occurring anticancer agent, kills ER+ and HER2+ breast cancer cells at a greater rate than normal breast cells.

According to Booth, “We are working to develop an injectable matrix of small collagen beads and tannic acid that will facilitate tissue regeneration following a lumpectomy. When a patient’s own cells grow on the matrix of beads, the anticancer agent will be released, killing any residual cancer cells and inhibiting tumor recurrence.” The first year of the new grant will allow the Booth lab to perform laboratory experiments to refine the matrix. In the grant’s second year, Booth’s lab will translate the results into preliminary animal experiments.

Booth describes graduate Lauren Jordan, who finished her M.S. degree in bioengineering working on this project with the support of Dabo’s All-In Team Foundation, with pride. “We have been able to present the research at international scientific conferences including the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting and the Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting. We have published two scientific papers about our results so far, have another accepted for publication, and a fourth is currently being prepared for submission.” He added, “Potentially, this research could translate to other soft tissue cancers such as melanoma. The matrix will also be applicable to soft tissue regeneration such as after injury or trauma.”


Dr. Dan Simionescu awarded new NIH grant

Dr. Dan Simionescu, the Harriet and Jerry Dempsey Professor of Bioengineering, was recently awarded a new R56 grant for “Tissue engineering and regeneration of the aortic root” from the National Institutes of Health. This $410k, “High Priority, Short Term Project Award” from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute will support efforts to regenerate heart valves using scaffolds, stem cells and bioreactors. The research team is comprised of Dr. Jeffrey Gimble and Dr. Bruce Bunnell of Tulane University and LaCell LLC, Dr. Leslie Sierad of Aptus LLC in Clemson, Dr. Jun Liao of Mississippi State University and Dr. Chris Wright, thoracic surgeon at the Greenville Health System.


Team BIOE and SCBIO, a winning partnership!

Clemson Bioengineering will be highly represented at the SCBIO Annual Conference November 10-11, 2016 in Greenville. Not only will our students show leadership and entrepreneurial engagement, they will also use this opportunity for networking with biotech industry.


Hai Yao appointed new Ernest R. Norville Endowed Chair

A Clemson University professor who plays a key role in bringing together some of South Carolina’s leading minds for bioengineering research is the new Ernest R. Norville Endowed Chair in Biomedical Engineering. Hai Yao’s appointment comes as the result of a $1.5-million gift from Mitch and Carla Norville. Mitch Norville received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Clemson in 1980, and the endowed chair is named after his father.