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Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory - A dynamic public / private partnership. 
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$15.7 Million Grant Will Advance Cell-based Therapy Research 

New Marcus Center for Therapeutic Cell Characterization and Manufacturing will develop consistent manufacturing processes for cell-based therapies

A $15.7 million grant from the Atlanta-based Marcus Foundation has helped launch a new Georgia Institute of Technology research center that will develop processes and techniques for ensuring the consistent, low-cost, large-scale manufacture of high-quality living cells used in cell-based therapies. The therapies will be used for a variety of disorders such as cancer, lung fibrosis, autism, neuro-degenerative diseases, autoimmune disorders and spinal-cord injury – as well as in regenerative medicine.

The work of the new Marcus Center for Therapeutic Cell Characterization and Manufacturing (MC3M) will help provide standardized production and quality testing for these living cells, which have great therapeutic potential. 

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Research Could Lead to an Artificial Sensing System Inside Cells

Scientists Demonstrate Basics of Nucleic Acid Computing Inside Cells

Using strands of nucleic acid, scientists have demonstrated basic computing operations inside a living mammalian cell. The research could lead to an artificial sensing system that could control a cell’s behavior in response to such stimuli as the presence of toxins or the development of cancer.

The research uses DNA strand displacement, a technology that has been widely used outside of cells for the design of molecular circuits, motors and sensors. Researchers modified the process to provide both “AND” and “OR” logic gates able to operate inside the living cells and interact with native messenger RNA (mRNA).

The tools they developed could provide a foundation for bio-computers able to sense, analyze and modulate molecular information at the cellular level. Supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), the research was reported December 21 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

“The whole idea is to be able to take the logic that is used in computers and port that logic into cells themselves,” said Philip Santangelo, an associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. “These devices could sense an aberrant RNA, for instance, and then shut down cellular translation or induce cell death.”

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Spikes of Activity Serve to Focus the Brain’s Attentions

“Bursting” cells gain the brain’s attention for life-or-death decisions

The brain’s ability to quickly focus on life-or-death, yes-or-no decisions, then immediately shift to detailed analytical processing, is believed to be the work of the thalamus, a small section of the midbrain through which most sensory inputs from the body flow. When cells in the thalamus detect something that requires urgent attention from the rest of the brain, they begin “bursting” – many cells firing off simultaneous signals to get the attention of the cortex. Once the threat passes, the cells quickly switch back to quieter activity.

Using optogenetics and other technology, researchers have for the first time precisely manipulated this bursting activity of the thalamus, tying it to the sense of touch. The work, done in animal models, was reported January 14th in the journal Cell Reports. The research is supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

“If you clap your hands once, that’s loud,” explained Garrett Stanley, a professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. “But if you clap your hands several times in a row, that’s louder. And if you and your friends all clap together and at the same time, that’s even stronger. That is what these cells do, and the idea is that this mechanism produces bursts synchronized across many cells to send out a very strong signal about a stimulus in the outside world.”

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Professor Lena Ting Elected to the AIMBE's College of Fellows 

Lena Ting to be Inducted into Medical and Biological Engineering Elite

The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) has announced the pending induction of Lena Ting, Ph.D., Professor, Wallace H. Coulter Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, Emory University and Georgia Institue of Technology, to its College of Fellows. Dr. Ting was nominated, reviewed, and elected by peers and members of the College of Fellows for outstanding accomplishments in neuromechanics of muscle coordination for locomotion and balance. 

The College of Fellows is comprised of the top two percent of medical and biological engineers in the country. The most accomplished and distinguished engineering and medical school chairs, research directors, professors, innovators, and successful entrepreneurs, comprise the College of Fellows..

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Peng Qiu Wins Prestigious NSF Award for Junior Faculty

BME'S Peng Qiu Earns CAREER Award 

Peng Qiu, an assistant professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, has been granted a CAREER award. This award is among the most prestigious a junior faculty member can receive.

Given by the the National Science Foundation, CAREER awards go to newer faculty members who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through research, education and blending these two fields. Awardees are given yearly grants in order to further their research efforts. 

After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in 2007, Qiu joined the Georgia Tech faculty in the fall of 2013. His research focuses on bioinformatics and computational biology, targeting statistical signal processing, machine learning, control systems and optimization.

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Copyright © 2016 Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech & Emory University, All rights reserved.

The Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University is united by our dedication to improving the health and well-being of all by fostering the next generation of leaders in biomedical engineering worldwide. We are highly collaborative, interdisciplinary innovators in basic and translational research and education. View our website

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