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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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National Academy of Engineering - Induction Ceremony

Professor Ajit Yoganathan inducted into the National Academy of Engineering

On October 4, Ajit Yoganathan was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in Washington D.C. Election to NAE membership is one of the highest professional honors accorded an engineer. Yoganathan is the Wallace H. Coulter Distinguished Faculty Chair in Biomedical Engineering and a Regents' Professor. He is also the associate chair for translational research. He holds a joint appointment in the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering. Yoganathan was elected for his contributions to improvements in the biomechanics of prosthetic heart valves and the development of heart repair devices.
     The NAE is part of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The NAE operates under the congressional act of incorporation that established the National Academy of Sciences, signed in 1863 by President Lincoln. Under this charter the NAE is directed "whenever called upon by any department or agency of the government, to investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art." The nation turns to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for independent, objective advice issues that affect people's lives worldwide. 

Ajit Yoganathan (middle) is pictured above with Charles O. Holliday (left), chairman of the board, Royal Dutch Shell, retired chairman and CEO of E.I. du Pont de Nemours, and Dan Mote, Jr. (right), president of the National Academy of Engineering.

Read more about the National Academy of Engineering >
Read more about Ajit Yoganathan's research and nomination >
Tom Barker Receives NIH Transformative Research Award

NIH awards Tom Barker $3.5 million to develop new techniques for tracking and treating pulmonary fibrosis

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced a $3.5 million Transformative Research Award to Thomas Barker, an associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. The five-year grant will support research into new approaches for tracking and treating pulmonary fibrosis, a disease that claims 40,000 lives per year.
     Pulmonary fibrosis is an incurable disease in which the uncontrolled growth of scar tissue severely damages the ability of the lungs to bring oxygen into the body. Researchers plan to hijack the cellular mechanisms that normally worsen the disease, causing them to instead produce a chemical compound that would reduce the cross-linking associated with the fibrosis.
     The award is one of 13 Transformative Research Awards announced by the NIH on October 6. Each year, the exclusive NIH initiative funds a small number of “high-risk, high-reward” research proposals designed to advance innovative approaches to major contemporary challenges in biomedical research.

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Predictive Model Could Help Guide Choices for Breast Cancer

Manu Platt's new technique could give women and oncologists more personalized information for choosing breast cancer treatment options

Manu Platt's biomedical engineering research team has demonstrated a proof-of-principle technique that could give women and their oncologists more personalized information to help them choose options for treating breast cancer. Thanks to diagnostic tests, clinicians and patients can already know the type of breast cancer they’re up against, but one big question remains: How likely is it that the cancer will invade other parts of the body? Answering that question could help guide the choice of treatment options, from aggressive and difficult therapies to more conservative ones.
     By studying chemical signals from specific cells that are involved in helping cancer invade other tissues in each woman’s body, researchers have developed a predictive model that could provide an invasiveness index for each patient.
     “We want women to have more information to make a personal decision beyond the averages calculated for an entire population,” said Manu Platt, an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. “We are using our systems biology tools and predictive medicine approaches to look at potential markers we could use to help us understand the risk each woman has. This would provide information for a more educated discussion of treatment options.

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Georgia Tech Start-Up Puts Farm Next to Table

Recent Georgia Tech grads Alex Weiss and Ruwan Subasinghe create product that makes it easy to grow your own produce

Alex Weiss is an ardent advocate of the farm to table movement. He wants you to eat the freshest produce possible and to know where it came from. And he’s willing to do his part to see that it happens. 
Weiss, a recent graduate of the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering is one half of an entrepreneurial team that created “replantable” (with a lower-case ‘r’) – a company that emerged from under the broad CREATE-X umbrella at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
     Together with Ruwan Subasinghe, a recent mechanical engineering graduate, Weiss took part in Startup Summer, a 12-week accelerator program (part of the CREATE-X suite of entrepreneurial training programs) for Georgia Tech students and recent graduates who want to launch startup companies. These companies are based on the students’ own inventions and prototypes, and the program teaches participants to understand potential customers and the market so they can address real needs.
     The “nanoFarm” (the lower case ‘n’ also is by choice) actually is replantable’s latest incarnation after the team pursued a winding road of ideas, all based around a similar theme.

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A Warm and Fuzzy Idea for Sick Children: Emory and Georgia Tech

Biomedical engineering students develop a mechanized stuffed animal to comfort sick children

What is suffering? It’s a question that inspired a team of Georgia Institute of Technology students to bring a long-held idea to life for Sharron Close Ph.D. M.S. CPNP-PC, a research assistant professor and pediatric nurse practitioner in the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University.
     Last spring, Close mentored four biomedical engineering (BME) students as they developed a mechanized stuffed animal to comfort sick children 12 months and younger. The Georgia Tech team was comprised of Kelsey Roberts, Matthew Lee, Laura Nelson and Joseph Boltri. The students equipped a "Cuddle Care" prototype — a stuffed monkey with arms long enough to bolster or wrap around a child — that breathes, thumps with a heartbeat, and emits radiant heat.
     Close has carried the Cuddle Care idea with her since nursing school, when she cared for a 3-year-old boy with AIDS on an oncology unit. Tumors covered his small body, and his only relief came when Close and others held him. The child’s mother, who was HIV-positive and had several young children, rarely came to visit. Close agonized over the young boy’s future when her clinical rotation on the unit ended.
     "I thought there must be a way to comfort a child who was suffering this way," she says. "I reflected back on what was providing him comfort. As I held him in a rocking chair, I was taking pressure off of his tumors. We were also exchanging heat. I could feel his heat up against my chest, and he was feeling the comfort of my heartbeat and being held and squeezed. He was made to feel safe in the arms of what should have been a parent but was not possible for this little boy.".

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Welcome New Staff Member:  Kathy Huggins
Prior to joining the department, Kathy Huggins worked in the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and has been with Georgia Tech since 1995. Before that, she was in Germany for a long period of time.  If she isn’t in her yard digging in the dirt, she is volunteering at the Pitbull Rescue in Atlanta. She’s very proud to say she is a Georgia Tech fan. Huggins, our newest faculty support coordinator, is located in the Petit Institute (IBB), suite 1320.
Copyright © 2015 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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