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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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Buzzing the Vagus Nerve Just Right to Fight Inflammatory Disease 

Is a treatment only making things better or maybe also making some things a little worse? That can be a nagging question in some medical decisions, where side effects are possible. But researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have figured out a way to keep what helps, while blocking what harms, in a type of therapy to fight serious chronic inflammatory diseases.

It’s simple and works a little like a pacemaker: An implanted device electrically stimulates the vagus nerve, but, in addition, inhibits unwanted nerve activity in a targeted manner.

Forms of vagus nerve stimulation treatment against chronic inflammation have already been successfully tested in humans by private industry with the intent to make them available to patients. But the innovation by Georgia Tech researchers of adding an inhibiting signal could increase the clinical efficacy and therapeutic benefit of existing treatments.

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Biophysics Plays Key Role in Immune System Signaling, Response

How big you are may be as important as what you look like, at least to immune system cells watching for dangerous bacteria and viruses.

The size of pathogenic particles and the density of the molecular information stored on them provides additional danger signals to the body's immune system and helps guide the resulting immune response, suggests cellular and animal research published this week in the journal Cell Reports. Understanding these biophysical cues may help vaccine developers fine tune the signals they already knew were being transmitted by the molecular information presented to the immune system.

This research is believed to be the first to demonstrate the role that the biophysical features of molecular signals, known as pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), play in generating danger signals in pathogen-recognition receptors (PRR) and influence the immunogenic response.

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Wilbur Lam Inducted into the American Society for Clinical Investigation

The American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), launched in 1908, is one of the oldest, most respected organizations of its kind in the nation, and gaining membership is an aspiration that pretty much all physician-scientists share, since their days as trainees.

So when Wilbur Lam, assistant professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at Georgia Tech and Emory, found out this month that he’d been inducted into the ASCI, it felt kind of like he’d won an Academy Award.

“It’s not unlike the Oscars,” he says, only half joking. “It’s truly humbling. This is essentially a national honor society for physician-scientists, and few are inducted each year. Furthermore, I’m extremely humbled to be inducted as a physician scientist from the field of biomedical engineering."

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Emory Interventional Radiologists Collaborating with Georgia Tech Capstone Students

Last April, seven interventional radiologists from Emory University’s School of Medicine met with leaders from the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience and Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) on the Georgia Tech campus. The doctors brought a list of clinical needs that they hoped would yield some new ideas for innovative medical devices.

Fast forward to December, the season of giving. Five teams of BME undergraduate students had devoted their fall semester Capstone projects to fulfilling those wishes. A few days before the Fall semester Capstone Design Expo, they presented their projects to the radiologists and some of their colleagues at the Emory School of Medicine.

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Copyright © 2017 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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Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech & Emory University · 313 Ferst Drive, Suite 2120 · Atlanta, Georgia 30332 · USA