BE Seminars & Events

Current Seminar Series: 2014-2015

Bioengineering Seminars are held on Thursdays from 12:00-1:00 pm unless otherwise noted. For all Penn Engineering events, visit the Penn Calendar.

Tuesday, September 9, 1:30 p.m.
BE/GABE seminar
Sheldon Weinbaum
CUNY Distinguished Professor of Biomedical & Mechanical Engineering, The City College of New York
"Changing the Odds for URM Students in STEM Disciplines Through a New Approach to Mentoring"   
Location: 337 Towne Building
Read the Abstract

34% of all 18 to 24 year olds in the U.S. are federally defined underrepresented minorities (URM). This group constitutes 12% of all BS degree recipients in engineering in the U.S. but only 8% of the B.S. degrees in BME and only 4% of the PhD's in BME. In 2002 when the BME Department was started at The City College of New York it was decided to create a department where the tenure track faculty would reflect the diversity of the undergraduate student body which was 50% URM and 50% female at the time. The fledgling department was also awarded one of two grants from NIH whose goal was to encourage URM undergraduates to purse graduate education in a life science and potentially a PhD. This grant which was renewed in 2007 and ended in the summer of 2013 has played a pivotal role in shaping the future of the department. Of particular importance in the retention of students was a novel mentorship program in which every undergraduate NIH Minority Scholar was matched with a PhD student who met with them on a weekly basis for their entire stay at the college from freshman to graduation. Virtually every PhD student and faculty member in the department was involved in some way with an NIH Minority Scholar. This interaction had a remarkable effect on faculty recruitment whose diversity today is singular among all major STEM departments in the U.S. Currently 57% of the tenure track faculty in BME are female (43%) and or URM (36%), and 70% of the PhD students are female and/or URM. For the past nine years the department has also had highest teaching evaluation in the Grove School of Engineering. This talk will tell the story of how this happened.

September 11
Xiaoyuan (Shawn) Chen
Senior Scientist, Laboratory of Molecular Imaging and Nanomedicine, National Institutes of Health
"Nanoparticle Platforms for In Vitro diagnostics, In Vivo Imaging and Drug/Gene Delivery"
Location: 337 Towne Building
Read the Abstract

Nanoparticles with unique physical and chemical properties can be rendered water-soluble and biocompatible for use in cancer diagnosis, imaging and therapy. This talk will highlight some of the recent advances in the following four areas: 1) application of materials in improving the sensitivity of biomarker detection; 2) use of different nanomaterials (both rigid inorganic materials and biodegradable polymeric materials) for multimodality imaging (PET, optical, MRI, photoacoustic, etc); 3) drug and gene loaded nanomaterials for cancer therapy; and 4) theranostic nanoplatforms with both imaging and therapeutic components combined. The challenges and future perspectives of nanomedicine in cancer research will also be discussed.

October 2
Aaron Wheeler
Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto
"Digital Microfluidics for Three Dimensional Cell Culture and Single-Cell Signaling Assays"
Location: 337 Towne Building
Read the Abstract
Digital microfluidics is an alternative to microchannels for fluid handling in which discrete droplets are manipulated electrodynamically on the surface of an array of electrodes covered with a hydrophobic insulator. In this talk, I will describe two projects in which we are exploiting unique attributes of digital microfluidics to enable mammalian cell culture and analysis. In the first project, we have developed a system for generating arrays of microgels “on-demand” with arbitrary shapes and contents. We have used this system to identify conditions that control 3D kidney epithelial spheroid formation. In the second project, we have developed a system that allows for quantitative assays for single cells in situ. We have used this system to screen for PDGF signaling events with high time resolution. These examples are representative of interesting new possibilities for cell culture and analysis that are enabled by digital microfluidics. I will conclude by briefly reviewing our efforts to make these possibilities accessible to all users via open-source hardware and rapid prototyping techniques.
Seminar-Netoff

November 13
Theoden Netoff
Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota

"Optimizing Deep Brain Stimulation for Epilepsy and Parkinson's Disease"
Location: 337 Towne Building

Read the Abstract

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been used for treating Parkinson's Disease with great success and somewhat lesser success for epilepsy.The mechanism by which DBS works is not well understood and thus limits our ability to really tune stimulation to maximize benefits.In this talk I will discuss theoretical approaches to understand how pathological neural activity is generated in these diseases and approaches to optimize DBS therapy.

Seminar-Kovacevic November 20
BE/ESE Seminar
Jelena Kovacevic
David Edward Schramm Professor and Head, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
“Problems in Biologic Imaging: Opportunities for Signal Processing.”
Location: 337 Towne Building
Read the Abstract
In recent years, the focus in biological sciences has shifted from understanding single parts of larger systems, sort of vertical approach, to understanding complex systems at the cellular and molecular levels, horizontal approach. Thus the revolution of "omics" projects, genomics and now proteomics. Understanding complexity of biological systems is a task that requires acquisition, analysis and sharing of huge databases, and in particular, high-dimensional databases. Processing such huge amount of bioimages visually by biologists is inefficient, time-consuming and error-prone. Therefore, we would like to move towards automated, efficient and robust processing of such bioimage data sets. Moreover, some information hidden in the images may not be readily visually available. Thus, we do not only help humans by using sophisticated algorithms for faster and more efficient processing but also because new knowledge is generated through use of such algorithms. The ultimate dream is to have distributed yet integrated large bioimage databases which would allow researchers to upload their data, have it processed, share the data, download data as well as platform-optimized code, etc, and all this in a common format. To achieve this goal, we must draw upon a whole host of sophisticated tools from signal processing, machine learning and scientific computing. I will address some of these issues in this presentation, especially those where signal processing expertise can play a significant role.
  December 11
Kevin Plaxco
University of California - Santa Barbara
Location: 337 Towne Building
Read the Abstract
Content TBD
  January 8
Epigenetics Seminar (tentative)
Location: 337 Towne Building
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Content TBD
  January 22
Jane Kondev
Brandeis University
Location: 337 Towne Building
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Content TBD
 

January 29

Grace Hopper Lecture

Jennifer Elisseef
Jules Stein Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University
Location: 337 Towne Building

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Content TBD
  February 5
Daniel Ferris
University of Michigan
Location: 337 Towne Building
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Content TBD
  February 12
Tarjei Mikkelsen
Broad Institute, Cambridge, MA
Location: 337 Towne Building
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Content TBD
  February 19
Todd Constable
Yale University
Location: 337 Towne Building
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Content TBD
  February 26
Heike Daldrup-Link
Stanford University
Location: 337 Towne Building
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Content TBD
  March 5
Fan Yang
Stanford University
Location: 337 Towne Building
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Content TBD
  March 12
Howard Stone
Princeton University
Location: 337 Towne Building
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Content TBD
  March 19
Scott Manalis
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Location: 337 Towne Building
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Content TBD
  March 26
Shella Keilholz
Georgia Institute of Technology
Location: 337 Towne Building
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Content TBD
  April 2
Kwabena Boahen
Stanford University
Location: 337 Towne Building
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Content TBD
  April 9
Tammy Haut Donahue
Colorado State University
Location: 337 Towne Building
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Content TBD
  April 16
Steven George
University of Colorado
Location: 337 Towne Building
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Content TBD
 

April 23
Herman Schwan Lecture

Samuel Stupp
Board of Trustees Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry, and Medicine; Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Northwestern University
Location: 337 Towne Building; Please note the change in time to 3 PM

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Content TBD
  May 14
Epigenetics Seminar (tentative)
Location: 337 Towne Building
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Content TBD
  June 11
Peter Fraser
The Babraham Institute
Location: 337 Towne Building
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Content TBD