List of Announcements (details below):

Seminar:  Bioengineering Dept.:  Mar 18, 1pm

Title: Microscale Engineering for Regenerative Medicine
Speaker: Faculty candidate Dr. James Ankrum

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
1:00 PM
ENGR 3507


In this seminar two platform-technologies that use microscale engineering to take advantage of biological phenomena will be presented. The first is a technology inspired by the porcupine. North American porcupines have quills with microscopic barbs. The barbs contribute to adhesion and unexpectedly, dramatically reduced penetration force. The dual functions of barbs were reproduced with synthetic quills and applied to medical devices including tissue adhesives and needles. The second platform is a technology to enhance therapeutic cells. Mesenchymal stem cells’ (MSC) ability to differentiate into multiple lineages, secrete trophic factors, and modulate inflammatory processes has made them of clinical interest; however these diverse functions also pose challenges in controlling their phenotype. To address this challenge a new platform to control the cell phenotype was developed. MSCs were found to efficiently internalize microparticles. Incorporation of phenol-type altering drugs into the particles allows the platform to be tuned to specific applications. Three applications of this platform will be discussed including, controlling MSC differentiation, tracking cell location, and enhancing MSC’s immune-modulatory potency.


James Ankrum, PhD is a Senior Innovation Fellow in the Medical Devices Center at the University of Minnesota focused on developing translatable medical technologies. He completed his undergraduate training in biomedical engineering with a focus on ergonomics and human factors at the University of Iowa. With the support of a Churchill Fellowship, he went on to complete a Masters in Engineering Design at Cambridge University focusing on the impact of design decisions on patient care. After completing his masters, James joined Harvard-MIT's Division of Health Sciences and Technology to pursue his PhD in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics. During his PhD, James worked on a wide variety of projects ranging from engineered cell-based therapies, to drug delivery, to bio-inspired medical adhesives.  His research focus is on identifying unmet clinical needs and establishing collaborations between academia and industry to rapidly foster development of new technologies. Of particular interest are novel uses of engineered cell-based therapies and the design of medical devices that stimulate natural physiological processes to promote regeneration of damaged tissue.

Seminar:  Bioengineering Dept.:  Mar 20, 12pm

Title: Microfluidic Systems: Platforms for Chemical Analysis and Fabrication of Biomimetric Constructs
Speaker: Dr. André A. Adams

Thursday, March 20, 2014
12:00 PM
ENGR 3507


The advent of microfluidic systems some two decades ago has culminated in the development of an array of smaller, less expensive, more sensitive analytical platforms capable of more rapid chemical analyses, as well as the facile on-chip chemical synthesis of fibers, particles, and tubules that span the macro, micro, and nano scales. The characteristic low Reynolds number laminar flows within these systems has fostered the production of high aspect ratio microstructures in the fabrication of chemical sensors capable of performing in the marine environment while quantitating nitroaromatics in the 10 ppt range enabling the detection and more precise localization of compromised unexploded ordnance on the sea floor. Additionally, my lab seeks to tease out the synergies that exist between microfluidic systems, biological cells, and chemical synthesis. Rapid kinetics and mild reaction conditions of “Click-chemistry” within the low Reynolds number flows has been used to form nested concentric flows of various cell suspensions protected by innocuous sheath fluids within microsystems. This was accomplished by the incorporation of flow altering geometries into the microchannels to induce hydrodynamic focusing influenced by systemic advection. The resultant flows were photopolymerized in situ using low dose UV-A irradiation. Principles of microfluidic systems, chemical sensing, click chemistry, and biohybrid materials will be presented followed by recent results from our work in these exciting areas.


André A. Adams received his B.S. in Chemistry from Grambling State University in 2000.  After brief stints at the E.O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Dow Chemical Company as an analytical chemist, he entered the Department of Chemistry at Louisiana State University. He obtained his Ph.D. in Bioanalytical Chemistry in 2008 under the supervision of Steven Soper. His dissertation research focused on the development of systems for rare cell isolation and enumeration from complex matrices by exploiting microfluidic platforms and immunoaffinity for selective isolation and quantitation. Dr. Adams joined the Naval Research Laboratory as a National Research Council Postdoctoral Research Associate in 2008, and focused on the development of chemical sensing platforms for autonomous underwater vehicles.

In 2011, Dr. Adams became a federal scientist, and initiated research programs directed at the development of biohybrid materials using microfluidic systems that employ sheath flow in conjunction with on-chip click chemistry to create encapsulated cellular constructs. Current interests include explorations into sensing, 3D in vitro models, biomaterials, complex co-culture, angiogenesis, and anastomosis.

Mark Pullen and Nicholas Clark Receive Funding from Truestone & U.S. Army

Mark Pullen and Nicholas Clark of the C4I Center received $17K from Truestone, LLC, and the U.S. Army for their project, “AMSO - Intergrated Standards.”

Stephen G. Nash
Senior Associate Dean
Volgenau School of Engineering
George Mason University
Nguyen Engineering Building, Room 2500
Mailstop 5C8
Fairfax, VA 22030

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Phone: (703) 993-1505
Fax: (703) 993-1633