The REU Site: Cellular Bioengineering -- From Biomaterials to Stem Cells offers students exciting research projects that introduce them to a broad array of topics grounded in Cellular Bioengineering. Cellular Bioengineering encompasses a number of cutting edge research fields and articulates with nanotechnology, advanced materials, systems biology and stem cells. Training undergraduate students with diverse backgrounds in Cellular Bioengineering will broaden the research base and lead to an expanded and better-trained workforce in this rapidly expanding field. Program elements in innovation, entrepreneurship, and translational research enhance the students' marketable skill set and increase the potential for their current and future discoveries to be converted to technological advances of great impact. Unlike the traditional research that undergraduates typically conduct, the REU Site program is leveraging broad-based training through engineering projects that additionally integrate efforts across the life sciences and physical sciences. The recruitment efforts specifically target individuals who normally have limited research opportunities, including those from underrepresented groups and from colleges without substantial graduate research and training. The program expects to expand the pipeline of students entering graduate programs, by helping to engage a group who would likely have not considered graduate school. The REU Site is employing standardized elements of research training and professional development to accelerate the students' learning curve and inoculate them into active laboratories that are pursuing high-impact Cellular Bioengineering research. The program is employing active mentoring, collaboration, and regular monitoring of the students to achieve its goals. Project areas that the students will work on include: 1) Multi-modal cues for phenotypic control of neural cells, 2) Polymer nanoformulations for delivery of macromolecular therapeutics, 3) High Throughput, Automated, Single Cell Electroporation, 4) Encapsulated MSC Regulation of Inflammatory Environments, 5) Cell and tissue engineering approaches to tendon and ligament healing, 6) Reprogrammed Stem Cells and 3-D Microenvironments, 7) High Throughput Platform for Drug Metabolism Screening in Fatty Liver Cells, 8) Interactions of lipid-based nanocarriers with vascular endothelia and macrophages, 9) Designing Scaffold Cues for Retinal Pigment Epithelial Tissue Engineering, 10) Subcellular structural dynamics and mechanotransduction to branching neurons, and 11) Non-destructive measurement of tissue morphomechanical properties. A Cellular Bioengineering Boot Camp introduces participants to laboratory and imaging skills that accelerates their integration into their research labs. A focus on Innovation and Entrepreneurship parallels the recent NSF I-Corps initiative for translational research to capitalize on the potential for new technology that emanates from the research. A component of the program is a clinical immersion, where the REU scholars will observe clinicians in the surgical unit. The Scholars use these experiences to identify needs and problems and brainstorm about innovations and technologies to solve these problems. Under the guidance of faculty from the Center for Innovative Ventures of Emerging Technologies, the students build business plans around these ideas. Weekly seminars and discussion groups allow tracking and monitoring of the Scholars' experiences while concurrently engaging them in professional development. Incorporation of a mentoring workshop for the graduate students who serve as 'near-peer' mentors further broadens the impact of the program.
|Effective start/end date||10/1/16 → 9/30/19|
- National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation (NSF))