Upcoming Talks and Events

Talks (Internal)

Nov
20
Wed
Immunobioengineering for preventative and regenerative medicine | Omar Khan PhD, University of Toronto @ Rosebrugh Building, Room RS 412
Nov 20 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Speaker: Omar Khan Institution: University of Toronto Abstract: As engineers, we use the ever-growing understanding of the immune system to create new technologies for better patient outcomes. By combining chemical engineering and material science with immunological insights, it is becoming possible to better study and modulate immune responses. In this seminar, the interplay between immunology, regenerative medicine and engineering will be explored. To assist the adaptive immune response, a synthetic nucleic acid-based vaccine platform for Ebola and other infectious diseases will be discussed. Additionally, the methods used to minimize the deleterious innate immune responses to synthetic nucleic acid delivery materials will be highlighted. Also, to control complex multigene processes involved in inflammation and the immune response, nanotechnologies capable of delivering nucleic acids to the endothelium will be presented. Bibliography: Omar is a Chemical Engineer who earned his PhD from the University of Toronto in Professor Michael V. Sefton’s lab. While at Toronto, his work focused on the creation of 3D organoid models and engineered tissue substitutes. As a Postdoctoral Associate, and later Research Scientist, in the labs of Professors Daniel G. Anderson and Robert Langer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Omar developed angiogenic biomaterials for cell transplantation therapies, neuromuscular implants for the treatment of peripheral nerve damage, and created and deployed nucleic acid delivery technologies for immunology and regenerative medicine applications. Omar is also a Scientific Founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology startup company Tiba Biotech. Located in the Boston area, Tiba is a vaccine company that is based on his replicon RNA delivery technology.
Dec
10
Tue
Fei Fei Liu- Biomedical Engineering Invited Seminar @ Sandford Fleming Building Room SF1101
Dec 10 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Abstract: TBA

Jan
14
Tue
Bob Kirsch- Biomedical Engineering Invited Seminar @ Medical Sciences Building Room MS3154
Jan 14 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Abstract: TBA

Feb
11
Tue
Chris Contag-Biomedical Engineering Invited Seminar @ Medical Sciences Building Room MS3154
Feb 11 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Abstract: TBA

Mar
10
Tue
Lance Davidson- Biomedical Engineering Invited Seminar @ Bahen Centre for Information Technology Room BA1190
Mar 10 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Abstract: TBA

Apr
14
Tue
Mikhail Shapiro- Biomedical Engineering Invited Seminar @ Sandford Fleming Building Room SF1101
Apr 14 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Abstract:

Talking to Cells: Biomolecular Engineering for Non-Invasive Imaging and Control of Cellular Function

The study of biological function in intact organisms and the development of targeted cellular therapeutics necessitate methods to image and control cellular function in vivo. Technologies such as fluorescent proteins and optogenetics serve this purpose in small, translucent specimens, but are limited by the poor penetration of light into deeper tissues. In contrast, most non-invasive techniques such as ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging – while based on energy forms that penetrate tissue effectively – are not effectively coupled to cellular function. Our work attempts to bridge this gap by engineering biomolecules with the appropriate physical properties to interact with magnetic fields and sound waves. In this talk, I will describe our recent development of biomolecular reporters and actuators for ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging. The reporters are based on a unique class of gas-filled protein nanostructures from buoyant photosynthetic microbes. These proteins produce nonlinear scattering of sound waves, enabling their detection with ultrasound, and perturb magnetic fields, allowing their detection with MRI. I will describe our recent progress in understanding the biophysical and acoustic properties of these biomolecules, engineering their mechanics and targeting at the genetic level, developing methods to enhance their detection in vivo and expressing them heterologously as reporter genes. Our actuators are based on temperature-dependent transcriptional repressors, which provide switch-like control of bacterial gene expression in response to small changes in temperature. We have genetically tuned these repressors to activate at thresholds within the biomedically relevant range of 32ºC to 46ºC, and constructed genetic logic circuits to connect thermal signals to various cellular functions. This allows us to use focused ultrasound to remote-control engineered bacterial cells in vivo. In addition, we have used ultrasound in combination with viral vectors and engineered receptors to provide spatially and cell-type specific non-invasive control over neural activity.

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