Distinguished Life Sciences and Biomedical Engineering Lecture Series

Binghamton Biomedical Engineering hosts several respected distinguished guest speakers that are highly influential in the Biomedical world, both through research and industry. The speakers are invited as part of the Graduate Seminar for Biomedical Engineers (BME 590) taught by Dr. Kaiming Ye, Chair of Biomedical Engineering. 

Dr. Scott Wilson - 2021

"Polymer-based strategies for engineering immunity and tolerance"

Since Edward Jenner first used puss from a milkmaid’s cowpox lesions to inoculate children against smallpox in the late 1700’s, scientist have sought to develop safe and effective antigen-specific immunotherapies (ASI)s that bias the adaptive immune response towards immunity (i.e., vaccines), and, more recently, tolerance (i.e., inverse vaccines). While considerable progress has been made in the development of vaccines that muster antibody-mediated immunity, the clinical success of other ASIs, such as subunit vaccines that elicit T cell-mediated immunity and inverse vaccines capable of curing autoimmunity, have yet to match their pre-clinical promise. Here, I will introduce approaches that utilized synthetic polymeric glycosylations to target antigens and immunostimulatory adjuvants to specific subsets of antigen presenting cells for the induction of antigen-specific immunity or tolerance. In the context of immunity, I will present a polymeric glycol-adjuvant that when conjugated to a malaria-specific protein induces a more robust antibody- and T cell-mediated immune response than malaria-specific protein formulated with the adjuvant used in the most clinical advanced malaria vaccine. In addition, I will highlight the development of another class of synthetic glycopolymers that, by targeting autoantigens to the liver’s immunosuppressive microenvironment, elicit durable autoantigen-specific immunological tolerance marked by auto-reactive T cell anergy and functional regulatory T cells. In concert, these antigen-glycopolymer conjugate platforms represent promising clinically-viable treatments for a variety of complex infections and autoimmune disorders.

Dr. Jun Wang - 2021

"Mist Technology for Single-Cell Functional Proteomics"

Cellular diversity is an intrinsic trait of any multicellular system. Despite extensive study of cells, their complexity still poses major challenges to the identification of key cellular subsets and targets that are responsible for human diseases. Recently, single-cell functional proteome has emerged as a research field of intense interest owing to the significant role proteins play in cell type identification, signaling transduction, proliferation and apoptosis, transcription regulation, inflammation, and cell communication. The major obstacle to this field is the lack of appropriate tools that can survey the full sets of proteins of important functions. In this talk, I will introduce a single-cell MIST technologies in my research group for highly multiplexed protein assays toward functional proteomic studies, and will discuss how such a transformative technology should be translated towards precision diagnosis. The technology is built upon a microchip that integrates a large-scale microarray. We have analyzed the cytokine production of immune cells and the networks through co-detection of cytokine proteins and whole transcriptome in single cells. The advanced version of the technology enables the detection of hundreds of proteins in single cells. The study of single mouse brain cells reveals fundamental alternation of cell signatures in neurodegeneration. Last, I will mention the new study on spatial proteomics by the MIST array. With the current success, we are heading towards mapping of the entire functional proteome in the brains.

Dr. Caitlin Howell - 2021

"Engineering Bio-Inspired Surfaces to Control Biological Systems" 

Over millions of years, nature has developed elegant solutions to a wide variety of challenges. Thanks in part to recent advances in materials science, we are now at a point where we can replicate and even improve upon these solutions, using them to solve human problems. Ongoing work in the Howell group at the University of Maine has been dedicated to designing bio-inspired solutions to issues associated with controlling the interactions of biological systems with abiotic surfaces. In one application, liquid-infused surfaces inspired Nepenthes pitcher plant can be used to resist adhesion by bacteria on medical devices such as urinary catheters. A similar liquid-coating strategy can be used to reduce fouling and blockage of water purification membranes and even assist in the capture and analysis of airborne pathogens. Bio-inspired liquid surfaces can also be made on paper, a sustainable resource and staple industry of Maine, permitting a new approach to liquid sample handling that use origami folds to create functionality. Finally, Maine industrial paper-making technology can be used mass-produce surface structures that make biological system-handling approaches such as microfluidics commercially viable. The use of bio-inspired strategies to solve human problems—particularly those of biological interactions with surfaces—is a new and growing area of investigation with significant potential for creative innovation across the fields of industry and medicine.

Dr. SuPing Lyu - 2021

"Materials Technologies, Medical Devices and Healthcare"

The ultimate goal of developing biomedical technologies and devices is to extend life, restore health, and elevate pain. Looking at some of the landmark medical products in the past eighty years such as cardiac pacemakers, total joint replacement, and MRI, almost every major breakthrough in biomedical industry has benefited from new technologies. Technology innovation has been an enabler for the advancement of biomedical engineering. However, it should not be misunderstood that biomedical engineering is all about technology innovation. Medical therapies have almost exclusively begun with clinical ideas. A number of the revolutionary medical therapies have been realized by creatively applying commodity technologies to new applications, examples including hemodialysis, neuromodulation, even something as simple as vaccine syringes. Further, when we talk about how billions of patients get help every year, material supply stability, manufacturing, and quality control become the most critical issues. This is the job for the majority of the engineers in the industry.
In this talk, examples are to be used to explain how innovation and baseline operation play roles helping the patients.

Dr. Zengmin Xia - 2021

"Life as an Engineer in Medical Device Industry"

In this talk, the speaker will share her experience as an engineer in a medical device company. The following topics will be discussed: Introduction to Medtronic and implantable medical devices, What’s it like to be an Engineer. Watson students who are interested in industry careers have a great opportunity to learn what engineers do on a daily basis.

Dr. Christof T. Grewer - 2021

"Glutamine transporter inhibitors as potential tools to block growth of cancer cells"

Rapidly-growing cancer cells have a high demand for energy and nutrients, including glutamine. Glutamine is used by cancer cells as a nitrogen source, as well as an energy source. Therefore, cancer cells develop what has been called a "glutamine addiction", namely, they up-regulate the transport of glutamine into the cytosol, as well as glutamine metabolism. A potential strategy to slow cancer cell growth is based on the block of glutamine transport across the cell membrane. However, the pharmacology of most glutamine transporters, including the alanine cysteine serine transporter 2 (ASCT2) is not well developed. Here, we applied a combination of in-silico molecular docking, to predict ASCT2 pharmacophores (in collaboration with the Schlessinger lab, Mount Sinai School of Medicine) with organic synthesis and testing of the resultant compounds in a cell model system. We developed a number of inhibitors based on the hydroxyproline scaffold, and a hydrophobic moiety in the side chain, which show sub-microM apparent affinity with human ASCT2. For one of the most potent compounds, L-cis-BPE, a cryo-EM structure was obtained in the ASCT2-bound state, in collaboration with the Slotboom lab in Groningen, Netherlands. This structure reveals an up and down state of inhibitor bound states, providing novel insight into the mechanism of inhibitor binding. Overall, the new inhibitors provide important stepping stones on the path to further improvements of affinity and selectivity.

Dr. David Davies

  • BA Interdisciplinary Science, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • MS, PhD Montana State University, Center for Biofilm Engineering and Department of Microbiology
  • Assistant/Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Binghamton University
  • Director, Binghamton Biofilm Research Center, Binghamton University

Specializing in research on the regulation of microbial biofilm development

Dr. Ryan Willing 

Ryan Willing completed his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Queen's University in 2010, and a post-doctoral fellowship from the Joint Motion Program (JuMP) in the Bioengineering Research Lab of the Hand and Upper Limb Centre (HULC) at Western University in 2013. Ryan's PhD thesis focused on the multiobjective design optimization of total knee replacements for reduced wear and improved kinematics. During his post-doc, Ryan helped launch the computational mechanics division of research at the HULC, where his research included computational and in vitro studies on implant design, biomechanical modelling, cartilage mechanics, craniofacial symmetry analysis and impact mechanics. Ryan is currently (since Fall 2013) an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Binghamton University, and the director of the Biomechanics and Orthopaedic Design Lab, and the new Additive Manufacturing core. Ryan’s career goal is to enable more realistic computational and experimental modelling techniques for (1) elucidating the causes and effects of joint pathomechanics, and (2) improving surgical treatments such as joint reconstruction and replacement using design methodologies. As an educator, he aims to improve STEM educational experiences related to biomechanics, while training and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in musculoskeletal biomechanics and design research.

Dr. Eric Hoffman

Dr. Hoffman is a human geneticist and translational researcher focused on neuromuscular disease, and skeletal muscle tissue in health and disease.  His most recent efforts focus on drug development and clinical trials in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. He received his PhD in Drosophila molecular genetics from Johns Hopkins University, then carried out a post-doctoral fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School working on the identification of the DMD gene and protein. His current academic positions are Associate Dean for Research, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Binghamton University – SUNY, where he is building a research program focused on facilitating drug development at the academic/industry interface.  In the private sector, he is co-founder and CEO of ReveraGen Biopharma, co-founder and Vice President of AGADA Biosciences, and co-founder and President of TRiNDS LLC.  He serves on Scientific Advisory Boards of Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne, CureDuchenne Foundation, C3 Foundation, Save Our Sons Foundation, and Duchenne UK. Research accomplishments include identification of the dystrophin protein, and defining its deficiency in DMD patient muscle, mdx mouse, dog and cat models. His lab identified initial voltage sensitive ion channel mutations in human disease, and genetic causes of recurrent pregnancy loss. He is an inventor on nine patents and has authored over 500 publications.

Dr. Gretchen Mahler 

Gretchen Mahler has broad training in chemical and biomedical engineering and specialized training in the development, characterization and validation of in vitro organ and tissue models. Her current research includes the development of models of the GI tract, vascular endothelium and valvular endothelium for mechanobiological and toxicity testing with applications toward cardiovascular disease and cancer and focuses on how disruptions in a tissue’s local mechanical or chemical environment can lead to changes in cell phenotype and disease initiation and progression. In addition, Mahler is interested in how food additives alter GI health and function. She earned a doctorate in chemical and biomolecular engineering from Cornell University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in biomedical engineering at Cornell University.

Dr. Kenneth McLeod 

Prof. McLeod received his Ph.D. from MIT in Electrical Engineering, and following completion of a post-doctoral fellowship at Tufts University in the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, took a faculty position in the Dept. of Orthopedics at Stony Brook University. His research is focused on electromagnetic interactions with living tissue, and the diagnosis and treatment of functional disorders utilizing a complex systems perspective. While at Stony Brook he co-founded the Musculo-Skeletal Research Laboratory, the Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering, and the undergraduate program in Bioengineering. In 2002 he was recruited to Binghamton University to found a new Department of Bioengineering with a focus on entrepreneurial engineering. He is director of the Clinical Science and Engineering Research Lab, and since 2012 has served as Entrepreneur in residence at the University, assisting students, faculty, staff and alumni in launching new ventures. Dr. McLeod holds over 25 patents in the area of healthcare and has been a founder in 12 start-up ventures.

Dr. Zhanpeng Jin 

Dr. Zhanpeng Jin is currently an Assistant Professor in Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering at the Binghamton University, State University of New York. Prior to joining SUNY-Binghamton, He was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and received his PhD degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh (2010). His research interests include brain biometrics, cognitive neuroscience, neuromorphic computing, mobile health, and low-power sensing. He has published over 60 papers in international journals and conferences, served as the Associate Editor for the Elsevier journals of Computers and Electrical Engineering and Computers in Biology and Medicine, as well as served on the editorial boards for four international journals and on the Technical Committees for more than a dozen conferences. His research has been supported by National Science Foundation (NSF), Air Force Office of the Scientific Research (AFOSR), Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), SUNY Research Foundation, and a number of industrial companies. He is a senior member of IEEE.  

Dr. Shika Nangia - 2016

Shikha Nangia is an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering at Syracuse University. She leads an active research group with focus on computational modeling of complex biological interfaces including, cell-cell interactions, blood brain barrier, bacterial biofilms, antimicrobial peptides, cancer drug delivery, and self-assembled materials. She earned her Master’s degree from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi in 2000, and her PhD from University of Minnesota in 2006. She was a postdoctoral researcher at Pennsylvania State University, before joining Syracuse University in 2012. Her recent awards include, NSF CAREER (Finding pathways across the blood-brain barrier, 2015), NIH R21 (Designing anticancer nanocarrier, 2015), and Faculty Excellence Award (Teaching, 2015), Nappi Research Award (Cytotoxic protein delivery for brain tumor treatment), and American Chemical Society OpenEye Outstanding Junior Faculty Award in Computational Chemistry (2016). Shikha has authored and coauthored articles in peer-reviewed journals. She has a passion for expressing her research in artistic renderings, and her work has been on the covers of journals such as Langmuir, Physical Chemistry A and C, and Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation.

Dr. Ahyeon Koh 

Ahyeon Koh is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Binghamton University, State University of New York. She had postdoctoral research training in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, working with Prof. John A. Rogers. She received her BS and MS in Chemistry at Sogang University prior to attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for her graduate studies in Chemistry (PhD) under the direction of Prof. Mark H. Schoenfisch. Her research interests include flexible and stretchable sensors, electrochemical biosensors, and biocompatible materials as novel strategies to develop intimately integrated biomedical monitoring system.

Dr. Amber Doiron 

Amber Doiron is an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering at Binghamton University, State University of New York, where she directs the Biomedical Nanotechnology and Molecular Imaging Laboratory. She received her BS in Chemistry from Colorado State University in 2003, and she was an NSF-IGERT fellow while studying towards an MS received in 2007 and PhD. in 2008 in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. She then conducted studies as the T. Chen Fong Postdoctoral Fellow in Medical Imaging from 2009-2012 in radiology and engineering at the University of Calgary. 

Dr. Gilda Barabino - 2015

"Sickle Cell Disease: Advances toward Improved Treatment Strategies using Engineering Approaches"

Dr. Barabino is Dean of The Grove School of Engineering at The City College of New York. Prior to joining The City College of New York, she served as Associate Chair for Graduate Studies and Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University. At Georgia Tech she also served as the inaugural Vice Provost for Academic Diversity. Prior to her appointments at Georgia Tech and Emory, she rose to the rank of Full Professor of chemical engineering and served as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Northeastern University. Her research interests include sickle cell disease, cellular and tissue engineering and diversity in science and engineering. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and the Biomedical Engineering Society. Dr. Barabino has an extensive record of leadership and service in the chemical and biomedical engineering communities and recently served as the President of the Biomedical Engineering Society. She was a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer for 2012-2014 and is the recipient of numerous awards including the BMES Diversity Award, the American Society for Engineering Education/Dow Outstanding Faculty Award, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Distinguished Service and Eminent Chemical Engineers Awards. She received her BS degree in Chemistry from Xavier University of Louisiana and her PhD in Chemical Engineering from Rice University. 

Dr. SuPing Lyu, Medtronic - 2015

"Implantable Medical Devices: Medical Needs and Technologies"

SuPing Lyu received his BE. from Tsinghua University in 1991 and PhD from the University of Minnesota in 2000. Both degrees are in chemical engineering. He joined Medtronic as a materials scientist in 2000 and was elected to Technical Fellow in 2008. Currently, he is a Senior Principal Scientist. He has experience in developing materials and related technologies for cardiac, spinal, vascular, and renal disease management products. He has served on industrial advisory boards for multiple institutes. He was invited to attend the US National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering Conference. He authors over 25 peer-reviewed papers. He has a number of patents that helped the market-release of several medical products to serve hundreds of thousands of patients. SuPing's current focus is on performance prediction of medical implants and drug-device combination products. 

Dr. Jonathan Dordick, RPI - 2015

"Biocatalytic Nanocomposites: Engineering Form, Function, and Protection from Disease"

Professor Dordick's research group includes chemical engineers, bioengineers, materials scientists, biologists, chemists and microbiologists all focused on gaining a quantitative understanding of biological principles and applying them to advance bioengineering, nanobiotechnology, drug discovery, and biomanufacturing. He presently serves on the Scientific Advisory Boards for several biotechnology companies and venture capital firms, and has co-founded a number of companies, including EnzyMed (now part of Albany Molecular Research, Inc.), Solidus Biosciences, and The Paper Battery Company. Dr. Dordick has published over 330 papers and is an inventor/co-inventor on nearly 40 patents and patent applications. 

Dr. Pramod Khargonekar, NSF - 2014

Dr. Pramod P. Khargonekar was appointed by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to serve as Assistant Director for the Directorate of Engineering (ENG) in March 2013. In this position, Khargonekar leads the ENG Directorate with an annual budget of more than $800 million. The ENG Directorate invests in frontier engineering research and education, cultivates an innovation ecosystem, and develops the next generation of engineers. Khargonekar's current research and teaching interests include systems and control theory, machine learning, and applications to smart electric grid and neural engineering. He has authored more than 130 refereed journal publications and 150 conference publications. He has been recognized as a Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher. He is a recipient of the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, the American Automatic Control Council's Donald Eckman Award, the Japan Society for Promotion of Science fellowships, the IEEE W. R. G. Baker Prize Award, the IEEE CSS George Axelby Best Paper Award, the Hugo Schuck ACC Best Paper Award, and the Distinguished Alumnus and Distinguished Service Awards from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. He is a Fellow of IEEE. At the University of Michigan, he received the Arthur F. Thurnau Professorship.

Dr. Seung-Schik Yoo, Harvard - 2014

"On-Demand 3D Bioprinting"

Dr. Yoo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Radiology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. He received his MBA from the University of Massachusetts and his PhD in Radiological Sciences from Harvard-MIT, Division of Health Science and Technology (HST) Program. Dr. Yoo has received several awards including the ULTRA Round Table Recognition Award from the Korean Science and Engineering Foundation and CIMIT Innovation Award from the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology.

His research interests include the continued development and extension of 3D bioprinting technology, and further innovations in functional neuromodulatory techniques using focused ultrasound (FUS), along with their clinical translations through collaboration with clinicians and researchers worldwide. With over 90 peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Yoo has made a large contribution to the current literature in his field.

Dr. Ye Fang, Corning - 2014

"Corning Life Sciences Research and Development"

Dr. Ye Fang is the Research Director and Research Fellow of the Biochemical Technologies in the Science & Technology Division at Corning Incorporated in New York (NY, USA). He received his BSc in Chemistry from the Hubei University, MSc in Physical Chemistry from the Wuhan University, and PhD in Physical Chemistry from the Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China. Following postdoctoral research at the University of Vermont from 1995 to 1996 and at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine from 1996 to 2000, he joined Corning Incorporated as a Senior Research Scientist. He has published 1 book, 1 market report, 18 book chapters, and more than 110 journal articles. He holds 26 U.S. granted patents and 66 patent applications. His current research interests are Biosensors, Biophysics, Chemical Biology, Systems Pharmacology, and Bioprocessing. 

Dr. Cheng Dong, PSU - 2014 

"Biomechanics in Cancer and Inflammation"

Cheng Dong is Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Head of the Penn State Department of Biomedical Engineering. He received several prestigious honors and awards, including the NSF Faculty Career Award, American Cancer Society Faculty Research Award, ASME Y.C. Fung Young Investigator Award, BMES Harold Lamport Young Investigator Award, ASME Melville Medal, and ASME Best Journal Paper Award. The major focus of Dr. Dong's research is to elucidate biomechanical, biophysical and biochemical aspects of cellular function in the circulatory systems, with particular interest in cellular biomechanics, cell adhesion, cell migration, cell signaling, systems biology, and multi-scale modeling of biological systems. Current research at Penn State includes studies of micro-hemodynamics, leukocyte rheology, intercellular and intracellular signaling, cancer immunology and metastases. 

Dr. Larry Nagahara, NIH - 2014

"Testing the Landscape of Oncology: An Engineering and Physical Sciences Perspectives"

Dr. Nagahara is an Associate Director in the Division of Cancer Biology at the National Cancer Institute (NCI)/National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he directs and coordinates NCI's Physical Sciences in Oncology Initiative that brings research activities related to expanding the role of the physical sciences and engineering in cancer research, which includes the Physical Sciences – Oncology Centers (PS-OC) Program. Previously, he served as the Nanotechnology Projects Manager for NCI's Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer in which he helped oversee the development of promising nano-based diagnostics and therapeutics projects and turned them into applications that ultimately benefit cancer-care. He currently represents NCI on the NIH Biomarker Consortium, Cancer Steering Committee and the Trans-NIH Nano Task Force, which is tasked to develop NIH-wide scientific and policy vision for nanotechnology. He has been actively involved in advanced technologies for over 20 years, most notably novel scanning probe microscopy development, carbon nanotube applications, molecular electronics, nanoenergy, and nanosensors. Before joining NCI, he was a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff at Motorola and led their nanosensor effort. Dr. Nagahara has published over 95 technical papers, 3 book chapters, and over 25 patents issued/filed in these fields. He is currently an adjunct professor (Department of Physics) at Arizona State University and an Associate Editor for IEEE Sensors Journal. He is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), American Physical Society (APS), IEEE and a former member of Motorola's Scientific Advisory Board.