Professor of biomedical engineering Fiorenzo Omenetto in his lab at the Tufts Science and Technology Center. (Joanie Tobin/Tufts University)
The Huffington Post covers the story of a poet and artist who, inspired by the work of Professors David Kaplan and Fiorenzo Omenetto, nano-printed a poem on a silk sensor that can be placed under a person’s skin. The Silk Lab fabricated the film from liquified silk, with the poem written in a six-character chain that corresponds to the silkworm’s filament drawing method.
Artist Jen Bervin’s “Silk Poems” will go on view as part of the group exhibition “Explode Every Day: An Inquiry into the Phenomena of Wonder,” opening on May 28 at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
A team of Tufts researchers, including professors David Kaplan and Fiorenzo Omenetto, have demonstrated a promising alternative for food preservation, using an ultra-thin coating of biocompatible silk to keep fruit fresh without refrigeration.
Their research has been published in Scientific Reports. In addition to Kaplan and Omenetto, authors include first author Benedetto Marelli, Ph.D., formerly a post-doctoral associate in the Omenetto laboratory and now at MIT; and Mark A. Brenckle, Ph.D., former research assistant in the Omenetto Laboratory, now at Columbia University.
Encapsulating blood samples in silk protein extracted from silk worm cocoons protected biomarkers effectively, even at high temperatures. (Courtesy Tufts Silk Lab)
A team of Tufts University researchers, including Professors David Kaplan and Fiorenzo Omenetto, have stabilized blood samples without refrigeration, by using air-dried silk protein to encapsulate the samples. The technique has implications for clinical care and research that require analysis of biofluids like blood, and could open up new testing options for currently underserved populations.
The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. In addition to Kaplan and Omenetto, authors include co-first author Jonathan Kluge, Ph.D., former postdoctoral associate in the Kaplan lab; Adrian B. Li, Ph.D., scientist at Vaxess Laboratories and a former doctoral student in Tufts’ Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering; Brooke Kahn, B.S., research associate at Cocoon Biotech and former intern in the Kaplan laboratory; and Dominique S. Michaud, Sc.D., Tufts University School of Medicine.
Team Hujambo poses after winning the Ricci Prize.
In the 2016 $100k New Ventures Competition, first-year biomedical engineering student Shehryar Malik was part of team Hujambo, which received the Stephen and Geraldine Ricci Interdisciplinary Prize. The Ricci Prize is awarded to the project that best demonstrates interdisciplinary engineering design and entrepreneurial spirit. Hujambo designed a $10 high-tech smartphone that makes cellular service, messaging, data, and apps accessible across the globe.
David Kaplan, Biomedical Engineering
Stern Family Professor and Chair David Kaplan (BME) received the 2016 Faculty Teaching and Mentoring Award for his outstanding support of graduate students from course completion through research and post-degree placement.
Biomedical engineering students Joseph Lyons and Kelly Sullivan received awards for Outstanding Academic Scholarship as master’s and doctoral candidates, respectively.
Doctoral student Pami Anderson received an award for the Commitment to the Practice of Engineering with her substantial record of practice-based experience and accomplishment.
Kaplan and students received the awards at the 18th Annual Graduate Student Awards ceremony on April 29, 2016 in Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center.
Qiaobing Xu, Biomedical Engineering
A central challenge to the development of protein-based therapeutics is the inefficiency of delivering proteins across the cell membrane. Assistant Professor Qiaobing Xu is the co-author on a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that demonstrated delivery of genome-editing proteins into cultured human cells with 70% efficacy comparable with or exceeding other commercially available systems. Xu and Ming Wang, postdoctoral scholar and first author, and collaborators also demonstrated that these lipids are effective for functional protein delivery for murine gene recombination in vivo. Xu’s lab will now pursue studies to better assess toxicity.
Professor Sergio Fantini
Professor Sergio Fantini (BME) was elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows for “outstanding contributions to the development of quantitative techniques for diffuse optical spectroscopy and imaging of biological tissue.” He is a member of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), the Optical Society of America, and SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering. Fantini has recently developed a new optical diagnostic technology, Coherent Hemodynamics Spectroscopy (CHS), for non-invasive assessment of brain perfusion. In January 2016, Cambridge University Press published “Quantitative Biomedical Optics”, a textbook Fantini co-authored with Professor Irving Bigio of Boston University. Fantini joins Professors David Kaplan, BME department chair and Stern Family Professor, Irene Georgakoudi, and Kyongbum Lee, as the most recent Tufts School of Engineering faculty member to be elected AIMBE Fellow.
In January 2016, Cambridge University Press published Quantitative Biomedical Optics, a textbook Professor Sergio Fantini (BME) co-authored with Professor Irving Bigio of Boston University.
The text covers a broad range of areas in biomedical optics, from light interactions at the single-photon and single-biomolecule levels, to the diffusion regime of light propagation in tissue.
“Bigio and Fantini’s comprehensive text on biomedical optics provides a wonderful blend of accessible theory and practical guidance relevant to the design and application of biomedical optical systems. It should be required reading for all graduate students working in this area.” – Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Rice University, Houston
Irene Georgakoudi, associate professor of biomedical engineering
Associate Professor Irene Georgakoudi was named a 2016 Fellow of the Optical Society of America for contributions to the use of endogenous markers for optical imaging of metabolic processes in normal and diseased tissue and for tissue engineering.
As Optics and Photonics News states, “Current methods for shaping biomaterials, including soft- and photolithography, are limited to two dimensions and don’t offer much in the way of customization.” Tufts researchers, led by Associate Dean for Research and Professor, Fiorenzo Omenetto, “used low-energy (< nJ) femtosecond laser pulses to create 2-D and 3-D patterns in soft, transparent silk-protein hydrogels. They were able to achieve micromachining at a depth of 1 cm—reportedly more than 10 times deeper than any other biomaterial—at a lateral resolution of 5 µm.”