UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND
FISCHELL DEPARTMENT OF BIOENGINEERING
2015-2016 Academic Year in Review
FISCHELL DEPARTMENT JEWELL LAB MAKES STRIDES IN MULTIPLE
OF BIOENGINEERING SCLEROSIS RESEARCH
Established in 2006 Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BIOE) researchers are investigating a strategy that
may help “turn off ” the harmful immune attack that occurs during autoimmune diseases such
Research Expenditures by as multiple sclerosis (MS), while leaving healthy functions of the immune system intact.
Sponsor in 2015-2016:
BIOE Assistant Professor Christopher Jewell and
National Institute of Standards and members of the Jewell Research Lab are working with
Technology specially designed polymer particles they hope will
reprogram how the immune system responds to self-
$2.59 million cells in the central nervous system (CNS) during MS.
National Science Foundation
In MS, the immune system incorrectly recognizes
$2.13 million components of the CNS, causing inflammation and
National Institutes of Health destruction of myelin, the fatty substance that surrounds
and protects nerve fibers.When this happens, nerve fibers and cells are damaged, leading to loss
$1.66 million of motor function and other complications.
Non-profit & Individual Gifts
Current therapies for MS broadly decrease the activity of the immune system, but at a cost as
$1.64 million they leave MS patients vulnerable to infection. In searching for a way to decrease the harmful
Department of Defense aspects of the immune system without eliminating the immune system’s helpful functions,
Jewell and his team are working to re-train the immune system not to attack myelin
$1.49 million components by generating specialized regulatory immune cells.The team is using degradable
Designated Research Initiative Fund polymer particles incorporating regulatory signals to promote these cell populations.
$727,000 To test this strategy, the group is harnessing two models of MS: one mimicking aspects of
Food and Drug Administration relapsing-remitting MS – which most patients initially present with – and a second model that
mimics aspects of progressive disease, the stage with particularly limited treatment options.The
$647,000 studies will track the impacts on disease course, immune activity, tissue damage, and safety.
State They will also determine how specific the response is to see whether the ability to fight off
other infections is retained.
Industry To support this exciting work, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society has awarded the group a
three-year, $599,000 research grant.
U.S. Department of Agriculture JAY LAB WORKS TOWARD ENGINEERING
EXTRACELLULAR VESICLES AS
TOTAL: $11.78 MILLION
Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BIOE) Assistant Professor Steven Jay was named a
www.bioe.umd.edu 2015 recipient of the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) Ralph E. Powe Junior
Faculty Enhancement Award for his research relating to extracellular vesicle-based drug
delivery and therapeutic development.
Jay and members of his Vascular Pharmacoengineering
and Biotherapeutics Laboratory are building on their
recent studies of how extracellular vesicles (EVs) –
ubiquitous, biologically-generated nanovesicles including
exosomes and other types that naturally transfer nucleic
acids between cells – could be used to deliver DNA
and various types of RNA for genetic therapies.
In their recent Molecular Pharmaceutics paper, Jay, along
with Assistant Research Professor Tek Lamichhane and biochemistry undergraduate Rahul
Raiker, describe how the identification of EVs as natural carriers of small nucleic acids has
sparked interest in their use for RNA interference therapies. Jay’s research group worked to
extend the therapeutic potential of EVs for the first time to the delivery of DNA to recipient
cells towards gene therapy applications.Their findings establish critical parameters for the
potential use of EVs for gene therapy while highlighting the substantial barriers that must
Continued on next page
still be overcome by bioengineers to establish EVs as broadly applicable DNA delivery vehicles.
To take this research further, Jay and his team are applying funding from the Ralph Powe award to investigate new methods for exploiting EV-
based microRNA delivery, which has the potential to treat or cure numerous conditions such as cancer and peripheral vascular disease.
The promise of microRNAs (miRNAs) as therapeutic regulators of gene expression and cellular function is well established; however, clinical
translation of miRNA-based therapies has been limited by insufficient and ineffective delivery approaches. EVs, as natural miRNA carriers, are
promising candidate vehicles for controlled delivery of miRNAs. However, loading miRNAs into EVs is typically inefficient and potentially
destructive. Jay’s lab is currently pursuing new methods that allow for increased efficiency of miRNA loading without significant loss of
bioactivity. Additionally, clinical translation of EV-based miRNA therapeutics will require improved methods of EV bioproduction and
purification. BIOE graduate students Anjana Jeyaram and Divya Patel are working with Jay to identify the best and most efficient ways to
generate and isolate EVs with maximal therapeutic bioactivity from cell cultures.
Overall, these approaches are aimed at creating a pathway towards large-scale biomanufacturing of therapeutic EVs for widespread therapeutic
applications that could benefit millions of patients worldwide.
Assistant Professors Christopher Jewell and Steven Jay were
both named 2016 Young Innovators of Cellular and Molecular
Bioengineering, making the University of Maryland the only
institution to have two researchers named to the list this year.
MURO DEVELOPS TECHNIQUE TO IMPROVE ORAL DRUG DELIVERY USING
For decades, scientists have worked to target therapeutics to specific which serves as a targeting
markers within the body in efforts to improve delivery of medication entity.This targeting coating
to the target site while avoiding interaction with healthy tissue. But, is designed to recognize a
the corrosive environment of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract has long specific marker in the body,
prevented scientists from pursuing methods of oral drug delivery that bringing the drug to the
employ what are known as targeted nanocarriers – nanomaterial that site of disease; however, in
is used to transport another substance, such as a therapeutic – to reach oral delivery, the biological
certain organs or cells while steering clear of others. coating gets degraded in the
stomach and the targeting
Recognizing this challenge, Fischell Department of Bioengineering property of the drug nano-
(BIOE) Associate Professor Silvia Muro and a team of University of carrier is lost.This is why
Maryland researchers are exploring new drug delivery strategies that scientists have not focused
could be used to deliver therapeutics to targets in the GI tract, as on targeting strategies for
well as targets inside GI cells or across the GI tract for circulation in the oral delivery.”
But, Muro and her team are
Scientists have long used targeted nanocarriers in intravenous therapy hopeful they have found a
treatments. Put simply, a targeted nanocarrier features a biological solution - they have placed
molecule that serves as a targeting molecule that is “programmed” to targeted nanocarriers into
recognize a marker.As such, scientists are able to deliver therapeutics microcapsules, specially designed to survive the harsh environment of
to site-specific targets without causing harm to healthy organs or cells. the stomach.
This specificity is crucial: in chemotherapy treatment, for example, the
use of targeted nanocarriers allows doctors to attack tumor cells while To illustrate this new concept – highlighted earlier this year as the
minimizing the risk of chemotherapy’s toxicity to healthy cells in the cover story in Advanced Functional Materials – the team used microcapsules
body. made of a chitosan shell and alginate core. Once these microcapsules
bypass the stomach, they disintegrate in the intestines, thereby liberating
But, when scientists explore treatment options for diseases of the gut the targeted nanocarriers there and allowing them to bind to specific
– such as Crohn’s disease or a variety of inflammatory diseases – they disease markers.
face limitations. In part, this is because doctors aiming to target
nanocarriers to sites in or across the GI tract have been limited to “This approach enables the use of targeted nanocarriers for oral
using IV therapies. delivery,” Muro said.“This opens an opportunity to investigate whether
targeting drugs to specific intestinal markers improves intestinal delivery
“Typically, drug delivery technologies involve fabrication of a of therapeutics and their uptake into the circulation.”
nanocarrier that bears a pharmaceutical drug of interest,” Muro
explained.“The nanocarrier is then coated with a biological molecule, Cover in Advanced Functional Materials, 26(20) 2016
AIRBRUSHED BIODEGRADABLE SEALANT COULD OFFER LOW-COST,
PORTABLE ALTERNATIVE TO SURGICAL SUTURES
Researchers have long proposed the use of biodegradable mats of Recognizing this, Kofinas and his research team propose the use of
polymer nanofibers that are sticky and strong enough to replace the a sealant composed of unique polymer blends that can be applied
need for surgical sutures. But, scientists have since struggled to develop through solution blow spinning. In this way, Kofinas and his team are
an effective technique for applying these mats to living cells or tissues. able to use an extremely portable and low-cost method to deposit
polymer fibers onto tissue and irregular surfaces.
Additionally, surgeons face another roadblock: traditional suturing
techniques do not suffice in a variety of cases, such as those involving This technology requires only a concentrated polymer solution, airbrush,
lung punctures or cuts to the intestine. and compressed gas source, allowing it to be easily miniaturized into
a portable sprayer using small CO2 cartridges. In fact, solution blow
To combat these challenges, Fischell Department of Bioengineering spinning is such a simple and transferable technique that bioengineers
(BIOE) Professor and Associate Dean Peter Kofinas embarked on a have successfully used commercial airbrushes—such as those typically
mission, along with BIOE alumni Brendan Casey (Ph.D. ’10) and used for painting—to generate nanofibers.
Adam Behrens (Ph.D. ’15), Dr.Anthony Sandler of Children’s National
Medical Center, and a team of University of Maryland researchers. Because solution blow spinning can be used to fabricate nanofiber mats
Together, the group launched efforts to develop a surgical sealant and and meshes for precise and site-specific reconstruction in minutes, the
surgery application technique capable of reducing both risks and costs technique could prove extremely useful in surgeries requiring the use
associated with a wide variety of surgical procedures. of a hemostatic material or sealant.Additionally, this proposed technique
is especially useful for instances in which conventional suturing may
Kofinas was named the recipient of a four-year, $1.5 million National not be adequate, such as in cases of liver or lung resections.And, the
Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Project Grant (R01) for his work application technique could prove invaluable to first responders to
accident scenes involving significant injuries.The work of Kofinas and
on the project. his research team aims to correlate material properties and deposition
conditions to in vitro and in vivo efficacy, and will lead to greater
Today, nearly all surgical interventions insight into the development of effective surgical materials.Additionally,
and traumatic injuries require the research focuses on improvement of material properties and the
some form of tissue reconstruction development of advanced deposition methods that allow for direct
or closure of incisions or wounds. Most nanofiber generation and application on any surface.
often, surgeons rely on conventional
suturing and tissue stapling, but these On top of the benefits of the low-cost, portable application technique,
techniques often require a multi-step the sealant itself is biocompatible and degradable, Kofinas said. As
preparation process and carry a number of such, he and his fellow researchers are continuing their work towards
limitations and complications. Some of today’s achieving optimal adhesive strength, material strength, and nanofiber
most frequently used sealants pose risks of generation for use as a surgical sealant.
disease transmission or toxicity issues, while
others have contributed to excessive swelling
resulting in injury to neighboring nerves or tissue.
THE FISCHELL DEPARTMENT OF BIOENGINEERING IS HOME TO 18 TENURE
AND TENURE-TRACK FACULTY, WITH 8 NSF/NIH EARLY CAREER AWARD
WINNERS AND 7 FELLOWS OF PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES.
On Thursday, May 19, President Barack Obama awarded University of
Maryland Physics alumnus and Fischell Department of Bioengineering
namesake Robert E. Fischell the National Medal of Technology and
Innovation (NMTI).This award marks the highest honor for technological
achievement bestowed by the president of the United States.
Fischell was just one of eight individuals awarded the National Medal
of Technology and Innovation this year. Fischell (M.S. ’53, Hon. Sc.D.
’96) is known for inventing life-saving medical devices, and pioneering
the modern era of space satellites. He holds more than 200 patents,
including nearly 30 patents on orbiting spacecraft. In the medical device
realm, Fischell has served as a leading contributor to the invention of
coronary stents, the implantable heart defibrillator, the implantable
insulin pump, a device to prevent migraine headaches, and a device to
prevent death from heart attacks.
Photo by: Ryan K. Morris, the National Science & Technology Medals Foundation.
First 3D Bioprinted Placenta Model Photo by John T. Consoli/University of Maryland
for Study of Preeclampsia Created
Scientists at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation
at Children’s National Health System, in partnership with the University
of Maryland, are the first to create a 3D bioprinted placenta model and
use it to study preeclampsia, a life-threatening pregnancy complication.
Bioprinting is the three-dimensional printing of biological tissue and
organs through the layering of living cells, with cell function and
viability preserved within the printed structure. Because the institute’s
bioprinted placenta model mimics the organ’s complex cellular structure,
the model creates unprecedented opportunities to understand and
develop new treatments for life-threatening maternal conditions involving
the placenta.The study of the 3D bioprinted model is published in
American Chemical Society (ACS) Biomaterials Science & Engineering.
In their published report, BIOE Fischell Family Distinguished Professor
and Chair John Fisher, BIOE researcher Che-Ying Kuo, and the team
used the bioprinted model to observe the migration of special cells in
the placenta called trophoblasts, which attach to the uterine wall and
then proceed to invade the tissues of the uterus during the first stage of
pregnancy.These trophoblasts eventually reach deep into the wall and
connect with the mother’s blood vessels, which is a vital stage in the
establishment of pregnancy as the placenta takes on its role of
nourishing the fetus.
Novel Microscopy Technique to Shed New Light on Study of Cell Properties,
BIOE Assistant Professor Giuliano Scarcelli and a team of researchers properties change as a symptom of disease in the body or as part of
from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Massachusetts normal biological functions, such as when wounds heal.
General Hospital have developed a label-free, optical microscopy
technique capable of shedding new light on how the mechanical Traditionally, techniques used to study the mechanical properties of
properties of cells change in the course of aging, injury healing, and cells have either required contact with cells or have produced images
disease pathogenesis. with limited resolution.As a result, information on the biomechanical
properties of cells in 3D environments is lacking.
The technique offers promise that one day researchers will be able to
identify a more exact starting point for the development of cancers, To address this, Scarcelli and six researchers have introduced a technique
coronary disease, or even osteoporosis. known as Brillouin optical cell microscopy for noninvasive, 3D
mapping of intracellular and extracellular hydro-mechanical properties.
“Using light, we can measure cells inside tissue and we can look inside Their technique – published this year in Nature Methods – employs
the cells to distinguish, for example, the properties of the nucleus and Brillouin light scattering, a process that occurs when light interacts
cytoplasm,” Scarcelli said. with density fluctuations in a medium.These spontaneous fluctuations
are driven by collective acoustic vibrational modes, known as phonons,
In order to better understand how such diseases develop – and in in the gigahertz frequency range. In this way, Brillouin microscopy
efforts to learn more about factors that influence everyday biological yields invaluable information on the viscoelastic characteristics of
functions – researchers need to get a clearer look at how properties of cells – and does so at a microscopic resolution no other technique can
a cell change over time. match.
Every cell contains a cytoplasm – the thick solution enclosed within As such, Brillouin microscopy opens up new research avenues for the
the cell by the cell membrane. Primarily composed of water, salts, and biomechanical investigation of cells and their microenvironment in
proteins, the cytoplasm is where most cellular activities occur. Even 3D at subcellular resolution.
more, the cytoplasm serves as a means of transport for genetic material
and acts as a buffer, protecting the cell’s genetic material from damage Continuing in collaboration with Dr. Roger Kamm at MIT, the
due to movement or collision with other cells. research team is now taking advantage of the unique capabilities of
Brillouin microscopy to look at a crucial property of metastatic cells
For years, researchers have known that the interaction between – their ability to modulate their internal mechanical properties to
the liquid and solid phases within the cytoplasm plays a prominent enter and exit blood vessels to colonize distant sites.The team’s efforts
role in how cells deform and move.As such, the ability to map the recently earned them a five-year, $3 million National Institutes of
hydro-mechanical properties of cells – such as viscoelasticity and Health grant to study tumor cell extravasation.
compressibility – is critical to advancing understanding of how cell
BIOE RESEARCHERS DEVELOP NANO-GUIDED CELL NETWORKS AS
CONVEYORS OF MOLECULAR COMMUNICATION
Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BIOE) researchers have such as electrons and protons,” the group noted in Nature Communications.
merged living cells with nanotechnology to develop an integrated
molecular processing network that sheds light on how bioengineers Put simply, cells serve a crucial role as conveyors of molecular
might further bridge the communication gap between biology and communication between biological systems, such as the gastrointestinal
electronic microfabricated devices. tract, and microdevices, such as stents.
In their Nature Communications paper published last fall, members of Building on this, Bentley’s research team developed a system in which
University Distinguished Professor and Director of the Robert E. a small network of surveyor cells collectively gathers information
Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices William Bentley’s research about the environment in which they live.Then, when they detect a
group addressed a question bioengineers have long contended with: target signal molecule, they synthesize “reporter” proteins onto their
how can scientists more effectively tap into the wealth of information outer surface. One of the proteins is a fluorescent protein, the other
that exists at the molecular level? facilitates binding to magnetic nanoparticles. In this way, these surveyor
cells can be introduced to a particular biological niche and can then
Advances in nanotechnology have provided bioengineers new ways be collected with a magnet where their fluorescence will indicate the
to sample molecular space, but living cells have the capability to take concentration of the analyte molecule they were engineered to find.
things a step further in that they can identify molecules within complex
environments and trigger functions. Eventually, this will enable “smart” bacteria that seek out pathogens or
wounds that are revealed by molecule markers they emit.When the
When appropriately accessed, molecular information can provide “smart bacteria” encounter pathogens or wounds, they synthesize and
bioengineers with invaluable feedback on biological systems, their deliver a therapeutic at the right spot and the right time, and in the
components, and their functions. correct dose to counter the problem.
To access this information, bioengineers have long worked to develop Bentley’s team consists of BIOE/Institute for Bioscience and
nano- to micro-scaled tools that engage with biological systems Biotechnology Research colleague Professor Gregory Payne, as well as
through monitoring and interacting at the molecular level. One such collaborators Dr. John March (Associate Professor, Cornell University)
tool is synthetic biology, through which engineers “rewire” cells to and Dr. Matthew Chang (Associate Professor, National University
survey molecular space – a feat that is possible because cells have of Singapore) and their research groups.The team’s work is funded
sophisticated capabilities to recognize, amplify, and transduce chemical primarily by the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA).
information. BIOE Ph.D. student Jessica Terrell, a member of Bentley’s Biomolecular
and Metabolic Engineering Laboratories, served as lead author of the
Cells also “present a potential interface between chemically based Nature Communications paper.
biomolecular processing and conventional vectors of information flow,
STROKA LAB WORKS TO ADVANCE BREAST CANCER RESEARCH
A healthy blood-brain barrier (BBB) protects the brain with the support the interactions between metastatic breast tumor cells, the BBB, and
of nearby neural cells; however, BBB dysfunction occurs in many neural cells neighboring the BBB.
diseases. For example, during metastasis in vivo, breast tumor cells cross
the BBB prior to forming secondary tumors in the brain – and, this Similarly, BIOE Ph.D. student Kelsey Gray is working with the Stroka
process likely involves BBB dysfunction. Lab to investigate the mechanobiological response of human brain
endothelium. Limitations hindering in vivo BBB studies – such as
Recognizing this, BIOE Ph.D. student Marina Shumakovich is working availability – have driven the need for in vitro models to enable
with Assistant Professor Kimberly Stroka’s (Ph.D. ’11) Cell and detailed mechanistic studies of BBB dysfunction. BBB models require
Microenvironment Engineering Lab to investigate whether specific the use of tight junction (TJ) expressing brain endothelial cells (ECs),
biochemical and physical cues from the BBB microenvironment affect but most brain EC sources lose the BBB phenotype, or propagate species
tumor cell migration, mechanobiology, and metastasis.Their goal is differences. As such, the Stroka Lab is exploring a mechanobiological
to engineer in vitro microfluidic systems to model and understand approach to address this challenge.
21 STATE-OF-THE-ART LABS “Our overall goal is to develop an on-chip model of the blood-brain
barrier that can be used to study breast tumor cell metastasis into the
including Immune and Autoimmune brain,” Stroka said, noting that breast cancer is one type of cancer that
Engineering, Tissue Engineering and frequently metastasizes to the brain and is especially hard to treat once
Biomaterials, Control of Miniaturized it gets there.
Systems, and Biophotonic Imaging.
Both Shumakovich and Gray presented their research at the 19th
International Signal Transduction at the Blood-Brain Barriers Symposium
1ST PLACE CAPSTONE GROUPS ADDRESS NEEDS OF UNDERSERVED,
Demonstrating the myriad ways in which bioengineers are transforming By using a positive temperature coefficient (PTC) heating element,
human health innovation, the Fischell Department of Bioengineering temperature sensor, and camera module, this Capstone group designed
(BIOE) 2016 Senior Capstone class exhibited a total of 20 novel concepts and developed a cheap and effective thermal cycler.This device is
during the Capstone II finale on May 11, 2016. smaller, more portable, and much cheaper than existing PCR machines.
In order to reduce the technical expertise required to function in such
The 2016 Capstone Design Competition marked the biggest yet, as settings, where refrigeration and transportation of samples to laboratories
98 students pitched their products to a panel of esteemed judges, as are also challenges, the Capstone group aimed to implement real-time
well as to BIOE faculty and fellow students.Two teams tied for first amplification measurement capabilities, allowing the device to function
place, and were recognized for their efforts to address the needs of as a temporary point-of-care diagnostic device.
The second group focused their efforts on developing a fear mitigation
The first group developed a concept for a portable polymerase chain device for pediatric MRI.
reaction (PCR) machine aimed to bring the clinical uses of PCR to
an accessible level for underserved patients. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a painless bioimaging modality
that utilizes large magnetic fields and radio pulses in order to visualize
Polymerase chain reaction is a process by which nucleic acid becomes structures within the human body. However, MRI machines are
amplified via repetitive heating and cooling cycles. Using primers, daunting, large, make loud sounds, and can be extremely distressing to
free nucleotides, and temperature cycling, it enables small nucleic acid patients, especially children.A large subset of pediatric patients have to
fragments to become amplified by a factor of hundreds of millions. be sedated in order to endure this noninvasive procedure. Recognizing
PCR for the detection of specific DNA or RNA sequences is used this, the Capstone group developed a trimodal, immersive, fear
for clinical diagnosis of several diseases. Currently, the cost - which mitigating device that combines a mobile device application with a
ranges from a few thousand to tens of thousands of U.S. dollars - and stereoscopic static image and a projector mirror system.This device
power requirements for the average PCR machines on the market works to effectively navigate a pediatric patient from hallway to hallway
render their use unfeasible in clinically underserved areas and developing through the MRI machine, and eliminates the need for sedation.
countries, where PCR is often necessary for making diagnoses.
BIOE BYTHTHEEFNISUCMHBEELRLSDEPARTMENT OF BIOENGINEERING:
Undergraduate Students Ph.D. Students
• 126 entering freshmen • 75 students enrolled
• 4.47 average GPA for admitted students • 3.66 average GPA for admitted students
• 727 average Math SAT • 163 average GRE Q for admitted students
• 60% newly enrolled in ‘16 were women • 40% newly enrolled in ‘16 were women
BERGER NAMED 2016 GOLDWATER SCHOLAR
Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BIOE) undergraduate Adam Berger, was awarded a scholarship by the
Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, which encourages students to pursue
advanced study and careers in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics. Berger was among the 252 Barry Goldwater
Scholars selected from 1,150 students nominated nationally this year.
Berger, a member of the Gemstone Honors Program and the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, is interested in
creating novel lab-on-a-chip biosensors that enable point-of-care disease detection and diagnosis.This past February,
Berger presented findings on the use of Raman spectroscopy to monitor wound healing in members of the military
at the SPIE Photonics West conference. He conducted this research over the past three summers with Dr. Nicole
Crane in the Regenerative Medicine Department at the Naval Medical Research Center.
Back on campus, Berger and his Gemstone team are biochemically modifying small-diameter vascular grafts made of silk scaffolds to enhance
the grafts’ biocompatibility and mechanical strength. Berger, who works in BIOE Associate Professor Ian White’s lab, is also investigating methods
for using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) to detect THC, the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects,
in saliva. In addition, Berger is testing paper-based SERS biosensors for antibiotic detection, a topic on which he co-authored a book chapter.
UMD IGEM TEAM EARNS SECOND CONSECUTIVE GOLD MEDAL IN
The University of Maryland celebrated a second consecutive gold-medal performance at the International Genetically Engineered Machine
(iGEM) competition. Composed of 16 students from a variety of disciplines including bioengineering (BIOE), computer science, neurobiology,
and biochemistry, as well as faculty advisors Drs. Edward Eisenstein (BIOE, Institute for Bioscience & Biotechnology Research) and Jason
Kahn (Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry), the team traveled to Boston in fall of 2015 to compete and collaborate with 250 teams from
around the world in what is known as the iGEM Jamboree.
This high-intensity event engages students to design and present novel synthetic biology projects that address real-world challenges.
The University of Maryland team earned its gold medal for creating an innovative approach to accelerate the construction of new biodesigns.
The team’s method for plasmid maintenance without the use of antibiotics involved the construction of an inexpensive thermocycler using
parts from a hair dryer.The team developed the project, performed laboratory research over the summer months, conducted an extensive study
of human practices related to the project, developed a Wiki page announcing the project, and raised more than $25,500 for laboratory supplies
and travel costs. In addition to earning a gold medal, the team earned one of five nominations for “Best New Application.”
Photo by Thai Nguyen/University of Maryland
THE FISCHELL DEPARTMENT OF BIOENGINEERING CELEBRATES 10 YEARS
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Fischell Department of Bioengineering, and the 13th anniversary of the establishment of the
University of Maryland’s graduate program of bioengineering in 2003. Since then, the number of participating bioengineering graduate program
faculty members has grown from fewer than ten to more than 85 today, including several from institutions beyond the College Park campus.
Propelled by the leadership of the department’s founding chair, Dr.William Bentley, the department has expanded to comprise the graduate
program, two Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Centers, and an innovative undergraduate program supporting more than 420 undergraduate
students.Today, Bentley serves as the inaugural director of the Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices, to be housed in A. James
Clark Hall, along with the department, in 2017.
The department welcomed alumni, students, industry partners, community leaders, and University of Maryland faculty and staff to celebrate the
department’s milestone in spring 2016. Guests included (pictured above) A. James Clark School of Engineering Dean and Nariman Farvardin
Professor of Engineering Darryll Pines, Distinguished University Professor and founding chair William Bentley, Fischell Family Distinguished
Professor and Chair John Fisher, Dr. Robert E. Fischell and the Fischell family, and University of Maryland President Wallace Loh.
At the forefront of
184,000 GROSS SQ FT INSTRUCTIONAL LAB
6,000 STUDENTS PEAK DAILY USAGE COMPUTATIONAL LAB
240-SEAT INNOVATION LAB 3 FLOORS DEDICATED TO BIOENGINEERING
200-SEAT FORUM 1 FLOOR DEDICATED TO BIOMEDICAL DEVICES
39,666 SQ FT OF LAB SPACE ARCHITECT: BALLINGER
5 MEETING ROOMS FOR STUDENT STARTUPS BUILDER: CLARK CONSTRUCTION GROUP
3 BIOIMAGING LABS EXPECTED OPENING: 2017
2 LARGE, “FLEX” CLASSROOMS
1 CAFE www.eng.umd.edu/clarkhall
CLARK HALL TO OPEN IN 2017
From curing cancer to improving access to health care, humankind faces daunting global health challenges
in the 21st century. More than ever, the solutions involve integrating technology and medicine in revolutionary ways.
A. James Clark Hall will spur the development of transformative engineering and biomedical technologies
to advance human health. When it opens next year, the 184,000-square-foot facility will serve as the flagship
of University of Maryland bioengineering and a hub for new partnerships and collaborations throughout
the capital region. Made possible by leadership gifts from renowned builder A. James Clark and biomedical
pioneer Robert E. Fischell, the building will offer flexible classrooms, collaborative student project space, and
Three floors will be occupied by the Fischell Department of Bioengineering, home to the university’s
fastest-growing undergraduate degree program, and the Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices,
dedicated to the research and development of new technologies to promote human health.
A dedicated Instructional Lab will house top-notch equipment in a broad range of applications, including
protein and DNA sequencing, mass and optical spectrometry, and gas and liquid-column chromatography.
In the Imaging Suite, laser and MRI devices will allow a close examination of the body and brain - and even
views into the molecular structure of viruses and bacteria. A bioengineering computational lab will give
Maryland engineering students and researchers unprecedented modeling and computing power for gene
expression analysis, pathogen detection, and other critical tasks.
The Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices will occupy more than 150,000 square feet of laboratory
and research space. Technologies developed here will be translated into clinical environments around the
Renderings courtesy of Ballinger
2330 Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building
8228 Paint Branch Dr.
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742-2835
The Fischell Department of Bioengineering at the University of
Maryland is the home of an emerging academic discipline, exciting
interdisciplinary degree programs, and faculty and students who
want to make a difference in human healthcare through education,
research and invention.
For more information about the department, please visit:
Follow us on Twitter: @UMDBIOE
FISCHELL DEPARTMENT OF BIOENGINEERING BY THE NUMBERS:
$11.78M in Research Expenditures in 2015-16 18 Tenure/Tenure-Track Faculty
1.5x Year-over-year Increase in Research 12 Invention Disclosures Filed in 2015-16
8 NSF/NIH Early Career Award Fellows
Awards Dollars from 2015 to 2016 7 Fellows of Professional Societies in 2015-16
7 NSF Graduate Fellows in 2015-16
$667,000 Avg. Research Expenditures per #1 in Big Ten in Bioengineering B.S. Degrees
Faculty Member Awarded to Women
38,000 Square Feet of New Department <1 Year until A. James Clark Hall Opens to
Space with Opening of A. James Clark Hall Become New Home of Bioengineering
21 State-of-the-art Laboratories
20 Senior Capstone Projects in Spring 2016