April 2010

You are Invited! Spring 2010 Senior Design Presentations
Event Date: May 3, 2010
You are cordially invited to attend the 6th Semi-Annual Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering Senior Design Presentations and Demonstrations. This semester, Professor Zheng Ouyang leads the class as one team working together to develop a clinical mass spectrometer. Please join us for these presentations on Monday, May 3rd, 3:20-5:20 pm in the Martin C. Jischke Hall of Biomedical Engineering, Room 1001. Immediately following the presentations the teams will host product demonstrations in the Leslie A. Geddes Senior Design Laboratory (MJIS 1087). Please R.S.V.P. to kcooper@purdue.edu if you plan to attend.

Mass Spectrometry (MS) is a powerful analytical method that has the ability to detect and indicate concentrations of chemical and biological compounds in a sample. In a clinical setting, mass spectrometry has a wide range of usefulness: drug abuse detection, disease diagnosis and screening, medication dosage control/tracking, and drug interaction indications.

However, currently, limitations to clinical usage of mass spectrometers include the size and cost of mass spectrometers and the necessary sample preparation. The Weldon Senior Design Team has developed a desktop printer size mass spectrometer which will take a sample of blood (no special preparation needed) and process the sample to indicate the presence of a particular compound. In addition to identifying the presence of a particular compound, the Weldon Senior Design Team has developed a Graphical User Interface (GUI) which will eliminate the need for a chemist to interpret the mass spectrometry data; instead, the GUI will display and clearly indicate the concentration of a particular compound in the sample.

To tackle the development of a clinical mass spectrometer the Weldon Senior Design Team divided into 4 subgroup teams that were responsible for developing the ability of the device to (1) accept and ionize a sample, (2) mass analyze and detect ions, (3) establish and maintain electronic control for the entire device and acquire data, and (4) provide a user interface and data interpretation.

• The sample ionization team has designed a disposable cartridge component that allows a user to apply a biological sample (i.e, blood) and then snap in the cartridge to the MS assembly component. Embedded in this cartridge is a copper electrode that supplies the necessary voltage to ionize the sample.
• The MS assembly has developed a method for separating and isolating the ions from the sample based on the ions’ mass-to-charge (m/z) ratio through the use of electromagnetic fields. The separated ions are then sent to an ion detector. To optimize operating conditions, the MS assembly team developed a mass analyzer simulation which takes frequency, voltage, and ion properties as inputs, then, outputs a mass spectrum and ion trajectory.
• The controls team has developed a method using power distribution boards and control boards to supply all power needs for the whole system and to control the sequencing of each component in the system. In addition to supplying power and control, the controls team designed the data acquisition component of the clinical mass spectrometer.
• The data analysis team has developed a GUI to minimize user error and a data interpretation algorithm to fully automate the process and analysis of data, thereby reducing user error and eliminating the need for an expert to interpret the data. The GUI will notify the user of any testing errors that occur due to sample loading and processing and will display the concentration of a specified compound so that no mass spectrum analysis is required.

We would like to acknowledge the strong support from the Center for Analytical Instrumentation Development (CAID) to the Senior Design project “Clinical Mass Spectrometer”. A light snack and beverage service will be available during the design demonstrations.

Nanocages Used in New Imaging Techniques for Disease Applications

New research findings from Weldon Professor Ji-Xin Cheng and collaborators suggest that an experimental ultrasensitive medical imaging technique that uses a pulsed laser and tiny metallic "nanocages" might enable both the early detection and treatment of disease.

The system works by shining near-infrared laser pulses through the skin to detect hollow nanocages and solid nanoparticles - made of an alloy of gold and silver - that are injected into the bloodstream. "Three-photon luminescence" technique offers new levels of definition and allows greater contrast and clarity to locate nanocages and differentiate tissues in ways previously not possible.

For the full story, follow this link.

Graduate Students Shine in Business Plan Competitions

Three Purdue Biomedical Engineering teams have been taking business plan competitions by storm this spring. Glytrix and BioRegeneration Technologies each took home top honors from the Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition. GlucaGo, the Purdue Weldon and Krannert Schools' BIOMEDSHIP program spin-off company, continues to find success on the road as they prepare for the Global MOOT corp competition at the University of Texas in May.

Glytrix, a student-led company that has developed a platform technology for tissue healing and regeneration that also minimizes scarring, took first prize in the Gold Division of the 23rd annual Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition. The team members for Glytrix include Purdue Krannert School of Management graduate student Joshua Cox, and Weldon post-doctoral students John Paderi and Kate Stuart and Professor Alyssa Panitch. Their $30,000 prize was announced at an awards dinner following a full day of competition, where 10 finalists gave their business plan presentations.

Second prize in the Gold Division went to BioRegeneration Technologies for their work to commercialize a naturally derived biomaterial scaffold for tissue regeneration following an injury. The BioRegeneration Technologies team benefits from the expertise of graduate student Leonard Kim, Weldon alums Darryl Dickerson and Theresa Gordon, and Professor Eric Nauman. The Gold Division is open to Purdue graduate students, along with faculty, local entrepreneurs and Purdue alumni as supporting team members.

The late Burton D. Morgan established the competition in 1987 with an endowment gift to Purdue. Each team gets 20 minutes to present their business idea, and then has 10 minutes to field questions from the judges during the event. This year, a student on the top finishing team in each division is eligible for either an annual Krannert scholarship for a full-time MBA program or a seat in Krannert's two-week Applied Management Principles program ("mini-MBA").

GlucaGo, the three student powerhouse team of Peter Greco (Krannert), Art Chlebowski and Rush Bartlett (Weldon), is preparing for the Global MOOT corp competition at the University of Texas in the first week of May. The team continues to rake in honors as they take their message and their innovative drug delivery device on the road. Semi-Finalists in the Dell Social Innovation Competition, they made <a href="http://www.glucago.com">a video</a> to promote their invention. Other awards and honors include:

  • October 2009 - Global Idea 2 Product Competition, University of Texas - 1st Place; Best Showcase
  • February 2010 - Spirit of Enterprise Competition, University of Cincinnati - 1st Place Taxi/Limo Pitch
  • March 2010 - McGinnis Venture Competition, Carnegie Mellon University - 2nd Place Life Science; 2nd Place Elevator Pitch
  • March 2010 - San Diego Venture Challenge, San Diego State Venture Challenge - 1st Place
  • March 2010 - Wake Forest Elevator Pitch Competition, Wake Forest University - 1st Place
  • April 2010 - Purdue Elevator Pitch Competition, Purdue University - 1st Place
  • April 2010 - Rice Business Plan Competition, Rice University - 3rd Place Overall, 5th Place Elevator Pitch, Nasa's Top Life Science Prize, 420 applicants, 42 teams invited.
  • Purdue Life Science Competition - 5th Place
  • San Francisco Business Plan Competition - SemiFinalist
  • Purdue Burton D. Morgan Competition - SemiFinalist

GlucaGo has been invited to the Global MOOT corp competition. To qualify most competitors must win a semifinal competition. The Texas competition had three categories with three first place winners. "They had to pick one, in this case GlucaGo, to be the lead finalist," explains Bartlett. With a $135,000 first prize, "It is the SuperBowl of Business Plan competitions." The team created their project and developed their business plan in last spring's Biomedship class and has found success in many competitions, allowing them to launch their own organization. GlucaGo is currently seeking investors to validate manufacturing processes for their device. Please join us in wishing them the best in May.

Undergraduate Students Gather Honors
Biomedical Engineering students have a proven track record of being exemplary scholars. We are proud to announce several who have received recent recognition for their exceptional efforts.

Havel Decker Outstanding Junior Scholarship

  • Mackenzie Smith
  • Kai Lim

Charles Wayne Sullivan Outstanding Sophomore Scholarship

  • Kara Ellspermann
  • Christian Rivera

David and Stephen Grubbs Summer Fellowship

  • Sriram Vaidyanathan - BME Junior
  • Jamie Canter - BME Junior
  • Sachin Santhakumar - BME Sophomore

Martin C. Jischke International Student and Scholar Award

  • Apoorva Kalasuramath - BME Senior


2010 Society of Women (SWE) in Engineering Banquet

Outstanding Biomedical Engineering Student, Weldon Foundation

  • Apoorva Kalasuramath - BME Senior

Roberta Banaszak Gleiter/GIFTE Scholarship

  • Mackenzie Smith - BME Junior

SWE Corporate Awards

  • Boeing Company; Lindsay Wendel - BME Junior
  • General Electric; Jamie Canter - BME Junior

Women in Engineering Awards

  • Kara Ellspermann - BME Sophomore
  • Andrea Lawrence - BME Sophomore

SWE Activity and Leadership Awards

  • Unsung Hero Award; Mackenzie Smith - BME Junior
  • Outstanding Chair Award; Lindsay Wendel - BME Junior

Congratulations to all for your well-deserved awards!

Purdue Biosensor Measures Efficacy of Epilepsy and Seizure Treatments

A new biosensor developed by researchers at Purdue University can measure whether neurons are performing correctly when communicating with each other, giving researchers a tool to test the effectiveness of new epilepsy or seizure treatments.

Marshall Porterfield, an associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering and biomedical engineering, and team developed the self-referencing glutamate biosensor to measure real-time glutamate flux of neural cells in a living organism. The nanosensor not only measures glutamate around neural cells, it can tell how those cells are releasing or taking up glutamate, a key to those cells' health and activity.

"Before we did this, people were only getting at glutamate indirectly or through huge, invasive probes," said Porterfield, whose research was published in the early online version of the Journal of Neuroscience Methods. "With this sensor, we can 'listen' to glutamate signaling from the cells."

Collaborator Jenna Rickus, an associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering and biomedical engineering, who oversaw the study's neurological aspects, said researchers need more information about how neurons work to create more effective treatments for neurological disorders. "Understanding neurotransmitter dynamics has implications for almost all normal and pathological brain function," Rickus said.

For the full story, follow this link.

Student Profile: Jennifer Bastijanic
Jennifer Bastijanic is a senior at the Weldon School. Andrew Peabody interviewed Jennifer for our newsletter.

Where are you from?
I am from Chardon, Ohio, which is about 45 minutes east of Cleveland up near Lake Erie. Beautiful place, but right in the snow belt.

What are your hobbies/interests?
• Traveling. I take any chance I get to go places. I love seeing the world and exploring ancient cultures, new food, and meeting new people. This past winter break, I spent 10 days in Argentina, and I have family around the world that I love going to visit.
• Spending time with friends. It’s always good to get away from work a bit and enjoy time with the people you love – especially since this is the last semester for most of us.
• When I have the time, I enjoy reading and watching movies. Anything really.

What do you hope to do once you graduate?
My plan right now is to attend graduate school in biomedical engineering, and I have just recently finished going through the whole application process for that and am waiting to hear back. With a graduate degree, I hope to eventually go into the medical device industry working in research and development. I am motivated by the fact that in this area of work, I know that what I do will help to save and improve the lives of many people – it’s why I chose BME.

Tell me how you spent your summer, specifically about your Cook Biotech, Inc. Internship
This past summer, I stayed here in West Lafayette and worked in the research department at Cook Biotech, Inc., a branch of Cook Medical. There I had the opportunity to work on my own project, which consisted of characterizing some of the mechanical properties of their main biomaterial, SIS (small intestinal submucosa of a pig). It was a really great experience for me – I had the freedom to design my own experiments and research new test methods, the opportunity to research up-and-coming technologies, and the opportunity to see not only the research department, but learn the whole manufacturing and development process as well.

Tell me about your current involvement on Purdue’s campus.
I have always enjoyed being involved in a few of the many groups and organizations on campus. One of the things that brought me to Purdue was the excellent outreach that the university has toward potential students. In an effort to contribute to the student community here, I am currently a mentor for the Women in Engineering Program, secretary of the Biomedical Engineering Society, and a student ambassador to the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering.

Weldon School Expands Virtual Presence
The Weldon School has been expanding its digital presence. You can now join The Weldon School groups on both LinkedIn and Facebook.

Please consider joining the Weldon School Group page on both sites, inviting your colleagues, and contributing content. Members will receive information on the latest, news, upcoming events, networking, and possibly even job opportunities (on LinkedIn only). Our groups are only as good as the members make them, so join today! We hope to see you online... click here for the group links to LinkedIn and Facebook.

This is your newsletter! Please let us know of your accomplishments, as well as your ideas to help us improve the publication. As always, we welcome you to join us as we advance both higher education and the medical device and biotechnology fields. If you are interested in learning more about the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, please contact Julia Colby, our Manager of Development Operations, at colbyjm@purdue.edu. We would like to learn about you, answer your questions, and schedule a visit.