2016 Workshop on Engineering Living Systems

2016 Workshop on Engineering Living Systems will take place Wednesday August 3 - Thursday August 4, 2016 at the Q Center in St. Charles, Illinois, in the Chicago area. Click above for more details!

Cali Callaway, 2015 EBICS summer undergraduate research fellow, receives Goldwater Fellowship

April 1, 2016 - Catherine "Cali" Callaway, a junior at University of Georgia's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, is majoring in biology with a concentration in neuroscience and pursuing a combined master's degree in artificial intelligence. She aims to earn a doctorate and a medical degree and to pursue a career conducting research in regenerative bioscience. Callaway has spent extensive time in a laboratory through UGA's Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, working with Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar Steven Stice, director of the UGA Regenerative Bioscience Center, as well as during an intensive summer research experience for undergrads (REU) at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology.

Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University

March 23, 2016 - Philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen announced he will devote $100 million to launch the Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group. “We wanted to find people who might not be where the herd is going,’’ said Tom Skalak, executive director of the new Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, a $100 million initiative to back risky, cutting-edge science that more conventional funders might avoid. The Frontiers Group, launched March 23, 2016, will start by bankrolling two Allen Discovery Centers; each will receive about $30 million over eight years. One of the two centers is at Tufts University, led by biologist Michael Levin, aims to understand the “morphogenic code,’’ or the signals inside organisms that choreograph networks of cells into functional tissues and organs. Levin has found that electric fields and electric signaling between cells help give tissues, organs, and other body parts (like arms) their shapes. That’s called an “emergent’’ phenomenon because it cannot be predicted from genes and molecules or the other mainstays of reductionist biology.

Jasmin Imran Alsous (Shvartsman Lab) wins Autodesk Art and Biology Award

Jasmin Imran Alsous, EBICS trainee in the Shvartsman Lab, won the 2016 Autodesk Art and Biology Award for Picasso’s Bulls and Drosophila’s Eggs. This submission highlights a connection between one of Picasso’s artworks and modern techniques used for processing biological image data. The Autodesk award is for the most popular VIZBI Art and Biology submission, and the winner receives a three-year subscription to Autodesk Maya. Well done Jasmin!

BioBots in motion featured in NSF's Science Nation

March 7, 2016 - UIUC members of the EBICS biobots working group, engineered 8-10 mm biobots that mimic the muscle-tendon-bone complex, resulting in inchworm-like movement. They can be controlled with electrical or optical signals and use muscle tissue for power. Currently, researchers are focused on biobots that mimic the body, but, perhaps one day, biological machines could replace animals for drug testing, or be used to detect and neutralize toxins in the environment, or even sequester carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. (Photo left to right: Caroline Cvetkovic (UIUC), Ritu Raman (UIUC), Rashid Bashir (UIUC))

Kong Lab engineering cell matrix discovery promises innovation for fundamental applied studies on biological cells

February 12, 2016 - Paper by EBICS trainees Eunkyung Ko (UIUC) and Ellen Qin (UIUC), EBICS faculty Hyunjoon Kong (UIUC), et al. was published in Chemical Communications. Their research demonstrates that a hydrogel coupled with integrin-binding deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) tethered with pre-defined rupture forces can modulate cell adhesion, differentiation, and secretion activities due to the changes in the number and, likely, force of cells adhered to a gel. Such innovative cell-matrix interface engineering would be broadly useful for a series of materials used for fundamental and applied studies on biological cells.

Levin Lab discovery suggests role for bioelectric signaling in channelopathies of embryogenesis

February 10, 2016 - Paper by EBICS faculty Michael Levin (Tufts), EBICS trainee Sebastien Uzel (MIT), et al. was published in The Journal of Physiology. Their research shows the bioelectric mechanism by which the rare genetic disorder Andersen-Tawil Syndrome (ATS) causes facial deformities, a finding that could lead to preventative measures and treatments from disorders ranging from birth defects to cancer. (Photo credit: Kim Thurler, TuftsNow)

April EBICS Distinguished Lecturer: Dr. George Daley

Tuesday April 12 @ 11 am ET / 10 am CT / 8 am PT - EBICS is pleased to host George Daley (Harvard) at MIT for the next installment of the EBICS Distinguished Lecturer Series. Dr. Daley will discuss current efforts to differentiate pluripotent stem cells to specific lineages by mimicking embryonic programs, and modes of assessing the fidelity of these cells relative to efforts to directly engineer cells via synthetic biology. Live broadcast to Georgia Tech and University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. Contact Angela Liu (apl32@mit.edu) for details to attend. (Photo credit: Rick Groleau)