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BME Discovery                                                                                          Fall 2014
In This Issue
New NSF Center Leverages Industry Partnerships to Improve Microfluidics
A Hundred Tiny Hands Hopes to Inspire Young Scientists
UC Irvine Hosts 15th Annual Bioengineering Symposium
Focus on Research
Outstanding Student Highlights
Faculty Accolades

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Abe Lee Dear Friends of BME at UCI,

Howdy! Fresh back from the BMES annual conference in San Antonio, I feel energized by the outstanding community in which we all belong. Meeting people who are not only excited by science and engineering, but more importantly by the prospects of better treatments for our fellow citizens is just a thought to behold. As always, it is special to see BME alumni and friends at the conference, and I'm happy that many of you are finding your way to our traditional popcorn and ice cream sundae reception!

Back home in lovely Irvine, we kicked off the new school year by welcoming two new assistant professors in BME this past year - Michelle Digman and Beth Lopour.

Digman earned all three of her degrees in biochemistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is co-PI of the NIH P41 Center - Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics - and recently published a paper in the Biophysical Journal about the Ebola virus matrix protein. On the tenure track, she plans to apply novel imaging techniques to understand fundamental questions related to tumor cell migration in 3-D microenvironments.


New NSF Center Leverages Industry Partnerships to Improve Microfluidics

New NSF Center Leverages Industry Partnerships to Improve Microfluidic Devices The Center for Advanced Design and Manufacturing of Integrated Microfluidics (CADMIM) was launched in April this year as an NSF Industry/University Collaborative Research Center (I/UCRC). CADMIM will develop design tools and manufacturing technologies for integrated microfluidics, also known as labs-on-a-chip. These tiny devices can be used for cost-effective, quick and easy diagnosis of problems in the environment, agriculture and human health.

The mission of the center is to advance research and education on the science, engineering and applications of integrated microfluidic design and expandable production through dedicated ongoing industrial partnerships.


A Hundred Tiny Hands Hopes to Inspire Young Scientists

A Hundred Tiny Hands Hopes to Inspire Young Scientists Michelle Khine is known for her playful approach to science. She used a toy - Shrinky Dinks - to invent a method of quickly and cheaply developing custom microfluidic chips for researchers to use in their labs. Now she and her student researchers are inventing toys to inspire kids to not only conduct science, but also become inventors themselves.


UC Irvine Hosts 15th Annual UC Bioengineering Symposium

UC Irvine Hosts 15th Annual Bioengineering Symposium

On June 18-20, more than 300 bioengineering students and faculty from 10 University of California campuses came together at UC Irvine for the 15th annual UC Bioengineering Symposium. The event brought these engineers together to share knowledge and best practices and to forge stronger relationships and collaborations.    


Digman Uses Fluorescent Imaging to Study Ebola Virus Protein

Ebola Virus Protein Michelle Digman and her research on VP40, one of seven main proteins that creates the Ebola virus, was featured recently in the Orange County Register. An assistant professor of biomedical engineering and director of the Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics, Digman's work has also recently been published in the journal Viruses.

Biomedical Engineer Designs a Living Cell with Second DNA Replication System

Professor Chang Liu has created an engineered living cell with a second DNA replication system that mutates independently of and without harming the cell's original genome. This parallel replication cell works like a two-lane highway -- with a fast lane and a slow lane -- for direct evolution in a lab setting. With it, biomedical engineers will be able to rapidly evolve a huge array of biomolecules with custom desired functions. Liu and his research group published their work in the March issue of Nature Chemical Biology.

Orthogonal Replication

Luis Alonzo Honored for Public Impact

Graduate student Luis Alonzo received UCI's Public Impact Distinguished Fellowship Award for his research on creating a tumor-on-a-chip model to understand the role of the microenvironment on tumor growth and development. Public Impact Fellowships highlight and support doctoral students whose current research has the potential for substantial impact in the public sphere.
Jolie McLane Recognized for Volunteerism

Spirit of Volunteerism AwardsGraduate student Jolie McLane was honored as an outstanding community volunteer at OneOC's 2014 Spirit of Volunteerism Awards for her work at McFadden Intermediate School in Santa Ana. Jolie conducts a 24-week after-school program that brings STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) into schools. She also coordinated a day for students to visit and tour her biomedical research lab at UCI.
BME Touts Three NSF Graduate Research Fellows

National Science FoundationThe National Science Foundation has granted Vanessa Herrera, Sandra Lam and Nicole Mendoza a research fellowship. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.
Grad Student Uses Shrink Wrap to Improve Detection of Infectious Disease Biomarkers

Himanshu SharmaGraduate student researcher Himanshu Sharma along with Professors Michelle Khine, Enrico Gratton and Michelle Digman recently published a paper in The Optical Society's journal Optical Materials Express. The technique described in the paper offers a way to significantly boost the signal of fluorescent markers used in biosensing by depositing a combination of metals onto shrink wrap.

NIH Funds Zhongping Chen's Proposed Cardiac Imaging System

Zhongping Chen The NIH's National Heart Lung and Blood Institute has awarded UC Irvine biomedical engineer Zhongping Chen a $2.6-million four-year grant to build a better imaging system for looking inside the arteries.

Working with Qifa Zhou of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and Pranov Patel of the UCI School of Medicine, Chen proposes to capture the benefits of three sophisticated imaging technologies -- the high resolution of optical coherence tomography, deep tissue penetration of ultrasound imaging and the biomechanical contrast of optical coherence elastography (a technique that maps the elastic properties of soft tissue) - and combine them into a single catheter device.

Allergan Supports Microscopy Technology Developments

Michelle DigmanAllergan has awarded Michelle Digman, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, a grant for her project titled "Tracking Particle Dynamics at Neuromuscular Junctions in Vivo." She will receive $787,000 over three years.

Digman's research employs optical microscopy tools to track molecules and microscopic particles in living cells and tissues. Her interests include cell migration, cancer metastasis and development of microscopy technologies that allow the observation of molecular events in living organisms.

Michelle KhineMichelle Khine Named in Top 30 by Diverse

Michelle Khine was named one of the Top 30 Women in Higher Education by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education. Khine, recognized for her perseverance and tenacity, has had a broad impact on the academy and beyond.
Beth Lopour Hopes to Standardize Epilepsy Diagnosis in Infants

Beth LopourBeth Lopour received a $25,000 pilot grant through a collaborative program. The CHOC-UCI Child Health Research Awards are designed to promote translational research efforts that coalesce talented clinicians and researchers from CHOC and UC Irvine. Lopour is studying a type of epilepsy in children under 2 years old. She is working to standardize the way clinicians read patients' EEGs, which would help them more quickly diagnose and treat the condition. If not treated properly and efficiently, infantile spasms can lead to severe developmental delay.
AHA Awards Postdoc a Prestigious Scholarship
Ahmad Falahatpisheh
The American Heart Association has awarded UC Irvine postdoctoral scholar Ahmad Falahatpisheh with a two-year ($82,000) scholarship. Falahatpisheh, an expert in computational modeling of the heart, works with Dr. Arash Kheradvar, associate professor of biomedical engineering, in the Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology. Falahatpisheh's research involves using advanced post-processing methods related to magnetic resonance imaging to study the hearts of patients born with a complex congenital heart defect.