Awards and achievements

February 5, 2016

Warren Grayson discusses tissue-engineered regenerated facial bone

At TEDx Baltimore guest speaker Warren Grayson, associate professor in biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins, discusses a revolutionary new approach for tissue engineered facial bone reconstruction. Dr. Grayson describes a process where patient-specific anatomically-correct 3-D printed bone is created. This 3-D base, called the scaffold, is enhanced with the patient’s own living tissue. The living tissue grows as the scaffold biodegrades. The resulting tissue-regenerated structure becomes a living component — so that as the patient grows and changes the regenerated bone grows and changes along with patient.

January 12, 2016

Andrew Feinberg receives honorary doctorate degree

The University of Amsterdam has awarded Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, Andrew Feinberg, an honorary doctorate degree for his cutting-edge research into humane epigenetics and epigenomics, and particularly for his contribution to the unravelling of the epigenetic processes that lead to cancer and other diseases.

The doctorate was conferred during the UvA’s Foundation Day on January 8, 2016.

Bloomberg Distinguished Professor Andy Feinberg holds appointments in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Bloomberg School of Public Health. He also directs the Center for Epigenetics.

January 8, 2016

BME PhD student researchers Xindong Song and Yueqi Guo uncover evidence that pitch perception evolved in primate

BME graduate student Xindong Song

Xindong Song

The ability to perceive the sound quality known as “pitch” can no longer be listed as unique to humans. Research published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, entitled “Complex pitch perception mechanisms are shared by humans and a New World monkey,” infers that aspects of pitch perception may have evolved more than 40 million years — enabling the songlike vocalization by the marmoset monkey. The paper appeared on the cover of PNAS, Issue No. 3, January 19, 2016.

BME graduate student Xindong Song

The Johns Hopkins research authors include BME graduate students Xindong Song (lead author) and Yueqi Guo, BME Research Associate Michael Osmanski, and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Xiaoqin Wang.

Building on Dr. Wang’s previous research previous research that revealed regions in the marmoset brain responded to pitch in a way similar to that the human brain, the research team focused on finding behavioral evidence of pitch perception. Through a series of hearing tests, with waterspout licks as a readout, Wang’s team, led by graduate student Xindong Song, determined that marmosets share the three specialized features of pitch perception once thought to be unique to humans. Learn more 

December 29, 2015

Research findings indicate that pitch perception evolved in primate monkeys

Primate share ability to distiquish pitchThe ability to perceive the sound quality known as “pitch” can no longer be listed as unique to humans. Johns Hopkins researchers — including auditory neuroscientist and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Xiaoqin Wang — report new behavioral evidence that marmoset monkeys, with a hearing range similar to that of humans, appear to use auditory cues similar to humans to distinguish between low and high notes.

The discovery infers that aspects of pitch perception may have evolved more than 40 million years ago to enable vocal communication and songlike vocalizations.

The research paper, Complex pitch perception mechanisms are shared by humans and a New World monkey, was published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Learn more  

December 16, 2015

Andrew P. Feinberg, founder of cancer epigenetics, named Bloomberg Professor

Andrew P. FeinbergAndrew Feinberg , MD, MPH, has now joined the prestigious ranks of Bloomberg Distinguished Professors appointed across Johns Hopkins. The interdisciplinary professorships are created to galvanize people, resources, research, and educational opportunities to address major world problems. Dr. Feinberg holds positions in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s departments of Medicine, Oncology, Molecular Biology and Genetics, and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and the Bloomberg School’s Department of Biostatistics, along with his appointment in Department of Biomedical Engineering, where he will be mentoring students and teaching an undergraduate course in epigenetics and epigenomics.

Feinberg directs the Center for Epigenetics, one of the leading research centers in the world. Cancer epigenetics has become one of the core areas of cancer research and therapy. Feinberg expanded beyond cancer research to create the first epigenome center in the country to develop tools to understand the role of epigenetics in all aspects of human disease.

The Department of Biomedical Engineering congratulates Dr. Feinberg on this esteemed appointment. Read the full article. 

December 1, 2015

BME faculty publish research findings to aid in determining effective biological therapies for improved cardiac function

Optogentic Biologic Cardiac InterventionIn a scientific paper published online in Nature, researchers — including BME Assistant Research Professor Patrick M. Boyle and Murray B. Sachs Professor Natalia Trayanova — share research findings that use optogenetic tools to help identify effective biological therapies for improved cardiac function (as opposed to use of implants such as pacemakers). The investigators used optogenetics to selectively target cardiac cells for excitation through viral gene therapy.

The research paper, Optogenetics-enabled assessment of viral gene and cell therapy for restoration of cardiac excitability, is the results of an intensely collaborative project between research teams at Johns Hopkins and Stony Brook Universities. The Johns Hopkins research group led the charge on simulations, while Prof. Emilia Entcheva’s group at Stony Brook University conducted in vitro experiments. The investigative teams tested the optical energy needed to sufficiently excite the deficient cardiac cells and then computationally predicted therapeutic efficiency of the targeted cells with gene therapy restoration methods.

The study results can help guide optogenetic interventions for light-based control of cardiac excitation and can help optimize gene therapy for restoration of cardiac excitability.

November 18, 2015

BME design team is awarded $25,000 as winners of the 2015 Retail & Innovation Health Competition

A team of eight Johns Hopkins undergraduate biomedical engineering students were awarded first place and a prize of $25,000 by judges of the 2015 Retail and Health Innovation Challenge held at Wake Forest University School of Business in Winston-Salem, NC.

The BME entrepreneurs — Haley Huang, Tom Catullo, Barbara Kim, Stephen Johannesson, Esteban Urias, Eric Chiang, Anshul Subramanya, and Tony Sun — have created a simple, innovative solution for the problem of puncturing the spinal cord during revision spinal surgery. This specialized surgical device, Separatec, was designed to minimize the risk of leaking spinal fluid in the thin membrane surrounding nerves in the spinal column, especially when scar tissue from previous surgeries is present.

The Separatec surgical instrument tip incorporates key design features that make use of the tool safer for the patient, easy for surgeons to use, and more effective than the current standard of care. It is expected that use of Separatec will decrease the occurrence of cerebrospinal fluid leaks, expedite patient recovery, and decrease surgical expense.

Congratulations to the team and best of luck in their business venture: BHEST Medical LLC. Read the full article.

November 5, 2015

Graduate student David Herzfeld’s research published in Nature

David HerzfeldEncoding of action by the Purkinje cells of the cerebellum, a research paper by David Herzfeld, was published in Nature, October 15, 2015. In this work, David has solved a long-standing puzzle regarding how the primary cells in the cerebellum, called Purkinje cells, encode movements of the body. The work also received a News and Views article in the same issue of the journal, describing the results as "Decrypting a brain enigma."

Other authors on the paper included Yoshiko Kojima, Robi Soetedjo, and BME Professor Reza Shadmehr.

November 4, 2015

Alexis Scholtz named winner of the 2015 BMES t-shirt design competition

2015 winning BMe t-shirt designCongratulations to Lexie (Alexis) Scholtz who submitted the winning 2015 JHU BME t-shirt design. The annual t-shirt competition is hosted by BMES that is open to the whole undergraduate BME body. Design requirements include use of “Johns Hopkins University” or “JHU”, and “Biomedical Engineering” or “BME.” The winning design was selected on based on the results of a month-long online survey.

Lexie will receive a gift card, the printed t-shirt, and will have her design unveiled at the BMES Winter Social. The shirts will be sold at the BMES Olympics on Dec. 6th.

David Yue commemorative t-shirtIn addition, BMES is printing a special run of shirts commemorating Dr. David Yue. View larger photo of Dr. David Yue commemorative t-shirt.

October 21, 2015

BME doctoral student Kunal Parikh honored with Roche/ARCS Scholar Award

Kunal ParikhParikh, a PhD candidate in biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University, has been presented with a Roche/ARCS Scholar Award at a reception at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC. This is the second year that he has received the award.

An entrepreneur as well as a scientist, Kunal Parikh has spent years developing drug-delivery platforms to improve patient treatment. He plans to spend the next year pursuing patents for these technologies; submitting his research for publication in scholarly journals; visiting hospitals and manufacturing plants to conduct implementation research; and continuing to lead and mentor the team of scientists, engineers, and clinicians who work alongside him.

His research focuses on developing technologies that improve the delivery of vaccines and medicine in the body. This approach includes creating technology capable of sustained drug release to parts of the body and a platform for effective and safe gene delivery that could be used to treat or prevent infectious diseases.

The Roche/ARCS Scholar Award, a three-year award funded by the Roche and ARCS foundations, grants nonrestricted funds to support the next generation of life science students. Read the full article.