REUs Tour Birmingham’s Innovation Depot

Dr. Joel Dobbs Leads Tour of Innovation Depot

Dr. Joel Dobbs, Instructor at UAB School of Business (Management, Information Systems and Quantitative Methods) was kind enough to give the REUs a tour of Birmingham’s Innovation Depot.  Dr. Dobbs also presented at one of our seminars this year.  His topic: Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Both the seminar and the tour were a delight and helped to shed new light on how students should approach their careers.  One of the big take aways from the seminar and the tour, per Dr. Dobbs, is that students should approach their careers with the mindset of an entrepreneur.  What a great way plan for an exceptional career path.

Below are photos from the tour featuring participants as well as a sample of some of the features and businesses housed in the Depot.

REUs Visit UAB Graduate Fair

2017 Graduate Fair

There is a lot of graduate programs to explore at UAB and our 2017 REUs had the opportunity to talk with program representatives in a variety of disciplines at UAB.  The Graduate Fair was deemed a success by our REUs and they felt that they learned a great deal about their options (whether here at UAB or elsewhere.

REUs Participate in UAB 2017 Summer Expo

Live From the 2017 Summer Expo

We are so proud of Class of 2017 REUs and the outstanding work that they did in the lab, their PowerPoint presentations, research papers and of course showcasing the culmination of their hard work at the 2017 Summer Expo.  A huge part of our program is the experience of presenting their research to a broad audience. The annual Expo gives them just such an opportunity to share that knowledge through being well prepared to explain their work and answer questions posed to them by judges and other Expo attendees.

2017 REUs Working in Their Labs

REUs in Action

The Research Experiences for Undergraduates at UAB ended on July 21, 2017, but not without capturing remnants of a successful 10 weeks working along side of UAB faculty mentors and grad student mentors.  Take a look at these photos of the REUs in the labs with theri mentors.

Congrats to Nicolas Merino, Sabrina Siu and Sherilynn Knight

2017 Summer Expo Winners

(l-r) Sabrina Siu, Nicolas Merino, Sherilynn Knight

Congratulations to Nicolas Merino,  Sabrina Siu and Sherilynn Knight.  Nicolas, Sabrina and Sherilynn, three of our REU participants won 1st and 2nd place winners in Engineering and Physical and Applied Sciences at this year’s 2017 Summer Expo.  Their 10-week research experience at UAB was sponsored by National Science Foundation (Grant Number DMR # DMR 1460392) – Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) award to UAB

First place winner in Physical and Applied Sciences, Nicolas Merino’s presented a poster titled “Theranostic Systems of Polymers and Tannic acid for Ultrasound Therapy Drug Release.”  Nicolas is a Junior at Georgia College & State University.  He spent 10 weeks working in Dr. Eugenia Kharlampieva’s lab in the Chemistry Department along with her graduate student Aaron Alford.  As always, special thanks to Dr. Kharlampieva and Aaron for their commitment to the REU program.

Second place winner in Physical and Applied Sciences, Sabrina Siu presented a poster titled “Solid-state Reaction Synthesis of Gd:BaZrO3 for the Production of Pulse Laser Deposited Thin Films for Fuel Cell Applications.” Sabrina is a senior at University of Florida (Gainesville).  This year she was mentored by Dr. Renato Camata’s (Physics) lab along with his graduate student Eric Remingtong. Dr. Camata has had a long standing commitment of mentoring participants in our REU program and we certainly thank and appreciate his dedication.

REU participant Sherilynn Knight won 2nd place in Engineering category for her poster  titled “Retrieval Analyses of Wear and Debris in Oxidized Zirconium Total Knee Arthroplasty.” Sherilynn is a Sophmore at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.  She worked in Dr. Alan Eberhardt’s (Biomedical Engineering) lab this summer along with graduate student Thomas Ballard. Dr. Eberhardt is among the ranks of our longstanding REU mentors and as with all of our mentors, we value his continued support.

The Physics NSF REU program has been in continually in existence since 1997 and that’s an accomplishment that Program Director, Dr. Yogesh K. Vohra is quite proud.  Again, congrats to our winners and much success to all of our 2017 participants.

CNMB News: Triple-threat cancer-fighting polymer capsules

CNMB researchers create triple-threat cancer-fighting polymer capsules for guided drug delivery

Chemists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have designed triple-threat cancer-fighting polymer capsules that bring the promise of guided drug delivery closer to preclinical testing.

These multilayer capsules show three traits that have been difficult to achieve in a single entity. They have good imaging contrast that allows detection with low-power ultrasound, they can stably and efficiently encapsulate the cancer drug doxorubicin, and both a low- and higher-power dose of ultrasound can trigger the release of that cargo.. (read the entire article by Jeff Henson, 30March2017)

NIH Funds UAB-Vivo Biosciences Research Team in Vascular Grafts

NIH Funds UAB-Vivo Biosciences Research Team in Vascular Grafts

Vascular Grafts-2
12 cm long vascular graft fabricated at UAB
Vascular Grafts
Electro-spinning apparatus for fabricating graft

NIH-National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) has funded a UAB-Vivo biosciences research team for conducting translational research on vascular grafts led by Principal Investigator Yogesh K. Vohra, PhD. This Phase-I award of $192,314 is under the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. Approximately 1.4 million surgical procedures that require arterial prostheses are performed annually in the US due to peripheral vascular disease and ischemic heart disease; approximately 500,000 of these are coronary artery bypass operations. The current commercially available synthetic grafts have not been found suitable for small vessel (<6 mm) applications, with a <50% patency rate at 12 months. Disadvantages of prosthetic grafts include increased risk of thrombosis, poor tissue response and integration and poor biomechanics of graft, leading to additional interventions. Because there are no acceptable synthetic prostheses for small-diameter blood vessels, there is a huge demand for tissue engineered vascular grafts, especially small diameter vascular grafts for coronary replacement. The overall goal of this new program is the development and evaluation of a novel functionally-graded biohybrid vascular graft for small diameter for coronary bypass applications.  Tissue engineered vascular constructs developed to date have been engineered mostly using synthetic and animal-derived biomaterials and require pre-seeding of cells before implantation to overcome the complications of prosthetic vascular grafts. However, these biohybrid systems exhibit many limitations including poor cellular adhesion, inadequate biomechanical and functional properties. The UAB research group has recently demonstrated an in vitro regenerated human endothelium on functionally-layered polymeric scaffolds containing bioactive proteins (Figure below).  Moreover, Vivo Biosciences has developed a unique human biomatrix (HuBiogel™) that allows viable tissue constructs by cultivating single or multiple cell types. The research team will combine our functionally-layered graft strategy with this physiological HuBiogel culture technology for fabricating an advanced 3D vascular construct demonstrating enhanced lumen endothelialization and biocompatibility. Our research team includes Dr. Yogesh Vohra (PI, UAB Physics/College of Arts and Sciences) Dr. Vinoy Thomas (UAB MSE/School of Engineering) Dr. Steven Pogwizd (School of Medicine – Cardiovascular Disease)
and Dr. Raj Singh (President -Vivo Biosciences).