News & Events

Graduation and farewell lunch for Dr. Mary Kasper

April 28/May 5, 2022

 

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Spring UG Presentations & Farewell to Graduating Seniors

April 21, 2022

In typical tradition, we enjoyed our Spring 2022 end-of-the-semester UG presentations (in person!). As usual, terrific job by our UG researchers. Always our favorite part of the semester!

UG Presenters:

  • Ashley Evering (BME)​, “Exploring the mechanical properties of polyethylene glycol and glycidyl methacrylate hyaluronic acid in developing in vitro spinal cord injury testbeds”; Mentor: Eleana Manousiouthakis
  • Sarah Danis (MSE)​, “Printability study of conductive hyaluronic acid and carbon nanotube composite hydrogels”; Mentor: Eleana​ Manousiouthakis​
  • Emily Pallack (Microbiology & Cell Sciences)​, “Differential expression of transcripts in spinal cord injury following oxygen therapy for development of biomimetic hydrogel construct”; Mentor: Eleana​ Manousiouthakis​
  • Steven Robles Blasini (BME)​, “Modulating hydrogel scaffolding materials for an in-vitro muscle-on-a-chip model”; Mentor: Jorge Mojica​ Santiago
  • Shruti Kolli (Public Health)​, “Characterizing electrical properties of a skeletal muscle microphysiological system to assess contractile differences in adult cells”; Mentor: Jorge Mojica​ Santiago
  • Bret Ellenbogen​ (Chemistry), “Evaluating Gene Expression of Protein Classes After Peripheral Nerve Injury”; Mentor: Mary Kasper​
  • Yuan (Kevin)​ Li (BME), “In-vitro Screening of Various Tissue Engineering Approaches to Achieve Better Neural Regeneration Outcomes”; Mentor: Mary Kasper​
  • Abdullah Afridi (Chemistry)​, “Physical and Biochemical Characterization of GMHA-Fibrinogen Conjugates”; Mentor: Mary Kasper​

And, kudos to our graduating seniors!!

Ashley Evering ➔ Edwards LifeSciences in San Diego

Sarah Danis​ ➔ Bioprinting startup company in Israel

Bret Ellenbogen ➔ Data Science Master’s Program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

Yuan (Kevin)​ Li ➔ BME PhD program at University North Carolina Chapel Hill and NC State University

Abdullah Afridi​ ➔ Gap year as medical assistant in vascular surgery in Daytona Beach, then medical school

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Ashley Evering places 3rd Place at NSBE Conference

April 6, 2022

Congratulations to Ashley Evering, who placed third in the Oral Presentations for the Technical Research Exhibition at National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) 48th Annual Convention in Anaheim, California.

Here is the information on Ashley’s presentation:

Everying, A.[speaker], E. Manousiouthakis, V. Subramaniam, A. Campbell, S. Danis*, E. Pallack*, T. Angelini, C.E. Schmidt, “Exploring the mechanical properties of polyethylene glycol and glycidyl methacrylate hyaluronic acid in developing in vitro spinal cord injury testbeds”, 48th Annual National Conference for the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Anaheim, CA, March 25, 2022.

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UG Alumnus Tran Ngo receives NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP)

April 1, 2022

Congratulations to Schmidt Lab UG alumnus, Tran Ngo, who received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!

“The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States and reinforces its diversity. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions. As the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the GRFP has a long history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers. The reputation of the GRFP follows recipients and often helps them become life-long leaders that contribute significantly to both scientific innovation and teaching. Past fellows include numerous Nobel Prize winners, former U.S. Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, Google founder, Sergey Brin and Freakonomics co-author, Steven Levitt.”

Tran was a BME UG working in the Schmidt Lab and is currently a Postbaccalaureate Fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).Tran will be entering the MD/PhD program at the University of Florida in Fall 2022. Becoming a physician-scientist has always been her goal – she is excited to return to UF and contribute to UF BME research!

 

 

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Emily Pallack receives prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

March 25, 2022

Congratulations to UG Emily Pallack for receiving a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship for her academic achievements!

“The scholarship, which was created in 1986 in honor of the late Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, is considered one of the most prestigious scholarships available to undergraduate students studying natural science, engineering, or mathematics.”

https://goldwaterscholarship.gov/2022-scholars-press-release/

https://twitter.com/UFHonors/status/1507438286830145536

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Congrats to Dr. Kasper – New PhD!

March 24, 2022

Congratulations to Mary Kasper on successfully defending her PhD! She did a phenomenal job. Her research was on “Engineering Bioactive Hyaluronan-Based Hydrogel Scaffolds for Peripheral Nerve Applications”, a collaboration in partnership with Drs. Jack Judy, Kevin Otto and Carlos Rinaldi-Ramos.

Kudos to her committee members Drs. Kevin Otto, Carlos Rinaldi-Ramos, and Rick Johnson!

Dr. Kasper will be joining Aqua Cultured Foods in Chicago, IL, where she will be working on helping to culture/engineer sustainable seafood products!

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Congrats to Eleana on Postdoc Fellowship!

March 3, 2022

Congrats to Dr. Eleana Manousiouthakis for being awarded a Breathing Research and Therapeutics (BREATHE) postdoctoral fellowship funded through the McKnight Brain Institute (MBI).

https://www.bme.ufl.edu/bme-postdoc-awarded-breathe-postdoctoral-fellowship/

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Welcome to the lab, Gopal!

February 18, 2022

The Schmidt Lab is excited to welcome our newest postdoc, Dr. Gopal Agarwal, to the team. We celebrated his arrival with a lab lunch at Bahama Breeze. It was great to see everyone in person again.

Dr. Agrawal recently received his PhD in Biotechnology from the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research in Ahmedabad, India. His thesis was entitled: “Cell guided and Immuno-modulatory nerve conduit for the repair and regeneration of spinal cord”. The main aim of his research project was to fabricate a supermacroporous hydrogels that can promote axonal regeneration and support cellular therapy at the injured site. He developed biomimetic-scaffolds based of collagen type I and characterized its features in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo suitable for spinal cord injury.

Here at UF, Gopal will be pursuing research to evaluate natural-based injectable hydrogel biomaterials for SCI applications.

Welcome to the Schmidt Lab Gopal!

 

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Fall UG Presentations

December 10, 2021

In typical tradition, we enjoyed our Fall 2021 end-of-the-semester UG presentations. As usual, terrific job by our UG researchers. Always our favorite part of the semester!

UG Presenters:

Ashley Evering​, “Fluorescent Conjugation of GMHA and Design Considerations for Hydrogel Molding in Gut Model”, Mentor: Eleana​ Manousiouthakis​

Sarah Danis​, “Polymer Network Analysis of Carbon Nanotube Glycidyl Methacrylate Hyaluronic Acid Hydrogels“, Mentor: Eleana​ Manousiouthakis​

Emily Pallack​, “Mechanical properties of multiwalled carbon nanotube hyaluronic acid hydrogels”, Mentor: Eleana​ Manousiouthakis​

Steven Robles​, “Development of Muscle Bundles with Human Skeletal Muscle cells seeded in dECM:Col hydrogel blends”, Mentor: Jorge Mojica​

Shruti Kolli​, “Development of Tissue Composition Assessment & Imaging Methods for Engineered Skeletal Muscle Tissue Scaffolds”​, Mentor: Jorge Mojica​

Bret Ellenbogen​, “Quantifying gene expression of hyaluronidases in peripheral nerve in vivo”, Mentor: Mary Kasper​

Yuan (Kevin)​ Li, “Fluorescent Analysis of Hyaluronidases in vivo and Viability of GMHA-fibrinogen in vitro”, Mentor: Mary Kasper​

Abdullah Afridi​, “Microstructural, Spectroscopic, and Enzymatic Characterization of GMHA-Fibrinogen”​, Mentor: Mary Kasper​

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Holiday Party at Lake Wauburg

December 9, 2021

The Schmidt Lab had a wonderful time celebrating the holidays at Lake Wauburg! We even adopted a few trainees from the Murfee and Otto labs – the more the merrier! Plenty of games, yummy food, and good conversation. And, of course, the white elephant gift exchange! Happy Holidays everyone!

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Schmidt Lab at SBEC in New Orleans

December 3, 2021

The Schmidt Lab was well represented at the 37th Southern Biomedical Engineering Conference (SBEC) in New Orleans, LA, Dec. 3-5, 2021. There were oral research presentations by postdoc Dr. Eleana Manousiouthakis, graduate student Mary Kasper, and UG Emily Pallack. They all represented the lab fantastically well!

Also, very proud that UG Emily Pallack won best student presentation & postdoc Eleana won best overall! Congratulations!

The Research Details:

  • Dr. Eleana Manousiouthakis: “3D Cell Culture Modeling of the Midgut Epithelium of an Agricultural Pest to Aid Crop Management” (all authors: E. Manousiouthakis, R. Mishra, C. Schmidt, B.C. Bonning, D. Stanley, C. Goodman)
  • Mary Kasper: “Development of a Magnetically Aligned Regenerative Tissue Engineered Electronic Nerve Interlace for Peripheral Nerve Applications” (all authors: M.M. Kasper, J.A. Mojica-Santiago, B. Spearman, I. Singh, C.A. Kullasha, J.W. Judy, C.M. Rinaldi-Ramos, C.E. Schmidt)
  • Emily Pallack: “Optimizing Stem Cell Secretome for Combination with Injectable Decellularized Scaffolds for Neural Applications” (all authors: N. Hlavac, D. Bousalis, E. Pallack, Y. Li, C.E. Schmidt)

 

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Congrats on Latest Papers from the Lab

November 1, 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations to Schmidt Lab Graduate Student, Mary Kasper, on the publication of her first 1st-authored publication, in Biomaterials:
“Development of a magnetically- aligned regenerative tissue-engineered-electronic-nerve-interface for peripheral nerve applications”
Kasper, M., B. Ellenbogen, R. Hardy, M. Cydis, J. Mojica-Santiago, A. Afridi, B.S. Spearman, I. Singh, C.A. Kuliasha, E. Atkinson, K. Otto, J.W. Judy, C. Rinaldi, C.E. Schmidt

A second paper, has also made it into “print”, in Annals of Biomedical Engineering:
“Effects of varied stimulation parameters on adipose-derived stem cell response to low-level electrical fields”
Hlavac, N., D. Bousalis, R.N. Ahmad, E. Pallack, A. Vela, Y. Li, S. Mobini, E. Patrick, C.E. Schmidt

And, another article was recently accepted for publication in J. Biomedical Materials Research: Part A:
“Decellularized Peripheral Nerve as an Injectable Delivery Vehicle for Neural Applications”
Bousalis, D., M.W. McCrary, N. Vaughn, N. Hlavac, A. Evering, S. Kolli, Y.H. Song, C. Morley, T. Angelini, C.E. Schmidt

Kudos to all our postdocs, graduate students and UG students, current and past, on these exceptional contributions to the field!

Visit our publications link [https://www.bme.ufl.edu/labs/schmidt/publications/] for a current list of all the great papers from the lab!

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Halloween Fun!

October 28, 2021

The Schmidt Lab teamed up with the Murfee Lab (Go Schmurfee (or Schmufee?? Who forgot the “r”?)!) to participated in the UF BME Halloween Costume Contest. Our team went as “Witches and Warlocks” and posed the question, “Which Witch is Which?”. Blanca Ostmark received an award for “Best Individual Costume”! Congrats Blanca and entire team!

 

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Schmidt Lab at BMES in Orlando

October 6, 2021

The Schmidt Lab was well represented at the BMES 2021 meeting in Orlando – first in-person meeting in over a year and a half! There were research presentations by postdoc Dr. Eleana Manousiouthakis, postdoc Dr. Jorge Mojica Santiago, graduate student Xander Lim (co-advised with Dr. Kevin Otto), and UG Steven Robles. Eleana and Jorge also presented at the “Meet-the-Faculty Candidate” poster session. They all did fantastic jobs!

The Research Details:

  • Dr. Eleana Manousiouthakis: “Photocrosslinkable and Conductive Hyaluronic Acid Hydrogels Using Carbon Nanotubes for 3D Printing”
  • Dr. Jorge Mojica-Santiago: “Biochemical Constitution of Injectable Nerve Hydrogels Affect Efficacy for Pre-Clinical Applications”
  • Xander Lim: “Electrochemical Characterization of MARTEENI Devices Integrating Sputtered Iridium Oxide”
  • Steven Robles (first ever conference talk!): “Development of Hydrogels Using Decellularized Porcine Muscle Matrix and Collagen Blends”

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Welcome Bassam and Allison!

August 16, 2021

We are pleased to welcome our newest BME PhD students, Allison Campbell and Bassam Smadi, to the Schmidt Lab and the UF BME Family. Allison will work on injectable spinal cord injury (SCI) therapies in collaboration with Drs. Ben Keselowsky (BME), Greg Hudalla (BME), and Prodip Bose (VA). Bassam will work on tissue engineered electronic nerve interfaces in collaboration with Drs. Jack Judy (ECE), Kevin Otto (BME), and Carlos Rinaldi (ChE/BME).

Allison completed her BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Kansas. While at KU, Allison participated in undergraduate research in both the engineering department (Dr. Steven Gehrke) and the pharmacology department (Dr. Jai Subramanian). She spent a summer abroad in Ireland for a Pharmaceutical Engineering internship. Allison was also an active member of Theta Tau, a professional co-ed engineering fraternity.

 

 

 

 

Bassam completed his BS in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Texas at Dallas. He worked as an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Stuart Cogan’s research group focusing on electrochemistry, cortical stimulation, and recording. During his college career, he also competed in gymnastics on a national level. Before transitioning to Ph.D., Bassam was a master’s student in Dr. Lakiesha Williams’s lab, where he was developing a nerve graft using 3D printing under a joint-collaboration project with Axogen Inc. He also headed a novel design and fabrication of the Dura Mater Pressure Testing Apparatus.

 

 

 

 

We look forward to having both Bassam and Allison as part of the team!

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Farewell Nora and Bryan!

July 19, 2021

Congratulations and farewell to Dr. Nora Hlavac and Bryan Ibarra. Nora completed 2.5 years of a postdoc position with us and Bryan successfully defended his MS degree in BME. We celebrated and had a traditional Schmidt Lab “roast” at Chuy’s, the first in-person celebration in a long time!

Nora will be going to work for the Charleston County School District in South Carolina. She will be teaching high school engineering courses through a national program called Project Lead the Way (PLTW). PLTW is designed as a hands-on curriculum that prepares students for future education and careers, with particular emphasis on sciences. Nora will be teaching courses on principles of engineering and engineering design. She is excited about the opportunity to be in a dynamic teaching environment where she will have the opportunity to motivate young students with real-life applications of their studies.

Bryan will be putting his biomaterials skills to good use as an Applications Scientist, where he will be primarily employed by EarlyCharm Ventures in Baltimore (a venture studio that co-founds early-stage intellectual property intensive companies out of universities and federal labs) to work for their startup company Ortuvo (founded in late 2020) to develop and commercialize a cost-effective screen printer for tissue fabrication that was patented with Bryan named as a co-inventor. Dr. Erin Lavik – who mentored Bryan in Summer 2017 as part of an REU – is one of the co-founding researchers and co-inventors on the technology.
Congrats to Nora & Bryan on their successes in our lab & good luck on their next adventures!

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Congrats to Bryan on MS Defense!

July 7, 2021

Congratulations to our newest MS graduate from the Schmidt Lab! Bryan Ibarra did a fantastic job on his thesis, looking at templating of injectable nerve scaffolds for peripheral nerve interfaces. Thanks to committee member Dr. Rinaldi for joining by boat from Puerto Rico. Zoom perks!

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First In-Person Outing in a Year!

June 9, 2021

The Schmidt Lab combined forces with the Murfee Lab in UF BME to enjoy the great outdoors and amazing rivers/springs in Florida!

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Celebration and Farewell to Deanna

May 2021

Dr. Deanna Bousalis, who recently was hooded for her PhD, will be leaving to work at the FDA. To celebrate her departure, the lab roasted her in traditional Schmidt Lab style (well, except it was virtual). The lab members also bid farewell to Deanna and her fiancé, Dr. Winston Chu, both UFBME graduates, by painting the 34th Street Wall – a great Gainesville tradition! There was a surprise visit by Dr. McCrary too (former Schmidt Lab UFBME PhD). Congrats Deanna & Winston!

 

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Spring Schmidt Lab UG Research Symposium

April 23, 2021

Great job by our UG researchers who presented in the Schmidt Lab UG Research Symposium, which is the highlight of each semester. Special congrats to our graduating seniors, Kata Alilovic, Aaron Choi & Natalie Ordonez! And, fun memories of the seniors presented by their mentors!

 

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Congrats to newest PhD, Dr. Bousalis!

March 12, 2021

Kudos to UF BME PhD student, Deanna Bousalis, who successfully defended her PhD! Deanna’s research focused on decellularization of several tissues including both nerve and cardiac tissue and creation of injectable decell materials for potential SCI therapeutics. She also worked on electrical stimulation to modulate ASCs and their ability to secrete products (secretome), for combination with injectable decell nerve for SCI.
Thanks to Dr. Bousalis’s committee members: Drs. Peter McFetridge, Edward Phelps, and Prodip Bose.
After leaving UF BME, Deanna will be joining the FDA!
Congratulations to Deanna!

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Welcome Allison Campbell!

March 11, 2021

Welcome to Allison Campbell, who accepted a position as a UF BME graduate student in our group. Allison completed her BS at the University of Arkansas, and conducted prior research in Alzheimer’s as well as hydrogel biomaterials. Allison also takes pride in her talents as an artist; she has had several art pieces displayed in local galleries.
We look forward to Allison formally joining the lab in the Fall!

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Schmidt Lab Patent Issued

Feb. 5, 2021

Congrats to current and former Schmidt Lab members, Drs. Becky Wachs and Chase Cornelison, on recently issued US patent #10,898,608. This patent covers novel work to decellularize tissues using the process of apoptosis.

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Schmidt Lab Holiday Party

December 19, 2020

We celebrated 2020 Holidays COVID-style – virtually! We celebrated virtually with a crazy hat contest, Secret Santa gift exchange (gifts exchanged in advance), cookie decorating contest (kits provided), & a game of Among Us. Not the same as in past, but we had a fun time with lots of laughs!

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Fall 2020 UG Research Presentations

December 16, 2020

Congratulations to our many UG students who have done a fantastic job in research and who have persevered setbacks due to COVID. This is always our favorite time of the semester to hear from our youngest researchers in the lab! Great job everyone!

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Schmidt Lab Celebrates Halloween Virtually

October 30, 2020:

Schmidt Lab Celebrates Halloween Virtually. UF BME hosted a Halloween Carnival on Friday October 30 to bring the entire BME family together for fun and contests (best Halloween costume, best pet costume, pumpkin carving, best themed treats). In addition, different labs and groups of faculty hosted zoom rooms with fun activities, including skits (e.g., the Hudalla Lab’s amazing performance of the movie Alien – they won the “fan favorite” award!), videos, trivia and scavenger hunts, and games such as Among Us, Bingo, etc. The Schmidt Lab hosted an entertaining and interactive zoom room featuring Pokémon drawing contests! Jigglypuff (Nora) stole the show!

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Schmidt Lab Participates in Virtual BMES.

October 14, 2020:


Schmidt Lab Participates in Virtual BMES. The annual BMES meeting was virtual this year, because of COVID. Several members of the Schmidt Lab presented talks and posters, to showcase the amazing research in the lab:

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Recent review article on “Bench‐to‐Bedside Lessons Learned”

August 19, 2020:

Recent review article on “Bench‐to‐Bedside Lessons Learned”. A recent article written by Mary Kasper from the lab, “Bench‐to‐Bedside Lessons Learned: Commercialization of an Acellular Nerve Graft”, was published in Advanced Healthcare Materials and was co-authored with AxoGen. The article is a nice historical summary of the research in the Schmidt Lab that helped contribute to AxoGen’s Avance nerve graft, and discusses some of the challenges on the research side as well as challenges faced by AxoGen in commercialization. We hope you enjoy reading this latest review from the lab! https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/adhm.202000174

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Farewell to Dr. Michaela McCrary!

May 20, 2020

Congratulations and farewell to Michaela! We had our traditional Schmidt Lab farewell roast/quiz (however, via Zoom) for recent UF BME PhD graduate Dr. Michaela McCrary.

Michaela received a DHHS/NIH/NCI Technology Transfer Center (TTC) Fellowship to work at the NIH, starting mid-June. In her role, she will help manage the patenting and licensing of NCI technologies.

We will miss you Michaela!

 

 

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Congratulations to Nicole Bohmann on MS!

April 28, 2020

Congratulations to Nicole Bohmann on completing her MS from UF BME with the Schmidt Lab! Nicole has done a phenomenal job exploring the role of topography on Schwann cells and ASCs.

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UG Presentations & Celebrating Our Seniors

April 24, 2020

Congratulations to all of our UGs on their end of the semester presentations to the group! We always love celebrating the research of our undergraduate students. Thank you to all of them for their dedication and research contributions.

We also have nine graduating seniors, who we want to celebrate as they leave us to continue on their journeys in graduate school, industry and government roles! Congratulations and thank you! We will miss you!

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Congrats to Michaela McCrary on Successful PhD Defense!

March 19, 2020

 

 

Congratulations to Michaela McCrary who successfully defended her PhD, Development of Spinal Cord Injury In Vitro Model Systems and In Vivo Therapeutic Strategies”. Michaela joined our lab in 2015 after completing her B.S. in biomedical engineering from the University of Arkansas.

Dr. McCrary is the very first student in the Schmidt Lab to defend her PhD via Zoom (because of COVID-19)!

Thanks to her committee members, Drs. Lakiesha Williams, Blanka Sharma, and Dave Fuller.

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Congratulations to UGs on awards!

March 30, 2020

 

 

Two Schmidt Lab undergraduate students recently received awards, recognizing their strong academic and research performance! Tran Ngo, a senior BME UG who previously worked with Ben Spearman, received a UF Alumni Association Award and Ryan Hardy, an MSE UG working with Mary Kasper, received the Richard G. Connell Scholarship in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering for the 2019-2020 academic year. Congratulations to both Tran and Ryan!

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Congratulations to Deanna Bousalis on receiving NIH F31 grant!

February 17, 2020

Deanna, a UF BME PhD Student in the Schmidt Lab, recently received an NIH F31 award for her research on cardiovascular congenital ECM changes and cardiovascular mimics to study disease. The NIH F31 award is highly competitive, so this is a great recognition for her!

Congratulations Deanna!

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Congratulations to Tran Ngo on C. William Hall Scholarship and BME UG Excellence Award!

January  15, 2020

BME undergraduate student, Tran Ngo, was recently selected for the C. William Hall Scholarship from the Society for Biomaterials. This is a national recognition, and only one undergraduate student in the nation receives this each year. This award honors the memory of the Society’s first president, Dr. C. William Hall. See the following links for a brief history of the Society’s founding, and a biography of Dr. Hall. Tran received this award based on her “outstanding scholastic achievement and stated objectives for her research project and career”.  Tran has worked with graduate student Ben Spearman, until he defended in December 2019. She will be continuing research in the lab this spring, under the direction of postdoc, Dr. Eleana Manousiouthakis.

As the recipient of the 2020 C. William Hall Scholarship, Tran will have all of her expenses paid for participation in the 2020 World Biomaterials Congress in Glasgow, Scotland.

In addition to the prestigious C. William Hall Award, Tran received the BME UG Student Excellence Award in December. This award is the top undergraduate student award presented annually by the UF BME Department.

Congratulations to Tran on her amazing successes!

 

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Congrats to Ben Spearman on Successful PhD Defense!

November 4, 2019

Congratulations to Ben Spearman who successfully defended his PhD, “Advanced Uses for Methacrylated Hyaluronic Acid in Peripheral Nerve Tissue Engineering”. Ben joined our lab in 2014 after completing his B.S. in chemical engineering from Auburn University. During his time as a PhD student, Ben held a highly prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

Ben is shown here with his committee members, Drs. Jack Judy, Christine Schmidt (Chair), Kevin Otto & Jennifer Andrew:

Congrats Dr. Spearman!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome new postdoc, Dr. Eleana Manousiouthakis

November 1, 2019

The Schmidt Lab is excited to welcome Dr. Eleana Manousiouthakis as a new postdoc. Dr. Manousiouthakis received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Tufts University with Dr. David Kaplan.

Eleana will be working on projects related to in vitro testbeds for SCI and 3D bioprinting of natural-based hydrogels.

Welcome to UF and to Gainesville Eleana!

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Mary Kasper passes Research Proposal/Prelim Exam!

October 30, 2019

Congratulations to Mary Kasper, who successfully passed her Research Proposal, to advance to PhD candidacy. Her project is titled, “Engineering Natural-Based Bioactive Hydrogels for Neural Applications”.
Photo of Mary with her committee members, Drs. Kevin Otto, Carlos Rinaldi, Rick Johnson and Christine Schmidt.

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Manuscripts Accepted for Publication

October 20, 2019
Ben Spearman and Chris Lacko have their separate manuscripts accepted for publication in Journal of Biomedical Materials Research and Journal of Neural Engineering, respectively. Congrats!!

The Papers:

Spearman, B., N. Agrawal, A. Rubiano, C. Simmons, S. Mobini, C. Schmidt (accepted). Tunable Methacrylated Hyaluronic Acid-based Hydrogels as Scaffolds for Soft Tissue Engineering Applications. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research: Part A.

Lacko, C.S., I. Singh, M.A. Wall, A.R. Garcia, S.L. Porvasnik, C. Rinaldi, C.E. Schmidt (accepted). Magnetic Particle Templating of Hydrogels: Engineering Naturally Derived Hydrogel Scaffolds with 3D Aligned Microarchitecture for Nerve Repair. Journal of Neural Engineering.

 

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Schmidt Lab UGs at BMES

October 19, 2019
Six Schmidt Lab UGs presented their research at the BMES Annual Meeting in Philadelphia: Raffae Ahmad, Kata Alilovic, Victor Lopez, Mark Maynes, Elisa Nieves, and Tran Ngo. Congratulations to all of them on terrific jobs!

List of Posters:
Ahmad, R. [presenter], N. Hlavac, D. Bousalis, C. Schmidt. “Evoking Regenerative Properties of Adipose-derived Stem Cells Using Electrical Stimulation”
Alilovic, K. [presenter], J. Mojica Santiago, C.  Schmidt. “Developing Natural Based Thermally Gelling Bio-inks For 3D Tissue Engineering”
Lopez, V. [presenter], J. Mojica-Santiago, I. Young, S. Malany, C. Schmidt. “Mechanical Characterization Of Hydrogels To Mimic Skeletal Muscle ECM”
Maynes, M. [presenter], Y. Song, C. Schmidt. “Apoptosis-Mediated Lung Tissue Decellularization and Hydrogel Formation”
Maynes, M. [presenter], Y. Song, C. Schmidt. “Apoptosis-Mediated Lung Tissue Decellularization and Hydrogel Formation”
Ngo, T. [presenter], B. Spearman, C. Schmidt. “3D Bioprinted Hyaluronic Acid Hydrogels as In Vitro Testbeds for Peripheral Nerve Regeneration”

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Bryan Ibarra passes Department Comprehensive Exam

May 24, 2019

Congratulations to Bryan who successfully passed the BME Department Comprehensive Exam (DCE)! This is a major milestone toward his PhD candidacy.

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Dr. Chris Lacko, recent UF BME and Schmidt Lab Graduate, is now at Johnson and Johnson

April 24, 2019

Chris officially started a position at Johnson and Johnson in Somerville, NJ on April 29, 2019. Chris is a preclinical postdoctoral associate in the advanced modeling group at Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon division.

Congratulations Chris!

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Schmidt Lab PhD, Dr. Chase Cornelison, to join BME faculty at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

April 22, 2019

Congratulations to Dr. Chase Cornelison, who will be starting his faculty position in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the Fall. Chase is currently completing postdoctoral research with Dr. Jenny Munson at Virginia Tech; previously he completed his PhD in Chemical Engineering from UT Austin in the Schmidt Lab.

We wish Chase all the best in his new role as a faculty member at U. Mass Amherst!

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Schmidt Lab UG Monica Wall Receives NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

April 17, 2019

Congratulations to Schmidt Lab UG student, Monica Wall, who received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Monica is a Materials and Science student; she plans to pursue a PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan. While at UF, Monica worked with prior PhD student, Chris Lacko, and currently works with PhD student, Mary Kasper.

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Dr. Schmidt inducted as a Fellow in the NAI

April 10, 2019

Dr. Schmidt has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Election to NAI Fellow status is the highest professional accolade bestowed solely to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and welfare of society.

She was inducted at the annual meeting of the NAI in Houston at the Johnson Space Center in April 2019.

For the full story, see: https://www.bme.ufl.edu/schmidt-named-nai-fellow.

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Dr. Schmidt receives Clemson Award for Applied Research

April 4, 2019

Dr. Schmidt was awarded the 2019 Clemson Award for Applied Research from the Society for Biomaterials, and presented her keynote at the SFB Annual Meeting in Seattle last April (2019).

Clemson Awards are given in honor of the strong traditional ties between the Society for Biomaterials and Clemson University that have existed since 1974. Awardees are selected by the Society for Biomaterials Awards, Ceremonies and Nominations Committee and confirmed by the President of Clemson University.

Schmidt was selected for “her development of a useful device or material which has achieved widespread usage or acceptance, or expanded knowledge of biomaterials/host tissue relationships which have received widespread acceptance and resulted in improvements in the clinical management of disease.”

For the full story, see: https://www.bme.ufl.edu/schmidt-receives-national-clemson-award-for-applied-research.

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Lucy Tecle, Schmidt Lab UG, Receives McNair Scholarship

March 27, 2019

Congratulations to Lucy Tecle, Schmidt Lab undergraduate student, who was selected as a University of Florida’s McNair Scholar for 2019-2020. Lucy works with postdoc, Dr. Jorge Santiago.

The McNair Program prepares undergraduate students for pursuit of a doctoral degree by providing financial support, research mentoring opportunities, academic skills and strategies, and develop crucial student/faculty mentor relationships for success in higher education. During the summer, McNair Scholars participate in an intensive research internship and attend GRE test preparation workshops. Throughout the academic year, Scholars continue their research and utilize resources tailored towards the graduate school application process and other topics related to graduate study at the doctoral level. All of these activities are designed to equip McNair Scholars with the information and experience required to successfully enter and complete a graduate program.

Research description:
The prevalent challenge for tissue decellularization is translating between various animal models and tissue structures to establish a standardized procedure. Each approach requires a set of significant optimization parameters to remove cellular components from native tissue while preserving the extracellular matrix (ECM). In this project, Lucy will adapt the laboratory’s rat nerve tissue decellularization process and optimize the procedure for porcine skeletal muscle tissue (pSKM). The characterization and fabrication of acellular pSKM hydrogels can confirm the efficacy of translating chemical decellularization processes with minimal modifications. Ultimately, this project will design ECM-mimicking hydrogels within an in vitro testbed model to assess and treat neuromuscular disorders.

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Tran Ngo, Schmidt Lab UG, Receives McNair Scholarship

March 27, 2019

Congratulations to Tran Ngo, Schmidt Lab undergraduate student, who was selected as a University of Florida’s McNair Scholar for 2019-2020. Lucy works with Ben Spearman.

The McNair Program prepares undergraduate students for pursuit of a doctoral degree by providing financial support, research mentoring opportunities, academic skills and strategies, and develop crucial student/faculty mentor relationships for success in higher education. During the summer, McNair Scholars participate in an intensive research internship and attend GRE test preparation workshops. Throughout the academic year, Scholars continue their research and utilize resources tailored towards the graduate school application process and other topics related to graduate study at the doctoral level. All of these activities are designed to equip McNair Scholars with the information and experience required to successfully enter and complete a graduate program.

Research description:
Tran’s research has been focused on fabrication and characterization of hyaluronic acid (HA) based hydrogel scaffolds for peripheral nerve regeneration caused by injuries, which often result in a loss of motor and/or sensory function. 3D bioprinting of natural ECM-based bioinks such as HA and collagen can be used to provide custom scaffolds with microarchitecture and regeneration-promoting cells. In this project, Tran examined the rheological properties of the different crosslinked hydrogels for optimization as a 3D bio-printable bioink and as a match to the mechanical properties of native peripheral nerve tissue. She has also worked on quantifying the printability of these HA-based bioinks. To continue, Tran is looking into embedding microarchitecture into the scaffolds to provide support for better axonal elongation and nerve regeneration. Furthermore, Tran will 3D bio-print Schwann cells with the optimized HA-collagen hydrogel and assess cell viability post-printing. This project aims to utilize additive manufacturing approaches such as 3D bioprinting to build application- and patient-specific designs with high resolution and structural complexity for peripheral nerve regeneration.

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Postdoc, Dr. Young Hye Song, to join BME faculty at the University of Arkansas

March 21, 2019

Congratulations to Dr. Young Hye Song, who will be starting her faculty position in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Arkansas this Fall! Her research will be on biomaterials for disease modeling and therapeutics, with a focus on stem cells and cancer.

We wish Young Hye great success in her new role as a faculty member!

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UG Tran Ngo to Participate DAAD RISE Germany Internship Scholarship for the Summer

Feb. 26, 2019

Undergraduate student Tran Ngo was selected to receive a DAAD RISE (Research Internships in Science and Engineering) Germany internship position and scholarship this summer. RISE Germany offers undergraduate students from North American, British and Irish universities the opportunity to complete a summer research internship at top German universities and research institutions. RISE Germany is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office. North American, British and Irish students applied for 578 available internship positions in Germany. There were only 300 scholarships awarded. Tran will be working at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart.

Congratulations to Tran on this exciting opportunity to perform research abroad this summer!

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Tran Ngo, Schmidt Lab UG, Selected for University Scholars Program

Feb. 25, 2019

Undergraduate student Tran Ngo received a competitive University Scholars Program (USP) grant for her research in the Schmidt lab. USP serves as an exceptional capstone to the academic careers of students at the University of Florida. Tran is a currently third-year Biomedical Engineering student who has been working in the Schmidt Lab since Fall 2016 under the direct mentorship of PhD candidate Benjamin Spearman.

Tran’s research has been focused on fabrication and characterization of hyaluronic acid (HA) based hydrogel scaffolds for peripheral nerve regeneration caused by injuries, which often result in a loss of motor and/or sensory function. 3D bioprinting of natural ECM-based bioinks such as HA and collagen can be used to provide custom scaffolds with microarchitecture and regeneration-promoting cells. In this project, Tran examined the rheological properties of the different crosslinked hydrogels for optimization as a 3D bio-printable bioink and as a match to the mechanical properties of native peripheral nerve tissue. She has also worked on quantifying the printability of these HA-based bioinks. To continue, Tran is looking into embedding microarchitecture into the scaffolds to provide support for better axonal elongation and nerve regeneration. Furthermore, Tran will 3D bio-print Schwann cells with the optimized HA-collagen hydrogel and assess cell viability post-printing. This project aims to utilize additive manufacturing approaches such as 3D bioprinting to build application- and patient-specific designs with high resolution and structural complexity for peripheral nerve regeneration.

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Congrats to Nik for securing job with AxoGen

January 23, 2018

Dr. Nik Agrawal, recent PhD graduate from the Schmidt Lab, will be starting at AxoGen on Feb 4, 2019 He will be working as a Product Development Engineer focused on designing new products and supporting existing product portfolio for nerve repair. The position is initially based in the Alachua office, however, will move to Tampa, FL sometime spring/summer of next year when the new facility is complete.

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Welcome new postdoc, Dr. Nora Hlavac

January 2, 2019

The Schmidt Lab is excited to welcome Dr. Nora Hlavac as a new postdoc. Dr. Hlavac received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics from Virginia Tech with Dr. Pam VandeVord.

Nora will be working on a new NIH project focused on electrical stimulation of cells to produce secretome for spinal cord injury (SCI) regeneration.

Welcome to UF and to Gainesville Nora!

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Hooding of first Schmidt Lab UF BME PhDs

December 14, 2018

Congratulations to Nik Agrawal and Christopher Lacko on receiving their doctoral degrees from the Schmidt Lab. They are the first PhDs from the Schmidt Lab from UF! Here they are at the University’s commencement and hooding ceremony at the O’Connell Center.

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Holiday Fun for the Lab!

December 8, 2018

We celebrated the holidays in typical Schmidt Lab tradition – potluck dinner followed by gingerbread house (or gingerbread “things”!) decorating contest and a white elephant gift exchange. Great to see all the postdocs, graduate students and undergraduate students come together for a relaxing and fun time!

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UG Research Presentations

December 6-7, 2018

Great group of Schmidt Lab UGs – they presented talks on their research at the end of the semester. Amazing projects and such hard work!

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Congratulations Chris – successful PhD!

November 8, 2018

Congratulations to Christopher Lacko, who successfully defended his PhD today! Chris’s research was on using novel magnetic templating methods to create microarchitecture inside hydrogels for peripheral nerve regeneration applications. Chris’s committee consisted of Drs. Carlos Rinaldi, Peter McFetridge and David Fuller.

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Congrats to Nik for defending his PhD!

October 29, 2018

Congratulations to Nik Agrawal, who successfully defended his PhD today! Nik was the first UF PhD from the Schmidt Lab. Nik’s research was on multiple delivery approaches for tackling SCI regeneration. Nik’s committee consisted of Drs. Sharma, Hudalla and Bose.

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Welcome Bryan Ibarra!

October 4, 2018

The Schmidt Lab is pleased to welcome new PhD student, Bryan Ibarra! Bryan comes from the University of Miami where he received his dual B.S. degrees in BME and Neuroscience. Welcome!

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Farewell to Dr. Sahba Mobini

September 28, 2018

The lab bid farewell to Schmidt Lab postdoc, Dr. Sahba Mobini, who is starting her Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) Fellowship in Spain (Cuenta oficial del Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)). There, Sahba will be pursuing her own research in her pathway to an independent faculty position! Congratulations to Sahba! To celebrate her time in the lab, we had a group farewell lunch at Chuy’s where we had a fun “Sahba Quiz” and presented her with her certificate of service. Christine and Sahba also celebrated separately at Paramount Grill. We will certainly miss Sahba in the Schmidt Lab!

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Young Hye receives BME Postdoc Excellence Award

August 31, 2018
Congrats to Schmidt Lab postdoc, Dr. Young Hye Song, who received the UF BME Department Excellence Award for postdocs! Congrats Young Hye!!

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Congrats to Deanna on passing qualifying exam!

August 15, 2018

Congratulations to Deanna Bousalis on passing her PhD qualifying exam. She did a fantastic job presenting on her proposed research to create cardiac tissue mimics for understanding congenital heart defects and for potentially treating cardiac disease.

Deanna pictured with her committee members, Drs. Hideko Kasahara, Edward Phelps and Peter McFetridge.

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Welcome Jorge, new Schmidt Lab postdoc

August 15, 2018

The Schmidt lab welcomes Dr. Jorge A. Mojica Santiago to the lab!  Jorge joins our lab on August 15, 2018. Jorge received his PhD in BME from Cornell with Dr. Larry Bonassar in the area of tissue engineered intervertebral discs using alginate and collagen scaffolds. He received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez. Jorge will be working on 3D printing and patterning of hydrogels for neural regeneration applications.

Welcome to the team Jorge!

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Farewell and good luck to Jonathan!

August 10, 2018

The Schmidt lab bids farewell to graduate student, Jonathan Griffin, with an informal gathering at the new Miller’s Ale House. Jon has had inspiration to take a slightly different career path and to instead pursue opportunities in the area of science writing. He is excited to start a science communications internship in Washington DC.

We wish him well on his exciting new endeavors!

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Acta Biomaterialia Manuscript highlighted in Science Magazine

August 1, 2018
A recent manuscript in Acta Biomaterialia [Cornelison RC, et al., “Development of an apoptosis-assisted decellularization method for maximal preservation of nerve tissue structure”, 2018.] from the Schmidt lab is highlighted in Science Magazine [July 27 2018, Vol 361, Issue 6400], “Using Biology to Remove Cells”. http://bit.ly/2AH8tnB

Our Acta Biomaterialia article describes the use of apoptosis to naturally decellularize tissue for possible transplant and tissue engineering applications. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/29981947/#fft.

Congrats to our team on a great publication!!

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Congrats to Schmidt Lab UGs on REU & intern positions

May 15, 2018
Several Schmidt Lab UG students are participating at competitive REU positions and internships across the country.

Isabella Young – UNC-Chapel Hill:
Isabella will be attending UNC-Chapel Hill from May 20-July 26 working with Dr. Aaron Anselmo. His lab is part of the Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics Department in the School of Pharmacy. The Anselmo lab focuses on designing cell therapies, specifically microbiomes in the gastrointestinal tract. By studying the imbalance of microbes and microbiota (bacteria) in the body, which can cause disease and cancer, the lab is designing delivery platforms that can be used to regulate the microbiota composition. Additionally, the lab focuses on developing drug delivery systems using nanoparticles for vascular disease and cancer.

Tran Ngo- Johns Hopkins University:
Tran will be participating in the Nanotechnology for Biology and Engineering REU Program at Johns Hopkins University Institute of Nanotechnology from June 3 to August 10. She will be working in Dr. Soojung Claire Hur’s Microfluidic BioPhysics lab. The Hur Research Group focuses on developing microfluidic platforms that utilize the principles of fluid dynamics to understand relationships between cellular functions and their physical phenotype. These inertial microfluidic devices help to distinctively position cells in flow using their physical properties, and/or isolate and maintain identical populations of cells in the designated regions of the channel during the courses of controlled external stimuli. This summer, Tran will help to synthesize liposomes using extrusion method to generate vesicles with biotin labeled lipids and coated with micro-beads. These liposomes will be used as model for exosome separation in microfluidics channels. The goal is to use developed microfluidic channels to separate exosomes which contain rich nucleic acid content, floating in virtually all bodily fluids, to understand the inter-cellular signals that may propose a great potential for non-invasive molecular diagnostics.

Monica Wall – Worcester Polytechnic Institute:
Monica will be participating in the Biomedical Engineering REU at Worcester Polytechnic Institute outside of Boston this summer. She will be conducting research with Dr. Glen Gaudette, who works in the field of myocardial regeneration. In addition to research, participants will receive training in mentoring, become a mentor to a middle-school student, and participate in creating an outreach program for middle-school students. They will lead a one-week research experience known as the WPI Innovations in Bioengineering program.

In addition, PhD student Nik Agrawal and undergraduate student Nicole Bohmann both have industry internships with AxoGen here in Alachua this summer!

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Congrats to Mustafa on MS!

May 8, 2018
Congratulations to Syed-Mustafa Jamal – our recent UF BME MS graduate! While in the lab, Mustafa did exciting research on electrical stimulation of nerve cells in collaboration with postdoc, Dr. Saba Mobini. Good luck to Mustafa on his next adventures!

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Biologic Scaffolds for Regenerative Medicine

May 5, 2018
Four Schmidt Lab graduate students – Jonathan Griffin, Deanna Bousalis, Nik Agrawal, and Michaela McCrary — attended the Tenth Annual Symposium on Biologic Scaffolds for Regenerative Medicine in Napa, CA, May 3-5, 2018. This conference focused on extracellular matrix-based scaffolds and decellularized scaffolds. Great fit for our research!

 

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Schmidt Lab UG Presentation Day

April 26, 2018
As is our tradition, all UGs working in the Schmidt Lab present research talks to our entire group at the end of each semester. This is a great way to hear about all the wonderful research being conducted by our talented UG students. At this event, we present our graduating UG(s) with a special certificate of appreciation – this year, we acknowledged Nicole Bohmann. Nicole worked under the mentorship of postdoc, Dr. Sahba Mobini. After all the great presentations, we celebrated with a special catered lunch! Congrats to all of our amazing students for wonderful talks!

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Society for Biomaterials Annual Meeting

April 15, 2018
Four Schmidt Lab members – Dr. Sahba Mobini, Michaela McCrary, Deanna Bousalis, and Monica Wall (undergrad with Chris Lacko) – attended the 2018 Society for Biomaterials Annual Meeting and Exposition in Atlanta, GA, April 11-14, 2018. The “girl team” represented the Schmidt Lab well discussing their research on biomaterials for peripheral nerve interfaces, spinal cord regeneration, and cardiac biomaterials. Many UF BME students in general attended this great conference!!

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Regenerative Medicine Workshop

March 24, 2018
The Schmidt Lab was well represented at the Regenerative Medicine Workshop March 21-24, now in Charleston SC (instead of Hilton Head SC). Nik Agrawal, Ben Spearman and Jonathan Griffin showcased how biomaterials can be modified for potential spinal cord injury therapies as well as for peripheral nerve applications. Below are picture Nik and Jonathan during the poster session. Great job team!

 

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Kaitlyn Daramola, Schmidt Lab UG, selected for University Scholars Program

Feb. 28, 2018

UG student Kaitlyn Daramola receives a competitive University Scholars Program (USP) Award for her research in our lab. Kaitlyn is a Materials Science and Engineering undergraduate student who has been working in the Schmidt Lab since Fall 2017 under the direct mentorship of postdoctoral associate Dr. Young Hye Song.

Kaitlyn’s research project has been focused on optimizing lung decellularization and digestion protocols to create hydrogels for in vitro modeling of healthy and pathological lungs. Kaitlyn is optimizing vitrification-mediated decellularization, wherein vitrification is ice-free cryopreservation of organs and tissues to prevent ice crystal formation that damages tissue architecture. For her proposal for the University Scholars award, Kaitlyn will be working on creating hydrogels for in vitro modeling of healthy and pathological lungs. These hydrogels then would be encapsulated with lung-specific cells to recapitulate healthy and diseased lung microenvironments. This project is especially exciting because it aims to develop new and gentle methods to create engineered lung scaffolds for transplantation and in vitro modeling.

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Isabella Young, Schmidt Lab UG, receives best poster award

Isabella Young, Schmidt Lab UG, receives best poster award at National Diversity in STEM Conference

Isabella YoungCongrats to Isabella Young, a BME UG working with graduate student Nik Agrawal. Isabella presented her summer research from the University of Oregon last week at SACNAS (conference (Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science) – The National Diversity in STEM Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. She received the full travel scholarship as well as an award for one of the best poster presentations in physical chemistry, which was the discipline of her poster.

Great work Isabella!!

Isabella Young

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Congrats to Schmidt Lab PhD Alum, Dr. Hieu Nguyen, on position at AxoSim

Hieu NguyenFormer Schmidt Lab Ph.D., Hieu Nguyen, has a new position as a Research Scientist at the at a 9-person startup company called AxoSim. AxoSim is trying to create Nerve-on-a-Chip platforms, mainly for high throughput, high content pharmaceutical applications. Hieu joins AxoSim after completing his postdoc with Dr. John Troy at Northwestern University.

Congratulations Hieu!

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Nik receives 2017 Outstanding International Student Award

The International Student Awards Ceremony is celebrated each year in tandem with UF’s International Education Week and is sponsored by the UF International Center. The award recipients will be honored in a reception on November 14, 2017 at 5:30 pm in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom. The International Student Awards acknowledge the outstanding achievements of our international students. The Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering is the biggest home to UF’s international community and we want to thank you for bringing a positive effect to UF’s internationalization efforts. The awards recognizes outstanding contributions of international students to promote and foster continued involvement and outstanding achievement. This year, students were not just selected for outstanding academic achievements, but also for demonstrated contributions outside of the classroom. Click here for a list of all recipients.

Nik was received this prestigious award because he is an exceptionally talented student and a valuable member of the Schmidt Lab and the BME Department. Nik is intelligent, disciplined, has good analytical skills, and is committed to self-improvement. In addition, Nik is more than a researcher – he contributes immensely to the department, the university and to the community. Nik has successfully published a manuscript, “Localized and sustained release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor from injectable hydrogel/ microparticle composites fosters spinal learning after spinal cord injury” (J. Materials Chemistry B, 4:7560, 2016), based on his first project as part of his PhD dissertation and is currently involved in writing three additional manuscripts based on his research projects during both his master’s and ongoing PhD program. Beyond research, Nik’s work ethic and commitment to this community, as well as the department, drives him to succeed in every venture he embarks on. Such successes include his recent appointment as Chair of the Student Laboratory Safety Council for our department. As part of the safety council he works on identifying potential lab safety issues in the department and providing potential solutions to the problems. The council also releases monthly newsletters containing safety tips, identifying potential hazardous chemicals and trivia questions for increasing participation from fellow graduate and undergraduate students and faculty members. Nik has always shown interest in promoting safe laboratory practices and is currently working on being a certified safety engineer. Nik is also serving as the Chair of the BME Advancement Council where he is working alongside Paul Print (Assistant Director of Development) on projects which involve strengthening the BME community by building a strong network for current BME students with UF BME Alumni and local biomedical industry leaders. He is currently working on a project to organize BME’s first ever Industry Connect event where several local and national biomedical companies are visiting to provide mentorship and job opportunities to UF BME students. In addition Nik is an active member of the Graduate Student Council for the Biomedical Engineering Department and has served as Secretory (2014 – 2015) and Vice President (2016 – 2017) in the past.

Congratulations again Nik!!

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Congrats to Michaela for passing qualifying exam!

July 14, 2017

Congratulations to Michaela for doing a fantastic job on her research proposal part of her qualifying exam, to fully be advanced to PhD candidacy. Pictured below is Michaela, 2nd from left, with her committee members, Drs. David Fuller (Physical Therapy), Blanka Sharma (BME), and Brandi Ormerod (BME).

Way to go Michaela!!

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Schmidt Lab Alum Starts Faculty Position

July 10, 2017

Congratulations Jon!

Congratulations to Dr. Jonathan Nickels, Schmidt Lab PhD graduate (PhD, 2009), who will start a new position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the University of Cincinnati in August 2017.

After receiving his Ph.D., Jonathan performed postdoctoral work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory where he has added experience in neutron scattering and soft matter physics to the biomedical and materials science foundation obtained in the Schmidt group. His new research group will focus on understanding and exploiting nanometer scale structures and dynamical processes within the context of biophysical and biomedical research.

Congrats Jon!

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Schmidt Lab Alum receives NIH K99/R00 Award

Congratulations to Dr. Ryan Nagao, former Schmidt Lab PhD graduate, on his recent notification of receiving a highly competitive NIH K99/R00 Award from the National Institute for Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) for his research on modeling vascular dysfunction in kidney disease. His proposed project is described below.

“A multifaceted approach to modeling vascular dysfunction in kidney disease”

Recent evidence has emerged that identifies renal vascular disease as a precursor to acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease. The purpose of this proposal is to develop a framework for studying renal vascular disease by accurately reconstructing the renal microvascular niche in a microphysiological system that allows for the systematic study of the factors that contribute to vascular dysfunction. We anticipate that new findings will lead to the identification of novel therapies to renal vascular disease.

Congrats Ryan!

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Ella receives Attribute of Gator Engineer Award

March 27, 2017

Congratulations to Ella Hoogenboezem, a BME senior who has worked in the Schmidt Lab, for receiving the Attribute of a Gator Engineer Award for “Professional Excellence”.

Considered the greatest distinction of any student award given by the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at UF, the Gator Engineering Attribute Awards are intended to provide an ideal guide for all members of the UF Engineering community. They honor five undergraduate and five Ph.D. students annually who strongly model one of the five Gator Engineering Attributes:

  • Creativity: imaginative, versatile, resourceful, artful, curious, passionate, inspired, innovative, willing to discover new solutions and to explore all options
  • Leadership: visionary, professional, skilled communicator, engaged and committed, entrepreneurial, inspiring, fair, mission-guided, caring, willing to delegate, sound perspective, sense of humor, positive attitude, confident, strong intuition, thoughtful
  • Integrity: honest, ethical, willing to work for achievements (persistent, hard-working, determined), impelled toward right action, trustworthy, humble, inspires integrity in others
  • Professional Excellence: technically competent, skilled in management and planning, problem-solving, scientifically insightful
  • Service to the Global Community
    • Humanitarianism: tolerant, respectful, socially conscious, selfless, interdependent, cooperative, willing to nurture and serve community, mentoring, compassionate
    • Global Awareness: aware of interactions of financial, societal, legal, and cultural influences, diverse, world-changing

The award will be presented to Ella at the College Awards Luncheon Banquet on April 20.

Congratulations Ella on this significant recognition!

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Ella receives NSF Grad Fellowship

March 17, 2017

BME Undergraduate student Ella Hoogenboezem has been awarded a highly prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Student Research Fellowship for her graduate studies (she is still deciding on which program to attend!).

Ella has worked in our lab most recently on injectable nucleus pulposus with Dr. Becky Wachs who was a postdoc in the Schmidt Lab (and who is now a faculty member at U. Nebraska).

“The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based Master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions. For the 2017 competition, NSF received over 13,000 applications, and made 2,000 award offers.”

Congratulations to Ella on this prestigious honor!

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Schmidt Lab Alum receives NSF CAREER Award

March 6, 2017: PhD Alum from the Schmidt Lab, Dr. Stephanie Seidlits, recently was notified that she will receive a prestigious NSF CAREER Award. Dr. Seidlits is an assistant professor in BME at UCLA.

See Dr. Seidlits’ website for more information on her research.

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Three new publications

Congrats to the team on having three research manuscripts accepted for publication! In particular, congratulations to Becky – her first from our lab, Nik and Zin – Nik’s first from our lab, and John and Richelle! Many of our undergraduate students contributed as well, in addition to Stacy (her first publication from our lab too!). These articles should appear in print soon. Links to abstracts are provided below:

Wachs R.A., E.N. Hoogenboezem, H.I. Huda, S. Xin, S. Schmidt C.E. Porvasnik (in press). Creation of an injectable in situ gelling tissue-specific matrix for nucleus pulposus tissue 1 engineering. The Spine Journal.

Khaing, Z.; N. Agrawal, J. Park, S. Xin, Shangjing, G. Plumton, K. Lee, Y-J Huang, A. Niemerski, C.E. Schmidt, J. Grau (in press). Localized and Sustained Release of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor from Injectable Hydrogel/Microparticle Composites Fosters Spinal Learning after Spinal Cord Injury. Journal of Materials Chemistry B.

Thomas, R., J.G. Hardy, P.E. Chung, S.P. Modi, C.E. Schmidt (in press). Sacrificial Crystal Templating of Hyaluronic Acid-Based Hydrogels. European Polymer Journal.

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Farewell Becky Wachs

Postdoc Becky Wachs is leaving the Schmidt Lab to start her own faculty position at the University of Nebraska in January. Becky has been with the lab since June 2014 and has been a huge asset to the group, helping to write six successful proposals!

We celebrated with a traditional Schmidt Lab party at Dr. Schmidt’s home and roast. Several of our collaborators who have worked with Becky also joined the party, including Dr. Kyle Allen, Dr. Chelsea Simmons, and Dr. Hideko Kasahara. The roast poked fun at Becky and she was presented with gag gifts including a huge supply of Cheerios and La Croix (her favorite snack and drink) as well as a New Professor Starter Kit (which included sanitizer to fend off germs from college kids, a sheriff’s badge to let her own group know who’s the boss, chocolate to make any day better, wine to soothe the upcoming rejections, and champagne to celebrate the first big grant).

Becky will be missed by us all, but we wish her well in the next stage of her career and life!

For more on Becky’s background: http://www.bme.ufl.edu/labs/schmidt/2014/06/24/welcome-dr-becky-wachs/

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Schmidt Lab Receives New NIH Grant

A new NIH grant, entitled “Engineering Tissue Mimics to Investigate Congenital Heart Disease” (R21 HD090608), is focused on a continued collaborative project with Dr. Hideko Kasahara (Physiology, College of Medicine), which was initially funded by a University of Florida Opportunity Award. This proposal seeks to investigate the underlying mechanisms of cardiovascular malformation resulting in cardiac defects. We will create benchtop hydrogel mimics to study the impact of genetic and environmental factors on development of cardiovascular malformations. The technology developed in these mimics may ultimately be translated into an injectable biomaterial to treat cardiac anomalies in humans. Development of 3D cardiac tissue mimics has the potential to elucidate both pathological mechanisms of disease and the biophysical properties that result in physiologic cellular development for engineering cardiac tissues. Information obtained in this project will identify potential ECM targets for genetic therapy, and future studies will utilize our cardiac tissue mimics as a base for development of an injectable biomaterial to treat cardiac anomalies in humans.

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Schmidt Lab at BMES 2016

The Schmidt Lab was represented at the BMES 2016 annual meeting in Minneapolis by graduate student Chris Lacko, who gave a terrific presentation on his collaborative work with Dr. Rinaldi’s lab on magnetic particle templating of hydrogels for nerve repair:

Lacko, C. [speaker], S. Porvasnik, M. Wall*, A. Garcia, C. Rinaldi, C.E. Schmidt. “Three-Dimensionally Templated Hydrogels for Peripheral Nerve Injury Repair. Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN, October 5-8, 2016.

In addition, Dr. Becky Wachs attended the meeting as well (in addition to Dr. Schmidt, of course). We met with former members of the Schmidt Lab, including Dr. Chase Cornelison, who is now a postdoc in Dr. Jenny Munson’s lab at the University of Virginia (Dr. Munson was the 2016 Rita Schaffer Award recipient!). We also were able to visit with former PhD student, Dr. Stephanie Seidlits, who did her postdoc with Dr. Lonnie Shea and who is now an Assistant Professor of BME at UCLA.

BMES was an amazing experience, as usual. UF BME was well represented at BMES. For more photos and information on UF BME at BMES 2016, see: http://www.bme.ufl.edu/node/1871

img_0378 img_0390BME 2016  img_0461

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Schmidt Lab Celebrates 20 Years!

The current Schmidt Lab celebrated the lab turning 20 years old with a party! The students and postdocs surprised Christine with an awesome shirt, photo cake (with photos dating almost back to 1996) and a wonderful wall plaque.

The Schmidt Lab officially “started” in Fall 1996 in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Austin. The first Schmidt Lab graduate students were Tyrell Rivers and Beth Furnish, who were soon joined by Joel Collier as an MS student (Joel is currently a professor at Duke) and Jennie Leach and Terry Hudson. Many more followed! For a complete list of Schmidt Lab Alumni, see: http://www.bme.ufl.edu/labs/schmidt/alumni/

In celebration of 20 years, the Schmidt Lab has had a few Skype sessions with former students from the early years of the lab as a way for current students to get to know the past leadership (and meet the names on early papers!) of the group and for current group members to learn about options in both industry and academics. We had two amazing Skype sessions with Dr. Terry Hudson who is currently at Genentech in South San Francisco and Jennie Baier Leach, who is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Both had unique insights into career options (and fun tidbits from past life in the Schmidt Lab while at the University of Texas at Austin).

Thanks to all the current and past graduate and undergraduate students, postdocs, and research staff who have impacted the Schmidt Lab over the most amazing 20 years!

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New Post Doc to Start in September

mobini-smDr. Sahba Mobini will join the Schmidt Lab at the end of September as a postdoctoral associate. Sahba comes with extensive experience in materials science and regenerative medicine. She has worked with various types of bio-scaffolds, developed from biomaterials such as, Hydroxyapatite, Collagen, PCL, Silk, Decellularized Human Amniotic Membrane, in combination with stem cells. More recently, she has studied the role of bioelectricity in healing and regeneration in vitro and in vivo. To study the underlying molecular mechanisms by which electrical signals affect cells, she has developed an electro-bioreactor to apply exogenous electrical stimulation to the cells in both 2D and 3D environments. Her research interests also include development and optimization of implantable electrical stimulation micro-devices for regenerative medicine applications, with translational and clinical perspectives.

Dr. Mobini’s past experience and degrees include:

Education

2012 Ph.D. in Biomaterial Engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology
2007 M.Sci. in  Biomaterial Engineering from Iran University of Science and Technology
2004 B.Sci.  in Material Science and Engineering from University of Tabriz

Academic Experience

2015-2016
Post-Doctoral Research Associate at The School of Materials, The University of Manchester, United Kingdom (Supervisor: Prof. Sarah. H. Cartmell)
Topic: Development of perfusion and electrical stimulation bioreactor for tissue engineering applications
Support: BBSRC – United Kingdom

2014-2015
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Frankfurt Initiative for Regenerative Medicine – J.W. Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (Research Mentor: Prof. John. H. Barker)
Topic:  Investigation of the effectiveness and mechanisms of electrical stimulation in combination with tissue engineering approaches in bone regeneration in large size defects
Support: AO Foundation – Switzerland

2012-2014
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Reproductive Biotechnology Research Center, Avicenna Research Institute, Tehran, Iran (Independent Researcher)
Topic: Tissue Bioengineering: in vitro and in vivo models
Support: ARI Grant – Iran

2010-2011
Visiting Research PhD Student at Max Bergmann Center of Biomaterials, Dresden, Germany (Research Mentor: Prof. Michael Gelinsky)
Topic:  Bone Tissue Engineering Based on Silk/Ceramic Composites
Support: DAAD Scholarship – Germany

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Schmidt Lab receives three new grants

The Schmidt recently received three grants from the NIH, NSF and Conquer Paralysis Now (CPN) Foundation on natural-based scaffold development. Congratulations to Dr. Becky Wachs, who helped tremendously with writing these proposals! Michaela Mertz is working predominantly on the NIH grant, with some help from our new postdoc Dr. Young Hye Song. Young Hye is working predominantly on the new NSF award. Michaela is also working on the CPN award in collaboration with Dr. Mary Bunge’s lab at the University of Miami.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) – “Engineering In Vitro ECM Test Beds to Mimic Injury” (2/01/2016 – 1/31/2018)
The goal of this proposal is to develop an in vitro test bed capable of mimicking native and pathological extracellular matrix (ECM) to identify novel targets for treatment of traumatic neural injury. We will accomplish this goal through rational design of an ECM-based scaffold to mimic native temporal ECM damage observed after spinal cord injury (SCI). Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) are the largest component of the healthy and pathologic ECM in the central nervous system (CNS) and serve many functions. After SCI specifically, there is an increase in versican, neurocan, and brevican, and a decrease in aggrecan. There are also dynamic changes to specific proteases such at MMP-2 and -9 after SCI that will selectively cleave CSPGs. Furthermore, CSPG fragmentation has been implicated in progression of other diseases (e.g. osteoarthritis). We believe CSPG fragmentation plays a similar role in increasing unwanted glial scarring after SCI or traumatic neural injury. Currently, animal models are used to screen feasibility of biomaterials for tissue engineering. However, to examine injury and disease states an “induced” state must be created in the animal model that often does not represent native pathology of injury or disease. Creation of in vitro pathological ECM test beds has the potential to provide a lower cost, more relevant system for examining mechanistic responses and testing small molecule therapeutics and identifying relevant targets to treat patients with SCI.

National Science Foundation (NSF) – “Harnessing the Power of Apoptosis to Create Regenerative Acellular Biologic Scaffolds” (7/1/2016 – 6/31/2019)
This proposal seeks to shift the paradigm in decellularization techniques; rather than induce necrosis of cells to begin decellularization, we propose to induce apoptosis. During apoptosis cells detach from the matrix and form small apoptotic bodies containing cellular components which can be more easily removed from the matrix. In addition, during apoptosis cells secrete cytokines and signaling molecules that can be sequestered in the ECM, and are known to induce compensatory proliferation, stem cell recruitment, and immunomodulation thereby aiding in tissue regeneration. This approach has the potential to enhance matrix preservation and bioactivity, thus dramatically altering tissue engineering across a wide variety of tissue types.

Conquer Paralysis Now (CPN) Foundation – “A New Injectable Matrix to Maximize Schwann Cell Transplantation Efficacy Following Spinal Cord Injury” (9/1/2016 – 8/31/2017)
Improvements on current strategies is necessary to develop a clinically translatable therapy to promote functional recovery after SCI. The proposed regenerative therapy will contain 2 parts: 1) Schwann cells (SCs) and 2) an injectable decellularized peripheral nerve scaffold (iPN). The use of iPN for SCI repair allows for some of the challenges encountered with the methods mentioned above. Using decellularized peripheral nerve eliminates immunogenicity issues associated with grafts or foreign biomaterials because it removes cellular components and is composed of natural ECM components. It also should provide a more native environment for the Schwann cells and provide support to improve cell survival and maintenance. Since the scaffold is injectable, it will be less invasive, decrease risk of excess damage to the spinal cord, and decrease the severity of the boundary between the graft and the native spinal cord.

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Dr. Young Hye Song Joins Schmidt Lab as Postdoc

Young Hye SongWe are pleased to have Young Hye Song officially join the Schmidt Lab! Young Hye will be working with the lab initially on a project to develop an in vitro test bed capable of mimicking native and pathological extracellular matrix (ECM) to identify novel targets for treatment of traumatic neural injury.

Young Hye recently completed her PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University under the direction of Dr. Claudia Fischbach.  Young Hye’s research interests generally lie in tissue engineering approaches to creating disease models in vitro. During her PhD studies she assessed the effects of different mammary tumor microenvironmental factors on pro-angiogenic behavior of adipose-derived stem cells and subsequent effects on sprouting angiogenesis. She received her BS in Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2010, and MS in Biomedical Engineering from Cornell University in 2013.

Young Hye, welcome to Gainesville and to UF!

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Ben Spearman Passes Qualifying Exam!

Benjamin SpearmanCongratulations to Ben for passing his recent qualifying exam for his Ph.D. studies! Ben is completing two years with the Schmidt Lab, after doing UG research with Dr. Elizabeth Lipke at Auburn University. Ben’s Ph.D. research is focused on creating hydrogels for regenerative peripheral nerve interfaces.

Congratulations Ben!

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Alafair’s VersaWrap receives 501(k) clearance from FDA

versawrapAlafair Biosciences Inc., a start-up medical device company based on technology from the Schmidt Lab, announced today that it received 510(k) clearance from the FDA to market and sell its tendon product, VersaWrap™ Tendon Protector, in the US.  VersaWrap™ Tendon Protector is an ultrathin, sutureless, bioresorbable hydrogel that protects tendon gliding by separating injured tendon from surrounding tissues. The VersaWrap™ sheet is composed of hydrophilic polysaccharides; it is easy to handle, can be cut to size, and is designed for placement on or around injured tendon. VersaWrap™ is a non-inflammatory, non-toxic, non-irritating, terminally-sterilized, implantable hydrogel. It is supplied dry but hydrates immediately and can be implanted wet or dry. VersaWrap™ is designed to be applied to delicate, injured tendon tissue and tendon repairs. Alafair will formally introduce the VersaWrap™ Tendon Protector to surgeons at the American Society for Surgery of the Hand meeting in Austin, TX.

Schmidt Lab PhD alums, Drs. Sarah Mayes and Scott Zawko, are part of the scientific leadership team with Alafair. Alafair is also a UF BME Industry Partner and has participated actively in the Department’s Pruitt Research Day in the past.

Full story here.

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Nik Agrawal Passes Qualifying Exam!

Nik AgrawalCongratulations to Nik for passing his recent qualifying exam for his Ph.D. studies! Nik is completing two years with the Schmidt Lab, after doing a MS degree in BME here at UF with Dr. Ben Keselowsky. Nik’s Ph.D. research is focused on hydrogel delivery systems for spinal cord regeneration and plasticity.

Congratulations Nik!

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Postdoc Becky Wachs accepts faculty position

Dr. Becky Wachs

April 28, 2016
Congratulations to Dr. Rebecca Wachs who has accepted a faculty position at the University of Nebraska, to begin January 2017. Becky has been a postdoc in the Schmidt Lab since June 2014.

Becky received her BS from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Mechanical Engineering. In 2013, she received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from RPI. Becky had prior industry experience at both Zeiss and RTI Surgical, Inc. Becky’s research in our lab has been focused predominantly on low back pain and modulating/blocking neural ingrowth into the disc as a means to alleviate pain.

We are sad to see Becky leave in the Fall but are excited for her as she starts her own independent lab at the University of Nebraska! Congrats Becky!

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Former Student Dr. Jessica Winter Inducted as Fellow of AIMBE

0403-1Congratulations to Dr. Jessica Winter, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Ohio State University, who was inducted as a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) in Washington DC on April 4, 2016. AIMBE is an honorific society, in which fellows are nominated each year by their peers and represent the top 2% of the medical and biological engineering community. AIMBE Fellows lay a foundation to advocate for public policy issues related to improving lives through medical and biological engineering. Jessica received her PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004, where she conducted her PhD studies in the Schmidt Lab. Congratulations to Jessica!

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Dr. Schmidt Organized 25th Anniversary AIMBE Meeting in DC

25thThe 25th Anniversary Meeting for the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), organized by Dr. Christine Schmidt in collaboration with Dr. Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic at Columbia University, was held in Washington DC April 3-4, 2016. AIMBE is an honorific society, in which fellows are nominated each year by their peers and represent the top 2% of the medical and biological engineering community. AIMBE Fellows lay a foundation to advocate for public policy issues related to improving lives through medical and biological engineering.

The annual meeting represents AIMBE’s premier gathering of the leaders in medical and biological engineering. This special anniversary meeting was focused on the future of innovation as well as looking back on twenty-five years of achievement. New Fellows of AIMBE were also inducted during this prestigious event. Many leaders in the field, and past leadership of AIMBE were in attendance and highlighted in a special networking reception the night before the start of the meeting.

Featured keynote speakers during the meeting included:

  • Dr. Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Stanley C. Moore Professor of Bioengineering, Rice University
  • Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia, John J. and Dorothy Wilson Professor of the Institute for Medical Engineering & Science and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT
  • Dr. Leroy E. Hood, President and Co-founder, Institute for Systems Biology
  • Dr. George Savage, Co-Founder and CMO, Proteus Digital Health
  • Dr. France A. Córdova, the Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Dr. Christopher Austin, the Director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

The meeting also included updates on current legislative issues facing congress that impact the field of medical and biological engineering as well as trends in scientific publishing. Furthermore, the meeting featured a distinguished Leadership panel composed of past Presidents and Galletti Award winners of AIMBE:

  • Dr. Robert Nerem, Parker H. Petit Distinguished Chair for Engineering in Medicine and Institute Professor Emeritus, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Cato Laurencin, University Professor, and Albert & Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Connecticut Health Center
  • Dr. Nicholas Peppas, Professor & Director of the Institute for Biomaterials, Drug Delivery and Regenerative Medicine, University of Texas at Austin
  • Dr. Kenneth Lutchen, Dean, College of Engineering; Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Boston University

Congratulations to Christine (and Gordana) for organizing such an impactful conference!

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Ben receives NSF Fellowship

Congratulations to Ben Spearman for receiving a prestigious 2016 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. Ben joined the Biomedical Engineering Department at UF as a PhD student in 2014 after graduating with a degree in Chemical Engineering from Auburn University. He joined Dr. Christine Schmidt’s lab where he is investigating the use of natural hydrogel scaffolds such as hyaluronic acid to aid in peripheral nerve repair and regeneration. His research proposal is focused on developing a tissue engineered, regenerative peripheral nerve interface. Current peripheral nerve interfaces are plagued by problems such as immune response and a lack of signal specificity. Integrating electrodes into a tissue engineered scaffold may help alleviate these issues by allowing for a more natural integration of electrodes into the peripheral nerve.

Congratulations to Ben on this prestigious honor!

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New Postdoc to Start this Summer

Young-Hye SongWe are pleased to welcome Young-Hye Song to the Schmidt Lab. Young Hye is currently completing her PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University under the direction of Dr. Claudia Fischbach. Young Hye will join the Schmidt Lab in June of 2016. Young Hye’s research interests lie in tissue engineering approaches to creating disease models in vitro. During her PhD studies she assessed the effects of different mammary tumor microenvironmental factors on pro-angiogenic behavior of adipose-derived stem cells and subsequent effects on sprouting angiogenesis. She received her BS in Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2010, and MS in Biomedical Engineering from Cornell University in 2013. She is expected to earn her PhD degree in August 2016.

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Former Lab Members’ Review Article Listed as “Hot Article for 2015”

news-march10-2016Former postdoc Dr. Zin Khaing (now at U. Washington) and Ph.D. student Stephanie Seidlits (now at UCLA) recently published a review article entitled ‘Hyaluronic acid and neural stem cells: Implications for biomaterial design’. Their article was selected as a Hot Article for 2015 in the Journal of Materials Chemistry B. Check it out!

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Congrats to Monica for Selection to University Scholars Program

Monica WallCongratulations to Monica Wall, a Materials Science and Engineering undergraduate student who works in our lab with Chris Lacko. Monica was selected to participate in the University Scholars Program for 2016-2017! The University Scholars Program introduces undergraduate students at the University of Florida to the exciting world of academic research.  In the program, students work one-on-one with UF faculty on selected research projects. Through this initiative, students will take away an understanding of and appreciation for the scholarly method. A competition is held each spring within participating colleges for the University Scholars awards that includes a $1750 stipend. The program consists of students undertaking a full research project, under the guidance of a faculty member. The University Scholars Program serves as an exceptional capstone to the academic careers of UF students. Only 200 students from all disciplines are selected through a competitive process to participate in this program.

Monica’s research with Chris has been focused on peripheral nerve regeneration. Peripheral nerve injury is a frequent occurrence affecting a considerable percentage of trauma patients annually. Current methods are not able to bridge large nerve injury gaps in a way that restores both motor and sensory function comparable to the uninjured nerve. Monica’s research is focused on creating scaffolds to promote nerve repair – these scaffolds will provide a 3D physical support matrix that incorporates biological signals and topographical cues to actively promote axonal elongation along a desired pathway. In particular, Monica and her graduate student mentor Chris are working on creating crosslinked hydrogel scaffolds from hyaluronic acid, a sugar molecule that is found within the body and which is non-immunogenic. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is attractive because it naturally plays a role in wound healing in the body and is already FDA approved for other medical applications. Monica and Chris are looking at novel methods to create structure within amorphous HA hydrogel scaffolds to provide microtopographical fiber-like structure, to guide regenerating axons, and to also provide essential porosity. To do this, magnetic nano- and microparticles are being used to create aligned pores and microstructure within hydrogels that are normally amorphous and lack any physical features (in collaboration with Dr. Carlos Rinaldi in the BME department). This project is especially exciting because it aims to develop new and easy-to-use methods to consistently create desired and biologically relevant structural features in 3D scaffolds.

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AxoGen Featured at UF Innovation Showcase: Invention to Patient

Dr. Schmidt presented in a panel at the UF Innovation Showcase as one of the inventors of technology that led to the development of AxoGen’s Avance Nerve Graft. Dr. David Muir of UF is one of the other technology inventors, but was ill and unable to attend the panel. Also on the panel were Karen Zaderej, CEO of AxoGen and Shirley Pincus, a patient who has received three of the Avance nerve grafts. Read and hear more about Shirley’s amazing story of recovery from long-term nerve effects from polio and how the Avance graft helped her regain a pain-free life:
http://www.axogeninc.com/about-axogen/patient-stories/6544/shirleys-story

Karen Zaderej, Shirley Pincus, Dr. Christine Schmidt

From left to right: Karen Zaderej, CEO of AxoGen, Shirley Pincus, Avance graft recipient, and Dr. Christine Schmidt, UF BME Chair and inventor of decellularization technology licensed for the Avance graft.

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Ryan’s manuscript published in Acta Biomaterialia

Dr. Ryan Nagao, a Schmidt Lab Ph.D. alum from UT Austin (now a postdoc at U. Washington in Seattle), recently had his research published in Acta Biomaterialia. The manuscript, “Ultrasound-guided photoacoustic imaging-directed re-endothelialization of acellular vasculature leads to improved vascular performance”, describes an imaging method that allows for rapid visualization of cells within a construct several cm thick. This approach can be experimentally used to observe changes in cellular distribution over large intervals of time, to help optimize cell seeding parameters, and to verify cell retention within re-endothelialized constructs. This approach has temporal and depth advantages compared to section reconstruction and imaged fluorophores respectively.

Reference:

Nagao, R.J., Y. Ouyang, R. Keller, S.Y. Nam, G.R. Malik, B.S.; S.Y. Emelianov, L.J. Suggs, C.E. Schmidt (2016). Ultrasound-guided photoacoustic imaging-directed re-endothelialization of acellular vasculature leads to improved vascular performance. Acta Biomaterialia. 32: 35–45.

Abstract:

As increasing effort is dedicated to investigating the regenerative capacity of decellularized tissues, research has progressed to recellularizing these tissues prior to implantation. The delivery and support of cells seeded throughout acellular scaffolds are typically conducted through the vascular axis of the tissues. However, it is unclear how cell concentration and injection frequency can affect the distribution of cells throughout the scaffold. Furthermore, what effects re-endothelialization have on vascular patency and function are not well understood. We investigated the use of ultrasound-guided photoacoustic (US/PA) imaging as a technique to visualize the distribution of microvascular endothelial cells within an optimized acellular construct upon re-endothelialization and perfusion conditioning. We also evaluated the vascular performance of the re-endothelialized scaffold using quantitative vascular corrosion casting (qVCC) and whole-blood perfusion. We found US/PA imaging was an effective technique to visualize the distribution of cells. Cellular retention following perfusion conditioning was also detected with US/PA imaging. Finally, we demonstrated that a partial recovery of vascular performance is possible following re-endothelialization—confirmed by fewer extravasations in qVCC and improved blood clearance following whole-blood perfusion.

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Derek’s manuscript accepted in JMCB

Dr. Derek Hernandez, a recent Schmidt Lab (and Shear Lab) Ph.D. Graduate from UT Austin, recently had his manuscript accepted for publication in the Journal of Materials Chemistry B (JMCB). The paper, “Functionalizing micro-3D-printed protein hydrogels for cell adhesion and patterning”, describes the use of multiphoton excitation to create micro-3D-printed hydrogels and to subsequently modify these structures with functionalized molecules to enhance cell interactions. This paper further demonstrates the ability to create arbitrary immobilized chemical gradient profiles, which could be highly useful for applications, such as nerve repair and other regenerative medicine areas, that benefit from directed cell migration.

Reference:

Hernandez, D.S., E.T. Ritschdorff, S.K. Seidlits, C.E. Schmidt, J.B. Shear (2016). Functionalizing micro-3D-printed protein hydrogels for cell adhesion and patterning. J. Materials Chemistry B.

Abstract:

The extracellular matrix has been shown to profoundly influence both cell morphology and numerous cellular processes – including adhesion, differentiation, and alignment – through a range of chemical, mechanical, and topographical features. In these studies, we investigate a versatile platform for functionalizing micro-3D-printed (μ-3DP) protein hydrogels via multiphoton excitation of benzophenone-biotin, a photoactivatable ligand capable of reacting with the hydrogel matrix, which is subsequently linked to a biotinylated cell-adhesive peptide through a Neutravidin bridge. This functionalization strategy is potentially applicable to a broad range of hydrogel platforms, enabling biomolecules to be precisely patterned at specified locations within 3D materials. As proof-of-concept of this strategy’s utility, we demonstrate that chemical modifications can be made to μ-3DP protein hydrogels that enable Schwann cells to be patterned without altering the mechanical or topographical properties of the hydrogel to an extent that influences SC cell adhesion. The ability to independently control potential cellular cues within in vitro cellular microenvironments is essential to investigating decoupled effects of biomaterial properties on cell-matrix interactions. In addition, we demonstrate feasibility for generating arbitrary immobilized chemical gradient profiles, a result that opens important opportunities for understanding and controlling haptotactic behaviors, such as directed migration, that are key to various tissue regeneration applications.

3D patterned protein hydrogels. A) Three confocal slices revealing sub-surface immobilization of NA-TMR within a 10-μm-tall BSA cone. Left image was acquired 1.25 μm above the base of the cone. Each image, left to right, represents a successive axial step of 2.75 μm toward the top of the cone. A Gaussian blur was applied to smooth each image. Scale bar, 10 μm. (B–C) Confocal renderings of a 20-μm-tall BSA cone (blue) labeled with an immobilized spiral of NA-TMR (white) after patterning BP-biotin. 3D rendering of the mask used for BP-b immobilization is inset in panel (B). Scale bar, 10 μm. D) Brightfield image of a 20-μm-tall protein cylinder, and E) a corresponding confocal z-projection. Scale bar, 25 μm. F-G) Confocal renderings of the same BSA cylinder viewed from side (F) and angled (G) perspectives. A dotted light-blue outline in (G) highlights the top of the cylinder. Scale bar, 25 μm

 

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Recent manuscript from Schmidt Lab featured on cover of Macromolecular Rapid Communications.

news2015-11-29F“The cover of Macromolecular Rapid Communications (impact factor = 4.941) is highly coveted. It is instantly recognizable and associated worldwide with the highest quality research from the top researchers in the field.”

This publication has former postdoc Dr. John Hardy as first author and is in collaboration with Dr. David Kaplan of Tufts University. Bone tissue is a complex mixture of inorganic and organic matter (with high levels of calcium phosphate and the protein collagen). The image for the cover is an artistic impression of the effect of electrically stimulating stem cells taken from bone marrow (at 0.1 Volts per millimeter), showing that it encourages the cells to produce elevated levels of the enzyme Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and Collagen, and the deposition of calcium (Ca2+), which represent important steps towards the generation of bone-like tissue.

Full Reference:
Hardy, J.G., M.K. Villancio-Wolter, R.C. Sukhavasi, D.J. Mouser, D. Aguilar, S.A. Geissler, D.L. Kaplan, C.E. Schmidt (2015). Electrical stimulation of human mesenchymal stem cells on conductive nanofibers enhances their differentiation towards osteogenic outcomes. Macromolecular Rapid Communications. 36:1884–1890.

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Joel Collier joins Duke

collier_joel_2015Former Schmidt Lab Member, Dr. Joel Collier, joins the BME faculty at Duke University. Joel moved from the University of Chicago where he was an Associate Professor. Joel completed his MS in BME with the Schmidt lab years ago, and was the first person in our lab to work with hyaluronic acid, HA (his project was geared at integrating HA into the conducting polymer polypyrrole). Here are photos from Joel’s farewell party in the Schmidt Lab in 1998.

Read more about Dr. Collier’s career and current research on immunoengineering.

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Schmidt Lab at BMES

October 7-10, 2015 – Great BMES meeting in Tampa, Florida! Two Schmidt Lab graduate students (Chris Lacko and Nik Agrawal) and postdoc Becky Wachs presented posters at the 2015 BMES Annual Meeting in Tampa this year. In addition, graduate student Ben Spearman attended the meeting, but did not present. Congrats on terrific work team! We also had an opportunity to catch up with former lab member, Dr. Zin Khaing, who is now at the University of Washington. Finally, we enjoyed hearing from Kevin Carroll who designed Winter the Dolphin’s prosthetic tail (and Christine had photo op with Mr. Carrol and Dr. Angie Louie, the BMES Conference Program Chair). Overall, a wonderful meeting!

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Ben’s paper published

Benjamin SpearmanCongratulations to Schmidt Lab PhD student Ben Spearman who had his manuscript from his undergraduate work with Dr. Elizabeth Lipke at Auburn University accepted for publication in Acta Biomaterialia! The research was performed in collaboration with former postdoc Dr. John Hardy (now a faculty member at Lancaster University) from the Schmidt lab. Congrats Ben!

Reference:

Spearman, B., A.J. Hodge, J. Porter, J.G. Hardy, Z. Davis, T. Xu, X. Zhang, C.E. Schmidt, M.C. Hamilton, E.A. Lipke (in press). Conductive interpenetrating networks of polypyrrole and polycaprolactone encourage electrophysiological development of cardiac cells. Acta Biomaterialia.

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Chris passes Qual Exam

Christopher LackoCongratulations to Chris Lacko who passed his BME qualifying exam/research proposal and thus advances to candidacy. Chris is now the “senior” PhD student in the lab and the first UF Schmidt lab PhD student to advance to candidacy. Way to go Chris!

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Farewell Party for Chase

The Schmidt lab celebrated Chase’s time in the lab with a roast and party at Christine’s home. The group had lots of fun with great food (a number of yummy home made creations!) and many laughs during the roast, headed up by Chris Lacko. Chase’s collaborator Dr. David Fuller joined the party as well as a few students and friends from the Fuller and Reier labs. Chase has moved up to Virginia where he will be doing a postdoc with Dr. Jenny Munson. Congrats and farewell Chase! We will miss you!

See more photos at Flickr.

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Chase defends PhD

July 31, 2015

Congratulations to Chase Cornelison, who successfully defended his PhD in Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. Both Chase and Christine traveled to Austin for the defense. Chase was accompanied by friends and family members as well. Starting in September, Chase will being doing postdoctoral research with Dr. Jennifer Munson at the University of Virginia.

Congrats Dr. Cornelison!

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Schmidt Lab receives NIH grant

Dr. Schmidt and Dr. Carlos Rinaldi (BME and CHE) were awarded a collaborative grant NIH 21 award on “Magnetically Templated Regeneration Scaffolds for Nerve Injury Repair”. Chris Lacko is one of the students in the Schmidt Lab working on this project. For these studies, the research team will develop and test magnetic templating (see figure) as an approach to obtain engineered regeneration scaffolds that could potentially replace decellularized nerve allografts and autografts in repairing 20-130 mm peripheral nerve injury gaps. Magnetic templating is unique and distinct from other approaches to templating aligned channels in engineered regeneration scaffolds in that is uses magnetic alginate microparticles (MAMs), consisting of biocompatible iron oxide nanoparticles embedded in a crosslinked calcium alginate matrix, to form aligned columnar structures under the action of an applied magnetic field and in a pre-hydrogel monomer mixture. The hydrogel is then crosslinked in the magnetic field, after which the MAMs are dissolved under mild conditions that are compatible with the presence of biomolecules and cells. As the MAMs dissolve, the iron oxide nanoparticles diffuse out of the hydrogel, leaving behind empty aligned channels that span the hydrogel and that have alignment, diameter, length, connectivity, and areal density that correlate with those of the MAM columnar structures. These properties can therefore be controlled through the concentration, diameter, and iron oxide nanoparticle content of the MAMs and the applied field conditions. Because MAMs can be obtained with diameters in the range of ~0.1 to ~10’s μm, it is possible to obtain aligned channels in the sought after diameter range of ~10 μm. These features make magnetic templating an innovative approach to obtaining engineered regeneration scaffolds consisting of biocompatible matrices with aligned tubular microstructures mimicking natural nerve tissue over clinically-relevant lengths and under processing conditions compatible with incorporation of chemical and biological cues.

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Schmidt Lab at Hilton Head

May 13-16, 2015

Schmidt Lab members Dr. Becky Wachs, Chase Cornelison and Chris Lacko attended the Regenerative Medicine Workshop at Hilton Head, SC. All three members presented posters on their research and Chase was also selected to present his work orally as part of the rapid fire session. There were many great contacts made with well-known engineers and scientists, including Dr. Robert Nerem (one of UF BME’s former Distinguished Leadership Seminar Speakers). Dr. Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, another former UF BME Leadership Speakers was the keynote “Nerem Lecturer” for the Hilton Head conference. Dr. Joel Collier, a former Schmidt Lab member who is now an Associate Professor at the University of Chicago was also one of the keynote speakers. In addition to great science, everyone had a chance to enjoy the beautiful location and beaches!

Dr. Becky Wachs

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Schmidt Lab receives UF Opportunity Grant

image002Dr. Schmidt and her research team, along with a new collaborator, Dr. Hideko Kasahara (Physiology, College of Medicine), were awarded a UF Research Opportunity Seed Grant entitled “Engineering Tissue Mimics to Investigate Congenital Heart Disease.” The overarching goal of this proposal is to engineer cardiac tissue mimics to investigate the role biophysical and biochemical cues play in the progression of congenital heart disease. Congenital cardiac anomalies are the most prevalent birth defects, affecting over 1% of live births; however, the mechanisms underlying cardiac maldevelopments in embryos are largely unknown. Specific mutations of the Nkx2-5 gene in humans can cause a variety of malformations with widely varied cardiac symptoms from mild (near-normal function) to severe (heart failure). This variation in symptoms suggests non-genetic (epigenetic) factors in utero play a key role in aggravating the disease progression and severity. This work will use Dr. Kasahara’s Nkx2-5 knock-in mouse model in conjunction with Dr. Schmidt’s expertise in creation of tuned biomaterials to investigate the effects of biophysical and biochemical cues on severity of disease pathology both in vitro and in vivo.

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Derek accepts job with Austin start-up

Former Schmidt Lab member, Dr. Derek Hernandez, recently accepted a position with TeVido Biodevices in Austin, Texas. TeVido BioDevices, LLC uses the innovative process of 3D bio-printing of living human cells for use as implants or grafts targeting use in reconstructive surgery and wound care. Congratulations Derek!

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Schmidt Lab at SFB

April 15-18, 2015

The Society for Biomaterials (SFB) Annual Meeting was held April 15-18 in Charlotte, NC. Postdoc Dr. Becky Wachs presented a poster on acellular extracellular matrix for intervertebral disc regeneration. Dr. Schmidt was invited to speak and serve as a panelist for the “Industrial Innovations in Biomaterials” session chaired by Drs. Ann Salamone and Buddy Ratner. The SFB meeting culminated in a fun bash held at the NASCAR Hall of Fame Museum in downtown Charlotte.

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John Hardy accepts faculty position

John HardyCongratulations to Schmidt Lab Alum Dr. John Hardy who recently accepted a 50th Anniversary Lectureship (Assistant Professor) in Chemistry at Lancaster University in the UK.  John will start his new position on August 3, 2015.

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Sydney receives fellowship

Congrats to former lab member, Dr. Sydney Geissler, who received a Whitaker Foundation Scholars Fellowship. This fellowship will be for postdoctoral research with Professor Hierlemann at ETH Zurich’s BSSE department in Basel, Switzerland. Congrats Sydney!

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Chris passes pre-qual

Congratulations to Chris Lacko who passed his BME pre-qual exam last week. Way to go Chris!

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Hammad selected as University Scholar

hammad-news-imgCongratulations to undergraduate student Hammad Huda, who works in the Schmidt Lab with Dr. Becky Wachs. Hammad was selected as a 2015-2016 University Scholars awardee. Only 200 UF students from all across campus are selected annually for this prestigious award. Congrats to Hammad!

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Lab Holiday Party

December 15, 2014

The Schmidt Lab came together for a dessert and appetizer-themed holiday party. We decorated gingerbread houses (the traditional lab contest), and had fun with a white elephant gift exchange (another lab tradition). People walked away with exciting (and some not-so-exciting) presents! There are always some rat or brain-themed gag gifts.

See the Schmidt Lab Flickr page for more photos.

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Farewell Party for Sydney

December 15, 2014

We had a farewell lunch for Sydney at Chuy’s (which has both a connection to Austin and Gainesville!), followed by our new tradition of painting the 34th Street Graffiti Wall (with a cool giant rat!), and finally a farewell roast (which Sydney had to give impromptu). Note that the painted wall lasted almost a month this time before it was painted over. Overall, lots of fun!

We will miss Sydney and wish her luck on her postdoc endeavors in Switzerland!

See the Schmidt Lab Flickr page for more photos.

sydney1 sydney2 sydney3

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Dr. Schmidt Receives Mentor Award

Christine Schmidt receives the Women’s Initiatives Committee’s (WIC) Mentorship Excellence Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). The award “recognizes women faculty who have contributed to the development of the next generation of chemical engineers through outstanding mentoring”. Dr. Schmidt was nominated by her former chemical engineering PhD graduates, Dr. Jennie Leach and Dr. Jessica Winter who are now both associate professors of chemical engineering at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and Ohio State University, respectively. Dr. Schmidt joins a prestigious list of prior recipients of the WIC Mentorship Excellence Award, including Drs. Anne Robinson (the Catherine and Henry Boh Professor and Department Chair, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Tulane University), Rena Bizios (the Peter Flawn Professor, Biomedical Engineering, University of San Antonio), Paulette Clancy (the Samuel W. and Diane M. Bodman Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Cornell University), Umit Ozkan (the COE Distinguished Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Ohio State University), and Linda Broadbelt (the Sarah Rebecca Roland Professor and Department Chair, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Northwestern University).

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Halloween Fun!

The Schmidt Lab ties with the Allen Lab for “Best Decorated Lab” in the BME Department 1st Annual Halloween Decorating Contest. There was intense competition between the Schmidt and Allen labs in particular. The Schmidt lab “sabotaged” the Allen lab with Easter decorations, but…. the Allen lab made a quick comeback by converting the Easter eggs into the spiders!

Visit the BME Flickr Site and the Schmidt Lab Flicker Site or more photos of the event.

From left to right: Sydney, Stacy, Chris, Nik, Becky, Chase and Christine.

From left to right: Sydney, Stacy, Chris, Nik, Becky, Chase and Christine.

Sabotage!

Sabotage!

Recovery!

Recovery!

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BMES 2014 – Success!

October 23-25, 2014:
Christine, Becky, Zin and Sydney all attend the BMES 2014 meeting in San Antonio. Christine participated as an invited panelist in the Covidien Commercialization Panel, Zin presented an oral talk, and Sydney presented a poster. Everyone did well! Check out the main BME Department website for more photos from the event. In the meantime, see the following photos:

BMES 2014

Current and former Schmidt Lab students and postdocs (L to R: Drs. Christine Schmidt, Stephanie Seidlits, Sarah Mayes, Zin Khaing, Becky Wachs, Sydney Geissler).

BMES 2014

Dr. Sydney Geissler presenting her poster.

BMES 2014

Dr. Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic (Columbia University) visits the BMES booth to support UF BME.

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Welcome Nik and Ben!

Nikunj (Nik) AgrawalBenjamin SpearmanNik Agrawal and Benjamin Spearman officially join the Schmidt Lab as Ph.D. students this Fall. Nik completed his MS degree at UF with Dr. Ben Keselowsky and Ben Spearman completed his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering with Dr. Elizabeth Lipke from Auburn University.

We welcome both new students into the Schmidt Lab family!

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Farewell Zin!

Zin KhaingWe celebrated Zin’s time in the lab with a party at Dr. Schmidt’s home. There was much food and fun! Below are links to the Roast for Zin. Check back soon for photos from the evening (or check the Schmidt Lab Flickr site).

Zin – we will miss you! Good luck in your new position in Seattle!

Zin Roast, Part I
Zin Roast, Part II

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Dr. Schmidt invited to serve on editorial board of Journal of Neural Engineering

Congratulations to Professor Christine Schmidt for a recent invitation to join the Editorial Board for the Journal of Neural Engineering. Dr. Schmidt joins Dr. Bruce Wheeler, also from the University of Florida, who is one of the inaugural board members for the journal.

The Journal of Neural Engineering serves as a forum for the interdisciplinary field of neural engineering where neuroscientists, neurobiologists and engineers publish their work in one periodical that bridges the gap between neuroscience and engineering. The journal publishes articles in the field of neural engineering at the molecular, cellular and systems levels. Dr. Schmidt’s research is focused on engineering novel materials and therapeutic systems to stimulate damaged peripheral and spinal neurons to regenerate.

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Becky receives BMES Award

Rebecca WachsBecky Wachs was recognized with a competitive 2014 BME Innovation and Career Development Award from the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). The award covers registration and a travel allowance for the BMES annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas in October.

Becky is a new postdoc in the Schmidt Lab. She received her Bachelor of Science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Mechanical Engineering. She worked at Ziess for several years before returning to continue her education. In 2013, she received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Her thesis research investigated the role spinal muscles play in intervertebral disc degeneration. While at RPI, she was a finalist for the Lemelson-MIT Collegiate Prize for innovation, and she was awarded the AAUW Dissertation Fellowship. For the past year, Becky worked at RTI Surgical, Inc. developing and characterizing novel soft tissue biologics for regenerative medicine. She has been with the Schmidt Lab since July of 2014.

Congratulations Becky!

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Sydney receives BMES Award

BMESSydney Geissler was awarded a competitive travel award to attend and present at the BMES annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas in October. Congratulations Sydney!

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Congrats new PhDs!

Please help me congratulate our newest PhD grads! Both Sydney Geissler and Derek Hernandez passed their defenses in Austin with flying colors.

Congrats Sydney and Derek!!

Schmidt, Geissler, Hernandez

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Welcome Dr. Becky Wachs

Dr. Becky WachsWe are excited to welcome Dr. Becky Wachs who will join the Schmidt Lab as a Post Doctoral Associate. Becky’s research interests include: orthopaedic degenerative diseases and neuropathic pain, early stage diagnostics of disease states, and natural materials for tissue engineering. Becky Wachs received her Bachelor of Science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Mechanical Engineering. In 2013, she received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Her thesis research investigated the role spinal muscles play in intervertebral disc degeneration. While at RPI, she was a finalist for the Lemelson-MIT Collegiate Prize for innovation, and she was awarded the AAUW Dissertation Fellowship. For the past year, Becky has been working at RTI Surgical, Inc. developing and characterizing novel soft tissue biologics for regenerative medicine. Becky is excited to join the Schmidt lab and is very interested in pursuing research surrounding differential nerve growth in both the central and peripheral nervous systems.

Welcome Becky!

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Farewell Dr. Hardy!

Farewell John!John Hardy will be leaving the Schmidt lab and heading for Ireland. We will miss you John!

To celebrate and acknowledge John’s contributions to the lab, we had fun and food at the Swamp restaurant followed by a new lab tradition of painting a mural on the 34th Street Graffiti Wall! Prior to the events, we greeted John in “toe socks” and holding Starbucks cups. It’s so John!

Check these out:

Farewell John!

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Neural Engineers Unite

April 17, 2014

The Society for Biomaterials meeting in Denver Colorado provided an opportunity for neural engineering faculty Ravi Bellamkonda, Molly Shoichet and Christine to discuss ideas and to thank Jim Anderson for his service as Editor-in-Chief of JBMR.”

Conference, Boulder CO

Gathering of the Neural Engineering faculty along with one of the pre-eiminent biomaterials scholar and Editor. Left to right: Ravi Bellamkonda (GaTech), Molly Shoichet (U. Toronto), Christine, and Jim Anderson (Case Western; Editor-in-Chief, JBMR).

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Philip Vu Receives NSF Award

Phillip Vu

Undergraduate BME student, Philip Vu (who worked with Richelle Thomas before she defended in December), was recently awarded a highly prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. The NSF received over 14,000 applications for the 2014 competition, and only made 2,000 fellowship award offers.

A total of four BME students at UF were selected for the NSF Graduate Fellowship Award. With these recent awards, the University of Florida ranks in 8th place nationwide for NSF fellowships within BME departments.

Congratulations to Philip on this amazing achievement!

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UG Alex Sabin receives prestigious award

Alex SabinSchmidt lab undergraduate researcher Alex Sabin was selected to receive a competitive NSF fellowship to attend the 13th NSF International Summer School on Biocomplexity and Biodesign.

The 13th International Summer School on Biocomplexity, Biodesign and Bioinnova: from Gene to System sponsored by the NSF and co-sponsored by the IEEE EMB Society, the Department of Biomedical Engineering at University of Houston, the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering at Arizona State University and the Bogazici University will be held from June 15-21, 2014 Istanbul, Turkey.

The objective of the summer school is to train senior undergraduate, graduates in biological science engineering, bioengineering students in computational and mathematical sciences including the theory, implementations and applications of both emerging and current computational tools, modeling and signal processing methods in medicine, molecular biology, brain sciences, population biology and genomics.

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UGs receive awards

Congratulations to Alexandra (Alex) Sabin and James (Jay) Park, undergraduate students who work in our lab; both were selected as 2014-2015 University Scholars awardees. Only 200 UF students from all across campus are selected for this prestigious award. Alex works with Sydney Geissler and Jay works with Dr. Zin Khaing. Congrats to both!

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Congratulations to Sydney Geissler, going to Boston in April

Sydney GeisslerCongratulations to Sydney Geissler for her acceptance to attend the NSF Northeastern ADVANCE Future Faculty Workshop (FFW) in Boston this April! As part of the FFW, Sydney will also participate in the Northeast Bioengineering Conference from April 25-27 (www.nebec.org).

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Former lab member Ryan Nagao accepts postdoc position

Ryan NagaoFormer Schmidt lab member Dr. Ryan Nagao has accepted a postdoc position with Dr. Ying Zheng in the Department of Bioengineering at University of Washington in Seattle. Congratulations Ryan!

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Avance Graft Recognized by Product Innovation Award

AxoGen has been awarded the 2014 Product Innovation Leadership Award for Peripheral Nerve Repair from research organization Frost & Sullivan in recognition for the development and commercialization of Avance® Nerve Graft.  Following extensive independent research by Frost & Sullivan’s Best Practices team, Avance® Nerve Graft was honored for the unique features and benefits it offers to the peripheral nerve repair market. The Avance Nerve Graft is based in part on decelluarization technologies developed in the Schmidt Lab at the University of Texas at Austin.

Read more at MarketWatch.com.

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Schmidt Lab Alum Dr. Stephanie Seidlits Accepts Faculty Position at UCLA

Stephanie SeidlitsCongratulations to Stephanie who recently accepted a position as Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering at the University of California at Los Angeles.  Stephanie will start her new position on March 1, 2013.

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Richelle Defends PhD

Congratulations to Richelle Thomas for doing a wonderful job with her PhD defense at UT in Austin. Richelle will be joining Owens Corning in Ohio in February. Great job Richelle!

Richelle with Christine

Richelle with Christine shortly after her presentation.

Richelle with her proud mother.

Richelle with her proud mother.

 

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CNN Money Ranks BME No.1

CNNMoneyBiomedical Engineering is ranked by CNN Money as the No. 1 job in America. Dr. Schmidt and UF BME are featured as well. Dr. Schmidt is quoted: “You can impact so many lives by creating technology that will repair a hip or help repair eyesight or allow somebody to breathe better.”

Read more at CNNMoney.

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Schmidt Lab Alum Dr. Hieu Nguyen starts postdoc at Northwestern

Hieu NguyenHieu will be working as a postdoc with Prof. John Troy at Northwestern. Dr. Troy is the Chair of the BME Department and specializes in the visual system and neuroelectrodes. Hieu’s research with Dr. Troy will be part of a 3-yr collaboration with Prof. Jong Yoon at Qatar University.

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Schmidt Lab alum Dr. Jessica Winter is in the news

Jessica WinterSchmidt Lab alum Dr. Jessica Winter is in the news for mass scale nanoparticle synthesis.

Read more.

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Dr. Schmidt’s nerve scaffold research featured on NSF’s Science Nation

Schmidt in labHelping the body regrow nerves: Dr. Schmidt’s research on nerve repair scaffolds is featured on Science Nation, the National Science Foundation’s online video magazine that examines breakthroughs and the possibilities for new discoveries.

Combat, cancer and accidents — all can cause devastating nerve injuries. Sometimes, the body heals on its own.

“Your peripheral nerves, the ones in the arms and the face, have an inherent ability to regenerate, but only under ideal circumstances,” says University of Florida biomedical engineer Christine Schmidt.

With support from the National Science Foundation, Schmidt and her team are working to restore nerve function when injuries are more complicated. Surgeons can sometimes move a nerve from one part of a patient’s body to another. Schmidt has developed a method that grafts cadaver tissue onto the damaged area to act as a scaffold for nerves to re-grow themselves.

“This medical application has been made possible by developing new tissue engineering methods and by understanding how cells interact with their surroundings,” notes Friedrich Srienc, director of the Biotechnology, Biochemical and Biomass Engineering program in NSF’s Directorate for Engineering.

Schmidt and her team are also looking at other approaches to directly stimulate nerve growth using as building blocks the natural sugar molecules found in the body. That would eliminate the need to transplant tissue.

While the ultimate goal in nerve regeneration is reversing paralysis, Schmidt says intermediate successes, such as improving lung or bladder function, can be invaluable to patients and their families.

Science Nation Video

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Another Publication for Hieu

Hieu NguyenHieu Nguyen has his manuscript accepted for publication with JBMR. This publication is in collaboration with TDA Inc. and describes the stimulation of neural cell growth using a biodegradable electrically conducting polymer. Great job Hieu!

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Zin receives BMES Award

Zin KhaingCongratulations to Dr. Zin Khaing who has received a 2013 BMES Innovation and Career Development Travel Award! The travel award provides a complimentary BMES Early Career Member Registration to the Annual Meeting as well as an $800 check to help with travel costs associated with the meeting. Congrats to Zin for this recognition!

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Schmidt Lab Featured

nerve graftThe Summer 2013 Edition of Explore Magazine features the BME Department and research from Dr. Schmidt’s lab. In particular, research behind the Avance graft is highlighted. For more details on the Schmidt Lab research, and other research in UF BME, please see the story at UF BME.

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Schmidt Lab Moves to UF

Final move from UT labsThe Schmidt Lab transition to Florida is complete – the final moving truck with lab equipment and supplies arrived on June 22. Thanks to everyone who helped!

Click here for photos from of the move.

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Nguyen’s manuscript accepted

Hieu NguyenCongratulations to Hieu for having his manuscript on e-field effects on Schwann cells accepted for publication with J. Neural Engineering.

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Congratulations Ryan Nagao

Ryan NagaoRyan worked on preserving microvasculature in decellularized lung tissue for implant applications. Congrats Ryan!

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Congratulations to Sarah Mayes

Sarah MayesSarah Mayes successfully defended her thesis work at UT on hyaluronic acid/alginate based films for anti-adhesion applications. Great job Dr. Mayes!

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Great work Chase Cornelison!

Chase CornelisonChE graduate student Chase Cornelison successfully passes his Research Proposal/Prelim. Chase will soon be moving to UF to complete his PhD studies there. Congratulations Chase!

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Schmidt Named AAAS Fellow

Christine SchmidtDr. Schmidt has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and the publisher of the journal Science. “AAAS fellows are elected by their peers, and fewer than 1 percent of the association’s members are elected each year. Fellows are selected for their efforts to advance science or scientific applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.” Dr. Schmidt will be inducted in Boston in February 2013 during the AAAS Annual Meeting.

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Congratulations to Hieu Nguyen

Hieu NguyenNov. 20, 2012: Congratulations to Hieu Nguyen for successfully defending his Ph.D.! Way to go Dr. Nguyen!

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Congratulations Sydney Geissler!

news_geisslerBME graduate student Sydney Geissler passes her Prelim Exam/Ph.D. Research Proposal. Congratulations Sydney!

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Dr. Schmidt honored

news_jmcDr. Schmidt is honored with her recent appointment as the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the new Journal of Materials Chemistry B and member of the Executive Editorial Board for Journal of Materials Chemistry A, B and C. The Journal of Materials Chemistry has seen much success over the last few years, and because of this success, has recently been divided into three new journals, by the intended application of the materials studied. Journal of Materials Chemistry B focuses on materials for biology and medicine.

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Congratulations to Dr. Zin Khaing

Zin KhaingCongratulations to Dr. Zin Khaing, who was the first prize poster award winner at the NeuroTexas Institute Neuroscience Symposium 2012.

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Lab Alum Dr. Stephanie Seidlits receives NIH Postdoc fellowship

Stephanie SeidlitsSchmidt lab alum, Dr. Stephanie Seidlits, receives a competitive NIH postdoctoral fellowship for her current studies with Dr. Lonnie Shea at Northwestern University. Congrats Stephanie!

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2009 – 2012: News Archive

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