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08/31/17 - Save the Date-2017 IEM Annual Conference & Retreat Monday, November 6th, 2017 Minneapolis

The 2017 IEM Annual Conference & Retreat will be held on Monday, November 6th, from 11:30 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota Campus. This year we are placing a greater emphasis on spurring research collaborations, both among faculty members and between faculty members and industry. Collaboration areas with tables and brainstorming tools will be made available for participants to meet and explore prospective areas of research. The Poster Session and collaboration areas will be staged throughout Memorial Hall and adjoining rooms where breakout sessions have been held in the past. Overall, this new format will provide more flexibility and freedom for participants to engage with one another and focus on specific areas of research that are most relevant to them. Details will soon be available on the IEM Website.


08/31/17 - Jakub Tolar Delivers Talk on the Treatment of Epidermolysis Bullosa with Bone Marrow Transplantation at the World Congress of Pediatric Dermatology

IEM Member Dr. Jakub Tolar, Executive Vice Dean, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Stem Cell Institute, delivered a symposium talk entitled "Cell, Protein and Geneā€Based Therapies for EB," at the World Congress of Pediatric Dermatology. For patients with the most severe types of Epidermolysis Bullosa, bone marrow transplantation has become a promising treatment. Dr. Tolar, who has received widespread news coverage for his treatment of a Canadian teenager who suffers from the disease, says that, while it is not a cure, "it is, however, a path toward understanding how we can treat this grave disorder in a systemic way." Looking to the future, Dr. Tolar says that "it's time to move from two-dimensional science to three-dimensional science; we need to study all aspects of EB simultaneously, from gene to cell to tissue to individual to patient population, and to understand the properties of the whole EB pathobiology that emerge at each level of biological complexity."

Bone Marrow Transplantation for Epidermolysis Bullosa Continues to Evolve
U.'s Fight Against Deadly Skin Disease is no Fantasy


08/31/17 - Timothy O'Brien Among Most Recent MN-REACH Awardees

IEM Member Dr. Timothy D. O'Brien, Professor of Veterinary Population Medicine, was one of 9 MN-REACH Awardees in its 5th funding cycle, for his project "Midbrain Organoid-Derived Cell Product for Treatment of Parkinson's Disease," a feasibility study to explore the safety and efficacy of the use of cell products derived from brain organoids for transplantation as a treatment for Parkinson's disease. Dr. O'Brien says that his lab has developed an improved method for generating human brain organoids (mini-brains) from induced pluripotent stem cells, which improves the efficiency of production (reducing production costs), consistency of the product, and scalability of manufacturing, compared to currently-used methods. This will "enable, for the first time, a commercially viable means of brain organoid production," says Dr. O'Brien, who adds that the method is "amenable to cGMP-compliant manufacturing, which enables the development of therapeutic cell products from the organoids." Dr. O'Brien is performing these experiments in collaboration with IEM Members Dr. Walter C. Low, Professor of Neurosurgery, and Dr. Jakub Tolar, Executive Vice Dean, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Stem Cell Institute.

MN-REACH Cycle 5 Awardees


08/31/17 - Paul Iaizzo Discusses Visible Heart Lab's 3D Visualization System with the American Heart Association

IEM Member Dr. Paul A. Iaizzo, Professor of Surgery, Principal Investigator of the Visible Heart Lab (VHL) and IEM Associate Director for Education and Outreach, discussed the VHL's 3D Visualization System with the American Heart Association, for a news article on how virtual reality is helping in the treatment of patients with heart disease and stroke. Dr. Iaizzo says that the VHL system has been used by physicians to simulate the placement of leadless pacemakers. "Physicians can drive through the anatomy, blow it up, shrink it, and explain a defect to someone," says Dr. Iaizzo. "The surgeons we've talked to say, 'For the first time, we have an easy tool to better explain to families what we need to do surgically.'" The VHL system was featured along with systems at Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania.

How Virtual Reality Changing Cardiovascular Care


08/31/17 - Christopher Weight Discusses with WCCO Kidney Cancer Research Fundraising Event

IEM Member Dr. Paul A. Iaizzo, Professor of Surgery, Principal Investigator of the Visible Heart Lab (VHL) and IEM Associate Director for Education and Outreach, discussed the VHL's 3D Visualization System with the American Heart Association, for a news article on how virtual reality is helping in the treatment of patients with heart disease and stroke. Dr. Iaizzo says that the VHL system has been used by physicians to simulate the placement of leadless pacemakers. "Physicians can drive through the anatomy, blow it up, shrink it, and explain a defect to someone," says Dr. Iaizzo. "The surgeons we've talked to say, 'For the first time, we have an easy tool to better explain to families what we need to do surgically.'" The VHL system was featured along with systems at Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania.

Folks Break the Bank to Fight Kidney Cancer


07/31/17 - IEM-Affiliated Centers Play Key Roles in Utilizing Virtual Reality & 3D Printing to Prepare for Successful Surgery to Separate Conjoined Twins

The IEM-Affiliated Earl E. Bakken Medical Devices Center, Visible Heart Lab, and 3D Printing Core all played key roles in the preparation for a very challenging, but successful surgery to separate twin sisters conjoined at their hearts and livers. These capabilities were required due to the unique aspects of the twins' anatomy and high risks of the procedure. The twins' condition prior to surgery was "extraordinarily shocking," according to IEM Member Dr. Daniel A. Saltzman, Professor of Pediatric Surgery, who performed the operation with his team at the University's Masonic Children's hospital. Dr. Saltzman informed the parents that, as a result of the procedure, they "could lose one or both twins."

The members of Dr. Saltzman's team planned key aspects of the surgery by utilizing the Medical Devices Center's 3D Virtual Prototyping system to visualize both virtual and printed models of the twins' hearts; these were generated from CT and MR images by Alex Mattson, a Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. Candidate within the Visible Heart Lab, and Bethany Tourek, a Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. Candidate within the Medical Devices Center. Mattson also helped Pediatric Cardiologist Dr. Matthew Ambrose utilize both the Medical Devices Center's 3D Virtual Prototyping system and the Visible Heart Lab's 3D Visualization System, which the physician used to perform a virtual walk-through of the twins' anatomy. Dr. Anthony Azakie, Chief of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery, who separated and repaired the twins' hearts, asked Mattson to scrub in on the case based on his knowledge of the anatomy. The Visible Heart Lab's component of the IEM 3D Printing Core was also utilized to print numerous detailed 3D models, some of which were hand painted by Mattson to show relative degrees of blood oxygenation with these conjoined heart anatomies.

What the surgical team members learned by using these tools helped them to better-understand the twins' anatomy and led to a change in the surgical plan, in what ultimately resulted in a successful outcome. And, according to the Washington Post, this may have been the first time that virtual reality has been used to prepare for surgery to separate twins conjoined at their hearts. "It felt like I was working in the future," says Dr. Saltzman. "It was extraordinarily exhilarating."

KARE 11: Conjoined Twins Separated with Help of 3D Technology
Washington Post: How Doctors Used Virtual Reality to Save the Lives of Conjoined Twin Sisters


07/31/17 - John Bischof & Colleagues Develop Advanced Cryopreservation Tool that Utilizes Lasers & Gold Nanoparticles

Dr. John C. Bischof, IEM Associate Director for Development, and Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, and his colleagues, have developed an advanced tool that utilizes lasers and gold nanoparticles for the cryopreservation of tissue. The research, entitled "Gold Nanorod Induced Warming of Embryos from the Cryogenic State Enhances Viability," was published in the journal ACS Nano. "Lasers have the exciting ability to act like a 'light switch' that can turn biological activity on and off within gold nanoparticle laden biomaterials," says Dr. Bischof, who was the senior author of the study. "In this case, by careful engineering and deployment of gold nanoparticles within a cryogenically stored and biological inactive embryo, we can use a laser pulse to quickly warm the embryo back to ambient temperatures and switch biological activity, and therefore life, back on."

Researchers Revolutionize Vital Conservation Tool with Use of Gold Nanotechnology and Lasers
Gold Nanorod Induced Warming of Embryos from the Cryogenic State Enhances Viability


07/31/17 - Nathaniel Helwig & Collaborators Determine Elements of Successful Smiles

IEM Member Nathaniel E. Helwig, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Statistics, collaborated with Dr. Sophia Lyford-Pike, Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, and Dr. Stephen J. Guy, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, to determine the elements of what is referred to as a "successful smile," which is the one that receives the best response. In the research, which was published in the journal PLoS One, a total of 802 participants evaluated computer-generated 3D images of human faces, and rated the smiles on those faces by their effectiveness, genuineness, pleasantness and perceived emotional intent. The results of the study show that the most optimal smiles don't show too much of the person's teeth or gums, are not too wide, develop symmetrically on the right or left side of the face and appear to be natural. "These findings have broad applications in a variety of areas, such as facial reanimation surgery, rehabilitation, computer graphics, and psychology," says Dr. Helwig.

Smiling Too Widely Can be a Social Handicap


07/31/17 - Douglas Yee Discusses Value of Program for Developing Future Cancer Researchers Among Talented Underrepresented Students

IEM Member Dr. Douglas Yee, Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology and Director of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, discussed the value of an internship program aimed at developing future cancer researchers, which is targeted toward promising students from underrepresented backgrounds. The program, which is funded by a Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), trains the students in biomedical studies, educates them on career paths in the field, and has them complete a semester-long boot camp, after which they are paired with a faculty mentor, who provides further training on doing research in a laboratory and advises them on their future careers. "As an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center charged with supporting excellence in research, clinical care, and education, the Masonic Cancer Center is proud to offer such a robust experience for student scientists," says Dr. Yee. "Developing young, talented researchers, of all backgrounds, is a critical step in preparing the next generation of outstanding investigators to fight cancer in the state of Minnesota."

Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota Awarded NCI CURE Grant to Mentor Future Cancer Researchers


07/31/17 - Vipin Kumar Discusses Benefits & Risks of Big Data in Healthcare

IEM Member Dr. Vipin Kumar, Regents Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and William Norris chair in Large Scale Computing, discussed with big data news portal, Datanami, the benefits and risks of big data in healthcare. "Healthcare data about the population at large can be analyzed to create individualized treatments, an area also known as precision medicine," says Dr. Kumar. But along with those benefits are risks and moral implications of how the data will be used. "There are huge concerns about possible misuse of these kinds of information, such as discrimination in hiring or in purchasing health insurance, if this information is not handled properly," says Dr. Kumar. "The healthcare community is on the front lines in this area, but, given the complexity of issues involved, progress in addressing these concerns is very slow."

What's Challenging in Big Data Now: Integration and Privacy


06/29/17 - Bin He to Accept IEEE Biomedical Engineering Award at EMBC17

Dr. Bin He, Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Biomedical Engineering, will accept the 2017 IEEE Biomedical Engineering Award for his contributions to neuroengineering and neuroimaging at the premier international biomedical engineering conference, Annual International Conference of IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society on July 12, 2017, and will deliver the plenary keynote Award Lecture. Established in 2010, the IEEE Biomedical Engineering Award is presented to an individual or a team with outstanding contributions to the field of biomedical engineering, including members and non-members of IEEE. Dr. He was selected for his pioneering contributions to establish electroencephalography as a three-dimensional neuroimaging modality and to noninvasive brain-computer interface. The recipient selection for the award is administered by the Technical Field Awards Council of the IEEE Awards Board.

IEEE Biomedical Engineering Award
IEEE EMBC 2017


06/29/17 - Research Led by David Odde Increases Understanding of How Cancer Cells Spread

IEM Executive Committee Member Dr. David J. Odde, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, led a study that has increased the understanding of how cancer cells use their ability to assess their surroundings to migrate through those environments. The research, which was partly funded by IEM and published in Nature Communications, could eventually lead to the development of therapies that would inhibit the spread of cancer. Dr. Odde says that "Cells are a little like the storybook character Goldilocks. They don't like their environment too hard or too soft--it needs to be just right or they won't move well," and that "If we can trick cancer cells into believing it is not a good environment for migration, we can limit the cancer cells spreading in the body." A distinguishing aspect of the research, according to Dr. Odde, was its approach of combining math and physics to build models that were then tested experimentally, noting that the research team "brought an engineering approach to an important medical problem."

Research Study Gives New Insight into How Cancer Spreads
Shifting the Optimal Stiffness for Cell Migration


06/29/17 - FDA Approves Jaw Fracture Recovery Device that Evolved from MDC's Innovation Fellows Program

A jaw fracture recovery device that was created by Dr. Alan Johnson during his Innovation Fellowship at the IEM-affiliated Medical Devices Center (MDC) has received FDA approval to be marketed to surgeons by Summit Medical, which developed the device after licensing the technology from the University during Dr. Johnson's Fellowship year. The Minne Ties Agile MMF, an apparatus that restrains jaw mobility following a fracture, can be inserted more easily than traditional wire-based systems, leading to less discomfort for patients and resulting in an easier procedure for physicians - one that may be performed in clinics, instead of in expensive operating rooms. Dr. Johnson, who is now a head and neck surgeon in Grand Forks, North Dakota, invented the device in 2012 with co-inventors Laura-Lee F. Brown and Dr. Christopher Rolfes, who were also MDC Innovation Fellows, and IEM Member Dr. Samuel C. Levine, Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery.

Even with a potentially successful device such as this, that path can be arduous, according to IEM Executive Committee Member Dr. Arthur G. Erdman, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Medical Devices Center. "The concept was simple and elegant, but he still faced significant engineering and manufacturing challenges." The Medical Devices Center played a major role in overcoming those challenges. "Alan took full advantage of the prototyping facilities at MDC," says Dr. Erdman. "It seemed that each time I looked at the mechanical fabrication lab across from my office, I would see Alan busy making improvements on earlier prototypes. The numerous design-build-test cycles brought the project to a point where Summit Medical could evaluate the finished proof-of-concept." This will be the first product to reach the market from the MDC Innovation Fellows program.

Summit Medical Licenses Technology from U. of M. Medical School
Jaw Fracture Device Invented at U. of M. Receives FDA Approval


06/29/17 - Christy Haynes Named Finalist for Prestigious National Award for Young Scientists

Dr. Christy L. Haynes, Vice Chair and Professor in the Department of Chemistry and IEM Executive Committee Member, has been named a finalist for the 2017 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists. The finalists are chosen from a pool of 308 nominees who are considered to be the most promising scientific researchers aged 42 or younger at America's top academic and research institutions. Dr. Haynes is among the top 10 candidates for the award's chemistry category. The annual Blavatnik Awards, which were established in 2007, "recognize exceptional young researchers who will drive the next generation of innovation by answering today's most complex and intriguing scientific questions." The finalists, including Dr. Haynes, will be honored on September 25th in New York City.

Haynes Named Finalist for 2017 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists


06/29/17 - William Pomerantz Part of Research Team that Discovers Potential Drug Target for Treating Breast Cancer

IEM Member Dr. William C. Pomerantz, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, and his colleagues at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York and Cancer Research UK at Cambridge University have identified a protein that could serve as a target for drugs to treat breast cancer. The protein, called BPTF, needs to be present in undifferentiated breast cells for them to multiply, including in the indefinite way that cancer cells multiply. With the knowledge of the dependency mammary cells have on BPTF, researchers can pursue ways in which that dependency can be utilized to target the protein in breast cancer cells. The research was published in Stem Cell Reports and led by PI Camila dos Santos at Cold Spring Harbor Labs. A second co-investigator was Professor Gregory Hannon of Cancer Research UK, Cambridge Institute.

A Protein that Stem Cells Require Could be a Target in Killing Breast Cancer Cells


06/29/17 - Wei Chen, Kamil Ugurbil and Xiao-Hong Zhu Among Team that Developed New Brain Research Tool that Combines MRI & Microscopy

IEM Executive Committee Member Dr. Wei Chen, Professor of Radiology, and IEM Members Dr. Kamil Ugurbil, CMRR Director and Professor of Radiology and Xiao-Hong Zhu, Associate Professor of Radiology, collaborated with Dr. Meng Cui, a leading expert in optical imaging at Purdue University, to develop a way to combine functional MRI with microscopy to develop a better understanding of brain circuitry and function. As reported in HEALTHCANAL, the new approach allows for the sophisticated microscopy needed for this research to be performed with functional MRI, which was previously not possible, due to the detrimental effects of the powerful magnets on the delicate electronics used for microscopy. The system achieves this by situating both the laser and optoelectronics far from the MRI equipment, while delivering light to and receiving light from the specimen, remotely. The research was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Combining MRI and Optical Microscopy Promising for Brain Research


06/29/17 - Mark Thomas Discusses a New Vaccine to Treat Heroin Addiction with Newsweek

IEM Member Dr. Mark J. Thomas, Associate Professor of Neuroscience, discussed with Newsweek a new vaccine that blocks the high experienced by users of heroin. Developed by scientists at the Scripps Institute, the vaccine works by introducing the high-inducing components of heroin into the immune system, against which the system generates antibodies that prevent those elements from reaching the brain. Researchers believe that eliminating the high could help to prevent heroin addicts from relapsing. Dr. Thomas, who did not participate in the research, cautions that, while the vaccine shows promise for former users of heroin, "it's not going to be a panacea," as those users will likely seek a replacement to the drug.

New Vaccine Could Stop Heroin High Abuse


06/29/17 - Essa Yacoub Discusses CMRR's Leading-Edge Brain-Mapping Research with Star Tribune

IEM Member Dr. Essa Yacoub, Professor of Radiology in CMRR, discussed with the Star Tribune brain-mapping research at the University's Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR), which seeks to map brain connectivity among babies, children, and older adults, and determine how it varies with aging and disease. Dr. Yacoub says that the objective is to determine what "healthy development looks like or what healthy aging looks like," and that researchers are also "looking for variations in connectivity or how the brain circuitry is altered in [people with] diseases." The research is being performed as part of the Human Connectome Project, an NIH-sponsored collaboration among multiple institutions to map the human brain, with the aim of connecting its structure to function and behavior. The CMRR is a key collaborator in this research, due to its especially-powerful imaging capabilities.

U. of M. Is Nerve Center of Brain-Mapping Research


06/29/17 - Teresa Kimberley Presents Positive Clinical Trial Results for a Neurostimulation System to Improve Upper Limb Mobility in Stroke Survivors

IEM Member Dr. Teresa J. Kimberley, Associate Professor in the Division of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, presented, with a colleague from the University of Glasgow hospital, positive clinical trial results for the Paired Vagus Nerve Stimulation System (Paired VNS™ System), manufactured by MicroTransponder, Inc., which improves upper limb mobility in survivors of stroke. The trial showed that 75% of the patients treated with the system had a clinically-meaningful response after 6 weeks of physical therapy paired with VNS, compared to 33% of patients in the control group, and that 88% had a clinically-meaningful response after another 90 days, compared to 33% of the control group. The results were presented to clinicians and scientists at the International Neuromodulation Society (INS) conference, which was held in Edinburgh, Scotland.

MicroTransponder Presents Long-Term Stroke Trial Data at INS and Announces a 120-Patient Pivotal Stroke Trial


06/29/17 - Paul Iaizzo's "Handbook of Cardiac Anatomy, Physiology and Devices" had More than 51,000 Chapter Downloads Last Year

The Handbook of Cardiac Anatomy, Physiology and Devices had more than 51,000 chapter downloads last year which ranks in the top 25% of downloaded eBooks in the SpringerLink eBook collection in 2016. Edited by Dr. Paul A. Iaizzo, Professor of Surgery, IEM Associate Director for Education and Outreach, and Principal Investigator of the IEM-Affiliated Visible Heart Laboratory (VHL), the handbook includes the most recent information on the heart's anatomical features, its underlying physiologic mechanisms, and on treatments for diseases of the heart. Its chapters are authored by a wide range of experts, including physicians, scientists, and developers of medical devices.

Handbook of Cardiac Anatomy, Physiology and Devices


06/29/17 - Twenty-Two IEM Members Named Top Doctors & Rising Stars in 2017 by Mpls.-St. Paul Magazine

Twenty-two IEM Members were named either "Top Doctors" or "Rising Stars" in 2017 by Mpls.-St. Paul Magazine. Seventeen of those physicians were named "Top Doctors," for which the publication determined the rankings from a survey sent to 5,000 metro area nurses and physicians, in which respondents were asked to nominate at least one physician, other than themselves, whom they would select to provide medical care to a loved one. Five of the physicians were in the "Rising Stars" list, named by the magazine in March. Each have been fully-licensed for 10 or fewer years and were chosen by peers, based on professional achievement, review by an expert panel, research, and disciplinary history.

Top Doctors
  •  Rafael Andrade, Associate Professor, Department of Surgery
  •  Elizabeth Arendt, Professor and Vice Chair in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
  •  Gail Bernstein, Professor, Department of Psychiatry
  •  Jonathan Braman, Associate Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
  •  Erhan Dincer, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine
  •  Dennis Dykstra, Associate Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  •  Sean Elliot, Professor, Vice Chairman, Director of Reconstructive Urology
  •  Stephen Haines, Professor and Lyle A. French Chair, Department Head, Department of Neurosurgery
  •  Thomas Henry, Professor, Department of Neurology
  •  Matthew Hunt, Associate Professor and Resident Program Director, Department of Neurosurgery
  •  Bradley Nelson, Associate Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
  •  Daniel Saltzman, Professor, Department of Surgery
  •  Jakub Tolar, Executive Vice Dean, Medical School Distinguished McKnight Professor, Department of Pediatrics
  •  Paul Tuite, Professor, Department of Neurology
  •  Douglas Yee, Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology (Joint Appointment), Division of Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation
  •  Bevan Yueh, Department Head and Professor, Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

Rising Stars
  •  Gwenyth Fischer, Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics
  •  Andrew Grande, Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery and Co-director, Earl Grande Stroke and Stem Cell Laboratory, Department of Neurosurgery
  •  Nissrine Nakib, Assistant Professor Director of Female Urology and Urodynamics, Department of Urology
  •  Marc Tompkins, Assistant Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
  •  Christopher Weight, Assistant Professor, Department of Urology

2017 Top Doctors in Twin Cities Named
MSP Magazine Recognizes University of Minnesota Doctors as Rising Stars in 2017


05/30/17 - Will Durfee and Art Erdman Receive Entrepreneurship Faculty of the Year Award

IEM Executive Committee Members Dr. William K. Durfee, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the IEM- affiliated 3D Printing Core, and Dr. Arthur G. Erdman, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the IEM-Affiliated Medical Devices Center, received the Entrepreneurship Faculty of the Year Award at the 2017 Founder's Day event for the Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship, Carlson School of Management. The award honors Drs. Durfee and Erdman's leadership in the New Product Design and Business Development Course, a collaboration between the Carlson School of Management and the College of Science and Engineering. In this course, teams of business and engineering students work through the process of developing a working prototype and associated business plan for a product to be launched by a sponsoring company. Since its inception in 1993, the course has enrolled more than 600 students who have worked on more than 120 projects. Two Medical School faculty members also teach the course.


05/30/17 - Perry Hackett Receives Impact Award from the Office for Technology Commercialization

IEM Member Dr. Perry B. Hackett, Professor of Generics, Cell Biology and Development, has received the Impact Award from the Office for Technology Commercialization (OTC) for the very positive results of his Sleeping Beauty Transposon System, a genome engineering platform that can re-direct a person's immune system to identify and attack cancer cells. The system has been very effective at treating lymphoma patients, with up to 80% experiencing clinical remission or absence of disease. As reported by Twin Cities Business, the system has led to a $100+ million licensing agreement ($32 million of which will go to the University of Minnesota) for a resulting leukemia drug and a nearly $1 billion investment by Merck for a resulting blood cancer immune-oncology platform called CAR-T. In addition, the Sleeping Beauty Transposon System has led to the launch of a number of genome engineering companies in various fields and is used globally by thousands of scientists. The OTC Impact Award recognizes a researcher whose innovation has most positively and most broadly impacted global society and improved quality of life.

Who Are the U. of M.'s Most Entrepreneurial Researchers?


05/30/17 - Allison Hubel Receives ISBER Award for Outstanding Achievement in Biobanking

IEM Executive Committee Member Dr. Allison Hubel, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the IEM-affiliated Biopreservation Core Resource (BioCoR), received the Outstanding Achievement in Biobanking Award from the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER). The award is designed to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the field of biobanking. It can be given for a single outstanding achievement or for a life-time body of outstanding work in the field. In its announcement of the award, the ISBER recognized Dr. Hubel for her research that developed fit-for-purpose protocols for preservation, developed technology to improve the preservation and processing of cells, and for having developed the understanding of molecular mechanisms of damage during preservation. The announcement concluded that Dr. Hubel's "leadership in the cryopreservation field makes her a very deserving recipient of one of ISBER's most prestigious awards."

2017 ISBER Award Winners


05/30/17 - Jerrold Vitek Discusses Abbott's New DBS Lead with Star Tribune

IEM Member Dr. Jerrold L. Vitek, Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology, discussed with the Star Tribune, the advantages of a new, segmented lead for Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) to treat movement disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, dystonia, and essential tremor. The Infinity DBS Lead, manufactured by Abbott (formerly, St. Jude Medical), is unique from other leads, which distribute electric current spherically, in that it has the capability to deliver the current to specific areas of the brain where it is most needed and to avoid areas where the current could lead to unwanted side-effects. Dr. Vitek, who describes the lead's capability as "the first real advance" in the field during the past 20 years, says that "being able to sculpt this current field allows us to push current in directions that improve motor signs while avoiding regions that induce side effects."

Abbott's Infinity Deep Brain Stimulation System is Rare Technology Advance


05/30/17 - David Boulware Authors Study in The Lancet Infectious Diseases on Impact of HIV-Associated Cryptococcal Meningitis

IEM Member Dr. David R. Boulware, Professor of Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine, was the senior author of a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases on the impact of Cryptococcal Meningitis in people infected with HIV. The condition, which affects tissues that cover the spinal cord and brain, can be easily identified and inexpensively treated. Yet, the disease is responsible for approximately 15% of the 1,100,000 deaths related to AIDS due to patients entering HIV treatment too late and a lack of access to the medication needed to treat it in the sub-Saharan African countries where it is the most prevalent. Dr. Boulware states that "Still too many HIV-infected people enter care late and Cryptococcal Meningitis is an unfortunate excellent metric of HIV treatment program failure. In 2017, no person with HIV should develop fungal meningitis, yet in a failed cascade of HIV care, too often Cryptococcus is a final death sentence."

Despite Availability of Life-Saving Medication Annual Deaths Due to Fungal Meningitis Are Still Over 180,000
Global Burden of Disease of HIV-Associated Cryptococcal Meningitis: An Updated Analysis


05/30/17 - Paul Iaizzo Leads Study Showing that Delta-Opioid Agonists can Minimize Cardiac Injury Following Heart Procedures

Dr. Paul A. Iaizzo, Professor of Surgery, IEM Associate Director for Education and Outreach, and Principal Investigator of the IEM-Affiliated Visible Heart Laboratory (VHL), led a study published in Experimental Biology and Medicine (the Featured Article) that demonstrated the effectiveness of a post-conditioning therapy for minimizing damage to a heart following cardiac procedures and during reperfusion (when blood flow is restored). Dr. Iaizzo's team tested a delta opioid receptor agonist as a supplement to an existing reperfusion buffer for reanimated isolated swine hearts and found that it improved the microvascular functionality of the heart compared to control subjects. These results suggest that this may be a promising treatment for many people who undergo cardiac procedures involving reperfusion. "The opportunity to utilize post-conditioning pharmacological agents to improve cardiac function will have significant applications in both cardiac surgery and transplantation," says Dr. Iaizzo.

Pharmacological Postconditioning with Delta Opioid Attenuates Myocardial Reperfusion Injury in Isolated Porcine Hearts


05/30/17 - Rita Perlingeiro and Colleagues Identify Endoglin as a Potential Target for Treatment of Acute Leukemias

IEM Member Dr. Rita Perlingeiro, Professor of Medicine/Cardiology, and her colleagues were published in the journal Blood for their research showing that the receptor endoglin is a potential target for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-cell ALL), as it is expressed in the majority of the cancerous cells. In addition, the research showed that a drug, TRC 105, manufactured by Tracon Pharmaceuticals, inhibited the progression of these leukemias. The findings are especially significant, as the National Cancer Institute estimates that AML will be diagnosed in approximately 21,380 Americans in 2017 and that 10,590 will die from the disease, while the equivalent numbers for B-cell ALL are 5,970 and 1440, respectively. In 2016, Dr. Perlingeiro and her IEM member colleagues demonstrated the role endoglin plays in the embryonic development of blood and cardiac cells.

Endoglin: A Novel Target for Therapeutic Intervention in Acute Leukemias Revealed in Xenographic Mouse Modelsy


05/30/17 - Michael McAlpine Discusses Bionic 3-D Printing Applications with NBC News

IEM member Dr. Michael C. McAlpine, Benjamin Mayhugh Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, discussed with NBC News the potential of printing 3-D devices on a human body. In research recently published in the journal Advanced Materials, Dr. McAlpine demonstrated how 3-D printing can be used to fabricate stretchable, electronic tactile sensors onto curved surfaces, including human skin, as the materials can be printed and cured at room temperature. Dr. McAlpine says that this capability could eventually make it possible for a variety of electronic devices to be printed onto a human body and for this to be done in mobile environments from a portable 3-D printer that could be carried around in a backpack. "Using only raw materials, you can make basically any type of device - that's a complete paradigm shift that hasn't been implemented before," says Dr. McAlpine.

NBC News: 3-D Printing Technology Brings Bionic Abilities Within Our Grasp


05/30/17 - Andrew Grande Discusses Stroke Awareness with WCCO

As part of Stroke Awareness Month, IEM Member Dr. Andrew W. Grande, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, discussed with WCCO the types of strokes, their symptoms and the resulting actions that patients and bystanders should take, to generate more awareness of stroke among the general public - knowledge that could help people to minimize the long-term damage of stroke and, in some cases, save lives. A simple rule of thumb for recognizing and acting upon the more-common ischemic stroke is to remember the acronym F.A.S.T., which stands for: Face Drooping, Arm Weakness, Speech Difficulty (both speaking and understanding speech) and Time to Call 911! Dr. Grande says that if patients get the care they need within 3 to 6 hours of the onset of these symptoms, the damage and resulting symptoms can be reversed.

News and Views with Susie Jones


05/30/17 - Timothy O'Brien Discusses Advance in Production of Cerebral Cell Structures with Duluth News Tribune

IEM member Dr. Timothy D. O'Brien, Professor, Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, discussed with the Duluth News Tribune the significance of his research that was recently published in Stem Cells Translational Medicine to produce brain organoids from human induced pluripotent stem cells using a cell matrix technology being commercialized by a company in Two Harbors, Minnesota, that allows scientists to grow cerebral tissue in more natural, three-dimensional structures. "This is potentially really important because they could be used for development of drugs for neurological problems - to check for beneficial or toxic effects of drugs," says Dr. O'Brien, who adds that the end result is "much more like a real brain than what people have had access to before." Another valuable aspect of the technology is its versatility. "One of the interesting twists from this is since the stem cells can be derived from anybody, they can be derived from patients with Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's ... to use as a disease-in-a-dish sort of model," says Dr. O'Brien.

Better Brains: BRTI Life Sciences Grows Biotech Success in Two Harbors


04/28/17 - Brenda Ogle & Colleagues Create 3D-Bioprinted Patch to Heal Scarred Heart Tissue

IEM Member Dr. Brenda M. Ogle, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and her colleagues have created a 3D-bioprinted patch that can help to heal heart tissue following a heart attack. As reported by KSTP TV and KARE 11, the research, done in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin and University of Alabama-Birmingham, used laser-based 3D-bioprinting to apply human stem cells to a matrix, which grew and synchronously beat in a dish. The resulting patch was then applied to non-functioning scarred tissue in mouse hearts, which showed improved function after four weeks. This achievement is especially significant because survivors of heart attacks often permanently lose some heart function. "We don't get new muscle cells when they are damaged, instead, we get scar tissue," says Dr. Ogle, who has been working on the challenge of regenerating damaged heart tissue for 15 years. The next steps will be to test the patch on larger animals before, ultimately, testing it on humans. The research was funded, in-part, by IEM.

Tiny Patch Beats Like Human Heart, Could Change Treatment After Heart Attacks


04/28/17 - Vipin Kumar Selected to 2017 Class of SIAM Fellows

IEM Member Dr. Vipin Kumar, Regents Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, has been selected as a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) "for contributions to data mining and high-performance computing." Dr. Kumar's activities have included serving as Co-founder and Steering Committee Chair of the SIAM International Conference on Data Mining, as well as in numerous other leadership roles in this field. SIAM Fellows are nominated by their peers "for their exemplary research as well as outstanding service to the community." Dr. Kumar and other members of the 2017 Class of SIAM Fellows will be recognized at the society's annual meeting, to be held July 10th to 14th in Pittsburgh.

2017 Class of SIAM Fellows


04/28/17 - Theresa Reineke Named Distinguished McKnight Professor

IEM Member Dr. Theresa M. Reineke, Professor of Chemistry, has been named a 2017 Distinguished McKnight Professor. Dr. Reineke's research theme is "Innovating Polymeric Materials for Therapeutic Delivery and Sustainability" and her research is focused on the improvement of human health and the environment through pioneering contributions to the field of polymer chemistry. The Distinguished McKnight University Professorship program recognizes outstanding faculty members who have recently achieved full professor status. Recipients hold the title "Distinguished McKnight University Professor" for the duration of their employment at the University of Minnesota.

Distinguished McKnight University Professors


04/28/17 - Rumi Faizer Discusses with KARE 11 Value of New Method to Screen for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

IEM Member Dr. Rumi Faizer, Associate Professor of Surgery and Chief, Division of Vascular Surgery, discussed with KARE 11 the value of a new, life-saving screening method that was developed at the University of Minnesota to identify patients who have the highest likelihood of developing abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA), potentially lethal and sometimes symptomless vascular condition in which the aorta, the main vessel through which blood is delivered throughout the body, becomes enlarged. Dr. Faizer says that what makes the University of Minnesota's screening unique from those at other centers is that it evaluates patients for whom screening would not be appropriate, targeting only those patients who would benefit the most from it. The screening has already found 29 aneurysms in over 1,500 patients tested so far with annual ultrasounds, and efforts are underway to build upon that success, using CT scanning. "We've developed a system to identify who needs to be screened and then we are trying to work on new ways to do that screening," says Dr. Faizer.

New U. of M. Screening Saves Man's Life


04/28/17 - Michael Kyba Discusses Research on Type of Muscular Dystrophy with Fox 9

IEM Member Dr. Michael Kyba, CCRF Endowed Professor in Pediatric Cancer Research, discussed with Fox 9 his research on facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSH), a common type of muscular dystrophy in which skeletal muscles degenerate over time, starting with the facial muscles. Dr. Kyba says that "one of the saddest things that happens" to patients suffering from FSH is that "they are robbed of their ability to smile." However, Dr. Kyba is optimistic that a treatment for the disease can be developed, due to the identification of the gene that causes it. "The hope comes down to there is actual work being done to discover the drug. About 10 years ago, we didn't know what gene caused this disease," says Dr. Kyba. "That's our hope that someday in the near future we'll have candidates that we can actually take to clinical trials."

U. of M. Muscular Dystrophy Research Gives Patients Hope


04/28/17 - Chetan Shenoy Discusses a Less-Invasive Imaging Approach in Management of Stable Angina with TCTMD

IEM Member Dr. Chetan Shenoy, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Cardiovascular Division, discussed with TCTMD the value of stress cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) perfusion imaging in the management of patients with stable angina, compared to that of the more-invasive angiography plus fractional flow reserve (FFR). The two approaches were compared in a recent trial. "As someone who does stress CMR, the trial results were not very surprising to me," says Dr. Shenoy. As a result of the findings, Dr. Shenoy says, "Stress CMR can and should be used as the first-line test for patients with stable angina and intermediate-to-high risk of coronary artery disease, rather than invasive coronary angiography."

CMR Perfusion Imaging Holds Its Own Against Invasive Approach to Managing Stable Angina


03/29/17 - Registration for Minnesota Neuromodulation Symposium on April 13th & 14th is Rapidly Approaching its Limit

The 5th Annual Minnesota Neuromodulation Symposium (MNS) will be held on April 13th and 14th, 2017 at the Commons Hotel on the University of Minnesota's East Bank campus. Members of Minnesota's medical technology community are invited to attend this two-day event to discuss recent research and clinical developments in the field of neuromodulation. This year, MNS is proud to host thought leaders from academia, industry, and government who will be presenting on various aspects of neuromodulation and neurotechnology. It will include a number of oral talks in plenary sessions and nearly 120 poster presentations from 58 different institutions, 24 non-profit organizations, 16 corporations, and 16 countries. Spaces are limited, so register soon to be guaranteed a spot. Registration and other information is available at neuromodulation.umn.edu.

2017 Minnesota Neuromodulation Symposium Scientific Program


03/29/17 - John Bischof & IEM Colleagues Achieve Breakthrough in Quest to Preserve Organs for Transplantation

Dr. John C. Bischof, IEM Associate Director for Development, and Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, along with his IEM colleagues, have successfully demonstrated a method to safely warm vitrified tissue, a major step toward cryopreservation of human tissues and organs for transplantation. A barrier to preserving large tissues and organs by cooling (or vitrification) is that the tissue crystalizes and can also crack during the warming process, damaging the tissue. As reported by the Associated Press, Dr. Bischof's team has overcome this by using iron oxide nanoparticles that, when heated by radiofrequency fields, allow for a uniform and rapid warming of the vitrified tissue. This method, known as nanowarming, could eventually be applied to entire organs, and ultimately result in helping to meet tissue and organ demand of those needing transplants. However, this will require more years of research to achieve. "We are cautiously optimistic that we're going to be able to get into a kidney or maybe a heart. But we are not, in any way, declaring victory here," says Dr. Bischof. Other IEM members on Dr. Bischof's team included IEM Executive Committee Member Dr. Christy L. Haynes, Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Chemistry; Dr. Alex Fok, Professor of Restorative Sciences; and Dr. Michael Garwood, Professor of Radiology-CMRR. The research has been published in Science Translational Medicine.

First Step to Help Preserved Organs Survive the Deep Freeze


03/29/17 - Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari Leads University's Joining of Consortium to Bolster Advanced Tissue Biofabrication

IEM Member Dr. Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari, Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, and Director of the 3D Bioprinting Facility, led the submission process for the University of Minnesota's successful bid with the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI), a consortium of nearly 100 organizations spanning industry, government, academia and the non-profit sector, for a new manufacturing institute partly funded by the DoD. Approximately $80 million from the federal government will be combined with more than $200 million in cost share to support the development of tissue and organ manufacturing capabilities. "This initiative is a great way to build our bioprinting and education expertise in a collaborative way with other leading organizations," says Dr. Panoskaltsis-Mortari. "Regenerative medicine and biofabrication is an opportunity area for our healthcare and manufacturing industries, and we're excited to be part of an effort that could benefit patients and our economy."

As part of its role in the consortium, which will be supported with a $3.5 million budget, the University of Minnesota is expected to lead the development and expansion of training curricula for K-12, 2- and 4-year colleges, industry professionals and veterans, that will educate students about Tissue and Organ Biofabrication, 3D Bioprinting and Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Panoskaltsis-Mortari expects allocation and scope of work to be finalized by the summer of 2017. The Institute for Engineering in Medicine, the IEM-affiliated Medical Devices Center, Stem Cell Institute, Molecular & Cell Therapy Facility, 3D Bioprinting Facility, STEM Education Center and many others will play vital roles in this initiative.

U. of M. Part of Public-Private Partnership to Bolster Regenerative Medicine


03/29/17 - David Odde Discusses Effort to Engineer Bacteria-Eating Cells with Baltimore Sun

IEM Executive Committee Member Dr. David J. Odde, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, discussed with the Baltimore Sun a research effort at Johns Hopkins University to engineer amoebas, single-cell organisms, to become bacteria-eating cells. While the research is focused upon using the cells to kill the bacteria that cause Legionnaire's Disease, and a drug-resistant bacteria that affects hospital patients, what is learned from how the cells can be engineered could lead to advances in treating other diseases, including cancer. Dr. Odde says that a key factor is getting the cells to sense the bacteria. "They might make new discoveries about how these systems cross talk to each other which will be really valuable for this project and many other projects," says Dr. Odde.

Hopkins Scientists Are Engineering Cells to Eat Deadly Bacteria


03/29/17 - Christopher Weight Discusses Prostate Cancer Surgery with KARE 11

Dr. Christopher J. Weight, Assistant Professor of Urology, and IEM Member, was interviewed by KARE 11 to discuss prostate cancer surgery, soon before Governor Dayton had surgery to treat his prostate cancer at the Mayo Clinic on March 2nd. Dr. Weight says that most of these procedures are performed with robotic assistance and that they are among the most common types of cancer surgeries performed in the U.S. "It used to be all done through an open incision, which was about an 8 centimeter incision going from the belly button down to the pubic bone," says Dr. Weight. "Now it's usually five or six small incisions about 8 millimeters, which is a little bit smaller than the tip of my finger."

Dayton Set for Prostate Surgery


03/29/17 - Marc Tompkins Co-Authors a Study Published in the Journal Pediatrics on Increase of ACL Tears Among 6 to 18 Year-Olds

IEM Member Dr. Marc Tompkins, Assistant Professor of Orthopeadic Surgery, co-authored a study in the journal Pediatrics that showed an increase in ACL tears among children 6 to 18 years of age, over the 20-year period of 1994 to 2013. The increase of 2%, annually, during that period has been especially pronounced for girls. While the reason for the increase was unclear, Dr. Tompkins says that it could be due to increased specialization in a particular sport, greater intensity and force of play, and a general increase in sports participation among girls during those 20 years. However, he notes, it could also be due to better diagnostics. "We are getting better as a medical community at diagnosing ACL injury," says Dr. Tompkins. The first author of the study was Dr. Nicholas A. Beck, a Medical Resident in Orthopaedic Surgery.

Incidence of ACL Tears May be Increasing, Especially Among High School-Age Girls
ACL Tears in School-Aged Children and Adolescents Over 20 Years


03/29/17 - Emil Lou Discusses Increase of Colon & Colorectal Cancers Among Millennials & Generation Xers

Dr. Emil Lou, Assistant Professor of Medicine, and IEM Member, discussed with the University's Health Talk a recent study showing an increase of colon and colorectal cancers among Millennials and Generation Xers. Compared to Americans born in 1950, those born in 1990 are twice is likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer and four times as likely to be diagnosed with rectal cancer. Dr. Lou says that "the findings of this study are extremely alarming," and that "they indicate a strong need to increase awareness among medical professionals that young adults can actually get colorectal cancer." Possible causes of the increase could include lifestyle factors of people 20 to 30 years of age, such as a poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, excess weight and a low consumption of fiber, all of which have also contributed to an epidemic of obesity.

Colon and Colorectal Cancers on the Rise in U.S. Millennials


02/27/17 - Michael McAlpine Receives Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)

Dr. Michael C. McAlpine, Benjamin Mayhugh Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and IEM Member, was one of 102 researchers and scientists, named by President Obama on January 9th, to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Dr. McAlpine was one of 23 recipients whose research was part of the Department of Health and Human Services. The Office of Science and Technology Policy, within the Executive Office of the President, coordinates the award, and PECASE Recipients are selected "for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach."

President Obama Honors Federally-Funded Early Career Scientists


02/27/17 - Lana Yarosh and Bernadette Gillick Named McKnight Land-Grant Professors

IEM Member Dr. Lana Yarosh, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering; and Dr. Bernadette T. Gillick, Assistant Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine and Member of the IEM-Affiliated Center for Neuroengineering, have been named 2017-2019 McKnight Land-Grant Professors. Dr. Yarosh's research theme is "Supporting Social Connectedness with Novel Computing Technologies," and Dr. Gillick's research theme is "Discovery of Novel Treatments for Childhood Stroke and Resultant Cerebral Palsy." The McKnight Land-Grant Professorship Program seeks "to advance the careers of new assistant professors at a crucial point in their professional lives." Recipients hold the title for a two-year period.

McKnight Land-Grant Awards


02/27/17 - Bin He to Deliver Plenary Talk on Mind-Controlled Robot at Robotics Alley Annual Event

IEM Director Dr. Bin He, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, will deliver a plenary talk, "Mind-Control of a Robot: Principles and Challenges" from 9:15 to 10:00 A.M. on Wednesday, March 1st at the Robotics Alley Conference & Expo, at The Depot in Downtown Minneapolis. Dr. He's work on noninvasive brain-computer interface has facilitated the development of mind-controlled robots. The Robotics Alley event will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 28th and March 1st and will host more than 500 people who are global leaders in the field of robotics, who serve in functions including engineering, business development, policy, law and investment, and who represent a variety of companies, academic institutions, and industry organizations.

Robotics Alley Conference & Expo


02/27/17 - Kamil Ugurbil Discusses Data Capacity Needed for Brain Mapping with Scientific American

IEM Member Dr. Kamil Ugurbil, Professor of Radiology-CMRR, discussed with Scientific American, the tremendous amount of data storage capacity needed for mapping the human brain, which is far greater than the capacity used for the mapping of the human genome. This was a big factor in the Human Connectome Project (HCP), a global consortium funded by the U.S. Government that published a map of the human brain. Dr. Ugurbil, who is Co-Principal Investigator of the HCP, says that the project's researchers used 6 terabytes of MRI data for the analysis of 210 adults when mapping the human cerebral cortex. To address the need for far greater data processing and storage capacity to fully research the connectivity of the human brain, including its 86 billion neurons, scientists are developing innovative data analysis techniques and are also working more collaboratively than they traditionally have in the past.

Neuroscience: Big Brain, Big Data


02/27/17 - Kelvin Lim & Mark Thomas Profiled for Research Effort to End Addiction

IEM Executive Committee Member Dr. Kelvin O. Lim, Professor of Psychiatry, and IEM Member Dr. Mark J. Thomas, Associate Professor of Neuroscience, were featured in the University's publication Driven to Discover for their research efforts to address the relapse that occurs in approximately 80-90% of addiction patients within one year of recovery. Dr. Lim's research focuses on predicting those patients most likely to relapse, by using brain scans to determine the level of communication between the brain's nucleus accumbens, its rewards and pleasure center, and the frontal cortex, its decision-making center. "The stronger that communication is," says Dr. Lim, "the Higher your chance of staying abstinent." Dr. Thomas says that his research focuses on understanding "what the neural signature for relapse is," so that it can be interrupted. His research team has found a circuit in mice that, when stimulated, can block the relapse of addiction, and he hopes to eventually translate that treatment to humans.

Mapping the Brain to Predict Those Most Likely to Relapse
Finding the Switch that Turns Off Addiction


02/27/17 - Michael Garwood Profiled for Effort to Develop Smaller, More Affordable MRI for Brain Imaging

IEM Member Dr. Michael Garwood, Professor of Radiology-CMRR and Member of IEM Academy of Medical Device Innovators, is working to develop a portable MRI system for scanning a patient's brain, with the support of the NIH BRAIN Initiative. The system, which aims to be much more compact and affordable than currently-used MRI systems, is made possible by Dr. Garwood's technology, which allows for quality images to be produced with only 1/3000 the amount of magnetic field uniformity of today's MRI systems. "It's a smaller tube, all the same technology," says Dr. Garwood. "We can now make good images with a magnet that's not very uniform, which means that now we can make it small, and you can imagine that it's going to be a lot cheaper." Dr. Garwood adds that the technology has the potential for much broader applications, such as mammography, and that its mobility and low-cost could make MRI available to the 90% of humanity that currently lacks access to it.


02/27/17 - Matthew Johnson Develops Algorithm to Identify Optimal DBS Parameters for Individual Patients

IEM Member Dr. Matthew D. Johnson, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and his team of researchers have been looking at different methods of deep brain stimulation (DBS) that will optimize the therapeutic outcome on an individual basis for patients with DBS lead implants. Most recently, Dr. Johnson and his team have developed a Particle Swarm Optimization method for DBS leads with more advanced electrode configurations to maximize the amount of therapeutic benefit, while minimizing both induction of side-effects and overall battery power consumption of the treatment. His team's approach of optimizing particle swarms to address this challenge was inspired by nature, where organisms "solve these complex problems all the time through swarms of cooperating individuals," says Dr. Johnson.

Particle Swarms Ease DBS Array Programming


02/27/17 - The Star Tribune Features Douglas Yee Commentary on Need for Robust Funding to Fight Cancer

IEM Member Dr. Douglas Yee, Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology and Director of the Masonic Cancer Center, wrote a commentary in The Star Tribune to advocate for strong funding in cancer research. Dr. Yee's piece was in response to a previous commentary that questioned the necessity for the large amount of federal support for this research, including the recent $1.8 Billion of funding for the Cancer Moonshot. Dr. Yee counters that "essentially all of the 'breakthrough' cancer therapies were created from federally funded research projects," and that "these successes account for the estimated 15.5 million cancer survivors (about 5 percent of the population) in the United States." In reference to the recent funding boost, Dr. Yee states that the Cancer Moonshot "isn't meant to rocket us all away from this disease, but rather to provide resources to create a stronger mission control." Dr. Yee states that "it is reasonable to believe, with the right resources, we can make cancer preventable, manageable, treatable, or curable."

Sorry But Robust Funding is Way to Conquer Cancer


02/27/17 - IEM Members Featured in Twin Cities Business for MN-REACH Funding

Three IEM Members were featured in Twin Cities Business for receiving MN-REACH grants. Dr. Alex Fok, Professor of Restorative Sciences, for "Novel methods for reversing dental caries (cavities) in human enamel." Dr. Gregory F. Molnar, Associate Professor of Neurology "for his work in deep brain stimulation to treat sleep disorders as well as Parkinson's Disease, Dystonia and other movement disorders" and Dr. Ronald A. Siegel, Professor of Pharmaceutics, for "Intranasal delivery of benzodiazepine prodrug/enzyme combinations for seizure rescue." The MN-REACH program is one of 3 NIH Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hubs in the nation. It provides grants, coaching and skills development to researchers to support their development of promising health technologies that are nearing the point at which they can be commercialized. MN-REACH is funded by a $3 Million grant from the NIH, which is matched with $3 Million from the University of Minnesota.

U. of M. Commercialization Grants


01/27/17 - Art Erdman Awarded ASME Savio L-Y Woo Translational Biomechanics Medal

Dr. Arthur G. Erdman, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Director of the IEM-affiliated Medical Devices Center and IEM Executive Committee Member, was selected as the recipient of the 2017 ASME Savio L-Y Woo Translational Biomechanics Medal, for "translating meritorious bioengineering science to clinical practice through research, education, professional development, and with service to the bioengineering community." The medal was established in 2015 and can be used to recognize individuals in ASME's Bioengineering Division for "basic bioengineering science that translates into a medical device or equipment, contributes to new approaches of disease treatment, establishes new injury treatment modalities, etc." Dr. Erdman, who says that he is honored by this distinction, will be presented with the medal at the 2017 Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering and Biotransport Conference, to be held June 21st to 24th, in Tucson, Arizona.

ASME Savio L-Y Woo Translational Biomechanics Medal


01/27/17 - Steven Koester Named 2017 IEEE Fellow

Dr. Steven J. Koester, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), and IEM Member, has been named as a 2017 IEEE Fellow "for contributions to group-IV electronic and photonic devices." Dr. Koester's current research is focused on novel electronic, photonic and sensing device concepts with an emphasis on graphene and other two-dimensional materials. His group has developed numerous biosensor concepts including wireless radiation dosimeters for in vivo cancer therapy and a graphene-based chemical sensor for use in the diabetes treatment. Dr. Koester has authored or co-authored over 200 technical publications, book chapters and conference presentations, and holds 66 United States patents. He is an associate editor for IEEE Electron Device Letters and is also an associate director for the SRC/DARPA-funded center for spintronic materials interfaces and novel architectures (C-SPIN). The grade of Fellow, the highest membership grade, is conferred by the IEEE Board of Directors on individuals with an outstanding record of accomplishments in an IEEE field of interest. Fewer than one-tenth of one percent of the total number of voting members are elevated as Fellows.

C-SPIN Associate Director Professor, Steve Koester Named IEEE Fellow


01/27/17 - Teresa Kimberley Awarded $1.5 Million NIH Grant to Pursue Treatment of Rare Movement Disorder

IEM Member Dr. Teresa J. Kimberley, Associate Professor in the Division of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, was awarded a $1.5 million NIH Grant to investigate the pathophysiology in dystonia, a rare movement disorder. This will build upon Dr. Kimberley's previous work, in which she led a team of IEM members to develop a novel method for measuring cortical excitability in deep or intrinsic muscles. That early work was supported by NIH, MnDRIVE and IEM. The new, NIH-funded project will combine non-invasive brain stimulation and neuroimaging to determine brain network function in people with different types of focal dystonia compared to that function in healthy people. "Dystonia is an enigmatic movement disorder, but I am optimistic that the innovative technology and techniques we are using will lead to a breakthrough in understanding this disorder and help lead to meaningful treatment development," says Dr. Kimberley.


01/27/17 - University Commits $2.5 Million to Greg Beilman & Colleagues for Development of Therapy to Treat Traumatic Blood Loss

IEM member Dr. Gregory J. Beilman, Professor of Surgery, is a part of a three-person research team at the Twin Cities and Duluth campuses of the University of Minnesota that is seeking to commercialize a drug therapy to treat victims of traumatic blood loss. As reported in Twin Cities Business, D-beta hydroxybutyrate and melatonin (BHB/M) therapy has been in development since 2005, and both on and off the commercialization track as economic factors fluctuated. Recently, however, the University's Center for Translational Medicine has given the team a $2.5 million grant to continue research on BHB/M therapy. With the renewed interest in the treatment, the team hopes to complete the preclinical work that will put the drug on track for clinical trial approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

U of M Renews Commercialization-Push for Sidetracked Blood-Loss Therapy


01/27/17 - Michael Walters Cited by Scientific American for Research Review Showing no Therapeutic Benefit to Curcumin

IEM Member Dr. Michael A. Walters, Research Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Director of the Lead and Probe Discovery Core of the Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development (ITDD), was cited by Scientific American for a review of thousands of research papers and over 120 clinical trials, showing no therapeutic benefit to curcumin. The molecule is part of the spice turmeric, which has been popularized in literature as having health benefits. "People accept what is in the literature as being correct and then build a hypothesis, even though it doesn't hold up," says Dr. Walters, who was the lead author of the review, published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. Dr. Walters describes their findings on curcumin research as a "cautionary tale," and scientists hope that it will prevent others from pursuing what they believe would be futile efforts.

Deceptive Spice Extract Offers Cautionary Tale for Chemists


01/27/17 - Douglas Yee Discusses Potential Effectiveness of Immunotherapy in Eliminating Dormant Breast Cancer Cells

IEM Member Dr. Douglas Yee, Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology and Director of the Masonic Cancer Center, discussed the potential effectiveness of immunotherapy in eliminating dormant breast cancer cells at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in December. As reported in HemOnc Today, Dr. Yee says that current breast cancer treatments focus upon tumor cells which are actively dividing because "we have an inability to eradicate - or kill - dormant non-dividing tumor cells," which results in the need for physicians and their patients to be continually vigilant for a recurrence of the cancers when they're in remission. However, Dr. Yee says that he has "a lot of hope" that immunotherapies, particularly those utilizing checkpoint inhibitors, can eliminate dormant cancer cells if appropriately tumor cell antigens can be found. "One of the things we have to work hard on is how do we get the immune system, when it's unshackled from checkpoint inhibition by PD-L1 inhibitors, to identify dormant estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells. We have developed many monoclonal antibodies over the years that have recognized estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells that could serve as neoantigens for an immune attack," says Dr. Yee.

Immunotherapy Holds Potential to Eliminate Dormant Lethal Cancer Cells


01/27/17 - Visible Heart Lab Adds Virtual Realty System to its Capabilities

The IEM-affiliated Visible Heart Laboratory has recently unveiled a new virtual reality system that allows users to explore the insides of 3D heart models. Inspired by the desire to expand upon traditional classroom learning, this system gamifies conventional anatomical modeling to provide students and researchers with a unique, virtual tour of numerous aspects of various heart models, including different tissues, chambers, and even implantable medical devices. Though only several months old, this system has already attracted students, physicians, and industry members alike to experience this novel technology.

The team behind the system, led by graduate student Erik Gaasedelen, hopes to begin to introduce sound, motion, and real-world situations, like catheter insertion, into the model, allowing for more user interaction with the system. The Visible Heart Lab's Principal Investigator, Dr. Paul A. Iaizzo, Professor of Surgery and IEM Associate Director for Education and Outreach, stated that many groups of clinicians and researchers from around the world have come to see the system and have remarked about its potential for training fellows and medical residents. "There is a huge opportunity for the use of this system/approach beyond its current educational function," Dr. Iaizzo notes. "This system will allow physicians to train and practice procedures before entering the operating room or cathlab."

Visible Heart Lab Virtual Reality System


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