Navigation Links
WPI receives $1.3 million in federal awards for ongoing research in the life sciences

WORCESTER, Mass. -- Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute's (WPI) Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center at Gateway Park have received a total of $1.3 million in new awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund ongoing research in several areas of the life sciences, including a study of the bacterium that causes tuberculosis, work aimed at using adult stem cells to repair damaged hearts, and a project that seeks to create engineered blood vessels.

"Over the past five years, WPI has invested more than $100 million in the life sciences, much of that to create the Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center, which houses interdisciplinary research programs that span five academic departments," said John Orr, provost. "The center has served as a catalyst for meaningful research that is addressing critical problems in healthcare, environmental science, and other fields. It is exciting to see that the importance and promise of this work has been recognized by the NIH, the NSF, and other federal agencies."

"These NIH and NSF programs are awarded only to scientists working at the leading edge of their respective fields," noted Congressman James McGovern, D-Massachusetts. "So it is very gratifying to see researchers at WPI continuing to break new ground and attracting this important federal support. This research not only impacts people's health, but also helps us sustain and grow the life sciences sector in Central Massachusetts."

The WPI researchers receiving new NIH and NSF awards include

  • Jos Argello, PhD, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, who will receive a two-year, $439,943 award from the NIH to further his studies of the biochemical processes that M. tuberculosis and other virulent bacteria use to repel attacks by a host's immune system. These bacteria defend themselves by secreting complex molecules containing metals like zinc and copper that can overcome the host's protective efforts.

    In the new study, Argello and his team will try to identify the specific biochemical steps involving the transport of metal ions that contribute to the bacterial defense mechanism in M. tuberculosis. They will then disrupt the process at various points to see if they can prevent infection in a mouse model. The work could lead to targets for a new class of antibiotics that could replace medications to which M. tuberculosis have become resistant. Argello will collaborate with Christopher Sassetti, PhD, assistant professor of molecular genetics and microbiology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, who also works on M. tuberculosis.

  • Marsha Rolle, PhD, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, who will receive a two-year, $215,962 NIH award to continue research aimed, ultimately, at the development of engineered replacement blood vessels. She will study how smooth muscle cells interact to form structural links (the extracellular matrix) that contribute to the formation of blood vessels. Rolle will further optimize a model system for growing smooth muscle cells in rings that approximate the cross sections of a blood vessel. (The biomechanical properties of the rings will be evaluated in collaboration with co-investigator Kristen Billiar.)

  • Kristen Billiar, PhD, associate professor of biomedical engineering, who will receive $215,661 over two years from the NIH to study the mechanical properties of heart valve tissues and the effects that motion and inflammation have on the stiffness of heart valves. The study aims to better understand the mechanobiology of heart valves, both for its relationship to heart disease and to glean knowledge to apply to the development of engineered heart valve replacements.

  • Terri Camesano, PhD, associate professor of chemical engineering, who will receive $198,870 from the NSF to purchase an atomic force microscope specifically designed to examine biological processes. Camesano will use the device in her ongoing research into biomechanical processes by which bacteria adhere to surfaces, the first step of infection. The microscope will also be a shared resource, available for use by other WPI faculty and students.

  • Glenn Gaudette, PhD, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, who will receive $197,601 from the NIH over two years to supplement his ongoing NIH-funded work on processes involved in using stem cells derived from human bone marrow to restore function to damaged hearts.

  • Tanja Dominko, DVM, PhD, associate professor of biology and biotechnology, will receive a one-year, $104,000 award from the NIH to supplement her ongoing NIH-funded studies of how various types of cells, including stem cells, can be manipulated for wound healing and tissue regeneration.


Contact: Michael Cohen
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Related biology news :

1. Synthetic Biology Project receives 2 National Science Foundation grants
2. NiKem Research receives certification for GLP Bioanalysis
3. University of Miami receives NIH grant to support novel technology for tissue engineering
4. UTSA Physics Department receives $2.7 million to study nanomaterials
5. LSU receives $3.6 million to fund center studying hazardous waste cleanup and health impacts
6. Department of Energy supports carbon sequestration research, University of Miami receives $1.7 million
7. NC State receives NSF grant to discover plant switchboards
8. Case Western Reserve University receives $4M from the NIBIB
9. Harvard research team receives $10M NSF grant to develop small-scale mobile robotic devices
10. Key OSU water research receives national funding
11. University of Miami receives stimulus funds for study of hurricane impacts on structures, ecosystems
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015 NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" ... on the growing mobile commerce market and creator ... a leading marketplace to discover and buy innovative ... wallet on StackSocial for this holiday season.   ... "Company"), a biometric authentication company focused on the ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA ), the leader ... adopted the Synaptics ® ClearPad ® Series ... newest flagship smartphones, the Nexus 5X by LG and ... --> --> Synaptics works closely with ... in the joint development of next generation technologies. Together, ...
(Date:10/23/2015)... -- Research and Markets ( ) has announced ... Market 2015-2019" report to their offering. ... voice recognition biometrics market to grow at a CAGR ... --> The report, Global Voice Recognition ... in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... InSphero AG, the leading supplier of easy-to-use ... promoted Melanie Aregger to serve as Chief Operating Officer. , Having joined ... management team and was promoted to Head of InSphero Diagnostics in 2014. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... /CNW Telbec/ - ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. (TSX: PLI) (OTCQX: ... Pierre Laurin , President and Chief Executive Officer of ProMetic, ... Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference to be held ... st , at 8.50am (ET) and ProMetic,s ... day. The presentation will be available live via a webcast ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 HemoShear Therapeutics, LLC, a ... for metabolic disorders, announced today the appointment of ... of Directors (BOD). Mr. Watkins is the former ... Sciences (HGS), and also served as the chairman ... Powers , Chairman and CEO of HemoShear Therapeutics. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... and NEW YORK , November ... irst investment by Bristol-Myers Squibb in a European ... Bristol-Myers Squibb Company in which the companies will ... in immuno-oncology and other areas of unmet medical need. The ... in LSP 5, the latest LSP fund. This is the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: