Naff Symposium 2014: Donald E. Ingber, "From Cellular Mechanotransduction to Biologically Inspired Engineering"



40th Annual Naff Symposium University of Kentucky College of Arts & Sciences

Dr. Donald E. Ingber Director, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University

Abstract: The newly emerging field of Biologically Inspired Engineering centers on understanding the fundamental principles that Nature uses to build and control living systems, and on applying this knowledge to engineer biologically inspired materials and devices for medicine, industry and the environment. A central challenge in this field is to understand of how living cells and tissues are constructed so that they exhibit their incredible organic properties, including their ability to change shape, move, grow, and self-heal. These are properties we strive to mimic, but we cannot yet build manmade devices that exhibit or selectively control these behaviors. To accomplish this, we must uncover the underlying design principles that govern how cells and tissues form and function as hierarchical assemblies of nanometer scale components. In this lecture, I will review work that has begun to reveal these design principles that guide self-assembly of living 3D structures with great robustness, mechanical strength and biochemical efficiency, even though they are composed of many thousands of flexible molecular scale components. Key to this process is that the molecular frameworks of our cells, tissues and organs are stabilized using a tension-dependent architectural system, known as ‘tensegrity’, and these tensed molecular scaffolds combine mechanical load-bearing functions with solid-phase biochemical processing activities. I will describe how this structural perspective has led to new insights into the molecular basis of cellular mechanotransduction – the process by which living cells sense mechanical forces and convert them into changes in intracellular biochemistry, gene expression and thereby influence cell fate decisions during tissue and organ development. In addition, I will present how these scientific advances have been facilitated by development of new micro- and nano-technologies, including engineering of novel human organ-on-a-chip microdevices that also have great potential value as replacements for animal testing in drug development and discovery research. Understanding of these design principles that govern biological organization, and how scientific discovery and technology development can be facilitated by equally melding fundamental science and applied engineering, are critical for anyone who wants to fully harness the power of biology.



Naff Symposium 2014: Hao Yan, "Designer Architectures for Programmable Self-Assembly"

40th Annual Naff Symposium University of Kentucky College of Arts & Sciences

Dr. Hao Yan, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry & The Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University

Abstract: The central task of nanotechnology is to control motions and organize matter with nanometer precision. To achieve this, scientists have investigated a large variety of materials including inorganic materials, organic molecules, and biological polymers as well as different methods that can be sorted into so-called “bottom-up” and “top-down” approaches. Among all of the remarkable achievements made, the success of DNA self-assembly in building programmable nanopatterns has attracted broad attention. In this talk I will present our efforts in using DNA as an information-coding polymer to program and construct DNA nano-architectures with complex geometrical features. Use of designer DNA architectures as molecular sensor, actuator and scaffolds will also be discussed.

Two UK Students Awarded Undergraduate Research Abroad Scholarships

Two UK Juniors receive Undergraduate Research Abroad Scholarship, to travel to Switzerland and Brazil.

Biology Student Slavina Goleva Awarded Summer Research Fellowship

Slavina Goleva, a sophomore Biology major from Bulgaria, was recently awarded the American Physiological Society’s Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship for the summer of 2014.

Biodiversity in the Workplace: Philip Crowley

The College of Arts & Sciences is collaborating on an effort to revitalize science education with the addition of a new science building. Born with ecological ideals in mind, this building will create a learning environment unlike any other on campus as classrooms engage students with the incorporation of nature into the building’s design itself. In this podcast, Philip Crowley, a professor in the Biology Department, describes the new science building from inside and out and discusses what he looks forward to the most.

This podcast was produced by Casey Hibbard

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Biodiversity in the Workplace: Philip Crowley by UK College of Arts & Sciences is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Mathews Garden's Deep Roots: Jim Krupa

UK Biologist Jim Krupa studies carnivorous plants and has long been the steward of an unusual patch of land on UK's campus: Mathews Garden. The Garden is a 0.6 acre woodland garden on the corner of Limestone Street and Washington Avenue that has been in existence since 1900 and is used by students for research and teaching.

The Mathews Garden was originally part of the grounds of the Mathews House and the original plan of the garden was the work of Clarence Wentworth Mathews. In later years it was tended by Ruth E. Mathews, his daughter, who sold it to the University in 1968.

In this podcast, Krupa discusses the history and biodiversity of the garden. Mathews Garden contains approximately 350 species of plants.


Creative Commons License
Mathews Garden's Deep Roots: Jim Krupa by UK College of Arts & Sciences is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

UK Axolotl Symposium: Get to Know This Strange Salamander

Day long symposium about Axolotls.

'Standing Up for the Mountains' Book Talk at UK

Three University of Kentucky authors will present recent books about mountaintop removal mining, and the treasured landscapes and Appalachian communities that lie in its midst, at a book talk and signing Thursday, Feb. 27.

Harvard Professor to Speak on 'Deep History' of Life on Earth

Dr. Andrew H. Knoll will present "The Deep History of Life: What Kinds of Life Characterized Earth During the PRecambrian?" on Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. in Memorial Hall.

Biology, Psychology Majors Among FAR Academic Excellence Award Winners

Shelby Kennard of psychology and Chelsea Oswald of biology have been recognized for maintaining a minimum 3.8 cumulative GPA while competing in intercollegiate athletics.


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