I-FMD Grand Rounds

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I-FMD's Material and Devices
Grand Rounds

Fridays at 12 pm
Zoom Link: https://lehigh.zoom.us/j/97504643424


Spring 2021 Schedule


February 26, 2021
Platform Technologies to Grow and Repair Biological Rubber Bands
Anand Ramamurthi, Professor and Department Chair Department of Bioengineering

This seminar will summarize my laboratory’s efforts to develop matrix-engineering technologies directed at biomimetic regeneration and repair of elastic fibers and fiber networks. We seek to apply these methods to growing elastic tissues in vitro and to restoring integrity of soft tissues compromised by chronic proteolytic disruption of the structural extracellular matrix (ECM). Restoring intact elastic fibers and their higher order structures is crucial since their absence, malformation, or pathological disruption can adversely impact tissue recoil properties and cell behavior and health. At this time, we focus on regenerating complex matrix architectures vital to cardiovascular homeostasis since these tissue types have a capacity for self-repair that is far less effective than tissue-engineering principles demand.  A major challenge contributing to this deficiency is the lack of suitable tissue engineering and tools and therapeutics to overcome very poor elastin precursor synthesis by stable adult vascular cells and their poor ability replicate the biocomplexity of developmental elastogenesis. This seminar will provide an overview of our multifaceted approach to overcoming these critical challenges via the design and integration of innovative tools (e.g., biomolecular agents, biomaterial scaffolds, nanotherapeutics and stem cells) and more specifically discuss their application as a minimally-invasive, non-surgical treatment modality to treat proteolytic disorders (e.g., pelvic organ prolapse, COPD-associated non-small cell lung cancers, aortic aneurysms). This talk will focus on our ongoing efforts to arrest growth of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs), which are localized and irreversible expansions of the aorta wall.

Dr. Ramamurthi is the PC Rossin Professor and Chair of the Department of Bioengineering at Lehigh University. He joined the Department in September 2020 following a decade as Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute and the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Molecular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.                            

Anand received a PhD in Chemical Engineering, from Oklahoma State University (1999) and was then an American Heart Association (AHA) postdoctoral fellow at the Cleveland Clinic where he developed glycosaminoglycan-based biomaterials for aortic heart valve tissue engineering (1999-2001). Between 2003 and 2010, he was an Assistant Professor, then tenured Associate Professor of Bioengineering at Clemson University, South Carolina. His research program is one of a handful internationally that focuses on enabling biomimetic regeneration and repair of  elastic fibers and superstructures that do not naturally regenerate or repair in elastic adult tissues. His research projects span biomaterials, nanomedicine, and stem cell-based platform technologies applied to growing elastic tissue constructs on demand using in vitro tissue engineering principles or enabling biomimetic tissue repair in vivo. His lab is also involved in identifying novel mechanistic targets for multipronged downstream benefits to biomimetic elastic matrix regeneration and repair in vascular disorders, and in investigating surrogate in vivo bioreactor systems (e.g., peritoneal cavity) to study in situ vascular tissue remodeling responses to biomaterial scaffolds. These platform tissue engineering technologies are being applied to developing novel regenerative therapies to a) stabilize and reverse abdominal aortic aneurysms, b) modulating the lung tumor microenvironment in non-small cell lung cancers, & c) alleviating pelvic organ prolapse, which are studied in small animal models.

Anand is an active member and serves on the committees of several international professional societies in the cardiovascular sciences, biomaterials, and tissue engineering fields. He is a Fellow of the American Heart Association (AHA), and member of the AHA Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.  He served as Chair of the external advisory committee of the NIH-funded South Carolina Bioengineering Center for Regeneration and Formation of Tissues (SC-BIOCRAFT) in Greenville, SC. In this role, he provided guidance, advice, and direction for the Center activities and mentorship for junior target faculty towards success as funded PIs in biomaterials and tissue engineering research. He serves on the editorial board of several scientific journals in the fields of biomaterials, nanomedicine, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine and serve as a reviewer for 50+ scientific peer reviewed journals. He is the current chair of the AHA Cardiac Basic Sciences Innovative Research Grant Study Section, and serve on several other review panels for the NIH, NSF, and other grant funding agencies. To date, Anand’s research has resulted in 67 peer reviewed publications, two several book chapters, and 300+ conference abstracts. He is also the editor of a book on elastin regeneration technologies. He has been an invited presenter at several national and international meeting and has organized and chaired several conference symposia on the topic of matrix engineering and regeneration, including at the TERMIS meetings in Genoa (2014), Boston (2015), San Diego (2016), Davos (2017), Kyoto (2018), and Orlando (2019). Anand’s research is supported by extramural grants from the NIH, NSF, and AHA.

March 12, 2021-POSTPONED to May 7, 2021
James Gilchrist, Professor, Chemical & Bimolecular Engineering





March 19, 2021
Distinguished Interdisciplinary Rounds
Water from an Outsider's Perspective
Keisha Antoine '01, '07 PhD

Water.  Think of it and may conjure up the image of a warm bath, a glassful of water or the sea – and yet I have not even begun to describe the breadth of this vital substance.  Most recently water futures have been listed on the stock exchange and is now being treated as a commodity raising questions about water access as a human right.  Opportunities are being created within this field because of drivers such as water scarcity and availability, water quality and treatment and the management of the built and natural environments because of stormwater and seaside erosion, respectively.  Water as a field is one that is ever-present with opportunity for the workforce, especially as there are engineering and societal challenges of increasing complexity to be overcome.  In this talk, my goal is to communicate to you just how broad this field is and to highlight areas of interest that span engineering and socio-political perspectives. 

Keisha Antoine is the owner of Antoine Technical Consulting LLC and is a registered professional engineer in the state of TX.  Her involvement in the field of water is as a result of her association with Vision Equipment LLC, which is a manufacturer’s representative of process equipment for water and wastewater treatment.  She comes to the field of water following her successful career as a scientist/engineer at Corning Incorporated, where she was granted 3 patents for her work on glass processes and functionalization.  Dr. Antoine began her professional journey at Lehigh University, where she obtained a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 2001 and a M. Eng. and PhD in Materials Science & Engineering in 2004 and 2007, respectively.  Dr. Antoine still maintains an interest in education and academic pursuits and is currently a Lecturer I in the Chemical Engineering Department at Prairie View A&M University.   

March 26, 2021
Toward Precision Medicine: Cell Characterization, Isolation, Culturing, and Drug Testing
Yaling Liu, Professor, Bioengineering Mechanical Engineering & Mechanics

Introduction provided by Daniel Ou-Yang, Physics

In disease prevention and treatment,  early diagnosis and personalized treatment planning is important. This talk will discuss recent development in diagnosis and monitoring of cancer progression through liquid blood biopsy in microfluidic devices and image machine learning analysis. The potential precision medicine through fast tumor spheroid culturing and personalized drug screening will be described.

Yaling Liu is a professor in the Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics department and Bioengineering department. Dr. Liu receives his B.S. degree from Tsinghua University, and M.S and Ph.D. degrees from Northwestern University. After graduation, Dr. Liu worked as a senior engineer for a year at Seagate Technology. Dr. Liu is a Fellow of ASME and Associate editor of Journal of Medical Device.

April 2, 2021
Evaluating Complex Adaptive Water Systems with Agent-Based Modeling  
Y.C. Ethan Yang, Assistant Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering

Introduction provided by Jonas Baltrusaitis, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering 

There are significant knowledge gaps associated with the bidirectional interaction between the human and natural systems (aka. the co-evolution process). For example, how can we develop a single tool that considers multiple sectors like water, agriculture, and energy? How can we address the resources management issue in different spatial and temporal scales? How can we quantify different sources of uncertainties like climate variability and human’s imperfect rational behavior? This talk will discuss the attempt to address these gaps by applying the agent-based modeling (ABM) method to decipher the dynamics of the co-evolution process in the complex adaptive water system. I will demonstrate the application of different ABM tools to quantify human behaviors at different temporal and spatial scales and their impacts on the natural system. Case study results will be used to show the improvement of ABM application in water resources system analysis in the past decade from ideal and optimized agents to learning and adaptive agents. 

Dr. Y. C. Ethan Yang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Lehigh University. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois, Urbana – Champaign (2010). His research interests are water resources management, water-energy-food nexus, agent-based modeling, coupled natural and human complex systems and, smart stormwater management. Dr. Yang leads more than 10 research projects funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), US Department of Energy, and the Work Bank. These projects focus on various human-water systems issues in the large river basins around the world. Dr. Yang received the NSF Early CAREER award in 2020 and published more than 40 peer-reviewed journal papers. Dr. Yang is a regular reviewer for top-ranking journals in water resources management and he serve as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management – ASCE.

April 9, 2021
Blood clotting and the biopolymeric flow sensor, von Willebrand factor
Ed Webb, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering & Mechanics

Introduction provided by Frank Zhang, Bioengineering/Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics

Polymers capable of responding to environmental stimuli span a broad range of functionality and potential applications.  Specific to this presentation are polymers that respond to flow conditions, like the mammalian glycoprotein von Willebrand Factor (vWF).  vWF typically circulates in human blood in a compact, collapsed conformation; however, when it experiences increased blood flow near vascular injury sites, it undergoes dramatic elongation to a string-like conformation.  This transition enables binding with platelets in blood and collagen exposed on injured arterial walls and, in this way, vWF initiates the so-called blood clotting cascade.  vWF’s role in maintaining human wellness continues to be further understood and appreciated.  Nonetheless, it is already known that 2-3% of the human population suffers from bleeding or clotting disorders, and many of those pathologies are associated with dysfunctional vWF behavior.  Elucidating driving forces behind vWF’s functionality has the potential to benefit clinical practices around such pathologies, and also to advance concepts for synthesizing polymers that mimic the vWF conformation transition as a means of targeted drug delivery.  This presentation will discuss vWF’s structure-function relations in greater detail, including work by our multidisciplinary research team to better understand the coupling between flow conditions, polymer conformation, and polymer bioreactivity.  In particular, we will discuss efforts to bridge information from the relatively short time scales associated with molecular models to time scales associated with diagnosing vWF-associated pathology.

Prof. Webb’s research group applies simulation techniques across multiple length and time scales to elucidate fundamental phenomena controlling the thermo-mechanical response of materials. Interests include flow-responsive polymers, stress and structure evolution in nanostructures and thin films, capillary driven fluid flow, and mass and heat transport processes at interfaces between dissimilar materials.  Prior to joining the Lehigh faculty in 2010, Webb spent 12 years with Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM.  As a national laboratory research scientist, Prof. Webb applied high performance computing resources to a range of materials and mechanics problems. He was the recipient of several Recognition Awards from Sandia for various contributions in research and service to the organization.

April 16, 2021
Predict | Build | Test | Repeat
Ganesh Balasubramanian, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering & Mechanics

Dr. Balasubramanian will share some of our activities in the area of predictive engineering of materials and processes relevant for structural and energy applications. Broadly, the research efforts lie at the intersection of computational engineering, structural/energy materials development and advanced manufacturing. Sample projects that concentrate on scientific problems influenced by atomistic mechanisms and material interfaces will be presented. The fundamental knowledge gained enables us to construct composition-processing-structure-property relationships across length and time scales, provide recommendations to optimize processes and material microstructures for targeted properties, and scavenge the materials processing landscape to discover and engineer designer materials.

Ganesh Balasubramanian is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Mechanics at Lehigh University. He received his BME degree in Mechanical Engineering from Jadavpur University (India) in 2007, his PhD in Engineering Mechanics from Virginia Tech in 2011, and was a postdoctoral research associate in Theoretical Physical Chemistry at TU Darmstadt (Germany) till fall of 2012. His research and teaching interests are in advanced energy and structural materials, nanoscale transport and mechanics, and predictive engineering. Some of his recognitions include the NSF CAREER award, ASEE Outstanding New ME Educator award, AFRL Summer Faculty Fellowship, Graduate Man of the Year and Liviu Librescu Scholarship at Virginia Tech, and Young Engineering Fellowship from the Indian Institute of Science.

April 23, 2021

Shedding light on photo-initiated chemical transformations using spectroscopy
Elizabeth Young, Assistant Professor, Chemistry

Introduction by Nicholas Strandwitz, Materials Science & Engineering 

Small molecule activation and other energy conversion reactions are critical to the production of fuels that society requires to function. When the small molecule activation occurs with assistance from solar photons, the solar fuels produced from them become part of a renewable energy cycle. Likewise, production of solar energy from photovoltaics adds directly to our renewable energy portfolio. At their core, these energy conversion processes are driven by fundamental photo-induced charge transfer reactions. To understand these chemical processes and drive innovation, fundamental, mechanistic understanding of charge transfer is critically important to connect molecular structure with chemical reactivity. In this presentation, I will discuss a critical spectroscopic technique called transient absorption spectroscopy that allows my group to construct mechanics understanding of photo-induced chemical reactions. The presentation will include several examples of the application of transient absorption spectroscopy to answering important research problems.

Elizabeth R. Young grew up in eastern Pennsylvania. She attended Haverford College as an undergraduate where she majored in Chemistry and minored in German, while also playing intercollegiate soccer and squash. As an undergraduate researcher, Liz worked in with Prof. Julio de Paula on porphyrin-peptide nano-wires – during which time her love of photochemistry and spectroscopy was ignited.  After completing her undergraduate studies, Liz spent a year abroad in Germany as a participant in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals. While in Germany, Liz learned about the German culture and language while working in the biophysical laboratory of Prof. Dr. Joachim Spatz at the University of Heidelberg. Upon returning to the U.S., she attended graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology earning a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry. Her work in the laboratory of Prof. Daniel G. Nocera focused on photo-induced charge transfer coupled to proton motions in small-molecule donor-acceptor systems. Liz then spent two years as an NSF ACC-F post-doctoral fellow in the electrical engineering laboratory of Prof. Vladimir Bulovic at MIT learning about charge transfer in organic semiconductor devices.

In 2011, Liz began her independent career working with undergraduates at Amherst College. Liz moved back to Pennsylvania in 2017 to Lehigh University where she is currently an Assistant Professor. Her research efforts focus on understanding excited-state charge transfer processes for a range of applications, including excited-state proton-coupled electron transfer reactions in model system and photo-induced charge transfer in materials of interest for next generation photovoltaic devices.  

May 7, 2021
Self-organization on the run: examples of dynamically controlled colloidal assembly
James Gilchrist, Professor, Chemical & Bimolecular Engineering

Intoduction by Daniel Ou-Yang, Physics

Controlling 3D and/or dynamic properties of materials has been the dream of researchers for advanced optically, thermally, electronically, chemically, and mechanically responsive materials – something nature has mastered through a balance of thermodynamics, kinetics, forces, and scales in many systems.  Two areas of directed assembly we are investigating will be discussed, the first balancing capillary forces, electrostatic interactions, and excluded volume to fabricate well-ordered structures in a process that has been scaled up to create pilot-scale quantities of materials.  The second is a recent, exploratory area of our research, utilizing this self-assembly method to synthesize magnetically-responsive Janus particles and our first excursions into optically and mechanically dynamic magneto-responsive materials. 

James Gilchrist is a Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Polymer Science and Engineering at Lehigh University.  Gilchrist directs the Laboratory for Particle Mixing and Self-Organization with research interests spanning particle technology, fluid mechanics, rheology, and interfacial science applied to problems in mixing, suspension rheology and transport, coatings, microfluidics, bioMEMS, and self-assembly.  He received his degrees in chemical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis (BS) and Northwestern University (PhD). Prior to joining the faculty of Lehigh University in 2004, he was a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at University of Illinois. Dr. Gilchrist served as a visiting professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology for the 2011-2012 academic year, and a Visiting Professorial Fellow at University of New South Wales in 2016.


For more information, please contact Nikki Rump.

*Grand Rounds is a term borrowed from the medical education community to share the latest, unique advancements across all specialties. The lectures will be at the “Scientific American” level and will be suitable for all STEM audience.

*All Graduate students and post docs who join the call will be entered into a raffle for $100 gift card!

*Lectures are open to the public and will be recorded.