Icefish and chips: scaling towards a microscale human

Why has Joey been playing with an antarctic icefish for the last few years?  These unusual creatures have developed evolutionary adaptations that allow them to survive in harsh environmental conditions, and modelling these adaptations might be the key to designing a microphysiological ‘human’ on a chip for drug discovery. Scaling presents a big practical problem in connecting organ compartments together: how do we make sure the liver has sufficient volume to metabolize a drug dose delivered through the lung surface area, to treat a cancer tumor in the GI tract?  The icefish has developed natural adaptations to overcome critical transport limitations imposed by their surroundings, and Joe shows with experimental and analytical models that these ‘tricks’ may be used to design physiologically scaled humans-on-chips.  Check out the publication recently out in Technology!

NSERC PGS awards to Stephanie and Ray!

Mad props to Ray and Stephanie, both of whom scored prestigious 3 year awards from NSERC supporting their doctoral research in mechanosensitive differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells, and breast cancer cell and tissue mechanics!

Research Day awards to Sanya and Stephanie

Outstanding Contribution awards at the Ph.D. and Masters level to Stephanie and Sanya for their podium presentations at the 5th annual Polytechnique/McGill Chemical Engineering Research Day, for their talks on smart material mechanosensors and bacterial infection co-culture models.  Congratulations!

MEDA and EUL awards to Carley and Sonya

Happy New Year!  Welcome and congratulations to Carley and Sonya, both new graduate students who will be joining our cancer team.  They received MEDA and EUL awards to support their work- we’re extremely grateful for the support provided through these programs.

Awards at the Cell-Matrix Interactions conference

1st overall AND best poster awards to Wontae and Stephanie for the research they presented at the International Cell-Matrix Interactions meeting in Berlin yesterday! Congratulations to them, and to all our co-authors and collaborators who are making these projects so successful – we’re a fortunate research group.

Avital is now MASTER Horowitz

Mad congratulations to Avital, who is no longer a master’s candidate, but our first MASTER now!  Her thesis looked at quantifying cell mechanics in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and she developed some easily accessible techniques to measure traction forces in 3D-like systems, showing that under certain culture conditions, cell contractile activity is enhanced in 3D.  Good luck with your new job and further quests for science in Seattle!

EDIT: I guess this means that the lab is now Master Of One?

SURE poster award to Sarah

Big congratulations to Sarah Dubois, who received the Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering poster award for her work on force measurement in complex contractile tissues formed in microfabricated templates – well done!  Congratulations also to Nik Kalashnikov who presented his work at the SURE conference on measuring cellular mechanical properties in realistic hydrogel microenvironments, which also generated a lot of interest and discussion.

Postdoctoral fellow position available

to explore cancer, immunology and engineered tumor microenvironments.  Interested candidates must have a strong background in cell biology, with a previous focus on either cancer OR technology-driven approaches to biology.  Interested applicants, please send Chris an email, along with a CV and statement of interest.

NSERC scholarships to Wontae and Sanya

Congratulations to Wontae and Sanya, who received well-deserved NSERC PGS-D and CGS-M scholarships for their graduate research!

Avital wins best presentation at ChemEng Research Day

Congratulations to Avital, who’s presentation on dimensionally-dependent traction force microscopy in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis was awarded the Best Master’s-level contribution at the McGill / Polytechnique Chemical Engineering Research Day 2016!

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