May 29, 2009 | UW Bioengineering
Five UW Bioengineering undergraduate students receive Mary Gates Endowment Scholarships spring quarter, bringing the total number of awards this year to bioengineering students to 18 — a record number for any department since the endowment was established in 1995. The scholarship provides tuition and books for two years so students can pursue individual interests and work closely with a faculty mentor. Students are selected through the Honors Program application process. Learn more about the Mary Gates Endowment.
Project Title: Monitoring electrical potential gradients within microfluidic channels
Description: The goal of this project is to study the unstable electrical potentials within microfluidic channels. Different surfaces with varying affinity for water (hydrophilicity) interact differently with water. Depending on the surface properties, water adjacent to a surface can fluctuate slightly in viscosity and its ability to exclude suspended particles. This project involes studying the effect of the hydrophilicity of micfluidic channel walls, and its effect on the elctrical potential of water within the channel at varying distances from the channel wall.
Faculty Mentor: Gerald H. Pollack
Project Title: A Microbead-Based Microfluidic Assay for Multiplexed, Point-of-Care Nucleic Acid Testing
Description: New diagnostic tools are needed for HIV nucleic acid testing (NAT) at the site of patient care. We are developing methods for extraction and stabilization of viral RNA from patient serum with the goal of eliminating the need to freeze samples before shipping them to a central laboratory. In addition, we are developing a microfluidic assay that measures levels of HIV nucleic acid markers with the goal of providing preliminary diagnostic information following patient sample collection. In collaboration the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health, we hope that this work will help improve HIV NAT for patients with limited access to standard testing facilities.
Faculty Mentors: Xiaohu Gao, Paul Yager
Project Title: Development of In Vivo Muscle Imaging Methods with Sodium MRI
Description: Muscle damage is often associated with increased sodium content due to altered sodium channel properties and inflammation. The goal of my project is to develop a method to non-invasively image sodium content of a muscle region through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Methods need to be developed in order to adequately display the sodium information in reference to known physical information of a specific region. The developed methods would be useful to better understand the physiological response associated with muscle damage and regeneration.
Faculty Mentor: Martin Kushmerick
Ji Sun Park
Project Title: Fabrication of a Biodegradable Multidrug Delivery System using Layer-By-Layer Deposition to Prevent Bacterial Infection
Description: Biofilms can secrete from and encase bacteria, protecting it from attack by antibiotics and other enemies. In the process they hinder the body’s acceptance of medical devices and implants. The goal of my project is to fabricate multilayer drug delivery films using biodegradable polymers and several antibacterial agents to prevent the bacteria from developing a resistant biofilm. The composition and structure of each layer will be analyzed using X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy, a surface chemical analysis technique and the release of several drugs will be monitored. By developing a coating that prolongs drug delivery, which can be applied to surfaces of medical devices or implants, formation of bacteria biofilms may be prevented.
Faculty Mentor: Buddy Ratner and James Bryers
Project Title: Characterizing Msx1-Positive Cells for Finger Regeneration
Description: The Msx1 gene, when active, is thought to keep cells in an undifferentiated state. In other words, cells with an active Msx1 gene are hypothesized to be similar to stem cells in that they are able to turn into multiple cells types, such as bone and cartilage. The goal of my project is to characterize cells expressing the Msx1 gene to determine if they are indeed similar to stem cells. If successful, these cells can then be tested for use in tissue engineering applications, and specifically for finger regeneration.
Faculty Mentor: Christopher Allan