BE 177 Course description: Groups of 5-6 undergraduate seniors in Bioengineering work in a team on a design project for the two continuous quarters, one project per team. Each team is given a budget of $1000 from the department to spend on supplies and equipment they might need. They have the option of conducting lab work and experiments in the mentor's lab space and/or using the teaching lab space that the department maintains in Boelter Hall. This lab includes BSL2 cell culture space, laser cutter, 3D printer for rapid prototyping, fluorescence microscopes, bench space, equipment for micro-contact printing, fume hoods, UV-Vis specs, and various other equipment and general supplies. In class, I teach them how to organize their research goals, write a proposal (in the first quarter), plan their experiments, analyze their data (statistics), write a journal article (2nd quarter), and communicate scientifically (through a symposium at the end of the 2nd quarter). The faculty mentors that sponsor the projects provide the project idea of reasonable detail, from which the team can define a more narrow scope and specific experiments. There should be some design component to the project, solving a problem is ideal over digging for information or data. Mentors should advise the team on a regular basis (ideally weekly) as they make progress on the specific direction of the project and experiments, and contribute evaluations twice each quarter for grading and ABET purposes. Last year many of the groups made fantastic progress on their projects and I find them to be enthusiastic and hard working since this is a major component of their curriculum. Many of the students continue working in the mentors' labs in the spring quarter and through the following summer to finish parts of the project that they weren't able to complete during the class.
Dino Di Carlo
Professor Di Carlo has been on the faculty in the Department of Bioengineering at UCLA since 2008 where he pioneered using inertial fluid dynamic effects for the control, separation, and analysis of cells in microfluidic devices. During his PhD at UC Berkeley, and Postdoc at Harvard Medical School, he developed a number of miniaturized platforms for single-cell analysis, cell encapsulation in monodisperse emulsions, and cell separation using microfluidics-based technologies. He is a member of the California NanoSystems Institute and Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) at UCLA. At UCLA, his group is most well known for investigating the fundamental fluid physics of particle-laden flows at finite Reynolds number and applying the intuition gained to create microfluidic cell focusing, analysis, and separation devices that are translating out of the lab.
He has also gained substantial experience in technology entrepreneurship: he co-founded and currently advises three companies that are commercializing UCLA intellectual property developed in his lab over the last six years (CytoVale, Vortex Biosciences, and Tempo Therapeutics). This experience provides a foundation for his practical mentorship and instruction of biomedical engineering design teams.
He has served as the instructor for the senior capstone design course in bioengineering for the last 6 years, where he has created a strong atmosphere of innovation and leadership at the undergraduate level in designing new diagnostics, therapeutics, and informatics systems to address medical needs. His long-term goals are to develop a pipeline of transformative technologies and kickstart the commercialization of these technologies to advance patient care, providing next-generation diagnostics, drug discovery tools, and therapeutic approaches to improve human health.
Dr. Grundfest has spent a considerable portion of his career developing optical techniques for non-invasive assessment of physiologic functions. He led initial efforts at coronary and peripheral vascular endoscopy in the 1980s and developed numerous tools for minimally invasive surgery in the 1990s. Between 2001 and 2007 he worked with the founders of Cardio Optics to develop the transblood imaging system which allowed infrared imaging through 1 to 2cm of blood in patients. He also at the same time worked on non-invasive optics for sensing in the nervous system and served on Dr. Ardestani’s thesis committee. Dr. Grundfest has had a long-standing interest in neural communications and the use of optical techniques to detect neuronal signaling through the use of biologic spectroscopy. In 2007, he served as the President of the International Brain Mapping and Intraoperative Surgical Planning Society, now known as the Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics. His interest in this area continues, with ongoing efforts at both optical and ultrasound-based neuromodulation.
Focused at the interface of engineering, neuroscience and medicine, Dr. Seidlits' research seeks to develop clinical therapies for injury and disorders of the central nervous system (CNS), including spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and glioblastoma cancers. Using biomaterial microenvironments and advanced imaging tools, her research aims to identify differences between the extracellular environment of diseased and healthy or developing and adult CNS tissues and exploit these mechanistic discoveries to develop novel therapies that target the local environment. Engineered microenvironments enable ex vivo investigation of key physiological players within conditions that approximate those in vivo so that physiologically relevant data can be obtained in a simplified context. Ultimately, this approach enables the development of new therapeutic strategies based on controlled manipulation of these players. The long-term goal of Dr. Seidlits' research is to translate biomaterial microenvironments to in vivo regenerative replacement as building blocks.
Alexis Morrison Litke
Theodore W Kee