Leah Rae Czerniewski, biomedical engineering doctoral student, 34

Leah Rae Vandiver Czerniewski, a doctoral student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, died of a long illness Tuesday, June 11, 2024, at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. She was 34. Czerniewski worked in the lab of Jin-Moo Lee, MD, the Andrew B. […]

New technology allows researchers to precisely, flexibly modulate brain

Human brain diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, involve damage in more than one region of the brain, requiring technology that could precisely and flexibly address all affected regions simultaneously. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a noninvasive technology combining a holographic acoustic device with genetic engineering that allows them to precisely target […]

Lawrence, Seáñez win collaboration grants

Mark Lawrence, PhD and Ismael Seáñez, PhD, both assistant professors in the McKelvey School of Engineering, have been awarded $25,000 Collaboration Initiation Grants from the school.  The program awards one-year grants to projects that facilitate collaborative research within McKelvey Engineering departments and other university departments for tenure-track faculty. The grants are a pathway for faculty to apply for larger […]

Brain injury mechanics get closer look

Impacts or blasts from explosions can lead to potentially damaging shear waves in the brain, which can change the shape or deform brain tissue. Brain tissue is a complex material, mechanically reinforced by the fibers that carry signals between brain cells. A team led by Philip V. Bayly, PhD, the Lee Hunter Distinguished Professor and chair […]

Focused ultrasound technique gets quality assurance protocol

For the past several years, Washington University in St. Louis researchers have been using focused ultrasound combined with microbubbles to target an opening in the tough, protective blood-brain barrier to deliver drugs or retrieve biomarkers. To ensure that the fast-developing technology functions safely and consistently, Hong Chen, PhD, and her team, including first author and […]

Demystifying nano-neuro interactions

Nanomaterials already play a vital role in enhancing the performance of everyday products from electronics to cosmetics to food packaging. But, beyond their usefulness in making images sharper and products more stable, researchers in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis have shown nanoparticles may also be an essential tool in […]

Water quality monitor, locust-inspired electronic nose under development

Two teams of engineers led by faculty in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis will work toward developing products to monitor drinking water quality and to detect explosives with an electronic nose with one-year, $650,000 Convergence Accelerator Phase 1 grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Barani Raman, PhD, professor […]

WashU awarded up to $20M to create portable device to scan for eye diseases

In the United States, more than one-fourth of adults over age 40 have an eye disease, including glaucoma, cataracts or age-related macular degeneration, or a chronic health condition that affects the eyes, such as diabetic retinopathy. These conditions are a strain on an individual’s health as well as on the health-care system, yet early diagnosis […]

Locusts’ sense of smell boosted with custom-made nanoparticles

Our sensory systems are highly adaptable. A person who cannot see after turning off a light in the night slowly achieves superior power to see even small objects. Women often attain a heightened sense of smell during pregnancy. How can the same sensory system that was underperforming can also exceed the expectation based on its […]

Timing matters: Condensates’ composition determined by when RNA is added

Biomolecular condensates transport RNA molecules inside of cells for functions such as cell signaling and regulating cell processes, but little is known about how they form distinct compositional identities, similar to how oil and water stay separated.  Rohit V. Pappu, PhD, the Gene K. Beare Distinguished Professor of biomedical engineering in the McKelvey School of […]

Research network to focus on AI, integrated circuits

With the increased demand for efficient hardware for artificial intelligence and integrated circuits comes a need to educate students and researchers on how to design and create these tools. To address this need, Shantanu Chakrabartty, PhD, the Clifford W. Murphy Professor and vice dean for research and graduate education at the McKelvey School of Engineering, is […]

Zhou elected Fellow of Optica, American Heart Association

Chao Zhou, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, has been elected a Fellow of Optica and the American Heart Association. Optica, formerly known as the Optical Society of America or OSA, is an international organization at the forefront of the optics and photonics field. […]

Mapping the cell’s membrane-less compartments

Cells are compartmentalized into distinct communities, with organelles and membranes keeping specific proteins and processes in one place. Interestingly, even without the benefit of a membrane, proteins and molecules can be concentrated into membraneless bodies known as biomolecular condensates. These condensates include bodies known as stress granules that form and dissolve in response to and […]

Pappu installed as Gene K. Beare Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Rohit V. Pappu, PhD, an internationally renowned researcher in biomolecular condensates and intrinsically disordered proteins, was installed Oct. 9 as the Gene K. Beare Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. Pappu is a professor of biomedical engineering and director of the Center for Biomolecular Condensates at the McKelvey School of […]

Singamaneni to develop advanced protein imaging method

Cell-secreted proteins, such as antibodies, hormones and neurotransmitters, play a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being. They are also key components in disease research and in developing diagnostic tools and personalized medicines. However, current methods for studying these proteins are limited to observing large groups of cells together, which makes it difficult to […]

Advanced imaging may shed light on mechanisms behind Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 6 million people in the U.S., a number expected to quadruple by 2050 if no cure is found. A hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease is misfolded amyloid deposits in the brain, which can precede the onset of dementia by decades. These deposits can restrict blood flow and thus oxygen supply to […]

Fast ‘yes’ better for brain than slow ‘no’

Researchers are learning more about what leads to traumatic brain injury, though they have to be creative to work around limited access to the brain. “You can’t study traumatic brain injury by running around hitting people on the head,” said Ruth Okamoto, DSc, teaching professor in mechanical engineering & materials science in the McKelvey School […]

Brain movement measured for clues to prevent, reduce injury

When the human head experiences any kind of movement — from nodding yes or no to heading a soccer ball or being jolted in a car crash — the brain moves inside the skull, leading to deformation of the tissue. Such deformations are key to understanding traumatic brain injury but are challenging to study since […]

NIH funds study of ultrasound with genetics to treat brain disorders

Researchers have developed methods to study and manipulate areas of the brain, though many of those methods are restricted by the limited depth that light can reach within the brain. A multidisciplinary team at Washington University in St. Louis plans to overcome that limitation by integrating ultrasound with genetics to precisely modify neurons in the […]

Brighter fluorescent markers allow for finer imaging of nanoscopic objects

Researchers at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis have pioneered a new technique that will enable higher-resolution imaging of very small objects like neurons. The technique, which improves on an existing method called expansion microscopy, is described in a new paper published in the journal Nano Letters. Srikanth Singamaneni, PhD and Barani […]

Singamaneni named Hughes Professor

Srikanth Singamaneni, PhD, an internationally renowned materials scientist, has been named the Lilyan and E. Lisle Hughes Professor in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. Since he joined the department in 2010 as an assistant professor, Singamaneni has received nearly $10 million in funding for his research from numerous federal […]

Air monitor can detect COVID-19 virus variants in about 5 minutes

Now that the emergency phase of the COVID-19 pandemic has ended, scientists are looking at ways to surveil indoor environments in real time for viruses. By combining recent advances in aerosol sampling technology and an ultrasensitive biosensing technique, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have created a real-time monitor that can detect any of […]

Looking deeper with adaptive six-dimensional nanoscopy

Matthew Lew, PhD, an associate professor of electrical and systems engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, has received a five-year $2 million Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support his ongoing work to improve microscopic imaging techniques. Lew will use the […]

Li named Wilson Professor of Engineering

Jr-Shin Li, PhD, a professor of systems science and mathematics in the Preston M. Green Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering, has been installed as the Newton R. and Sarah Louisa Glasgow Wilson Professor of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. Although he received the professorship title in 2021, his installation ceremony was delayed […]

Pappu to explore ways in which charge contributes to diverse states of proteins

Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) are defined by structural diversity, and the determinants of this diversity are an important area of biophysical investigation. IDPs are involved in a range of important biological processes, including cell signaling and regulation, that allow healthy cells to respond to environmental factors appropriately, but they are also associated with human diseases […]

Quantum tunneling to boost memory consolidation in AI

A team of researchers at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis has developed an energy-efficient way to consolidate long-term memories on a tiny chip. Shantanu Chakrabartty, PhD, the Clifford W. Murphy Professor in the Preston M. Green Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering, and members of his lab developed a […]

Interfaces play important role in condensate behavior

Before mixing an oil-and-vinegar-based salad dressing, the individual drops of vinegar are easily seen suspended in the oil, each with a perfectly circular boundary that delineates the two liquids. In the same way, our cells contain condensed bundles of proteins and nucleic acids called condensates delineated by clear boundaries. The boundaries are known as interfaces […]

Multi-scale imaging technique may enable objective assessment of myofascial pain

About 50 million Americans experience chronic pain. For many, the pain involves the muscle and the fascia surrounding it, creating myofascial pain with trigger points. This chronic pain syndrome significantly affects patients’ daily functioning and quality of life. While there are treatments, including physical therapy, non-opioid and opioid medications and trigger point injections, adequately controlling […]

Biomarkers for Parkinson’s disease sought through imaging

More than 10 million people worldwide live with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement, balance and thinking. Severity of the disease is measured through external symptoms, as there are no effective biomarkers that indicate the phase of the illness. A team of engineers, physicians and researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, […]

New practical method of producing Airy beams could enhance ultrasound

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis recently invented a technique for generating ultrasound waves that can self-bend, like the rainbow. Airy beams are a class of acoustic waves that move on a curved, arch-like trajectory and can auto-focus around obstacles that are directly in the beam’s path, which makes them well suited for ultrasound […]

Study reveals novel mechanism behind epilepsy, drug modulation

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that arises from abnormal electrical activity in the brain leading to seizures. These seizure events can have a variety of causes, including genetic variants in a family of proteins that regulate potassium ions in the brain. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have led an international team to take […]

Modeling personalized medicine for neurocritical illness

Precision medicine, which considers the unique characteristics of individuals to provide the most effective treatment, has been a goal of health care providers for decades. Now, it is a goal for those with critical neurological illnesses, such as stroke, traumatic brain injury and spine trauma, to track and predict secondary injury, such as seizures, and […]

NIH grant awarded to create neurotech training program

The National Institutes of Health has awarded Daniel Moran, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering in the McKelvey School of Engineering, more than $1 million over five years to create the Translational Neuroscience and Neurotechnology Training Program. This interdisciplinary program will train students to use engineering tools to develop technology that address neurological issues such as […]

A one-two punch for photoacoustic imaging

Scientists use photoacoustic microscopy to measure various biomarkers in the body, but some of these measurements can be inaccurate due to limitations of the light-focusing beam that produces out-of-focus images. Engineers in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis have designed a new technique that combines hardware and software innovations as […]

Wearable ultrasound sensors for human brain in development

A submarine can inadvertently reveal its location because of cavitation, a condition that creates bubbles underwater that burst, then emit sound waves that can be detected by sonar. A team of biomedical engineers at Washington University in St. Louis plans to use the same concept to detect cavitation in human brains that may contribute to […]

Uncovering molecular grammar

Collaborative team deciphers the protein sequence-encoded mechanism that drives phase separation From the WashU School of Engineering & Applied Science News… An international research collaboration including engineers from Washington University in St. Louis have discovered a protein sequence mechanism that triggers phase separation deep within a single cell. Their findings, published in Cell, could provide […]