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 […]

New machine learning method can better predict spine surgery outcomes

Researchers who had been using Fitbit data to help predict surgical outcomes have a new method to more accurately gauge how patients may recover from spine surgery. Using machine-learning techniques developed at the AI for Health Institute at Washington University in St. Louis,  Chenyang Lu, PhD, the Fullgraf Professor at the university’s McKelvey School of Engineering, collaborated with Jacob […]

Uncovering ‘the basis of humanity’ one puzzle at a time

In the world of word puzzles, Sid Sivakumar is a celebrity. A graduate student working toward a medical degree and a PhD in biomedical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, Sivakumar also authors crossword puzzle books and creates acclaimed crosswords for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and the […]

Drake appointed inaugural St. Louis Confluence Collaborative faculty director

Bettina Drake, PhD, professor of surgery in public health sciences at the School of Medicine, will be the inaugural faculty director of the St. Louis Confluence Collaborative for Community-Engaged Research, Teaching and Practice, Washington University in St. Louis Provost Beverly Wendland announced May 31. The new role takes effect July 1. The collaborative, identified as […]

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 […]

Imaging technique shows new details of peptide structures

A new imaging technique developed by engineers at Washington University in St. Louis can give scientists a much closer look at fibril assemblies — stacks of peptides that include amyloid beta, most notably associated with Alzheimer’s disease. These cross-β fibril assemblies are also useful building blocks within designer biomaterials for medical applications, but their resemblance […]

Board grants faculty promotions, tenure

At the Washington University in St. Louis Board of Trustees meeting March 1, numerous faculty members were appointed with tenure, promoted with tenure or granted tenure. Their new roles and titles take effect July 1, unless otherwise indicated. Appointment with tenure Steven Miles as a professor of history in Arts & Sciences. Granting of tenure Paul […]

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 […]

Award of up to $31 million supports development of osteoarthritis treatment

Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, limits the mobility of 32 million people nationwide, many to the point of significant disability. Affected individuals face limited options, as there are no drugs to cure or substantially lessen the disease, and invasive joint replacement is often the only option when it reaches its later stages. With the goal […]

Seven faculty inducted as AIMBE fellows

Seven Washington University in St. Louis faculty members have been named fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), joining 23 existing fellows at Washington University. The new fellows are among 162 colleagues inducted March 25 in Arlington, Va. Election to AIMBE’s College of Fellows is limited to the top 2% of […]

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 […]

WashU engineers manage a first: measuring pH in cell condensates

Scientists trying to understand the physical and chemical properties that govern biomolecular condensates now have a crucial way to measure pH and other emergent properties of these enigmatic, albeit important cellular compartments. Condensates are communities of proteins and nucleic acids. They lack a membrane and come together and fall apart as needed. The nucleolus is […]

Bypassing the blood-brain barrier to improve brain tumor diagnosis

First-in-human trial demonstrates safety of sonobiopsy in patients with glioma Getting a biopsy is often an important first step for cancer diagnosis and treatment. But brain tumors present unique challenges: to perform a biopsy, a neurosurgeon will likely need to drill into the skull, and removing brain tissue can cause complications, including bleeding, brain swelling, […]

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 […]

Engineering, OT students work with patients to design assistive tech

Team Rainbow Butterfly Rangers was on a mission — to create an assistive technology device that would help Berlin, a bubbly 6-year old with cerebral palsy, carry her plates and toys. Per Berlin’s instructions, the device should be stable, easy to wear and — oh yeah — super cute. “She asked and we delivered,” said […]

University’s technology, innovation hub celebrates 100th faculty startup

The first-floor walls at 4240 Duncan Ave. — home to Washington University in St. Louis’ Office of Technology Management (OTM) — are running out of room. And that’s a good thing. The logos of Washington University startup companies launched to shepherd promising university-owned diagnostics, therapeutics or other technologies to the marketplace are prominently displayed on the walls. […]

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 […]

Newly opened Jeffrey T. Fort Neuroscience Research Building dedicated

Dozens of noted scientists, philanthropists, and university, state and local leaders gathered Jan. 18 to celebrate the dedication of one of the world’s largest neuroscience research buildings, a gleaming state-of-the-art facility on the Washington University Medical Campus. They toured its sophisticated, newly christened labs; listened intently as Washington University scientists described the lifesaving work they […]

Washington University and Deerfield Management launch VeritaScience to drive drug discovery

Washington University in St. Louis and Deerfield Management, a health-care investment firm, today announced the launch of VeritaScience, a new private R&D collaboration designed to advance the discovery, clinical development and commercialization of promising therapeutic and diagnostic candidates with potential to benefit human health.  To support projects that originate from the collaboration, Deerfield has committed up to […]

Applications sought for Neuroprep Scholars program

Recent graduates, and undergraduate students who are close to graduating, can apply to be part of a two-year post-baccalaureate neuroscience program at WashU, aimed at preparing people for graduate training in neuroscience. The program is geared toward those who had limited research opportunities at the undergraduate level. Scholars will get two years of research experience […]

St. Louis Confluence Collaborative search committee convenes

Deepening and strengthening Washington University’s partnerships and impact in the St. Louis region is a top institutional priority, as evidenced during Chancellor Andrew D. Martin’s inauguration in 2019 and in the “Here and Next” strategic plan. The new St. Louis Confluence Collaborative for Community-Engaged Research, Teaching and Practice is part of the plan in action. […]

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 […]

Device for noninvasive brain biopsies via blood draw moves closer to market approval

A device aimed at enabling neurosurgeons and other physicians to perform noninvasive blood-based biopsies in adults with brain tumors has received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “Breakthrough Device” designation. The device includes technology from Washington University in St. Louis and developed by Cordance Medical Inc., a medical device company in Mountain View, Calif. The designation […]

ICTS Precision Health Team Develops Genomic Return of Results Service

Returning genetic results to research participants requires thoughtful planning. ICTS Precision Health at Washington University in St. Louis, aims to catalyze genomic research by providing grant review and development services, guidance and resources for genomic researchers and genomics education in the community. Precision Health is a component of the Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences’ Clinical and Translational […]

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 […]

Engineers to build cyborg locusts, study odor-guided navigation

The inviting smell of a freshly baked cookie immediately triggers a motor response to search for the source of that smell. Often the cookie can be easily found. This everyday event that we perform without a thought is an amazing feat that combines our superior ability to smell the cookie and computational prowess to determine […]

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 […]

Noninvasive, ultrasound-based brain biopsy is feasible, safe in people

The blood-brain barrier, the body’s way of shielding sensitive brain tissue from viruses, toxins and other harmful substances in the blood, can pose a problem for physicians caring for patients with suspected brain diseases such as cancer. Molecular and genetic information would be invaluable for confirming a diagnosis and guiding treatment decisions, but such molecules […]

Academy honors six university faculty

Six Washington University in St. Louis faculty members and one alumnus are being honored by the Academy of Science – St. Louis for their outstanding contributions to the field. They will be recognized at an awards dinner Sept. 20 at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Laura Jean Bierut, MD, is the Alumni Endowed Professor of Psychiatry […]

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 […]

Good smells, bad smells: It’s all in the insect brain

Everyone has scents that naturally appeal to them, such as vanilla or coffee, and scents that don’t appeal. What makes some smells appealing and others not? Barani Raman, PhD, a professor of biomedical engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, and Rishabh Chandak, who earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral […]

A low-cost potential therapy for spinal cord injuries

A spinal cord injury is a life-altering event, and the effects, such as muscle weakness and paralysis, can dramatically disrupt a person’s life. While there is no cure for paralysis, there has been some progress in developing potential treatment options to improve symptoms. Still, much of it remains out of reach to many patients. A […]

Scientists develop breath test that rapidly detects COVID-19 virus

Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a breath test that quickly identifies those who are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. The device requires only one or two breaths and provides results in less than a minute. The study is available online in the journal ACS Sensors. The same group of […]

New Technique for Diagnosing Brain Diseases is Successfully Put to the Test

Hong Chen, PhD, associate professor of biomedical engineering and radiation oncology at Washington University in St. Louis, is dedicated to what may seem like the impossible. “This constant puzzle of what’s happening in my brain.” Chen is referring to all human brains that share this complexity. And getting answers to serious problems can be very […]

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 […]

Lowe appointed vice chancellor for research

Mark E. Lowe, MD, PhD, an academic leader and accomplished pediatric physician-scientist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been appointed the university’s vice chancellor for research. He also has been named senior associate dean of research at WashU Medicine. Chancellor Andrew D. Martin, Provost Beverly Wendland and David H. Perlmutter, MD, […]