Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Studying symmetry of cells to help prevent birth defects

Date:
March 20, 2014
Source:
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
Summary:
"Left-right asymmetry" is a fundamental characteristic of living organisms. Examples include the twining of climbing plants, the helices of snail shells, and the bilateral asymmetry of human body. A researcher who has been awarded a new study grant is researching new ways using high-throughput screening technology to observe and collect images of life-right asymmetry in specific types of cells. Once developed, such a system could be a powerful tool for identifying environmental factors associated with birth defects.

Tissue engineering and stem cell expert Leo Q. Wan, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has received a Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Award from the March of Dimes.

The March of Dimes, founded by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938, is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. Today, research investments are vital to the March of Dimes mission to prevent birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.

The Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Awards are funded in a program specifically designed to support scientists just embarking on their independent research careers. Created in 1973 and named for the first March of Dimes chairman and president, this program provides funding to young investigators to start their own research projects on topics related to the March of Dimes mission.

Wan will use the two-year, $150,000 grant to accelerate research into tissue development and regeneration. Specifically, he is investigating the biomolecular processes of tissues and organs that develop asymmetrically, and the role of this asymmetry in several genetic diseases and birth defects.

"Left-right asymmetry" is a fundamental characteristic of living organisms, Wan said. Examples include the twining of climbing plants, the helices of snail shells, and the bilateral asymmetry of human body. He is researching new ways using high-throughput screening technology to observe and collect images of life-right asymmetry in specific types of cells. Once developed, such a system could be a powerful tool for identifying environmental factors associated with birth defects.

Wan conducts his research in the world-class Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies at Rensselaer.

Wan received his bachelor's degree in theoretical and applied mechanics and his master's degree in fluid mechanics from the University of Science and Technology of China. He earned his doctoral degree in biomedical engineering from Columbia University, and served as a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia before joining the Rensselaer faculty in 2011.

In 2013, Wan received a five-year, $400,000 grant as part of a Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The CAREER Award is given to faculty members at the beginning of their academic careers and is one of NSF's most competitive awards, placing emphasis on high-quality research and novel education initiatives.

Also in 2013, Wan was named a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences by The Pew Charitable Trusts. The Pew Scholar in Biomedical Sciences program is highly competitive, awarding recipients $240,000 over four years to pursue their projects without direction or restriction.

A dynamic young voice in the field of biotechnology and biomedical engineering, Wan has been honored by several other organizations for his research. In 2012, he was recognized with an American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant, the Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Conference Rising Star award from the Biomedical Engineering Society, and the Young Investigator Award from the Frontiers in Bioengineering Workshop.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). "Studying symmetry of cells to help prevent birth defects." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140320173204.htm>.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). (2014, March 20). Studying symmetry of cells to help prevent birth defects. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140320173204.htm
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). "Studying symmetry of cells to help prevent birth defects." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140320173204.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — According to a new study, spiders that live in cities are bigger, fatter and multiply faster. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle

Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) — South Koreans eat more instant ramen noodles per capita than anywhere else in the world. But American researchers say eating too much may increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins