Goldberg, Thomas Win SBEC Paper Awards

Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BioE) graduate student and alumna Deborah Sweet Goldberg (B.S. '06, chemical engineering) and fellow BioE graduate student Peter Thomas received Best Paper awards in the Ph.D. Student category for research they presented at the 26th Southern Biomedical Engineering Conference (SBEC 2010).

SBEC invites representatives from academia, industry and clinical settings to present their current research on theory, application or techniques relevant to any facet of biomedical engineering. The conference has a tradition of encouraging students at all levels to attend and submit papers and posters. In 2010, the 26th SBEC was hosted at the Clark School by the Fischell Department of Bioengineering.

Goldberg, advised by BioE affiliate professors Hamid Ghandehari (University of Utah) and Peter Swaan (University of Maryland School of Pharmacy), was recognized for her presentation "Mechanisms of Poly(amido amine) Dendrimer Transepithelial Transport and Tight Junction Modulation in Caco-2 Cells." In it, she discussed her work with poly (amidoamine) dendrimers—nanoscale, branched polymers that show great potential as oral drug delivery carriers. She described her investigation of the mechanisms by which dendrimers cross the intestinal barrier, showing that dendrimer cellular internalization is mediated by several different types of endocytosis, including clathrin and caveolin pathways. Her research also demonstrated that cellular internalization of dendrimers enhances tight junction opening, allowing dendrimers to pass between the intestinal cells. Understanding the pathways of dendrimer transport across the intestinal barrier will allow for the design of orally delivered chemotherapy as an alternative to traditional intravenous chemotherapy, which could greatly improve the quality of life and treatment options for cancer patients. Learn more about Goldberg's work with dendrimers »

Thomas, advised by Associate Professor Srinivasa Raghavan (Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering), was recognized for his presentation "Monitoring and Controlling Oxygen Levels in Microfluidic Devices," which described research conducted in conjunction with Dr. Samuel Forry in the Multiplexed Biomolecular Science Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Since oxygen level has been shown to greatly impact cell behavior such proliferation and differentiation, its precise control during cell culture is critical to maintaining proper cell behavior. Thomas' research is focused on developing a microfluidic cell culture device capable of generating a unique oxygen environment for cell base studies. Microfluidic systems allow fast and precise regulation of oxygen composition that current cell culture systems do not provide.

"I am very excited to receive this award from SBEC," says Thomas. "The work that I presented at this conference, a collaborative effort between UMD and NIST, has greatly shaped my graduate studies and has been a wonderful learning experience."

Published July 14, 2010