Rensselaer Professor Georges Belfort Named to Scientific Advisory Board of Max Planck Institute, Elected Member of Institute of Bologna Academy of Sciences PDF Print

Bioseparations Expert at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Recognized by Elite Scientific Societies

Belfort delivers his honorary lecture at his induction into the Institute of Bologna Academy of Sciences on March 12 in Bologna, Italy.

World-leading bioseparations expert Georges Belfort visited Germany and Italy last month as part of two prestigious honors from elite European scientific societies.

Belfort, Institute Professor and a member of the Howard P. Isermann Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, was recently elected a foreign corresponding member of the Institute of Bologna Academy of Sciences. He visited the academy in March to present his honorary lecture, “Combining Science and Engineering for Molecular Separations: Thoughts from a Career.” The academy was created in 1690 by 16-year-old astronomer Eustachio Manfredi, and has grown over the centuries into one of Europe’s most renowned scientific societies.

Additionally, Belfort was recently named a member of the International Scientific Advisory Board of the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems. As part of the six-year appointment, Belfort visited the Institute in Magdeburg, Germany, with nine other international experts for a two-day session. The primary task of the board is to counsel the institute and to critically assess its scientific performance according to high international standards. The institute is one of 80 that make up the distinguished Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science, an independent nonprofit research organization funded by the German government and named for the physicist who discovered quantum physics.

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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Inducts New Members Into Phalanx Honor Society PDF Print

Celebrating 100 Years of Student Leadership, Service, and Devotion to Rensselaer and the Community

Twenty-five students have been inducted into the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Phalanx Honor Society for 2012. Phalanx honors student leadership, service, and devotion to the university, and celebrates those who have “worked to better the standing of Rensselaer both on and off campus.” New members are selected—or tapped—by the student members of Phalanx.

In remarks to the 2012 inductees and Phalanx alumni/ae shared during the recent centennial dinner celebration, Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson noted that Phalanx was the brainchild of the 1912 Rensselaer Student Council. “Its members realized that the best way to promote a rich extracurricular life on campus was to honor those who showed the most leadership in such activities.[1] In other words, that long-ago Student Council understood the power of example,” President Jackson said. “Today, the Phalanx Society still sets the standard, leading the Rensselaer campuses into the 21st century and showing us all what is possible, if one is only idealistic and energetic enough.”

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Obese Patients Face Higher Radiation Exposure From CT Scans—But New Technology Can Help PDF Print

Engineering Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Develop “Phantoms” To Make Medical Imaging Safer for Overweight Individuals

Image credit: Rensselaer/Ding

Most medical imaging equipment is not designed with overweight and obese patients in mind. As a result, these individuals can be exposed to higher levels of radiation during routine X-ray and CT scans.

A new study from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the first to calculate exactly how much additional radiation obese patients receive from a CT scan. Research results show the internal organs of obese men receive 62 percent more radiation during a CT scan than those of normal weight men. For obese women, it was an increase of 59 percent.

New technology developed at Rensselaer by nuclear engineering expert X. George Xu could help solve this problem. Xu’s research team created ultra-realistic 3-D computer models of overweight and obese men and women, and used computer simulations to determine how X-rays interact with the different body types. These models, known as “phantoms,” can help empower physicians to configure and optimize CT scanning devices in such a way that minimizes how much radiation a patient receives.

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From Beaker to Bits: Unique Collaboration Between Biologists and Computer Scientists Creates Computational Model of Human Tissue PDF Print

New “Cell Graphs” Developed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Link Tissue Structure to Its Corresponding Biological Function

Computer scientists and biologists in the Data Science Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a rare collaboration between the two very different fields to pick apart a fundamental roadblock to progress in modern medicine. Their unique partnership has uncovered a new computational model called “cell graphs” that links the structure of human tissue to its corresponding biological function. The tool is a promising step in the effort to bring the power of computational science together with traditional biology to the fight against human diseases such as cancer.

The discovery follows a more than six-year collaboration, breaking ground in both fields. The work will serve as a new method to understand and predict relationships between the cells and tissues in the human body, which is essential to detect, diagnose, and treat human disease. It also serves as an important reminder of the power of collaboration in the scientific process.

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Rensselaer Biologists Uncover Surprising Connection Between Breast Cancer Cells and Surrounding Tissue PDF Print
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How cancerous breast cells interact with surrounding tissues
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A graphic representation of how cancerous breast cells interact with surrounding tissues.
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American Cancer Society-Funded Research Reveals Molecule Called Cadherin-23 Could Play a Role in the Earliest Stages of Breast Cancer

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Biologist Lee Ligon has found a previously unknown connection between breast cancer tumor cells and the surrounding healthy tissue. The results provide new information on the earliest stages of breast cancer metastasis.

The results were published March 7, 2012, in the journal PLoS One, in a paper titled “ Cadherin-23 Mediates Heterotypic Cell-Cell Adhesion between Breast Cancer Epithelial Cells and Fibroblasts.” Ligon was joined in the research by Rensselaer doctoral student Maria Apostolopoulou. The research was funded by the American Cancer Society.

The research shows that a specialized type of molecule called Cadherin-23 can be found in and around breast cancer tumors. The molecule, which had never been associated with breast tissue or cancer, helps connect cancerous tumor cells to its neighboring healthy tissue, called the stroma.

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