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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Controlling Protein Function With Nanotechnology PDF Print

Front and back face of Cytochrome C



A new study led by nanotechnology and biotechnology experts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is providing important details on how proteins in our bodies interact with nanomaterials. In their new study, published in the Feb. 2 online edition of the journal Nano Letters, the researchers developed a new tool to determine the orientation of proteins on different nanostructures. The discovery is a key step in the effort to control the orientation, structure, and function of proteins in the body using nanomaterials.

“To date, very little is known about how proteins interact with a surface at the nanoscale,” said Jonathan Dordick, director of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies at Rensselaer (CBIS), the Howard P. Isermann ’42 Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and co-corresponding author of the study. “With a better understanding of how a protein interacts with a surface, we can develop custom nanoscale surfaces and design proteins that can do a variety of amazing tasks in the human body.”

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Implantable, Wireless Sensors Share Secrets of Healing Tissues PDF Print

Engineering Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Create Smart Sensors To Help Personalize Medicine by Wirelessly Transmitting Data From Orthopedic Surgery Site

A new implantable sensor developed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute can wirelessly transmit data from the site of a recent orthopedic surgery. Inexpensive to make and highly reliable, this new sensor holds the promise of more accurate, more cost-effective, and less invasive post-surgery monitoring and diagnosis.

Following an orthopedic procedure, surgeons usually rely on X-rays or MRIs to monitor the progress of their patient’s recovery. The new sensors, created by Rensselaer faculty researcher Eric Ledet, would instead give surgeons detailed, real-time information from the actual surgery site. This in vivo data could lead to more accurate assessments of a patient’s recovery, or provide better insight into potential complications.

The wireless sensor measures only 4 millimeters in diameter and 500 microns thick. It needs no battery, no external power, and requires no electronics within the body. Instead, the sensor is powered by the external device, which is also used to capture the sensor data.

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Rensselaer Professor Ryan Gilbert Receives NSF CAREER Award PDF Print
Young Faculty Researcher at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute To Develop New Biomaterials for Treating Spinal Cord Injuries

Ryan Gilbert, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has won a prestigious Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Gilbert will use the projected five-year, $500,000 award to develop new biomaterials for the treatment of spinal cord injuries. 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.

“We congratulate Dr. Gilbert for being selected to receive an NSF CAREER Award to support his leading-edge biomaterials research,” said David Rosowsky, dean of the School of Engineering at Rensselaer. “The CAREER Award is one of the highest honors a young faculty member can receive, and Ryan is certainly deserving of this national recognition.”

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Rensselaer President and Three Institute Researchers to Deliver ‘Ideas Lab’ Presentation at World Economic Forum PDF Print

President Shirley Ann Jackson To Lead Presentation on Taking Concepts From the University Setting Into Commercial Arenas

Photo Credit: World Economic Forum

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson and three top researchers from the Institute have been invited to deliver an “Ideas Lab” presentation at the World Economic Forum Jan. 25-29 in Davos, Switzerland.

They will give a presentation at 9 a.m. local time Jan. 27, entitled “Concept to Commerce With Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.” The presentation will explain how the transformation of Rensselaer has fueled development of ideas that move from the laboratory into commercial applications, leading to technological and other advances that improve our lives.

The 2012 World Economic Forum, titled “The Great Transformation: Shaping New Models,” will focus on global risks. The annual event is staged by an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.

President Jackson, the 18th president of Rensselaer and professor of physics and engineering sciences, will be joined by the following Institute researchers for the Davos presentation:

  • Jonathan Dordick – director of the Rensselaer Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Howard P. Isermann ’42 Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Richard W. Siegel – director of the Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center, and the Robert W. Hunt Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
  • Boleslaw Szymanski – director of the Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center, and the Claire and Roland Schmitt Distinguished Professor of Computer Science
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