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Public Interest Research Forums

The Center for Biotechnology & Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS) is pleased to continue our ongoing series of public events in 2014 and 2015. The series introduces the public, surrounding business community, and Rensselaer community to the life-saving and high-tech research ongoing at CBIS. The forums are an opportunity to open the doors of this top research facility to the public. All are held in the spacious CBIS Auditorium on the Troy campus.

The current year program schedule is being finalized. To be sure you receive notices of new events as they are published, please visit our Contact page and subscribe to our email notices.

Sharing Cutting Edge Research

As we celebrate 10 years at the frontiers of biomedical engineering, interweaving life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering into biotechnology, the Public Interest Forums are an important vehicle for sharing our work in the community where we live and work. Since inaugurating the series in March 2011, CBIS has offered talks spanning many disciplines, including: 

  • “Making Medications Safer” March 10, 2011. Introduced by Rensselaer President Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, this forum included an introduction and open discussion with top Rensselaer researchers, including Jonathan Dordick, CBIS Director and the Howard P. Isermann ’42 Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering; Angel Garcia, Senior Constellation Professor for Biocomputation and Bioinformatic; and Robert Linhardt, the Ann and John H. Broadbent Jr. ’59 Senior Constellation Professor of Biocatalysis and Metabolic Engineering.
  • “Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease” November 3, 2011 in the CBIS Auditorium. The forum included a discussion with top Rensselaer researchers Peter Tessier, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering; Chunyu Wang, associate professor of biology; and Wilfredo Colón, associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology. Each of these researchers discussed their work in the lab to understand Alzheimer’s disease and efforts to develop new treatment methods for the complex brain illness.
  • “Battling Superbugs” February 7, 2012. This forum featured top Rensselaer researchers Ravi Kane, the P.K. Lashmet Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering; Blanca Barquera, associate professor of biology; and Cynthia Collins, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering. Each of these researchers discussed their work in the lab to understand complex and potentially lethal bacteria and the hunt for new ways to stop their spread. Together, their work extends from understanding bacterial growth in space to the development of new antibiotics and antibacterial surfaces inspired by nature.
  • “The Promise of Stem Cell Research” Friday, June 22, 2012. Following opening remarks by Shirley Ann Jackson, President, RPI; we heard from Honorable Nirav Shah, Commissioner, New York State DOH; and then CBIS Director, Jonathan Dordick, Howard P. Isermann '42 Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering.  Panel discussions by Rensselaer researchers included "The Challenges and Promise of Stem Cell Research"  by Glenn Monastersky, CBIS Director of Operations and Professor of Practice, Biomedical Engineering, Director, Rensselaer Center for Stem Cell Research; "Neural Progenitor Cell Response to Hemodynamically-Stimulated Endothelial Derived Extracellular Matrix and Soluble Factors" by Deanna Thompson, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering; and "Biomaterial Design for Spinal Cord and Stem Cell Therapies" by Ryan Gilbert, Assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering. 
  • “Rebuilding and Healing the Human Body” Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012. This forum featured presentations by Rensselaer researchers Mariah Hahn, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Guohao Dai, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering; and Pankaj Karande, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering. Jonathan S. Dordick, then CBIS Director and the Howard P. Isermann ’42 Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering provided an introduction to the topic. Glenn Monastersky, Director of Operations and Associate Director of CBIS, and Biomedical Engineering Professor of Practice, moderated a panel discussion following the presentations.
  • “Women’s Health” Thursday, March 27, 2014. This program included presentations of current research on osteoporosis, breast cancer, and cardiovascular health. Moderator and CBIS Associate Director Glenn Monastersky made opening comments. Deepak Vashishth, current CBIS director and Professor of Biomedical Engineering addressed the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis, as well as the center’s work on bone tissue engineering. Lee Ligon, associate professor of biology, discussed breast cancer research, and Rebecca Keller, associate professor of cardiovascular science at Albany Medical College, spoke about cardiovascular and heart issues, especially as they relate to women’s health. The speaker comments were followed by a moderated panel discussion, with questions from the audience.

Opened in 2004, the Rensselaer Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies is among the world’s most advanced biotechnology research facilities. CBIS provides a state-of-the-art platform for collaborative research. At CBIS, faculty and students in diverse academic and research disciplines are crossing the divide between the life sciences and engineering to encourage discovery and innovation. Four biotechnology research constellations - biocatalysis and metabolic engineering, functional tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, biocomputation and bioinformatics, and integrative systems biology - engage a multidisciplinary mix of faculty and students to help create new technologies that will save and improve the lives of people around the world.