Duke Biomaterials Symposium Highlights Vibrant Research Community

August 23, 2019

Annual event features innovative research from biomaterials labs across Duke Engineering

A crowd listens to one of the speakers during the Duke BME Biomaterials Symposium

A crowd listens to one of the speakers during the Duke BME Biomaterials Symposium

The BME Biomaterials Symposium is an excellent place to start if you want to learn about the variety of biomaterials research within Duke University. With featured projects using novel materials for everything from healing wounds to boosting the effectiveness of stem cell therapies, the annual event hosted by Duke Biomedical Engineering each August provides PhD students with a chance to present their research to faculty and their peers.

“The goal for this symposium is to bring the Duke biomaterials community closer together so we can learn what others in our field are working on,” says event co-founder Tatiana Segura, a professor of biomedical engineering at Duke. “This year’s symposium was a great success in that regard.”

Duke Engineering is home to a diverse research community with a longstanding focus on biomaterials, a discipline that involves studying and designing synthetic materials and devices that can interact with biological systems. Multiple labs are focused on creating diverse types of biomaterials, including nanomaterials, immune-active materials, soft materials and scaffolds for tissue engineering. Others have developed implantable devices that can help deliver genes, drugs and even immune therapies.

The 2019 Biomaterials Symposium featured presentations from students in labs run by Tatiana Segura, Ashutosh Chilkoti, Joel Collier, Ravi Bellamkonda, Jennifer West (BME/MEMS) and Shyni Varghese (BME/MEMS/Orthopedics). Two workshops also gave students tips about data visualization and statistics and experimental design.

At the end of the event, faculty and student attendees voted on the top two presentations and a People’s Choice award:

  • Lucas Shores, a PhD student in the Collier lab, won first prize for his presentation, titled “A Nanofiber-based IL17 Peptide Vaccine for Treatment of Imiquimod-Induced Psoriasis,” which described his research using nanofiber-based biomaterials to treat plaque psoriasis.
  • Samagya Banskota, a PhD student in the Chilkoti lab, received second place for her presentation, “Genetically Encoded Intrinsically Disordered Zwitterionic Polypeptides (ZIPPs) for Drug Delivery.”
  • Yining Liu, a PhD student in the Segura lab, won the People’s Choice competition for her presentation, “Attenuated Macrophage Inflammatory Response in Microporous Annealed Particle (MAP) Gels.”

“It was great to see so many of our biomaterials labs participate. Even though many of us work in the same building in the same field, we can often build communities within our labs and not with each other,” says Shores, who also helped organize the event. “The biomaterials symposium gives a little glimpse into what your neighbors are doing, and I think these types of events can be the perfect place to get you thinking about the same questions in different ways.”

Learn more about materials research at Duke Engineering