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May 22, 2017

New chair named for Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering


By Walter Rich, Emory University
Susan Margulies, PhD, has been named the Wallace H. Coulter Chair of the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at Georgia Tech and Emory University, and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Injury Biomechanics. Her appointments are effective August 1.

Margulies is currently professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society and Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
"Dr. Margulies will be an outstanding addition and leader for our joint Department of Biomedical Engineering," says David S. Stephens, MD, interim dean, Emory University School of Medicine and vice president for research, Woodruff Health Sciences Center. "Throughout her career, she has distinguished herself as an educator, scientist, mentor, and a national and international leader in the biomedical sciences, and I look forward to working with her in our many shared initiatives."

As the new chair, Margulies will oversee a department that is consistently ranked as one of the nation's most prominent programs of its kind in both graduate and undergraduate education. Currently, U.S. News & World Report ranks the joint Georgia Tech/Emory biomedical engineering graduate program #3 in the United States and the undergraduate program #1. It is the largest BME department in the country, with 72 faculty at Georgia Tech and Emory and more than 1,500 undergraduate and graduate students.

"Without a doubt, Susan is the very best person to lead the joint biomedical engineering department into the future," says Gary S. May, dean of the Georgia Tech College of Engineering. "She is an active researcher and highly regarded educator. Susan has the vision, scholarship and experience in fields critical to the department that make her ideally suited and prepared to lead."

The Coulter Department, which was launched in 1997, is a visionary partnership between a leading public engineering school and a highly respected private medical school. The department uses the latest engineering technologies, clinical insights and biological approaches to address unmet clinical challenges in pediatric bioengineering, immunoengineering, regenerative medicine, cardiovascular and neural engineering, imaging and biomedical computing.

"I speak for all Wallace H. Coulter Department members in stating how delighted we are to welcome Susan Margulies as our incoming chair," says Ross Ethier, interim chair, Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering and a GRA Eminent Scholar. "Susan has a remarkable track record as a scholar, teacher, academic leader and role model. She brings a deep understanding of both engineering and medicine, and how they can work synergistically in the field of biomedical engineering for the benefit of patients and society. She will further strengthen the Emory-Georgia Tech relationship, and will sustain the strong tradition of excellence and innovation that have characterized the Coulter Department since its establishment."

 
 
 
 
 

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May 8, 2017

Georgia State: Researcher Gets $2.3 Million Grant to Study How to Reduce Tumor Growth in Lung Cancer


By LaTina Emerson, Georgia State University
Dr. Ming-Hui Zou, director of the Center for Molecular & Translational Medicine and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Molecular Medicine, has received a five-year, $2.3 million federal grant to study how to reduce lung cancer tumor growth.

In the United States, more people die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2013, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 212,584 people were diagnosed with lung cancer and 156,176 people died from lung cancer.

As cancer develops, tumor cells release substances that promote the formation of new blood vessels, known as pro-angiogenic factors, by stimulating a response from endothelial cells, which line the inner walls of blood vessels. This leads to increased angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels), tumor growth and the spread of cancer.

With this knowledge, scientists have developed therapies that target vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a potent angiogenic factor. However, the benefits of anti-VEGF therapies are often temporary because tumors become resistant to this therapy and start inducing new blood vessel formation with other pro-angiogenic factors. As a result, there’s an urgent need to find novel targets for treatment.

This grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health will help Zou determine the molecular mechanism by which Liver Kinase B1 (LKB1), a tumor suppressor gene, suppresses transcriptional (gene) expression and activity of VEGF, NRP-1 and other pro-angiogenic factors, resulting in a reduction in tumor growth and a restriction in blood supply to tumors.

“The completion of this project will allow us to identify that enhancing LKB1 activity or expression is not only beneficial in suppressing cancer progression/metastasis but also in treating ischemic heart diseases,” Zou said.

The project has three aims. The first aim is to establish if LKB1 leads to decreased VEGF expression through impeding the activation of transcription, the first step of gene expression, in endothelial cells. The second aim is to establish if LKB1 suppresses NRP-1 and other non-VEGF growth factor-mediated angiogenesis in tumor cells. The third aim is to determine the contribution of LKB1 down-regulation of VEGF and NRP-1 within the vascular niche in mice.

An abstract of the grant, 1R01CA213022-01, is available at NIH’s Project RePORTer website.
For more information about the Center for Molecular & Translational Medicine, visit http://medicine.gsu.edu.
 
 

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May 8, 2017

Emory Center for AIDS Research receives $10 million NIH renewal


By Emory University
The Center for AIDS Research at Emory University (CFAR) received a five-year, $10 million award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to further its work in decreasing HIV incidence, improving the well-being of infected individuals, training the next generation of researchers and clinical leaders, and ultimately finding a vaccine and cure for HIV.

Part of a national network of 20 leading research universities supported by the NIH, CFAR provides administrative and shared research support to enhance and coordinate HIV/AIDS research and supports development of early career investigators pursuing HIV/AIDS research. Centers for AIDS Research compete for funding renewal every five years and must demonstrate continued research growth, achievement in addressing the AIDS epidemic, and provide evidence of an impact in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

CFAR at Emory University is co-directed by Carlos del Rio, MD, Hubert Professor and chair of the Department of Global Health at the Rollins School of Public Health, James W. Curran, MD, MPH, the James W. Curran Dean of the Rollins School of Public Health, and Eric Hunter, Ph.D., Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. For nearly two decades, CFAR has made significant strides in addressing the AIDS epidemic through clinical, basic, and prevention science. 
 
 
 

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