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Welcome to the Spring 2013 issue of the
UW Bioengineering e-news

Dear Friends, Colleagues and Alumni,

Paul Yager We’re glad to present the Spring 2013 issue of the UW Bioengineering e-newsletter. As the 2012-13 academic year starts to wrap up, we would like to share news about what has been happening in the department in the past few months. From interesting new research findings, to new partnerships with industry and government entities, to recognition for people who are excelling in the field, there has been much to be excited about in UW Bioengineering.

First, we are proud to announce a new endowed fellowship for graduate students that is being supported by Philips Healthcare, one of the leading biomedical companies in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. This fellowship will support a UW Bioengineering doctoral student studying cardiovascular issues; initially, the program will focus on medical imaging, an active product area for Philips. The fellowship will be part of the existing Bioengineering Cardiovascular Training Grant (BCTG) program, a longstanding training program in our department that has been supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). You can read more about the new fellowship in this issue of the newsletter.

Read on to learn about two major research developments in our department. In the first of these articles, we recount the efforts of a team led by Vice-Chair Dr. Michael Regnier and Dr. Charles Murry details its efforts to use gene therapy to repair heart muscle tissue that has been damaged in a heart attack. Drs. Regnier and Murry are already working with the company BEAT BioTherapeutics to translate these findings into a clinical intervention that may one day help people who have suffered heart muscle tissue loss after a heart attack. The other notable research article featured in this issue details the work of Dr. Xiaohu Gao and his colleagues, who have developed a new method for imaging biomarkers linked to cancer in tissue samples. Their method increases the number of illuminated biomarkers by a factor of 10, and could be very helpful in basic research and clinical analysis of cancerous cells.

In this issue, we are happy to share with you news about recent honors and events in our department: the induction of two of our faculty members into the AIMBE College of Fellows (AIMBE is one of the leading professional organizations in bioengineering); a new department scholarship fund funded by Stratos, a product development company based in Seattle; an event hosted by UW Bioengineering and the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research that encouraged young people to think about ethics, medicine, and biomedical research; and other stories.

We hope you enjoy this update on some of the great work being done in UW Bioengineering. And as always, let us know what you like about the newsletter, what else you might like to see, or just stay in touch, by emailing our editors at


Paul Yager, Ph.D., Professor and Chair
Hunter and Dorothy Simpson Endowed Chair in Bioengineering
Department of Bioengineering
University of Washington


New student fellowship endowed by Philips will be aligned with longstanding training grant in cardiovascular medicine and bioengineering
Philips, the international health and electronics company, is endowing a new student fellowship in the UW Department of Bioengineering that will be aligned with a longstanding NIH-sponsored fellowship program in cardiovascular medicine and engineering. The new Philips Fellow will work in concert with the Bioengineering Cardiovascular Training Grant (BCTG) program, which provides financial support and research and training opportunities to UW Bioengineering doctoral students studying cardiovascular issues. Read more...


BIOE_YouthSummit2 NWABR’s Youth Ethics Summit brings young people to UW Bioengineering to learn about science, engineering, and ethics
In March, UW Bioengineering and NWABR, the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research, partnered on the Youth Ethics Summit. This event brings together young people from across the Puget Sound region to learn about and discuss science, engineering, and ethical issues relevant to their lives. Read more...


Xiaohu Gao leads team that developed method to pinpoint proteins in cancer cells Quantum dots
UW Bioengineering associate professor Dr. Xiaohu Gao leads a team which has developed a new method for color-coding cells, allowing scientists to test for up to 100 biomarkers in a single cell. This method is a 10-fold improvement upon the current research standard, and offers a relatively low-cost and simple approach to cancer research and treatment. Dr. Gao hopes to collaborate with companies and other researchers to automate and translate this process into clinical use. The research, co-published by UW Bioengineering postdoctoral associate Dr. Pavel Zrazhevskiy, appeared recently in the journal Nature Communications. Read more...


Gene therapy project led by Regnier and Murry may aid failing hearts Mike Regnier
UW Bioengineering professors Dr. Michael Regnier and Dr. Chuck Murry (joint professor in Pathology and Cardiology) are exploring the potential of gene therapy to increase heart muscle function. Their findings in a recent study suggest that it might be possible to use this approach to treat patients whose hearts have been weakened by heart attacks and other heart conditions. The research was published in March in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read more...


Kim Woodrow UW Bioengineering news briefs
UW Bioengineering honors three people in 2013 BIOE Awards … Deok-Ho Kim receives support from MDA for research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy … Castner and Gao elected fellows of AIMBE … Seattle firm Stratos forms endowment fund for education in UW Bioengineering … Kim Woodrow included in Newsweek/The Daily Beast's 125 Women of Impact List