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Building Bones with Eggshells and Origami

Move the human story forward! ™ ideaXme

Release Date: 11/04/2020

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Ira Pastor ideaXme life sciences ambassador interviews Dr. Gulden Camci-Unal, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department Chemical Engineering, Francis College of Engineering, UMass Lowell.

Ira Pastor comments:

A few episodes ago ideaXme hosted the University of Michigan’s Dr. Bruce Carlson. We spoke to him about the interesting topic of the importance of "substrate" in regenerative processes, for both the maintenance of normal tissue functions, and in the migration of cells or changes to tissue architecture that are part of healing processes. Substrate is broadly defined as the surface or material on, or from which, cells / tissues live, grow, or obtain nourishment, and have both biochemical, as well as biomechanical functions.

Today, on ideaXme we are joined Dr. Gulden Camci-Unal, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department Chemical Engineering, Francis College of Engineering, UMass Lowell. Dr Camci-Unal received her Ph.D. in Chemistry at Iowa State University (USA) and her M.Sc. and B.Sc. degrees both in Chemical Engineering at Middle East Technical University (Turkey). Dr. Camci-Unal’s research is at the interface of biomaterials and bioengineering, including the design, synthesis, and characterization of functional biomaterials for applications in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, development of in vitro disease models for personalized medicine, as well as work in the area low-cost point of care diagnostics.

Her work interestingly brings in another interesting theme that we’ve touched on past shows, that of biomimicry, and looking at structures in nature, such as eggshells, plant leaves, marine sponges, and origami paper(!), to help guide viable and cost-effective bioengineering strategies. The overarching goal of her research is to improve human health and quality of life and she has made important contributions in generation of novel engineered platforms for cardiac, cardiovascular and bone tissue engineering.

Dr. Camci-Unal’s research and teaching achievements include various awards such as the Iowa State University Teaching Excellence Award, Wakonse Fellowship, NSF ADVANCE Travel Award, Chevron-Phillips Award, Procter & Gamble Fellowship, and finalist for BioFlux Innovation Award. Her research has resulted in dozens of published manuscripts and conference abstracts, and patent applications so far. Dr. Camci-Unal’s work has been published in high impact journals such as Advanced Materials, Nature Asia Materials, JACS, Biomaterials, Lab on a Chip, Soft Matter, and Tissue Engineering. She is an Editorial Board member of Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group), Journal of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, Regenerative Medicine Research, International Journal of Cardiovascular Research, International Journal of Bioprinting, and Journal of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering.

On this episode we will hear from Dr. Camci-Unal about : 

- Her background - how she developed an interest in science, in chemical engineering, and in regenerative medicine - An overview of her work in the area of novel bio-materials for regenerative medicine and the importance of inexpensive substrates for wide scale, cost effective use within the global population - An overview of the themes of "origami-inspired tissue engineering", and "organ-on-paper disease models" - Her future visions for clinical translation of such tools  - Current work in the field of low-cost point of care diagnostics for Covid-19.

Credits: Ira Pastor, ideaXme ambassador interview.

This interview is in American English.

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