A sophomore this fall pursuing mathematical and neurological studies at Carnegie Mellon University, Nitin will intern with Michael Sacks, PhD, of the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh and McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Broadly stated, his research focuses on the biomechanics of engineered tissues. One of the many areas of tissue engineering (TE), cardiac TE, offers the potential to create cardiac replacement structures containing living cells that can grow and remodel, overcoming the limitations of current heart valve devices. A long-term goal is to develop a rigorous, quantitative understanding of the biomechanical events that occur during in vivo remodeling, and to use this knowledge to develop functionally equivalent replacement tissue. During his summer research experience, Nitin will become immersed in these technologies and research inquiries.
Andrew Baum Brown University
A sophomore next year at Brown University, who is majoring in biomedicine and community health, Andrew is interning with Saleem Khan, PhD, at the University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry. His research will involve carrying out experiments dealing with genomic and proteomic analysis of human cancers. With respect to relevance to tissue engineering, the understanding of gene expression pathways in human cells in cancers can be used for diagnostic and prognostic purposes. Some hobbies of Andrew’s are singing, visual and performing arts & swing dancing. Andrew describes a perfect weekend in Pittsburgh to be one spent at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, as well as a visit to shops on the South Side.
Daniel Carlin Duke University
Currently an engineering freshman at Duke University, Daniel will be conducting his summer research under the tutelage of Lars Gilbertson, PhD, Co-Director of Spine Research at the University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine. Daniel’s research will involve in-vitro studies of intervertebral disc cells to determine how extracellular matrix synthesis can be boosted by gene therapy and/or stem cell therapy.
Robert Disantis Grove City College
Robert completed his freshman year at Grove City College this fall, where he is majoring in molecular biology. His PTEI summer internship will be with John Doctor, PhD., at Duquesne University, Bayer School of Biological Sciences, where his research will focus on cell culture analysis of biomaterial/cell interactions, to include evaluation of tissue engineering scaffolds and biomaterials.
Jennifer Erhart Pennsylvania State University (University Park)
A mechanical engineering senior at Pennsylvania State University, Jennifer will be interning with Joseph Ahearn, MD, Director of Research at the University or Pittsburgh, Arthritis Institute. Jennifer’s research will focus on the areas of immunology and autoimmune diseases. Her project in the lab will be related to the development of new therapies for the diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune disease, particularly lupus (SLE). This is the second consecutive summer that Jennifer will participate in the PTEI summer research program.
Kimberly Jenko University of North Carolina at Wilmington
Kimberly will be a senior at the University of North Carolina and is majoring in chemistry. She will be working this summer under the dual mentorship of Drs. Robert Rubin and Michael Rhodes, at the Allegheny-Singer Research Institute, Center for Neurosciences Research. During the summer her area of research will focus on sex differences and the influence of these sex differences on endocrine function. With respect to tissue engineering, the understanding of relevant sex differences in the brain and endocrine system may provide insight into potential differences that affect an organism’s acceptance of neural and other engineered tissue. Kimberly describes spending her free time swimming, traveling, and volunteering. The perfect weekend for her would be walking around the city with friends.
Nikhil Sunder Kekre Duke University
A junior at Duke University, Nikhil is majoring in Economics with a chemistry minor. During the summer, he will be interning with Johnny Huard, PhD, at the University of Pittsburgh/Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry and Bioengineering. Nikhil will investigate possible applications of gene therapy and tissue engineering for cardiac muscle repair.
Lauren Kokai University of Pittsburgh
A senior at the University of Pittsburgh where she majored in bioengineering, this summer will find Lauren working with Tracy Cui, MD, at the University of Pittsburgh, Bioengineering Department. Over the summer Lauren will be performing neural cell adhesion strength measurement using a spin disk device. Lauren will become familiar with cell culture and surface modification of biomaterials. In addition to her research interests, Lauren enjoys swimming, white water rafting, and volunteering at animal care facilities.
Joshua Levenson Amherst College
Joshua is currently a chemistry major at Amherst College. During the summer, he will intern with Garth Ehrlich, PhD, at the Allegheny-Singer Research Institute, Center of Genomic Sciences. As an intern in Dr. Ehrlich’s lab, he will work on obtaining full length cDNA clones using RACE for novel expressed genes that have been determined via SS-RTPCR and their analysis of a fetal wound-specific cDNA microarray that are differentially expressed in a fetal rabbit model of wound healing. As related to tissue engineering, the long-term goal is to use gene therapy or gene modulation in adults to recreate the scarless fetal wound healing process.
Adam Martinez Louisiana State University
An intern with Drs. David Vorp and Douglas Chew of the University of Pittsburgh, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Adam’s research focus will be to optimize culture conditions and bioreactor design for creating tissue engineered blood vessels. Adam will be a senior this fall at Louisiana State University, where he is majoring in Engineering. Adam’s hobbies are triathlons and football. He also enjoys watching the stock market.
Daniel Meikle Case Western Reserve University
Daniel will be a senior at Case Western Reserve University and is majoring in Biology. He is interning with James Wang, PhD, at the University of Pittsburgh, Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering. During his summer research experience, he will focus on enhancing the performance of a dynamic cell stretching system and examine fibroblast response to controlled dynamic stretching. Daniel enjoys music, mountain biking, and an occasional mystery novel.
Caitlyn Mooney University of Notre Dame
This summer will find Caitlyn working with Constance Chu, MD, Orthopaedic Surgeon and Director of the Cartilage Restoration Program at the University of Pittsburgh, where her research will focus on using advanced imaging and molecular techniques on the role of selected growth factors in stimulating or maintaining a cartilage cell phenotype. She will be a junior at the University of Notre Dame in the fall, where she is majoring science, with emphasis on chemistry. Caitlyn enjoys running and riding horses. A well-spent weekend in Pittsburgh would be enjoying herself at Kennywood.
Holly Nadorlik St. Francis University
A biology major, Holly will start her senior year at St. Francis University this fall. She will spend her summer working in the laboratory of Robert Parker, PhD, at the University of Pittsburgh, in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering where her she will be investigating the development of optimal insulin delivery profiles for insulindependent diabetic patients. Some of Holly’s hobbies include playing golf and tennis. She would spend a weekend in Pittsburgh shopping at the Waterfront.
Vishal Patel Georgia Institute of Technology
Vishal will be a senior at Georgia Institute of Technology, where he is majoring in mechanical engineering. His summer research internship is with Jeffrey Hollinger, PhD, Director of the Bone Tissue Engineering Center at Carnegie Mellon University. His summer research will find Vishal researching the investigation of combinatoria tissue-engineering approaches to enhance bone regeneration. Vishal has found some of his favorite Pittsburgh-based activities to include a visit to the Carnegie Museum and a stroll through the downtown area.
Sagar Shah Clemson University
Sagar will be a senior this fall at Clemson University, where he is majoring in Biological Sciences. Sagar will be interning with Xinyan Tracy Cui, PhD, at the University of Pittsburgh, Department of Bioengineering, where the focus of his research is on the adhesion of adipose-derived stem cells (ADSC’s) on conductive polymer surfaces. Sagar enjoys playing soccer and tending to his stamp and pen/pencil collection.
Qing Yang Yale University
Qing completed her sophomore year at Yale University where she is majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Development Biology. She is interning with William Federspiel, PhD, Director of the Artificial Lung Lab at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research will focus on microfabrication and tissue engineering techniques to develop biohybrid artificial lungs. Qing enjoys Chinese alternative medicines and sciences. Qing believes a visit to Falling Waters is a great way to spend a weekend in Pittsburgh.