By Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D.
Last week, I was pleased to learn two of my former students completed the rigorous process of receiving tenure and promotion.
Justin Brown of Penn State University received tenure and promotion to associate professor. In 2008, Professor Brown received his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from my lab at the University of Virginia. In 2010, He joined to the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Penn State as assistant professor in 2010. His current research involves the investigation of the interface between osteoprogenitor cells and synthetic nanofibers. This includes the application of systems biology to elucidate the alterations in the interactome of an osteoprogenitor on nanofiber substrates as the cell population progresses from adhesion, to migration and proliferation, and finally differentiation; and also the utilization of polymer chemistry to modulate the diameter of synthetic nanofibers across several orders of magnitude and evaluate the subsequent alterations and interactions of focal adhesion proteins.
Ehsan Jabbarzadeh of the University of South Carolina also received tenure and promotion to associate professor. He received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from my lab at Drexel in 2007. Three years later, he joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at University of South Carolina as an assistant professor. The overarching theme of Professor Jabbarzadeh’s research include robust design and engineering of tissues through understanding and modeling of the environmental effects on stem cell differentiation and tissue remodeling and development. This includes engineering microenvironments based on carbon nanotube arrays with finely controllable biophysical and biochemical properties for the investigation of molecular mechanisms associated with cell migration, proliferation and differentiation. Investigations in his lab revolve around how cells sense distinctive types of mechanical, biochemical and morphological cues and integrate them to generate an appropriate response. This work is complemented by a parallel effort to construct a single cell based mathematical model of intercellular signaling events that are linked to signaling outputs associated with fate commitment.
I offer each my enthusiastic congratulations!