Joining Minghao Rostami’s prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER grant, which started this August and runs for five years, three other professors in the Department of Mathematics—Jani Onninen, Dan Coman and Lixin Shen—were awarded NSF grants for their ongoing work, and two…
BioInspired Institute Hosts Inaugural Research Symposium Oct. 7
BioInspired Institute faculty and student researchers, along with campus leaders, community biotech and biomaterials workforce innovators and institutional research partners will gather to discuss progress, celebrate discoveries and build community at the inaugural BioInspired Symposium on Friday, Oct. 7.
The conference takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Life Sciences Complex atrium. It is the first time the institute has been able to host an in-person gathering of like-minded individuals for a formal scientific conference since waves of COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021 postponed original plans.
Attendees will focus on the institute’s work developing drugs, designing smart materials, examining mechanical forces to control living tissues and forming new insights and technologies to advance interdisciplinary research related to challenges in health, medicine and materials innovation.
Scheduled to speak are Chancellor Kent Syverud; Vice Chancellor, Provost and Chief Academic Officer Gretchen Ritter; College of Arts and Sciences Interim Dean Lois Agnew and Interim Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs in the College of Engineering and Computer Science Dacheng Ren. Institute Director Lisa Manning, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Physics and Associate Director James Henderson, associate professor of biomedical and chemical engineering, will recap activities and achievements of the past three years.
Manning says the event will highlight work by rising star faculty members, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows who are learning and working in the institute’s labs. Projects include those like Assistant Professor Mary Beth Monroe’s efforts to develop new anti-microbial materials to staunch wounds and promote healing and Assistant Professor Alison Patteson’s study of cancer cell migration and work to identify new targets for anti-viral therapies.
Keynote: Nanoscience Researcher
Rein Ulijn, director of the Nanoscience Initiative at the Advanced Science Research Center at the City University of New York, will present a keynote address detailing the current state and future direction of large-scale interdisciplinary research and what substantial financial support can mean to those types of institutes and their researchers.
The event also features two graduate student and postdoctoral researcher poster sessions and student and faculty lightning talks. Prizes will be awarded for best overall posters and for the research concept having the best commercialization potential. Two Stevenson Biomaterials poster awards will also be presented.
Showcasing Hard Work
“Faculty, students and postdocs in the BioInspired Institute have been working hard over the past few years to drive forward cutting-edge collaborative research at the intersection of materials and living systems, and we are so excited to have this opportunity to celebrate that work and share it with the broader University community,” says Manning. “We’re also bringing in industry experts with the goal of driving our research toward societal impact and contributing to the local biotech and materials workforce.”
Big Gathering, Big Picture
Jeremy Steinbacher, the institute’s director of operations, says the conference also helps cement the institute’s vision across the University, within the surrounding community and with its external advisory board. “It gives people a context for what’s happening at the institute and those conversations help everyone see the big picture of what we are doing here and why,” Steinbacher says. “It’s an important step for growing our community and building trust and transparency with our members. It’s also a great opportunity for students to get feedback on their work from researchers just down the hall, from folks across campus and from those outside of the University.”
He says the institute looks forward to hosting an annual conference to maintain community-building momentum and help build efforts toward attaining large interdisciplinary funding mechanisms.
Duncan Brown, the University’s vice president for research, says the full-day symposium is an exciting opportunity for BioInspired to showcase the innovative research being performed by its faculty and students. “BioInspired is performing transformative research at the national and international level. The symposium is a wonderful opportunity for the Syracuse University community to learn more about the impact of this research. It will stimulate the exchange of ideas between researchers at Syracuse and beyond.”
The University’s BioInspired Institute arose from the “bioinspired science and technology” cluster proposal, one of 10 research clusters the University developed to promote world-class interdisciplinary research. Its mission is to quantitatively understand and control complex biological systems and design smart materials to address grand challenges in health, medicine and materials innovation. Its three focus areas are smart materials, mechanics of development and disease, and form and function.
Following the event, institute leaders will hold discussions with members of its external advisory board. They include Denis Discher, the Robert D. Bent chaired professor and director of the Physical Sciences Oncology Center, the University of Pennsylvania; Barry Goldman, founder and CSO, Pluton Bio; Ahna Skop, professor of genetics at University of Wisconsin-Madison; Adam Summers, associate director, Friday Harbor Laboratories and associate professor of biology at the University of Washington; Kandice Tanner, senior investigator in the Laboratory of Cell Biology at the National Cancer Institute; Win Thurlow, executive director of MedTech, a New York-based bio/med trade association; Ulijn, from Hunter College at the City University of New York; and Rae Robertson-Anderson, University Professor at the University of San Diego. Local collaborative partners include SUNY Upstate Medical University and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.