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Click here to read the Winter 2014 ICM eNews.

ICM’s First Computational Medicine Night was a Hit

Date: April 17, 2015

Computational Medicine Night receptionThe Institute for Computational Medicine successfully hosted its very first Computational Medicine Night on March 24th. Thirty-five posters wrapped the third floor of Hackerman Hall, as nearly eighty attendees waited enthusiastically for the night to begin. Dr. Raimond Winslow, the Director of the Institute for Computational Medicine, kicked things off with a warm welcoming speech. The night was then divided into three parts – undergraduate presentations, meet and eat, and panel discussion.

Ten ICM undergraduates presented their current lab research. With coconut chicken skewers in hand, guests then toured ICM labs, viewed posters, and mingled with members of the ICM community. The night concluded with a panel discussion led by Assistant Professor Feilim Mac Gabhann.

This open house-like event served as the perfect opportunity for JHU undergrads to enhance their understanding of ICM and the Computational Medicine minor that ICM anticipates will be available in the fall.

Look for more information regarding next year’s Computational Medicine Night in the spring of 2016.

Computational Medicine Night reception   Computational Medicine Night reception

Kaitlyn Whyte awarded Student Employee of the Year

Date: April 13, 2015

Biomedical Engineering junior Kaitlyn Whyte has received 3rd place honors for Johns Hopkins University 2015 Student Employee of the Year. For the past year, Kaitlyn has been working in the lab of Natalia Trayanova, Murray B. Sachs Professor of Biomedical Engineering and the Institute for Computational Medicine, under the supervision of Assistant Research Scientist Patrick Boyle and predoctoral student Sohail Zahid.

Congratulations, Kaitlyn!

Postdoc Arevalo wins Merit Award at Gordon Research Conference

Date: April 10, 2015

Hermenegild Arevalo, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Natalia Trayanova, Murray B. Sachs Professor of Biomedical Engineering and the Institute for Computational Medicine, received a merit award in the poster competition at the 7th Gordon Research Conference on Cardiac Arrhythmia Mechanisms held in Il Ciocco, Italy on March 22-27, 2015. Hermenegild’s poster was entitled “Virtual electrophysiological study improves risk prediction of adverse cardiac events in post-infarction patients”.

Hermenegild’s research aims to translate computational tools into clinically utility. His approach utilizes simulations with patient-specific computer models to predict the susceptibility of patients to lethal arrhythmias. This methodology provides a non-invasive, safe, and accurate way to identify patients that could benefit from prophylactic implantable cardioverter defibrillators.

Congratulations, Hermenegild!

Sohail Zahid receives NSF Fellowship

Date: April 9, 2015

Sohail Zahid a predoctoral student in the lab of Murray B. Sachs Professor of Biomedical Engineering and ICM core faculty member Natalia Trayanova, has been awarded a 2015 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. The fellowship program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported STEM disciplines who are pursuing research-based graduate degrees in the United States. Under the fellowship, Sohail will continue his research in tools to noninvasively identify where atrial arrhythmias occur using patient-specific, MRI-based computer models and investigate potential ablation therapies which can be translated to improve clinical outcomes. “I am incredibly honored to receive this award,” said Sohail. “I am fortunate to learn in such an amazing atmosphere.” The fellowship provides a stipend of $34,000 and $12,000 in tuition support each year, for up to three years.

Congratulations on your award, Sohail!

Ukwatta poster awarded first prize at 13th Imaging Network Ontario Symposium

Date: April 8, 2015

Eranga Ukwatta, a postdoctoral Fellow in the lab of Natalia A. Trayanova, Murray B. Sachs Professor of Biomedical Engineering and the Institute for Computational Medicine, received first place for his poster at the 13th Imaging Network Ontario Symposium in London, Ontario, Canada.

Eranga's research work is driven by the emerging need for robust image processing methodologies for patient specific analysis and modeling of cardiovascular structure and function from medical images. His presented research entitled “Image-based Personalized Analysis and Modeling of Cardiac Structure and Function: A Robust Method for Automatic Left-Ventricular Infarct Segmentation” was on development of an algorithm to segment infarct regions of a diseased heart from magnetic resonance imaging for personalized modeling of cardiac electrophysiology.

The Symposium was held on March 30 & 31, 2015. More information on the symposium can be found here. Click here for more about Imaging Network Ontario.

Congratulations Eranga!

Dr. Natalia Trayanova to give plenary lecture at 2015 Cardiac Electrophysiology Satellite Program

Date: April 8, 2015

Natalia A. Trayanova, Murray B. Sachs Professor of Biomedical Engineering and the Institute for Computational Medicine, is scheduled to present the plenary lecture at the 2015 Cardiac Electrophysiology Satellite Program on Saturday, April 11. This program is a satellite of the 2015 Cardiac Physiome Society Workshop being held at the ANZ Viaduct Events Center, Auckland, New Zealand. Dr. Trayanova's lecture is entitled "How heart modeling can improve patient care".

For more information on the 2015 Cardiac Physiome Society Workshop, view their website here.

Margo Heston receives Fulbright Scholarship

Date: April 5, 2015

Margo Heston
Margo Heston
Margo Heston, a senior in the department of Biomedical Engineering, has received the Fulbright Scholarship to travel to Poland. Margo is a member of the BME student team who developed Speech Banana, an iPad app designed to provide free auditory training for hearing aid and cochlear implant users. She works under the mentorship of Tilak Ratnanather, Associate Research Professor of Biomedical Engineering and core faculty member of the Institute for Computational Medicine and the Center for Imaging Science. While abroad, Margo intends to teach English to Polish STEM students at the university level and to broaden the user population for Speech Banana by developing a Polish version. Margo’s research interests include medical device design, computational modeling, and cognitive effects of auditory training.

Congratulations, Margo, on your many accomplishments while at Hopkins!


President Obama Honors Tilak Ratnanather with Presidential Mentoring Award

Date: March 30, 2015

Professor Tilak Ratnanather
Professor Tilak Ratnanather
On March 27, President Obama named Tilak Ratnanather among just 14 individuals to newly receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM).

The PAESMEM is awarded by the White House to individuals and organizations to recognize the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science and engineering—particularly those who belong to groups that are underrepresented in these fields. Announcing the awards, President Obama stated, “These educators are helping to cultivate America’s future scientists, engineers and mathematicians. They open new worlds to their students, and give them the encouragement they need to learn, discover and innovate. That’s transforming those students’ futures, and our nation’s future, too.”

Tilak Ratnanather, Associate Research Professor of Biomedical Engineering and a core faculty member of both the Institute for Computational Medicine and the Center for Imaging Science, has devoted his career to recruiting and mentoring deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals into STEM fields. His motivation is built on his conviction that these individuals are uniquely positioned to make significant advances in STEM, particularly in auditory-related sciences and medicine.

Awardees will receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation and will be honored at a White House ceremony later this year. Congratulations, Tilak, on this remarkable achievement!

More information:
White House Press Release, March 27, 2015
Learn more about Tilak Ratnanather and his mentoring philosophy here on the Hub.

Sue Kulason receives Fulbright Scholarship

Date: March 27, 2015

Sue Kulason
Sue Kulason
Sue Kulason, a second year graduate student in the department of Biomedical Engineering, the Center Imaging Science and Institute for Computational Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, received the Fulbright Scholarship to travel to the Centre de mathématiques et de leurs applications (CMLA) at the École Normale Supérieure de Cachan, France. She will be working on a year long neurodegenerative modeling project with Dr. Alain Trouvé's lab. The goal of the project is to 1) measure the accuracy and sensitivity of methods used to detect changes in brain shape from high resolution MRI scans and 2) determine where atrophy occurs that explains the shape changes seen in Alzheimer's Disease. The study will focus on three areas of the brain that are most closely associated with Alzheimer's Disease: hippocampus, amygdala, and entorhinal cortex. A new mechanistic cell layer model will be coupled with a sophisticated method to detect shape change in MRI (Large Deformation Diffeomorphic Metric Mapping) to investigate the mechanisms of atrophy in Alzheimer's Disease.

Congratulations Sue, and good luck with your research!

Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine features Trayanova lab research on cover

Date: March 11, 2015

Trends Cardiovasc Med. Cover

Research from the lab of Dr. Natalia Trayanova, Murray B. Sachs Professor of Biomedical Engineering and ICM core faculty member, was featured in the February 2015 issue of Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine. The paper is entitled "Beauty is a light in the heart": The transformative potential of optogenetics for clinical applications in cardiovascular medicine. From the abstract:

Optogenetics is an exciting new technology in which viral gene or cell delivery is used to inscribe light sensitivity in excitable tissue to enable optical control of bioelectric behavior. Initial progress in the fledgling domain of cardiac optogenetics has included in vitro expression of various light-sensitive proteins in cell monolayers and transgenic animals to demonstrate an array of potentially useful applications, including light-based pacing, silencing of spontaneous activity, and spiral wave termination. In parallel to these developments, the cardiac modeling community has developed a versatile computational framework capable of realistically simulating optogenetics in biophysically detailed, patient-specific representations of the human heart, enabling the exploration of potential clinical applications in a predictive virtual platform. Toward the ultimate goal of assessing the feasibility and potential impact of optogenetics-based therapies in cardiovascular medicine, this review provides (1) a detailed synopsis of in vivo, in vitro, and in silico developments in the field and (2) a critical assessment of how existing clinical technology for gene/cell delivery and intra-cardiac illumination could be harnessed to achieve such lofty goals as light-based arrhythmia termination.

To view the entire article, click here.

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