Lee-Kai Sun wins Barry Goldwater Scholarship

Congratulations to Lee-Kai Sun for receiving a 2019 Barry Goldwater Scholarship! The Goldwater Scholarship is the preeminent undergraduate award for outstanding students pursuing careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 92 Rhodes Scholarships, 137 Marshall Awards, 159 Churchill Scholarships, 104 Hertz Fellowships, and numerous other distinguished awards like the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

“I feel incredibly honored to have been awarded the Goldwater Scholarship. I wish to devote my life to improving the lives of as many people as I can, and receiving the Goldwater makes me confident that I’m headed in the right direction,” said Sun. “I am immensely grateful towards Dr. Gabe Kwong and my graduate student mentor, Ian Miller. Their support and mentorship have allowed me to develop into the scientist I am today. In the future, I plan to explore novel strategies of immunomodulation for the treatment of refractory diseases, and pursue a M.D./Ph.D. in immunology or biomedical engineering.

LSI awarded R01 to develop activity sensors to monitor immunotherapy efficacy

LSI has received a $1.8 million grant from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health to develop activity sensors to monitor responses to cancer immunotherapy! This work will expand our sensor platform, which has already been used to detect thrombosis, liver fibrosis, cancer, and organ transplant rejection. Read more about this work here.

Isabel Curro wins PURA Award

Congratulations to Mimi for winning a PURA Award! President’s Undergraduate Research Awards fund student salaries to conduct undergraduate research with Georgia Tech faculty and offset travel expenses for undergraduates to present their research at professional conferences.

Urine tests for organ transplant rejection

Our work on activity sensors for early and noninvasive detection of acute transplant rejection was just published in Nature Biomedical Engineering! Organ transplantation is the only effective therapy for end-stage organ diseases, yet a key barrier to successful transplantation is acute transplant rejection, in which host immune cells, predominantly T cells, recognize and destroy the foreign transplant. Detecting the onset of acute rejection is crucial for the long-term health and survival of transplant recipients. Currently, the core biopsy remains the diagnostic “gold” standard despite its invasiveness, risk of morbidity, and limited predictive power. Our nanosensors noninvasively monitor the dysregulated states of the immune system to predict the onset of rejection.

Read more about our work here

Glympse Bio selected as ‘Fierce 15’ for 2018

FierceMedTech has named Glympse Bio, co-founded by LSI director Dr. Gabe Kwong, as one of its Fierce 15 for 2018. Each year FierceMedTech spotlights 15 of the most innovative and promising startups in the medtech industry.

Read more about what makes Glympse fierce here and here.

Brandon Holt presents at Gordon Research Seminar

Brandon gave a podium talk titled “Biological Bits for Computing Classical and Quantum-Inspired Algorithms” at the Complex Active and Adaptive Material Systems Gordon Research Seminar in Ventura, CA. This conference was focused on formulating new ways to inscribe the vital functions found in biological systems into synthetic materials and complex structures. Congrats Brandon and great to hear your talk was well-received!

Dr. Kwong highlights work on protease sensors for NASH at Keystone Symposium

The global prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) has risen precipitously over the past two decades in parallel with the worldwide obesity epidemic, and these diseases are associated with progressive fibrosis and an increased risk of liver cancer. The field lacks an integrated understanding of risk prediction, pathogenesis and validated biomarkers to predict or track disease progression without reliance on liver biopsies. Dr. Kwong presented work from our lab and Glympse Bio harnessing synthetic biomarkers as protease activity sensors for noninvasive monitoring of NASH.

LSI awarded grant from the DARPA PREPARE Program

LSI is part of a team of researchers from Georgia Tech, Emory, Duke, Rockefeller, and UGA that has been awarded funding from DARPA for ‘Thwarting Influenza with RNA-powered Modulators (ThIRM)’.

The DARPA PReemptive Expression of Protective Alleles and Response Elements (PREPARE) program is aimed at delivering a capability to generate programmable gene modulator MCMs (PGM-MCMs) to enable safe, transient, and preemptive activation of intrinsic host defenses against a variety of threats to health.

Read more about the program here.

Dr. Kwong gives talk at nanoDDS 2018

The 16th International Nanomedicine and Drug Delivery Symposium highlights new groundbreaking discoveries and developments in nanomedicine and drug delivery.  Revolutionary advances in this area require collaboration amongst researchers working in a diverse array of fields including nanotechnology, materials science, imaging, cell biology, tissue engineering, gene editing, drug and gene delivery as well as clinical research. Dr. Kwong’s talk “Harnessing protease activity as ‘biological bits’ for programmable medicine” demonstrated our approach of using proteases to guide next-gen treatment regimens.