The Bioinnovation Program was established with the central goal of cultivating a community of leaders who will work to effect transformational changes in healthcare through enhanced technologies, increased availability, reduced cost, and improved patient quality of life. Collaborative interactions across Tulane's scientific, engineering and clinical research communities provide our students with a wealth of resources and diversity of perspectives to enhance their doctoral research projects and incorporated entrepreneurial pursuits. A common focus on biological delivery technologies provides a unifying scientific framework for the cross-fertilization of ideas to optimize scientific progress and accelerate the path to biomedical breakthroughs.
"Biological delivery" refers to the transport of energy, mass and momentum that is an essential design component of biomedical devices that impact living systems. These transport processes are evident from the smallest spatial scale of molecular dimensions to the organ and organism level. This biological delivery scientific theme is a fundamental component of research in the Bioinnovation Program on: (1) regenerative medicine, (2) biosensors for real-world applications and (3) advanced therapeutic materials. Through quantitative analysis, modeling and simulation of biological systems, Bioinnovation fellows work to gain an improved mechanistic understanding of physiologic and pathophysiologic processes and to apply this knowledge to the development of translational biomedical technologies and devices. More information can be found in the Student & Faculty Handbook.
In this research domain, Bioinnovation fellows investigate how stem cell preconditioning (including genetic manipulation and bioreactor-controlled growth environments) is necessary for engineering compositionally- and structurally- relevant tissue for the treatment of ischemia. Biological delivery is a key component of this process which fellows examine by:
- developing and implementing computational models to evaluate the environmental stimuli provided by bioreactors as part of the design process;
- investigating gene delivery techniques to serve as unique in vivo delivery agents as well as critical tools in the in vitro bioreactor preconditioning studies, and
- designing and using bioreactors in in vitro preconditioning experiments for the preparation of cell-based therapies for in vivo implantation. Bioinnovation fellows are part of a team that leverages Tulane's ongoing efforts to develop basic understanding of mesenchymal stem cell-mediated inflammation and angiogenesis in order to enhance the clinical outcomes of cell transplantation for the revascularization of ischemic tissues.
Bioinnovation fellows participating in this research domain interact extensively among a number of different research subgroups. This includes an "Antibody Boot Camp" in the Blake Laboratory and all-day visits to each of the partner laboratories to receive basic training in the methods used and gain an appreciation for the constraints under which different groups must work. The biosensor research domain represents an interdisciplinary effort that includes:
- antibody structure/function studies
- molecular dynamics simulations of antibody structure
- enzyme reactivation kinetics
- electrochemical analysis
- microfluidic transport model development to predict fluid transport
- micro-manufacturing of miniaturized devices.
The Advanced Therapeutic Material domain works towards innovative materials solutions to medical problems by advancing the fundamental capabilities of materials synthesis, characterization and modeling. To accomplish this goal, Tulane University has assembled a synergistic group of investigators from multiple departments across the Schools of Science & Engineering and Medicine. A network of collaborators at the School of Medicine provide the medical knowledge and intuition necessary for identifying the most critical materials needs in modern medicine as well as the resources and capabilities to rapidly evaluate proposed materials for timely design optimization. Bioinnovation fellows enter into this translational research program through interdisciplinary projects that take full advantage of the wide-ranging skill-set available – including expertise in materials synthesis, and modeling and analysis of biological and physiological responses – to investigate therapeutic materials for novel drug delivery technologies.