Creating Biomedical Technologies to Improve Health



Grantee News • April 30, 2014

NIBIB grantee Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic at Columbia Engineering announced in the journal Proceedings of the Naitonal Academy of Sciences that they have successfully grown fully functional human cartilage in vitro from human stem cells derived from fat tissue. Their study demonstrates new ways to better mimic the enormous complexity of tissue development, regeneration, and disease. Read the full press release at

Science Highlights • April 30, 2014
An international research team has built molecular "clamps" out of DNA that offer a powerful new tool for identifying individuals with an increased risk of cancer. The clamp is capable of detecting genetic mutations, associated with cancer and other genetic diseases, with better specificity and affinity than current techniques. The high affinity for the target sequence and the ability to add a fluorescent label that lights up when the clamp grabs the errant DNA sequence, make these new DNA clamp nanoswitches the state-of-the-art in highly-sensitive molecular diagnostics.
Science Highlights • April 24, 2014

Roughly 6 million people in the United States live with some form of paralysis, most commonly resulting from stroke, spinal cord injury, or multiple sclerosis.1 This paralysis may affect one or both legs, one half of the body, or almost the entire body—both arms, both legs, and the torso. Some people experience temporary paralysis while for others it is permanent. Some also lose feeling in affected limbs.

Grantee News • April 22, 2014

The NIH Director's Blog profiles NIBIB grantee Jonathan Lovell at the State Univesrity of New York at Buffalo on his work to deliver chemotherapeutic drugs directly to tumors buy using a combination of nanoballoons and lasers. Read more at

Grantee News • April 16, 2014

NIBIB grantees David Beebe and Eric Karl-Heinz Sackmann at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a cheap microfluidic device that can quickly diagnose asthma from a drop of blood, even if the person isn't showing symptoms. Read the full press release at

Grantee News • April 9, 2014

Funded in part by a NIBIB BTRC grant to Richard Superfine, two studies by UNC Chapel Hill researchers clarify how cells respond to physical forces. This work may inform efforts to combat metastasis, in which tumor cells create mechanical stresses as they pull away from surrounding cells and pass through blood vessel walls to invade other parts of the body.

Press Releases • April 8, 2014
Four people with paraplegia are able to voluntarily move previously paralyzed muscles as a result of a novel therapy that involves electrical stimulation of the spinal cord, according to a study funded in part by the National Institutes of Health and the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. The participants, each of whom had been paralyzed for more than two years, were able to voluntarily flex their toes, ankles, and knees while the stimulator was active, and the movements were enhanced over time when combined with physical rehabilitation.
NIBIB in the News • April 8, 2014

USA Today reports on an April 8 study in which 4 patients paralyzed below the chest were able to voluntarily move while receiving electrical stimulation to their spinal cords. The novel approach to rehabilitation was developed by NIBIB grantee Reggie Edgerton at UCLA.  NIBIB director Roderic Pettigrew comments on the signifance of the study in the accompanying video. Watch the video and read more about the study at

Grantee News • April 4, 2014

Now there may be a way of providing patients with a more focused form of chemotherapy – by using innovative “nanoballoons” and lasers. Developed by researchers at the University at Buffalo, these miniscule particles can deliver anti-cancer medications straight to the tumor itself, without causing unwanted damage along the way. Read more at

Science Highlights • April 2, 2014

In medicine, light therapy is currently used to treat seasonal affective disorder, psoriasis, and other medical conditions, while highly targeted lasers may be used for specific skin disorders, eye diseases, or cancers. Advances in imaging methods and equipment now allow scientists to see the effects of light at the cellular level, leading to research on potentially transformative ways to use specific types of light for more even complex and direct manipulation of individual cells.