Christopher Rivet has successfully married two powerful bioengineering technologies to develop a new method for delivering drugs directly to an injury site and jumpstarting the process of tissue regeneration. His innovation could be an important new tool in preventing paralysis resulting from spinal cord trauma, cancer, diabetes, or a host of other diseases.
Rivet, a doctoral student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is one of three finalists for the 2012 $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Rensselaer Student Prize. A public ceremony announcing this year’s winner will be held at 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday, March 7, in the auditorium of the Rensselaer Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies. For more information on the ceremony visit: http://www.eng.rpi.edu/lemelson
Rivet’s project is titled “A Hydrogel and Electrospun Fiber Composite Material,” and his faculty adviser is Ryan Gilbert, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Rensselaer.
Sadly, there is no shortage of situations that lead to a loss of functioning tissue and, in turn, paralysis. These circumstances can range from the surgical removal of a tumor, to untreated bedsores, to a spinal cord injury stemming from a gunshot wound or traffic accident. All of these situations require action first to stop the progression of the injury, and secondly to restore function to the damaged tissue. However, there is currently no treatment, short of receiving a transplant from a donor, to simultaneously pursue both goals and more effectively mitigate the onset of paralysis.
Rivet’s patent-pending invention pairs electrospun fibers with hydrogels to help solve this important societal need. He has developed a new way to disperse nanoscopic electrospun fibers, which can prompt and guide tissue regeneration, within injectable, drug-infused hydrogels. The result is an advanced biomaterial that can mimic and serve as a temporary replacement for living tissue.
For example, potential target could be a patient who had a large bone tumor removed, leaving behind a hole that is too large for the body to recover from on its own. The surgeon may elect to use a hydrogel. Injected as a liquid, the hydrogel would firm up and fill in the unique shape of the void. Hydrogels can be treated with different drugs to help stop progression of the injury, and the gels can be tuned to match the mechanical properties of the tissue their replacing. However, hydrogels cannot carry the appropriate chemical cues to guide regenerative nerve cells into and out of the injury site. This means hydrogels alone are not a winning strategy for combating the onset of paralysis.
Rivet has incorporated electrospun fibers, which are spun from polymer and can carry guidance cues and promote functional recovery, into hydrogels. The end result is a complex system that can deliver multiple drugs as well as the necessary guidance cues to coax nerve cells through the injury site and kick start the process of regeneration. As the patient’s body tissue regenerates, the hydrogels and electrospun fibers simply dissolve harmlessly. Rivet’s system is also highly adaptable, as different electrospun fibers can be matched with various hydrogels to achieve specific goals.
When not in the lab or classroom, Rivet enjoys spending time outdoors. If he’s not skiing, cycling, or hiking, you can probably find him on the lake fishing. At home in Grand Blanc, Mich., Rivet’s family and friends are rooting for him to win the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Rensselaer Student Prize. His mother is a high school math and science teacher and his father works for the United Auto Workers labor union. Rivet’s older sister is a laboratory manager at Kettering University.
Rivet was curious and creative as a young student, and he strives to foster those virtues in others. He is an active mentor in local elementary schools and high schools, sparking the interest of students and encouraging them to seek out opportunities to study and work in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. He also mentors several undergraduate students at Rensselaer.
Rivet received his bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Michigan Technological University, and his master’s degrees in biomedical engineering from Wayne State University. He recently won a 2012 Endeavor Research Fellowship from the Australian Department of Education to fund a six-month research program at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
About the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Rensselaer Student Prize
The $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Rensselaer Student Prize is funded through a partnership with the Lemelson-MIT Program, which has awarded the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize to outstanding student inventors at MIT since 1995.ABOUT THE LEMELSON-MIT PROGRAM
Jerome H. Lemelson, one of U.S. history’s most prolific inventors, and his wife, Dorothy, founded the Lemelson-MIT Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994. It is funded by The Lemelson Foundation and administered by the School of Engineering. The Foundation sparks, sustains, and celebrates innovation and the inventive spirit. It supports projects in the U.S. and developing countries that nurture innovators and unleash invention to advance economic, social, and environmentally sustainable development. To date The Lemelson Foundation has donated or committed more than U.S. $150 million in support of its mission. http://web.mit.edu/invent/
For information on the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Rensselaer Student Prize, visit:• Student Innovator Uses Sound Waves, T-Rays for Safer Detection of Bombs and Other Dangerous Materials
Benjamin Clough’s invention increases distance between first responders and potential threats http://news.rpi.edu/update.do?artcenterkey=2840• Helping Hydrogen: Student Inventor Tackles Challenge of Hydrogen Storage
http://news.rpi.edu/update.do?artcenterkey=2690• Student Developer of Versatile “G-gels” Wins $30,000 Lemelson-Rensselaer Prize
http://news.rpi.edu/update.do?artcenterkey=2538• Student Develops New LED, Wins $30,000 Lemelson-Rensselaer Prize
Michael Mullaney | Newswise Science News
Further reports about: > Eye Injuries > Ferchau Engineering > Gates Foundation > Hydrogel > Hydrogen > LED > Lemelson-MIT Prize > Lemelson-Rensselaer Prize > Polytechnic > Tissue Engineering > Untreatable > biomedical engineering > medical engineering > nerve cell > spinal cord > tissue regeneration
Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine