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
Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University
Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
28.03.2017 | Life Sciences
28.03.2017 | Information Technology
28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy