BioServe Space Technologies
BioServe Space Technologies, a NASA-sponsored Center for Space Commercialization, in the Aerospace Engineering Sciences department, has continued to work with industry to develop new commercial uses for space with medical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and agricultural applications. For example, BioServe is working with Amgen, Inc. to determine if a protein discovered at Amgen, Osteoprotegerin, could be used to protect astronauts from bone loss in space and be an effective treatment for osteoporosis, a chronic and often debilitating disease.
BioServe is also working with Bristol-Meyers Squibb to study mechanisms of enhanced pharmaceutical production that have been observed in previous BioServe space shuttle missions. Center researchers are also studying the effects of space flight on plant growth and development to identify genetic mechanisms involved in the biosynthesis of lignin, a major plant structural material. This work could help make forest products companies more competitive while reducing environmental impacts.
These studies continue to rely on regular space missions. Since 1991, BioServe payloads have flown on 15 shuttle flights and two Russian Mir increments. BioServe engineering faculty, staff, and students are now developing payload facilities to fly on the International Space Station (ISS) that is now being assembled in low-Earth orbit. The first BioServe ISS payload could launch as early as late 2000 and will be monitored and operated from an operations center at CU-Boulder. www.colorado.edu/ engineering/BioServe
Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
The Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology is a joint enterprise between the Department of Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, and the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.
Formed in 1997, the center's primary objective is to facilitate and enhance educational programs that train students to work in pharmaceutical biotechnology. The center originated from a collaborative relationship between the Ph.D. programs in pharmaceutical sciences and chemical engineering.
The center functions as a vehicle for bridging basic biomedical science and clinical applications of new materials. In the first two years of its existence, the center launched new graduate courses and initiatives, attracted over $1 million in research funding from a number of corporate sponsors, hosted four international scientific meetings and had its new drug delivery technology licensed, leading to the founding of a new Colorado company.
Co-directors of the center are Theodore Randolph, 303-492-4776, John Carpenter, 303-315-6075, and Mark Manning, 303-315-6162.
MicroElectronic Devices in Cardiovascular Applications (MEDICA)
A new interdisciplinary Center for MicroElectronic Devices in Cardiovascular Applications was formed in 1999 with the stated mission of fostering excellence and scientific advancement in the study and utilization of micro-devices for early diagnosis and improvement in cardiovascular treatment. The center draws upon the engineering and clinical expertise of the faculty from CU-Boulder's College of Engineering and Applied Science and the CU Health Sciences Center.
One of the major areas of research revolves around the idea of using MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) for chronic on-line monitoring and treatment of patients. MEMS are engineering subsystems that can be fabricated using silicon wafer technology on a microscale. They can be used both as internal sensors and actuators, measuring blood flow or blood pressure, assisting blood flow or providing local drug delivery. They could also serve as cardiac assist devices to supply all or most of the cardiac output in failing hearts.
A neural network based, intelligent phonocardiographic device to distinguish between innocent and pathological murmurs in children, and an instrumented mechanical valve that can provide chronic in-vivo evaluation of its performance are some of the other active projects in the center.
The center is co-hosted by the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Departments of Pediatrics, Medicine/Cardiology and Radiology at the CU Health Sciences Center. For further information, contact Prof. Roop Mahajan, 303-492-7750, or Dr. Lilliam Valdes-Cruz, 303-861-6820).
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