Prof. McHugh is Program Chair for ISSF2012 meeting!!

Prof. McHugh is a member of the Executive Committee and is the Program Chair for the International Society of Supercritical Fluids 2012 meeting in San Francisco, 12-15 May (see He has developed a program that includes 160 oral presentations, 16 Keynote Presentations, and 3 Plenary Presentations. There are also more than 200 poster presentations. Researchers from more than 38 countries are giving oral presentations at this meeting.

Dr. Anand Ramamurthi to present CLSE seminar..February 8th, 2012

Dr. Anand Ramamurthi, Associate Professor, Dept of Biomedical Engineering, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, will present the CLSE seminar on February 8th, 2012.
This event is free and open to the public.
The seminar will be held in Room 401, Engineering West Building from 12:30-2:00PM. Refreshments will be served.
Stretching paradigms to grow biologic rubber bands
ABSTRACT: This seminar details our efforts to regenerate vascular elastic fibers and fiber networks in vitro and in vivo. The extracellular matrix (ECM) within native blood vessels, and indeed other soft tissues, consist predominantly of cross-linked elastin and collagen structures that contribute to vessel elasticity and stiffness respectively and critically regulate cell behavior. The congenital absence or malformation, or accelerated pathological disruption and loss of vascular elastic structures within blood vessels can severely compromise vascular homeostasis. Unfortunately, faithful in situ elastic matrix regeneration and repair, and fabrication of engineered elastic tissue replacements in vitro are challenged by (a) the spatio-temporal complexity of the elastic matrix assembly process, which renders it difficult to replicate, and more critically, (b) attenuated tropoelastin mRNA expression by post-neonatal cells. To address these limitations, we seek to evaluate novel ECM-based molecules that will provide elastogenic cues and may be presented together with appropriate scaffolding biomaterials that can up-regulate elastin synthesis and regenerate biologically and ultrastructurally faithful mimics of native elastic matrices on demand.
Our recent studies strongly attest to the utility of hyaluronan (HA), a glycosaminoglycan (GAG) component of the vascular connective tissues, as elastogenic biomolecules. HA has been implicated to play key roles in the synthesis, organization, and stabilization of elastin by vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs). Our and other studies suggest that bioactive, and potentially pro-inflammatory HA fragments and not the highly biocompatible, native long-chain HA are pro-elastogenic, although long-chain HA may post-translationally stabilize elastic matrix. Our approach to fabricating elastogenic cell scaffolds is thus to mix long-chain HA with HA fragments of defined sizes in quantity ratios optimized based on their individual and combined effects on desired (i.e., elastogenic) cell responses. This seminar will provide an overview of our ongoing efforts and future plans to regenerate elastic matrices by identifying and integrating appropriate tissue engineering tools (e.g., growth factor cocktails, biomaterial scaffolds, cell sources, dynamic culture systems) to (a) up-regulate elastin precursor synthesis by seeded or recruited cells, (b) recruit, assemble, and crosslink these precursors into stable matrix structures, (c) replicate the architectural facets of native elastic matrices (e.g., fiber formation, preferred orientation, meshing), and (d) stabilize these matrices against physiologic or pathologic breakdown.
We expect that our elastic matrix engineering technologies will be useful to (a) augument elastin synthesis, assembly, and maturation by healthy patient-derived cells within tissue engineered constructs and thus manufacture faithful mimics of native elastin on demand, and (b) regress elastin-compromised tissues (e.g., in abdominal aortic aneurysms) to a healthy state by coaxing diseased cell-mediated regenerative repair of elastic matrix.
BIO: Anand Ramamurthi, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Cleveland Clinic with adjunct appointments at Case Western Reserve University and Clemson University. He received a BE (Hons.) degree in Chemical Engineering from Bangalore University, India in 1994, and his MS and PhD, also in Chemical Engineering, from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK in 1996 and 1999 respectively. He was subsequently an American Heart Association postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Lerner Research Institute of the Cleveland Clinic (1999-2001), where he worked on designing biomaterials for aortic valve tissue engineering.
In 2003, he joined the faculty of the Department of Bioengineering at Clemson University and the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC and was a tenured Associate Professor at the time of his departure from the institution in 2010. In the last 9 years, Anand has directed a research program that focuses on enabling biomimetic regeneration and repair of extracellular matrix structures both in vitro and in situ at sites of chronic matrix disruption (e.g., abdominal aortic aneurysms and pelvic organ prolapse). That is the topic of his seminar today.
Anand is a member of several heart and vascular disease-related professional societies, is a member of the American Heart Association Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. He serves on several national committees such as that of the North American Vascular Biology Organization (NAVBO), on the editorial broad of several scientific journals in the field of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, actively reviews for the NIH, AHA, and more than 20 journals including Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials, and is on the external advisory board of the NIH-supported Center for Biomedical Research Excellence in South Carolina.
Anand has been an invited presenter at several national conferences and 2007, was the featured investigator at the Biomedical Entrepreneurship session of the Upstate South Carolina. He has 38 peer-reviewed publications to date, numerous abstracts and proceedings. His funding has included RO1, R21, T32 and GCRC grants from the NIH and grants from the AHA national and affiliate centers.