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News & Events


09/02/2014 - Three new Ph.D. candidates joined our lab: Meghan McGill, B.S. from Northeastern University; Nicole Raia, B.S. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Sarah Bradner, B.S. from Union College.

09/01/2014 – Erica Palma was awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) F31 Pre-doctoral Fellowship titled: A 3D microperfusion model of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease.

09/01/2014 – Karolina Chwalek was awarded with the German Research Foundation (DFG) Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers.

08/20/2014 – Another successful Kaplan Lab retreat! In the relaxing setting of East Boothbay, Maine, we strategized and discussed how we can conduct research better: make it more impactful and undertake it more efficiently. There was also time to relax, play sports and take a swim in the sea. Thanks everyone in the lab for making the 2014 retreat such a great success!

08/11/2014 – Our group published on 3D tissue engineered model of brain-like tissue. The functional model can be sustained for over two months and can be used to study effects of drugs and trauma on brain tissue. Its novelty was widely discussed in the news such as NY Times, NIH, Science Alert, RT, IFL Science, Nature World News and many more.

06/20/2014 – Whitney Stoppel was awarded a TEACRS (Training in Education and Critical Research Skills) Postdoctoral Fellowship funded by the NIH-sponsored Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award Program for postdocs at Tufts.

06/16/2014 – 06/20/104 Kaplan's group hosted the Tissue Engineering Summer Workshop as (a TERC initiative). Twelve Tufts graduate students had the opportunity to learn about biomaterials, cell culture, bioreactors, mechanical analysis, imaging and spectroscopy. Check back for more information on next summer's offering.

06/12/2014 Jeannine's new paper is out!
Surgery combined with controlled-release doxorubicin silk films as a treatment strategy in an orthotopic neuroblastoma mouse model.
Chiu B, Coburn J, Pilichowska M, Holcroft C, Seib FP, Charest A, Kaplan DL.
Br J Cancer. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2014.324.

05/30/2014 Sezin's new publication is out!
Bioengineered Silk Gene Delivery System for Nuclear Targeting
Yigit S, Tokareva O, Varone A, Georgakoudi I, Kaplan DL
Macromol Biosci. 2014 May 30. doi: 10.1002/mabi.201400113

05/19/2014 Dr. Albina Franco of the 3B's Research Group, University of Minho, Portugal, joined our lab as a visiting scientist. She will work with us for the next 3 months focusing on the ACROSS project (Development of AntimiCRObial SPider Silk sutures for preventing surgical infections Project reference - PTDC/BBB-BIO/0827/2012 (FCT R&D Project)).

Short description:
Microbial infections are one of the most devastating clinical complications of surgical and other medical implants. The development of sutures with antimicrobial properties represents a recent effort for reducing this type of infection, decreasing health care costs and improving the quality of life of patients. In this way, the research objective of ACROSS project is to develop antimicrobial spider silk sutures produced through recombinant DNA technology against pathogens involved in postoperative wound infections. To achieve this purpose chimeric proteins will be produced by combining the outstanding mechanical properties of spider silk with peptides with antimicrobial activity.

Welcome Albina!

05/10/2014 Karolina's new paper is out!
Hierarchically structured nerve guidance channels based on poly-3-hydroxybutyrate enhance oriented axonal outgrowth.
Hinüber C, Chwalek K, Pan-Montojo FJ, Nitschke M, Vogel R, Brünig H, Heinrich G, Werner C.
Acta Biomater. 2014 May;10(5):2086-95. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2013.12.053.

05/09/2014 Karolina's new paper is out!
Tissue-engineered 3D tumor angiogenesis models: Potential technologies for anti-cancer drug discovery.
Chwalek K, Bray LJ, Werner C.
Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2014 May 9. pii: S0169-409X(14)00100-8. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2014.05.006. [Epub ahead of print] Review.

05/08/2014 We had a goodbye dinner for Elise DeSimore, Roberto Elia and Stephanie McNamara to celebrate their successful defenses and plans for the future.

05/01/2014 Nurdan's new paper is out!
NHE3 phosphorylation via PKCη marks the polarity and orientation of directionally migrating cells.
Ozkucur N, Song B, Bola S, Zhang L, Reid B, Fu G, Funk RH, Zhao M.
Cell Mol Life Sci. 2014 May 1. [Epub ahead of print]

04/18/2014 Roberto Elia defended his Ph.D. thesis: Electrodeposited silk coatings for functionalized implant applications
Congratulations Dr. Elia!

04/15/2014 Stephanie McNamara defended her M.Sc. thesis: Silk-based fabrication of hydroxyapatite ceramic scaffolds for bone regeneration

04/12/2014 Kaplan Spring Group Meeting Research Review

04/09/2014 Elise DeSimone defended her M.S. thesis: Human in vitro tissue-model of the cerebral neurovascular unit

03/19/2014 Nurdan's new paper is out!
Phospho-NHE3 forms membrane patches and interacts with beta-actin to sense and maintain constant direction during cell migration.
Perike S, Özkucur N, Sharma P, Staroske W, Bläsche R, Barth K, Funk RH.
Exp Cell Res. 2014 May 15;324(1):13-29. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2014.03.005. Epub 2014 Mar 19.

03/19/2014 Karolina's new paper is out!
Glycosaminoglycan-based hydrogels to modulate heterocellular communication in in vitro angiogenesis models.
Chwalek K, Tsurkan MV, Freudenberg U, Werner C.
Sci Rep. 2014 Mar 19;4:4414. doi: 10.1038/srep04414.

03/12/2014 Olena's new publication is out!
Effect of sequence features on assembly of spider silk block copolymers.
Tokareva OS, Lin S, Jacobsen MM, Huang W, Rizzo D, Li D, Simon M, Staii C, Cebe P, Wong JY, Buehler MJ, Kaplan DL
J Struct Biol. 2014 Jun;186(3):412-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jsb.2014.03.004

03/01/2014 Sarah Lightfoot Vidal, IGERT Fellow in the Soft Material Robotics at Tufts started her Fulbright fellowship to work in Concepción, Chile at the Centro de Investigación de Polímeros Avanzados (CIPA) in collaboration with the Functional Polymers department at the Universidad de Concepción. Her project focuses on the development of a polymer blend of Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) for wound healing applications.

02/15/2014 Olena Tokareva was awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) F32 postdoctoral fellowship. Her work will focus on integration of biopolymer design and modeling for silk gene delivery systems.

02/05/2014 Olena Tokareva attended the ASME 2014 3rd Global Congress on NanoEngineering for Medicine and Biology (NEMB2014) in San Francisco, CA. During that meeting Olena was awarded with the NEMB2014 Post-Doc Conference Award to reward her outstanding research.

09/05/2013 Jeannine Coburn was awarded with a National Institutes of Health (NIH) F32 postdoctoral fellowship. Her work will focus on developing a human, in vitro renal fibrosis model.