[Illinois] CMMB IGERT & M-CNTC Annual Symposium: IGERT Educational Issues Panel

By Marni Boppart1, Martha Gillette1, Austin Hsiao1, Heather Huntsman1, Michael Insana1, Catherine Murphy1, Lizanne DeStefano1

1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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The second annual CMMB IGERT PI and Trainee Meeting was held on August 31, 2011.
A panel of students and instructors discuss the educational issues regarding and the future of the IGERT program at Illinois.


Dr. Marni Boppart: Professor Boppart's area of professional interest involves understanding the molecular and cellular adaptations to exercise, mechanical loading, and exercise training. Counteracting the loss of skeletal muscle due to disease or aging using exercise therapy or molecular-based interventions is essential for increasing both our quality of life and examining our limits of human performance. Our research focuses on examining the role of the a7b1 integrin as a mechanosensor that regulates cellular signaling and protects against skeletal muscle injury. We are currently using a combination of in vivo and in vitro models to determine the potential role of the integrin and other extracellular matrix proteins in: mechanotransduction of cellular signaling protection from muscle disease (muscular dystrophy, cancer cachexia, insulin resistance) protection from exercise-induced muscle injury (repeat bout effect) recruitment and activation of adult stem cells aging process

Dr. Boppart holds a joint appointment at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.

Dr. Lizanne DeStefano Dr. Lizanne DeStefano is the director of the I-STEM Educational Initiative, which seeks to increase the number and quality of science, technology, engineering, and math teachers who graduate from the Urbana campus, along with improving student recruitment and retention rates in science and technology-affiliated programs. Currently, besides being the director of I-STEM, she is the P-20 Council Coordinator, a Fox Family Professor, and Professor of Educational Psychology in the College of Education. She has also recently served as Executive Associate Dean for Research and Administration and Director of the Bureau of Educational Research in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. DeStefano's research interests include the evaluation and sustainability of innovative programs, multi-site initiatives, and programs serving special populations such as students with disabilities or those at risk for academic failure. Her work has been funded by numerous agencies and foundations, including the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Education, the Joyce Foundation, the Lilly Foundation, Chicago Community Trust and Illinois State Board of Education. She has conducted many large-scale evaluations of programs serving children and youth, including evaluations of the implementation of IDEA, Illinois Learning Standards and early literacy professional development initiatives such as the Reading Excellence Act in Illinois and the Reading First Evaluation. Lizanne DeStefano received her Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in 1986. A former special education teacher, Dr. DeStefano trained and practiced as a clinical and school psychologist

Dr. Martha Gillette Dr. Gillette received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1976 and joined the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 1978. She is a Professor in the Departments of Cell and Developmental Biology and Molecular and Integrative Physiology, the Colleges of Medicine and Liberal Arts and Sciences, and The Neuroscience Program at UIUC. Dr. Gillette served as Head of Cell and Developmental Biology from 1998 until 2008. She has been an Affiliate with the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology (Neurotech Group) since 1988, the Institute for Genomic Biology (Genomics of Neural & Behavioral Plasticity Theme) since its inception in 2003, the Department of Bioengineering, and the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory since 2009. Her many accomplishments were acknowledged by the University of Illinois with appointments as Alumni Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology in 2004 and Center for Advanced Study Professor in 2009.

Dr. Michael Insana Michael F. Insana received his PhD in medical physics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1983. His dissertation topic was acoustic scattering and absorption in biological tissues. He was a research physicist at the FDA from 1984-1987, Professor of Radiology and Physiology at the University of Kansas Medical Center from 1987-1999, and Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of California, Davis from 1999-2004. Currently, Mike is Professor of Bioengineering at UIUC and an affiliate faculty member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.

His research focuses on the development of novel ultrasonic instrumentation and methods for imaging soft tissue microstructure, elasticity and blood flow. The goal is to understand basic mechanisms of lesion formation, disease progression, and responses to therapy. His research includes the fundamentals of imaging system design and performance evaluation, signal processing, detection and estimation. His lab uses hydrogels to develop models of visco- and poroelastic behavior of soft tissues for cancer imaging. Through collaborations with industry, Insana's lab is investigating spatio-temporal filtering for noise reduction and enhanced spatial resolution with applications in breast elasticity imaging and arterial-wall shear-stress estimation.

Mike is currently a member of the IEEE and Acoustical Society of America, Fellow of the Institute of Physics, and Associate Editor for IEEE Transaction on Medical Imaging.

Dr. Catherine Murphy Professor Murphy received two B.S. degrees, one in chemistry and one in biochemistry, from the University of Illinois in 1986. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1990. From 1990-1993, she was first an NSF and then an NIH postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology. From 1993-2009 Professor Murphy was a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of South Carolina. In August 2009 she joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois.

Austin Hsiao Austin Yin Kyai Hsiao is a graduate student in the Bioengineering Department and a research assistant in Professor Logan Liu's group in the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory. He is currently developing a microfluidic platform for cell toxicity screening and exploring a new imaging technique for fluorescent enhancement in biological studies. Austin emigrated from Burma (Myanmar) when he was ten years old and is currently working to earn the first PhD in his family. Outside of research, he is a volunteer coordinator and the newsletter editor for the Wesley Evening Food Pantry, which serves over 10,000 people annually from Urbana-Champaign community.

Heather Huntsman Heather Huntsman obtained her bachelors from Bethel College and masters from George Washington University, and both degrees were in Exercise Science. Currently, she is a graduatestudent in the department of Kinesiology and Community Health. Working for Dr. Marni Boppart in a Molecular Muscle Physiology lab, the focus of her research is the role of the a7b1 integrin and mesenchymal-like, adult stem cells in myogenesis. Using exercise as a stimulus for muscle generation she is very interested in both microenvironment and angiogenic changes that improve muscle quality and function. By understanding the mechanisms responsible for these changes she would like to one day develop a viable stem cell therapy that can be used in an aged or diseased population to improve muscle function. Her interests outside of the lab include training for and participating in both running and triathlon races.

Sponsored by

Midwest Cancer Nanotechnology Traning Center (M-CNTC) Training the next generation of leaders who will define the new frontiers and applications of nanotechnology in cancer research It is known that more than 1.5 million Americans were diagnosed with cancer during 2010, and half a million have died (Cancer Statistics 2010, ACS). In spite of considerable effort, there has been limited success in reducing per capita deaths from cancer since 1950. This calls for a paradigm shift in the understanding, detection, and intervention of the evolution of cancer from a single cell to tumor scale.

In response to this challenge the M-CNTC has assembled a preeminent interdisciplinary team of researchers and educators across the University of Illinois and clinical collaborators in the Midwest to train the next generation of engineers, physical scientists, and biologists to address the challenge of understanding, managing, diagnosing, and treating cancer using the most recent advancements in nanotechnology.

Cellular and Molecular Mechanics and Bionanotechnology (CMMB-IGERT) Training the next generation of leaders who will define the new frontiers of cellular and molecular mechanics and bionanotechnology Critical experiments during the last decade show a fundamental link between the micro- and macro-mechanical environment (i.e., intracellular forces, local shear, gravitational force) and a variety of cell functionalities, their lineage, and phenotype. These findings pose the grand challenge: what is the underlying molecular mechanism that cells employ to transduce mechanical signals to biochemical pathways?

In response to this challenge the CMMB IGERT launched an interdisciplinary research effort with national and international collaborators.

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Marni Boppart; Martha Gillette; Austin Hsiao; Heather Huntsman; Michael Insana; Catherine Murphy; Lizanne DeStefano (2013), "[Illinois] CMMB IGERT & M-CNTC Annual Symposium: IGERT Educational Issues Panel," http://nanohub.org/resources/14055.

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Charlie Newman, NanoBio Node

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign