University of Houston

Arizona State University

Past Editions:

Biocomplexity 2010 Biocomplexity 2009

Biocomplexity 2008 Biocomplexity 2007

Biocomplexity 2005 Biocomplexity 2004

Biocomplexity 2003 Biocomplexity 2002

Biocomplexity 2001 Biocomplexity 2001



Tejal Desai

Prof. Tejal Desai

Prof. Tejal Desai is currently Chair of the UC Berkeley/UCSF Graduate Program in Bioengineering and Professor and Vice Chair at the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences and Department of Physiology.

Prof. Desai's work focuses on the design, fabrication, and use of advanced micro/nano biosystems for cellular integration and tissue engineering, biomimetic architectures for functional biomaterials, and therapeutic drug targeting and delivery. For example, studies are being conducted to investigate the role of structural mechanics in regulating biochemical pathways, biological adhesion phenomena, cytoskeletal deformation and active cellular motility. Motivating these fundamental studies is the development of novel materials that mimic the interfacial and structural properties of natural biomaterials. The Desai lab is designing templates to achieve cardiomyocyte attachment and orientation in dynamic environments and have applied microfluidic biopolymer patterning to design multicellular and multilayered vascular analogues. The potential of using such techniques to recreate hierarchical tissue architecture makes this an exciting tool for cellular and tissue engineering and for engineering microenvironments to modulate stem cells. The lab is also interested in novel approaches to deliver drugs to specific cells via targeting. Examples include lectin-conjugated microdevices for oral delivery and neurotransmitter-conjugated nanoparticles for neuronal targeting.

David Fenstermacher

Prof. David Fenstermacher

Prof. David Fenstermacher is currently Executive Director of Research Informatics at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute. He also directed informatics shared resource facilities for more than nine years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania. During his tenure in biomedical informatics, Dr. Fenstermacher has designed and directed the implementation of several bioinformatics distributed computing systems to support basic and clinical research, including multiple institution research projects. He has also designed data management systems for more specialized projects including integrating clinical (patient and lab test data), genomics (SNP and microarray) and proteomics (2D-gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry data) data to support multiple projects focused on a single goal, modifier gene discovery. Data management systems designed by Dr. Fenstermacher have included: collection and storage of subject data; tracking and reporting of milestones for multiple studies, development of web-based forms for input, storage and retrieval of all data collected from or about subjects, customized data representations and data sharing using Grid technologies.

Dr. Fenstermacher received his doctoral degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to joining the fields of bioinformatics and biomedical informatics, Dr. Fenstermacher spent thirteen years as a molecular biologist/geneticist working on several projects, including phage display technologies, FISH for cytogenetic applications, cDNA cloning and transcriptional analyses. His background as a bench scientist brings a unique perspective to the design of computational tools to support basic and clinical research studies.

Henry Hess

Prof. Henry Hess

Prof. Henry Hess is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University. His research interests include nanobiotechnology, biomaterials science, and synthetic biology. A particular focus of his work is the engineering of hybrid nanodevices which integrate biological and synthetic components.

Dr. Hess received a diploma in physics from the Technical University Berlin in 1996, and obtained his Dr rer. nat. (summa cum laude) in experimental physics from the Free University of Berlin in 1999 under the guidance of Ludger Woeste. His postdoctoral studies were conducted from 2000 to 2002 at the Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington, where he also served as a Research Assistant Professor (2002–2005). From 2005 to 2009 he served as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering of the University of Florida. He received the Wolfgang Paul Award of the German Society for Mass Spectrometry (2000), the Feodor Lynen postdoctoral fellowship of the Alexander-von-Humboldt foundation (2000), the Philip Morris Forschungspreis (2005, together with his postdoctoral mentor Viola Vogel), the Distinguished Mentor Award of the UF/HHMI “Science for Life” program (2007), an invitation to the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative “Synthetic Biology” (2009), and was an invited speaker at the US Frontiers of Engineering Meeting 2010.

John McDevitt

Prof. Jie Liang

Prof. Jie Liang is a professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He joined UIC in 1999 as an assistant professor, and was promoted to associated professor in 2003, and to full professor in 2007. He was a visiting professor at the Systems Biomedicine Institute at Shanghai Jiaotong University in 2006. He received his B.S. degree from Fudan University in 1986, MCS and Ph.D. in Biophysics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1994. He was an NSF CISE postdoctoral research associate (1994-1996) at the Beckman Institute and National Center for Supercomputing and its Applications (NCSA) in Urbana. He spent eight months as a visiting fellow at the NSF Institute of Mathematics and Applications at Minneapolis. From 1997 to 1999, he was an Investigator at SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals in Philadelphia. He was a recipient of the NSF CAREER award in 2003. He was elected as an AIMBE fellow in 2007. He currently serves as a regular member of the NIH Biological Data Management and Analysis study section. Dr. Liang's research interests include systems biology, computational bioengineering, bioinformatics, and computational biophysics, especially the areas of structural bioinformatics, computational proteomics, molecular networks, and cellular pattern formation. Current projects in his lab include protein function prediction, evolution assessment, membrane protein/nanodevice assembly, protein folding and design, and stochasticity in molecular networks. His recent work can be accessed at (http://www.uic.edu/~jliang).

Donna Wang

Prof. Donna H. Wang

Prof. Donna H. Wang, MD, FAHA, is Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Neuroscience Program, and Cell and Molecular Biology Program at Michigan State University. She also directs the Division of Nanomedicine and Molecular Intervention in Department of Medicine at MSU. Dr. Wang is an Established Investigator of American Heart Association, a Fellow of the American Heart Association Council for High Blood Pressure Research, and a Fellow of Cardiovascular Section of the American Physiological Society. She has served on a number of national and international scientific and policy review panels/committees, including US National Institutes of Health and American Heart Association. She has acted as an Editor/Associate Editor/Editorial Board Member for numerous premier professional journals/books. Her research has been continuously funded by US National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association, and other funding agencies for the past two decades.

Dr. Wang's research interests lie in molecular intervention, neuroscience, cardiovascular medicine, drug discovery, and nanomedicine. Her laboratory discovered that the transient receptor potential (TRP) channels play a central role in the “salt pathway”. These molecules signal a particularly exciting breakthrough, as they are capable of protecting tissues/organs from inflammation and injury. Specifically, data from her laboratory indicate that TRP channels, activated by novel lipid metabolites, may serve as distinct molecular sensors detecting micro-environmental changes occurred under pathophysiologic conditions including hypertension, myocardial infarction, and metabolic disorders including diabetes and obesity.