Department of Chemical Engineering

ChE Seminar Series: "BioArtificial Hydrogels and Mechanobiology Technologies for Regenerative Medicine"

Dr. Andrés J. García from the Georgia Institute of Technology will be offering a lectire titled "BioArtificial Hydrogels and Mechanobiology Technologies for  Regenerative Medicine"

Date: March 19, 2015

Time: 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Place: INQU 004 - Amphitheater


Cell adhesion to extracellular matrices plays central roles in the formation, maintenance and repair of numerous tissues. Cell adhesion to extracellular matrix proteins is primarily mediated by the integrin family of adhesion receptors. We have established biomolecular strategies for the engineering of bioartificial materials to direct integrin binding specificity and signaling as well as technologies to study and control mechanobiology responses. These materials regulate cell adhesion and signaling to direct in vitro cell function (adhesion, proliferation, and differentiation) and in vivo healing responses for tissue repair and integration. We have engineered a modular synthetic hydrogel platform for controlled presentation/delivery of adhesive ligands, therapeutic proteins, and degradable cross-links. For example, we have synthesized synthetic hydrogels presenting defined densities of adhesive ligands, vasculogenic growth factors, and protease degradable sequences that direct therapeutic vascularization and cell engraftment. We have also used photo-triggerable peptides to control cellular responses with respect to time and space. These approaches provide a basis for the rational design of robust bioinstructive materials that tailor adhesive interactions and elicit specific cellular responses for the development of 3D hybrid scaffolds for enhanced tissue reconstruction, "smart" biomaterials, and cell growth supports.


Andrés J. García is the Rae S. and Frank H. Neely Endowed Chair and Regent’s Professor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with Honors from Cornell University in 1991. He received M.S.E. (1992) and Ph.D. (1996) degrees in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in cell and molecular biology at the School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. García’s research program centers on integrating innovative engineering, materials science, and cell biology concepts and technologies to generate (i) novel insights into the regulation of adhesive forces and mechanotransduction, and (ii) cell-instructive materials for tissue repair in regenerative medicine applications.His research has received funding from the NIH, NSF, Coulter Foundation, Arthritis Foundation and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He has received several distinctions, including the NSF CAREER Award, Arthritis Investigator Award, Georgia Tech’s CETL/BP Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award, Young Investigator Award from the Society for Biomaterials, Georgia Tech’s Outstanding Interdisciplinary Activities Award, and the Clemson Award for Basic Science from the Society for Biomaterials. He serves on the editorial board of leading biomaterial and regenerative medicine journals.  He has been recognized as a top Latino educator by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. He has been elected a Fellow of Biomaterials Science and Engineering by the International Union of Societies of Biomaterials Science and Engineering, AIMBE, and AAAS.

Sponsored by RISE2BEST

ChE Seminar Series: “Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors in Disease: from Structure to Therapeutic Strategies” Dr. José Lasalde (UPR-RP, VP Research and Technology)

Dr. José Lasalde, from UPR-RP, VP Research and Technology will be offering a lecture titled "Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors in Disease: from Structure to Therapeutic Strategies”

Date: March 3rd, 2015

Time: 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Place: Sala A (Library)


 The focus of the research in our NIH-funded laboratory ( is on ion channel structure, ion-channel lipid interactions and ion-channel related disorders. Our long range goals are focused on: (1) the structure function relationships of nicotinic receptors, (2), the role of lipid-protein interaction on acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) function, (3) the question of how genetically abnormal ion channels give rise to neurodegeneration in the Slow Channel Congenital Myasthenic Syndromes (SCCMS) and the use of novel channel blockers as potential therapeutic agents in SCCMS, (4) the upregulation of neuronal nicotinic receptor assembly in nicotine addiction and HIV-Associate Dementia (HAD) and (5) lipidomic approaches towards a high-resolution structure of the nicotinic receptor. This seminar will discuss five different projects that will illustrate a potential basis the involvement of nAChRs in collateral effects of statins in humans, a therapeutic strategy for SCCMS, the structural basis for nicotine tolerance and addiction, a novel nicotinic receptor signaling pathway in HIV/AIDS/ HAND and a lipidomic strategy to crystallize these receptors.

Summer Research Opportunity for Undergraduate Students at UPRM

University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez
Research Experience for Undergraduates
in Reconfigurable and Multifunctional Soft Materials
Summer 2015

The University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez (UPRM), through support from the National Science Foundation, will host a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) focused on Reconfigurable and Multifunctional Soft Materials (RMSM). This new REU program will host undergraduate students in a 10-week, highly interdisciplinary, summer research experience involving scientists and engineers. It combines efforts from 7 academic departments at UPRM performing top-notch research on the development and study of new soft materials that are able to efficiently conduct multiple functions and operate away from equilibrium.


Soft matter unites a broad class of physical states, ranging from colloids and micelles to biological and granular matter, that are easily deformed by external stresses. Self-assembly, non-equilibrium, driven/active matter, frustration, topology and folding are just a few of the many diverse topics addressed by soft matter researchers. This REU site will provide the students a broad experience of the soft matter field and help them identify the interconnected properties and features that make these materials relevant for emerging needs and applications in nanotechnology, bioengineering, and the industry. The students will learn from their mentors how the deformation of materials with multifunctional and/or reconfigurable properties correlates to their fundamental composition and structure.
Program Highlights:
  • Faculty–led seminars on various soft material topics
  • Special seminars on scientific communication, graduate school, scientific responsible conduct
  • An end-of-summer REU poster or oral presentation mini-symposium, where students will share with the rest of the scientific community in campus their results and conclusions.
  • Fieldtrips to points of interest in Puerto Rico.
  • A summer in an exotic Caribbean island.

Summer 2015 Program Details:
  • Program Dates (funding pending): May 26 – August 4, 2015
  • Online application is available HERE
  • Application deadline: March 15, 2015
  • Students receive a stipend of $5,000. Housing and travel to and from Puerto Rico are provided.

Program Contact:
Dr. Ubaldo M. Córdova-Figueroa and Dr. Patricia Ortiz-Bermúdez
Directors REU in Reconfigurable and Multifunctional Soft Materials
Department of Chemical Engineering
Rd. 108 Km 1.0, Bo. Miradero
Mayagüez, P.R. 00680

Phones: 787-832-4040 exts. 5844, 3209

ChE Seminar Series: "Technology and Web Tools for Effective Time Management and Research" Ubaldo Córdova (UPRM)

Dr. Ubaldo Córdova, from the Department of Chemical Engineering-UPRM will be offering a lecture titled ”Technology and Web Tools for Effective Time Management and Research"

Date: February 10th, 2015

Time: 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Place: INQU 004 - Amphitheater


 A wide range of productivity applications (or apps) are available online to help us conduct research effectively, manage projects, and organize our schedule in smart ways. Tools such as Evernote, Google Apps, Dropbox, Twitter, and others will be shown as examples for every day uses in research. Participants are encouraged to bring a personal computer or tablet.