Organizational Unit:
Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering

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https://ror.org/02j15s898
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Now showing 1 - 10 of 406
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    Statistical Shape Learning for 3D Tracking
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2009-12) Sandhu, Romeil ; Lankton, Shawn ; Dambreville, Samuel ; Tannenbaum, Allen R.
    In this note, we consider the use of 3D models for visual tracking in controlled active vision. The models are used for a joint 2D segmentation/3D pose estimation procedure in which we automatically couple the two processes under one energy functional. Further, employing principal component analysis from statistical learning, can train our tracker on a catalog of 3D shapes, giving a priori shape information. The segmentation itself is information-based. This allows us to track in uncertain adversarial environments. Our methodology is demonstrated on some real sequences which illustrate its robustness on challenging scenarios.
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    Structural and functional neuroimaging of individuals with prenatal exposure to addictive substances
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2009-11-16) Santhanam, Priya
    Although the hazards of prenatal exposure to addictive substances have been documented for decades, it continues to be a prevalent social and health concern today. Alcohol and cocaine are two commonly abused substances during pregnancy, often leading to behavioral and cognitive disorders in exposed children. At present, the relationship between teratogenic effects of prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) and prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE) on the brain and observed behavioral outcomes is still unclear. A primary reason for this incomplete understanding is the lack of information regarding neuronal functioning in these populations. Functional MRI, which measures real-time brain activation in response to certain stimuli, can be utilized to bridge the gap between known structural damage and observed behavioral outcomes. This thesis aims to examine structural and functional alterations in PAE and PCE populations as compared to unexposed, socio-economic status-matched populations. As the PAE population is highly affected by structural dysmorphology, the applicability of a newly developed diffeomorphic image registration method to this population is examined. Additionally, task-positive and task-negative functional connectivity and activity are investigated in the PAE population, and related to underlying structural alterations. Neural correlates of global arousal and emotional regulation are investigated in the PCE population, as these behavioral outcomes are most notable. Similarly, functional connectivity and activation in task-positive and task-negative networks, as well as correlated structural measures, are examined in the PCE population. The diffeomorphic image registration algorithm was found to improve both structural and functional image registration for the PAE population. In the examination of specific deficits in arithmetic processing, poorer performance in the PAE group was attributed to a multi-level effect produced by altered structural and functional connectivity and functional activity in calculation and default mode networks. Baseline arousal levels were found to be higher in adolescents with PCE as compared to healthy controls (by altered default mode network functioning); emotional regulation also appeared to be affected in the PCE group by a prefrontal-amygdala structural and functional disconnect. The findings of this thesis give insights into the relationship between task-positive and task-negative duality and cognitive impairment, and contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the spectrum of clinical disorders caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol and cocaine.
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    Electrospun nanofiber meshes for the functional repair of bone defects
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2009-11-16) Kolambkar, Yash Manohar
    Bone defects caused by trauma, tumor resection or disease present a significant clinical problem. Failures in 'high risk' fractures and large bone defects have been reported to be as high as 30-50%. The drawbacks associated with current bone grafting procedures have stimulated the search for improved techniques for bone repair. Tissue engineering/regenerative medicine approaches promote tissue repair by providing a combination of physical and biological cues through structural scaffolds and bioactive agents. Though they have demonstrated significant promise for bone regeneration, very little has been translated to clinical practice. The goal of this thesis was to investigate the potential of electrospun nanofiber mesh scaffolds for bone regeneration. Nanofiber meshes were utilized in a three-pronged approach. First, we validated their ability to robustly support osteogenic cell functions, including proliferation and matrix mineralization. We also demonstrated their efficacy as a cell delivery vehicle. Second, we investigated the effects of modulating nanofiber bioactivity and orientation on stem cell programming. Our results indicate that functionalization of nanofiber meshes with a collagen-mimetic peptide enhanced the migration, proliferation and osteogenic differentiation of cells. Fiber alignment improved cell migration along the direction of fiber orientation. Finally, a nanofiber mesh based hybrid system for growth factor delivery was developed for bone repair and tested in a challenging animal model. The delivery of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) via this system resulted in the functional restoration of limb function, and in fact proved more efficacious than the current clinical standard for BMP delivery. The studies performed in this thesis have suggested novel techniques for improving the repair of clinically challenging bone defects. They indicate that the delivery of BMP via the hybrid system may reduce the dose and side effects of BMP, thereby broadening the use of BMP based bone augmentation procedures. Therefore, this nanofiber mesh based system has the potential to become the standard of care for clinically challenging bone defects, including large bone defects, open tibial fractures, and nonunions.
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    Quantum dot-fluorescent protein pairs as fluorescence resonance energy transfer pairs
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2009-11-13) Dennis, Allison Marie
    Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based biosensors have been designed to fluorometrically detect everything from proteolytic activity to receptor-ligand interactions and structural changes in proteins. While a wide variety of fluorophores have demonstrated effectiveness in FRET probes, several potential sensor components are particularly notable. Semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) are attractive FRET donors because they are rather bright, exhibit high quantum yields, and their nanoparticulate structure enables the attachment of multiple acceptor molecules. Fluorescent proteins (FPs) are also of particular interest for fluorescent biosensors because design elements necessary for signal transduction, probe assembly, and device delivery and localization for intracellular applications can all be genetically incorporated into the FP polypeptide. The studies described in this thesis elucidate the important parameters for concerted QD-FP FRET probe design. Experimental results clarify issues of FRET pair selection, probe assembly, and donor-acceptor distance for the multivalent systems. Various analysis approaches are compared and guidelines asserted based on the results. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the QD-FP FRET probe platform, a ratiometric pH sensor is presented. The sensor, which uses the intrinsic pH-sensitivity of the FP mOrange to modulate the FP/QD emission ratio, exhibits a 20-fold change in its ratiometric measurement over a physiologically interesting pH range, making it a prime candidate for intracellular imaging applications.
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    Development of polymer-coated nanoparticle imaging agents for diagnostic applications
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2009-11-12) Kairdolf, Brad A.
    While significant progress has been made in the treatment and management of cancer, challenges remain because of the complexity and the heterogeneous nature of the disease. The improvement that has been seen in survival rates reflects advancements not only in treatment, but also in early stage detection and diagnostics for certain cancers. In particular, early stage detection and treatment of cancer before it has metastasized to other organs has resulted in a dramatic improvement in patient survival rates. One area of research that has shown considerable promise in further advancing diagnostics and early cancer detection is nanotechnology. Specifically, semiconductor and metal nanoparticles have great potential to provide advanced technology platforms for ultrasensitive and multiplexed detection of disease markers and probe disease on the molecular level. Because they are in the same size regime as biological molecules, these nanoparticles exhibit unique interactions with proteins, nucleic acids and other biomarkers of interest for detecting and diagnosing disease. However, high-quality nanoparticles are often unsuited for use in complex biological environments because of their coatings and surface chemistry. In this work, we describe the design and development of polymer-coated nanoparticle imaging agents for use in blood, cell and tissue diagnostic applications. Low-molecular weight, amphiphilic polymers capable of noncovalent interactions with nanoparticle surface ligands and the aqueous environment were synthesized and characterized for use in nanoparticle coating applications. We demonstrate that the hydrophobic and hydrophilic interactions between the nanoparticle surface, the amphiphilic polymer and the aqueous solvent were able to drive the coating and water solubilization of quantum dots. Novel nanoparticle synthetic techniques were also developed using the amphiphilic polymers in a one-pot method to make high quality semiconductor and gold nanoparticles and stabilize and encapsulate the particles for transfer into water. Using the polymer functional groups as multidentate ligands, nanoparticles were synthesized with a high degree of size control and increased stability. In addition, by performing the synthesis in a noncoordinating amphiphilic solvent such as polyethylene glycol, nanoparticles were immediately transferred to water with the excess polymer forming a water soluble coating. Next, nanoparticle surface charge and how it relates to the nonspecific binding of nanoparticles in cells, tissues and other complex biological samples was studied. We have found that highly charged (negative and positive) particles exhibit significant nonspecific binding to biomolecules and other cellular components in biological environments. By reducing the surface charge through the incorporation of hydroxyl functional groups, we have nearly eliminated the nonspecific binding of quantum dots in blood, cells and tissues. Moreover, through crosslinking and altering the surface chemistry of the polymer-coated quantum dots, we have increased the stability of the nanoparticles while maintaining a small hydrodynamic size. Finally, we have investigated the use of the low-binding, hydroxyl quantum dots in tissue staining applications, where nonspecific binding presents a considerable challenge to detection sensitivity and specificity. A number of biomolecule conjugation techniques were examined for the coupling of quantum dots to antibody targeting molecules and preliminary staining experiments were performed.
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    Acellular matrices derived from differentiating embryonic stem cells
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2009-11-10) Nair, Rekha
    Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) can differentiate into all somatic cells, and as such, are a promising cell source for therapeutic applications. In vitro, ESCs spontaneously differentiate via the aggregation of cells into embryoid bodies (EBs), which recapitulate aspects of early embryogenesis and harbor a unique reservoir of cues critical for tissue formation and morphogenesis. Embryonic healing responses employ similar intrinsic machinery used for tissue development, and these morphogenic cues may be captured within the EB microenvironment. Recent studies have shown that when injected into injury or defect models in vivo, ESCs synthesize and secrete extracellular factors that ultimately contribute to repair, suggesting that these molecules may be as important for regenerative therapies as functional differentiation of the cells. The overall objective of this project was to develop novel acellular matrices derived from differentiating ESCs undergoing morphogenesis. The central hypothesis was that embryonic matrices contain complex mixtures of extracellular factors that, when isolated, retain bioactivity and enhance wound healing in an adult environment. The overall objective was accomplished by: (1) investigating the production of extracellular matrix (ECM) by differentiating ESCs as a function of differentiation time; (2) assessing the ability of solvents to efficiently decellularize EBs; and (3) evaluating the healing response elicited by acellular matrices derived from EBs in a murine dermal wound healing model. Endogenous ECM synthesis by EBs varied with time and was associated with specific differentiation events. Novel techniques were developed to effectively remove cell components from EBs in order to extract complex, bioactive acellular matrices. EB-derived acellular matrices significantly enhanced the healing of excisional dermal wounds in mice, indicating the potency of extracellular factors synthesized by ESCs. All together, these studies demonstrate that acellular matrices derived from ESCs retain morphogenic factors capable of influencing tissue repair. In addition, this work lays the foundation for future studies to further examine the functional role of endogenous matrix molecules on ESC differentiation and to evaluate the utility of a stem cell-derived matrix for a variety of regenerative medicine applications.
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    Dissolving microneedles for cutaneous drug and vaccine delivery
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2009-11-10) Chu, Leonard Yi
    Currently, biopharmaceuticals including vaccines, proteins, and DNA are delivered almost exclusively through the parenteral route using hypodermic needles. However, injection by hypodermic needles generates pain and causes bleeding. Disposal of these needles also produces biohazardous sharp waste. An alternative delivery tool called microneedles may solve these issues. Microneedles are micron-size needles that deliver drugs or biopharmaceuticals into skin by creating tiny channels in the skin. This thesis focuses on dissolving microneedles in which the needle tips dissolve and release the encapsulated drug or vaccine upon insertion. The project aimed to (i) design and optimize dissolving microneedles for efficient drug and vaccine delivery to the skin, (ii) maintain vaccine stability over long-term storage, and (iii) immunize animals using vaccine encapsulated microneedles. The results showed that influenza vaccine encapsulated in microneedles was more thermally stable than unprocessed vaccine solution over prolonged periods of storage time. In addition, mice immunized with microneedles containing influenza vaccine offered full protection against lethal influenza virus infection. As a result, we envision the newly developed dissolving microneedle system can be a safe, patient compliant, easy to-use and self-administered method for rapid drug and vaccine delivery to the skin.
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    Delivery of thermostabilized chondroitinase ABC enhances axonal sprouting and functional recovery after spinal cord injury
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2009-11-10) Lee, Hyun-Jung
    Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) are one major class of axon growth inhibitors that are upregulated and accumulated around the lesion site after spinal cord injury (SCI), and result in regenerative failure. To overcome CSPG-mediated inhibition, digestion of CSPGs with chondroitinase ABC (chABC) has been explored and it has shown promising results. chABC digests glycosaminoglycan chains on CSPGs and can thereby enhance axonal regeneration and promote functional recovery when delivered at the site of injury. However, chABC has a crucial limitation; it is thermally unstable and loses its enzymatic activity rapidly at 37 ºC. Therefore, it necessitates the use of repeated injections or local infusions with a pump for days to weeks to provide fresh chABC to retain its enzymatic activity. Maintaining these infusion systems is invasive and clinically problematic. In this dissertation, three studies are reported that demonstrate our strategy to overcome current limitations of using chABC and develop a delivery system for facilitating chABC treatment after SCI: First, we enhanced the thermostability of chABC by adding trehalose, a protein stabilizer, and developed a system for its sustained local delivery in vivo. Enzymatic activity was assayed by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and dimethylmethylene blue (DMMB), and conformational change of the enzyme was measured via circular dichroism (CD) with and without trehalose. When stabilized with trehalose, chABC remained enzymatically active at 37 ºC for up to 4 weeks in vitro. We developed a lipid microtube-agarose hydrogel delivery system for a sustained release and showed that chABC released from the delivery system is still functionally active and slowly released over 2 weeks in vitro. Second, the hydrogel-microtube system was used to locally deliver chABC over two weeks at the lesion site following a dorsal over hemisection injury at T10. The scaffold consisting of hydrogel and chABC loaded lipid microtubes was implanted at the top of the lesion site immediately following injury. To determine effectiveness of topical delivery of thermostabilized chABC, animal groups treated with single injection or gel scaffold implantation of chABC and penicillinase (P'ase) were included as controls. Two weeks after surgery, the functionality of released chABC and the cellular responses were examined by immunohistological analysis with 3B3, CS-56, GFAP and Wisteria floribunda agglutinin (WFA). The results demonstrated that thermostabilized chABC was successfully delivered slowly and locally without the need for an indwelling catheter by using the hydrogel-microtube delivery system in vivo. The results demonstrated that released chABC from the gel scaffold effectively digested CSPGs, and therefore, there were significant differences in CSPG digestion at the lesion site between groups treated with chABC loaded microtube-hydrogel scaffolds and controls. Third, a long term in vivo study (45 days) was conducted to examine axonal sprouting/regeneration and functional recovery with both a single treatment each of microtube loaded chABC or Neurotrophin-3 (NT-3), and a combination of them by using the hydrogel-microtube delivery system. Over the long term study period, the treated animals showed significant improvement in locomotor function and more sprouting of cholera toxin B subunit (CTB)-positive ascending dorsal column fibers and 5-HT serotonergic fibers around the lesion site. We demonstrated that this significant improvement of chABC thermostability facilitates the development of a minimally invasive method for sustained, local delivery of chABC that is potentially a useful and effective approach for treating SCI. In addition to that, we demonstrated that combinatorial therapy with chABC and neurotrophic factors could provide a synergistic effect on axonal regrowth and functional recovery after SCI.
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    Investigation of 1alpha,25-dihydroxy vitamin D3 membrane receptor ERp60 in adipocytes from male and female lean and obese mice
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2009-10-19) McLane, Jesica Mata
    The purpose of this study is to determine whether or not adipocytes harvested directly from fat pads or induced from bone marrow in lean and obese mice exhibit a sex-dependent rapid response to vitamin D metabolite 1á,25(OH)2D3 and if so to elucidate if it is via an ERp60 receptor mediated signaling pathway. The role of 1á,25(OH)2D3 and specifically the membrane effect will be examined in two genetically distinct mice to see if their cells have a differing sensitivity. The results indicate that there are differing responses in adipocytes that are induced from bone marrow versus differentiated fat pad adipocytes, and the function of 1á,25(OH)2D3 is sex-specific in some cases. Additionally, all the adipocytes tested demonstrated a rapid response to 1á,25(OH)2D3; mRNA for nVDR and ERp60 were found in all cells however the only functional protein found in the plasma membrane was ERp60 indicating that it may be necessary for the rapid response whereas nVDR is not required.
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    Filtered Tractography: State estimation in a constrained subspace
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2009-09-24) Malcolm, James G. ; Shenton, Martha E. ; Rathi, Yogesh
    We describe amethod of deterministic tractography using model-based estimation that remains constrained to the subspace of valid tensor mixture models. Existing techniques estimate the local fiber orientation at each voxel independently so there is no running knowledge of confidence in the estimated fiber model.We formulate fiber tracking as recursive estimation: at each step of tracing the fiber, the current estimate is guided by the previous. To do this we model the signal as a weighted mixture of Gaussian tensors and perform tractography within a filter framework. Starting from a seed point, each fiber is traced to its termination using an unscented Kalman filter to simultaneously fit the local model and propagate in the most consistent direction. Further, we modify the Kalman filter to enforce model constraints, i.e. positive eigenvalues and convex weights, thereby constraining it to a subspace of allowable model parameters. Despite the presence of noise and uncertainty, this provides a causal estimate of the local structure at each point along the fiber. Synthetic experiments demonstrate that this approach significantly improves the angular resolution at crossings and branchings while consistently estimating the mixture weights. In vivo experiments confirm the ability to trace out fibers in areas known to contain such crossing and branching while providing inherent path regularization. We conclude by applying unsupervised clustering to provide side-by-side comparison of the models.