Innovation has a new home at Sears think[box]

CWRU students add Jell-O to engineering lesson plans

A team of Case Western Reserve University students is pushing Jell-O as brain food—to teach middle schoolers about engineering.
For their efforts, the team won the Biomaterials Education Challenge and $2,500 prize at the Society of Biomaterials’ national meeting in April.
Jell-O may be the nation’s best-known biomaterial. The food is classified as a hydrogel, and collagen, a protein found in the body, gives it the shakable structure.
Plastic surgeons use collagen to puff up movie stars’ lips. But, as photos of aging actors’ sagging smiles attest, collagen doesn’t hold up forever. And that’s part of what makes it a good material to teach young students, said team member Julia Samorezov, a PhD candidate in biomedical engineering.

Alexis Abramson appointed faculty director of the Great Lakes Energy Institute

Associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering Alexis Abramson has been appointed the new faculty director of the Great Lakes Energy Institute.
Abramson has been with the Case School of Engineering since 2003, where she has focused her research on novel techniques for thermal characterization of nanostructures; the design and synthesis of unique nanomaterials for use in alternative energy applications; and strategies to accelerate technology commercialization at universities and research institutions.

Engineering student-led startup takes home honors at major competitions


The Disease Diagnostic Group team (from left): John Lewandowski, Mark Lewandowski and Brian Grimberg

A Case Western Reserve University student-led startup aimed at saving lives through faster, better and cheaper malaria diagnosis won the 2013 LaunchTown Entrepreneurship Business Idea Competition at the University of Akron in April.

Disease Diagnostic Group LLC’s win comes on the heels of its ninth-place finish—out of 1,200 entries—at the Rice Business Plan Competition, the world’s richest and largest business plan competition, four days earlier.

Chemical Engineering's Robert Savinell Named ISE Fellow

Robert Savinell, the George S. Dively Professor of Engineering, has been elected as a fellow of the International Society of Electrochemistry. As an ISE fellow, he joins an elite group that numbers just 60 researchers around the world.
Savinell is a recognized authority on electrochemical energy storage and conversion. He has authored more than 100 publications and holds seven patents in the electrochemical field. He recently won a grant from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy to continue his work developing a low-cost, all-iron flow battery.

New material system permits 3-D patterning to regulate stem cell behavior

Stem cells can be coaxed to grow into new bone or new cartilage better and faster when given the right molecular cues and room inside a water-loving gel, researchers at Case Western Reserve University show.
By creating a three-dimensional checkerboard—one with alternating highly connected and less connected spaces within the hydrogel—the team found adjusting the size of the micropattern could affect stem cell behaviors, such as proliferation and differentiation.
Inducing how and where stem cells grow—and into the right kind of cell in three dimensions—has proven a challenge to creating useful stem cell therapies. This technique holds promise for studying how physical, chemical and other influences affect cell behavior in three dimensions, and, ultimately, as a method to grow tissues for regenerative medicine applications.