Upcoming Seminars

Week of March 19Week of March 26Week of April 2Week of April 9

Biomedical Engineering

Developing and Working in New Research Areas, Inventions and Penn State Proprietary Research on the Road to Commercialization

Thursday, March 22, 2018; 12:05 PM - 1:20 PM
112 Kern Building
Speaker: Dr. James Adair from Penn State

We have the culture at Penn State to do all of the explicit activities in the title as well as a bunch of other things. As my science and engineering has evolved our University has also evolved. This talk is about my foray into nano medicine starting in August 2003 after spending most of my career in mainstream materials science and engineering. Over forty years ago when I first began doing research in graduate school, I had a carefully worked out planned. After that plan failed rather spectacularly, verifying my almost complete lack of prescience, I decided to focus on basic research around nanoscale particles and see where that led rather than trying to predict the future. Why I turned to nano medical applications and how we developed the science and technology to the current realm of a FDA approved Phase I clinical trial being funded through our Penn State spin-off company, Keystone Nano, Inc. will also be presented. As I have evolved our University has also evolved. The science and intellectual property has developed and evolved in concert. Penn State has also changed with respect to research driven entrepreneurship and outreach under the Pres. Eric Barron administration. It will be shown that our Penn State team of faculty, staff, students and administration has arrived at a tipping point with respect to where at least some of the future lies for our academic training, research efforts, and commercialization. During the last 13 years at Penn State University Park and Hershey campuses, a novel nanoparticle delivery system for diagnosis and chemotherapeutic delivery has been developed.  This rapid development of essentially a new material system was achieved by working with many colleagues in translational nanomedical science teams across the spectrum from the basic science through to the clinic.  The characteristics of the amorphous, calcium phosphosilicate hydrate nanoparticles (CPSNPs) are presented that address each of the biophysical selection criteria for a diagnostic and drug delivery system.  Among the characteristics that make this development significant are the ability to encapsulate active agents in bioresorbable, biocompatible in organic nanoparticles.  Long term colloidal stability achieved by surface conjugation with target molecules that bind to active sites on the cell membrane of cancer cells and the small scale (typically less than 50nm diameter) ensure a powerful delivery system for targeted identification and chemotherapeutic delivery to human cancer.  Side effects noted for all chemotherapeutic protocols are avoided with the CPSNP delivery system because CPSNPs not finding cancer cells are cleared via the excretion system of murine models.  Thus, nano-platform diagnostic and drug delivery systems being developed have profound potential for both the earliest detection of human cancer and the efficacious delivery of drug with minimal side effects for patients, shifting the paradigm for cancer treatment to Kill the cancer, Do no harm to the patient.”

Hosted by: Jenna Sieber,  Biomedical Engineering  (jns5431@psu.edu)

Electrical Engineering

Radar Systems for Homeland Security Applications

Thursday, March 22, 2018; 4:35 p.m.
358 Willard
Speaker: Ram Narayanan from Electrical Engineering at Penn State

This talk will introduce the science and technology considerations for radar towards homeland security applications. These include through-wall detection and imaging of humans, detection of weapons concealed beneath clothing, detection of buried mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), detection and imaging of hidden contraband in containers, and border and perimeter surveillance. Each application is unique requiring the optimum choice in frequency, bandwidth, polarisation, and processing considerations. Imaging needs are met using techniques such as synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and radar tomography. The talk will commence by reviewing different approaches to radar phenomenological modelling and hardware architecture implementations, and discuss their operation and performance. Different types of radar waveforms in general use will be discussed, both conventional and emerging. These will include pulsed, impulse, dual-frequency, FMCW (linear and stepped), noise (random and pseudorandom), and noise-like (chaotic), with special reference to the unique requirements for through-the-barrier imaging applications. We will then discuss how specific waveforms are affected by the EM environment and assess the limitations of current techniques. The tutorial will conclude by showing the results provided in several open literature publications on the versatile applications of radar in practical applications related to homeland security. Unique features associated with individual applications will be discussed in detail.

Hosted by: Vishal Monga,  Electrical Engineering  (Vmonga@engr.psu.edu)

Engineering Science and Mechanics

Information Science on a Petri Dish

Wednesday, March 21, 2018; 3:35 pm
103 Leonhard Building
Speaker: Dr. Vijayanand C. Kowtha from Naval Research Laboratory, Washington DC

Abstract. We classify our actions into "Reflexive, Instinctive/Intuitive and Deliberative".  Reflexive actions short-circuit the OODA loop by cutting out the middle “Orient and Decide” apart and lead to "Observe-Act".  Biologically this action takes place without involving higher order processing in the brain.  These actions are hardwired and largely outside our conscious control. These can be studied on simple cultured preparations leading to massive data farms similar to the ones done at the Howard Hughes Janeila Farms. Deep Learning systems on these cultured neurons are routinely collected at HHMI and at the Human Brain Project. These require a large quantity of labeled training data and requires long period of learning, one can claim that it is building "Intuition.” "Divide and Conquer" is a one of the greatest scientific and philosophical principles in human thought.  The emerging importance of network science where the connections are considered to be more important than the nodes. The other side of "Divide and Conquer" is "Connect and Grow".  These are fascinating discussions involving science at the intersection of culture, thought, history, technology.

Hosted by: Dr. Akhlesh Lakhtakia,  Engineering Science and Mechanics  (tms4@engr.psu.edu)

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