On Tuesday, April 11, the Biomedical Engineering (BME) Department held a Scientific Research Retreat alongside the FIU Center for Translational Science (CTS) in Port St. Lucie. Involving both BME and CTS faculty, the event was an opportunity for professors to present ongoing studies in brain, cardio-pulmonary, and drug discovery and delivery research. Following presentations, professors also had the opportunity to network and explore future opportunities for collaboration.

The presentations began with Stephen M. Black, Ph.D., CTS Director, who gave an overview of the center and its budding research facilities, followed by Jorge Riera, Ph.D., Interim Chair of the BME department, who introduced the department and associated research infrastructure, as well as plans for expansion and collaborations with local hospitals.

Following the introductory presentations, BME and CTS faculty presented their respective research within their areas of focus. Researchers focusing on the brain presented topics such as oxidants and oxidized molecules in disorders of the nervous system, neural repair and spinal cord injury, and calcium signaling in neurons and astrocytes.

Next, faculty presented research focused on cardio-pulmonary pathophysiology, which included topics such as vascular calcification, extracellular vesicle signaling in the vasculature, and acute lung injury and respiratory distress syndrome. The final group of faculty presented research on drug discovery and delivery, which included topics such as NIR optical technologies, targeted image-guided therapy for cancer, and combinational chemistry.

As the Center for Translational Science continues to grow following its inauguration on April 12, 2022, there are plans for more collaboration between CTS and the College of Engineering and Computing in the near future.

The BME Department and CTS are currently exploring options for BME Ph.D. students to have co-major advisors in both BME and CTS; these students would complete their coursework during the first two years of their program at the College of Engineering and Computing, followed by research work at CTS. The groups are also pursuing dual BME-CTS faculty recruitment to solidify collaborative efforts.

To stimulate new collaborations, new Research Initiation Seed Grants (SEED) grant opportunities under the Wallace Coulter Endowment will be announced soon to support research projects between BME and CTS.