Participating Professors / Research Groups
The following professors are participating in the research fair:
- Professor Ann McDermott (BioChemistry)(Research)
- Professor Joachim Frank (Biological Sciences)(Research)
- Professor Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic (BME)(Research)
- Professor Edward F. Leonard (Chemical Engineering)(Info)
- Professors Jeffrey Lancaster & Ellane Park (Chemistry)
- Professor Kalderon (CRED)
- Professor Henning Schulzrinne (Comp. Sci.)(Research)
- Professor Simha Sethumadhavan (Computer Science)
- Professor Kymissis (Electrical Engineering)
- The EnHANTs Project (Electrical Engineering)(Research)
- Professor Vasilis Fthenakis (Environmental Eng.)(Info)
- Professor Miller (Physics)
Short blurbs of information on the research being conducted by each respective professor will be posted.
Professor Ann McDermott's Research Group(Biological Chemistry)
--- NMR Structural Studies of Membrane Proteins---
Most membrane-bound proteins are structurally uncharacterized at present; solid state NMR methods promise to offer important information for these systems. Recently we discovered that NMR spectra of uniformly labeled solid state proteins are well-resolved and may provide the basis for structural and functional studies. Many small proteins, including BPTI and ubiquitin, and several intrinsic membrane proteins have been studied using high-field state-of-the-art solid state NMR equipment. Torsional angles and tertiary contacts are characterized through existing dipolar methods.
--- Enzymes, Hydrogen Bonding Geometry, and Dynamics ---
For most enzymes and drug targets, ligand binding is associated with the motion of a flexible loop or domain and the restructuring of hydrogen bonds and other contacts. The characteristic timescales of an active-site flexible loop in TIM is under investigation. Similarly, metal-substrate geometry as well as conformational exchange rates are studied for metalloenzymes, such as the important drug target cytochrome P450. NMR measurements in the active sites of enzymes give insight into catalytic mechanism, drug binding modes, and dynamics.
--- NMR Methods Development, Enhanced Signals, and Alignment Protocols ---
NMR signals associated with the photosynthetic apparatus appear with intensities enhanced 300 to 1,000 times, relative to control values. We have proposed a mechanism for this remarkable effect and achieved quantitative agreement. We have demonstrated alignment of liquids in the presence of large AC electric fields, as detected by NMR spectroscopy. This experiment benefits simultaneously from the advantages of NMR for studying both solids and liquids. Ongoing design and optimization of NMR hardware for these and other applications is a central activity in our research group.
The Frank Lab(Biological Sciences)
My group studies translation, the process by which the genetic message carried by mRNA is translated into a polypeptide chain, which then folds into a working protein. The primary tool for these studies is visualization by cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) combined with single-particle reconstruction, a method of structure research developed in my lab. Molecules are quickly frozen so that they are trapped in a close-to-native state in a thin (~1,000 A) layer of vitreous ice.
We have made significant progress in two aspects of the technology, both leading to advances in the elucidation of translation. First, we have advanced the methodology for sorting images of heterogeneous molecules into homogeneous subpopulations. Second, we have improved the cryo-EM resolution of a particularly stable ribosomal complex to 6.7 A.
Professor Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic's Lab(Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering)
The focus of our research is on engineering functional human tissues, by an integrated use of stem cells (the actual "tissue engineers"), biomaterial scaffolds (cell-instructive templates) and bioreactors (culture systems designed to regulate tissue development). Our long-term goals are to engineer tissue grafts for application in regenerative medicine, develop enabling technologies for stem cell research, and design high-fidelity models for studies of tissue development, remodeling and disease. Our lab is also the Bioreactor Core of the NIH Tissue Engineering Resource Center (TERC). We are the leading member of the Functional Imaging Core for Stem Cell Research founded by the NYSTEM.
Professor Edward F. Leonard(Chemical Engineering)
Professor Leonard's principal area of interest is transport and rate processes in biological systems. He is director of the Artificial Organs Research Laboratory, a component of the Department of Chemical Engineering since 1968. Its mission has grown with the evolution of modern biology and with the increasing sophistication available for the construction of medical devices. Thus, current projects have a wide range: Innovations to traditional artificial organs effecting transport (kidney, liver, lung, cardiovascular implants) with special emphasis on the artificial kidney, to regenerative medicine, especially the development and study of methods for introducing stem cells into adult tissue. Professor Leonard directs the NSF-sponsored course cluster in Genomic Engineering, and is a member of the Columbia Genome Center. He and his students are engaged in building models of intracellular activity that incorporate both signal transduction and gene networks. Two systems are currently under study: single-molecule excitation of olfactory neurons, and the proposed prion model of plasticity in the interneurons of Aplysia californica. Further details and links are available on the Leonard homepage (link above). Prof. Leonard is teaching or has recently taught undergraduate chemical engineering courses in transport phenomena, three graduate courses in chemical engineering - mathematics for chemical engineers, "Artificial Organs" and "The Genome and the Cell" - and a biomedical engineering course entitled "Transport and Rate Phenomena in Artificial Organs".
Professor Henning Schulzrinne(Internet Real-Time Lab - IRT)
The Internet Real-Time Lab (IRT) in the Computer Science Department at Columbia University conducts research in the areas of Internet and multimedia services: Internet telephony, wireless and mobile networks, streaming, quality of service, resource reservation, dynamic pricing for the Internet, network measurement and reliability, service location, network security, media on demand, content distribution networks, multicast networks and ubiquitous and context-aware computing and communication.
About twenty graduate students and visitors are exploring various research areas under the guidance of Prof. Henning Schulzrinne, and closely interacting with the larger networking community at Columbia Networking Research Center (CNRC) as well as other research labs. We design and analyze new protocols, perform prototyping and measurements, pursue their standardization in the IETF and transfer technology to companies.
Some of the projects that are currently being researched at the IRT Lab include: Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), Application and Desktop Sharing, 7DS - Information exchange in disconnected networks, VoIP for wireless networks, Emergency services -- NG911, GloServ: global service discovery architecture, QoS measurement for VoIP, Peer-to-peer IP telephony, Training FAA using SIP and RTP.
Energy-Harvesting Active Networked Tags(EnHANTs - Electrical Engineering)
In this project we are developing Energy-Harvesting Active Networked Tags (EnHANTs). EnHANTs are small, flexible, and self-reliant (in terms of energy) devices that can be attached to objects that are traditionally not networked (e.g., books, clothing, and produce), thereby providing the infrastructure for various novel tracking applications. Examples of these applications include locating misplaced items, continuous monitoring of objects (items in a store, boxes in transit), and determining locations of disaster survivors.
Recent advances in ultra-low-power wireless communications, ultra-wideband (UWB) circuit design, and organic electronic harvesting techniques will enable the realization of EnHANTs in the near future. In order for EnHANTs to rely on harvested energy, they have to spend significantly less energy than Bluetooth, Zigbee, and IEEE 802.15.4a devices. Moreover, the harvesting components and the ultra-low-power physical layer have special characteristics whose implications on the higher layers have yet to be studied (e.g., when using ultra-low-power circuits, the energy required to receive a bit is an order of magnitude higher than the energy required to transmit a bit).
The objective of the project is to design hardware, algorithms, and software to enable the realization of EnHANTs. This interdisciplinary project includes 5 PIs in the departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Columbia University with expertise in energy-harvesting devices and techniques, ultra-low power integrated circuits, and energy efficient communications and networking protocols.
Prof. Vasilis Fthenakis(Environmental Engineering)
Prof. Vasilis Fthenakis is the founder and director of the CLCA. He also leads the National PV Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Research Center operating at Brookhaven National Lab (BNL) under the auspices of the DOE since 1982. The centers are synergistically engaging students and researchers in the two institutions and have formed close collaborations with the University of Utrecht, the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands, University of Stuttgart, and Chalmers University in the LCA area. VMF has led international forums on LCA of photovoltaic technologies, under the auspices of European Union's-Joint Research Center and the International Energy Agency (IEA). He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the International Energy Foundation.