Edward F. Leonard

    Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering,

    School of Engineering and Applied Science

    Columbia University in the City of New York

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Academic year 2000-2001: Prof. Leonard will be on sabbatical leave at the University of California, Berkeley.  CA.  Detailed information about his schedule and how to contact him can be obtained from the office of the Columbia Department of Chemical Engineering, 212 854 4453.  His office telephone (854-4448) contains a brief message repeating the message given here; voice messages cannot be left there.  Prof. Leonard's laboratory telephone is 854-3007.  Questions related to research may be directed to the senior graduate student, Ms. Sobin Kim sk474@columbia.edu  Questions related to academic matters, references, future scheduling may be directed to a part-time assistant, Kate Richlin-Zack, kr180@columbia.edu

Prof. Leonard will be reading e-mail sent to his Columbia address:  leonard@columbia.edu  Prof. Leonard is offering research topics for incoming graduate students.  (He will be visitng the campus several times during the year and is holding regular internet meetings with his research group.)  Research topics are described in a PDF document available by clicking here.

Artificial Organs Research Laboratory:

The Artificial Organs Research Laboratory has been 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.  Professor Edward F. Leonard is the director.  He  collaborates with Professor James L. Thomas.  Both also hold appointments in Columbia's Department of Biomedical Engineering.  There are numerous collaborators from biological and medical departments at Columbia and elsewhere, as noted in the project descriptions below.  

Current projects include: 

The Biophysics of Immune Cell Activation.  (NIH grant application under consideration.)  Students in the laboratory, along with Profs. Leonard and Thomas and Prov. Ivan Ivanov of the University of Sofia, Bulgaria, have developed a new method of effecting controlled contact between immune cells which 'present' foreign antigens (B lymphocytes) and those cells which are activated as a result of this presentation (T lymphocytes). T cell activation is studied in a film-thinning chamber that allows a controlled area and time of contact between the two cell types .  Activation of the T cells is monitored by their fluorescence.   Through study of the generally neglected physics of cellular activation, the group hopes to find rate-limiting steps and to understand the general way in which cells are 'switched' from one state to another as a result of intermittent environmental stimuli. The group has presented numerous papers at AIChE meetings.  Many of these papers have been published in several different   journals.  Collaborators have included Dr. Ned Braunstein, Columbia Department of Medicine, and Dr. Stanislav Vukmanovic, NYU Department of Pathology.

Isolation of Fetal Cells from the Maternal Circulation.  (Previously sponsored by Whitaker Foundation.) A very few fetal cells (~1:1,000,000) appear in the circulation of pregnant women.  A process for finding and capturing these cells from a simple blood sample from a pregnant woman is being developed.  A special flow pattern, chaotic advection, is used.  Collaborators include Prof. Rene Chevray, Mechanical Engineering, Steven Brown, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Dorothy Warburton, Human Genetics.   

 Can an olfactory neuron be fired by the binding of a single odorant?  An AORL student is studying reaction and diffusion of cyclic AMP in the specialized cells responsible for the sensing of smell in animals.  Current work is designed to clarify the unresolved question posed here.  Complex binding models.and diffusion of a small number of molecules using stochastic models are being studied.  The work is being done in collaboration with Prof. Stuart Firestein in the Department of Biological Sciences.

Prediction of Graft Failure in Artificial Kidney Patients. (Feasibility project.)  Hemodialysis patients must have 'accessible' blood so that  blood can safely be pumped out of, and returned to, their bodies at relatively high flow rates.  Most patients have areteriovenous 'shunts' in their arms.   These shunts fail but failure is hard to predict without expensive imaging of the shunts.  Such imaging is too expensive to be employed routinely.  Studies are underway to detect localized turbulence from narrowed regions of the shunt flowpath, using a simple electronic stethoscope and Fast Fourier Transform analysis of the recorded sounds.  The work is done in collaboration with Dr. Qais Al-Awquati and his colleagues in the Department of Nephrology of the Department of Medicine.

Seeing through Blood.  (NIH grant application in preparation)  Blood is the most opaque tissue in the body.  An endoscopic system that would allow vision through blood would allow many new, less invasive approaches to the repair of the cardiovascular system:  heart, arteries, and veins.  Near-infrared light and a special system of analysis based on the combination of slightly different images, using an image processing algorithm, are being used in an attempt to obtain useful vision in blood.  Collaborators include Tony Heinz, Professor of Physics, Andrew Laine, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Mehmet Oz, Associate Professor of Cardiac Surgery. 

A recent presentation about the present and future of Artificial Organs, with emphasis on the evolution of the artificial kidney.  (Powerpoint).  Click here.  WARNING:  Loads slow and doesn't work well with Netscape; does work with Internet Explorer.  (Please report difficulties in viewing this presentation to:  leonard@columbia.edu.)


Contact information:

    Electronic Mail (best way):  leonard@columbia.edu


        office: 212 854 4448; lab: 854 3007, Chemical Engineering Department office, 854-4453; department fax:   854-3054.

     Postal Addresses:


         Columbia University

         814 Mudd Building, MC 4721

          500 West 120 St.

          New York, NY 10027



last updated, 09/16/00