Vaccine Stickers, and Diagnosis of Parkinson’s

Enhanced immune responses by skin vaccination with influenza subunit vaccine in young hosts
Dimitrios G. Koutsonanos, E. Stein Esser, Sean R. McMaster, Priya Kalluri, Jeong-Woo Lee, Mark R. Prausnitz, Ioanna Skountzou, Timothy L. Denning, Richard W. Compans

How would you like your yearly flu vaccine? Shot? Mist? Or Sticker? Recent developments from the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Tech and from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Emory may soon make this the question du jour from your local physician. The vaccine sticker, more formally known as microneedle patches (MN), has been shown to be especially effective in vaccinating the young, who are most at risk of complications from the flu. In their study using young mice, MN administration was found to be more effective than the standard Intramuscular vaccination, leading to higher numbers of influenza-specific antibody secreting cells. Microneedles, having the benefit for ease of delivery and substantially less biohazardous waste, may even increase compliance rates in vaccination, keeping up that ever important herd immunity. Stickers to the rescue!

Engineering as a new frontier for translational medicine
Shu Chien, Rashid Bashir, Roobert M. Nerem, Roderic Pettigrew
Science Translational Medicine.

A couple times a semester, a typical BME may ask themselves what in the world are they doing with their life. The Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience has kindly reminded us to take heart. We BMEs are exactly where we need to be, according to their investigations on the role of biomedical engineers in the rapidly expanding field of translational medicine. Since 2000 the National Institute of Health has steadily increased funding toward biomedical engineering research. Furthermore, they posit that the emergence of more MD-PhD programs and MS programs in Translational Medicine will create a paradigm shift in the education of physicians and biomedical engineers. Pre-med and biomed may one day be the same degree which is heartening news to all the pre-med biomedical engineers currently in the Coulter Department.

A multicontrast approach for comprehensive imaging of substantia nigra
Jason Langley, Daniel E. Huddleston, Xiangchaun Chem, Jan Sedlacik, Nishant Zachariah, Xiaoping Hu

Say cheese! In a recent publication from the Langley lab, a new approach to taking pictures of the substantia nigra has been developed. It is hoped that the new method will allow for better visualization of possible degeneration and iron deposition in the area of the brain responsible for novelty processing and reward based learning. The process, which includes magnetization transfer imaging and susceptibility weighted imaging, leads to a more comprehensive picture of the substantia nigra. From that a better diagnostic tool for the progression of Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders is on the way.