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Interdisciplinary effort to develop next generation of cancer researchers

The Ohio State University’s College of Engineering and Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) have launched a collaborative initiative to support postdoctoral researchers leading innovative studies.

The Cross-disciplinary Postdoctoral Scholars Program (CPSP) will recognize outstanding young researchers at Ohio State as well as facilitate recruitment of highly-qualified postdoctoral researchers, who will become leaders in the research fields bridging medicine and engineering. Last year faculty from the College of Engineering and the seven health sciences colleges who had a track record of cross-campus research collaboration were asked to submit proposals for projects in which a postdoc would be instrumental. Each proposal required co-principal investigators from both colleges.

“The CPSP program is the result of a growing and concerted effort between Engineering and The James leadership to combine our assets and talents,” said College of Engineering Associate Dean for Research Dorota Grejner-Brzezinska. “It’sDepartment of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Professor Jessica WinterDepartment of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Professor Jessica Winter truly focused at the intersection of medicine and engineering and will support campus-wide teams of cancer researchers, clinicians, and engineering experts working together to improve the lives of patients with cancer.”

Ralph W. Kurtz Professor of Medicine Matthew Ringel, co-leader of the Cancer Biology Program of the OSUCCC and director of the Division of Endocrinology, said the application of engineering technologies and knowledge is an area of emphasis for the OSUCCC.

“We believe that the CPSP program can jumpstart our efforts to move the needle to advance cancer research in innovative ways to ultimately help patients with cancer in the region and worldwide.”

The program’s first four postdocs and corresponding research projects were recently confirmed.

Hossein Admadian-Ahmadabad is the postdoc on a project led by Spine Research Institute Executive Director and Engineering Professor Bill Marras and Drs. Ehud Mendel (Neurosurgery), Dukagjin Blakaj (Radiation Oncology) and Eric Bourekas (Radiology, Neurology and Neurological Surgery). The team’s goal is to develop predictive algorithms to better assess cancer treatment impact and improve the quality of life for metastatic cancer to the spine. Ahmadian-Ahmadabad received his PhD in integrated systems engineering from Ohio State in 2018.

Silvio de Araújo Fernandes Júnior will work with Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Professor Jessica Winter and Dr. José Otero (Neuropathology). They plan to develop imaging technologies that will enable pathway analysis in cell and eventually whole organism models. This work would include comprehensive development of imaging agents, super-resolution microscopy technology, and image analysis methods for cancer biology testbeds. Fernandes Júnior earned his PhD from University of São Paulo (Brazil).

Agnieszka Chmielewska will study additive manufacturing processes to determine which is best for the production of resorbable magnesium alloy skeletal fixation hardware for the treatment of oral cancer, which often require surgical removal of the tumor and portions of the jaw bone. The collaborative project is led by Materials Science and Engineering Professor Alan Luo, Dr. David Dean (Plastic Surgery) and Dr. Roman Skoracki (Oncologic Plastic Surgery). Chmielewska conducted her PhD research at Warsaw (Poland) University of Technology.

A postdoctoral fellow at Nationwide Children’s Hospital since 2018, Marie Goulard will work with Biomedical Engineering Assistant Professor Jennifer Leight and Associate Professor of Pediatrics Dhvanit Shah. Using 3D bioprinting and lab-on-a-chip methods, the team will develop off-the-shelf cancer immunotherapies for blood cancers and beyond. Goulard received her Ph.D. from University of Paris Diderot (France).