Joint Department Faculty Receive Seed Grants from AHW for Promising New Research

March 1, 2024

Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Foundation granted $3.9 million in seed funding to multiple projects, including $50,000 seed grants each to three faculty members from the Marquette University and MCW Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering: Dr. Ranjan Dash, professor and co-director of graduate studies; Dr. Adam Greenberg, associate professor and associate dean of postdoctoral education; and Dr. Bo Wang, assistant professor, for their work in computational modeling for cancer therapy, the neuroscience of cognitive decline, and tissue regenerative engineering, respectively. 

Dash Investigates Computational Modeling for Cancer Therapy

Headshot of Dr. Ranjan DashIn the project titled “Data-Driven Computational Modeling of Cellular Response in CART Therapy,” Dr. Ranjan Dash, director of the Computational Systems Biology Laboratory (CSBL), is working to develop an ordinary differential-equation-based method that predicts therapy responses for various CART constructs based on product-specific parameters. The researchers hypothesize that this approach can define predictive exposure-response relationships, allowing for the investigation of variables controlling therapy response and eventually predicting responses before therapy administration. Once translated, this research will help address the significant burden of cancer treatment on regional, national and international healthcare systems and is expected to greatly improve patient outcomes. 

Dr. Dash is a professor and co-director of graduate studies in the Marquette-MCW Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering and holds a secondary faculty appointment with the MCW Department of Physiology. Collaborators for this project include Dr. Scott Terhune, MCW Professor in Microbiology & Immunology, and Dr. Anthony Zamora, MCW Professor of Medicine (Hematology and Oncology) and Microbiology & Immunology. 


more about Dash’s Project 


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Greenberg Elucidates the Neuroscience of Cognitive Decline

Headshot of Dr. Adam GreenbergIn the project titled “Assessing Post-Operative Cognitive Dysfunction in the Elderly,” Dr. Adam Greenberg, director of the Sensory Neuroscience, Attention, & Perception Laboratory (SNAP Lab), aims to identify the precise attentional sub-processes that are compromised by anesthesia-induced POCD and measure the short-term timing of POCD attention symptoms in the initial month after surgery.  This work will support the long-term objective of identifying behavioral and brain-based markers of postoperative cognitive dysfunction to develop therapies mitigating cognitive effects of general anesthesia in individuals aged 60 and above, providing a substantial benefit to the estimated 50,000 individuals experiencing POCD in Wisconsin each year.

Dr. Greenberg is an associate professor in the Marquette-MCW Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering and holds a secondary faculty appointment with the MCW Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. Collaborators for this project include Dr. Denise Uyar, MCW Professor and Froedtert Doctor of Obstetrics & Gynecology.


more about Greenberg’s Project


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Wang Seeks DAM Alternative for Vascular Graft Therapies

Headshot of Dr. Bo WangIn the project titled “Biofabrication of Small Vascular Graft with Human Amniotic Membrane,” Dr. Bo Wang, director of the Tissue Regenerative Engineering Laboratory (TRE Lab), aims to create a biomimetic, small-diameter vascular graft using a decellularized amniotic membrane-based prosthesis (DAM graft). This biomimetic DAM graft will offer an alternative to current therapies by producing a readily available, off-the-shelf solution for small-diameter vascular repair.  The DAM alternative is expected to address common problems of restenosis, thrombosis, intimal hyperplasia, occlusion and infection common in current small-diameter vascular graft therapies.

Collaborators for this project include Dr. Peter Rossi, MCW Chief, Professor, and Froedtert Doctor of Vascular Surgery, and Dr. Yiliang Chen, MCW Assistant Professor of Endocrinology and Molecular Medicine.


more about Wang’s Project


Learn more about the TRE Lab 


The Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering extends its congratulations to each researcher in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the field of biomedical engineering and continued efforts to advance knowledge in the pursuit of changing life.  


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