Art from engineering research earns international first place

Mon, 02/11/2013

Contact

Cody Howard
School of Engineering
785-864-2936

 

LAWRENCE — A microscopic image of a material in the lungs that aids in respiration captured while it is under stress earned first place for the University of Kansas School of Engineering in the Biophysical Society’s Art of Science Image Contest.

KU’s winning entry was selected Feb. 5 at the Biophysical Society’s annual conference in Philadelphia.  The image is from the work of Ashleigh Steckly, a master’s student in bioengineering from Manhattan, and Ming Li Tan, a senior in chemical and petroleum engineering from Malaysia, in the lab of Prajna Dhar, assistant professor of chemical and petroleum engineering.

“It’s a thrill to win this award. I am grateful to the society meeting attendees who voted to say this was their favorite picture. It also shows us that engineering is not always about number crunching — there is a lot of satisfying ‘artwork’ involved,” Dhar said.

The image — a striking collection of intricately interwoven, black heart-shaped images on a white background — is the product of Dhar’s research on nanoparticles, tiny particles not much larger than atoms, and their potential short-term and long-term impact on the human body. A likely gateway for nanoparticles into the body is through the lungs, so Dhar’s research centers on how these particles interact with a material, known as surfactant, in the lungs designed to reduce the amount of energy required during respiration.

The Biophysical Society’s website says its annual meeting brings together more than 6,000 research scientists in the multidisciplinary fields representing biophysics. With more than 4,000 poster presentations, over 180 exhibits, and more than 20 symposia, it’s the largest meeting of biophysicists in the world.

 



This past spring, KU welcomed world-renowned paleontologist, K. Christopher Beard, to the Jayhawk family. Beard joined one of the nation's top institutions in natural history, evolutionary biology, and biodiversity studies and a group of researchers among the top in their fields. “I have worked with a number of KU graduates over the years, so I am very familiar with the quality of the program. I have been greatly impressed with the positive, collaborative environment." To learn more about KU's Biodiversity Institue and Natural History Museum go here: http://biodiversity.ku.edu/ Tags: KU Natural History Museum #KUdifference #Biology #NaturalHistory #Science

KU students grow algae for biofuel, cleaner water KU's "Feedstock to Tailpipe Initiative" (see http://www.cebc.ku.edu/RET-2014) is working on a project that starts with algae. Researchers are demonstrating how community wastewater operations can add a large-scale, algae-growing facility that will not only return cleaner air and water back to nature, but also provide a sustainable source for biodiesel fuel.


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