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Biomedical seminar is launched

A new year-long seminar series will focus on problems in biomedical sciences that can be addressed by technology in physics and bioengineering.

"Interchanges at the Frontiers of Technology and Biomedical Science" takes place on the second Wednesday of each month in Rm 26-413 from 4-6pm. Each meeting will begin with a talk by an expositor of either a technology or a biomedical problem, followed by designated responders from the other side. The meetings are open to all, and questions from the audience are encouraged.

On Wednesday, Nov. 8, Linda Griffith-Cima, Karl Van Tassel assistant professor of chemical engineering, will discuss "Engineering of Tissue of Human Origin." Responders will be Dr. Myron Spector, head of the Orthopedic Research Laboratory at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Dr. Jay Vacanti, chief of transplantation surgery at Children's Hospital. The first seminar in the series last month addressed ultrasound technology, with an exposition by Dr. Gerald Benitz of Lincoln Laboratory's radar imaging group followed by responses by physicians from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

The series grew out of discussions between Professor of Physics Lee Grodzins and Professor Robert H. Rubin, MD, director of the Center for Experimental Pharmacology and Therapeutics in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. Dr. Rubin is also chief of infectious diseases for transplantation at MGH. The third organizer of the series is Douglas Lauffenburger, professor of chemical engineering and director of the Center for Biomedical Engineering.

"We have to increase the communication between the two groups, letting the biomedical community know of the new technologies and letting the technologists know what the problems are that biomedical people want to solve," Professor Grodzins said. "There are scientists and engineers of every discipline at MIT who don't realize that they can make a contribution to solving a problem in biomedicine."

The December meeting will focus on positron emission tomography. Speakers will be Dr. Joel Karp, associate professor of radiological science and director of the Nuclear Medicine Group at the University of Pennsylvania, and three MGH physicians: Dr. Alan Fischman, chief of nuclear medicine; Dr. Scott Rauch, Pfizer Fellow in Clinical Investigation in the Department of Psychiatry; and Dr. Bruce Chabner, chief of oncology.

Preliminary topics for meetings later in the year include single photon emission computerized tomography, minimal invasive diagnostics and surgery, physiological assessment of genetically modified knockout mice, high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging, accelerator mass spectrometry, therapeutic monitoring and human toxicology.

For more information, contact Dr. Grodzins at x3-4244 or , Dr. Rubin at x8-5921 or , or Dr. Lauffenburger at x2-1629 or .

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 1, 1995.

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