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Engineering for Human Health Highlighted in Princeton Alumni Weekly

The January 18 issue of the Princeton Alumni Weekly, mailed to all Princeton alumni, carried as an insert the Winter 2012 issue of the EQuad News, dedicated to “Exploring the Intersection between Engineering and Health”, in which several CBE faculty members were prominently featured.  An article on “Designing New Biological Molecules to Fight Bacteria and Cancer” described the experimental work in the group of Assistant Professor A. James Link on designing antimicrobial lasso peptides which are resistant to the body's defense mechanisms.  Using directed evolution, they were able to find peptides that are potent antibiotics against bacteria—as potent as the antibacterial peptides used in the food industry to protect perishables. The same article described computational work by the group of Stephen C. Macaleer ’63 Professor Christodoulos Floudas, calculating whether a peptide, based on its structure and amino-acid sequence, will bind to a specific protein.  Seven peptides that bind to and inhibit a human enzyme linked to cancer progression identified by this method are currently undergoing experimental testing by a Boston-based company.  Also appearing in the issue are a brief description of the “flash nanoprecipitation” process developed for drug delivery nanoparticles by Professor Robert Prud’homme; a sidebar on how printable sensors based on graphene technology from the lab of Professor Ilhan Aksay can improve the performance of many basic medical tests; striking images from the laboratories of Professor Stanislav Shvartsman and Assistant Professor Celeste Nelson revealing development processes in fruit fly embryos and the lungs of bearded dragon lizards; and an interview with Assistant Professor Mark Brynildsen on “Outsmarting Bacteria”.