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Research Roundup

Korean Research Partnership

Chang Ryu, associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology, will oversee a $2.5 million National Science Foundation grant to support a partnership between American and Korean researchers. The funding will bring together engineers, and graduate and undergraduate students from top U.S. and Korean universities. The collaboration will focus on student education and exchange at both the graduate and undergraduate levels to help develop Korean and American researchers who can successfully interact and collaborate with one another, Ryu says. Five graduate students from various universities in each nation will take part in the exchange program each year. Four American undergraduate students will also study in Korea and gain summer research experience.

Seaweed Transformed Into Stem Cell Technology

Rensselaer engineers have transformed a polymer found in common brown seaweed into a device that can support the growth and release of stem cells at the site of a bodily injury or at the source of a disease. The findings mark an important step in efforts to develop new medical therapies using stem cells. Led by Ravi Kane, professor of chemical and biological engineering, the researchers hope that the scaffold could eventually be used for medical therapies such as releasing healthy bone stem cells right at the site of a broken bone, or releasing neural stem cells in the brain where cells have been killed by diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Nanotube Pressure Sensors

Blocks of carbon nanotubes can be used to create effective and powerful pressure sensors, according to a new study by researchers at Rensselaer. After repeatedly squeezing a 3-millimeter nanotube block, reserachers discovered that no matter how many times or how hard they squeezed the block, it exhibited a constant, linear relationship between how much force was applied and electrical resistance. A sensor incorporating the carbon nanotube block would be able to detect very slight weight changes and would be beneficial in any number of practical and industrial applications, says Subbalakshmi Sreekala, a postdoctoral researcher at Rensselaer and author of the study.

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Rensselaer (ISSN 0898-1442) is published in Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter by the Office of Strategic Communications and External Relations, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590. Opinions expressed in these pages do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or the policies of the Institute. ©2008 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.