Beckman Institute Graduate Student Seminar Set for March 28

The Wednesday, March 28 Beckman Institute Graduate Student seminar will feature three short presentations: Optical Guidance of Breast Needle Biopsy Procedures by Adam M. Zysk. Microfluidic Assembly of Granular Shells and Janus Colloidal Granules by Robert F. Shepherd. Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Cognition and Multiple Sclerosis: An fMRI Investigation by Ruchika Shaurya Prakash. The seminar is open to the public and will be held in Beckman Institute Room 1005. Lunch will be served.

The Beckman Institute Graduate Student Seminar Series presents the work of outstanding graduate students working in Beckman research groups. The seminars are open to the UIUC campus.

The next seminar will be Wednesday, March 28 at noon in Room 1005 of the Beckman Institute. Speakers and abstracts are listed below:

Optical Guidance of Breast Needle Biopsy Procedures
Adam M. Zysk

Over 500,000 needle-based biopsies are performed each year to diagnose suspicious breast lesions. About 10% of these procedures yield non-diagnostic tissue and, hence, an inconclusive diagnosis. This problem often results in additional surgical procedures due primarily to the lack of an effective tool to assist clinicians with microscopic needle placement in non-palpable lesions. We have developed a needle-based optical device that interfaces with an optical coherence tomography (OCT) system to reveal microscopic details of tissue. The device is capable of measuring multiple optical tissue parameters, including changes in scattering and refractive index, potentially giving clinicians the ability to differentiate between normal and suspicious tissues. Data from the device will be shown, including data recently acquired from surgical specimens in the operating room.

Microfluidic Assembly of Granular Shells and Janus Colloidal Granules
Robert F. Shepherd

The microfluidic assembly of colloid-filled hydrogel drops and dried granules of varying shape and composition is investigated. Drops are formed by shearing a concentrated colloidal microsphere-acrylamide suspension in a continuous oil phase using a sheath-flow or a double emulsion capillary device. Silica microspheres are synthesized with different fluorescent cores to allow direct visualization of the process. Homogenous and Janus (hemispherically distinct) spheres and disks are produced by confining the assembled drops in microchannels of desired geometry while granular shells of micron size colloids are produced in a double emulsion micro-capillary device. To preserve their drop structure, photopolymerization of an acrylamide-based hydrogel solution is carried out immediately after drop-breakup. Representative drops and dried granules are imaged using fluorescence and scanning electron microscopy to probe their structural evolution during assembly. Our approach offers a facile route for assembling colloid-filled hydrogel drops and dried granules with controlled morphology and composition.

Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Cognition and Multiple Sclerosis: An fMRI Investigation
Ruchika Shaurya Prakash

Deficits in cognitive abilities are commonly observed among individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). The existence of altered cerebral activations in MS provides hope for the utilization of neural resources to reduce cognitive deficits that challenge everyday living in MS by employing alternative interventions such as cognitive and fitness training. In this study, we examined whether higher physical fitness levels enhance cognitive and neural plasticity in MS patients. 24 participants with relapsing remitting MS were recruited for the study. All participants went through a fitness assessment and were scanned in a 3T MRI system during the Paced Visual Serial Addition Test (PVSAT). Higher fitness levels were associated with faster behavioral performance and greater recruitment of right IFG/MFG, a region of the cerebral cortex recruited by MS patients during performance of PVSAT to purportedly compensate for the cognitive deterioration attributable to MS. In contrast, lower levels of fitness were associated with enhanced ACC activity, suggestive of the presence of greater interference and the potential for error in lower fit MS participants. These results are promising, suggesting the need for further investigation of the utility of aerobic fitness training as a possible method to support the development of additional cortical resources in an attempt to counter the cognitive decline resulting from MS.