Graduate Student Seminar Scheduled for November 5

The Fall 2009 Beckman Institute Graduate Student Seminar series continues on Thursday, November 5. The seminar will feature three short talks from graduate students Kensey Amaya, David Mcllroy and Diego Hernando.

The Beckman Institute Graduate Student Seminar Series presents the work of outstanding graduate students working in Beckman research groups. The seminar starts at Noon in Beckman Institute Room 1005 and is open to the public. Lunch will be served.

Imaging fatty acids in the song bird brain
Kensey Amaya

Lipids play an essential role in neuronal function in the brain including cell signaling, potentiation, and signal transduction. Additionally they are important in learning and memory and increasingly associated with diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.  The zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), a songbird, is an established animal model in which the neuronal and developmental functions of the brain are well characterized and have been ascribed to anatomically discreet regions “song nuclei”. We use Time of Flight – Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) to image the subcellular distribution of essential and non-essential fatty acids across these brain regions revealing differences in the relative concentration.  Applying principle component analysis (PCA) to the ToF-SIMS data reveals molecular ions that are associated with functionally distinct and tissue specific song nuclei.  This technology now allows us to study and image an important class of small molecule in a complex biological sample.

Microencapsulation of reactive liquid-phase amines for self-healing applications
David Mcllroy

Self-healing materials present an attractive research opportunity and a growing field of industrial applications.  Prior work in our group has demonstrated recovery of fracture toughness after damage in epoxy composites utilizing ring-opening polymerization and solvent-healing of unreacted functionality.  The present work describes a method of encapsulation to deliver additional amine functionality to an epoxy composite with a view toward a two-part healing system composed of amine and epoxy, identical to the chemistry used to form the matrix.  This chemical compatibility, once optimized, will provide for maximum healing efficiency in the matrix.

Magnetic resonance imaging of water and fat
Diego Hernando 

Water and fat are the two main components of the in vivo proton MR signal. The separation of water and fat into different images is a problem of considerable practical importance in MRI.  Water/fat separation presents two critical challenges: (a) accurately modeling the acquired signals, and (b) overcoming the unavoidable presence of magnetic field inhomogeneities in the MR scanner.  This talk will focus on the problem of water/fat separation in MRI: its importance, applications and challenges, as well as our results on modeling and estimation.