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Nusaiba Baker wins Georgia Tech's Three Minute Thesis Competition
Biomedical engineering M.D./Ph.D. candidate wins Georgia Tech's 3MT contest
December 21, 2018

Nusaiba Baker, a biomedical engineering M.D./Ph.D. candidate won first place in the Ph.D. competition at the final round of Georgia Tech's Three Minute Thesis (3MT) event held on November 7, 2018.

 

She presented her thesis work that involves using therapeutic nanoparticles to treat inflammatory diseases. In autoimmune disease, the immune cells of the body can no longer tell the difference between self and foreign. An example of this is ulcerative colitis, where the immune cells mistake the large intestine as foreign, and attack it. Patients experience pain, inflammation, weight loss, and can even get cancer.

 

Unfortunately, the incidence of autoimmune diseases is on the rise and current drugs are not adequately solving the problem. The drugs have two problems: many of them are given by injection which may discourage patients from getting a painful shot. The second problem with the drugs is that their strategy is to put the entire immune system to sleep which reduces the problem of inflammation, but leaves patients susceptible to infection and can make them sicker than they were to begin with.

 

She aims to solve both problems and is developing a nanoparticle-based therapy that is delivered orally and is targeted to be released inside the inflamed environment of the large intestine where the immune cells eat them up.

 

The coolest part of this technology is that each nanoparticle is coated with tiny strands of DNA. These special DNA strands attach to and break down the inflammatory signals that are damaging the intestine.

 

She recently tested these particles in a mouse model of colitis and was amazed to see their colitis symptoms got much better, and they regained weight to the levels of normal, healthy mice. Because her research is solving the administration problem and specifically targeting the cells causing disease, this technology will drastically improve the health of patients with colitis, and other autoimmune diseases, allowing them to live happier and healthier lives.

 

Complete list of results:

PhD Winners

1st place Nusaiba Baker (Biomedical Engineering) - “Oral Delivery of DNA-enzyme Nanoparticles Ameliorates Inflammation in a Murine Model of Ulcerative Colitis”
$2,000 research travel grant
* Winner in the PhD category to compete in the next level at CSGS 3MT Competition.

 

Runner-Up Francisco Quintero (Material Science & Engineering)- “Solid Lithium Batteries and How To Deal With A Diva”
$1,500 research travel grant

 

Third Place Sourabh Jha (Mechanical Engineering) - “Enhancement of Cooling in Data Centers through Flags”
$1,000 research travel grant

 

MS Winners

1st place Eugene Mangortey (Aerospace Engineering)- “Predicting the Duration and Coincidence of Ground Delay Programs and Ground Stops”
$1,000 research travel grant

 

Runner-Up Tejas Rode (Music) - “Robotic improvisation of Indian classical music on marimba”
$750 research travel grant

 

Third Place Keshav Bimbraw (Music) - “Imparting Expressivity and Dynamics to percussive musical robot Shimon”
$500 research travel grant

 

People’s Choice:

Megan Tomko (Mechanical Engineering) - “Academic Makerspaces: Sites of Learning for Women Students”
$500 research travel grant

Media Contact

Walter Rich

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