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SQI: Simpson Querry Institute

2019 News

Ameer elected to National Academy of Inventors

December 3, 2019

SQI faculty member Guillermo Ameer was named a 2019 fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, which announced 167 new fellows in this election cycle.

Ameer has more than 50 issued or pending patents in nine countries, including a patent issued for a shape-conforming regenerative wound dressing to treat diabetic foot ulcers. He is considered a pioneer in the field of regenerative engineering and has designed biodegradable materials that promote tissue regeneration and prevent scarring.

‘Epidermal VR’ gives technology a human touch

November 21, 2019

SQI faculty member John Rogers co-led the development of a thin, wireless system that adds a sense of touch to any virtual reality (VR) experience.

The research was published in the journal Nature and could add new dimensions to entertainment, telemedicine and long-range social interactions. The system also provides prosthetics with sensory feedback.

Researchers from SQI, affiliated centers named to ‘highly cited’ list

November 19, 2019

SQI Director Samuel Stupp and faculty members John Rogers and Mark Hersam were named to the Highly Cited Researchers 2019 list by the Web of Science Group. The list sought to recognize the world’s most influential researchers of the past decade, as evidenced by having multiple papers that ranked in the top 1 percent of citations for their field and year.

Investigators from two of SQI’s research centers also received this distinction. Chad Mirkin, George Schatz, Joanna Aizenberg and George Whitesides landed on the list from the Center for Bio-Inspired Energy Science, as did Rogers and Yonggang Huang from the Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics.

Evangelos Kiskinis

Kiskinis to study ALS, epilepsy with $1.5M early career award

November 14, 2019
SQI faculty member Evangelos Kiskinis has received a Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Award from the New York Stem Cell Foundation. The early career investigator award will provide $1.5 million over five years to the Kiskinis laboratory to study the mechanisms that cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and pediatric epilepsy.
Shannon Chan

SQI leverages ARMI membership to organize educational session on automation

November 14, 2019
In a presentation co-sponsored by the Simpson Querrey Institute (SQI), Shannon Chan, associate engineer at Rockwell Automation, introduced the capabilities of automation and the basics of ladder logic — a programming language used in manufacturing and industrial applications. Chan visited Northwestern University’s Evanston campus on Nov. 13 after a connection forged through the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI), a network of industrial, academic and nonprofit members seeking to develop large-scale manufacturing of engineered tissues.

Women STEM leaders from around the world inspired by visit to CBIE

November 12, 2019

Twenty-three women — each from a different country — visited the Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center on Nov. 8 to learn about the technologies being developed at the Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics (CBIE). They came as part of the “Hidden No More: Empowering Women Leaders in STEM” program organized by the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

The guests represented six different continents and ran the gamut of STEM professions, from physicians to researchers to educators. Their trip to Northwestern provided a unique opportunity for five of CBIE’s student researchers to present their work to a group of international leaders.


Quaggin, Paller recognized as ‘Notable Women in Health Care’

November 8, 2019
SQI faculty member Susan Quaggin and Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics (CBIE) member Amy Paller were recognized as Notable Women in Health Care by Crain’s Chicago Business. The list included 50 professionals based in the Chicago area who have shown the ability to effect change in the health care industry.
Nathan Gianneschi portrait

Gianneschi lab offers new pathway to verify interactions at the nanoscale

October 23, 2019
Researchers led by Simpson Querrey Institute faculty member Nathan Gianneschi at Northwestern University have proposed a new protocol which allows scientists to better trust the results of liquid-cell transmission electron microscopy (LC-TEM), a technique for real-time imaging of nanomaterials.
National Academy of Medicine logo

Rogers, Quaggin elected to National Academy of Medicine

October 21, 2019
SQI faculty members John Rogers and Susan Quaggin are among four Northwestern University professors elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) in this year’s cycle. Already a member of the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering, Rogers is one of just 25 people to be elected to all three academies.
Exterior view of Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center

SQI expands into new Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center

October 21, 2019
The Simpson Querrey Institute’s footprint on the Chicago campus has expanded by 5,400 square feet with the addition of faculty offices and research space in the brand-new Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center. Researchers from the Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics and from the startup company Amphix Bio began moving into the space in October.

Wertheim earns Young Investigator honor from TERMIS Americas Chapter

October 17, 2019

SQI faculty member Jason Wertheim has been selected to receive the 2019 Young Investigator Award by the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) Americas Chapter. He will be officially recognized during the chapter’s annual conference Dec. 2-5 in Orlando, Florida.

Wertheim is the Edward G. Elcock Professor of Surgical Research and an associate professor of biomedical engineering at Northwestern. 

John Rogers portrait

Rogers engineering implantable device to prevent opioid deaths

October 14, 2019
John Rogers, director of SQI’s Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics, is co-principal investigator of a project to develop a novel implantable device that can sense the effects of an opioid overdose and then automatically deliver a life-saving dose of naloxone, an opioid antidote. The research has been awarded funding of up to $10 million over five years through the National Institutes of Health’s Helping to End Addiction Long-term (NIH HEAL) Initiative.

Wertheim re-elected to ARM board of directors

October 3, 2019

SQI faculty member Jason Wertheim has been re-elected to the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine’s board of directors for 2020, the organization announced in a press release. The ARM is an international advocacy organization for cell and gene therapies and the broader regenerative medicine sector.

Wertheim is the Edward G. Elcock Professor of Surgical Research at Northwestern. His research focuses on new methods to bioengineer liver and kidney tissue in the laboratory to alleviate the shortage of organs suitable for transplantation.

ISCT recognizes Jewett as ‘Researcher to Know’

September 23, 2019

SQI faculty member Michael Jewett has been named one of 21 “Researchers to Know” for 2019 by the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition, which aimed to highlight researchers from the state’s universities who have made a significant impact on their respective fields.

Jewett, a professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern University, uses cell-free techniques to harness biological systems without intact cells, creating new routes toward on-demand synthesis of medicines, portable molecular diagnostics and educational kits.

CBIE’s Roozbeh Ghaffari cracks ‘Notable Entrepreneurs’ list

September 16, 2019

Roozbeh Ghaffari, the director of translational research for SQI’s Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics (CBIE), has been named to Crain’s Chicago Business’ list of Notable Entrepreneurs.

Ghaffari, also a research associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University, was recognized for his efforts as the cofounder and CEO of Epicore Biosystems, which was founded in 2017 as a spinout company from CBIE. The company has developed skin-like, wearable microfluidic sensors to track sweat biomarkers in real time, providing useful information for athletic performance and healthcare monitoring.

gem-like nanoparticles

CBES research unveils new method for creating highly active catalysts

September 12, 2019
A Northwestern University research team has developed a new method for making highly desirable catalysts from metal nanoparticles that could lead to better fuel cells, among other applications. The researchers, who were supported by SQI's Center for Bio-Inspired Energy Science (CBES), also discovered the method can take spent catalysts and recycle them into active catalysts.
A wearable sensor that conforms to the skin

WTTW spotlights devices developed by the Rogers Group

September 10, 2019
WTTW, Chicago’s PBS network, published a story Sept. 9 highlighting some of the flexible electronic devices created by John Rogers’ research group. Rogers, who directs the Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics at the Simpson Querrey Institute, has pioneered several wearable sensors with applications for health monitoring.

Rogers featured in NPR story about wearable sensors for sweat analysis

August 21, 2019

John Rogers, director of SQI’s Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics, was featured in an NPR article about wearable patches for sweat analysis.

The story recapped a recent study from the University of California, Berkeley, but Rogers was quoted as an outside expert in the field. Rogers is teaming up with Gatorade to develop flexible patches that conform to the skin in order to measure sweat and electrolyte levels, which could prove particularly useful for athletes.

“Dehydration and excessive electrolyte loss can increase the risk for injury,” Rogers said. “Proper hydration and proper electrolyte balance are very, very important.”


Rivnay reviews organic mixed conductors in Nature Materials

August 19, 2019
SQI faculty member Jonathan Rivnay served as corresponding author of a new review published in Nature Materials on organic mixed ionic/electronic conductors. Rivnay and coauthors assessed the current state of these soft, synthetically tunable conductors, which could advance fields ranging from energy storage to healthcare technologies.

Scott, Wang to investigate new approach to subunit vaccination

August 16, 2019
Simpson Querrey Institute faculty member Evan Scott recently received a four-year, $2.9 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop a multi-subunit vaccine for tuberculosis, one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. Scott and co-principal investigator Chyung-Ru Wang will use a unique polymeric nanoparticle formulation in the first attempt to combine both lipid and protein molecules within one subunit vaccine, which could boost the effectiveness and longevity of the therapy.
Image of a fused spine

Hsu, Stupp Labs aim to create bone graft substitute for spinal fusion

August 6, 2019
A research team based at the Simpson Querrey Institute (SQI) has been awarded a three-year, $300,000 grant from MTF Biologics to investigate a novel approach to spine fusion surgery that would avoid harvesting a patient’s own bone or delivering recombinant growth factors, both of which are associated with major drawbacks.

Stuart Stock’s study of shark spines may inform treatment of bone disease

July 26, 2019

SQI faculty member Stuart Stock is using high-resolution, 3D X-ray imaging to study the vertebrae of sharks in hopes of uncovering what makes their spines so flexible, strong and resilient throughout their lifetimes. He believes those insights could help scientists develop better treatments for humans with bone diseases such as osteoporosis.

“I have a feeling we are going to learn something very crucial about how bones and cartilage form,” said Stock, who is performing the research at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory. “I think it’s going to open a window into understanding what bone and cartilage do.”

Scott, Xu honored among Chicago’s top young scientists

July 24, 2019
SQI faculty member Evan Scott and Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics (CBIE) medical director Steve Xu have been named to Halo’s 40 Under 40 list of Chicago scientists who are leading the next generation of translational research. They will be recognized at the second annual Halo Awards on October 12 at the Museum of Science and Industry.

CBIE members publish roadmap to improve skin sensors for healthcare

July 18, 2019

John Rogers, director of SQI’s Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics (CBIE), published a commentary in Nature arguing that skin sensors will soon be ubiquitous in healthcare given their ability to make medicine more predictive and personalized. While the devices hold promise for monitoring vital signs, flagging abnormalities and tracking treatments, the authors acknowledged there are several challenges ahead.

To that end, they outlined a to-do list for improving the sensors and bringing them into clinical practice. CBIE medical director Steve Xu coauthored the paper along with Arun Jayaraman of the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab.

A modified chemotherapy drug passes through the bloodstream.

‘Trojan horse’ delivery system helps chemo drug wipe out tumors

July 18, 2019
Nathan Gianneschi and colleagues have developed a new drug-delivery system that disguises chemotherapeutics as fat in order to penetrate and destroy tumors. “It’s like a Trojan horse,” said Gianneschi, an SQI faculty member who led the research. “It looks like a nice little fatty acid, so the tumor’s receptors see it and invite it in. Then the drug starts getting metabolized and kills the tumor cells.”
Alexandra Kolot explains the ANTEC facility to high school students.

SQI inspires high school students interested in biotechnology

July 16, 2019
High school students came from near and far to visit the Simpson Querrey Institute (SQI) on July 2 and 16 as part of the National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) on Biotechnology. The 78 guests received an introduction to the Institute, toured its core facilities and participated in hands-on demonstrations related to SQI research.

John Rogers listed among ‘Tech 50’ of Chicago

July 15, 2019

John Rogers, director of SQI’s Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics, has been named to the annual Tech 50 list compiled by Crain’s Chicago Business. The list seeks to highlight the “headliners, behind-the-scenes heroes, new faces and emerging stars” of Chicago’s technological community.

Crain’s cited Rogers as one of Chicago’s most prolific inventors, specifically mentioning the wearable devices created in his laboratory which track UV exposure, measure sweat and electrolyte levels and wirelessly monitor babies in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Northwestern University letter "N" logo

Wertheim, Freedman honored with Presidential Early Career Awards

July 12, 2019
SQI faculty member Jason Wertheim and Center for Bio-Inspired Energy Science investigator Danna Freedman are among five Northwestern University professors selected for the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). President Donald Trump announced the recipients on July 2, and each awardee will be honored at a July 25 ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Chad Mirkin portrait

Chad Mirkin wins Kabiller Prize in Nanoscience and Nanomedicine

July 11, 2019
Chad Mirkin, an investigator for SQI’s Center for Bio-Inspired Energy Science (CBES), has been selected to receive the $250,000 Kabiller Prize in Nanoscience and Nanomedicine, the world’s largest monetary award for outstanding achievement in nanotechnology and its application to medicine and biology.
Erin Hsu and Jonathan Rivnay accept a Catalyst Award check for $55,000.

Hsu, Rivnay collaboration receives inaugural Catalyst Award

June 28, 2019
SQI faculty members Erin Hsu, Wellington Hsu and Jonathan Rivnay received a $55,000 Catalyst Award — a collaborative grant sponsored by Northwestern Medicine and the McCormick School of Engineering — to study a novel technique for bone regeneration and spine fusion.

New microscopy technique enables visualization of 'living' nanomaterials

June 27, 2019

SQI faculty member Nathan Gianneschi co-led a study in which researchers described a new type of electron microscopy that enabled them to examine "living" nanomaterials for the first time. The technique, called variable temperature liquid-phase transmission electron microscopy (VT-LPTEM), allowed investigators to see the dynamic, sensitive materials in high resolution — offering insight into how they grow, form and evolve.

“Until now, we could only look at ‘dead,’ static materials,” Gianneschi said. "We think LPTEM could do for nanoscience what live-cell light microscopy has done for biology."

Electron-like nanoparticles challenge current understanding of matter

June 20, 2019
Northwestern University researchers led by Center for Bio-Inspired Science (CBES) investigators Monica Olvera de la Cruz and Chad Mirkin have made a discovery that may upend the current notion of matter. They found that tiny nanoparticles engineered with DNA in colloidal crystals act just like electrons — opening a pathway to design new materials.
Research image from Stacey M. Chin

CBES research on artificial muscles featured in EFRC newsletter

June 20, 2019
Recent work from the Center for Bio-Inspired Energy Science (CBES) was featured prominently in the Energy Frontier Research Centers' Summer 2019 newsletter. The research, published in Nature Communications, describes a special class of polymer chains that expand or contract based on water temperature.
John Rogers portrait

John Rogers named 2019 Nakamura Award winner

June 18, 2019
John A. Rogers, director of SQI’s Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics (CBIE), will receive a 2019 Nakamura Award from the American Association for Advances in Functional Materials for “his pioneering contributions to the flexible, stretchable and wearable electronic systems for healthcare and exploratory neuroscience.”

SQI to host high school students interested in biotechnology

June 11, 2019
The Simpson Querrey Institute (SQI) will provide educational tours to groups of high school students on July 2 and July 16 through the National Student Leadership Conference on Biotechnology hosted by Northwestern University.

Guillermo Ameer earns Walder Award for Research Excellence

June 4, 2019
SQI faculty member Guillermo Ameer has received the Martin E. and Gertrude G. Walder Award for Research Excellence. The award was established in 2002 and is given annually by the Northwestern University provost.
Zaida Alvarez-Pinto and J. Alberto Ortega

‘Organic interactions’ grow into new discoveries

May 24, 2019
Two postdoctoral fellows at Northwestern — the husband-and-wife team of J. Alberto Ortego and Zaida Alvarez-Pinto — have helped form a lasting collaboration between their principal investigators: SQI faculty members Samuel Stupp and Evangelos Kiskinis.
image of a woman and child using the bio kit

Educational kits offer intro to engineering biology

May 7, 2019
A research team led by SQI faculty member Michael Jewett is using low-cost, high-tech biology kits to teach advanced topics such as gene editing and antibiotic resistance to high school students.
kids participating in Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

SQI participates in Take Your Kid to Work Day

April 26, 2019
Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day was celebrated across the United States on April 25, but few itineraries could have matched the variety offered by SQI, the Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center (NUPOC), and the Northwestern Center for Translational Imaging (CTI).

Gianneschi Lab explores new ways to fix a broken heart

April 19, 2019
SQI faculty member Nathan Gianneschi and former graduate student Andrea Carlini demonstrated a novel strategy to repair damage caused by a heart attack. The minimally invasive technique involves delivering a bioactivated, biodegradable, regenerative substance through a catheter.
NICU device on a hand

Wireless sensors help NICU babies get more hugs

March 28, 2019
A cross-disciplinary team co-led by Center for Bio-Inspired Electronics (CBIE) director John A. Rogers has tackled a problem for babies in NICU units by creating clinical-grade, wireless, soft sensors.

New wearable sensor may improve recovery for incomplete paraplegia

February 19, 2019
A new wearable sensor that connects to smartphone games — developed in part by Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics director John A. Rogers — may improve access to electromyography biofeedback for patients with incomplete paraplegia. Recording the electrical activity of muscles (electromyography) has been shown to enhance the recovery of muscle control in people with incomplete spinal cord injuries, but access to the therapy is limited by its high cost and requirement for trained operators. This innovation could overcome those hurdles and allow patients to self-dose this type of treatment.
Jonathan Rivnay

Jonathan Rivnay - 2019 Sloan Research Fellow

February 19, 2019
SQI faculty member Jonathan Rivnay has been selected as a 2019 Sloan Research Fellow in Chemistry from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Dr. Jason Wertheim

Lab-grown organs getting closer to reality

February 13, 2019
Dr. Jason Wertheim was recently featured in Crain’s Chicago Business for his research into growing new kidneys.

John Rogers' newest bio-integrated devices hit the mainstream press

January 18, 2019
The New York Times published a story about SQI faculty member John A. Rogers and the wearable patches he's created which offer real-time information about a person's health and fitness through sweat analysis. The technology was recently described in the journal Science Advances and a version of the device appeared in a national Gatorade advertisement.
Alexandra Edelbrock and Dr. Suji Jeong

Graduate students making science accessible

January 15, 2019
Open Science DB is the brainchild of graduate student Alexandra Edelbrock, a member of Samuel Stupp’s research group based at the Simpson Querrey Institute, and Dr. Suji Jeong, a Northwestern alum of John Kessler’s group in Neuroscience.
research image

Rogers Group develops device to treat bladder problems

January 4, 2019
The Rogers Lab — along with collaborators at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign — has developed a soft, implantable device to help people with bladder problems bypass the need for medication or electronic stimulators.