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SQI: Simpson Querry Institute

2024 News

Hersam elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

May 1, 2024
SQI member Mark Hersam is among the six Northwestern University faculty who have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies. They are recognized for their excellence and commitment to uphold the Academy’s mission of engaging with professions across different perspectives.  
Mark Hersam

Hersam wins MRS Mid-Career Research Award

April 16, 2024
SQI member Mark Hersam has won the 2024 Mid-Career Research Award from the Materials Research Society (MRS). Hersam’s research has led to more effective and sustainable nanomaterials used in electronics, energy storage and medicine.
Jes Sanders

Meet the Researchers: Jes Sanders

April 5, 2024
Jes Sanders is a fifth-year general surgery resident at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and a postdoctoral research fellow in the laboratory of SQI members James Mathew and Joseph Leventhal. In this interview, Sanders summarizes his main research project and explains why he was drawn to the field of transplant immunology.

Implant and app enables patients to monitor bladder function

March 25, 2024

Researchers led by SQI members Guillermo Ameer, John Rogers and Arun Sharma have developed a new soft, flexible, battery-free implant that attaches to the bladder wall to sense filling. Then, it wirelessly transmits data to a smartphone app, so users can monitor their bladder fullness in real time.

While this new device is unnecessary for the average person, it could be a game-changer for people with paralysis, spina bifida, bladder cancer or end-stage bladder disease. The sensor system also can enable clinicians to monitor their patients remotely and continuously to make more informed — and faster — treatment decisions.

Implantable sensor could lead to timelier Crohn’s treatment

March 19, 2024
A team of scientists led by SQI members John Rogers and Arun Sharma has developed the first wireless, implantable temperature sensor to detect inflammatory flareups in patients with Crohn’s disease. The approach offers long-term, real-time monitoring and could enable clinicians to act earlier to prevent or limit the permanent damage caused by inflammatory episodes.
Jonathan Rivnay

Polymer electronics feel strain and evolve during operation

February 28, 2024
New research from a team including SQI member Jonathan Rivnay details how strain and dynamics couple with the external electrical stimulus within a complex polymer system. These systems have both electronic and ionic functionality and the insights developed enable future materials with enhanced device durability and performance in wet, operationally relevant conditions.
cancer cells

Outsmarting chemo-resistant ovarian cancer

February 23, 2024
In a new study, SQI member C. Shad Thaxton and colleagues showed that treatment with synthetic nanoparticles reduced ovarian tumor growth by more than 50% in human cells and animal models. The nanoparticles appear to cancer cells as cholesterol-rich particles, but they actually block cholesterol uptake and send the cancer cells down a cell death pathway.
Microscopic image of regenerating bladder tissue

Synthetic ‘bladder patch’ promotes tissue regeneration, restores function

February 12, 2024
A research team led by SQI member Arun Sharma has developed a synthetic, flexible “bladder patch” that outperformed the current standard surgery for severe bladder dysfunction in a long-term, large-animal model — the last step before beginning clinical trials. The “patch” is an elastic-like scaffold that is seeded with a patient’s own stem cells and then sutured to the bladder, where it helps to restore function and promote regeneration in the existing tissue.
Mark Hersam

Hersam elected to National Academy of Engineering

February 7, 2024
SQI member Mark Hersam, whose research has led to more effective and sustainable nanomaterials used in electronics, energy storage, and medicine, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Election to the academy is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer.
Scientist using a pipette

SQI announces first round of Synthesizer Research Grants

January 17, 2024
The first projects funded through the SQI Synthesizer Research Grant Program feature innovative strategies to target stroke, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. The program was announced in the summer of 2023 to encourage the development of new approaches in regenerative nanomedicine that could yield transformative improvements in human healthspan.

Decorated nanoparticles prevent allergic reactions

January 16, 2024

Northwestern University researchers led by SQI member Evan Scott have developed the first selective therapy to prevent allergic reactions, which can range in severity from itchy hives and watery eyes to trouble breathing and even death. 

To develop the new therapy, researchers decorated nanoparticles with antibodies capable of shutting down specific immune cells (called mast cells) responsible for allergic responses, as well as an allergen that corresponds to the patient’s specific allergy. In this two-step approach, the allergen engages the precise mast cells responsible for the specific allergy, and then the antibodies shut down only those cells.

Building teams for high-risk, high-reward research projects

January 12, 2024
The latest podcast from the NUCATS Institute's Science in Translation series features SQI member Jonathan Rivnay, who explains how he helped build teams capable of securing large-scale funding from government agencies such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). In the episode, Rivnay also shares how his $33 million DARPA and $45 million ARPA-H projects are progressing.