A delegation from Columbia’s Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) traveled to Santiago to participate in a joint-symposium with Universidad Católica’s (UC) Institute of Biological and Medical Engineering, which was part of Columbia's 2016 President’s Global Innovation Fund (PGIF). BME participants included Tal Danino, Clark Hung, Elisa Konofagou, Aaron Kyle, Andrew Laine, Helen Lu, and Barclay Morrison as well as post-doc students Dovina Qu and Robert Stefani. Discussion sessions featured faculty research in the areas of Biological Engineering, Biomaterials, BioImaging and Biomechanics. One of the main goals of the visit was to increase collaboration between both institutions.
Columbia professors Hung and Lu are already co-PIs of a research seed grant entitled “Electrotherapeutics for Musculoskeletal Tissue Repair & Regeneration” with UC’s Loreto Valenzuela and Hugo Olguín. In addition, Danino and his UC collaborator Daniel Garrido received seed funding for a project entitled “Synthetic Biology and Microbiome Engineering Applications for Health”, while Laine and his colleague from UCs Daniel Hurtado were awarded a grant for a project called “Image-based Computation for the Quantification of Cardiac and Lung Deformation in Understanding Processes of Disease”.
During the gathering, there were discussions comparing undergraduate and graduate education at Columbia and UC, plus conversations about funding mechanisms to support faculty and student exchanges as well as future efforts to build institutional ties. The Columbia delegation also met with the Dean of Engineering, Juan Carlos De La Llera and Vice-Provost for Research, Pedro Bouchon.