Georgia Institute of Technology hosted the Atlanta Chapter of ARCS for a tour of their new Engineered Biosystems Building and presentations by some of the researchers there. The new building features 200,000 square feet of technologically advanced laboratories and open floorplan office space to encourage collaboration between researchers across disciplinary boundries. Partnerships between faculty from Sciences, Engineering, Computing, and ultimately all Colleges, and between Georgia Tech researchers and those from Emory University, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and other institutions will enable cutting edge research in biomedicine and biotechnology.
We were a large group so we divided into four smaller groups to tour the labs. Safety is very important so we all put on protective glasses to go into the labs. We enjoyed presentations by several graduate students and faculty, one of whom was Nancy Chambers son, Dwight. His research focuses on the development of a platelet-like particle, capable of dissolving scar tissue in the lungs, caused by pulmonary fibrosis. This is a progressive condition that causes difficulty breathing and eventually death. One of the researchers on this team, Haylee Bachman, created a visual display using the bacteria E. coli. By conjugating an antibody fragment that reacts to blood clots with a fluorescent protein we could see the glow-in-the-dark bacteria under a black light. We were all quite impressed.
After our tours, we all met for a lovely luncheon provided for us by GA Tech. Bud Peterson, president of GA Tech and husband of member Val Peterson, spoke to us. He was followed by Provost Rafael Bras, husband of member Pat Bras. Following lunch, three current ARCS Scholars made a presentation about their current research.
Georgia Tech featured this event in their winter issue of Philanthropy.