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CANCELED: Bioengineering Seminar Series: Mehmet Fatih Yanik
Friday, May 18, 2012
11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Room 1200 Jeong H. Kim Engineering Bldg.
For More Information:
Professor Silvia Muro

The following seminar has been canceled.

High-throughput Technologies for Accelerating Basic and Therapeutic Discoveries

Mehmet Fatih Yanik
Associate Professor
Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

A great challenge in the new era of molecular and cellular neurobiology is complexity. The central nervous system consists of billions of neurons with thousands of different types and functions. Although most fundamental and applied questions in neuroscience can be addressed given sufficient time and resources, this might take many decades and billions of dollars spending with existing means. Throughout history, industrial revolutions have shown that automation can dramatically alter the cost and time demands. However, the complexity of nervous system is not amenable to simple automation and requires development of far more sophisticated technologies. I will present advanced high-throughput in vivo, in vitro, and ex vivo technologies that can perform even the most complex studies on a variety of biological preparations and organisms: (1) The in vivo technologies I will present include microfluidic systems for manipulating and performing chemical/genetic screens on small invertebrates (C. elegans) and vertebrates (zebrafish), where we can orient, immobilize, and image live animals at cellular resolution in three-dimensions and perform a variety of complex in vivo assays including spinal cord injury, neuronal activity imaging for epilepsy, and stem cell proliferation. Using such technologies with laser microsurgery, we recently identified small molecules that enhance neuronal regeneration in these animals by screening chemical libraries. (2) The in vitro technologies I will present include: (a) Methodologies to generate diverse types of transplantable human cell types without genetic modification (by reprogramming cells using combinatorial delivery of master transcription factor mRNAs), (b) High-throughput protein-micropatterning technologies to rapidly generate complex extracellular microenvironments to test the response of neurons, (c) “Synapse microarrays” that can induce synapses at precisely defined locations on substrates, which allowed us to identify novel chemicals that enhance synaptogenesis. (3) The ex vivo technologies I will present include robotic platforms that allow high-throughput genetic and biochemical interrogation and manipulation of single cells within cultured brain-slice circuits.


1. Rohde, C., Zeng, F., Gonzalez, R., Angel, M., Yanik, M. F., “Microfluidic system for on-chip high-throughput whole-animal sorting and screening at subcellular resolution”, PNAS 104, 13891 (2007).

2. Pardo-Martin, C., Chang, T.-Y., Koo, B., Gilleland, C., Wasserman, S., Yanik, M. F., "High-throughput in vivo vertebrate screening", Nature Methods, July 19th (2010).

3. Commentary by Owen T. J. and Zon L. I., "Fishing at cellular level", Nature Methods, Aug 2010.

4. Yanik M. F. et al., “Neurosurgery: Functional Regeneration after Laser Axotomy,” Nature 432, 822 (2004).

5. Samara, C., Rohde, C. B., Gilleland, C., Norton, S., Haggarty, S., Yanik, M. F., “Large-scale in vivo femtosecond laser neurosurgery screen reveals small-molecule enhancer of regeneration", PNAS, Oct. 2010.

6. Steinmeyer, J., Gilleland, C., Pardo, C., Angel, M., and M. F. Yanik, “Construction of a femtosecond laser microsurgery system", Nature Protocols 5, 395 (2010).

7. Gilleland C., Rohde C., Zeng F., Yanik M. F., “Microfluidic immobilization of physiologically active Caenorhabditis elegans”, Nature Protocols, Nov 4th (2010).

8. Angel, M. and Yanik, M. F., "Innate Immune Suppression Enables Frequent Transfection with RNA Encoding Reprogramming Proteins", PLoS ONE, 5, e11756 (2010).

9. Wissner-Gross, Z. D., Scott, M. A., Ku, D., Ramaswamy, P., Yanik, M. F., "Large-scale analysis of neurite growth dynamics on micropatterned substrates", Integrative Biology, Oct 2010.

10. Rohde C, and Yanik MF, “Subcellular in vivo time lapse imaging and surgery of C. elegans in standard multiwell plates”, Nature Communications, 2:275 (2011).

11. Yanik M. F., Christopher B. R., and C. Pardo-Martin, “Technologies for Micromanipulating, Imaging, and Phenotyping Small Invertebrates and Vertebrates”, Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering, 13, 185-217 (2011).

12. Shi P., Scott M. A., Ghosh B., Wan D., Wissner-Gross Z., Mazitschek R., Haggarty S. J., and M. F. Yanik, “Synapse Microarrays Identify Small-molecules that Enhance Synaptogenesis”, Nature Communications, Oct. 2011.

About the Speaker:
Dr. Yanik received his BS and MS in Engineering at MIT in 2000, and PhD in Applied Physics at Stanford in 2006, where he invented a mechanism to stop and store light pulses in microchips. He completed postdoctoral work at Stanford’s Bioengineering and Neurosurgery Departments. He is currently Assoc. Prof. of engineering at MIT. His studies on high-throughput technologies, microfluidics, photonics, and neuronal regeneration is recognized by NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, NIH Transformative Research Award, NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, NIH Eureka (Exceptional Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration) Award, Packard Award in Engineering and Science, Alfred Sloan Award in Neuroscience, Shillman Career Award, NSF Career Award, Silicon Valley Innovator's Challenge Award, Technology Review Magazine’s “World’s top 35 innovators under age 35”, Junior Chamber International’s “Outstanding Young Person", and Technology Research News Magazine’s “Top ten advances of the year”. His studies were highlighted in ABC, The Economist, Scientific American, Nature, New Scientist, Biophotonics International, Nature Physics, Genome Technology, and others.

This Event is For: Graduate • Faculty • Post-Docs

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