Campus News in Brief

[BOLD]New biomaterials for drug delivery[BOLD]

Christopher Bettinger, an assistant professor in the materials science and engineering department, is currently working to develop new biomaterials for biomedical applications.

The focus of his research involves strategies for using organic thin-film transistors to enhance biomedical applications. “We are working with biodegradable polymers because they are non-toxic and capable of a controlled rate of degradation,” Bettinger said. “In the case of drug delivery, we find that the polymer slowly degrades into smaller fragments, releasing a natural product in a controlled environment.”

One of the challenges that Bettinger’s team faces is the rate at which water seeps into the polymers. “We’ve found that the environment surrounding the polymer is different depending on the location in the body,” he said.

The team has discovered that testing electronic devices in aqueous environments creates these challenges but also yields numerous opportunities. “We found that by combining small-molecular semiconductors and biodegradable polymers, it allows for potential electronic functionality in biodegradable medical implants that has previously been unattainable,” Bettinger said.

Bettinger received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, a master’s degree in biomedical engineering, and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering, all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

[BOLD]Carnegie Mellon staff, students named Fulbright Scholars[BOLD]

Carnegie Mellon staff member Stephanie Wallach and recent graduates Nathan Hall, James Harrell, and Megan Larcom have been named Fulbright Scholars by the Fulbright Foundation.

Wallach, assistant vice provost for undergraduate education and director of the Fellowships and Scholarships Office and the Undergraduate Research Office, has been selected to participate in the International Education Administrators Program. The program runs Oct. 16–30 in Germany.

“The seminar will provide me a chance to learn about the country’s higher education system,” Wallach said in a recent university press release. “This is important for opening up opportunities for Carnegie Mellon students in undergraduate research, especially in science, technology, engineering, and math. Germany also offers a wide variety of summer and postgraduate fellowships and funds a large number of Fulbright scholarships.”

Carnegie Mellon alumni Hall of Pittsburgh; Harrell of Freedom, Pa.; and Larcom of Middletown, R.I. were also named Fulbright Scholars. Hall will travel to Iceland, Harrell to Hungary, and Larcom to Egypt during the 2010–11 academic year through the U.S. Student Program.

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