TCIC at Bio 2010 Convention in Chicago!

On May 5-6th the TCIC Director, Dr. Lyden, and two UWRF student researchers, Victor Piazza and Tim Morris traveled to Chicago to participate in the “Bio 2010” Convention at McCormick Place. The TCIC contingent joined others from across Wisconsin in representing the Biotechnology Industry of the state. In particular, the TCIC crew manned the “Momentum West” portion of the state pavilion in this global event. More than 1700 exhibitors representing countries, states and companies from around the world presented the state of the art in Biotechnology. The meeting also featured presentations by former Presidents Clinton and Bush as well as Vice President Gore. Altogether the meeting attracted some 17,000 participants over 5 days.

Momentum West, the regional economic development organization based in Eau Claire invited the TCIC to participate in this world class event to showcase the significant work being done here in western Wisconsin to develop the biotechnology and biomedical research and training capacity of the region. At the Momentum kiosk we were joined by individuals and materials from UW-Stout, UW-Eau Claire and CVTC as well as information on numerous industries in the area. Also presenting within the state pavilion was TCIC collaborator, Marshfield Clinic in addition to several units associated with UW-Madison.

A significant number of very interesting contacts were made throughout the 2 days of TCIC participation in this meeting. On the 5th, Director Lyden was invited to attend a breakfast reception at the Swiss Consulate, which served to make a number of interesting contacts with European pharmaceutical companies as well as other governmental agencies. Later during the meeting, the Consul and Trade Commissioner of Canada (Chicago Embassy) visited the Wisconsin Pavilion and took a keen interest in the TCIC concept as well as the economic development capacity of western Wisconsin. After a long and productive discussion, the Consul volunteered to work toward establishing connections between the TCIC and various biomedical research organizations throughout Canada. This contact interestingly builds on potential connections of the TCIC to the Ontario Cancer Center, with whom we first connected last Fall in New York at the JCB/NYAS meeting (see story below). Additionally, several pharmaceutical industry representatives took an interest in the work being done here as well.

The two TCIC student researchers also had the opportunity to explore the state of the art in biotechnology as well as make numerous connections themselves with industrial representatives and recruiters. In fact, one of the students had an extremely productive discussion with a biotechnology recruiter from New York who, after hearing about undergraduate research experiences at the TCIC, suggested the student should contact him immediately upon graduation next year for a formal interview. Needless to say both students will be following-up on many of the networking opportunities that presented themselves this week.

In short, this was an extremely productive short trip to Chicago that we expect to see grow new opportunities and potential collaborations. Thanks go out to the Dean of CAS, the Director of the UWRF Biotechnology Program and the Grants Office for their funding support of this trip.

Chippewa Valley Technical College/UWRF TCIC Nanotechnology collaboration continues to grow.

During the Spring break in March of 2010, the TCIC again hosted students from the CVTC Nanobiotechnology course for a one day workshop in “Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering”. This is the 3 rd year in a row that this important event has taken place with a total of approximately 40 CVTC students and staff from Eau Claire being given an introduction to applied micro/nanobiotechnology at UWRF. This year, the students spent the day working with Dr. Lyden and UWRF undergraduate student, Tim Morris who served as an excellent teaching assistant for the effort. These primarily engineering student were introduced to key concepts of cell culture, stem cell biology and tissue engineering during their visit. The day resulted in CVTC students producing artificial tissue samples of their own which will be grown here at UWRF for 3 weeks and then transfered to Eau Claire for further processing and SEM evaluation by the students as a course capstone activity. Again this year, the effort generated interest from at least one student who will be joining the TCIC this summer for an internship and will then matriculate to UWRF in the Fall as a Biotechnology student.

In addition to the annual workshops, the TCIC and CVTC Nanotechnology programs are also working in collaboration with the UW-Stout Genomic Training and Analysis Center to develop a nanobiotechnology workforce grant to enhance and/or spur the economic development of western Wisconsin. In this regard the three programs have and are collaborating on NSF curriculum development grants which this year included an NSF Advanced Technology Education proposal. Further submissions are planned in near future as well.

TCIC continued to grow this past year with the successful international presentation of the Tumor Project and new partnerships forming.

The UWRF Tissue and Cellular innovation Center continued to develop throughout the past year with ongoing clinical studies in collaboration with the Marshfield Clinic, the development of new clinical and industrial partners as well as ongoing developmental biology studies.
In our initial human tumor study TCIC Director, Dr. Lyden, and his collaborators from Marshfield Clinic (Dr. Ray Haselby) and UW-Stout (Dr. Micheal Pickert) demonstrated that primary human tumor samples from 5 distinct types of cancer will indeed grow in our 3D artificial tissue culture system. Further it was shown that specific and significant differences in that growth also occurred which may be reflective of specific stages of the disease. This successful modeling of human cancer in 3D was then accepted for presentation at the Journal of Cell Biology/New York Academy of Sciences meeting held in Manhattan (40th floor of 7 World Trade Center). The work was extremely well received and even generated an offer to collaborate with researchers from the Ontario Cancer Center on modeling breast cancer cell biology in 3D.

At the same time that the first study was wrapping up, Dr. Peter Dahlberg, a newly arrived surgeon at the River Falls Regional Hospital formally opened the new “Rivers Cancer Center” in collaboration with the Virginia Piper Cancer Center at the UMinn. Dr. Dahlberg immediately joined with the TCIC in forming an additional collaboration for the upcoming second human tumor study, which will seek to refine the application of our culture system to work in the direction of personalized medicine applications. Of particular interest in these follow-on studies will be the potential of this method for use in cancer treatment design. Also joining the principal research team as a new collaborator was Dr. Christopher Cold, head of Pathology at Marshfield Clinic. Additionally more than a dozen other surgeons, pathologists, clinical staff and patients at Marshfield and River Falls are or will be involved in providing samples for this work.

These clinical connections have also involved the exchange of presentations between UWRF, Marshfield Clinic and the Rivers Cancer Center as well as UW-Stout. Over the past year TCIC Director, Dr. Lyden has presented separately to the clinical staff and Research Foundation Board of Directors at Marshfield Clinic as well as the Hospital Board at the Regional Hospital in River Falls while Dr. Dahlberg and Cold have or are schedueled to present at UWRF to the Biology 341/342 Human Anatomy/Physiology course. Several additional talks are planned for the coming year as well. In the Fall, UW-Stout collaborator, Dr. Micheal Pickert, also visited campus for the 8th Annual SURSCA Gala Evening of RSCA and presented two posters from ongoing projects in his lab.

UWRF TCIC Director, Dr. Tim Lyden, presents the keynote address at the 2009 Oklahoma State Research Day.

In November 2009, Northeastern State University at Broken Arrow hosted the 11th annual Oklahoma State Reseach Day. This event was attended by some 1200 students from across the south central region and is a major event for the scholarly climate of Oklahoma. This year, the organizers invited UWRF TCIC Director, Dr. Tim Lyden to participate as the keynote speaker. Dr. Lyden presented his views on the definition and role a scholar at small comprehensive universities. The talk, entitled “Perspective Matters: A Scholar-scientist’s View from a Regional Undergraduate University in the 21st Century” focused on the challenges and rewards of seeking to balance one’s scholarship in the classic pattern of “research, teaching and service”. To address this topic, Dr. Lyden reviewed the evolution and research projects of the TCIC, the application of research to undergraduate courses such as Anatomy and Physiology (Bio 341/342) and Animal Cell Culture (Bio 463) as well as the high impact role of UG student research as an educational paradigm. In addition, Dr. Lyden also discussed UWRF student involvement in developing their own research culture and community service through activities like SURSCA and NCUR presentations. The talk was very well received and generated numerous very engaged and interesting comments from Oklahoma students, faculty and administrators. The NSU press release for this event can be seen at

TCIC and Biology Department Cell Biologists present at Annual Statewide Science and Technology Conference.

In July 2009, Drs. Lyden and Huang were invited presenters at the 2nd annual Wisconsin Science and Technology Symposium held this year at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. Also presenting at this meeting were undergraduate student researchers from the labs of both Lyden and Huang. These included, Victor Piazza, Luke Score and Steve Talsness from the Tissue and Cellular Innovation Center (TCIC) while the Fish Developmental Biology Lab was represented by Charles Phillips. Altogether, the group from UWRF Biology Department presented 4 posters and 2 oral podium presentations. The presented posters were entitled, "The application of natural extra-cellular matrix materials to generate cardiac artificial tissues." (Victor), "Characterization of a surface epithelial cell line derived from long-term culture of human embryonic stem cell based 3D structures." (Steve), "Isolation and morphologic characterization of potential stem and other cell populations from human breast milk." (Luke), "Tissue Adhesion Defects in the Zebrafish Bubble Tail Mutation Cause Hemorrhage, Epidermal Finfold Degeneration and Lethality" (Charles). The podium presentations were "Drug Discovery & Pharmacogenetic Study for Heart Failure Using a Zebrafish Model" (Dr. Huang) and "Modeling Primary Human Tumors in 3D Artificial Tissue (AT) Cultures." (Dr. Lyden).

The WSTS meeting is hosted each year by the UW-System intellectual property organization, WiSys and brings together UW researchers, industrial and clinical institutions from across Wisconsin and Minnesota in order to share their work and identify potential new collaborators. This year the meeting attracted nearly 100 individuals from across the System and state. Next years meeting will be held in Green Bay at UW-Oshkosh.