Academic reports delivered by Bruce Z. Gao from Clemson University

Dr. Bruce Z. Gao from the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Clemson, gave two academic reports named “Laser Techniques in Cell-Microenvironment Interactions” and “Laser microbeam and microfluidics hybrid” on May.22. Prof. Dechun Li had hosted the reports, and some of the teachers and students attended the presentation.
In the lectures, Dr. Bruce Z. Gao pointed out that the fundamental units of an organism are biological cells, which are involved in the development and maintenance of the hierarchical structures of the organism. Communication between neighboring cells, mediated by physical contact and diffusive signaling, regulate normal cellular functions. The functional characteristics of a single cell are determined by its genetic coding as well as its microenvironment. Due to the extreme complexity of in vivo environments, our understanding of the cellular functions and cell-cell interactions are heavily dependent on cell culture. Numerous studies have demonstrated the importance of cell arrangements for the functions of the cells in culture. To understand the biological mechanisms at cellular level in cell culture, it is necessary to assess the temporospatial interactions of a single cell with its surroundings, including neighboring cells and adjacent extracellular matrix. In this talk, Dr. Bruce Z. Gao described a novel laser cell micromanipulation technique based on the optical force generated by a weakly focused laser beam and discussed examples of using this technique and a couple of cutting edge laser imaging techniques to explore cell-microenvironment interactions.
At the end of the reports, Dr. Bruce Z. Gao patiently responded to questions raised by teachers and students. The whole academic reports were full of harmonious atmosphere. The audience rewarded Dr. Bruce Z. Gao’s wonderful speech with long and warm applause. The two reports were very meaningful to students’ future study and research.
Dr. Bruce Z. Gao received his BS degree in Physical Electronics and Optoelectronics in 1985 and his MS degree in Applied Laser Physics in 1988 both from Tianjin University, China. He received his PhD degree in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Miami in 1999, followed a three-year post-doctoral training in cell and tissue engineering at the University of Minnesota. He is currently an associated professor in the Department of Bioengineering at Clemson University. His long-term research goal is to understand the mechanisms used by various cell types to form a functional tissue. To achieve this goal, he has been focusing his research on microfabrication, laser cell micromanipulation, coherent light and nonlinear optics-based 3D imaging and multiscale modeling to explore cell-cell interactions in an engineered microenvironment, such as a biochip. His current research projects include: 1) Single neuron-based cell biochip for the investigation of developmental neurotoxicity (NIH INBRE); 2) Electrical and mechanical coupling between cardiogenic bone-marrow stem cells and cardiac cells (NIH K25 and COBRE); 3) Laser microbeam and microfluidics hybrid, high throughput and label-free cell sorting (NSF MRI); and 4) Coherence and nonlinear optics-based 3D microscopies (SC GEAR).

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