The university is the state’s land grant university, and the flagship university of the Colorado State University System.
The current enrollment is approximately 32,236 students, including resident and non-resident instruction students and the University is planning on having 35,000 students by 2020. The university has approximately 1,540 faculty in eight colleges and 55 academic departments. Bachelor’s degrees are offered in 65 fields of study, with master’s degrees in 55 fields. Colorado State confers doctoral degrees in 40 fields of study, in addition to a professional degree in veterinary medicine.
In fiscal year 2012, CSU spent $375.9 million on research and development, ranking 60th in the nation overall and 34th when excluding medical school spending.
Colorado State University research articles from Innovation Toronto
- Beating the limits of the light microscope, one photon at a time for unprecedented resolutions – May 27, 2016
- The light stuff: A brand-new way to produce electron spin currents – April 26, 2016
- Programmable plants: Synthetic biologists pave way for making genetic circuits – November 17, 2015
- The People’s Choice: Americans Would Pay to Help Monarch Butterflies
- Futuristic Copper Foam Batteries Get More Bang for the Buck
- CSU pioneer tuberculosis breakthrough
- How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy
- Potential Vaccine Readies Immune System to Kill Tuberculosis in Mice
- Color-changing plants detect pollutants and explosives
- Physicist Explains Basic Principles Through Hands-on Fun
- Is saving our atmosphere killing our seas?
- Vet students learn surgery on ‘fake’ animal tissue
Medical implants like stents, catheters and tubing introduce risk for blood clotting and infection – a perpetual problem for many patients.
Colorado State University engineers offer a potential solution: A specially grown, “superhemophobic” titanium surface that’s extremely repellent to blood. The material could form the basis for surgical implants with lower risk of rejection by the body.
Biomedical, materials approaches
It’s an outside-the-box innovation achieved at the intersection of two disciplines: biomedical engineering and materials science. The work, recently published in Advanced Healthcare Materials, is a collaboration between the labs of Arun Kota, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering; and Ketul Popat, associate professor in the same departments.
Kota, an expert in novel, “superomniphobic” materials that repel virtually any liquid, joined forces with Popat, an innovator in tissue engineering and bio-compatible materials. Starting with sheets of titanium, commonly used for medical devices, their labs grew chemically altered surfaces that act as perfect barriers between the titanium and blood. Their teams conducted experiments showing very low levels of platelet adhesion, a biological process that leads to blood clotting and eventual rejection of a foreign material.
A material “phobic” (repellent) to blood might seem counterintuitive, the researchers say, as often biomedical scientists use materials “philic” (with affinity) to blood to make them biologically compatible. “What we are doing is the exact opposite,” Kota said. “We are taking a material that blood hates to come in contact with, in order to make it compatible with blood.” The key innovation is that the surface is so repellent, that blood is tricked into believing there’s virtually no foreign material there at all.
The undesirable interaction of blood with foreign materials is an ongoing problem in medical research, Popat said. Over time, stents can form clots, obstructions, and lead to heart attacks or embolisms. Often patients need blood-thinning medications for the rest of their lives – and the drugs aren’t foolproof.
“The reason blood clots is because it finds cells in the blood to go to and attach,” Popat said. “Normally, blood flows in vessels. If we can design materials where blood barely contacts the surface, there is virtually no chance of clotting, which is a coordinated set of events. Here, we’re targeting the prevention of the first set of events.”
The researchers analyzed variations of titanium surfaces, including different textures and chemistries, and they compared the extent of platelet adhesion and activation. Fluorinated nanotubes offered the best protection against clotting, and they plan to conduct follow-up experiments.
Growing a surface and testing it in the lab is only the beginning, the researchers say. They want to continue examining other clotting factors, and eventually, to test real medical devices.
Anyone who’s ever chipped ice off a windshield or nervously watched a plane get de-iced, take note: Colorado State University researchers have invented an ice-repellent coating that out-performs today’s best de-icing products.
Researchers led by Arun Kota, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering, have created an environmentally friendly, inexpensive, long-lasting coating that could keep everything from cars and ships to planes and power lines ice-free.
Their innovation, described in the Journal of Materials Chemistry, is a gel-based, soft coating made out of PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane), a silicone polymer gel with already widespread industrial use. Their experiments were supported by careful analysis of ice adhesion mechanics.
The performance measure of de-icing coatings is called ice adhesion strength – the shear stress necessary to remove ice from a surface – and is measured in kilopascals (kPa). Kota’s group demonstrated ice adhesion strength for their coating of about 5 kPa. By contrast, soft coatings available on the market have ice adhesion strength of about 40 kPa (lower is better). Other types of de-icing coatings made of rigid materials like Teflon typically perform at around 100 kPa.
And what about what’s sprayed on frozen planes before takeoff? Those are liquid de-icers, including ethylene glycol or propylene glycol, and they work pretty well. The spraying of salts or glycols is the most common passive de-icing technique used today; according to the EPA, more than 20 million gallons of de-icing chemicals are used per year by the aviation industry alone. But these liquid products leach into groundwater, raising environmental concerns. And they have to be applied over and over again.
De-icers vs. anti-icers
Kota notes that de-icing coatings are not the same as anti-icing coatings. Anti-icers delay the formation of ice; de-icers facilitate easy removal of ice, once that ice has already formed and stuck to a surface.
The CSU breakthrough is an environmentally friendly, high-performance solution that could rid us of toxic liquid de-icers and keep ice from sticking to our windshields. It would be applied as a more permanent protective coating.
“We think there is significant commercial potential here,” Kota said.
Learn more: Ice is no match for CSU-developed coating
Optical microscopy experts at Colorado State University are once again pushing the envelope of biological imaging.
Jeffrey Field, a research scientist in electrical engineering and director of CSU’s Microscope Imaging Network, has designed and built a fluorescence-detection microscope that combines three-dimensional and high-resolution image processing that’s also faster than comparable techniques.
The work, with co-authorship by Randy Bartels, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and former postdoctoral researcher David Winters, has been published in Optica, the journal of the Optical Society of America. They named their new microscope CHIRPT: Coherent Holographic Image Reconstruction by Phase Transfer.
Field and other optics scientists work in a world of tradeoffs. For example: an advanced deep-tissue imaging technique called multiphoton fluorescence microscopy employs a short, bright laser pulse focused tight to one spot, and the fluorescence intensity from that one spot is recorded. Then, the laser moves to the next spot, then the next, to build up high-resolution 3D images. The technique offers subcellular detail, but it’s relatively slow because it illuminates only one tiny spot at a time.
Other techniques, like spinning disk confocal microscopy, are faster because they shine light on multiple spots, not just one, and they scan simultaneously over a larger area. But unlike multiphoton, these techniques require collecting an image with a camera. As a result, fluorescent light emitted from the specimen is blurred on the camera, leading to loss in resolution, and with it, subcellular detail.
Call them greedy, but Field and colleagues want it all.
Breaking established boundaries
Their goal is working around each of these limitations – speed, resolution, size of field – to break through established boundaries in light microscopy.
Field and Bartels’ new microscope builds upon a previously published technique, and permits digital re-focus of fluorescent light. It illuminates not one point, but multiple points by harnessing delocalized illumination spread over a large area. The physical principles they are using are similar to holography, in which scattered light is used to build a 3-D image.
Using a large illumination field, followed by back-end signal processing, the microscope can define distinct light modulation patterns of many points within the field of view. It builds up a 3-D image by combining the signals from all those distinct patterns.
“The idea is that you have a fluorophore at any point in the specimen, and the temporal structure of its fluorescence will be distinguishable from all others,” Field said. “So you can have this huge array of fluorophores, and just with this single-pixel detector, you can tell where every one of them is in that 2D field.”
3D, deep-tissue images
So what does this new technique allow? Deep-tissue images in three dimensions, with better depth of field than comparable techniques. Depth of field, like in photography, means background images are in sharp focus along with the main image. And the CSU researchers can work at 600 frames per second, which is many times faster than established techniques.
With their new microscope, images can also be post-processed to remove aberrations that obscure the object of interest. It’s akin to being able to focus a picture after it’s been taken.
The CHIRPT microscope could allow biomedical researchers to produce sharp, 3-D images of cells or tissue over a much larger volume than conventional fluorescence microscopy methods allow. It could lead to things like imaging multicellular processes in real time that, with a conventional light microscope, could only be seen one cell at a time.
An international team of researchers has developed a website at d-place.org to help answer long-standing questions about the forces that shaped human cultural diversity.
D-PLACE – the Database of Places, Language, Culture and Environment – is an expandable, open access database that brings together a dispersed body of information on the language, geography, culture and environment of more than 1,400 human societies. It comprises information mainly on pre-industrial societies that were described by ethnographers in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The team’s paper on D-PLACE is published today in the journal PLOS ONE.
“Human cultural diversity is expressed in numerous ways: from the foods we eat and the houses we build, to our religious practices and political organisation, to who we marry and the types of games we teach our children,” said Kathryn Kirby, a postdoctoral fellow in the Departments of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Geography at the University of Toronto and lead author of the study. “Cultural practices vary across space and time, but the factors and processes that drive cultural change and shape patterns of diversity remain largely unknown.
“D-PLACE will enable a whole new generation of scholars to answer these long-standing questions about the forces that have shaped human cultural diversity.”
Co-author Fiona Jordan, senior lecturer in anthropology at the University of Bristol and one of the project leads said, “Comparative research is critical for understanding the processes behind cultural diversity. Over a century of anthropological research around the globe has given us a rich resource for understanding the diversity of humanity – but bringing different resources and datasets together has been a huge challenge in the past.
The world’s most advanced light microscopes allow us to see single molecules, proteins, viruses and other very small biological structures. But even the best microscopes have their limits.
Colorado State University scientists are pushing the limits of a technique called super-resolution microscopy, opening potential new pathways to illuminating, for example, individual cell processes in living tissue at unprecedented resolutions.
Their work was published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, with senior authorship by Randy Bartels, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who holds joint appointments in Biomedical Engineering and Chemistry. The first author is Jeffrey Field, a research scientist in Bartels’ group and director of CSU’s Microscope Imaging Network (MIN). The MIN is a Foundational Core Facility of university-wide instrumentation overseen by the Office of the Vice President for Research.
The PNAS work was a multidisciplinary effort, including authorship by graduate student Keith Wernsing and postdoctoral researcher Scott Domingue; and associate professor Jennifer DeLuca and research scientist Keith DeLuca in biochemistry. The collaboration was seeded by a Catalyst for Innovative Partnerships project, supported by the Office of the Vice President for Research, aimed at new techniques for studying the human genome.
The limitations of standard techniques
The resolving power of a traditional microscope is limited by how tightly light can be focused, which is known as the diffraction limit. Super-resolution microscopy, a technique that garnered the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, gets around these limitations, but in the vast majority of cases requires precise control of individual fluorescent molecules to circumvent the diffraction limit of light. Fluorescence is very important for biological imaging, for example, in a well-established deep-tissue imaging technique called multiphoton microscopy. There are other types of image contrasts that provide valuable information about a specimen, but they cannot be used with standard super-resolution methods.
In their paper, the CSU team demonstrated, for the first time, super-resolved imaging via both multiphoton fluorescence and second-harmonic generation simultaneously. Often used in conjunction with multiphoton fluorescence, second-harmonic generation occurs when two photons are destroyed to emit a single photon at twice the frequency. With a custom-built microscope, the CSU researchers have demonstrated resolving nanoscale images via second-harmonic generation.
The CSU instrument is based on a technique called spatial frequency modulated imaging (SPIFI), which has been under development in the Bartels lab for roughly five years. By using their multiphoton SPIFI (MP-SPIFI) microscope to simultaneously collect images through both fluorescence and second-harmonic generation, they’ve achieved spatial resolution beyond that of a conventional multiphoton microscope.
In conventional multiphoton microscopy, extremely short laser pulses are focused to a tight spot on a specimen, exciting fluorophores to produce an image. With CSU’s MP-SPIFI microscope, a much larger region is simultaneously illuminated with multiple femtosecond laser pulses. That creates what’s called an interference pattern, which allows the researchers to build up an image.
Unlabled structures, unprecedented resolution
For PNAS, they demonstrated their microscope on common biological samples called HeLa cells, and also on solar cells made out of cadmium telluride. This ability to super-resolve with second-harmonic generation, as well as other contrast mechanisms, may provide valuable insights in varied disciplines, giving researchers the capability to image unlabeled structures with unprecedented resolution.
Another significant benefit of the MP-SPIFI microscope is the potential to provide super-resolved images in highly scattering biological tissues. Most super-resolution techniques require affixing cells to glass slides and thus cannot be applied to living tissue. The new CSU technique could allow super-resolution microscopy to happen in vivo, or within larger specimens of biological tissues. Bartels and Field are quick to point out that if one could enhance the resolution of images collected from in vivo specimens, and with multiple contrast mechanisms simultaneously, a wealth of biological information can be obtained.
“If we can do this below the surface of a biological sample such as live tissue, that is the utility of this,” Bartels said. “We can beat the diffraction limit of a canonical two-photon microscope.”
Most high school students can recite the central dogma of molecular biology: DNA makes RNA makes protein. We all know it. But have we ever seen it?
Parts of it, yes. DNA transcription, the first step in gene expression, has been quantified in real time. But the second step – the translation of genetic code into a protein – is much harder to see in living systems, and until now has eluded us.
In an unprecedented feat, Colorado State University biochemists have made a live-cell movie of RNA translation – the fundamental cellular process by which a ribosome decodes a protein.
Sixty years after Francis Crick first described it, CSU scientists have illuminated, in a single living cell, this final step of gene expression. Their tools: some clever protein engineering, and a custom-built microscope that can show single-RNA translation with nanoscale precision.
The breakthrough was led by Tim Stasevich, assistant professor in the College of Natural Sciences’ Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and published in the journal Science May 5. The paper’s first author is research associate Tatsuya Morisaki, who built the microscope and performed the experiments.
Here’s the scientific dirt: Soil can help reduce global warming
“We can substantially reduce atmospheric carbon by using soil. Decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, sequestering carbon and using prudent agricultural management practices that tighten the soil-nitrogen cycle can yield enhanced soil fertility, bolster crop productivity, improve soil biodiversity, and reduce erosion, runoff and water pollution. These practices also buffer crop and pasture systems against the impacts of climate change.