The university is organized into ten schools, including two undergraduate programs and eight graduate divisions, on four campuses in Massachusetts and the French Alps. The university emphasizes active citizenship and public service in all of its disciplines and is known for its internationalism and study abroad programs. Among its schools is the United States’ oldest graduate school of international relations, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Tufts College was founded in 1852 by Christian Universalists who worked for years to open a non-sectarian institution of higher learning. Charles Tufts donated the land for the campus on Walnut Hill, the highest point in Medford, saying that he wanted to set a “light on the hill.” The name was changed to Tufts University in 1954, although the corporate name remains “the Trustees of Tufts College.” For more than a century, Tufts was a small New England liberal arts college. The French-American nutritionist Jean Mayer became president of Tufts in the late 1970s and, through a series of rapid acquisitions, transformed the school into an internationally renowned research university. It is known as both a Little Ivy and a “New Ivy” and consistently ranks among the nation’s top schools.
Tufts University research articles from Innovation Toronto
- Biocompatible silk keeps fruit fresh without refrigeration – May 7, 2016
- Silk and Ceramics Offer Hope for Long-term Repair of Joint Injuries – September 26, 2015
- Inkjet Inks Made of Bioactive Silk Could Yield Smart Bandages, Bacteria-Sensing Surgical Gloves & More – June 19, 2015
- Planarian Regeneration Model Discovered by Artificial Intelligence – June 5, 2015
- 3-D engineered bone marrow makes functioning platelets – February 20, 2015
- Scientists’ unique system of oral vaccine delivery to address global health threats – December 27, 2014
- World’s first man-made photosynthetic ‘leaf’ could produce oxygen for astronauts – August 1, 2014
- Fabricating Nanostructures with Silk Could Make Clean Rooms Green Rooms
- Printable ‘bionic’ ear melds electronics and biology
- It’s Electric: Biologists Seek to Crack Cell’s Bioelectric Code
- Bioelectric Signals Can Be Used to Detect Early Cancer
- New collagen scaffolding technique to benefit tissue engineering
- Implantable Silk Optics Multi-Task in the Body
- Eco-friendly Optics: Spider Silk’s Hidden Talents Brought to Light for Applications in Biosensors, Lasers, Microchips
- Would You Infect Yourself With Worms For Better Health?
- A Computer Interface that Takes a Load Off Your Mind
- Catalysts for Less
- Edible Silk Sensors To Monitor Your Food
- Silk microneedles are claimed to better-deliver medication
- Changes in Bioelectric Signals Trigger Formation of New Organs
- Caterpillars and the next generation of rolling robots
- Soft-bodied robot owes its moves to starfish and squid
- Energy Economics: What Will Turn Us On in 2030?
- World’s Smallest Electric Motor Made from a Single Molecule
- New Way to Treat Common Hospital-Acquired Infection
- Caterpillars and the next generation of rolling robots
- Is a Food Revolution Now in Season?
- New Key to Tissue Regeneration
- The Silk Renaissance
- MIT Top 10 Technologies Likely to Change the World
- ‘Digital Skills Divide’ Emerging
Process enables creation of mechanical components with functionality, such as surgical pins that change color with strain
Tufts University engineers have created a new format of solids made from silk protein that can be preprogrammed with biological, chemical, or optical functions, such as mechanical components that change color with strain, deliver drugs, or respond to light, according to a paper published online this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Using a water-based fabrication method based on protein self-assembly, the researchers generated three-dimensional bulk materials out of silk fibroin, the protein that gives silk its durability. Then they manipulated the bulk materials with water-soluble molecules to create multiple solid forms, from the nano- to the micro-scale, that have embedded, pre-designed functions.
A silk fibroin screw can be heated to 160 C when exposed to infrared light. Source: Silk Lab.For example, the researchers created a surgical pin that changes color as it nears its mechanical limits and is about to fail, functional screws that can be heated on demand in response to infrared light, and a biocompatible component that enables the sustained release of bioactive agents, such as enzymes.
Although more research is needed, additional applications could include new mechanical components for orthopedics that can be embedded with growth factors or enzymes, a surgical screw that changes color as it reaches its torque limits, hardware such as nuts and bolts that sense and report on the environmental conditions of their surroundings, or household goods that can be remolded or reshaped.
Silk’s unique crystalline structure makes it one of nature’s toughest materials. Fibroin, an insoluble protein found in silk, has a remarkable ability to protect other materials while being fully biocompatible and biodegradable.
“The ability to embed functional elements in biopolymers, control their self-assembly, and modify their ultimate form creates significant opportunities for bio-inspired fabrication of high-performing multifunctional materials,” said senior and corresponding study author Fiorenzo G. Omenetto, Ph.D. Omenetto is the Frank C. Doble Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Tufts University’s School of Engineering and also has an appointment in the Department of Physics in the School of Arts and Sciences.
Advances could pave way for new generation of implantable and wearable diagnostics
For the first time, researchers led by Tufts University engineers have integrated nano-scale sensors, electronics and microfluidics into threads – ranging from simple cotton to sophisticated synthetics – that can be sutured through multiple layers of tissue to gather diagnostic data wirelessly in real time, according to a paper published online July 18 in Microsystems & Nanoengineering. The research suggests that the thread-based diagnostic platform could be an effective substrate for a new generation of implantable diagnostic devices and smart wearable systems.
The researchers used a variety of conductive threads that were dipped in physical and chemical sensing compounds and connected to wireless electronic circuitry to create a flexible platform that they sutured into tissue in rats as well as in vitro. The threads collected data on tissue health (e.g. pressure, stress, strain and temperature), pH and glucose levels that can be used to determine such things as how a wound is healing, whether infection is emerging, or whether the body’s chemistry is out of balance. The results were transmitted wirelessly to a cell phone and computer.
The three-dimensional platform is able to conform to complex structures such as organs, wounds or orthopedic implants.
Researchers at Tufts University have stabilized blood samples for long periods of time without refrigeration and at high temperatures by encapsulating them in air-dried silk protein.
The technique, which is published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has broad applications for clinical care and research that rely on accurate analysis of blood and other biofluids.
Blood contains proteins, enzymes, lipids, metabolites, and peptides that serve as biomarkers for health screening, monitoring and diagnostics. Both research and clinical care often require blood to be collected outside a laboratory. However, unless stored at controlled temperatures, these biomarkers rapidly deteriorate, jeopardizing the accuracy of subsequent laboratory analysis. Existing alternative collection and storage solutions, such as drying blood on paper cards, still fail to effectively protect biomarkers from heat and humidity.
The Tufts scientists successfully mixed a solution or a powder of purified silk fibroin protein extracted from silkworm cocoons with blood or plasma and air-dried the mixture. The air-dried silk films were stored at temperatures between 22 and 45 degrees C (71.6 to 113 degrees F). At set intervals, encapsulated blood samples were recovered by dissolving the films in water and analyzed.
“This approach should facilitate outpatient blood collection for disease screening and monitoring, particularly for underserved populations, and also serve needs of researchers and clinicians without access to centralized testing facilities. For example, this could support large-scale epidemiologic studies or remote pharmacological trials,” said senior and corresponding author David L. Kaplan, Ph.D., Stern Family Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Tufts School of Engineering.