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STEM Innovation Webinar
1024 359 Arlyne Simon, PhD | Biochemical Engineer. Author. Inventor. Entrepreneur.

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The Next Generation of Youth Entrepreneurs in STEM Innovation
1024 683 Arlyne Simon, PhD | Biochemical Engineer. Author. Inventor. Entrepreneur.

Long before the concept of STEM entered the American lexicon, African-American scientists, educators, and entrepreneurs were creating important products, services, and businesses that helped shape the American economy. From Benjamin Banneker, a mathematician and polymath in 18th Century Maryland, to Dr. Charles Drew, a 20th Century doctor and blood specialist who revolutionized the process of blood transfusions, our nation has prospered and developed as a global leader in science, economics, and business, thanks to the significant contributions of men and women of color.

The stakes are high: America’s future success in the global arena depends on our ability to foster innovation within communities that historically have been under-served. As the world’s top scientists and engineers pave the way for new breakthroughs across emerging industries, the U.S. continues to be the global leader in science and technology discoveries. The Obama Administration has championed the 21st century STEM revolution.

However, as the demand for STEM careers increases, experts and business leaders across the country have expressed their concern with the lack of skilled workforce that can support the American innovation economy. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, African-Americans and Hispanics have been consistently under-represented in STEM employment. Addressing this widening gap is a vital issue and we must leverage the potential expertise of every American to expand the U.S. footprint in the next era of innovation.

On February 24, 2016, at 2 p.m. EST, please join us for a live webinar focused on strategies for increasing the participation of African-Americans and Latinos in STEM careers and entrepreneurship opportunities.

America’s Innovation Future

Centered on youth entrepreneurship and STEM innovation, the webinar will be led by two leading experts in the field: Justin Tanner, MBDA Associate Director of the Office of Legislative, Education and Intergovernmental Affairs and Joyce Ward, USPTO Director of the Office of Education and Outreach. Also joining the conversation is Dr. James E. West, co-inventor of the electret microphone used in most telephones and a 1999 Inductee to the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Calvin Mackie, Executive Director of STEM NOLA, will also discuss his work in New Orleans to train and motivate young STEM innovators. The webinar will showcase two young innovators, Arlyne Simon and Keiana Cavé, as they share their motivation to spearhead STEM discoveries for their generation.

The participants will share their unique experience as it relates to STEM innovation, and outline prescriptions for increasing pathways to success for young African-Americans and other people of color.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Role in Strengthening Inclusion

During the webinar, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about federal, state and local resources available to the youth in the area of STEM innovation and hear first-hand about the great programs at the U.S. Department of Commerce that support the next generation of STEM leaders.

At the U.S. Department of Commerce, we understand that we cannot begin conversations about strengthening U.S. innovation without first talking about investing in tomorrow’s workforce. We embrace the fact that we need to encourage a young generation of engineers and scientists to become business and tech savvy. In order for us to remain a world leader in the global marketplace, we must leverage our diversity in the most strategic ways.

This begins with advancing our commitment to serving historically disadvantaged groups which have all too often remain untapped and underutilized. This is the perfect time to support the diverse millennial talent base, as it continues to shape and fast-track technological change. This begins with the supporting a new pipeline of youth innovators that are equipped with the skills to spur innovation and create the opportunities of the future.

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PhasiQ Awarded NSF Grant to Develop Multiplex Protein Biomarker Test for DVT
1024 260 Arlyne Simon, PhD | Biochemical Engineer. Author. Inventor. Entrepreneur.

Immunoassay developer PhasiQ this week received a two-year grant from the National Science Foundation to develop and commercialize an ELISA-based multiplex protein biomarker test for identifying patients with deep vein…

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Science Daily: Aqueous two-phase systems enable multiplexing of homogeneous immunoassays
720 540 Arlyne Simon, PhD | Biochemical Engineer. Author. Inventor. Entrepreneur.

A new protein biomarker test platform developed by researchers at the University of Michigan and Indiana University promises to improve diagnostic testing. The test can accurately and simultaneously measure multiple proteins that indicate the presence of diseases like graft-versus-host disease (bone marrow transplant rejection) in only two hours, no washing steps, and using only a minute volume of blood plasma. A report on this new technology can be found online in the journal TECHNOLOGY.

The protein test uses a micropatterning method developed in Shuichi Takayama’s Micro/Nano/Molecular Biotechnology Lab. “Just as oil and water remain immiscible, we use two aqueous solutions that do not mix with each other,” said Dr. Takayama, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Macromolecular Science and Engineering. “Interestingly, these solutions can be patterned into arrays, whereas standard no-wash protein test reagents normally just mix together in solution. This novel capability makes it possible, for the first time, to measure multiple diagnostic proteins at a time in a no-wash format test.”

To perform the assay, a few microliters of blood plasma is mixed with poly(ethylene glycol) and added to a microwell in a custom 384-well microplate. Next, microdroplets of dextran, containing complimentary pairs of antibody-beads, are dispensed into microbasins within the sample well. During a two-hour incubation, target plasma protein biomarkers diffuse from the poly(ethylene glycol) phase to the dextran droplets and become sandwiched by the antibody beads. The microplate is then read on a commercially available plate reader.

The team demonstrated the effectiveness of their bioassay by measuring protein biomarkers from cytokine-stimulated cells, as well as from the plasma of bone marrow transplant patients. Detecting levels of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines in blood plasma can be crucial in the diagnosis of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) — the leading cause of death among allogeneic bone marrow transplant patients.

“We envision that our user-friendly and highly accurate platform will be widely used by academic and clinical researchers for diagnostics as well as other applications,” said Arlyne Simon, Ph.D., the lead author on this publication. “To ease the adoption of our technology into research and clinical labs, we designed custom microplates that can be analyzed by commercially available plate readers.”

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Chemical & Engineering News: No Hurdle Too High
1024 683 Arlyne Simon, PhD | Biochemical Engineer. Author. Inventor. Entrepreneur.

Pursuing a career in the chemical sciences isn’t easy, and it can seem nearly impossible when life throws you one curveball after another. Yet some people who have faced enormous obstacles in their lives are that much more determined to realize their career aspirations, with each challenge being just another hurdle to overcome, and each accomplishment providing more reason to celebrate.

C&EN asked readers from diverse backgrounds to share their stories of overcoming adversity and the lessons they’ve learned along the way. The following is a selection of stories, edited for clarity and brevity, which we hope will inspire and guide others to a fulfilling career in the chemical sciences.

Learning from Failure

In school, I experienced “impostor syndrome,” where I felt less competent than my male peers, particularly in situations where I was either the only female or the only minority in the room.

My parents often reminded me that I was intelligent and could excel in any field that I chose, even if that field was engineering. My peers reminded me that the numerous awards I had received had come to me not because of luck but because I was hardworking and disciplined in chemistry and engineering.

During college, I learned of the micro­fluidics work of Shuichi Takayama, a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan, and I was inspired to pursue a Ph.D. in macromolecular science and engineering. Under the guidance of Dr. Takayama, I developed a new protein microarray technology, advancing the field of personalized medicine. Because of the promising results, Dr. Takayama and I cofounded a life sciences start-up called PHASIQ in 2012.

I have since learned to set realistic goals and to reward myself when those goals are met. I have also learned the importance of choosing good mentors who not only encourage innovation but also encourage failure. After all, many great inventions were first dubbed “failed experiments.”

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