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Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture Archives

Women in STEM Week: “Hidden Figures”

The week will kickoff with a showing of the acclaimed movie, “Hidden Figures.”  The movie is about “three brilliant African-American women at NASA — Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson – who serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit.  The movie is a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race and galvanized the world.” This event is sponsored by the SEB.

The Week of Women in STEM is designed to provide inspiration and professional development by bringing professionals and students together for networking and mentoring. A special showing on April 2, 8-10 p.m., of the acclaimed movie, “Hidden Figures” will kick off the week, followed by a keynote speech by Gerri Martin-Flickinger, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Starbucks April 3, and a unique STEM panel discussion and dinner on April 4. The week’s events will include in a formal dinner with a scientist/engineer for students and industry alumni. On Thursday, April 5th, the American Association of University Women will present two salary negotiation workshops.

Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering Graduate Seminar Series

The Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering is hosting a seminar presented by Helena Zomer, Visiting Graduate Student, Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington, Feb. 12, at 4:10 p.m. in ADBF 1002/FLOYD 256 (Tri-Cities).

Helena Zomer holds a degree in Veterinary Medicine and a Master in Science in the field of anatomy of domestic and wild animals. Zomer is a PhD student under supervision of Prof. Trentin in the Laboratory of Stem Cells and Tissue Regeneration from the Department of Cell Biology, Embriology and Genetic at Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Currently she is a visiting graduate student at University of Washington – Seattle, under supervision of Prof. Buddy Ratner. Zomer is interested in stem cells, regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, animal models and translational research.


Large skin wounds such as burns lead to secondary disorders and death if not quickly stabilized. Novel strategies combining cell therapy, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine have been developed to treat these challenging wounds. Currently, the gold standard treatment involves using dermal templates, such as Integra matrix, a dermal substitute composed by collagen and chondroitin sulfate. Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) shows wide therapeutic application due its differentiation potential and paracrine effects. Despite sharing stemness characteristics as self-renew, differentiation to mesodermal tissues and immunophenotype, MSC from distinct niches can present individual features. Therefore, studying diverse sources of MSC is important to develop future therapeutic approaches. This study comparatively characterized MSC from human abdominal dermis (DSC) and adipose tissue (ASC) and evaluate their association with Integra matrix in skin wound healing.

Applications due for Boeing Mentorship Program

Apply for the Boeing Mentorship Program!

WSU engineering students are paired with a mentor from Boeing who can provide information about the aerospace industry, opportunities at Boeing, and general career guidance.  Students are expected to act in a professional manner at all times, to attend all scheduled events, and to be proactive in communicating with mentors.  Students will also be expected to extend invitations to fellow students and to help publicize Boeing guest speaking events on campus.

Program Highlights:

-Kick-off Luncheon & Tour of Boeing Facility

-Career Guidance from a Boeing Professional

-Virtual Speaking Events Hosted by Boeing

-Midyear Luncheon & Tour of Boeing Facility


Application Information:


Applications are available on the VCEA web, in EME 202H, or by email

Questions? Sandi Brabb at, EME 202H or 509.335.3740



Applications are available in MESH Office, ST 103, or email for a PDF version.

Questions? Samantha Cooper  at 360-473-2822 or



Applications are available at WSU North Puget Sound Everett Room 421 OR email for a PDF version.

Questions? Pam Loughlin at


Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering Graduate Seminar Series

The Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering is hosting a seminar presented by Dr. Rock Mancini, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, Washington State University, Feb. 5, at 4:10 p.m. in ADBF 1002/FLOYD 256 (Tri-Cities).

Rock received his B.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh where he performed research with Toby Chapman on lysine dendrimers as vectors for gene delivery. From there, he ventured to Los Angeles, California where he received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry researching as a NSF-IGERT fellow in the lab of Heather Maynard at UCLA. After receiving his Ph.D., Rock performed a short postdoctoral position at the University of California, Irvine with Aaron Esser-Kahn where he was introduced to the field of synthetic immunology, his current field of research. Following this, Rock joined the Washington State University faculty in 2015 where he is presently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry.

Drugging Drug Resistance with Enzyme-Directed Imidazoquinolines

Acquired drug resistance in cancer is a long-standing challenge that reduces the efficacy of all chemotherapeutic drugs. In contrast, the efficacies of modern cancer immunotherapies are not typically affected by the prevalence of chemo-resistant phenotypes. Here, we improve upon this paradigm by targeting the action of immunotherapeutics to two general mechanisms of acquired drug resistance: irregular metabolism and drug efflux mediated by the ABC superfamily of transport proteins. In chemo-resistant cancer cells, we demonstrate that these two mechanisms act in concert to selectively convert our newly developed class of enzyme-directed imidazoquinoline prodrug to the immunotherapeutic Imiquimod. Following metabolism, the liberated Imiquimod metabolite undergoes drug efflux to the extracellular space, where it activates bystander immune cells in local proximity. In-vitro, we characterize this process of Bystander-Assisted ImmunoTherapy (BAIT) in an AT3B-1 chemo-resistant prostate cancer model with RAW-Blue and JAWSII reporter immune cell lines. Co-culture of AT3B-1 cancer cells with reporter immune cells and our prodrug results in immunogenicity mediated selectively by chemo-resistant cancer cells. This is observed by enhanced NF-κB transcription, as well as expression of cell surface markers and secreted cytokines, indicative of a cell-mediated immune response. Our prodrug is non-immunogenic with healthy cells alone and the enzyme-directing groups are stable for several days in serum. Taken together, these results demonstrate that BAIT co-opts common mechanisms of drug resistance to elicit immunogenicity mediated by cancer cells themselves. We anticipate that BAIT will find use as a new mechanism of action that exploits drug resistance to generate an anti-cancer immune response.