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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

ODU’s Reidy Center Hosts International Workshop on Fundamental and Applied Bioelectrics

Old Dominion University's Frank Reidy Center for Bioelectrics hosted some of the leading researchers in the world in fundamental and applied bioelectrics for an international scientific workshop on campus last month.

This was the first conference of its kind held in the United States, and featured an expanded scope that included all areas in the field of bioelectrics.

The five-day workshop, "Fundamental & Applied Bioelectrics," attracted researchers from around the world, who presented studies in such areas as pulse power physics, tissues and cells in electric fields, drug and gene delivery, cancer treatment and wound healing.

Michael Stacey, research associate professor at the Reidy Center and chair of the workshop, said the integration of physical sciences and engineering with biology has the potential to transform fields as diverse as health care and energy production. And Stacey said research done at the Reidy Center places ODU at the leading edge of this transformation.

"This international workshop was designed to offer participants an understanding of this innovative and rising field and was organized to complement the efforts of our international consortium colleagues and the Workshop on Electroporation based Technologies and Treatment held annually in Slovenia," Stacey said.

Featured researchers from overseas who presented at the workshop included Gregor Sersa, professor at the Institute of Oncology in Ljubljana, Slovenia; Marie-Pierre Rols, professor at Le Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Toulouse, France; and Michael Kong, professor at Loughborough University in England.

ODU researchers who presented included Reidy Center for Bioelectrics director Richard Heller; Karl Schoenbach, research professor with the Reidy Center; Andrei Pakhomov, research associate professor with the Reidy Center; and Shirshak Dhali, professor and chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in ODU's Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology.

Stacey said in the emerging field of bioelectrics, multidisciplinary efforts will be at the core of major scientific breakthroughs. In that way, he noted, the research workshop was ideal, introducing the ideas of physicists and engineers to biomedical scientists and biologists, and including hands-on laboratory demonstrations, possibly setting the stage for future collaborations.

"A major focus of bioelectric research is understanding the role that electrical processes play in cells and cellular systems and on effecting controlled structural changes in these systems by using their responses to applied electric fields," Stacey said.

The Reidy Center will stage the workshop again in 2014.

ODU's Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics has as its mission increasing scientific knowledge and understanding of the interaction of electromagnetic fields and ionized gases with biological cells, and applying this knowledge to the development of medical diagnostics, therapeutics and environmental decontamination.

The objectives of the center are to perform leading-edge interdisciplinary and multi-institutional research, recruit top faculty and exceptional graduate students, support regional, national and international programs, and increase external funding and institutional visibility.

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