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About the Speakers

Diana Bianchi Diana Bianchi, MD
Natalie V. Zucker Professor of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tufts University School of Medicine, and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Pediatrics, Floating Hospital for Children and Tufts–New England Medical Center. Dr. Bianchi’s laboratory focuses on prenatal genetics. She is studying fetal cells and DNA that cross into the maternal circulation and can be used for noninvasive prenatal diagnosis of genetic conditions. Remarkably, these cells persist in the mother's blood and organs for decades after the birth of the child. This phenomenon, called fetal cell microchimerism, is associated with autoimmune diseases and may also be an important source of stem cells for repair of tissue injury in the mother.


Christina Economos Christina Economos, PhD
New Balance Chair in Childhood Nutrition and assistant professor, Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Professor Economos’s research focus is on the interaction among diet, exercise, body composition, and aging, with an emphasis on techniques that accurately measure and interventions that optimally develop and preserve skeletal muscle and bone mass throughout the lifespan. Her expertise includes working effectively with diverse populations and communities, developing and applying behavior-change strategies with children and families to improve diet and physical activity, and crafting, implementing and evaluating nutrition education curricula.


Barry Trimmer Barry Trimmer, PhD
Henry Bromfield Pearson Professor of Natural Sciences, Department of Biology, Tufts University; with appointments in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering, and the departments of Neuroscience and Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, School of Medicine. Professor Trimmer’s research focus is on the mechanisms by which soft-bodied animals control their movements. These ideas are being used to construct an entirely new generation of soft-material robots capable of carrying out tasks that are difficult or impossible with conventional technologies. In addition to his work on living systems, Professor Trimmer is the founder (2005) and director of the Tufts Biomimetic Devices Laboratory, which specializes in the application of found biological principles to the design and fabrication of such novel devices.

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