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Now Available: Innovators Under 35 2013 See The 2013 List »

Guillermo Ameer, 33

Synthesized "biorubbers" that could replace damaged heart and lung tissue and rebuild blood vessels

Northwestern University

Guillermo Ameer is creating a set of high-tech tools to manage diverse medical conditions. “Most people in science tend to focus on one specific problem,” says the biomedical engineer, a native of Panama. His aim is broader: “I want to build things useful to people’s health.” His top tool to date is called biorubber: a rubber-band-like material that he helped invent during a postdoctoral fellowship. Stretchy, cheap, and biodegradable, biorubber could eventually be used to replace damaged heart or lung tissues. Ameer’s lab at Northwestern University is currently developing second-generation biorubbers with varying degrees of elasticity and degradation rates to act as scaffolds for engineered blood vessels or ligaments. While the assistant professor of biomedical engineering has two patents pending on that work, he has already received a patent for another innovation: a cartridge that uses genetically engineered antibodies to filter a protein called beta-2-microglobulin from the blood of kidney disease patients. Over time, this protein- which the traditional filters in dialysis machines don’t catch- can leave painful deposits in bones, joints, and tendons. Partly funded by the National Kidney Foundation and Baxter Healthcare, Ameer’s lab is refining the biofilter so clinical trials may be conducted- which means people could soon find out just how useful Ameer’s tools are.

2003 TR35 Winners

Guillermo Ameer

Synthesized "biorubbers" that could replace damaged heart and lung tissue and rebuild blood vessels

Helene Andersson

Produces portable, inexpensive, microprocessor-size labs for research and industry

Sangeeta Bhatia

Uses microchip-manufacturing tools to build artificial livers

Alexis Borisy

Believes that combining different drugs could yield better ways to fight disease

Eugene Chan

Aims to speed genome sequencing with a machine that reads DNA letter by letter

Bassil Dahiyat

Designs proteins from scratch to create new medicine

Benjamin G. Davis

Manipulates biological sugars for more precise drug delivery

Christophe Echeverri

Develops fast, automated processes for figuring out genes functions

Michael E. Gertner

Set out to improve the tiny devices that keep once blocked arteries open

Jay Groves

Patented a lab-on-a-chip to investigate call proteins that cause diseases

Justin Hanes

Creates systems for delivering drugs to where theyre needed in the body

Andre Koltermann

Speeds protein evolution to improve detergents, medicines, and foods

Erin Lavik

Helped paralyzed rats walk again and aims to do the same for people

Xiangjun Liu

Maps gene variations that could warn of future disease

Anthony Lowman

Packs insulin into gel pills that could replace injections for diabetes patients

Gavin Macbeath

Unravels complex biological systems in his search for new drugs

Nimmi Ramanujam

Uses light to help make diagnosing breast cancer and cervical cancer faster, more accurate and less invasive

Shuvo Roy

Builds tiny machines that can warn of impending heart attack and monitor healing after surgery

Ram Samudrala

Wrote algorithms that can predict the functions of proteins from the sequence of a genome

Christophe Schilling

Transforms microbes into fine-tuned manufacturing machines

Mark Schnitzer

Sheds light on the functioning of individual brain cells

Mijail Serruya

Connects brains directly to computers int he hope of helping paralyzed people communicate and control robotic aids

Micah Siegel

Transforms research from universities and national labs into successful startups

Giovanni Traverso

Came up with a noninvasive alternative to colonoscopy

Rita Vanbever

Wants to make treating diabetes as easy as breathing

Ron Weiss

Programs living cells to sense toxins ot create replacement tissues

Jennifer West

Synthesizes blood vessels that could reduce the trauma of heart surgery

Daphne Zohar

Spots promising biotech work and helps build new companies to commercialize it


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