The award will focus on Langston's work on developing novel computational and omic approaches to investigate endothelial cell dysfunction in sepsis.
Ph.D. bioengineering student Jordan Langston was recently honored with the prestigious F31 National Research Service Award (NRSA) Predoctoral Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health. The three-year award will allow Langston to continue his work with Ph.D. advisor, Dr. Mohammad Kiani, on studying sepsis, a life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by the body's dysregulated host response to an infection.
Langston plans to use a synergistic combination of a novel microfluidic system employing human clinical material to address animal model limitations, proteomics analysis to study the evolution of cellular pathways during sepsis, an in silico model to study how neutrophil-endothelial inflammatory signaling and its associated regulatory mechanisms evolve during sepsis and machine learning to evaluate therapeutics and identify druggable targets for treating sepsis.
"Our long-term goal is to not only better understand the mechanisms underlying the progression of sepsis but also develop a methodology to rationally design and screen therapeutics for this deadly disease," Langston said.
The King of Prussia-native who hopes to pursue opportunities in both academia and industry, was first drawn to Temple largely based on the mentorship opportunities here.
"I needed to know that I would be supported on my journey to becoming a successful independent investigator," Langston added. "As an underrepresented student scientist, going to an institution that heavily focused on preparing me for my next career steps was my number one consideration."
That consideration included connecting with both Dr. Kiani, mechanical engineering professor recently recognized with the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, as well as Dr. Kiani's collaborators.
"From our first email conversation, I realized I had found someone who had a strong sense of duty towards the education of his students," Langston said, adding that he also talked with Dr. Kiani's main collaborators, including Dr. Laurie Kilpatrick, Professor of Physiology at Temple, who has expertise in sepsis pathology and immunology.
"We also collaborate with medical staff at Temple Hospital, so students in this group receive extensive training in basic science, translational medicine, engineering, and computational sciences which prepares them to become experts in more than one area, which is a relatively rare quality for Ph.D. graduates."
Now, that collaboration has contributed to Langston's next chapter through this award.
"My mentors have been with me at the bench and desk," Langston said.