Brian Wilson, co-founding singer, songwriter, and widely-renowned recording wizard for The Beach Boys, is widely considered to be something of a musical genius, composing countless timeless hit songs and revolutionizing the art of studio engineering with his meticulously constructed records. Powered largely by Wilson’s creative direction, The Beach Boys had over eighty songs chart worldwide, with thirty-six of them becoming U.S. Top 40 hits (the most by an American rock band) and four reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The Beach Boys have sold in excess of 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time.However, Wilson’s work wasn’t always held in such high regard. In 1959, when Brian Wilson and the rest of the original Beach Boys were still in school together at Hawthorne High School in Hawthorne, CA, he composed a song called “Surfin’” and submitted it for an assignment in his music class. His music teacher, Mr. Fred Morgan, gave the project an ‘F’.Listen to The Beach Boys’ “Surfin” below:As we now know, “Surfin’” would wound up making its way onto the Beach Boy’s 1962 debut album, Surfin’ Safari, and went on to become their first of many hit records. As Brian’s high school music teacher Fred Morgan explains, “Brian wrote a composition for me and it turned out to be ‘Surfin.’ That composition got an F, but it made a million dollars.” Earlier this week, the now 75-year-old Wilson returned to Hawthorne High School where the current principal, Dr. Vanessa Landesfeind, officially changed Wilson’s grade on “Surfin’” to an ‘A’. Wilson has been working through an enormous world tour celebrating the 50th anniversary of his masterpiece LP, Pet Sounds, and has several more dates scheduled for this Spring. For a list up upcoming dates, head to Wilson’s website.Congrats on that A, Brian–maybe now you can get into a good college! All’s well that ends well.[h/t – Billboard]
Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have developed new wound dressings that dramatically accelerate healing and improve tissue regeneration. The two different types of nanofiber dressings, described in separate papers, use proteins that naturally occur in plants and animals to promote healing and regrow tissue.“Our fiber-manufacturing system was developed specifically for the purpose of developing therapeutics for the wounds of war,” said Kit Parker, the Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics at SEAS and senior author of the research. “As a soldier in Afghanistan, I witnessed horrible wounds and, at times, the healing process for those wounds was a horror unto itself. This research is a years-long effort by many people on my team to help with these problems.”Parker is also a core faculty member of the Wyss Institute.The most recent paper, published in Biomaterials, describes a wound dressing inspired by fetal tissue.In the late 1970s, when scientists first started studying the wound-healing process early in development, they discovered something unexpected: Wounds incurred before the third trimester left no scars. This opened a range of possibilities for regenerative medicine. But for decades, researchers have struggled to replicate those unique properties of fetal skin.Unlike adult skin, fetal skin has high levels of a protein called fibronectin, which assembles into the extracellular matrix and promotes cell binding and adhesion. Fibronectin has two structures: globular, which is found in blood, and fibrous, which is found in tissue. Even though fibrous fibronectin holds the most promise for wound healing, previous research focused on the globular structure, in part because manufacturing fibrous fibronectin was a major engineering challenge.But Parker and his team are pioneers in the field of nanofiber engineering.The researchers made fibrous fibronectin using a fiber-manufacturing platform called Rotary Jet-Spinning (RJS), developed by Parker’s Disease Biophysics Group. RJS works likes a cotton-candy machine — a liquid polymer solution, in this case globular fibronectin dissolved in a solvent, is loaded into a reservoir and pushed out through a tiny opening by centrifugal force as the device spins. As the solution leaves the reservoir, the solvent evaporates and the polymers solidify. The centrifugal force unfolds the globular protein into small, thin fibers. These fibers — less than one micrometer in diameter — can be collected to form a large-scale wound dressing or bandage.“The dressing integrates into the wound and acts like an instructive scaffold, recruiting different stem cells that are relevant for regeneration and assisting in the healing process before being absorbed into the body,” said Christophe Chantre, a graduate student in the Disease Biophysics Group and first author of the paper.In in vivo testing, the researchers found that wounds treated with the fibronectin dressing showed 84 percent tissue restoration within 20 days, compared with 55.6 percent restoration in wounds treated with a standard dressing.,The researchers also demonstrated that wounds treated with the fibronectin dressing had almost normal epidermal thickness and dermal architecture, and even regrew hair follicles — often considered one of the biggest challenges in the field of wound healing.“This is an important step forward,” said Chantre. “Most work done on skin regeneration to date involves complex treatments combining scaffolds, cells, and even growth factors. Here we were able to demonstrate tissue repair and hair follicle regeneration using an entirely material approach. This has clear advantages for clinical translation.”In another paper published in Advanced Healthcare Materials, the Disease Biophysics Group demonstrated a soy-based nanofiber that also enhances and promotes wound healing.Soy protein contains both estrogen-like molecules — which have been shown to accelerate wound healing — and bioactive molecules similar to those that build and support human cells.“Both the soy- and fibronectin-fiber technologies owe their success to keen observations in reproductive medicine,” said Parker. “During a woman’s cycle, when her estrogen levels go high, a cut will heal faster. If you do a surgery on a baby still in the womb, they have scar-less wound healing. Both of these new technologies are rooted in the most fascinating of all the topics in human biology — how we reproduce.”In a similar way to fibronectin fibers, the research team used RJS to spin ultrathin soy fibers into wound dressings. In experiments, the soy- and cellulose-based dressing demonstrated a 72 percent increase in healing over wounds with no dressing and a 21 percent increase in healing over wounds dressed without soy protein.“These findings show the great promise of soy-based nanofibers for wound healing,” said Seungkuk Ahn, a graduate student in the Disease Biophysics Group and first author of the paper. “These one-step, cost-effective scaffolds could be the next generation of regenerative dressings and push the envelope of nanofiber technology and the wound-care market.”Both kinds of dressing, according to researchers, have advantages in the wound-healing space. The soy-based nanofibers — consisting of cellulose acetate and soy protein hydrolysate — are inexpensive, making them a good option for large-scale use, such as on burns. The fibronectin dressings, on the other hand, could be used for smaller wounds on the face and hands, where preventing scarring is important.The Harvard Office of Technology Development has protected the intellectual property relating to these projects and is exploring commercialization opportunities.This study on soy-based nanofibers published in Advanced Healthcare Materials was co-authored by Chantre, Alanna R. Gannon, Johan U. Lind, Patrick H. Campbell, Thomas Grevesse, and Blakely B. O’Connor. The research was supported in part by the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, where Parker is a core faculty member, the Harvard University Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), and the National Science Foundation.The Biomaterials paper on fibronectin-based wound healing was funded in part by the Harvard Materials Research Science and Engineering Center and the Wyss Institute. It was co-authored by Campbell, Ahn, Holly M. Golecki, Adrian T. Buganza, Andrew K. Capulli, Leila F. Deravi, Stephanie Dauth, Sean P. Sheehy, Jeffrey A. Paten, Karl Gledhill, Yanne S. Doucet, Hasan E. Abaci, Benjamin D. Pope, Jeffrey W. Ruberti, Simon P. Hoerstrup, and Angela M. Christiano.
Though the USC women’s volleyball team has won 10 matches in a row and is now 6-0 to start Pac-12 play, they know as well as anyone that the hard work is just beginning.Veteran · Senior outside hitter Sara Shaw has averaged 2.14 kills per set this season, her third as a full-time starter for the Women of Troy. – Ralf Cheung | Daily Trojan After sweeping both Oregon State and Oregon on the road last weekend, the Women of Troy will hit the road again this weekend to take on the No. 22 Arizona State Sun Devils and the unranked Arizona Wildcats.The Women of Troy, currently ranked No. 1 overall by the Coaches Association, are off to their best start in seven years in conference play — their six consecutive wins matches USC’s start of Pac-10 play in 2006.That year, the Women of Troy reached the NCAA Regional Semifinals, otherwise known as the Sweet 16. This team might have even more potential than the 2006 squad.With a core of veteran leadership made up of seniors Natalie Hagglund, Alexis Olgard and Sara Shaw, among others, the team has quickly meshed to become one of the top squads in the nation. After one hiccup in nonconference play — a loss to USD on Sept. 13 —the Women of Troy have gone on a scorching run.“In preseason, we were still trying to find our connections and our rhythm,” Shaw said of her team’s progression. “We have new players playing, and it’s a time to get connected. I think conference is more about execution and making those plays and finding everyone’s strengths and weaknesses.”In order to sustain their undefeated conference mark, the Women of Troy will have to go into Tempe and Tucson this weekend and play in two tough road matches. USC head coach Mick Haley — who won his 1,200th career match as a collegiate head coach on Sunday — acknowledged the difficulty of playing on the road in Arizona.“This [road trip against Arizona and Arizona State] is even harder,” Haley said, comparing the challenge this weekend to last weekend’s trip up to Oregon.Haley also recognizes the difficulty of going up against Arizona State, a team that took USC to the wire at the Galen Center last year before handily defeating the Women of Troy in Tempe later in the season.“They just matched up well against us,” Haley said of Arizona State’s 2012 lineup. “We couldn’t seem to handle the situation; we didn’t play well but they played very well. In this conference, that happens.”Of course, last season the Sun Devils didn’t have to match up against USC freshmen sensations Ebony Nwanebu and Elise Ruddins, both outside hitters who have taken home Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors this season.The Sun Devils opened the season with seven straight sweeps against non-conference opponents but have since slipped, falling to a 13-5 overall record with a 2-4 record in conference play. They do, however, hold home-court advantage quite well, losing only one match out of six in Tempe this season. The Women of Troy will hope to hand them home loss number two to avenge last season’s defeat.“Last year I remember [Arizona State] was out to get us,” Shaw said. “I think we can expect that for this year too.”Sunday’s opponent, the Arizona Wildcats, are unranked, yet have the exact same overall record as their in-state rivals. The Wildcats, however, have a better conference record at 3-3 and have only lost one match out of 11 at home. USC will look to their efficient offense to make quick work of Arizona.The Women of Troy feature an offense that aims to go on the attack. By bringing in an extra setter, the offense has more options when it gets the ball. Not surprisingly, freshman phenom Nwanebu — who led the team with 11 kills against the Ducks last week — is supportive of the offensive style.“We have so many weapons,” Nwanebu said of her team’s offensive prowess. “It’s not the setter just giving the ball to one person or two, they can give it to three different people or even the back row. The opponent never knows where the ball’s going to go.”Another factor that might affect the Women of Troy this weekend is their national ranking. Currently, USC is ranked No. 1 in the nation and, though it’s a great honor for the team, it can also be a burden at times.“For the past few weeks whoever has been ranked number one has lost,” Shaw noted. “So I’m kind of excited we won last weekend and didn’t get jinxed like everybody else. But we try not to think about the rankings and try just to think about our play.”Haley said he doesn’t put too much stock into the rankings at this point in the season, either.“There are a lot of different things happening in the rankings,” Haley said. “But the reason we shy away from them a little bit is that it just puts a bulls-eye on you. That’s why they have the rankings, to create more interest in the matches during the season. So when you get that bulls-eye on your back, everyone wants to be the team to knock you off. That’s why nobody stays number one for very long.”Regarding the rankings, Nwanebu summed up her team’s sentiments in one simple idea: play with the end in mind.“You could lose and go from No. 1 to No. 21,” Nwanebu said. “It all depends on what you’re ranked at the end of the season.”The Women of Troy open this weekend’s action on Friday at 8 p.m. in Tempe and will travel to Tucson for a 2:30 p.m. game on Sunday. Both games will be televised on the Pac-12 Network. Follow Kurt on Twitter @legen_daryKurt