NSF grant, micro-CT tech has NYIT thinking regionally

Inside addition: The Data Visualization Lab at NYIT's College of Osteopathic Medicine is getting ready to play nice with others (scientifically), thanks to new micro-CT tech afforded by a hefty National Science Foundation grant.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

They’re cutting to the chase at the New York Institute of Technology, without cutting, thanks to a chunky federal grant.

The Old Westbury-based NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine announced Tuesday that it will acquire a micro-computed tomography machine with the help of a $426,621 National Science Foundation grant. The advanced tech – which reveals internal details of objects on the microscopic level, without dissecting the objects being studied – marks a giant leap for researchers in the college’s Data Visualization Lab.

It also fosters new opportunities for NYIT scientists to collaborate on interdisciplinary research projects with neighboring institutions, noted Simone Hoffmann, an assistant professor of Anatomy in the College of Osteopathic Medicine and the lead investigator responsible for securing the NSF award.

The micro-CT scanner will be available free of charge to faculty and student researchers from NYIT and other institutions – making the Data Visualization Lab one of very few places on or near Long Island to offer micro-CT scanning capabilities without a fee.

“As a researcher, it’s very difficult to complete your study when each scan comes with a substantial price tag,” Hoffmann said. “Increased accessibility to this technology will help establish NYIT as a central research facility on Long Island and nurture innovative research in biology, paleontology, nanotechnology, engineering and life sciences.”

Simone Hoffmann: Inside job.

Similar to hospital-based CAT scans, the micro-computed tomography machine creates three-dimensional models of an object’s innards “without damaging the original specimen,” according to NYIT. That specific capability will help Hoffmann and her anatomy-focused colleagues better understand everything from bone density to the internal morphology of fossils, while also mapping brain structures, revealing the finest details of soft-tissue samples and otherwise providing elusive data that would previously require destructive dissections.

Researchers from other NYIT colleges, including the College of Engineering and Computing Sciences and College of Arts and Sciences, will also benefit. Grant co-investigator Azhar Ilyas, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, plans to use the new micro-CT scanner to analyze critical factors related to bone regeneration and repair.

“While current data partially explains the complex biological pathways through which bone is regenerated, much remains to be understood about the host tissue interactions and fracture-repair process,” Ilyas said in a statement. “The acquisition of this new imaging technology will allow us to answer many of those questions.”

Meanwhile, engineering-focused faculty and students plan to incorporate the micro-computed tomography tech into the Cultivating Resources for Employment with Assistive Technology program managed by New York State Industries for the Disabled Inc., a not-for-profit membership organization focused on creating jobs for New Yorkers with disabilities.

Funding for the micro-CT scanner is expected to be provided by the NSF on Oct. 1, according to NYIT.


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