Monthly Meeting

Next meeting:

Wednesday, February 15

Host Your Own Virtual Meeting

Grants are available for institutions that broadcast our Technical Program.

Technology Forum

Joseph Sbaffoni,

JAS Mine Consulting

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“The Rescue of 9 Miners from Quecreek Mine in Somerset County”

On July 24, 2002, the Quecreek mine inadvertently cut into the adjacent Harrison #2 mine releasing millions of gallons of water trapping nine miners working underground. Rescue efforts were immediately started by the mining company, PA DEP and MSHA. This presentation will discuss the decisions and actions that led to the successful rescue of the miners. It was a massive effort that took place over four days that demonstrated sound engineering, surveying. drilling, pumping and a never quit attitude by all involved.

Technical Program

Dr. Jeff Anker

Clemson University

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“Reimagining X-ray Vision”

Although implanted medical devices have been a “miracle of modern medicine,” improving patient quality of life and extending life expectancy, complication from non-union and infection are often devastating. We are developing sensors to measure the local biochemical and mechanical environment on implants both to detect clinical complications at earlier stages when treatments are less invasive, and to elucidate the underlying pathophysiology preclinically to guide methods to better address the problems. The challenge is to deliver such sensors and non-invasively read their signals through tissue. Our approach is to attach passive sensors to the orthopedic implant surface prior to implantation and read chemical and mechanical signals using optical and X-ray sensing. X-rays are ubiquitously used to image anatomy especially for orthopedic patients, but interact mostly with inner shell electrons of atoms in a sample, and are thus are usually blind to biochemical information. To visualized chemical information (e.g., local pH or oxygen concentration during infection), we have two approaches, the first involves converting X-ray energy into visible light using an X-ray scintillator coated on the implant surface. The light then passes through indicator dyes that modulate its spectrum acquired through tissue. The use of focused X-ray beams provides a low background signal with high spatial resolution and the ability to distinguish spectral references. Our second approach uses chemically responsive hydrogels with embedded radiodense markers so that one can measure the extend of hydrogel swelling by the position of the markers. We also developed spectral rulers based on the same approach. Overall, these techniques provide new abilities to see molecules and study biomechanics to detect, monitor, and study pathologies.

Attend In-Person

The monthly meeting will be held in the Power Center Ballroom, Duquesne University. Registration for dinner is required.


5:00 PM – Social Hour
5:30 PM – Technology Forum
6:30 PM – Dinner
7:15 PM – Business Meeting
8:00 PM – Technical Program

Attend Virtually

The monthly meeting. Technology Forum, and Technical Program are accessible via the Zoom platform.

Pre-registration required. Link will be emailed.
7:15 PM – Business Meeting
8:00 PM – Technical Program

PARKING: Duquesne University Parking Garage entrance is on Forbes Avenue. The Power Center can be accessed from the 8th Floor of the Forbes Garage. Bring your parking ticket to the dinner or meeting for a validation sticker.If there is a special event, please note that you are there for the SACP/SSP meeting.

About the Program Speaker

Jeffrey Anker is a College of Science Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Bioengineering at Clemson University. He obtained his BS degree in applied physics at Yale University in 1998 and his doctorate at The University of Michigan in 2005, working with Professor Raoul Kopelman. From 2005-2008, Dr. Anker was an NIH National Science Research Award (NSRA) postdoctoral research fellow at Northwestern University under the guidance of Professor Richard Van Duyne. He joined the Clemson faculty in August 2008. Current research focuses on developing “smart” implanted medical devices with sensors to detect implant infection and bone healing, as well as imaging and spectroscopy using magnetic, plasmonic, buoyant, and X-ray excited micro- and nano-sensors. He is on a Fulbright Scholar sabbatical at Tampere University in Finland through Dec 2022, with Prof. Jonathan Massera as host focusing on integrated sensors into 3D printed bone scaffolds.

About the Forum Speaker

Joe started working in the mines in 1970 and graduated from Penn State University in 1973, with an Associate Degree in Mining Technology. Joe held a range of management positions in Pennsylvania mines, rising to mine superintendent. In 1982, Joe was certified as a Pennsylvania Bituminous Mine Inspector and in 1984 was appointed to that position. In 1988, Joe was promoted to Bituminous Chief and in 2003 was appointed Director, Pennsylvania Bureau of Mine Safety. In 2015, Joe retired with thirty (30) years of Commonwealth service and over forty-five (45) years in the mining industry. Joe is extremely proud of his participation in updating mine safety and health programs, enacting Mine Families First Legislation in 2007 & Bituminous Mine Safety legislation in 2008 and the rescue of nine (9) miners at the Quecreek Mine in 2002. Joe presently operates JAS Consulting, LLC, offering services to the mining industry.