Biomedical Engineering


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Entcheva Laboratory – Cardiac Optogenetics and Optical Imaging Lab

The Cardiac Optogenetics and Optical Imaging Lab conducts highly interdisciplinary work developing and applying optical technologies to tackle bioelectricity problems.  Specifically, researchers work on biophysical aspects and technological innovations for a new highly-parallel framework for all-optical cardiac electrophysiology in vitro and in vivo.  Guided by their own theoretical/computational work in the area of bioelectricity, they experimentally integrate, test and validate new optical and optogenetic modalities for actuation (stimulation) and sensing (optical mapping) of the electromechanical function in cardiac cells and tissues.  This includes pioneering work in cardiac optogenetics: the use of light for the precise interrogation and control of cells and tissues with genetically-inscribed light sensitivity, ex vivo or in their native setting.  Learn more about Professor Entcheva.


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Li Lab – Nanophotonics and Microfluidics

Current research in the Li Lab focuses on the integration of nanophotonics and microfluidics, i.e. optofluidics, for biomedical applications.  In optofluidic devices, not only the microfluidic liquid manipulation enables novel nanophotonic properties, but also the on-chip integration of photonic and microfluidic functions can lead to highly compact and integrated biosensing devices.  There is a growing need to integrate photonic components with fluidic functions on the same substrate to build miniature optical sensing, imaging, and spectroscopy devices for medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring, and bioterrorism detection. As a nascent field, optofluidics offers many opportunities awaiting exploration and holds great potential to help realize the long-sought dream of integrated lab-on-a-chip systems, i.e. medical tricorders.  Learn more about Professor Li.


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Bioengineering Laboratory for Nanomedicine and Tissue Engineering

Professor Lijie Grace Zhang's lab applies a range of interdisciplinary technologies and approaches in nanotechnology, stem cells, tissue engineering, biomaterials, and drug delivery for various biomedical applications. The main ongoing research projects include: designing biologically inspired nanostructured scaffolds for bone, cartilage, osteochondral and neural tissue regenerations; directing stem cell differentiation in 3-D biomimetic scaffolds for regenerative medicine; developing sustained drug formulations for long term and controlled drug release at disease or cancer sites; and investigating novel nano drug delivery systems with cold plasma for cancer treatments. Learn more about Professor Zhang.


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Micropropulsion and Nanotechnology Lab (MpNL)

Professor Michael Keidar's MpNL conducts advanced fundamental and applied research in plasma medicine, micropropulsion for micro and nanosatellites, and plasma nanoscience and nanotechnology. Current projects include cold plasma application for wound healing, cold plasma cancer therapy, the synthesis of single-wall carbon nanotubes with controlled conductivity, the synthesis of graphene with controlled numbers of layers, and the manufacturing of ultracapacitor devices based on the nanotubes and graphene. Learn more about Professor Keidar.


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The Kay Lab of Cardiac Research

Professor Kay's research group develops innovative technologies to study hypoxia, heart failure, and sleep apnea, with an emphasis on mitochondrial function, arrhythmia mechanisms, and recent emphasis in neurocardiology. The lab's expertise is in high-speed optical assessments of organ level physiology, including optical mapping, time-resolved absorbance spectroscopy, and neurocardiac optogenetics. For example, panoramic optical mapping of membrane potential is used to study the spatiotemporal dynamics of arrhythmias. NADH imaging provides insight into mitochondrial metabolic fluctuations and high-speed optical spectroscopy quantifies intracellular alterations of myoglobin oxygenation and mitochondrial redox state. The lab's research provides deeper insight into the development of new clinical devices and pharmaceutical therapies to prevent sudden cardiac death and to reduce the debilitating impact of sleep apnea and heart failure. Learn more about Professor Kay.


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Assistive Robotics & Tele-Medicine Lab (ART-MED Lab)

Dr. Chung Hyuk Park’s primary research in the Assistive Robotics & Tele-Medicine Lab (ART-MED Lab) centers on the coexistence and collaborative innovation between human intelligence and robotic technology, and spans machine learning, computer vision, haptics, and telepresence robotics. The ART-Med Lab conducts study of two main areas: the multi-modality in human-robot interaction and assistive robotics; and robot learning and humanized intelligence.  Learn more about Professor Park.


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Medical Image Analysis Laboratory

The Medical Image Analysis Laboratory, directed by Professor Murray Loew, conducts research into methods to enhance, display, combine, and extract diagnostic information from medical images and signals. We develop techniques in one to four dimensions for high-accuracy image registration, tissue characterization, and disease detection using both conventional (MRI, CT, PET, ultrasound) and emerging (optical coherence tomography, infrared, impedance) imaging modalities. Much of the research is conducted in collaboration with clinicians to ensure that the results have clinical value. Our registration methods now are being applied also to the analysis of hyperspectral images of works of art, with the goal of mapping the composition of artists' paints at high spatial resolution. Learn more about Professor Loew.


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Therapeutic Ultrasound Lab

The research work in this laboratory led by Professor Vesna Zderic focuses on various aspects of therapeutic ultrasound with special emphasis on ultrasound-enhanced drug delivery. Projects include the application of low-intensity ultrasound to promote the delivery of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs into the eye and antifungal drugs into nails, high-intensity focused ultrasound therapy for tumor treatment, modeling of ultrasound effects in various biological tissues, and studies of the effects of ultrasound on modifying cellular responses such as insulin production from pancreatic beta cells. Learn more about Professor Zderic.


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Biofluid Dynamics Lab

The Biofluid Dynamics Lab (BDL) is directed by Professor Michael Plesniak. Research in the BDL focuses on experimental in vitro investigations of unsteady, viscous physiological flows. Most processes within the body involve laminar, or non-turbulent fluid flow, but aeroacoustics of speech and pathological blood flow through arteries are rare exceptions that offer a wealth of challenging fluid dynamics issues. Current research includes the study of secondary flows caused by curvatuire in the vasculature and their interaction with arterial stents, and the biophysics of human speech production, including the effects of pathologies such as polyps. You may also want to learn more about GW's Center for Biomimetics and Bioinspired Engineering. Learn more about Professor Plesniak.


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Optical and Acoustic Imaging Laboratory

In our laboratory we work in a wide variety of areas, such as MEMS actuators in ultrasound and optical imaging, medical image analysis including early cancer detection in optical images, and analysis of fMRI images. We also work in several areas of multimodality imaging and treatment; among these are the development of probes that combine optical coherence tomography (OCT) for early cancer detection and cold plasmas for cancer treatment. Other areas of interest involve the combination of acoustic and optical imaging for multimodal epithelial tissue imaging. Learn more about Professor Zara.


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Professor Anne-Laure Papa

Professor Papa has developed an expertise in engineering novel therapeutic platforms at the interface of chemistry, biology, and medicine.  She focuses her work on disease processes, particularly in cancer and vascular diseases, toward the goal of designing targeted translational therapies and new diagnostic methods. Her research is based on understanding system interactions (i.e. cell-cell and cell-particle) and delivery platforms (particle-based targeting strategies as well as cellular therapeutics).  Her lab is geared to using this knowledge to identify both therapy-related and disease-related factors that can be used in a synergistic way to maximize the potential of these novel approaches.  Learn more about Professor Papa.


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Biofluids and Ultrasonics Lab

This lab, led by Professor Kausik Sarkar, has three thrust areas of research: 1) diagnostic ultrasound imaging, drug delivery and therapy--developing bubbles and liposome-based ultrasound contrast agents and targeted drug delivery vehicles; 2) investigating the therapeutic effects of low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) for cancer and other diseases; and 3) performing high fidelity simulation of blood rheology, cell adhesion underlying atherosclerosis and inflammatory diseases as well as other heterogeneous flows of micro- and nanoparticles for drug delivery. The lab's projects are funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Learn more about Professor Sarkar.


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Laboratory for Computational Physics and Fluid Mechanics

This lab aims to develop high-fidelity modeling tools applicable to multiphysics/multiscsale flow problems in physical and biological systems. Central to its work is the synergy of mathematical modeling and computational algorithms coupled to the remarkable advancements in computer hardware technology, which enable us to simulate a wide variety of natural phenomena. The current thrusts are fluid-structure interactions, multiphase turbulent flows, and multiscale modeling of the blood circulation and related biomedical devices. An example problem in the latter category is the two-way interaction between the macroscopic flow patterns and blood elements, which represents the link between fluid mechanics and clinical applications. These computations involve the interactions of fluid flow with millions of deformable particles, which are only possible on the latest petascale supercomputing platforms. Learn more about Professor Balaras.