“Greening” Biomaterials and Scaffolds Used in Regenerative Medicine

In the biomaterials industry, electrospinning is a ubiquitous fabrication method used to produce nano- to microscale fibrous meshes that closely resemble native tissue architecture. Alas, the process has traditionally used solvents that not only are environmentally hazardous but also a significant barrier to industrial scale-up, clinical translation, and widespread use. But now, Columbia Engineering researchers report that they have developed a “green electrospinning” process that addresses those challenges, from managing environmental risks of volatile solvent storage and disposal at large volumes to meeting health and safety standards during both fabrication and implementation.

New Tool Predicts Sudden Death in Inflammatory Heart Disease

Johns Hopkins University scientists have developed a new tool for predicting which patients suffering from a complex inflammatory heart disease are at risk of sudden cardiac arrest. Published in Science Advances, their method is the first to combine models of patients’ hearts built from multiple images with the power of machine learning.

Tulane spin-out company to develop new treatment for pelvic organ prolapse

The Tulane spin-out BioAesthetics is teaming up with a Tulane biomedical engineering professor to develop a new graft for treating pelvic organ prolapse, which affects millions of women around the world.

BioAesthetics, whose CEO and COO are both Tulane graduates, is collaborating with Tulane researcher Kristin Miller, an associate professor of biomedical engineering whose lab will conduct the testing of the graft.

CUR Engineering Division Announces 2021 Mentoring Awardees, Student Video Competition Winners

The Engineering Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research announces the 2021 recipients of its Mentoring Awards and winners of its Student Video Competition.

UCI-led team develops transplant biomaterial that doesn’t trigger immune response

Irvine, Calif., June 3, 2021 — A multidisciplinary research team led by Jonathan Lakey, Ph.D., professor of surgery and biomedical engineering at the University of California, Irvine, has developed a biomaterial for pancreatic islet transplants that doesn’t trigger the body’s immune response. Based on stem cell technology, hybrid alginate offers a possible long-term treatment for Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune reaction that destroys pancreatic islets’ beta cells, which regulate blood glucose levels.

Brian Fargo, inXile founder, gives $1 million to advance UCI research for tinnitus treatment

Irvine, Calif., May 19, 2021 — A $1 million gift to the University of California, Irvine from Brian Fargo, founder and studio head of inXile entertainment, will advance efforts to develop a treatment for tinnitus, commonly described as “ringing in the ears.” According to the American Tinnitus Association, an estimated 50 million people in the U.

Helping humans heal

In a lab on the upper floors of Engineering Hall, something is growing. It’s not a plant. And it’s not an animal. What Ronke Olabisi is growing in her lab is us. From new skin and retinal tissue to hearts and livers, she’s developing the tools to rebuild and repair the human body. A UCI assistant professor of biomedical engineering, Olabisi has been working with regenerative tissue for the better part of seven years, using a hydrogel based on polyethylene glycol diacrylate.

Breaching the Blood-Brain Barrier to Deliver Precious Payloads

RNA-based drugs may change the standard of care for many diseases, making personalized medicine a reality. So far these cost-effective, easy-to-manufacture drugs haven’t been very useful in treating brain tumors and other brain disease. But a team of researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory University has shown that a combination of ultrasound and RNA-loaded nanoparticles can temporarily open the protective blood-brain barrier, allowing the delivery of potent medicine to brain tumors.

UCI biomedical engineers spotlight disparities in knee and jaw joint treatments

Irvine, Calif., May 5, 2021 – If you haven’t had knee surgery, you may have a friend or relative who has. But do you know anyone who has had an operation on their jaw? Although the temporomandibular joint is crucial to speaking, chewing and even breathing, treatments for TMJ disorders are far less common than those for the knee.

NUS researchers harness AI to identify cancer cells by their acidity

Healthy and cancer cells can look similar under a microscope. One way of differentiating them is by examining the level of acidity, or pH level, inside the cells. Tapping on this distinguishing characteristic, a research team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has developed a technique that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to determine whether a single cell is healthy or cancerous by analysing its pH. Each cancer test can be completed in under 35 minutes, and single cells can be classified with an accuracy rate of more than 95 per cent.

Implant Improves Balance, Movement and Quality of Life for People with Inner Ear Disorder

Getting around without the need to concentrate on every step is something most of us can take for granted because our inner ears drive reflexes that make maintaining balance automatic. However, for about 1.8 million adults worldwide with bilateral vestibular hypofunction (BVH) — loss of the inner ears’ sense of balance — walking requires constant attention to avoid a fall. Now, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers have shown that they can facilitate walking, relieve dizziness and improve quality of life in patients with BVH by surgically implanting a stimulator that electrically bypasses malfunctioning areas of the inner ear and partially restores the sensation of balance.

Biomedical engineers develop ‘smart’ sensor bandages

Researchers at Missouri S&T are working to make telemedicine more successful by creating an oxygen-sensing patch printed on a flexible, disposable bandage. It could enable remote monitoring for the early detection of illnesses such as pressure ulcers, allowing for immediate treatment.

Protecting lungs from ventilator-induced injury

An unfortunate truth about using mechanical ventilation to save lives is that the pressure can cause further lung damage. Scientists are working to boost a natural cellular process in pursuit of a therapy that could lower the chances for lung damage in patients on ventilators.

UCI researchers develop at-home coronavirus saliva test

Irvine, Calif., Dec. 9, 2020 — Researchers in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at the University of California, Irvine announced promising results in the development of a noninvasive at-home antigen test to detect the spike of SARS-CoV-2 proteins in saliva. The team, led by Michelle Khine, professor of biomedical engineering, posted their findings on the preprint server medRxiv.

UCI researchers develop rapid antibody generation technology

Irvine, Calif., Dec. 7, 2020 — Using the same strain of yeast that ferments wine and makes dough rise, a team led by University of California, Irvine and Harvard Medical School researchers has developed an in vitro technology that can rapidly hypermutate antibodies. The new technology generates antibodies faster than animal immune systems and better than current synthetic methods, giving researchers the tools for evolving exceptionally potent agents, including therapeutic candidates that target SARS-CoV-2.

National Academy of Medicine elects UCI biomedical engineer Kyriacos A. Athanasiou

Irvine, Calif., Oct. 22, 2020 — University of California, Irvine biomedical engineer Kyriacos A. Athanasiou has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, one of the highest distinctions awarded to professionals in the medical sciences, healthcare and public health. He is one of 90 new U.S.-based members announced this week, along with 10 new international members.

UCI biochip innovation combines AI and nanoparticle printing for cancer cell analysis

Irvine, Calif., Oct. 7, 2020 – Electrical engineers, computer scientists and biomedical engineers at the University of California, Irvine have created a new lab-on-a-chip that can help study tumor heterogeneity to reduce resistance to cancer therapies. In a paper published today in Advanced Biosystems, the researchers describe how they combined artificial intelligence, microfluidics and nanoparticle inkjet printing in a device that enables the examination and differentiation of cancers and healthy tissues at the single-cell level.

UCI researcher receives NIH Transformational Research Award

Irvine, Calif., Oct. 6, 2020 — University of California, Irvine biomedical engineer Chang Liu is the recipient of one of nine Director’s Transformative Research Awards this year from the National Institutes of Health under its High-Risk, High-Reward Research Program, the agency announced today. Liu’s five-year, $8.4 million grant will support a project to develop a system for making antibody generation a routine and widely accessible process.

Promising COVID-19 Rapid Test Technology Enters Phase 1 of NIH Challenge

A promising new COVID-19 rapid-testing technology platform developed by Rover Diagnostics and Columbia Engineering has been selected by the NIH to enter Phase 1 of the RADx initiative to support new COVID-19 testing technologies. The affordable, portable, and ultrafast point-of-care Rover platform provides reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction results in eight minutes, faster than any other test of its kind, with targeted accuracy to match laboratory-based tests.

Genetic differences in fat shape men and women’s health risks

New findings about body fat help explain the differing health risks men and women face – and set the stage for better, more targeted treatments.

Non-invasive blood test can detect cancer four years before conventional diagnosis methods

An international team of researchers has developed a non-invasive blood test that can detect whether an individual has one of five common types of cancers, four years before the condition can be diagnosed with current methods. The test detects stomach, esophageal, colorectal, lung and liver cancer.

Called PanSeer, the test detected cancer in 91% of samples from individuals who had been asymptomatic when the samples were collected and were only diagnosed with cancer one to four years later.

Severely Damaged Human Lungs Can Now Be Successfully Recovered

A multidisciplinary team from Columbia Engineering and Vanderbilt University has now demonstrated that severely injured donor lungs that have been declined for transplant can be recovered outside the body by a system that uses cross-circulation of whole blood between the donor lung and an animal host. For the first time, a severely injured human lung that failed to recover using the standard clinical EVLP was successfully recovered during 24 hours on the team’s cross-circulation platform.

URI engineering professor helping ALS patients use their brains to communicate

KINGSTON, R.I. – June 25, 2020 – Doug Sawyer was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, 11 years ago. His only muscles that still function are those that control eye movement.Despite his disability, Sawyer still works as an engineer from his home, designing electronics for Hayward Industries.

Researchers develop low-cost, easy-to-use emergency ventilator for COVID-19 patients

A team of engineers and physicians at the University of California San Diego has developed a low-cost, easy-to-use emergency ventilator for COVID-19 patients that is built around a ventilator bag usually found in ambulances.

The team built an automated system around the bag and brought down the cost of an emergency ventilator to just $500 per unit–by comparison, state of the art ventilators currently cost at least $10,000. The device’s components can be rapidly fabricated and the ventilator can be assembled in just 15 minutes.

$345K NSF grant to fund research to modify paper electronics to make them stretchable

A three-year, $345,000 grant from the National Science Foundation will fund research at Binghamton University, State University of New York that seeks to modify paper’s mechanical properties while still retaining its advantages.

Jean Paul Allain: Then and Now

Jean Paul Allain is a professor and department head of the Ken and Mary Alice Lindquist Department of Nuclear Engineering, the director of the Radiation Surface Science and Engineering Laboratory, professor in Biomedical Engineering by courtesy and the Lloyd & Dorothy Foehr Huck Chair in Plasma Medicine at Penn State University.

Biomedical engineers to test ultraviolet light’s ability to kill coronavirus

The idea of UV sterilization is not a new one, but little or no scientific data about its potency against COVID-19 have been collected, until now. Thanks to a one-year, $182,728 grant from the National Science Foundation, researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York are beginning to test UV’s effectiveness.

Nanodevices for the brain could thwart formation of Alzheimer’s plaques

Researchers designed a nanodevice with the potential to prevent peptides from forming dangerous plaques in the brain in order to halt development of Alzheimer’s disease.

ENGINEERING HONOR FOR LASHANDA KORLEY

LaShanda Korley’s lab at the University of Delaware creates new materials inspired by nature for applications in healthcare, sensing, soft robotics and more. Korley is pushing the boundaries of what materials scientists and engineers previously thought possible and she has now been named to the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).