USF College of Engineering: Biomedical Engineering Research Projects

The Medical Engineering Department, related Engineering Departments and Colleges, and the Colleges of Engineering and Medicine, have a number of BME research projects that students at all levels participate in. These can be long-term or short-term research experiences, and below are some representative examples of on-going, high-impact research areas:

Dr. Norma Alcantar  
Nanosurface-Chemistry and Green Materials Chemistry 
Development of new materials which can be tailored precisely for the application at hand. We can do this because of the power that nanotechnology holds for controlling properties. Our approach is to combine several nanocomponents, study their chemical and physical properties, and to assemble them into new materials. In this approach, two factors determine the end-properties. First, the individual properties of the nanosystems and second, how they are assembled. For instance, gold nanoparticles will produce two different types of materials when forced together at two different pressures, or amyloid beta peptides will form fibrils on neurons owing to the rigidity and the adhesion interactions of the neuron membrane.

Dr. Venkat Bhethanabotla
Chemical and Biological Microsensors and Microsystems
Technologies based on luminescence enhancement using metal nanoparticles and acoustic wave devices are developed for microsensor applications for chemical and biological systems. Gas sensors and cancer marker detectors are specific examples. Removal of biofouling techniques within these systems is transferable to other biomedical applications such as keeping catheter lenses from fouling.

Drs. Stephanie Carey and Rajiv Dubey
CARRT: Center for Assistive Rehabilitation Robotics Technologies
Integrated, multidisciplinary prosthetics and orthotics research, education and service in assistive and rehabilitation, and robotics technologies in collaboration with clinicians, government and industry partners.

Drs. Ann and David Eddins
Continuous Acquisition of Brain Signals and Neuroplasticity
We work on real-time systems for continuous monitoring of signals coming from human brain for numerous applications, including hearing and speech processing problems.

Dr. David Eddins
Assistive Listening Systems and Sound Processing Algorithms for The Hearing Impaired
Novel paradigms and systems for amplification and filtering to improve the signal-to-noise ratio for hearing impaired persons' speech perception.

Drs. Robert Frisina, Venkat Bhethanabotla and Joseph Walton
Manipulation of Neural and Cardiac Cell Activity By Light and Nanoparticles
Visible laser light manipulation of neural cells is expected to lead to the next generation of devices, for example, cochlear implants to supplant the current electrical stimulation. Higher fidelity as well as spatial and temporal resolution are envisioned.

Dr. Richard Gitlin
Biomedical Data Processing and Wireless Communication
Wireless networking of intelligent bio-medical systems, with an emphasis on advanced communications and network protocols to realize high-speed and ultra-reliable in vivo wireless networks that are intended to create a paradigm shift in disciplines such as minimally invasive surgery, cyber-physical healthcare systems, and sensor networks.

Dr. Dmitry Goldgof
Biomedical Imaging and Computing
Medical Image Analysis, Image and Video Processing, Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, Ethics and Computing, Bioinformatics and Bioengineering

Dr. Andrew Hoff
Sensor and MEMS Applications for Biomedical Engineering
Oxide formation on Si & SiC, Diamond processing, Surface Conditioning, Noncontact Corona Kelvin Metrology of electronic materials; Dielectrics, SiC, Corona Ion-Assisted delivery of drugs and DNA to Skin and Tissue, Noncontact voltage and corona characterization of cells and tissue.

Dr. Karl Illig
Vascular Surgery Device Development, Testing and Commercialization
Unique opportunities for BME students to learn about vascular surgery innovation R&D, with meaningful interactions with vascular surgeons in the Tampa General and CAMLS surgical settings.

Dr. Mark Jaroszeski
Plasma and Electroporation Assisted Cancer Treatment
Water plasma assisted electroporation devices have been invented, patented and are in clinical trials for drug delivery for cancer treatment at this time.

Dr. Huabei Jiang
Novel Biomedical Imaging Systems- Oncology, Neuroscience, Orthopedics and Cardiology
An internationally-recognized pioneer in the fields of near-infrared diffuse optical tomography (DOT), an emerging biomedical imaging modality that can quantitatively image molecular signatures in tissue noninvasively. He plays a pivotal role in pushing this field forward and has developed a revolutionary technique for early detection of breast cancer using DOT. He was the first to apply DOT to imaging bone and joints, which has now become an important and rapidly growing sub-field in optical imaging.

Drs. Piyush Koria and Nathan Gallant
Tissue Engineering and Wound Healing
Novel scaffolds and approaches to protecting and regenerating various tissues and for wound healing applications, drug delivery and interactions with mechanical stimuli.

Dr. William Lee
Biomechanics, Orthopedics and Engineering Education
Novel approaches to avoiding and healing chronic wounds and orthopedic treatments.

Dr. Shyam Mohapatra
Biotechnology and Drug Discovery
Multidisciplinary nanotechnology research, including projects such as "a tumor on a dish," he said. "We call them tumoroids." For other projects he adds fibers to a tumor cell, which then grows in petri dishes to "become just like a tumor in your body," Dr. Mohapatra explains. Cancer research has traditionally applied drugs to cancer cells, rather than the actual tumors. Now, these tumoroids designed in the lab are sold to researchers worldwide for more effective drug development and efficacy.

Dr. Subhra Mohapatra
Oncology Biomedical Engineering
Research focuses on understanding the role of stromal cells in the tumor microenvironment that play a critical role in tumor growth and recurrence. We are also investigating the mechanisms of anti-inflammatory triggers for traumatic brain injury. We use rodent models, clinical samples, cell molecular biology and nanotechnological approaches to address these questions.

Dr. Salvatore Morgera
Biomedical Networks and Networking
Living networks, the neurological networks of the brain and the near-field electric spatial-temporal field structures that permeate the brain. This work will lead to non-invasive diagnostic and therapeutic techniques for a variety of neurological dysfunctions, such as Alzheimer's, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Multiple Sclerosis.

Dr. Ashwin Parthasarathy
Biomedical Instrumentation and Imaging Techniques
Optics, and the clinical translation of these medical devices for applications that include bedside diagnoses/monitoring of brain injuries (e.g., strokes, traumatic brain injury), intraoperative imaging, and critical care monitoring. The ultimate goal of the research is utilize these custom clinical biomedical devices and directly measure tissue physiology at the bedside, thereby developing non-invasive biomarkers of disease, bedside disease models, and thus personalized optimization of treatment.

Drs. Chris Passaglia and Robert Frisina
Micropumps for Localized Drug Delivery
Various details of micropump technologies are under development, using electrical and microfluidic engineering techniques. Specific application at this point is drug delivery to the inner ear and eye.

Dr. Anna Pyayt
Nanowire-based Imaging and Medical Diagnostic Systems
Development of nanowire-based tools for imaging on single-cell level, coupling of light to fluorescent nanoparticles and light delivery using ultra-thin wave guiding structures, biosensors and advanced diagnostics. We created photonic chips for detailed testing of such complex fluids as human plasma and whole blood for diagnosis and treatment of life threatening diseases.

Dr. Stephen Saddow
Silicon Carbide Semiconductor Materials
Development of wide-bandgap silicon carbide semiconductor materials for Bio, Nano and MEMS applications His ultimate research objective is to develop smart implants and sensors for biomedical and harsh environment applications. Also, development of 3C-SiC based devices for insertion into the nervous system. The goal is the realization of brain-machine-interface (BMI) devices based on SiC. His group has demonstrated the biocompatibility of SiC with neural cells, both in vitro and in vivo, and has demonstrated the biocompatibility of epitaxial graphene on SiC.

Dr. Sudeep Sarkar
Fundamental and Applied Research in Computer Vision, Image Processing, & Pattern Recognition
Research topics range from video image processing to biometrics and medical image analysis of burn scars. With funding from the National Science Foundation, he has made seminal algorithmic and theoretical contributions to the field of computer vision, particularly in the problem of computing perceptual organization and sign language recognition.

Dr. Sylvia Thomas
Advanced Materials for Bio-applications, Nano-electro Mechanical System (NEMS) Devices
Bio-applications for nano-electro mechanical system (NEMS) devices – nanowires and nanoparticles. Her research is interdisciplinary in nature and fosters collaborations with Chemical & Biomolecular and Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Public Health, Medicine, and the Nanomaterials and Nanomanufacturing Research Center (NNRC).

Dr. Joseph Walton
Neural Circuitry and Brain Plasticity Underlying Auditory Processing for Normal and Hearing-Impaired Systems
Neurophysiological and behavioral analysis of sound processing and neural coding mechanisms in different levels of the peripheral and central auditory systems. Emphasis on neural plasticity associated with different types of acquired and genetic forms of hearing loss and deafness.

Dr. Sam Wickline
Biomedical Engineering & Nanomedicine and Cardiovascular Sciences
The Wickline laboratory pursues basic and clinical research topics in molecular imaging and nanotechnology. They design novel methods, hardware, and software for clinical and molecular imaging with ultrasound and MRI. Cross disciplinary nanomedicine research is conducted with many collaborators. Current areas of research interest include:
1. Development of molecularly targeted peptide nanostructures for control of gene function by delivery of oligonucleotides and mRNA to modulate inflammatory diseases.
2. The design of theranostic biocompatible perfluorocarbon nanostructures for quantitative magnetic resonance imaging and delivery of pharmaceutical agents in atherosclerosis and heart failure.
3. The design and synthesis of protease-activatable nanostructures for therapeutic use in metastatic cancer and atherosclerosis.
4. The development of nanostructures that restore cellular autophagy in diseases such as muscular dystrophy and heart failure.