Category Archives: News

Superior Ideas: Biomedical Engineering

IMG_5897Biomedical Engineering Researchers Feng Zhao and Bruce Lee have separate Superior Ideas projects called “Making heart Bypass Grafts Safer” and “Soft Robotic Component with a Mussel Tone” respectively.

Superior Ideas helps bring university research and public service projects to life. Through Superior Ideas, researchers can spread the word of their projects—and gain funding along the way.

Superior Ideas operates using crowdfunding, a relatively new concept in which individuals join together through many small donations to help fund a large project. When donors give to a researcher’s project, they are helping fund technological advances, and showing their financial support and interest in the project’s goals. There is no shortage of sites taking advantage of this new venue for funding. However, Superior Ideas offers donors, researchers, and partner Universities two distinct advantages over other crowdfunding sites:

  • Superior Ideas is operated by Michigan Technological University, a public nonprofit university, enabling donors from the United States to claim a charitable donation for federal income tax purposes.
  • Superior Ideas verifies the validity of each project posted on our website; since we are run in conjunction with a leading research university, we can ensure that only the best-of-the-best projects are being offered to potential donors.
  • Superior Ideas exists to empower both researchers and donors by providing a platform for university researchers to describe their innovative and ambitious projects to the public, and donors can express their interest and support with just the click of a mouse to the project links listed below.

ZhaoZhao’s project:
Decription: “This research aims to provide solutions for problems associated with the regeneration of small-diameter vessels to be used in cardiovascular procedures. Supporting this project will move the crucial technology toward clinical trials, commercialization, and saving lives.”

URL: http://www.superiorideas.org/projects/safer-heart

Timeline: This project will expire on Sunday, September 6th.


LeeLee’s project:
Description: “By incorporating chemistry commonly utilized by marine mussels, this research plans to create soft robotic components which could better interface with biological systems.”

URL: http://www.superiorideas.org/projects/mussel-chemistry

Timeline: This project will expire on Sunday, August 30th.


Biomedical News Briefs

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Jeremy Goldman (BE/IMP) is the principal investigator on a research and development project that received a $442,004 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. The two-year project is titled, Biodegradation Mechanism and Rate, Biocompatibility, and Toxicity for Novel Zn-Mg Stent Materials. Also working on the project are Jaroslaw Drelich (MSE) and Feng Zhao (BE).

Rupak Rajachar (Bio Med) is the primary investigator of a project that is the recipient of a $326,346 research and development grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – National Institutes of Health.
The project is Adhesive PEG-Fibrinogen Nitric Oxide Releasing Hydrogetls for use as a Wound Healing and Tissue Engineering Support. Also working the project is Bruce Lee (Bio Med, and Megan Frost (Bio Med).

Lake Superior Magazine’s June-July issue includes an article on several Michigan Tech biomedical researchers including Assistant Professor Feng Zhao, Associate Professor Mo Rastgaar, Professor Adrienne Minerick and several biomedical engineering students.

The Michigan Tech Vice President for Research Office announces the Research Execellence Fund Awards. Thanks to the volunteer review committees, as well as the deans and department chairs, for their time spent on this important internal research award process. Infrastructure Enhancement Grants: Sean Kirkpatrick, BRC/Biomed Eng. Repair and Upgrade Advanced Fluorescent Microscope; Research Seed Grants: Feng Zhao, Biomed Eng and Jingfeng Jiang, BRC/Biomed Eng; Link to full list

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BME Students Win Awards in Design Expo

The International Business Ventures took first place in the Enterprise program and the

First Place Award Enterprise IBV (International Business Ventures)
Team Leaders: Leslie LaLonde and Andrew Clark, Biomedical Engineering
Advisors: Robert Warrington, Pavlis Honors College
Sponsor: Pavlis Honors College

Project Overview: The Infant Heart Annunciator is a small, BandAid-shaped device that detects an infant’s electrocardiogram, producing a visible flash and audible tone. Often in developing countries, those present at birth do not have the training or equipment needed to determine if an unresponsive infant is alive. Our goal is to eliminate this unnecessary loss of life. Our team is also designing a simple, yet reliable, ventilator that can be stockpiled by hospitals. Typically, hospitals maintain sufficient numbers of ventilators; however, an increase of patients resulting from a pandemic could create a shortage of ventilators. The current high cost of most ICU ventilators prevents hospitals from stockpiling these machines.

Part of the First Place team  that won the Enterprise Award  IBV (International Business Ventures)
Part of the First Place team that won the Enterprise Award IBV (International Business Ventures)

BME Team won Honorable Mention – Compliance Keweenaw: Aspirus Keweenaw Hand-washing Compliance System
Team Members: Anna Waller, Jannah Brandt, Drew Markel, Creighton Bradley, and Rebecca Manshaem, Biomedical Engineering
Advisor: Bruce Lee, Biomedical Engineering
Sponsor: Aspirus Keweenaw

Project Overview: Hand hygiene is of importance to hospitals not only for the safety and health of employees but also to reduce the spread of hospital-acquired infections and protect patients. Aspirus Keweenaw recruited our team to create an automated system to track hand-washing compliance among employees to assist them in their goal of 100 percent compliance. We created a system using a microcontroller and RFID readers to detect when a healthcare worker enters a patient’s room and reaches compliance using the sanitizing foam dispenser. This system will be placed near the doorway and communicate with a wristband that identifies the healthcare worker and vibrates as a reminder if compliance is not reached.

 BME Team won Honorable Mention  – Compliance Keweenaw: Aspirus Keweenaw Hand-washing Compliance SystemTeam Members: Anna Waller, Jannah Brandt, Drew Markel, Creighton Bradley, and Rebecca Manshaem, Biomedical Engineering
BME Team won Honorable Mention – Compliance Keweenaw: Aspirus Keweenaw Hand-washing Compliance System
Team Members: Anna Waller, Jannah Brandt, Drew Markel, Creighton Bradley, and Rebecca Manshaem, Biomedical Engineering

BME Teams were featured in the Michigan Tech news article: Design Expo 2015 Success: Winners, Senior Design and Enterprise Projects

See the Design Expo Summary

Seeing is Believing

image90723-persIf seeing is believing, C.K. Choi (Adjunct Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering and Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics) has a passion for clarity—in a very tiny world. The assistant professor of mechanical engineering’s research lies at the micro-scale, in channels no thicker than a strand of hair.
Read more —

Biotechnology Research Center Research Forum Awards

Caleb Vogt
Caleb Vogt
The Eleventh Annual Research Forum sponsored by the Biotechnology Research Center was held on Wednesday, Oct. 22, and Thursday, Oct. 23. Forty-one graduate and undergraduate students conducting research in life science, biotechnology, human health and related areas presented posters. Oral presentations were also given. Speakers included Jeremy Goldman (Bio Med), Ashutosh Tiwari (Chem), Hairong Wei (SFRES), Justin Segula (SFRES graduate student), Jingtuo Zhang (Chem graduate student) and Caleb Vogt (Bio Med undergrad student).

Thank you to the participants, the judges and all who helped with another successful BRC Research Forum. A list of BRC award winners is below.

Graduate Grand Prize
Maria Gencoglu (ChE) “A New Virus Purification Process: Virus Flocculation in the Presence of Osmolytes”
Advisor: Caryn Heldt

Graduate Merit Awards
Emily Shearier (Bio Med) “Mesenchymal Stem Cell Spheroids for Therapy Following Axillary Lymph Node Dissection” Advisor: Feng Zhao

Yu Wang (Bio Med) “Building a Virtual Breast Elastography Phantom Lab Using Open Source Software”
Advisor: Jingfeng Jiang

Undergraduate Grand Prize
Caleb Vogt (Bio Med) “Human Mesenchymal Stem Cell Response to Nitric Oxide Relesasing Materials”
Advisors: Megan Frost and Feng Zhao

Undergraduate Merit Award
Mitchell Tahtinen (Bio Med) “Prevascularization of Natural Extracellular Matrix Scaffold”
Advisor: Feng Zhao

Doing Research in a War Zone

Engineers and scientists at Michigan Technological University run into all kinds of roadblocks as they work to move their research from concept to actuality, but exploding rockets aren’t usually one of them.

When Jeremy Goldman took his family to Israel to work on his research on bioabsorbable cardiovascular stents, missiles flying overhead were just one of the facts of war that they had to worry about. Other concerns included terrorists crawling through tunnels, suicide bombers, riots, etc.
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“Virtual Breast” Could Improve Cancer Detection

image113672-horizNext to lung cancer, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women, according to the American Cancer Society. That’s why so many medical professionals encourage women to get mammograms, even though the tests are imperfect at best: only a minority of suspicious mammograms actually leads to a cancer diagnosis.
That results in lots of needless worry for women and their families—not to mention the time, discomfort and expense of additional tests, including ultrasounds and biopsies.
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Feng Zhao Named an Academic Editor

image51532-persFeng Zhao, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, has been named an academic editor for PLOS ONE. PLOS ONE is the largest journal in the world, publishing well over 2000 articles per month. The underlying philosophy of PLOS ONE is that all research, if well-performed and well-reported, has something of value to offer the scientific community, and accordingly, PLOS ONE’s editorial criteria focuses on the technical quality of the work rather than any subjective judgments such as perceived novelty or limited relevance to a specialist field. Editorial Board members at PLOS ONE are given a high degree of editorial autonomy over the papers that they handle and are responsible for deciding whether a manuscript adheres to the journal’s criteria for publication.

Study of Key Biomolecule Earns Tolou Shokuhfar CAREER Award

Tolou Shokuhfar will be investigating the inner workings of a protein that plays a key role in human health with funding from a five-year, $400,000 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award.

Shokuhfar,a faculty member of both departments of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics at Michigan Technological University, will study the biomolecule ferritin, which stores iron in the body in a non-toxic, mineralized form and releases it safely. In humans, ferritin serves as a buffer between iron deficiency and iron overload, and when it malfunctions, it may be involved in a number of degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
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See previous article: A graphene water balloon may soon open up new vistas for scientists seeking to understand health and disease at the most fundamental level.
It’s the Water: Graphene Balloon Yields Unprecedented Images of Hydrated Protein Molecules