All posts by rbarnard


Study Abroad: Investigating Myocardial Graft Materials in Hannover

Jacob Braykovich, a materials science and engineering major at Michigan Technological University, had spent two years working in the Michigan Tech Surface Innovations lab, helping to develop biodegradable zinc-based cardiac stents. He had a summer internship at start-up InPore Technologies, working on polymeric water filtration systems. But he wanted to do something different during the last summer before earning his undergraduate degree.

Braykovich thought about going overseas, and began looking into options. That’s when he discovered the RISE program, or Research Internships in Science and Engineering. The RISE program is for students in the USA, Canada, or UK who want to spend a summer researching science or engineering at German universities. Braykovich applied for and won a scholarship to attend Leibniz University in Hannover, Germany.

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Vital signs—Powering heart monitors with motion artifacts

More than 90 percent of US medical expenditures are spent on caring for patients who cope with chronic diseases. Some patients with congestive heart failure, for example, wear heart monitors 24/7 amid their daily activities.

Michigan Tech researcher Ye Sarah Sun develops new human interfaces for heart monitoring. “There’s been a real trade-off between comfort and signal accuracy, which can interfere with patient care and outcomes,” she says. Sun’s goal is to provide a reliable, personalized heart monitoring system that won’t disturb a patient’s life. “Patients need seamless monitoring while at home, and also while driving or at work,” she says.

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Biomedical startup aims to change post-op care

Jeff Millin, a seasoned entrepreneur who took his last startup to $100 million in revenue and a successful exit for his venture-capital investors, knew a good thing when he saw it three years ago.

The good thing? What would soon become FM Wound Care LLC, a spinoff from Michigan Technological University. Founded by Megan Frost, an associate professor in biomedical engineering, the company has created nitric-oxide-infused bandages and wound dressings to greatly reduce the risk of infection, especially in patients post-surgery. …

[Read the full story in Crain’s Detroit]


Interventional devices—Improving quality of life

As an R&D director at Boston Scientific Corporation, Heather Getty works with a cross-functional team of experts to develop products and solutions for treating diseases using minimally invasive surgical techniques.

The scope of these medical devices includes catheters, stents, and other devices for patients with peripheral artery disease, or PAD, a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs. PAD affects more than a quarter of a billion people worldwide. Patients with PAD can suffer significant health consequences, including gangrene, amputation, and triple the risk of heart attack and stroke. Boston Scientific is a market leader in less-invasive treatments for PAD. …

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The healing power of seaweed—Shedding new light on alginate microgels

Using seaweed to treat wounds dates back to Roman times. Alginate extracted from kelp and other brown seaweeds are still used in wound dressings today for skin grafts, burns and other difficult wounds. Biocompatible and biomimetic, alginate forms a gel when exposed to a wound, keeping tissue moist to speed healing, and reduce pain and trauma during dressing changes.

Microgels, a biodegradable biomaterial formed from microscopic polymer filaments, has broad and powerful applications in cell analysis, cell culture, drug delivery, and materials engineering.

Putting the two together to form alginate microgels could enable scientists to make important new inroads in the field of tissue engineering. But when it comes to forming microgels, the gelation process of alginate literally gets in the way.

Michigan Tech researcher Chang Kyoung Choihas found a way around the problem. …

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Accelerated healing—Understanding physical and chemical cues in tissue repair

Made of fibrous connective tissue, tendons attach muscles to bones in the body, transferring force when muscles contract. But tendons are especially prone to tearing. Achilles tendinitis, one of the most common and painful sports injuries, can take months to heal, and injury often recurs.

Michigan Tech researcher Rupak Rajachar is developing a minimally-invasive, injectable hydrogel that can greatly reduce the time it takes for tendon fibers to heal, and heal well. …

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