Tag: Biomedical Engineering

Portage Health Foundation Graduate Assistantship Spring 2020 Recipient – Pegah Kord Forooshani

Pegah Kord Forooshani
Biomedical Engineering

I joined Dr. Bruce Lee’s lab in the Department of Biomedical Engineering in Fall 2016, where we focused on designing biomimetic materials for different biomedical applications. The overall objective of my research is to manipulate a unique reduction-oxidation chemistry found in mussel adhesive proteins to create novel biomimetic model systems for robust antibacterial activity and enhanced wound healing. Specifically, I have been developing biomimetic hydrogel/microgels which can be activated to release Reactive Oxygen Species such as hydroxyl radical (OH˙) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). OH˙ is an extremely potent oxidizer which, unlike H2O2, no known enzyme can detoxify it in the bacteria cells, leading to fast and efficient antibacterial activities. H2O2 is a mild oxidizer, which effectively functions as a broad-spectrum biocide and disinfectant in many biomedical applications. The biological responses to H2O2 are highly dependent on its concentration. The introduction of a relatively high concentration of H2O2 is antimicrobial and a relatively lower concentration promoted wound healing. We are anticipating that our H2O2-releasing hydrogels can serve as a simple and inexpensive approach for the treatment of healing-impaired wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers.

I would like to thank Dr. Lee for all of his valuable guidance and support which have provided me with the opportunity to expand my knowledge and skills. I am also incredibly grateful to the Portage Health Foundation for awarding me this assistantship which will enable me to concentrate on my research and complete my doctoral project.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2020 Recipient – Samerender Nagam Hanumantharao

Samerender Nagam Hanumantharao
Biomedical Engineering

I moved to the city of Houghton to pursue my M.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering in Fall 2015. I completed my Masters’ thesis, titled “ A 3D Biomimetic Scaffold using Electrospinning for Tissue Engineering Applications” under the guidance of Dr. Smitha Rao in Spring 2017. I continued to work with Dr. Rao in pursuit of my Ph.D. My PhD work focuses on understanding and exploiting the role of biomechanical cues in chronic wound healing and cancer. Interestingly, these two diseases share some common factors that can be used to make bandages that can accelerate wound healing or trap metastatic cancer cells.  I want to thank the Graduate School for the funding during the last stage of my research.


Portage Health Foundation Graduate Assistantship Spring 2019 Recipient – Samerender Nagam Hanumantharao

Samerender Nagam Hanumantharao
Biomedical Engineering

I received my Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Michigan Tech with the thesis titled “A 3D Biomimetic Scaffold using Electrospinning for Tissue Engineering Applications”. Under the guidance of Dr. Smitha Rao, I have continued my research effort in the field of tissue regeneration focusing on biophysical cues in the micro- and nano- scale that impact tissue growth. Tissue regeneration is a complex process that involves a myriad of biological pathways working in tandem. When this harmony is disturbed, it leads to complications which can be fatal. The healing of wounds caused by diabetic foot ulcer is one such disease that prevents complete healing, and involves time-consuming and expensive rehabilitation. My research focuses on identifying the biophysical cues involved in tissue regeneration for wound healing applications and developing a bandage that accelerates the wound healing process using the native cells of the body. The bandage functions by mimicking the physical characteristics of local tissues providing a framework for the cells to attach and proliferate thereby closing the wound.

I look forward to utilizing this opportunity to develop improved scaffolds and enable technologies to enhance our understanding of the various signaling pathways involved in wound healing. I will continue to identify commercial applications and develop my skills both as a researcher and an entrepreneur. The PHF assistantship will be invaluable in my pursuit. I want to thank the Portage Health Foundation, the department of biomedical engineering at Michigan Tech and my advisor Dr. Rao for the help, support and guidance.


Portage Health Foundation Graduate Assistantship Fall 2019 Recipient – Srinivas Kannan

Srinivas Kannan
Biomedical Engineering

I began my doctoral research in the Fall of 2016 in the Biomedical Microdevices lab under the guidance of Dr. Smitha Rao. My research is focused on breast cancer and understanding breast cancer cell metastasis using a microfluidic platform. The compromised metabolic processes in breast cancers impact the local tumor environment. This is supported by the enhanced uptake of fructose and expression of GLUT5 (fructose specific transporter membrane proteins) in breast cancer cells compared to healthy cells. The overall objective is to better understand the nutrient microenvironment and impact from the nutrients available in the body on breast cancer, to improve cancer detection and/or therapy. Towards this end, I have contributed by testing the GLUT5 specific fluorescent fructose mimics (ManCou probes) developed in Dr. Tanasova’s lab. My doctoral work also includes developing a three-dimensional in vitro model for understanding cancer microenvironment and metabolic differences, differential uptake of fructose among breast cancer phenotypes and develop a platform for cancer diagnostics.

I thank the Portage Health Foundation for awarding me the assistantship and the department of Biomedical engineering at Michigan tech for the financial support. I am grateful for the continued guidance from my advisor Dr. Smitha Rao and my co-advisor Dr. Marina Tanasova.


DeVlieg Foundation Fellowship Summer 2019 Recipient – Ami Kling

Ami Kling
Biomedical Engineering

I am a second-year PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering program, although I never intended to pursue a graduate education when I first came to Michigan Tech. I came to this school as an undergraduate student in the fall of 2013 with an associate degree in hand, intent on earning a bachelor’s in 2-3 years and obtaining a job – any job – in the medical device industry. Four years, an undergrad degree, and a newfound love of physics later, I became first a masters and then a PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering department.

My research focuses on a novel medical imaging technique called elastography, which is used to noninvasively quantify tissue stiffness distributions in vivo. Specifically, I am interested in combining optical and ultrasound elastography techniques in order to create an improved system that has potential applications in both research and clinical environments.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the DeVlieg Foundation and the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel for the support that has been provided to me for the summer of 2019. This financial support will allow me to concentrate efforts on developing instrumentation, gathering experimental data, and publishing results. Consequently, this support will also further my overarching goal of creating a useful, portable, and readily available diagnostic imaging system. I would also like to thank: the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Programs Committee for their recommendation; my advisors, Dr. Jingfeng Jiang and Dr. Sean J. Kirkpatrick, for their guidance and support; and Mr. David Rosen for his assistance with this project.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – David Rosen

David Rosen
Biomedical Engineering

My graduate study at MTU began the spring of 2015.  My broad research interests and aspirations are oriented toward soft tissue biomechanics and the physiology and technologies that are associated with the topic.  For my PhD research, my interest in biomechanics has been specifically focused on a medical ultrasound technology called elastography.  Elastography is a technique used to assess soft tissue elasticity in vivo. My graduate research efforts have focused on how the distinctive mechanical properties of soft tissue (i.e. viscoelasticity, heterogeneity, and nonlinear elasticity) manifest in elastography measurements and what role they have in elastographic uncertainty as it relates medical diagnosis.

I am immensely grateful for the support provided by the Graduate School through the Doctoral Finishing Fellowship. This support is instrumental in this final stage of my graduate study. It has been a privilege to study and work on research at MTU and I am excited to see how the skills and knowledge I have developed during my time here will impact my career and my field.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – Maria Paula Kwesiga

Maria Paula Kwesiga
Biomedical Engineering

I started my doctoral program in Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Tech in the summer of 2015.  Previously I obtained my BS Degree in Medicine from the University of Algiers in Algeria. I joined Dr. Frost’s lab that specializes in controlled NO releasing polymeric biomaterials for clinical applications. My research interests are focused on understanding the role that Nitric oxide (NO) plays in cardiovascular pathologies such as Ischemic heart disease and Diabetes. Cardiovascular calcification is frequently associated with ischemic heart disease and it increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke in patients. NO has been shown to aggravate and protect against calcification. The effect of NO highly depends on the concentration and duration of treatment delivered. A novel device (the CellNO trap) was previously developed in Dr. Frost’s lab that makes it possible to measure the levels of NO produced and delivered to cells.  With the CellNO trap, we are able to determine with accuracy the point at which NO changes from a protective to aggravating effect in vascular cells in order to slow down the progression of calcification. Another area of my project is improving treatments for diabetic foot ulcers (DFU). Healing is impaired in patients with DFU, it takes on average 120 days for these wounds to close, which increases the risk of infection and amputations. NO is a free radical molecule with a very versatile role in the body and it has been shown to be involved in all the stages of wound healing. We use the CellNO trap to measure the real- time NO produced by cells involved in wound healing under normal and diabetic conditions. The goal is to incorporate the NO levels obtained into controlled NO release wound dressing that can be finely tuned to deliver the dose of NO necessary at each stage of  wound healing. This platform will facilitate the healing of DFU in the shortest time possible. I would like to thank my mentor and   advisor Dr. Megan C. Frost for all the support she has offered to me and I would like to thank the Dean and the Graduate school for awarding me the finishing fellowship for the spring semester. The funds offered will give me the time to finish my experiments and write my dissertation so that I can complete the requirements for my PhD program.