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Adaptive Neural Systems Laboratory

Dr. Ranu Jung

The research agenda of the Adaptive Neural Systems (ANS) Laboratory is at the intersection between bioengineering, neuroscience and rehabilitation. By applying a multifaceted approach, the laboratory investigates the effects of trauma and disorders of the nervous system to replace damaged or lost functionality or to repair the system using advanced adaptive devices and therapeutic techniques. Driven by the needs of potential users, the laboratory is designing and developing technology to offset the effects of limb amputation and spinal cord injury and understand its impact on nervous system function.

Applied Neural Interfaces Laboratory 

Dr. Zachary Danziger

Neural interfaces have emerged as important new therapies for diseases where pharmacotherapy is not feasible or causes intolerable side effects. The work done in the Applied Neural Interfaces Lab employs quantitative approaches to solve key problems in two different areas where neural interfaces are becoming popular: brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) and lower urinary tract (LUT) neuromodulation. BCIs have the potential to restore communication and mobility to paralyzed individuals, but BCI invasiveness severely limits the development and assessment of new designs. The lab members are developing an innovative BCI analogue system that facilitates testing and optimization of BCIs. Using this paradigm has demonstrated the importance of smooth decoder updates and how to exploit visual feedback to enhance user performance. LUT dysfunction is widespread in populations suffering from neural disorders, and is often recalcitrant to medication. They are developing a novel neural stimulation device to treat urinary retention that activates urethral sensory neurons to improve the efficiency of weakened voiding reflexes. Their work includes a new mechanistic model of urethral afferents as well as a new stimulation scheme that has the potential to alleviate neuropathy-induced LUT dysfunction. These two examples illustrate the impact of principled, quantitative approaches to advance the development of neural interfaces to restore function following disease or injury.

Bioelectronic and Electronic Packaging Lab

Dr. Raj Markondeya

Current bioelectronic packaging approaches for neural stimulation and recording involve large enclosures with leads and connectors that are not scalable to address the need for high-channel density nerve interfaces in ultra-thin or flexible form-factors. A highly-miniaturized fully-implanted high-density electrode array that is actively powered on or close to the electrode array itself, with integrated data processing, can enable new applications and opportunities for healthcare. Realizing these systems require heterogeneous integration of several functions such as power transfer and conversion, data processing, high-density but biocompatible electrode-tissue interfaces and miniaturized hermetic packages. All these functions need to be achieved in sub-millimeter dimensions. The bioelectronic packaging group focuses on developing system components and integration solutions to realize such next-generation bioelectronic systems.

Biomedical Engineering Creative Lab: W[CL]2

Dr. Wei-Chiang Lin
The mission of the Creative Lab is to produce creative engineering solutions for complex problems in biomedicine. Currently the team focuses on developing non-destructive optical and mechanical techniques that can detect disease development and tissue injuries in vivo.  These techniques can be either one-dimensional (i.e., point detection) or multi-dimensional (i.e., imaging).  The potential medical applications for such techniques, once developed, are abundant.  For example, they may be used intraoperatively to guide tumor resection and to monitor the progression of a novel therapy.

Cardiovascular Matrix Remodeling Laboratory

Dr. Joshua Hutcheson

Research in the CMRL focuses on the mechanisms through which tissues are built, maintained, and remodeled. The primary thrust of the lab is on cardiovascular disease—the leading global cause of death. Researchers in the CMRL work at the interface of engineering and biology and study the mechanisms through which mechanical forces influence cell and tissue behavior. By understanding the ways that cells sense and respond to each other and to changes in their environment, the goal of the CMRL is to develop new ways to detect initiators of disease and find interventions that restore tissue to a normal state.

Drug Delivery and Imaging Guided Therapy Laboratory

Dr. Anthony McGoron

Research focuses on image guided therapy of cancer using polymer and inorganic nanoparticles, microparticles and small molecules. Imaging is used to identify patients likely to respond to a particular therapy, to monitor the delivery of the drug and the patient’s response to the therapy, and to guide surgical resection of tumors. Molecular Imaging modalities include nuclear (PET and SPECT), near-infrared fluorescence, and Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS). Therapeutic approaches include chemotherapy, photo-dynamic therapy, photo-thermal therapy, and radiation therapy.

Eye Imaging Laboratory

Dr. Shuliang Jiao

The goal of the Eye Imaging Lab is research is to help prevent and cure blindness through technological innovations. Dr. Jiao’s lab, is dedicated to the development of novel optical technologies for 3D high resolution imaging of the anatomy and functions of the eye in vivo. The optical imaging technologies the lab currently focuses on include Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), Photoacoustic Microscopy, and Multimodal Imaging. These technologies serve as tools for the research and diagnosis of diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. They also provide powerful tools for monitoring the functional regeneration of photoreceptors in regenerative medicine such as stem cell therapy.

Medical Photonics Laboratory

Dr. Jessica Ramella-Roman

The Medical Photonics Lab (MPL) conducts research in bio-photonics and focuses on the investigation of non-invasive methodologies for diagnosis of disease based on light-tissue interaction. Researchers are developing new imaging methodologies combining polarization sensitive techniques and non-linear microscopy to investigate anomalous organization of the extracellular matrix in several biological environments. They are utilizing these methodologies to investigate preterm labor a condition that affects 10 – 15 % of all pregnancies with severe consequences to mother and child. They are also researching early signs of Diabetic Retinopathy through the combination of imaging spectroscopy and Two-photon excitation phosphorescence lifetime imaging.

Neuronal Mass Dynamics Laboratory

Dr. Jorge Riera

Research at the Neuronal Mass Dynamics (NMD) laboratory focuses on developing strategies to integrate different modalities of brain imaging for the understanding of multicellular signaling in the neocortex. Dr. Riera’s early work has been essential to understand the mechanisms of genesis of EEG/MEG and fMRI-BOLD signals in normal and pathological conditions. Based on data from humans and rodents, lab members have developed biophysical models of cortical microcircuits and neurovascular/metabolic coupling. These models underlie US-patented methods to study multi-scale cellular dynamics using brain imaging and electrophysiological techniques. Of particular interest is the development of pre-clinical rodent models to study epilepsy, migraine and dementia by means of brain mapping. Members have been working with the Nicklaus Children Hospital and the Miller School Medicine at UM for the translation of his animal studies into clinical practice to improve surgical outcomes in epilepsy. In the NMD lab, two groundbreaking techniques have been developed in collaboration with and commercialized by industrial partners: a) an EEG mini-cap (Cortech Solution) and b) a 3D microelectrode array (Neuronexus Tech.). The lab’s research has been funded by NSF, NIH and the Wallace Coulter Foundation.

Optical Imaging Laboratory

Dr. Anuradha Godavarty

Our Optical Imaging Laboratory focuses on various clinical applications of near-infrared optical imaging technology.  Some of the key ongoing projects include: (a) Non-contact hand-held optical imaging scanner for real-time assessment of oxygenation changes and perfusion changes in wound healing of diabetic foot ulcers, venous leg ulcers and arterial ulcers (clinical partners include dermatologists, podiatric surgeons, nursing, statistics, and computer science faculty). (b) Diffuse optical imaging of radiation dermatitis in cancer therapy subjects (clinical partners include radiation oncologists). (c) Smartphone based imaging technologies for low-resource settings and imaging of diabetics with ulcers (global clinical partners include diabetologists and podiatric surgeons).

Plasticity, Monamines and Recovery of Function Laboratory

Dr. Jacob McPherson

The Plasticity, Monoamines, and Recovery of Function Laboratory (PMRF Lab) conducts both animal and human-subjects neurophysiology and neurological rehabilitation research. Lab members explore interrelationships between the neural control of movement and pain processing after stroke and spinal cord injury (SCI). This work is predicated on the notion that optimal therapies for restoring function after neurological injury must be grounded in a neuromechanistic understanding of the causes of impairment, which requires an integrative view of nervous system function and an interdisciplinary approach to research. The ultimate goal of this work is to develop therapeutic strategies that leverage the interconnectivity of spinal sensory and motor networks to drive multi-modal rehabilitation. Lab members are particularly interested in strategies that facilitate and direct the intrinsic ability of the central nervous system to reorganize and repair, including strategies designed to enhance the therapeutic benefits of physical rehabilitation.

Tissue Engineered Mechanics, Imaging and Materials Laboratory

Dr. Sharan Ramaswamy

The Tissue Engineered Mechanics, Imaging and Materials (TEMIM) laboratory’s primary research focus lies in the area of cell and engineered tissue mechanics with application in cardiovascular regenerative medicine.  The TEMIM lab, conducts both experimental and computational investigations in this area. A major goal of the lab is to develop functional tissue engineered heart valves (TEHVs) using 1) porcine small intestinal submucosa (PSIS) substrates and 2) mechanically regulate stem cells for the TEHV application as well as for (3) broader application in cardiovascular regenerative medicine. Concurrently the TEMIM lab is also working towards the elucidation of mechanobiological cellular and molecular mechanisms that are involved in the etiology of valve diseases, particularly aortic valve calcification.  A specific project in this area involves (4) the delineation of mechanosensitive fluid and structural conditions of the aortic valve due to elastin remodeling that may serve as an early indicator of calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD).  In addition, at the cellular level, the lab is interested in identifying the fluid-induced mechanobiological responses of valve endothelial cells in valve homeostasis and in the development of CAVD.   The research in the TEMIM lab has been supported by the AHA, NSF, industry and academic funding sources.

Vascular Physiology and Biotransport Laboratory

Dr. Nikolaos Tsoukias

The main focus of the laboratory is on the mechanisms that regulate blood flow and pressure in the human body. The lab investigates the physiology of the microcirculation through the parallel development of theoretical and experimental models. Mathematical modeling guides experimentation and assist in data analysis while in vitro experimental studies provide important modeling parameters and promote further model development.

Visual Cortical Circuits Laboratory

Dr. James Schummers

The research in the Visual Cortical Circuits Laboratory lies at the intersection of two fundamental questions about brain function:  How is an external sensory stimulus encoded in the activity of brain cells in the cerebral cortex? How do astrocyte interactions with neurons contribute to information processing?  To address these questions, the lab makes use of recent developments in non-linear microscopy, viral vector engineering and protein engineering to ask cutting-edge questions about the cellular basis of brain function.  In particular, current studies apply two-photon imaging of genetically-encoded calcium indicators that have been targeted to specific brain cell types via viral vectors with specific serotypes and promoters to enable measurements of cellular and subcellular activity in both neurons and astrocytes.  With these tools, we address questions about the spatial scale of visual stimulus representation within cortical neurons and astrocyte, and the temporal dynamics of brain activity that underlie visual perception.  Ultimately, these studies will lay the groundwork for interventions to rescue vision in patients with compromised vision, or other neurological dysfunctions.