Our research is spread across four broad areas. Our faculty work within and across these specific areas, and our students explore topics throughout them.
As our understanding of how cells and tissues function at the molecular level improves, we are able to attempt to use this knowledge to develop radically different approaches to treating disease. For instance, if a patient is suffering from a faulty liver, tissue engineering may one day allow a new liver to be grown from the patient's own cells. This research includes developing and functionalizing new materials to grow cells, and eventually developing regenerated tissues and organs.
Improved understanding and prevention of disease can come from developing better systems to detect various analytes such as DNA, bacteria or functional molecules such as oxygenated blood in the body. New biomaterials can be engineered to replace damaged bones and joints. Advances in micro- and nano-electronics is enabling new devices for disease detection and monitoring in humans. By interfacing medical problems with molecular signatures and cutting-edge hardware detection, we can engineer new systems for detection of a huge range of molecules and processes. Our research in this area includes orthopedics, microfluidics, biomedical instrumentation, photoacoustic tomography, and DNA molecular detectors.
Past decades have seen unbelievable improvements in computer processing power. This opens up a world of "in silico" possibilities for finding new solutions for challenging biomedical problems. Research in this field involves developing new biomedical engineering hardware and software approaches using numerical methods.
Imaging continues to play an important role in all aspects of medicine. We are developing new approaches to obtain and process data from multiple imaging modalities. For example, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an appealing imaging modality that can, non-invasively, provide unprecedented levels of information about functional and pathological events that occur in the human body. Other modalities continue to evolve and improve. An example of this is X-ray imaging which is benefiting from solid-state detectors with improved sensitivities that can achieve better images with lower dosages. Also, new software analysis algorithms are required to keep up with the rapid pace of development in medical imaging hardware. Research in the department includes developing improved MRI image processing algorithms and X-ray imaging.