News Archive

Annual BME Poster Sessions Bring Undergrads, Grads Together

2017 Most Creative Research winner, Amanda Koiki, with her poster

On March 1, posters made by undergraduate biomedical engineers lined the Grand Ballroom in the Student Union Memorial Center for the department's fifth annual BME Design Day.

The event was sponsored by W.L. Gore & Associates and featured a keynote presentation by Gore engineer Ryan Gapp – a 2014 graduate of BME's undergraduate program and a former UA Engineering Ambassador.

The 2017 winners were:

  • First Place: Martin Galaz, senior, for "Mechanical Stimulation Apparatus for Engineered Heart Tissues"
  • Second Place: Swati Chandra, sophomore, for "Intermittent Dosing with Sulindac Provides Effective Colorectal Cancer Chemoprevention in the Azoxymethane-treated Mouse Model"
  • Third Place: Jeffry Granados, senior, for "Examining Extracellular Matrix Proteins in Healthy and Fibrotic Decellularized Kidney Scaffolds"
  • Most Promising Research: Emily Evans, senior, for "Helminth Therapy as a Novel Treatment for Autoimmune Disease: Laboratory Viability of the Necator Americanus Human Hookworm"
  • Most Creative Research: Amanda Koiki, senior, for "The Dance of Baseball: An Exploration of Aesthetics"

Joining BME Design Day this year was the UA Biomedical Engineering Graduate Interdisciplinary Program's Builders Day poster session. The graduate winners were:

  • First Place: Loi Do, second-year PhD student, for "Analysis of Neurological Diffusion Weighted Magnetic Resonance Imaging Across a Lifespan: Rodent Model"
    Adviser: Ted Trouard
  • Second Place: Jeff Watson, third-year PhD student, for "Glioma Resection Using Augmented Microscopy Guidance with Indocyanine Green Contrast"
    Adviser: Marek Romanowski
  • Third Place: Vic Keschrumrus, third-year PhD student, for "Engineered Heart Tissues for Titin-Based Disease Modeling"
    Adviser: Henk Granzier

Photo of BME senior Amanda Koiki with her award-winning poster, "The Dance of Baseball: An Exploration of Aesthetics," courtesy of Mia Schnaible. Additional photos are available on the BME Facebook Page.

Funding for Early-Stage Invention Awarded to BME Professor

Marek Romanowski, a University of Arizona biomedical engineering professor with a joint appointment in materials science and engineering, won one of seven 2017 Asset Development awards from Tech Launch Arizona. The Asset Development program awards funding for work "such as prototype development, functionality assessment and scalability testing," ultimately to better align early-stage technologies with market opportunities.

Professor Marek Romanowski (right) assembles an augmented microscope with aid from doctoral student Jeffrey Watson. (2015)Funding from the award will assist Romanowski, in collaboration with Dr. Gerald Lemole, a professor of surgery at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, in developing a solid-state camera system for monitoring cranial nerve pathways in anesthetized patients.

Romanowski's previous innovations include augmented microscopy, which allows operating neurosurgeons to view blood flow inside vessels and also distinguish cancerous from healthy tissue under the microscope more clearly.

Undergrad's Passion to Help Others Leads Her to BME

BME undergraduate Danielle Spencer with her twin brother, James

In high school, UA sophomore Danielle Spencer thought she wanted to be a neurosurgeon. Her twin brother James endured years of tests and procedures to treat his seizures, and one in particular – a split brain surgery – had an enormous impact on both siblings.

After the apparent success of the procedure, Spencer told The Daily Wildcat she decided to study neurosurgery to become like those who helped her brother. But it was an episode of "60 Minutes" on biomedical engineering that gave her a better career focus for her scientifically curious mind.

"I remember watching that [60 Minutes] and thinking I can incorporate that sort of technology for someone like my brother, because his way of life still isn't normal or typical," said Spencer.

An avid gymnast, Spencer came to the UA as a recruit by former head coach Bill Ryden – himself a former engineer – who knew of her interest in biomedical engineering.

"The passion and drive Dani demonstrates in the gym is only a piece of who she truly is," said gymnastics team captain and roommate Krysten Howard. She "wants to change lives and be a light to those in need."

Photo of Danielle with her twin, James, courtesy of Danielle Spencer.

Combating the "Silent Killer" of Women

Jennifer BartonOvarian cancer is considered the most deadly gynecological cancer in the U.S., with nearly 70 percent of women already in advanced stages when first diagnosed.

Jennifer Barton, professor of biomedical engineering and interim director of the UA BIO5 Institute, recently discussed her work to improve the odds of recovery for women with ovarian cancer.

In a Dec. 23 segment on the Arizona Science radio show, she describes an optical endoscope currently under development by her lab to detect cancer in the fallopian tubes. In an SPIE video, she further details the imaging techniques that make the device more effective at early detection. 

UA Researchers Go the Distance for Fluid Analysis Via Sweat

Microfluidic sensor on wet skinWhile participating in last year's El Tour de Tucson, more than a dozen volunteers were simultaneously participating in and conducting a real-world scientific study, one that involved a diminutive device that rapidly and painlessly analyzes body chemistry from sweat.

Among the volunteers were faculty and students at the University of Arizona and University of Illinois who helped develop a first-of-its-kind soft, stretchable, wearable microfluidic sweat sensor – including Dr. Marvin Slepian, associate department head for clinical-industrial affairs.

Photo courtesy of John Rogers/Northwestern University

Xeridiem Recruits Capstone Team Leader

Summer GarlandBy all accounts, Team 15024’s project was a winner.  

Sponsored by Tucson-based Xeridiem, the students’ Nasogastric Tube Placement Verification System earned two first-prize awards at UA Engineering’s 2016 Design Day. Members of the team also took their show on the road, presenting the project at the June 2016 Capstone Design Conference in Columbus, Ohio.  

The team’s can-do attitude continues to pay off. Xeridiem has graciously named all team members on patent applications for the device. And, when team mentor Paul Melnychuck needed to replace a departing employee, he called Garland, who is working part-time for Xeridiem as a customer success engineer and will go full time in January when she graduates.

Slepian Helps Local Company Bring AEDs to Neighborhoods

Marvin Slepian; photo by Arizona Daily Star/Mike ChristyDr. Marvin Slepian, associate department head for clinical-industrial affairs and director of the Arizona Center for Accelerated Biomedical Innovation, is working with Tucson-based startup CardioSpark to get automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, sprinkled throughout Southern Arizona’s neighborhoods.

Photo by Mike Christy/Arizona Daily Star

BME Researcher Gets Grant for Ovarian Cancer Screening Device

Jennifer Barton in the labProfessor of biomedical engineering Jennifer Barton has been awarded a four-year National Institutes of Health grant totaling nearly $1.3 million to develop a novel tool that would be used to identify the earliest signs of ovarian cancer.  

Barton, interim director of the UA's BIO5 Institute, is collaborating with Khanh Kieu, assistant professor of optical sciences, and Kenneth Hatch, professor of obstetrics and gynecology.

The new device, called a salpingoscope, would enable high-sensitivity, high-resolution imaging of the fallopian tube, ovaries and uterine wall. The scope would be used under local anesthesia in an office setting.

Student-Athlete Spencer Declares Her Major

Danielle Spencer competing with gymnastic routineArizona Athletics emphasized the "student" in "student-athlete" with their first annual Declare Your Major Day in October

One of the Wildcats highlighted at the event was sophomore gymnast Danielle Spencer, who shared her story of selecting biomedical engineering as a major. 

“I will be able to take my passion and hopefully improves the quality of life,” she said. “It gives me my reason and purpose. ... It helps me keep the best outlook on my life.”

Barton Honored with SPIE President's Award

Jennifer Barton onstage after receiving the 2016 SPIE President's Award; photo courtesy of SPIEJennifer Barton – cancer researcher, professor of biomedical imaging and interim director of the BIO5 Institutereceived the 2016 President's Award from SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

A member of the SPIE board of directors, she was recognized for her "inspirational leadership, excellence in research and dedicated involvement in governance."

Image courtesy of SPIE

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