News Archive

BME Junior Hacks for the Environment

UA Engineering students used MIDI and Arduino technology to turn discarded cans into a musical instrument.Biomedical engineering major Sajani Jivan helped his team win the sustainability award at Hack Arizona 2016. They created Mini Midi Recyclable, a musical instrument made out of leftover aluminum cans, Arduino microcontroller and stickers handed out by sponsors.

Read more about the project in Arizona Engineer.

UA Researchers Developing Brain-Mapping Technology

sell Witte is studying how ultrasound, commonly used for fetal imaging, can be used to capture high-resolution images of brain activity.Biomedical engineer Russell Witte is leading a $1.15 million NIH project to create a new type of imaging with the potential to advance understanding of brain function and improve diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders. 

“We know very little about how neurons act collectively to guide our thoughts, emotions and behaviors – or cause seizures or mood swings,” Witte said. “Functional magnetic resonance imaging and electroencephalography have provided some clues. But both fMRI and EEG share a major limitation: They produce images with poor resolution. We think our new technology could overcome that limitation.”

The project is part of the U.S. government’s BRAIN Initiative, or Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies. BRAIN involves 80 public and private research institutions working together to map the human brain and build a model that reveals how individual nerve cells and complex neural circuits interact. 

Read more in Arizona Engineer.

Slepian Named Fellow of Academy of Inventors

Dr. Marvin J. Slepian, professor of medicine and professor and associate department head of biomedical engineering, was one of 168 inventors in the 2015 class of fellows of the National Academy of Inventors.

Slepian is a named inventor on 52 issued patents and applications and is a co-founder of SynCardia Systems, the company that brought the total artificial heart to market. He has commercialized a range of inventions and founded other medical device companies, including Focal (NASDAQ), Hansen Medical (NASDAQ), Arsenal, 480 BioMedical and MC10. Slepian is an elected fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and current president of the International Society for Mechanical Circulatory Support.

Read more in UANews.

'Star Wars' Science: How Would BB-8 Work?

The real star of the upcoming "Star Wars" movie may not be a human or a Wookie. Instead, it may be a round, 2-foot-tall astromech droid named BB-8.

It may look great on the screen, but could BB-8 exist in real life?

Associate professor Wolfgang Fink would know, as an expert in artificially intelligent Mars rovers — and as an unabashed "Star Wars" fan.

Read more on UANews.

A Man of Vision: Interdisciplinary Researcher and Department Head Art Gmitro

Art Gmitro (Photo: Mark Thaler/UAHS BioCommunications)When Art Gmitro became department head in November 2014, he added a new title to an already impressive slate: professor of medical imaging in the College of Medicine – Tucson, professor at the College of Optical Sciences, and Margaret E. and Fenton L. Maynard Chair in Breast Cancer Imaging.

Read more about his background, his research and his plans for BME in Lo Que Pasa.

New Microscopy Technology May Help Surgeons Save More Lives

Doctoral student Jeffrey Watson, left, and associate professor Marek Romanowski assemble parts for the prototype microscopy device.

Researchers at the University of Arizona have invented a device that for the first time allows neurosurgeons, who use microscopes extensively while operating, to see blood flowing inside vessels and more clearly distinguish cancerous from healthy tissue under the microscope.

Called augmented microscopy, the technology gives surgeons a much more detailed picture in real time and helps them stay on course in surgeries where being off two millimeters could cause paralysis, blindness and even death. And surgeons get this better view without having to learn new technical skills or adapt to changes in the operating room.

“When we started developing this technology, we thought of it like a Google map of a surgical view, providing layers of pertinent information in real time,” said Marek Romanowski, UA associate professor of biomedical engineering. “Our augmented technology provides diagnostic information under the microscope on demand and in color, appearing directly over tissue a surgeon is operating on -- as if the tissue was painted to help direct the surgeon’s work.”

Read more in Arizona Engineer.

Doctors to Get Better Access to Digital Data

The National Institutes of Health has awarded a $1.3 million grant to researchers at the University of Arizona to develop open-source software that will enable health care professionals and scientists to manage biomedical big data in digital form.

The advanced data compression software for the first time puts digitized biomedical data in a format and size that doctors, pathologists and other health care workers with limited resources and in remote locations will be able to access, analyze and store. Usable digitized data means quicker second opinions and diagnoses for patients.

"Advances in image compression technology for biomedical big data are essential to advance biomedical diagnostics and research and to save more lives," said Ali Bilgin, UA assistant professor in the departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Biomedical Engineering and principal investigator of the project. "We are in the middle of a global transition to digitization of biomedical data, and there’s a lot of it out there — but in files too large to be transmitted, stored or retrieved."

Read more in UANews.

Barton Named Interim Director of BIO5 Institute

Renowned biomedical engineer and former BME department head Jennifer Barton has been named interim director of the BIO5 Institute at the University of Arizona. 

“Jennifer’s ability to bring people together, which she has done throughout her career at UA, and her administrative accomplishments and familiarity with our faculty makes her a great fit for BIO5 at this time.”

Read more at the UA Office of Research and Discovery.

Device Could Speed Diagnosis of Infections

Jeong-Yeol Yoon and Dustin Harshman work on a device that can analyze pathogens in real time.

A new diagnostic device created by a collaborative team of UA researchers, including BME's Jeong-Yeol Yoon, may significantly reduce the amount of time necessary to diagnose tissue infections. The device’s novel approach to molecular diagnostics, called DOTS qPCR, is faster, more efficient and less expensive than options currently being used in clinics.

Read more in UANews.

Wolfgang Fink Named da Vinci Fellow for 2015

Fink da Vinci Fellow
Like many men of science, Wolfgang Fink works in diverse disciplines and enjoys eclectic avocations. He’s a physicist, an engineer, an educator, an inventor, a licensed helicopter pilot and a classically trained pianist. You might call him a Renaissance man.

Read more in Arizona Engineer.


University of Arizona College of Engineering
Department of Biomedical Engineering 1127 E James E. Rogers Way P.O. Box 210020 Tucson, AZ 85721-0020