Biomedical engineering is a broad field and includes virtually any application of engineering to medicine, biology or health care. UT Dallas has chosen to focus its biomedical research in the following areas:
- Electronic sensors and devices
- Neuroscience and engineering
- Surgical procedures and interventions
- Bio/nano applications to materials and medicine
- New technologies for cancer detection, control and treatment
- Advanced imaging research
Faculty research interests include:
My interests are in the intersection of synthetic and systems biology, mathematics and control theory. I am particularly interested in basic architectures for general-purpose sensors and cell reprogramming. My current research programs are on engineering transcription activator like effectors, studying genetic circuits stably integrated in human cells, engineering sensors for microRNAs, and finally analyzing the molecular complexity in mammalian cells via reverse engineering of their pathways and networks.
My research aims to develop high-performance wearable control systems to enable mobility and improve quality of life for persons with disabilities. Estimates indicate that by 2050 the U.S. will incur a two-fold increase in the incidence of amputation and stroke, due largely to the prevalence of vascular disease. These disabilities severely limit mobility and social activity for millions of Americans, whose ambulation is slower, less stable, and less efficient than that of able-bodied persons. Recent robotic prostheses and orthoses have the potential to restore mobility in impaired populations, but critical barriers in control technology currently limit their performance and clinical practicality. On the other hand, recent bipedal robots can stably walk, run, and climb stairs with one control model that drives joint patterns as functions of a single mechanical variable, which continuously represents the robotís progression through the gait cycle, i.e., a sense of phase. My research attempts to leverage these breakthroughs to transform prosthetic and orthotic technology with a paradigm shift in how the human gait cycle is viewed: as a function of a phase variable rather than time. This work will enable the design of wearable robots with a single control model that measures a biologically-inspired phase variable to match the humanís volitional movement and respond to perturbations. Central to this challenge is a fundamental gap in knowledge between disciplines about how the human neuromuscular system might maintain a sense of phase and subsequently control locomotion. My current research aims to address this gap by 1) identifying biomechanical phase variables used in human locomotion, and 2) designing and experimentally validating phase-based control models on robotic prostheses and orthoses. Through this needs-driven work I hope to establish a new field of inquiry at the scientific interface between robot control theory and physical rehabilitation to enable mobility in impaired populations.
The Functional Cellular Networks Laboratory studies the regulatory networks underlying dynamical cellular functions that are important in basic biology as well as human health and disease, such as response of tumor suppressor p53 to cellular stress, programmed cell death (apoptosis), and cyanobacterial circadian rhythm , using the approach of mathematical modeling and computer simulation in synergy with quantitative experiments. We generally aim to develop predictive kinetic models as well as insightful theory that can generate testable hypotheses and provide guidance for experimentation.
The mission of the BIOMEDICAL MICRODEVICES AND NANOTECHNOLOGY LABORATORY (BMNL) at UT Dallas is to develop nano-bioelectronic devices using "lab-on-a-chip" principles. The lab's focus is to build sensor devices for health care, environmental and military applications which are locally applicable and globally relevant. Research @ BMNL integrates principles of engineering, material science and chemistry. The lab has three multi-disciplinary thrust areas, first is in the area of diagnostics for developing, cheap, disposable and ultra-sensitive sensors and drug delivery systems for clinical and research applications. Second is in the area of wearable electronics for designing self-powered bio/chemical sensors for broad spectrum applications and the third is in the area of cellular micro and nano engineering for designing tools for understanding changes to the micro environment on cells and cellular systems.
The Advanced Polymer Research Lab (APRL) at the University of Texas at Dallas is led by McDermott Faculty member Prof. Walter Voit and explores fundamental thermomechanics of smart polymers. We are located in the Natural Science Engineering Research Laboratory (NSERL) on the UT Dallas campus in Richardson, TX.
APRL researchers hail from a variety of disciplines including Bioengineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Biochemistry. We explore fundamental and applied problems in polymer science and engineering with a special focus on shape memory polymers. Research thrusts include efforts in flexible electronics, neural interfaces, radiation processing of materials, energy harvesting, homeland security, biomedical devices, triple shape polymers, acoustic metamaterials, and electromagnetic metamaterials. Development efforts include ultra-comfortable earpieces (with Syzygy Memory Plastics), cortical brain probes (wired and wireless), multi-electrode arrays, cell-culture dishes, nerve-cuff electrodes, RFID antennas, temperature indicators, strain and pressure gages, smart orthotics and prosthetics and cochlear implants.