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BME DISCOVERY DEPARTMENT OF BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING

FALL 2017

Inspiring Engineering Minds to Advance Human Health


FROM THE CHAIR

Our hearts go out to the millions of Texans suffering from the severe damage of hurricane Harvey. Our thoughts are also with the Floridians and Caribbean islanders coping with the trauma of Irma and Maria, and those in Mexico City digging out from recent earthquakes. The world is increasingly smaller, interconnected and interrelated, and we no longer can shield ourselves from national or world events. I call on the BME spirit to reach out and touch those in need, lend a hand or come up with a solution that can help these recovery projects, which can require years of effort and many billions of dollars. Speaking of Texas, I am pleased to introduce the two newest BME@UCI faculty members, both of whom have roots in the Lone Star State. We are excited to welcome Professor Kyriacos “Kerry� Athanasiou as a Distinguished Professor, effective July 2017. Athanasiou has indeed established a distinguished career, most recently at our sister campus UC Davis as the Child Family Endowed Chair in Engineering and a Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Orthopedic Surgery. Athanasiou came to California from Texas, having served on the faculty of Rice University in Houston and the University of Texas, in both Austin and San Antonio.

At the same time, we welcome the addition of Associate Professor Anthony Durkin. Durkin earned his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, and he has held a wide range of positions in government (National Academy of Sciences, FDA), industry (Candela) and academia (Beckman Laser Institute, UCI). There is no doubt that our leading biophotonics research program will be strengthened by the addition of Durkin to our department. These last six months, our faculty members have garnered a number of major grants and awards. Among them are Professor Zoran Nenadic, newly tenured Associate Professor Wendy Liu and Assistant Professor Michelle Digman. Several of our BME students (undergraduate, graduate and postdocs) also have received major recognition and awards. This publication is about the people we cherish at UCI BME: their stories, their aspirations, their visions and their accomplishments. Please read on for all the details. Sincerely, Abe Lee William J. Link Professor and Chair Department of Biomedical Engineering University of California, Irvine


PAGE 4 “We’re trying to mimic, to replicate all of the properties of the true biological native tissues. We use tissue engineering to come up with solutions so pain is gone and function returns. We’re super excited about this area of research.”

1 PAGE 12 “When we package cancer proteins like they’re viruses, we obtain a much higher immune response against tumors.”

CONTENTS

PAGE 8 “The study also will greatly expand our knowledge of how the human brain controls walking and processes sensation.”

BME DISCOVERY is published annually by the UCI Samueli School’s communications staff for the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Chair: Abe Lee BME Dept. Administrator: Cathy Ta Editor-in-Chief: Shelly Nazarenus Art Direction: Michael Marcheschi, m2dg.com Publisher: Mike Delaney, Meridian Graphics

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Facts and Figures

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The Healing Process

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Impantable Technology

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Imitation Game

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Innovator of the Year

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Accolades

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Alumni Q&A

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Business Class

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Directory


FACTS & FIGURES

UC IRVINE DEPARTMENT OF BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING

2002

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FOUNDED

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS (FALL 2016)

The growth of biomedical engineering in the Samueli School has been rapid. The department merges UCI’s strengths in medicine, biological sciences and engineering. BME faculty are competitive in garnering extramural grants, with expenditures topping $30M on an annual basis. Strong ties with many of Orange County’s more than 300 biomedical device and biotech companies provide students and faculty with distinct opportunities to solve contemporary medical challenges.

B.S. DEGREES Biomedical Engineering Biomedical Engineering: Premedical

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GRADUATE STUDENTS (FALL 2016)

M.S., PH.D. DEGREES Biomedical Engineering

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FULL-TIME FACULTY

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AFFILIATED FACULTY

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NSF CAREER AWARDS

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NIH NEW INNOVATOR AWARDS

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DARPA YOUNG FACULTY AWARD

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ENDOWED CHAIRS

UCI Department of Biomedical Engineering


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RESEARCH THRUSTS Biomedical Computational Technologies Biomedical Nanoscale Systems Biomolecular/Genetic Engineering Biophotonics Cardiovascular Neuroengineering Tissue Engineering

$34.6M RESEARCH EXPENDITURES (2015-16)

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WORLD-CLASS CENTERS INCLUDING 1 NSF I/UCRC

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FACULTY

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THE HEALING PROCESS Newly appointed professor translates inventions into treatments BRIAN BELL

DEBBIE MORALES

UCI Department of Biomedical Engineering


KYRIACOS A. ATHANASIOU RECENTLY JOINED UC IRVINE’S SAMUELI SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AS A DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR OF BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING. The senior academic researcher has spent his career inventing biomimetic tissues for use in treating damaged knees, jaw joints, hips, shoulders and other joints. Along the way he has become a leading authority on the process of translating engineering innovations into commercially available medical instruments and devices.

Athanasiou, a Cyprus native of Greek ancestry, earned his Ph.D. at Columbia University in 1989 and went straight into a faculty position at the University of Texas, where he remained for 10 years. He then moved to Rice University in Houston where he worked for another decade. His most recent position prior to coming to UCI was chair of the biomedical engineering department at UC Davis. He has served as president of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) and is currently the editor-in-chief of the Annals of Biomedical Engineering. He says a major motivating factor in his move to Irvine was UCI’s central position in the region’s robust medical technology ecosystem. He plans to help further solidify that standing while building up UCI as the preeminent training ground for future leaders in biomedical engineering. Following are Athanasiou’s responses from an interview conducted shortly after his arrival.

HOW WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE YOUR EARLY CAREER? I started as a straight academic after finishing my Ph.D., publishing academic papers, working with students, etcetera. I went through the ranks extremely fast, from Ph.D. to associate professor in about four years. I was single, working extremely hard, and at the time, I was starting to feel I was burning out at an early stage.

BME Discovery

WHAT SORT OF WORK WERE YOU DOING? With my group at the University of Texas I was working on inventing biomaterials to make cartilage heal and repair itself. There weren’t a lot of remedies for people suffering with joint ailments in those days. The doctor would give the patient painkillers until the time came for a knee or hip replacement with implants made out of metal or plastic. We viewed the problem of a small defect in cartilage as a purely mechanics issue involving stress concentration, which intensifies in areas in and around tiny defects in joints. That’s how we came up with biodegradable implants that we would use to fill in the cracks, allowing for the return of smooth joint movement.

WAS THERE ANY REAL-WORLD APPLICATION FOR THIS RESEARCH? After some success, we began to think about turning our invention into a product. This being the early 1990s, people were not as used to the concept of academics starting companies and commercializing their innovations. It was up to our team to work with university administrators to develop a set of guidelines. Ultimately we patented the only product in the world at the time for treating small lesions in articular cartilage. I created a company and began licensing the technology to other firms.

WOULD YOU SAY THIS EARLY WORK OPENED NEW DOORS FOR YOU? Yes, I saw early on what was doable and what made sense. My first company started at a quarter of a million dollars in investment, but a year later we raised $7.5 million. The company brought to the market 15 Food and Drug Administration-approved products. I was still conducting research, applying for grants and mentoring students, but I was also working hard on formalizing systems for academe-based biomedical technology translation and commercialization.

YOU STAYED IN ACADEMIA EVEN AFTER FORMING COMPANIES. WHY? I came close to leaving, to be honest. I had the corner office, and it was exciting to be creating all of these successful products, but my heart was and always will be in academics. I love what I do. I love our research. I love teaching graduate and undergraduate students. I can’t ever imagine leaving this field. To me that’s the thing that really represents me fully. Also, I realized that I’ve never been interested in creating products solely for making money. To me it’s about the excitement and passion of coming up with solutions to some of the most difficult problems that afflict humans.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR OTHER INNOVATIONS? Another of our products is an intraosseous infusion device to deliver drugs and other vital substances through bones, not merely through veins. When someone is in shock following a vehicle crash or some other traumatic event, it’s nearly impossible to administer life-saving drugs, because you can’t find a functioning vein. I was listening

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“We’re trying to mimic, to replicate all of the properties of the true biological native tissues. We use tissue engineering to come up with solutions so pain is gone and function returns. We’re super excited about this area of research.”

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UCI Department of Biomedical Engineering


to medical doctors discussing this at a conference one time, and I asked, “Why couldn’t you just inject drugs right into bone marrow?” We ultimately developed a spinning, paddle-tipped needle that penetrates bone in half a second. It can be used in emergency situations and can also be used to start an IO line, as opposed to an IV, to deliver drugs or blood directly to the inside of bones. Variations on the technology are commonly carried by emergency response and ambulance teams all over the world, and it’s been featured on popular television shows such as “ER,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Inside Combat” on the National Geographic channel. In a different line of research, we learned that we can regenerate mandibular bone segments. Patient one for this treatment was actually a dog with cancer on its jaw bone. We did an exact measurement of the removed segment and 3-D printed the biomaterial we created in the exact same shape and size, soaked it with chemicals and put it in. Lo and behold, a few weeks later, the dog was running and catching, healthy as can be. The same procedure has been done numerous times with other animals that were patients, not clinical trial subjects. We would like to make this treatment available to humans, but it’s a long-term process to make that happen. We’ve also been creating artificial ears for human beings with cancer. Like I said, all of this stuff is in parallel to our main research, which is articular cartilage. We’re interested in doing away with metal and plastic, and healing cartilage with fully biological and functional tissue-engineered constructs.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR NOTABLE PROJECTS AT UCI? We have a National Institutes of Health grant for the articular cartilage work I just described. We also have another NIH grant on regenerating the meniscus, an area of frequent injury for many athletes. We are working to create tissue-engineered structures that look and behave like the real biological meniscus. Supported by a third NIH grant, we are also working on the temporomandibular (jaw) joint, specifically a structure between the articulating surfaces BME Discovery

called the TMJ disc. The most intriguing thing about it is that close to 90 percent of TMJ problems occur in young, premenopausal women. So there’s a huge gender paradox. Our goal is to make fully biological, fully alive, fully mechanically similar structures to repair damage in the human body. We’re trying to mimic, to replicate all of the properties of the true biological native tissues. We use tissue engineering to come up with solutions so pain is gone and function returns. We’re super excited about this area of research.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE NEAR FUTURE? We are starting an initiative called DELTAi (Driving Engineering and Lifescience Translational Advances at Irvine) to help translate engineering advances to medicine. It combines mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering with materials science, all under the umbrella of biomedical engineering. It brings in the life sciences, such as biology, biochemistry, histology and pathology. And all of them point to the direction of human medicine as well as veterinary medicine. We want to create an environment that allows us to train individuals, perhaps at the postdoctoral level, who will be able to understand the elements of the whole process of translating engineering advances to medicine. It makes perfect sense to be working on medical devices and instruments here in Irvine, the country’s capital of this research area. It’s all around us in an academically excellent and vibrant environment. I think the conditions are ripe and right for us to create a structure through which we can train some of our fellows in that pathway.

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RESEARCH & FUNDING

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IMPLANTABLE TECHNOLOGY UCI heads $8 million NSF-funded project to develop brain-computer interface BRIAN BELL DEBBIE MORALES

THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION HAS AWARDED $8 MILLION TO A CONSORTIUM LED BY UC IRVINE TO DEVELOP A BRAIN-COMPUTER INTERFACE THAT CAN RESTORE WALKING ABILITY AND SENSATION IN INDIVIDUALS WITH SPINAL CORD INJURY. This initiative represents the largest NSF award received by faculty researchers in the UCI engineering and medical schools.

“The goal of this multidisciplinary project is to create an implantable system that by circumventing the damaged portion of the

spinal cord can enable patients with these injuries to regain feeling in their legs and walk again,” said principal investigator Payam Heydari, UCI professor of electrical engineering and computer science. “Spinal cord injuries are devastating and have a profoundly negative impact on independence and quality of life of those affected,” he added. “These resulting disabilities cost the U.S. roughly $50 billion per year in primary and secondary healthcare expenditures, so we hope that our work can solve a major national public health problem.” The five-year grant, sponsored by the UCI Department of Biomedical Engineering


Last fall, a man whose legs had been paralyzed for five years walks along a 12-foot course using UCI-developed technology that lets the brain bypass the spinal cord to send messages to the legs.

NSF’s Cyber-Physical Systems Frontier program, will be divided among UCI, California Institute of Technology and the University of Southern California. Heydari’s co-principal investigators on the project are Zoran Nenadic, UCI professor of biomedical engineering; An Do, UCI assistant clinical professor of neurology; Richard Andersen, the James G. Boswell Professor of neuroscience at Caltech; and Charles Liu, professor of neurological surgery at Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Do, an expert in neurorehabilitation, sees potential beyond helping individuals with spinal cord injury. “Once these systems are FDA-approved, their application can be expanded to people affected by disability due to stroke or traumatic brain injury,” he said. “The study also will greatly expand our knowledge of how the human brain controls walking and processes sensation – knowledge that can help researchers better understand disease processes that affect these functions.”

“The present approach develops a technological solution to paralysis by creating a new path for the brain to interact directly with the external environment. This novel approach will synergize with parallel strategies such as neural repair and optimization.” —Charles Liu, USC 9

Nenadic said that the UCI research team has been working in recent years to miniaturize brain-computer-interface systems, shrinking them from the size of a desktop computer to pacemaker scale. Nenadic and Do collaborated previously on a proof-of-concept study to implement a brain-computer interface that enabled a paraplegic man to walk a short distance. The goal of this new NSF-funded project is to perfect the technology and decrease its size. “Professor Heydari’s lab, which specializes in low-power, nanoscale electronics, designed and implemented several critical integrated circuits that make scaling to this small size possible,” he added. This new initiative will focus on converting existing technology into a fully implantable version, which will be implemented in a manner similar to deep brain stimulators. To test the technology, the UCI team will collaborate with Caltech and USC on clinical studies in volunteers with spinal cord injury. “Since these systems are fully implantable, they will be inconspicuous, work around the clock and access much stronger brain signals, facilitating highly accurate control of movement,” said Nenadic. BME Discovery

The Cyber-Physical Systems Frontier program is one of the largest within the NSF, providing funding for major efforts that identify and address critical problems that have the potential to be solved through the use of electronic, computing and information technologies.

(L-R) UCI researchers An Do, Payam Heydari and Zoran Nenadic will work with collaborators from Caltech and USC on an NSF-funded project to further develop the brain-computer interface.


CARDIOVASCULAR ENGINEER RECEIVES HUMBOLDT RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP Arash Kheradvar, professor of biomedical engineering, has received a Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Established by the Federal Republic of Germany, the Humboldt Foundation fosters international academic cooperation by enabling scientists and scholars from around the world to spend time in Germany working on a research project with a collaborator. Kheradvar will spend three summers at the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein in Kiel, where he will conduct congenital heart disease modeling in children. An American Heart Association fellow, Kheradvar’s research focuses on cardiovascular engineering with an emphasis on novel cardiac imaging technologies (e.g., cardiac MRI and echocardiography), cardiovascular system modeling and heart valve engineering. The University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein is a major referral site for pediatric cardiology patients in Germany, enabling Kheradvar to study the effectiveness of the most common surgical procedure for pediatric patients with single-ventricle heart abnormalities.

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“I’m honored to be selected for this highly prestigious fellowship by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation,” said Kheradvar. “I have devoted my career to life sciences, and I am thrilled that this fellowship will take our research a major step closer to improving patient care in children with congenital heart defects.” The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation maintains a network of Humboldtians from all disciplines in more than 140 countries worldwide – including 54 Nobel Prize winners.

TWO AWARDS ADVANCE NON-INVASIVE IMAGING TECHNIQUES Assistant Professor Michelle Digman recently won funding from two organizations in support of her research. The Hellman Fellows Program granted her $45,000 toward her research developing non-invasive imaging techniques to study alterations of intrinsic fluorescent biomarkers that can provide important information about cellular health, cancer invasiveness, neurodegenerative dysfunctions and mouse embryo development. “Our goal is to develop a non-invasive embryo viability index (EVI) for selecting and predicting healthy embryos for implantation through IVF,” explained Digman, who is among six UC Irvine faculty out of 54 applicants to be named a 2017 Hellman fellow. Digman also was selected for a $56,250 Scialog Fellow grant from the Research Corporation for Scientific Advancement and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. She is one of 51 Scialog Fellows ­— outstanding early to mid-career researchers from U.S. academic institutions — who are part of an initiative to develop innovative ideas through research, dialog and collaboration. For her research proposal, “Follow the Leader: Forecasting Collective Cancer Dynamics,” Digman teamed with Steve Presse, associate professor in the School of Molecular Sciences at Arizona State University; and Bo Sun, a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology. The researchers are using noninvasive imaging techniques to characterize unique metabolic and rheological markers in aggressive tumor cells from engineered cancer organoids. These organoids are clusters of cancer cells that mimic the architecture of tumors in the body and establish a population hierarchy of leader cells that invade the surrounding tissues. The researchers’ combined expertise — spectral imaging (Digman), modeling and data analysis (Presse), and tumor organoid engineering (Sun) — will aid in investigating and modeling how the leader hierarchy in cancer cells is established. “Our research is poised to provide fundamental insight into the game theory of collective cellular dynamics,” said Digman. UCI Department of Biomedical Engineering


NIH GRANT FURTHERS WOUND-HEALING RESEARCH Wendy Liu, associate professor of biomedical engineering, has won a $275,000 National Institutes of Health grant in support of her research to improve wound healing. Liu is looking at the behavior of macrophages, specialized cells in the immune system that respond to an infection or injury. Macrophages are essential regulators of the wound-healing process, involved in both advancing inflammation and promoting tissue repair. In addition, these cells play a major role in the progression of numerous pathologies, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and the immune response to biomaterial implants. “Impaired wound healing in response to traumatic injury, surgery or in disease remains a significant clinical challenge,” explains Liu. In this research, she proposes using molecular tools and biomaterial systems to alter the mechanical interactions of macrophages and see how these changes result in modulating the cells’ function. “Our long-term goal is to better understand regulation of macrophages by their microenvironment during wound healing, in order to develop new strategies to control their function after injury and in disease.” The two-year grant is an exploratory developmental grant, given to encourage the development of new research activities in specific program areas. Liu is collaborating on the research project with Elliot Botvinick, biomedical engineering; David Fruman, molecular biology and biochemistry; and Maksim Plikus, developmental and cell biology.

RECENT AWARD BOLSTERS HUMAN TISSUE CHIPS EFFORT Christopher Hughes, director of the Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology, Francisco J. Ayala Chair of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, and professor in biomedical engineering, has been awarded an NIH grant to further research into human tissue chips. BME chair Abe Lee is a co-investigator on the project. The award includes $740,000 in funding the first year, $500,000 in year two and the opportunity to renew for three additional years if Hughes’ group meets its project milestones. (“We will,” said the PI.) Hughes is working to create vascularized tissues that can be used for transplant or in the development of 3-D tissue for drug screening. Currently in development are microphysiological systems including heart, skin and bone marrow, as well as colon and breast tumors. According to the NIH, more than 60 percent of investigational drugs fail in human clinical trials despite showing promise during pre-clinical studies with cell and animal research models. The proposed tissue chip platforms mimic the biological function of human organs and systems, providing a new way to test drug efficacy. UCI is one of 13 universities and hospitals nationwide to receive $15 million in research funds this year through NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences’ Tissue Chip for Drug Screening program. “We’re very excited at the chance to develop tools that may help in the discovery of therapeutic drugs for patients with rare, under-studied diseases,” Hughes said of receiving the award.

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FEATURE

IMITATION GAME Researchers redesign molecules found in nature to create new medical therapies

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ANNA LYNN SPITZER

DEBBIE MORALES

UCI Department of Biomedical Engineering


MOTHER NATURE IS AN OLD PRO WHEN IT COMES TO ASSEMBLING MINISCULE NANOMETER-SIZED BUILDING BLOCKS INTO LIVING, BREATHING ORGANISMS. Now,

UC Irvine researchers are following her lead as they develop innovative applications that could benefit human health. By redesigning naturally occurring protein nanoparticles – altering them with chemistry or genetic manipulation – they hope to deliver drugs, create cancer-fighting vaccines and engineer materials for biomedical implants.

The team, led by Szu-Wen Wang, professor of chemical engineering and materials science, who also has a joint appointment in biomedical engineering, is using a strategy known as biomimetics, or biomimicry. “It all goes back to how the structures are made,” says Wang, who won last year’s Samueli School Mid-Career Faculty Excellence in Research award. “We look at how nature does this, how it creates them and what it uses them for. Then we try to take these fundamental structures and redesign them for a new purpose.” The team currently focuses on two efforts: creating hollow structures that can carry drug molecules inside them; and manipulating polymer chains to interact with cells in specific ways, in an attempt to decrease the inflammatory response caused by foreign bodies. One of nature’s many brilliant designs is a hollow “buckyball”-

BME Discovery

type nanoparticle with multiple layers on its surface, each responsible for a different function. Wang’s team has genetically removed these outer layers and changed the surface properties so that a variety of molecules – either synthetic or biological – can attach and provide the structure with new properties. They also can chemically change the particle’s internal properties, allowing them to encapsulate drugs or other molecules.

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Buckyballs, also known as “fullerenes,” were created in a laboratory. The carbon molecules held exactly 60 carbon atoms, arranged into a spherical shape, which resembled the futuristic “geodesic” domes invented by Buckminster Fuller in the 1930s.

What’s more, the team has learned how to open and close these nanoparticles by controlling how they assemble and disassemble. This could allow the particles to easily release the drugs they’re carrying when they arrive at a pre-determined destination. Wang and her research team, along with Dr. Edward Nelson’s research group in the School of Medicine, also are investigating whether biomimetics could help design more effective cancer vaccines. Studies over the last several years have shown elevated immune responses to experimental cancer vaccines, but they were nowhere near the level needed to eradicate the cancer. Wang realized that proteins used in currently successful vaccines – for example those for flu – are similar in size and structure to the particles her team is working on. “We’ve repackaged our nanoparticles so they look like a virus to the body, but we substitute

“When we package cancer proteins like they’re viruses, we obtain a much higher immune response against tumors.”

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in cancer proteins instead,” Wang explains, adding that the design also includes foreign DNA that causes the body’s immune system to activate. They hope this will teach the body to respond to cancerous cells the way it does to cells infected with the flu virus.

“Szu and I have collaborated on the collagen project for more than 10 years, bringing together our joint experience in molecular level design, her expertise in biomaterials and my expertise in yeast engineering,” says Da Silva. “A key aspect of the work is the novel modular strategy for synthesizing the collagen genes… In addition to the manipulation of cell binding and biopolymer properties, the system holds great promise for modulating immune system response and for tissue engineering and stem cell applications.”

“When we first started, there were many different avenues that we explored, but the biomedical research has really taken off. That’s been so exciting to me because you can see medical applications that can eventually help people.”

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Initial testing in mice has been positive. “When we package cancer proteins like they’re viruses, we obtain a much higher immune response against tumors,” Wang says, adding that they have experimented with several different types of cancer and the response has been similarly effective. While this project seeks to increase the body’s immune response, another uses biomimetics to decrease it. In a UCI multidisciplinary collaboration, Wang’s team has partnered with biomedical engineer Wendy Liu, Nancy Da Silva from chemical engineering and materials science, and immunologist Andrea Tenner to create collagen-mimetic biopolymers that can inhibit the body’s inflammatory response toward therapeutic materials. The body naturally produces collagen – long, thin strands of polymers – that interacts with cells via specific sites (protein sequences). Receptors on the cells’ surfaces bind tightly to particular locations within the collagen, sending a signal that tells the cell what to do. Wang and Da Silva have shown that cellular responses can be regulated through interaction with synthetic collagen-mimetic polymers in the same way the process occurs naturally. They have developed a strategy that enables molecularlevel manipulation of these collagen biopolymers.

The body’s immune response is the province of macrophages, a type of white blood cell that serves as the body’s sentry. These immune cells protect against infection by engulfing and digesting cellular debris, foreign substances, microbes and other materials that lack specific proteins on their surfaces. Unfortunately, this process usually causes rejection of implanted therapeutic devices. Researchers previously had learned that specific protein sequences in the collagen strand can inhibit immune cell responses by interacting with a particular protein receptor. In this case, the binding interaction instructs the immune cells to decrease their activation response. The collaborators are seeking to produce these reactive snippets of collagenlike polymers as a coating for biomedical materials and devices. Initial results show promise. “The foreign-body response to biomaterials remains a challenge in modern medical treatments that involve implantation of a device or material into the body,” says Liu. “Macrophages are key regulators of inflammation during wound healing, and we are very excited about the results of this collaboration. We believe these interactions may be useful for designing new biomaterials with an improved wound-healing response.” UCI Department of Biomedical Engineering


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If they are successful, the body could more readily accept implants like biosensors, catheters and stents, because the coating would suppress the body’s natural inflammatory response to them. These coatings also could have applications on the team’s drug-delivery nanoparticles. Wang is encouraged by the results of her group’s work. “When we first started, there were many different avenues that we explored,” she says, “but the biomedical research has really taken off. That’s been so exciting to me because you can see medical applications that can eventually help people.”

BME Discovery

Graduate students Medea Babaie Neek (left) and Tae Il Kim work in the lab. “I feel like the grad students are the ones who do the hard work,” says Wang.


INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR Michelle Khine plays it forward THE SAMUELI SCHOOL’S 2017 INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR REFUSES TO TAKE LIFE TOO SERIOUSLY. In fact, Michelle Khine pays homage to play; she credits it for her long list of accomplishments and even suggests it is the key to creating future inventors.

When research funds were tight in her first faculty position at UC Merced, Khine created a microfluidics platform using her favorite childhood toy, Shrinky Dinks. Despite colleagues’ admonitions that it could be career suicide, she published a paper on the process in The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Lab on a Chip journal. The response from academia was overwhelmingly positive. “We had more downloads than all the other Royal Society of Chemistry journals,” she says. “All I wanted to do was make a poor man’s version of the silicon wafer.”

Khine, who was elected to the National Academy of Inventors this year, calls herself a “card-carrying entrepreneur.” In addition to founding Shrink Nanotechnologies, Inc., she established three other companies and an outreach program to excite kids about science. Fluxion Biosciences, based on her dissertation, advances drug toxicity testing; Novoheart, which engineers bioartificial human heart prototypes to assist in drug discovery, is in the process of going public. Its stock soon will be listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange; and TinyKicks produces a wearable wireless smart sensor that captures fetal movement and uses data analytics to guide healthy pregnancy outcomes. Her outreach effort, A Hundred Tiny Hands, creates a series of hands-on educational science kits for children. She also is creator and director of UCI’s

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“You only learn by playing; we play music, we play tennis, we play sports. Why can’t we play science?” BioENGINE program for engineering undergraduates, which she implemented to create a new generation of entrepreneurs.

The UC Irvine biomedical engineering professor has expanded that effort over the years. Her lab still shrinks materials to make a suite of technologies, including microfluidic tools for point-of-care diagnostics and tissue engineering, flexible electronics and nanostructures for surfaceenhanced sensing. “We pattern everything very inexpensively at the large scale and shrink it down afterward,” she says.

“The U.S. is experiencing a creativity crisis,” says the professor, innovator, inventor, engineer and mother, who still advocates for play as an essential driver of imagination. “You only learn by playing,” she is known for saying. “We play music, we play tennis, we play sports. Why can’t we play science?”

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RECOGNITION

AT UCI

Number of patents

Startup companies

National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator Award Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering Director, Faculty Innovation, Samueli School Director, BioENGINE

LIFE PHILOSOPHY “Do or do not. There is no try.”

UCI Department of Biomedical Engineering


ACCOLADES NENADIC NAMED HAI-TIAN SCHOLAR Professor Zoran Nenadic has been appointed a Hai-Tian (Sea-Sky) Scholar by the Dalian University of Technology (DUT), China, in recognition of his research contributions. Nenadic investigates biomedical signal processing and computation with specific applications in neuroengineering and neurorehabilitation. The three-year award will support Nenadic’s travel to the Chinese institute, where he will spend up to a month each year working with DUT researchers in the general area of brain signal processing, with potential applications that include the diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders. “This award will allow me to establish new research collaborations with colleagues from DUT,” said Nenadic. “I recently traveled to DUT and was thoroughly impressed with the quality of research there. I am excited about this opportunity and will be looking forward to visiting again later this year.”

DOWNING MAKES FORBES LIST OF HIGH ACHIEVERS Forbes Magazine named Timothy Downing to its 2017 class of 30 Under 30 in science. The annual recognition lists the 30 brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers under age 30 in 20 different industries. Downing, an assistant professor in biomedical engineering, investigates how extracellular signals can influence the final fate of cells. His discoveries have larger implications in areas such as regenerative medicine and therapeutic interventions. Meeting the challenges of spinal cord repair, for example, could be advanced by guiding the formation of nerve cells. “Receiving this recognition from Forbes is a tremendous honor,” said Downing. “It has also been very encouraging for me and my research team here at UCI. We hope to continue making positive contributions to science and the field of biomedical engineering.” Now in its sixth year, the Forbes 30 Under 30 list honors the world’s most inspiring young innovators, rising stars and the leaders of tomorrow who are challenging the conventional wisdom and rewriting the rules for the next generation. BME Discovery

Located in the coastal city of Dalian in northeastern China, DUT is renowned for its highly focused science and engineering research units. The Hai-Tian Scholar award is part of DUT’s efforts to improve its research quality through collaboration with well-known researchers throughout the world. DUT is engaged in a historic mission of rejuvenating the northeastern Chinese industrial base and carrying out a talent-training strategy to build DUT into a world-famous research-oriented university.

LEE APPOINTED LOC EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Biomedical Engineering Professor and department chair Abe Lee has been appointed editor-in-chief for Lab on a Chip journal. Published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, Lab on a Chip is one of the world’s leading journals for miniaturization – at the micro- and nanoscale – and especially in Lee’s field of microfluidics. His appointment is for four years, from January 2017 through December 2020. The director of the Center for Advanced Design and Manufacturing of Integrated Microfluidics, a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center, Lee develops integrated micro- and nanofluidic chip processors that can be used to extract specific ingredients from biological fluids in sample preparation. Lee says the journal, published 24 times a year, will modify its scope next year to better position itself at “the interface of novel micro-and nanoscales devices and applications in biology, chemistry, medicine, energy, environment and beyond.” Priority will be given to articles exploring innovations that encompass technological advancement and high-impact applications. “My appointment is a reflection of the overall strength of lab-on-a-chip technologies at UCI, thanks to the campus investments over the years,” he said.

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UNDERGRADUATE NAMED OCEC OUTSTANDING STUDENT Biomedical engineering undergraduate Maaikee Kiyoe Pronda was named the 2017 Outstanding Engineering Student by the Orange County Engineering Council. Pronda, who graduated in June, was nominated for the award by Samueli School Dean Gregory Washington, who lauded her scholastic diligence, commitment to research, exemplary leadership and an “unwavering enthusiasm to making a tangible difference in the lives of others.” A Dean’s Honor List awardee with a 3.5 grade point average, Pronda is a member of Alpha Eta Mu Beta and Tau Beta Pi engineering honor societies and the Biomedical Engineering Society. Her resume is wide-ranging. She served as president of the Engineering Student Council and worked as a tutor adviser at UC Irvine’s Learning and Academic Resources Center, where she was previously a math, physics and chemistry tutor. She also was a student researcher at the Beckman Laser Institute, where she collaborated with her principal investigator on her senior project: a handheld burn wound assessment device that analyzes optical properties to assess the severity of burns. Pronda is an ardent volunteer as well. She has raised funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, organized collections for local homeless shelters and advocated for empowering young women through STEM. “It’s an honor to be recognized for my achievements, but even more so, to represent UCI and the school of engineering,” Pronda said of her recognition.

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GRAD STUDENT SCORES TWO FELLOWSHIPS BME graduate student Sara Sameni won two recent fellowship awards from the UC Irvine Graduate Division: a 2017 President’s Dissertation Year Fellowship and an honorable mention Public Impact Fellowship. The President’s Dissertation Year Fellowship helps students in their final year of graduate study who plan to pursue teaching and research appointments. The award covers tuition and fees, a stipend and academic travel support. In addition, Sameni was invited to attend an annual summit sponsored by UC Office of President. The Public Impact Fellowships support doctoral students whose current research has the potential to substantially affect the public sphere and significantly improve or enrich lives locally, nationally or globally. The honorable mention award is $1,000. Sameni uses advanced optical technology to develop biomarkers for early detection of brain diseases. She is an NSF BEST IGERT Fellow working in the lab of her adviser, Michelle Digman, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, and in the Laboratory of Fluorescence Dynamics. She also won the best poster presentation award during the 18th Annual UC Systemwide Bioengineering Symposium hosted at the Luskin Conference Center in June and the first place presentation award at the 14th annual Advanced Imaging Method conference held at UC Berkeley in January. Sameni expects to graduate this year with her Ph.D. She holds various leadership positions at UCI and is interested in empowering women and minorities in STEM fields.

UCI Department of Biomedical Engineering


ALUMNI WHAT IS NEXT FOR MODULATED IMAGING? Our first medical device, Ox-Imager CS, was cleared by the FDA in December 2016. Since then, we’ve been hard at work developing a smaller, lower-cost device, designed to be deployed at primary care clinics. Stay tuned!

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TODAY’S ENTREPRENEURIAL STUDENTS?

Q&A

WITH DAVID CUCCIA, ’03, ’06 DAVID CUCCIA’S COMPANY, MODULATED IMAGING, INC., TRACES ITS ROOTS BACK TO HIS UC IRVINE UNDERGRADUATE DAYS.

Cuccia was a physics major when he began developing the novel tissue-imaging technology known as spatial frequency domain imaging (SFDI). He went on to earn both a master’s and a doctorate in biomedical engineering at UCI, and the technology led to new applications in research, medicine and industry. Cuccia is now the CEO and CTO of Modulated Imaging. In 2015, the Samueli School inducted him into its inaugural Hall of Fame.

WHY IS SFDI UNIQUE? SFDI enables us to separately measure light absorption and light-scattering effects in human tissue. Compared to other approaches, we can capture information from infrared light deeper into the tissue (up to 1 cm or so) and over a larger area, and it requires relatively simple, low-cost hardware to implement. Together, these advances make it possible to transform consumergrade photography and video hardware into quantitative diagnostic imaging and monitoring devices that can guide medical interventions and anticipate injuries before the human eye can see them.

HOW CAN PATIENTS BENEFIT? SFDI can help diabetic patients avoid complications, such as ulcers and amputations, and it can catch changes in blood perfusion early so physicians BME Discovery

Make sure to get involved in something you’re passionate about; this will help you weather the natural ups and downs. Broaden your experiences. If you’ve been mostly technical, challenge yourself to go to local business events (often free for students) and learn the language of startups. Read the books and blogs of Steve Blank, Eric Reis, Fred Wilson, Brad Feld and Mark Suster.

can intervene sooner. Other promising applications include helping hospitals identify pressure-induced lesions that could become bedsores, helping ER doctors determine the severity of burn wounds, enhancing surgical guidance and providing post-operative monitoring.

Also, it’s so important to build trust within your company. I’ve been so lucky to work with such great people at Modulated Imaging, and we’re strong because of the trust we have in each other.

YOU’VE SECURED OVER $13 MILLION IN FUNDING AND SEVEN PATENTS. TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR SUCCESS?

The hardest part of school was probably taking challenging courses outside my specialty, such as the Humanities Core course as an undergraduate. But these were in some ways the most important; the rigorous instruction on how to translate one’s critical thinking into persuasive communication prepared me for scientific paper and grant writing.

I’m very proud of these accomplishments, and it’s a testament to the team’s perseverance and to the strong collaborations we’ve had with scientists and business communities in and around UCI. Fred Ayers, Dr. Amaan Mazhar and Pierre Khoury stayed with the company from the very early incubation days and have been the foundation of all we’ve built. Richard Oberreiter, our COO, has more recently helped us grow from a team of engineers to a full-fledged FDA-cleared medical device company. And the local startup community in Orange County has been incredibly supportive. To summarize, I’d say it’s important to stick with it, get good advice, and then actually take that advice.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE AS A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER? Deciding how to invest your time and finite resources. Things always take more time, energy and resources than I estimate, so it’s critical to decide what work is truly important and not get distracted.

AS A STUDENT, WHAT WAS TOUGHEST?

FAMILY? I met my wife, Sara Robinson, as an undergrad the first day of Freshman Welcome Week. Sara was an English major. She also has an MFA in creative writing from UCI, and is a brilliant writer and instructor. As I type this, we’re celebrating our 11th anniversary in our favorite hangout, San Francisco.

ANYTHING ELSE? Back in high school when I chose to attend UCI, I had no idea that it would be such a big part of my life and career. It’s exciting to see all the advances UCI continues to make, and I’m so proud to be an Anteater. Zot! Zot! Zot!

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STUDENTS

BUSINESS CLASS New senior project design program instills entrepreneurial skills 20

ANNA LYNN SPITZER

STEVE ZYLIUS

SHARON HENRY

UCI Department of Biomedical Engineering


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Students have learned the finer points of entrepreneurship through the BioENGINE program.

THE STUDENTS IN BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING 180A ATTEND CLASS OFF-CAMPUS, IN A BRIGHTLY LIT, CHEERFUL SPACE WITH A SILICON VALLEY VIBE.

Surfboards hang from the industrial-type ceiling and students kick back in beachy Adirondack chairs and lime green seats. Surrounded by giant wall-mounted screens that flash upcoming events, the undergraduates come to listen to industry experts explain business plans and venture capital. Welcome to UC Irvine’s BioENGINE — Bioengineering, Innovation and Entrepreneurship — a class that teaches business and management skills to fledgling engineers in an effort to encourage a new generation of entrepreneurs. The setting is no accident. “We want them to have an immersive experience as they learn,” says William Tang, biomedical engineering professor and the program’s lead instructor. “Being in a place that feels like a startup has a real psychological impact on the students.” While experiential learning has long been a staple of UCI’s undergraduate engineering education, these students are learning to commercialize what they create. BioENGINE is a required course for biomedical engineering undergraduates, along with chemical and biochemical engineering students. The yearlong class brings together faculty and businesspeople to lecture and serve as mentors to the five- and six-member student teams as they design,

manufacture and prepare their medical devices and apps for commercialization. Coursework includes business planning, market research and distribution, teamwork, leadership and the art of the pitch. Biomedical Engineering Professor Michelle Khine created BioENGINE. Khine, a former student entrepreneur herself, says creating a company yields countless advantages. “In every respect it prepared me to be a better researcher and think more about the impact of the work. I wanted my students to have that experience; it’s really motivating and very powerful.” Throughout the fall quarter, students attend twice-weekly lectures delivered by established biomedical industry executives, who give them an insider’s insight into innovation and incubation, designing for usability, product assessment, regulatory requirements and finding investors. The process emphasizes what Tang calls “the three I’s”: identifying a problem and its possible solutions, inventing a device and implementing key market-delivery strategies. “We made sure to teach the things our industry advisers have told us is important in industry,” Khine says. “And we make the students actually do the work instead of just reading about it.” Lectures continue through winter quarter, during which time the students also create their prototypes. By spring, the teams are polishing their products and perfecting their pitches, which they deliver to investors at a year-end symposium and awards ceremony.

The top two teams win $15,000 BioENGINE fellowships that fund their work over the summer, allowing them to continue refining their offerings. An additional three teams win a $1,000 design award, which recognizes superior products. Tang believes the program sparks entrepreneurship at the ideal time in his young students’ lives. “When they are in their early 20s, it’s the most precious time for them to try something new, to become entrepreneurial,” he says. “But they need to be trained in the essential aspects of what it means to start a company.” The program, a partnership with UCI’s Applied Innovation, is partially funded through a state grant intended to help speed research and commercialization. The grant requires matching funds, willingly provided by industry executives and entrepreneurs who advocate for the program. BioAccel, a novel venture fund that targets the medical technology industry, is an active contributor. Randal Schulhauser sits on the BioAccel board and is a program lecturer and mentor. “The world has become much more complex, and it takes a much longer runway to bring ideas out of a university environment and into the commercial area,” he says, crediting BioENGINE with creating a pipeline and speeding the process. “The fact that the teams are pitching for real money in front of real venture capitalists – that’s an important differentiator for this program,” Schulhauser adds.

IN THE FOLLOWING PAGES, MEET FOUR STARTUPS THAT BEGAN LIFE AS BIOENGINE PROJECTS.

BME Discovery

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Nearly 600,000 brain surgeries are performed in the U.S. each year. Because surgeons rely on two-dimensional tools that are not patient specific, it’s not possible to get a complete view of a patient’s brain prior to a procedure.

biggest challenge was to combine the worlds “ ofVOXEL’S software and biotechnology. We aim to use our surgical planning tools to create a widespread, positive impact in the surgical world.

Prachi Shah CEO, VOXEL

THE CHALLENGE TO DEVELOP A SYSTEM TO PROVIDE 3-D MODELS AND VIRTUAL REALITY (VR) ENVIRONMENTS OF THE BRAINS OF EPILEPSY PATIENTS TO AID SURGICAL PLANNING

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VOXEL’S SOLUTION SOFTWARE THAT CAN CREATE 3-D PRINTED AND VR MODELS OF A PATIENT’S BRAIN

HERE’S HOW VOXEL’S SOFTWARE WORKS:

1 Data from hundreds of images of a patient’s MRI and CT scans are uploaded.

2 Software selects visual information from the scans and uses algorithms to convert the data into calculations for 3-D printing and virtual reality.

3 Calculations are input to produce 3-D printed and/or VR model.

Data for 3-D printing

3-D printed model of patient’s brain, used to plan surgery.

Data for VR model

Virtual reality model used for in-depth analysis of patient’s brain.

Surgeons can interact with the brain model by slicing it and viewing the inside, rotating it and drawing on it. This intuitive tool will assist in surgical diagnosis and planning.

VOXEL team members (l to r): Leslie Fernando, Dishant Donga, Prachi Shah, Natalie Mai, Paul Nguyen UCI Department of Biomedical Engineering


More than 6.5 million people in the U.S. rely on a walking device to assist with their mobility. While the standard underarm crutch is inexpensive and widely distributed, its prolonged use often results in discomfort for the user. The low price of traditional crutches has discouraged most efforts to redesign a more specialized and comfortable device.

The biggest struggle was how many times we were told “ that this would be ‘too hard to bring to market’ or how some judges wouldn’t want to invest their own money in our product. Wesley Chiang

Founder, yCrutch

THE CHALLENGE TO DESIGN A CRUTCH COMFORTABLE ENOUGH FOR PROLONGED USE, AND PRICED TO BE COMPETITIVE WITH THE STANDARD CRUTCH MARKET

YCRUTCH’S SOLUTION AN INEXPENSIVE, CUSTOMIZABLE, ERGONOMIC CRUTCH

yCrutch’s device includes adjustable features that help redirect weight to reduce muscle strain and minimize discomfort, while allowing for safer use across multiple terrains.

yCrutch team members (l to r): Shyen Nasseri, Elisa Tran, Brandon Lee, Wesley Chiang BME Discovery

HERE’S HOW YCRUTCH WORKS:

Comfort Wide-angle arm stabilizer allows for optimization of comfort and stability depending on user limb length. Forearm support redirects stress points to forearm and elbow joint to prevent underarm bruising and slippage. Customizable Adjusts to accommodate a range of heights. Forearm bar adjustment can transform yCrutch into a stable walking/support cane.

Balance Pseudo-soft material provides compression to minimize shock from usage. Ribbed pattern and shape offer a more secure hold on multiple types of terrain.

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Burn wounds are the fourth most common form of trauma worldwide, and over half a million people seek treatment for burns annually in the U.S. The primary methods to determine burn severity are visual observation and histology; both are only 50 percent accurate.

The time constraint of the class and having only nine “ months to develop our device was a challenge. There is a definite clinical need for this technology, and it was rewarding to see our device go from a napkin design to prototype development.

Maaikee Kiyoe Pronda

Co-founder, data analysis officer, Salux Diagnostics

THE CHALLENGE

HERE’S HOW VESTA IMAGER WORKS:

TO DESIGN AND BUILD A LOW-COST, HAND-HELD IMAGING DEVICE FOR RAPID AND ACCURATE ASSESSMENT OF BURN INJURIES

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WHAT ANALYSIS OF LIGHT PATTERNS SHOWS

Light patterns Visual output

Light scattering: Identifies changes in tissue structure Hemoglobin/ tissue oxygenation: Indicates tissue viability

SALUX’S SOLUTION A HAND-HELD DEVICE THAT CAN RAPIDLY ASSESS BURN WOUNDS

Depth sensitivity: Determines extent of tissue damage

1

A series of 14 light patterns is projected onto the wound area.

2

Camera captures images of each light pattern.

3

Algorithms analyze the images to evaluate the severity of the burn.

4

Color-coded, visual assessment is displayed on the device. Output also can be transmitted to a physician.

Salux Diagnostic’s device, the Vesta Imager, can image and diagnose a burn injury in under five minutes, while also minimizing the risk of misdiagnosis.

Salux Diagnostics team members (l to r): Eashani Sathialingam, Dimple Patel, Akshita Agrawal, Shreya Akkenapally, Kevin Trieu, Maaikee Kiyoe Pronda UCI Department of Biomedical Engineering


Nearly one-in-four (about 7 million) diabetic patients in the U.S. carry a lifetime risk of developing a diabetic foot ulcer, a condition plagued with poor healing, infections and lower limb amputation. A staggering 50 percent of these amputees die within five years of surgery.

Developing a medical device involved the concentrated “ eff ort between medical research and engineering to provide an affordable stem cell therapeutic. ” Ahmed Zobi

Founder/CEO, Syntr Health Technologies

THE CHALLENGE TO DEVELOP A FASTER, SAFER AND LESS EXPENSIVE WAY TO SUCCESSFULLY TREAT DIABETIC FOOT ULCERS

HERE’S AN OVERVIEW OF THE PROCESS:

PROCEDURE TIME: UNDER 30 MINUTES 1

A small amount of body fat is extracted from the patient.

2

3

SYNTR’S SOLUTION MANIPULATING STEM CELLS TO HASTEN HEALING

Syntr’s patent-pending, CDmicrofluidic device enables processing of a patient’s own body fat to create a stem cell-enriched therapeutic product to help speed the healing of diabetic foot ulcers.

Syntr Health Technologies team members (l to r): Hugo Salas, Ahmed Zobi, Justin Stovner, Derek Banyard BME Discovery

Fat is transferred to microfluidic chip.

Chip spins in a centrifuge to expedite material flow. Process time is less than 10 minutes.

Stem cells respond to the pressure and shear force created by traveling through the microfluidic chip channels. These forces enrich stem cell populations critical to wound healing while increasing their activity.

4

Processed stem cells are packaged into syringe barrel.

5

Patient’s own processed stem cells are injected into the wound area.

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DIRECTORY Abraham P. Lee, Ph.D. William J. Link Chair in Biomedical Engineering and Department Chair and Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Research Interests: lab-ona-chip health monitoring instruments, drug delivery micro/nanoparticles, integrated cell-sorting microdevices, lipid vesicles as carriers for cells and biomolecules, high-throughput droplet bioassays, microfluidic tactile sensors Email: aplee@uci.edu

Kyriacos Athanasiou, Ph.D., P.E. Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering

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Research Interests: understanding and enhancing NEW FACULTY the healing processes of musculoskeletal tissues as well MEMBER as the body’s cartilaginous tissues; effecting translation of engineering innovations to clinical use, especially in terms of instruments and devices Email: athens@uci.edu

Michael Berns, Ph.D. Arnold and Mabel Beckman Chair in Laser Biomedicine and Professor of Surgery; Biomedical Engineering; Developmental and Cell Biology

Research Interests: photomedicine, laser microscopy, biomedical devices Email: mwberns@uci.edu

Elliot Botvinick, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Surgery; Biomedical Engineering Research Interests: laser microbeams, cellular mechanotransduction, mechanobiology

Email: elliot.botvinick@uci.edu

Gregory J. Brewer, Ph.D. Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: neuronal networks, decoding brain learning and memory, brain-inspired computing, Alzheimer’s disease, brain aging, neuron cell culture Email: gjbrewer@uci.edu

James Brody, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Research Interests: bioinformatics, micro-nanoscale systems Email: jpbrody@uci.edu

Zhongping Chen, Ph.D. Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Chemical Engineering and Materials Science; Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Otolaryngology; Surgery Research Interests: biomedical optics, optical coherence tomography, bioMEMS, biomedical devices Email: z2chen@uci.edu

Bernard Choi, Ph.D. Associate Professor in Residence of Surgery; Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: biomedical optics, in vivo optical imaging, microvasculature, light-based therapeutics Email: choib@uci.edu

Michelle Digman, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: biophotonics, fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy, nanoscale imaging, mechanotransduction, cancer cell migration, fluorescence lifetime and metabolic mapping Email: mdigman@uci.edu

UCI Department of Biomedical Engineering


Tim Downing, Ph.D.

Elliot E. Hui, Ph.D.

Wendy F. Liu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

Research Interests: microscale tissue engineering, bioMEMS, cell-cell interactions, global health diagnostics

Research Interests: stem cell and tissue engineering, regenerative biology, cell reprogramming, epigenomics, mechanobiology

Email: eehui@uci.edu

Email: tim.downing@uci.edu

Research Interests: computational modeling of biological systems, biomechanics, cardiac tissue engineering Email: grosberg@uci.edu

Jered Haun, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Research Interests: nanotechnology, molecular engineering, computational simulations, targeted drug delivery, clinical cancer detection Email: jered.haun@uci.edu

Zoran Nenadic, Ph.D.

Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

NEWLY PROMOTED

Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Research Interests: cardiac mechanics, cardiovascular devices, cardiac imaging Email: arashkh@uci.edu

Michelle Khine, Ph.D. Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

Research Interests: development of novel nano- and microfabrication technologies and systems for single cell analysis, stem cell research, in vitro diagnostics Email: mkhine@uci.edu

Frithjof Kruggel, M.D. Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: biomedical signal and image processing, anatomical and functional neuroimaging in humans, structure-function relationship in the human brain Email: fkruggel@uci.edu

Chang C. Liu, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Chemistry

Research Interests: genetic engineering, directed evolution, synthetic biology, chemical biology Email: ccl@uci.edu

BME Discovery

Email: beth.lopour@uci.edu

Arash Kheradvar, M.D.

Enrico Gratton, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

Research Interests: computational neuroscience, signal processing, mathematical modeling, epilepsy, translational research

Email: tjuhasz@uci.edu

Email: adurkin@uci.edu

Anna Grosberg, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: laser-tissue interactions, high-precision microsurgery with lasers, laser applications in ophthalmology, corneal biomechanics

Research Interests: spatial frequency domain imaging, NEW FACULTY wide-field functional imaging, quantitative near-infrared MEMBER spectroscopy of superficial tissues, chemometrics, fluorescence spectroscopy, quantitative spectral imaging

Email: egratton@uci.edu

Beth A. Lopour, Ph.D.

Professor of Ophthalmology; Biomedical Engineering

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: design of new fluorescence instruments, protein dynamics, single molecule, fluorescence microscopy, photon migration in tissues

Email: wendy.liu@uci.edu

Tibor Juhasz, Ph.D.

Anthony Durkin, Ph.D.

Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Developmental and Cell Biology; Physics and Astronomy

NEWLY PROMOTED

Research Interests: biomaterials, microdevices in cardiovascular engineering, cell-cell and cellmicro-environment interactions, cell functions and controls

NEWLY PROMOTED

Research Interests: adaptive biomedical signal processing, control algorithms for biomedical devices, brain-machine interfaces, modeling and analysis of biological neural networks Email: znenadic@uci.edu

William C. Tang, Ph.D. Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Research Interests: micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) nanoscale engineering for biomedical applications, microsystems integration, microimplants, microbiomechanics, microfluidics Email: wctang@uci.edu

Bruce Tromberg, Ph.D. Director of Surgery; Biomedical Engineering; Physiology and Biophysics Research Interests: photon migration, diffuse optical imaging, nonlinear optical microscopy, photodynamic therapy Email: bjtrombe@uci.edu

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AFFILIATED FACULTY Alpesh N. Amin, M.D. Thomas & Mary Cesario Chair and Professor of Medicine; Biomedical Engineering; Paul Merage School of Business; Program in Nursing Science Email: anamin@uci.edu

Pierre F. Baldi, Ph.D. UCI Chancellor’s Professor of Computer Science; Biological Chemistry; Biomedical Engineering; Developmental and Cell Biology Email: pfbaldi@ics.uci.edu

Bruce Blumberg, Ph.D. Professor of Developmental and Cell Biology; Biomedical Engineering; Environmental Health Sciences; Pharmaceutical Sciences Email: blumberg@uci.edu

Peter J. Burke, Ph.D. Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Biomedical Engineering; Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Email: pburke@uci.edu

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Dan M. Cooper, M.D. Professor of Pediatrics; Biomedical Engineering Email: dcooper@uci.edu

Robert Corn, Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry; Biomedical Engineering Email: rcorn@uci.edu

Nancy A. Da Silva, Ph.D. Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science; Biomedical Engineering Email: ndasilva@uci.edu

Hamid Djalilian, M.D. Professor of Otolaryngology; Biomedical Engineering Email: hdjalili@uci.edu

James Earthman, Ph.D. Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science; Biomedical Engineering Email: earthman@uci.edu

Gregory R. Evans, M.D. Professor of Surgery; Biomedical Engineering Email: gevans@uci.edu

Lisa Flanagan-Monuki, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Neurology; Biomedical Engineering Email: lflanaga@uci.edu

Ron Frostig, Ph.D. Professor of Neurobiology and Behavior; Biomedical Engineering Email: rfrostig@uci.edu

John P. Fruehauf, M.D. Professor of Medicine; Biological Chemistry; Biomedical Engineering; Pharmaceutical Sciences Email: jfruehau@uci.edu

Zhibin Guan, Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry; Biomedical Engineering Email: zguan@uci.edu

Gultekin Gulsen, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Radiological Sciences; Biomedical Engineering; Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Physics and Astronomy Email: ggulsen@uci.edu

Ranjan Gupta, Ph.D. Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery; Anatomy and Neurobiology; Biomedical Engineering Email: ranjang@uci.edu

Frank P. Hsu, M.D. Department Chair and Professor of Neurosurgey; Biomedical Engineering; Otolaryngology Email: fpkhsu@uci.edu

Lan Huang, Ph.D. Professor of Physiology & Biophysics; Biomedical Engineering Email: lanhuang@uci.edu

Christopher Hughes, Ph.D. Director of Edwards Lifesciences Cardiovascular Technology Center and Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry; Biomedical Engineering Email: cchughes@uci.edu

James V. Jester, Ph.D. Professor in Residence, Ophthalmology; Biomedical Engineering Email: jjester@uci.edu

Joyce H. Keyak, Ph.D. Professor in Residence of Radiological Sciences; Biomedical Engineering; Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Email: jhkeyak@uci.edu

Young Jik Kwon, Ph.D. Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Biomedical Engineering; Chemical Engineering and Materials Science; Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Email: kwonyj@uci.edu

Jonathan Lakey, Ph.D. Professor of Surgery; Biomedical Engineering Email: jlakey@uci.edu

Arthur D. Lander, Ph.D. Donald Bren Professor and Professor of Developmental and Cell Biology; Biomedical Engineering; Logic and Philosophy of Science; Pharmacology Email: adlander@uci.edu

Thay Q. Lee, Ph.D. Professor in Residence of Orthopaedic Surgery; Biomedical Engineering; Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Email: tqlee@uci.edu

Guann-Pyng Li, Ph.D. Director of the UCI Division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology; Director of the Integrated Nanosystems Research Facility and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Biomedical Engineering; Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Email: gpli@uci.edu

Jack Lin, M.D. Professor of Clinical Neurology; Biomedical Engineering Email: linjj@uci.edu

John Lowengrub, Ph.D. UCI Chancellor’s Professor of Mathematics; Biomedical Engineering; Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Email: jlowengr@uci.edu

Ray Luo, Ph.D. Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry; Biomedical Engineering Email: rluo@uci.edu

Marc J. Madou, Ph.D. UCI Chancellor’s Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Biomedical Engineering; Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Email: mmadou@uci.edu

Baruch D. Kuppermann, M.D. Professor of Ophthalmology; Biomedical Engineering Email: bdkupper@uci.edu

UCI Department of Biomedical Engineering


John Middlebrooks, Ph.D. Professor of Otolaryngology; Biomedical Engineering; Cognitive Sciences; Neurobiology and Behavior Email: j.midd@uci.edu

Jogeshwar Mukherjee, Ph.D. Professor and Director, Preclinical Imaging; Radiological Sciences, School of Medicine; Biomedical Engineering Email: j.mukherjee@uci.edu

J. Stuart Nelson, Ph.D. Professor of Surgery; Biomedical Engineering Email: jsnelson@uci.edu

Qing Nie, Ph.D. Professor of Mathematics; Biomedical Engineering Email: qnie@math.uci.edu

Pranav Patel, M.D. Chief, Division of Cardiology; Director of Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory and Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) and Health Sciences Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine; Biomedical Engineering Email: pranavp@uci.edu

David J. Reinkensmeyer, Ph.D. Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology; Biomedical Engineering; Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Email: dreinken@uci.edu

Phillip C-Y Sheu, Ph.D. Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Biomedical Engineering; Computer Science Email: psheu@uci.edu

Andrei M. Shkel, Ph.D. Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Biomedical Engineering; Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Email: ashkel@uci.edu

Zuzanna S. Siwy, Ph.D. Professor of Physics and Astronomy; Biomedical Engineering; Chemistry Email: zsiwy@uci.edu

Ramesh Srinivasan, Ph.D. Professor of Cognitive Sciences; Biomedical Engineering Email: r.srinivasan@uci.edu

BME Discovery

Vasan Venugopalan, ScD Department Chair and Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science; Biomedical Engineering; Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Surgery Email: vvenugop@uci.edu

Szu-Wen Wang, Ph.D. Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science; Biomedical Engineering Email: wangsw@uci.edu

H. Kumar Wickramasinghe, Ph.D. Henry Samueli Endowed Chair in Engineering and Department Chair and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Biomedical Engineering; Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Email: hkwick@uci.edu

Brian Wong, M.D. Professor of Otolaryngology; Biomedical Engineering Email: bjwong@uci.edu

Xiangmin Xu, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology; Biomedical Engineering; Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Email: xiangmin.xu@uci.edu

Albert Fan Yee, Ph.D. Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science; Biomedical Engineering; Chemistry Email: afyee@uci.edu

Fan-Gang Zeng, Ph.D. Director of Hearing Research and Professor of Otolaryngology; Anatomy and Neurobiology; Biomedical Engineering; Cognitive Sciences Email: fzeng@uci.edu

Weian Zhao, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Biomedical Engineering Email: weianz@uci.edu

EXECUTIVE ADVISORY BOARD Abe Lee UC Irvine Bill Link Versant Ventures David Bardin University Medical Pharmaceuticals David Cuccia Modulated Imaging Herman Cukier Allergan Bruce Feuchter Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth Stanton Rowe Edwards Lifesciences Corp. Thomas Yuen PrimeGen Biotech Nicholas Alexopolous Broadcom Vasudev Bailey Quid Thomas Frinzi Johnson & Johnson Vison Thomas Burns Glaukos Corp.

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University of California, Irvine Samueli School of Engineering Department of Biomedical Engineering 3120 Natural Sciences II Irvine, CA 92697-2715

Invest in a brilliant future.

BE A BME SUPPORTER. We believe in meeting tomorrow’s technological challenges by providing the highest-quality engineering education and research rigor today. We invite you to invest in the future of UC Irvine’s biomedical engineering program. It is through private donations like yours that we can continue to provide outstanding opportunities for our students and researchers. Your contribution, regardless of amount, makes a difference toward what BME can accomplish.

To find out more about supporting the advancement of the biomedical engineering department, please visit https://ua-web.uadv.uci.edu/egiving. From the “area of support” drop-down menu, select Engineering School and from the “gift designation” drop-down menu, you may either select Biomedical Engineering or Biomedical Graduate Fellowship Fund. This will ensure that your support will go directly to the department. For more information, please contact Ed Hand, assistant dean for development, at elhand@uci.edu or (949) 824-5094.

To learn more about the BME Department, please visit http://engineering.uci.edu/dept/bme

UCI Biomedical Engineering Discovery Magazine Fall 2017  

Annual magazine featuring the University of California, Irvine Department of Biomedical Engineering research, people and alumni

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