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Version dated:  October 1, 2009

Drafted by: H. Solo-Gabriele with input from Department Chairs.

BIOMEDICAL RESOURCES AVAILABLE THROUGH THE COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING

Biomedical-related resources available through the College of Engineering (CoE) are separated into 4 primary areas: general prototyping facilities, bioinformatics (including signal processing and data mining), applied biomedical engineering laboratories (including nanotechnology), and additional capabilities.

General Prototyping Facilities

Several facilities exist within the College of Engineering for prototyping new devices.  These include Rapid Prototyping Facilities located within the Department of Industrial Engineering which houses a 3-dimensional thermoplastic printer (Thermojet Multi-Jet Modeling) with a 300 x 400 x 600 dpi resolution and a maximum model size of 10 x 7.5 x 8 inches.  Capabilities of the Department of Biomedical Engineering’s prototyping instrument (Prodigy Plus Strata Systems) include a resolution of 143 dpi and a maximum size of 8 x 8 x 12 inches.  The College of Engineering also has a 2,990 square feet machine shop fitted with a large assortment of hand and power tools plus heavy equipment, including hydraulic presses, vertical and horizontal band saws, motorized sanders, sand blasting equipment, engine lathes, vertical and horizontal milling machines (which are computer controlled), grinders, drill presses, and prototype finishing equipment (buffer, polisher, wire wheels).  The machine shop is also fitted with specialty equipment designed to work with sheet metal (a hydraulic shear, a manual shear, Bead and Spartan roller, notcher, hole puncher, and ornamental bender), welding (miller, arc welder, spot welder, oxygen/acetylene cutting and brazing, and steel deck welding table with vise) and carpentry (table saws, band saws, scroll saw, miter saw, and disc sander). 

Bioinformatics

A considerable amount of intellectual and computer resources are available through the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the area of Bioinformatics which includes electronic medical records management, biomedical signal processing, and data mining.  The intellectual resources applicable to research at the medical school include for example the research conducted by Shyu, who has developed techniques to analyze the huge amounts of data to support large-scale information systems in medical and bioinformatic domains. The developed techniques have been applied to electronic medical records (EMRs) such as the anesthesia information systems and the intestine transplant information systems, all to extract useful patterns/knowledge to improve clinical decision-making, adherence to guidelines, and/or patient safety. She has used feedback control techniques to build a predictive model to guide the use of appropriate anesthetic approaches in real-time during labor and delivery and to locate the protein-protein interaction networks involving neuronal and glial cells of the central nervous system (CNS).  Premaratne has expertise in data mining from imperfect data streams and databases which are critical when evaluating medical records as medical/healthcare databases are often poorly maintained and are rife with data imperfections. They often contain unstructured text statements (e.g., physician notes about a patient) and expert opinions (e.g., subjective opinions of physicians) that cannot be captured via traditional probabilistic models.  The evaluation of imperfect data has been used to develop novel machine learning techniques in the context of the diagnosis and treatment of HIV patients (Kubat).  In addition to data mining, Kubat is widely respected as a pioneer of the fields of induction in time-varying domains and machine learning from imbalanced classes.  Cai applies statistical signal processing methods, machine leaning and pattern recognition, dynamical system and control theory to molecular biology.  His current interests focus on stochastic modeling and simulation of gene networks, inference of gene networks, multiple QTL mapping and genome-wide association studies.  Abdel-Mottaleb works in the area of image processing, computer vision and pattern recognition. He has been active in the area of biometrics, especially face recognition, ear recognition and human recognition from dental X-ray images. Younis has focused on the development of information integration approaches for distributed genomic data sources in a grid environment. He has collaborated with others in investigating effective techniques for genome-wide analysis that are applicable in personalized medicine.  In biomedical imaging, Younis has developed novel approaches for detection and quantification of neuro-degenerative diseases, specifically Multiple Sclerosis and HIV-associated neurological disorders.

Applied Biomedical Engineering Laboratories

Applied Biomedical Engineering Laboratories include the Biomedical Optics Laboratory (Manns, at Engineering), which is used for the design of medical laser beam delivery systems, study and optimization of laser-tissue interactions, modeling of optical-thermal laser tissue interactions, optical modeling of the eye and vision correction procedures, design of optical imaging and diagnostic systems.  The laboratory is fitted with high power lasers (Er:YAG, Carbon dioxide, Diode laser), laser-thermal testing platforms, and benchtop prototypes of optical/laser systems.  The Biomedical Atomic Force Microscopy Laboratory (Ziebarth, at Engineering) focuses on the design of custom nano indentation systems, measurement of tissue mechanical properties from nano to micro scale.  Resources at this facility include customized atomic force microscopes for mechanical property testing.  The Stem Cell and Mechanobiology Laboratory (Huang at Engineering) is used for studying the mechanobiology of orthopedic soft tissues and adult stem cells, dental stem cell research and their clinical applications.  Resources available at this facility include cell culture systems, microscopic imaging systems, real time PCR system, and a biospectral imaging system.  The Tissue Biomechanics Laboratory (Gu at Engineering) focuses on the evaluation of the biomechanical, electrical, and transport behaviors of biological soft tissues, mechanobiology of intervertebral disc and connective tissues.  Much of the work is based upon measurements coupled with finite element modeling.  Instrumentation available includes biomaterial testing systems, mechanical analyzers, and related spectrophotometers.  The Cartilage Tissue Engineering and Mesenchymal Stem Cells Laboratory (Cheung at Engineering) evaluates the engineering properties of cartilage tissue, mesenchymal stem cells, osteoarthritis.  Equipment available in this laboratory includes bioreactors for cyclical loading and strain and tissue culture facilities.  The Diabetes Tissue Engineering and Nanotechnology Laboratory, housed at the Diabetes Research Institute (Stabler at Medical), focuses on tissue engineering with an emphasis on integrating engineering principles for medical applications. By combining engineering materials and biochemical factors with cells and other tissue.  Equipment within this laboratory includes Molecular Devices Spectramax M5 UV-visible, fluorescent, and luminescent microplate/cuvette reader, Perkin Elmer Spectrum 100 Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) spectrometer, a Wyatt Technologies Dynapro Titan Dynamic Light Scattering Instrument, Hitachi LaChrom HPLC with UV and fluorescent detectors and auto-sampling, Savant environmental speed vac AES 1000 and lyophilizer.  The laboratory also houses state of the art equipment for oxygen monitoring, fabrication of scaffolds, cell culture processes, and molecular biology experimentation.  The Biomaterials Laboratory (Andreopoulos at Medical) focuses on the synthesis and characterization of biomaterials, drug delivery systems, “stimuli-responsive” polymers, tissue engineering, biosensors and circulatory assist device technology.  Capabilities within this lab include polymer synthesis, materials analysis, cell culture facilities.  The Neurosensory Engineering Laboratory (Ozdamar at Engineering) focuses on neurosensory electrophysiological testing and monitoring, neural signal processing, brain waves, and auditory evoked potentials.  Instrumentation available include an evoked potential system, otoacoustic emission system, and an EEG system.  The Biomedical Imaging Laboratory (Zhao at Engineering) develops medical imaging systems, radioisotope imaging methods, bioimage processing, image guided robotic surgery.  This laboratory is equipped with an image navigation system for robotic surgery.  The Bioinstrumentation Design Laboratory (Bohorquez at Engineering) focuses on the development of biomedical instrumentation, improved methods for neurophysiological monitoring and biosignal processing, and development of computer based medical devices.  This laboratory is fitted with bioinstrumentation prototyping equipment and testing tools.  The Biomechanics Laboratory, housed in the Department of Industrial Engineering and under the directon of Asfour, conducts research in human performance enhancement and biomechanical analysis for injury prevention. The lab features a motion capture studio rigged with several top of the line computers, 10 high speed cameras, 4 force plates, and electromyography equipment. This biomechanics lab is one of the only motion capture studios in Florida. The lab uses the world renowned NEXUS motion capture system, which uses high speed infra red cameras to capture the human motion. 

The CoE also has additional intellectual resources in nanotechnology including Li who focuses on the use of natural and/or artificial nanomaterials to create novel bio-nanosensors for medical diagnosis, food safety, environmental monitoring,  and multifunctional therapeutic devices. Song’s research is focused on applications of nanotechnology that include materials with superior properties, information technologies such as quantum computer chips, and medical advances including improved drug and gene delivery and sensors for disease detection.

Additional Capabilities

The College of Engineering also has considerable computational facilities, the bulk of which is used for its virtual desktop infrastructure for academic computing (IEmaxView).  The hardware that runs this system is composed of 42 Dell PowerEdge servers. Each server has dual quad core Intel processors and 32 GIG of memory.  The system includes 70 TB of separate dedicated storage plus access to the latest engineering software packages.

The CoE also houses numerous additional laboratories with equipment that may be applicable to research in the biomedical area.  These facilities include an environmental engineering laboratory which is equipped for handling and evaluating environmental media for chemical and microbiological characteristics, a full scale structural engineering laboratory capable of evaluating tensile, compressive, torsion, and impact properties of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, wood, and concrete, and a geotechnical laboratory capable of evaluating the engineering properties of soils and foundation materials.  All of these laboratories are housed within the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering.  The Mechanical and Aerospace Department houses a measurements laboratory fitted with strain gages, load cells, oscilloscopes, digital scales, and accelerometers, a materials laboratory fitted with microscopes, polishing machines, cutting machines, bending apparatus, and furnaces, a controls laboratory  fitted with a signal generator and motor-load control system, an experimental fluid thermal sciences laboratory fitted with a large-scale subsonic wind tunnel, convection enclosure, forced-vortex rotating basin, viscometer, calorimeter, Rankine cycler, and hydrogen bubble flow visualization equipment, a computation fluid dynamics laboratory capable of high order accuracy of numerical algorithms which describe fluid flow, an internal combustion engines laboratory designed to evaluate both conventional and high performance internal combustion engines, emission formation in combustion systems and automobile mechanisms as well as to study the use of conventional and synthetic fuels of the future such as hydrogen and methanol, and the Dorgan solar and fuel cell energy laboratory which focuses on evaluating mechanisms of water transfer in fuel cells, two-phase flow phenomena in fuel cells, and the design of new fuel cells.