At the Edge in Knowledge in Life and Healthcare Science and Engineering

Assistant Professor of biomedical engineering Cheul Cho

In just 10 years since its establishment, the Department of Biomedical Engineering has developed as one of the university’s strongest departments with research programs that are nationally recognized.

The health sciences have become a pervasive theme throughout the university with contributions in research and education in nearly every department. Some examples:

Kamalesh SirkarKamalesh Sirkar, distinguished professor of chemical engineering, and director of the Membrane Science, Engineering and Technology Center, an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (MAST) is leading a new NSF-funded project to develop a continuous, scalable, nanoparticle coating system that enables the drug release in a sustained/controlled manner, improves drug bioavailability and patient compliance by reducing the drug administration frequency, allows nano-sized drugs particles to overcome a mucus barrier and target specific body organs, and prevents immune cells (macrophages) from engulfing and eliminating nano-sized drug particles in the bloodstream. Bristol-Myers Squibb, the industrial partner, will test model devices with pharmaceutically relevant systems and will collaborate in scale-up and commercialization possibilities.
Laurent SimonNew mathematical formulations that ensure accurate, cost-effective polymer-based delivery of drugs to their target sites are the focus of research by Laurent Simon, associate professor of chemical, biological and pharmaceutical engineering. He has worked with a number of variations, including transdermal, a patch worn on the skin, and oral transmucosal, a slow-dissolving lozenge. He studies critical issues such as how long it takes to reach the desired delivery rate and the time required to release the drug from the patch. A recent study sought to broaden the applications of controlled-release technology to include treatment for colorectal cancers or other types of malignancies.
Jorge GolowaschJorge Golowasch, associate professor of mathematical sciences and biological sciences, has a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to study the relationship between biological rhythms and neuroactive substances such as neuromodulators, hormones and neurotransmitters. He is looking into the mechanisms by which neuromodulators and the neuronal networks’ own activity regulate rhythmic pattern generation to understand the normal function of the nervous system and its response to perturbations. The capacity to generate stable neuronal output and to recover such output following disease or trauma may be of enormous therapeutic relevance and lead to the design effective treatments of pathological states, such as trauma, memory and sleep disorders.
Yehoshua PerlYehoshua Perl, professor of computer science, has continuing support from the National Library of Medicine for his work in simplifying and refining medical vocabularies – such as UMLS (Unified Medical Language System) and SNOMED CT (Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine – Clinical Terms) used in patient records, decision support systems and healthcare administrative systems. The goal is to eliminate errors and redundancies in large, complex clinical databases, thereby reducing healthcare costs.