Xerox Engineering Research Fellows
2019 Research Opportunities
Research Project #1: Hydrogel Culture Environments for Regenerative Medicine Applications
We can interrogate and take advantage of the critical interactions between cells and extracellular matrix (ECM) to create bioactive materials capable of controlling cell function and tissue evolution. To determine the requirements of the microenvironment, we utilize hydrogels easily modified with respect to mechanical integrity, adhesive peptides, ECM molecules, degradability, and incorporation of drugs, to direct cellular differentiation through a variety of mechanisms. In particular, we are interested in utilizing hydrogel microenvironments to direct encapsulated mesenchymal stem cell (adult stem cell) function for applications in musculoskeletal tissue engineering. A thorough understanding of how material properties
Research Project #2: Targeted Polymer Therapeutics to Overcome Drug Delivery Barriers
Conventional small molecule drugs and large macromolecular drugs have significant and distinctly different delivery barriers. For example, small molecule drugs, such as the chemotherapeutic doxorubicin, is highly hydrophobic, thus administration requires toxic cosolvents to aid blood solubility. Macromolecular drugs, on the other hand, suffer from enzymatic degradation and inactivation, difficulty in targeting to the appropriate cells and transversing the cell membrane, and often become degraded intracellularly once endocytosed. We are investigating polymer-drug complexes or polymer-drug conjugates to overcome these barriers and modulate drug delivery.
Research Project: Viscoelastic Heating in Tendon
Tendinopathies including tendinitis and tennis elbow are painful, chronic conditions typically associated with tendon overuse. In-
Research Project #1: Biomedical Optics for Breast Cancer Detection and Therapy Monitoring
The overall goals of this project in Professor Choe's laboratory are to assess and improve the capabilities of diffuse optical technology in breast cancer therapy monitoring and detection. In clinical measurements of human breasts with tumor, we focus on identifying functional parameters measurable with diffuse optics, which can serve as early indicators of therapy efficacy. Using a preclinical animal model, we study the metabolic mechanism of varied responses to therapy seen in the clinic, and investigate new therapeutic drugs and interventions. The students will have opportunities to participate in various aspects of research: instrumentation construction and characterization, data analysis algorithm development, preclinical experiments, and/or clinical experiments.
Research Project #2: Diffuse Optical Imaging for Non-Invasive Deep Tissue Monitoring of Bone Graft Vascularization
Achieving effective revascularization is critical for successful integration of bone graft. While various tissue engineering strategies have been proposed and tested, most revascularization assessment is performed using methods requiring destruction/sacrifice of samples. Diffuse optical imaging can quantify hemodynamic parameters of deep-tissue in vivo samples non-invasively, allowing longitudinal monitoring of bone graft vascularization process. The project will focus on
Research Project: Biomedical Ultrasound
The primary goals of Professor Dalecki’s laboratory are to advance novel diagnostic ultrasound
Research Project #1: Mechanobiology of Embryonic Tissue Development
How the embryo develops tendons and ligaments that transmit forces throughout the adult body is yet to be understood. The Kuo Lab harnesses the powerful tools that engineers have developed for
Research Project #2: Regulation of Stem Cell Differentiation
It is well established that stem cell function, such as differentiation and the regeneration of new tissues, can be controlled by the application of exogenous cues. Less understood is what specific combination of such cues is required to elicit
Research Project: Measurement of Mechanical Properties of the Inner Ear Sensory Organ
We study the
Research Project: Auditory Neuroscience Lab
We combine neurophysiological, behavioral, and computational modeling techniques towards our goal of understanding neural mechanisms underlying the perception of complex sounds. Most of our work is focused on hearing in listeners with normal hearing ability. We are also interested in applying the results from our laboratory to the design of physiologically based signal-processing strategies to aid listeners with hearing loss.
We are currently studying the following specific problems:
- Detection of acoustic signals in background noise
- Coding of complex sounds, such as speech, by fluctuations in neural responses
- Signal processing to enhance fluctuation cues for listeners with hearing loss
- Neural sensitivity to fast frequency transitions
These problems are of interest because they involve tasks at which the healthy auditory system excels, but they are situations that can present great difficulty for listeners with hearing loss. We study the psychophysical limits of ability in these tasks, and we also study the neural coding and processing of these sounds using stimuli matched to those of our behavioral studies.
Computational modeling helps bridge the gap between our behavioral and physiological studies. For example, using computational models derived from neural population recordings, we make predictions of behavioral abilities that can be directly compared to actual behavioral results. The cues and mechanisms used by our computational models can be manipulated to test different hypotheses for neural coding and processing.
By identifying the cues involved in the detection of signals in noise and fluctuations of signals, our goal is to direct novel strategies for signal processors to preserve, restore, or enhance these cues for listeners with hearing loss.
Research Project: Noncoding RNA Gene Search: Unlock the hidden information in Genomes
With the widespread availability of high throughput sequencing technology, vast datasets of genomes are now available to researchers for exploration. Conventional protein-coding genes can be located within these large genome data sets with relative ease using BLAST and other alignment tools. Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) that serve a direct functional role instead of providing a recipe for protein synthesis, however, present a challenge for genomic analysis. Across
Research Project: Nanomembranes for small format hemodialysis
This research project applies our ultrathin membrane nanotechnology - silicon nanomembranes - to create wearable hemodialysis systems that will improve the life and health of patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The fellow or REU student will work on the development of a bench top model system that simulates the body system. The system will be used to benchmark hemodialysis with nanomembranes against commercial membranes. The student may also participate in parallel studies on small rodent models of ESRD and will have an opportunity to shadow engineers at a local start-up that manufactures silicon nanomembranes if interested.
Research Project 1: Wearable Assistive Technology for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Toilet use is an essential quality-of-life skill, which is often delayed in children with Autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. Keys to the development of this skill in these children include overcoming communication challenges and an absence of cues to allow caregivers to provide timely assistance. Working with Dr. Daniel Mruzek in the Department of Clinical Psychology, we are developing wearable-technology to overcome these challenges and assist in the acquisition of toileting skills. The student will assist in the development of Bluetooth-connected wearable technology to model a child’s activity and physiological signals, including heart rate, movement, and enuresis. Hardware development, prototyping, and programming in iOS (Objective-C or Swift) and embedded environments are key skills for this project.
Research Project 2: Characterization of Non-linear Mechanical Properties of Tissue and Tissue-like Materials Using Acoustic Radiation Force
Ultrasound elastography can produce 2-dimensional maps of the shear modulus (“stiffness”) of tissue. A limitation of current clinical systems is that tissue is modeled as a linear elastic material – the modulus is independent of applied strain.