BME News

Professors Abraham Lee (left) and Ian Papautsky at kick-off meeting for CADMIM Apr 10, 2014
New NSF Center Leverages Industry Partnerships to Improve Microfluidic Devices

Thirteen industry partners gathered today at UC Irvine’s Samueli School of Engineering for the inaugural meeting of a newly established National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC). The Center for Advanced Design and Manufacturing of Integrated Microfluidics (CADMIM) will develop design tools and manufacturing technologies for integrated microfluidics, also known as labs-on-a-chip. These tiny devices can be used for cost-effective, quick and easy diagnosis of problems in the environment, agriculture and human health.  

The mission of the center is to advance research and education on the science, engineering and applications of integrated microfluidic design and expandable production through dedicated ongoing industrial partnerships.

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This project is designed to help patients with Parkinson's Disease Mar 31, 2014
97 Senior Projects Displayed at Winter Design Review

Engineering students proudly showed off their senior design projects at the 2014 Winter Design Review in mid-March. More than 500 students were involved in 97 projects.

The students had been working on their projects for two quarters, and the Winter Design Review provided an opportunity for them to present their ideas to industry reviewers, as well as display and demonstrate the projects to a wider audience. About 45 industry representatives were on hand to review and give student teams feedback on their innovative ideas. Sixteen teams were selected for Dean’s Choice Awards (see below).

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Assistant Professor Kristen Davis judges the water filtration competition Mar 14, 2014
Samueli School Celebrates E-Week

Nearly 900 engineering students participated in E-Week 2014, organized by the Samueli School’s Engineering Student Council (ESC).  This year’s theme was “The Art of Engineering,” and all students who checked in received a Samueli School t-shirt. The celebration featured the Dean’s Pancake Breakfast, an Awards Banquet, 10 competitions, a BBQ and the annual softball game, pitting students against faculty. Students broke the professors’ long-running winning streak with a tie game. 

E-Week is an annual event aimed at increasing public awareness and appreciation for the engineering profession. Established in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers, the weeklong celebration provides an avenue for students to demonstrate inventiveness and imagination through a variety of events.

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From left: Engineering graduate students Jolie McLane, Eugene Lee and Sophia Lin Feb 24, 2014
A Hundred Tiny Hands Hopes to Inspire Young Scientists

Michelle Khine is known for her playful approach to science. She used a toy – Shrinky Dinks – to invent a method of quickly and cheaply developing custom microfluidic chips for researchers to use in their labs.

Chang Liu's research featured in Nature Chemical Biology Feb 21, 2014
Biomedical Engineer Designs a Living Cell with Second DNA Replication System

UC Irvine’s Chang Liu has created an engineered living cell with a second DNA replication system that mutates independently of and without harming the cell’s original genome. This parallel replication cell works like a two-lane highway -- with a fast lane and a slow lane -- for direct evolution in a lab setting.  With it, biomedical engineers will be able to rapidly evolve a huge array of biomolecules with custom desired functions. Liu and his research group published their work in the March issue of Nature Chemical Biology.

“Using the evolutionary process in a bioengineering lab is historically a very inefficient endeavor because you have to constantly move DNA into and out of cells,” explains Liu, an assistant professor in biomedical engineering. “This is because high mutation rates, necessary to create enough diversity to find new function on laboratory timescales, are only available in a test tube. High mutation rates are not available inside cells. In fact, organismal mutation rates must be kept extremely low because modern organisms have large complex genomes that are easily broken by high mutation rates.”

The parallel replication system designed by Liu can be made highly error-prone without hurting the genome, and any gene encoded on the new system will undergo rapid evolution. “Genes of interest placed in the fast lane can potentially evolve thousands to millions of times faster than they would if they were encoded in the genome, or the slow lane,” says Liu.

Dr. Arash Kheradvar holds a model of a heart valve used in his research to advance cardiovascular science. Feb 7, 2014
The Children’s Heart Foundation and American Heart Association Sponsor Two Cardiovascular Science Projects in Biomedical Engineering

Dr. Arash Kheradvar, an associate professor of biomedical engineering, has received two prestigious grants to advance research and development in cardiovascular science.

The Children’s Heart Foundation has awarded Kheradvar $200,000 over two years to support a hybrid tissue-engineered heart valve. Kheradvar and his research team are developing a patient-specific heart valve prosthesis with self-regenerating capacity. “This approach to engineering heart valves holds promise for combining the mechanical valves’ long-term durability advantages with biological valves’ self-regenerating capacity and improved biocompatibility and hemodynamics,” explains Kheradvar, a Fellow of the American Heart Association.

Kheradvar has also received a Grant-in-Aid from the American Heart Association to study patients with right-sided heart failure, using UC Irvine’s state-of-the-art 4-D-flow echocardiography technology. Despite the fact that right-sided heart failure may carry a worse prognosis than left-sided heart failure, almost no quantitative information is available on flow patterns inside the right ventricle. The main reasons for this lack of knowledge are the highly 3-D flow within the right side of the heart, and the inability of current imaging modalities to quantitatively map such 3-D blood flow patterns.

“This study should help us better understand the blood flow features in failing right hearts and devise more efficient therapies for these patients,” says Kheradvar.

Michelle Digman angles a laser beam into a special microscope to excite the flourescent molecules in tissue Jan 31, 2014
Biomedical Engineer Receives Grant from Allergan

Allergan has awarded Michelle Digman a $787,000 grant to study how a subunit of botulinum neuro-toxin affects cells and tissue on a molecular level. An assistant professor of biomedical engineering, Digman’s research expertise involves using optical microscopy tools to track molecules and microscopic particles in living cells and tissues. She is a co-investigator of UC Irvine’s Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics, an NIH Biotechnology Resource for the development of fluorescence microscopy.

With this grant, she will be using fluorescent imaging to track the transport and diffusion of the toxin in living cells, to better understand any biochemical and physiological changes that occur. She will also study metabolic changes in tissue at the point of injection.

“Botulinum neuro-toxin is used in a variety of clinical treatments including neuromuscular diseases, epilepsy and pain-related illnesses,” says Digman. “This study is important on a clinical level and will provide valuable information in the development of future therapies for pain-related disorders.”

water jet cart testing Dec 20, 2013
Fall Design Review Showcases Senior Design Projects

Around 860 people attended the 2013 Fall Design Review, including students, faculty, staff, alumni and industry representatives.

Dec 19, 2013
Life-changing Technology

Malaria kills a child somewhere in the world every minute. This life-threatening disease, caused by parasites transmitted through infected mosquitoes, can be prevented and cured if detected and treated early. But malaria afflicts primarily the poor, who often do not have ready access to healthcare and who tend to live in malaria-prone rural areas in dwellings that offer few barriers against mosquitoes.

This type of global health challenge inspired biomedical engineering students at UC Irvine who participated in Calit2’s Multidisciplinary Design Program.

The program engages undergraduates campuswide in research teams co-mentored by at least two faculty members from different schools. Under the guidance of biomedical engineering professor William Tang, and public health professor Dele Ogunseitan, two student teams designed portable, low-cost, rapid-diagnostic devices using microfluidic technology. One team’s device detects malaria; the other’s, HIV.

A few students from each team were selected to travel abroad to the very places grappling with these diseases. The expeditions, supported by a $25,000 gift from Edwards Lifesciences, provided the ultimate field research experience.

H. Kumar Wickramasinghe Dec 12, 2013
Engineer Named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

Professor H. Kumar Wickramasinghe is among 143 innovators to be named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) for 2013. Wickramasinghe is a UC Irvine professor and the Henry Samueli Endowed Chair in electrical engineering and computer science, with joint appointments in biomedical engineering and chemical engineering and materials science.

Being named a NAI Fellow is distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.

Wickramasinghe, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, is a well-respected pioneer in nanotechnology. He currently holds 94 patents. Some of his most significant inventions and contributions to the nano field include the development of the vibrating mode atomic force microscope (AFM), the magnetic force microscope, the electrostatic force microscope, the Kelvin probe force microscope, the scanning thermal microscope, and the apertureless near-field optical microscope. Most of these scanning probe microscopes are standard instruments used today for nano-scale characterization.

"I am humbled and honored to be among this distinguished group of Nobel Laureates and National Medal Prize winners,” says Wickramasinghe. “The greatest thrill I get is to see some of my inventions translated to practice and in use all over the world."

An array of glassblown micro-cells used to derive the magnetic field gradient. Oct 10, 2013
NSF Recognizes Andrei Shkel with EAGER Award

Professor Andrei Shkel has received a $300,000 National Science Foundation EAGER (Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research) Award.

St. Margaret's High School Summer Internship Sep 20, 2013
St. Margaret’s High School Students Gain University-level Research Experience during Summer Internships at Samueli School

Six students participated in this year’s St. Margaret’s Episcopal High School Summer Internship Program at the Samueli School of Engineering,

Elliot Hui Aug 22, 2013
Elliot Hui Receives DARPA Young Faculty Award

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has given Elliot Hui, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering, a Young Faculty Award for his project titled “Directed Evolution of Phytochrome Absorption Spectra for Multichannel Optogenetic Cellular Interfaces.” He will receive $425,000 over two years.

building a fuel cell Jul 22, 2013
Having Fun, FABcamp Style

The Samueli School’s FABcamp got off to a boisterous beginning with a full roster of middle school children. The first group of 9 girls and 20 boys could be seen touring labs and walking around the school in bright yellow t-shirts. 

Matthew Jenusaitis Jun 28, 2013
Samueli School Partners with OCTANe to Encourage SBIR Grant Applicants

OCTANe and the Samueli School partnered to present a workshop on how to go after small business government grants for innovation research (SBIR) and technology transfer (STTR). The second in a three-part grant development series, the workshop drew nearly 50 people including professors, graduate students, industry professionals and entrepreneurs.

“Over the past few years, government grant funding for innovative research and technology in Orange County has been significantly less than either San Diego or Los Angeles counties,” explains Matthew Jenusaitis, OCTANe president and CEO.  “That’s not because there is less technology here, but rather, because Orange County needs to be more active in pursuing these federal sources of early stage capital.  The goal of this program series is to increase the awareness, provide education, and stimulate action to close the gap.”

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L-R: Eliott Botvinick, Jonathan Lakey and Weian Zhao Jun 26, 2013
UCI researchers awarded $2.27 million to create novel diabetes treatments

Grants will support islet cell transplantation and insulin sensor projects

Laser Associate Sciences Jun 21, 2013
Engineering Students Achieve a Strong Showing at Merage Business Plan Competition

The Henry Samueli School of Engineering was well represented in the 2013 Business Plan Competition at UCI’s Paul Merage School of Business, with teams from Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology dominating the campuswide division.

Michelle Sangalang Jun 7, 2013
Biomed Engineering Student Wins Statewide Business Plan Competition for Youth

UC Irvine biomedical engineering student Michelle Sangalang credits her senior design classes for helping her win a statewide business plan competition. She and her partner Andrew Ekelem, a UC Berkeley bioengineer alumnus, brought home the grand prize of $5,000 in their age category (18 to 27 year olds) in the Youth Entrepreneurship Program’s Boost Business Plan Competition.

Sangalang and Ekelem attended high school together. Their business is called Chariot Mobility, and its focus is to make the best in-class customized manual wheelchair that uses an advanced propulsion system and materials. They are creating the first manual wheelchair to be maneuvered solely from a lever system.

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NSF logo Jun 4, 2013
Five Engineering Grad Students Earn NSF Research Fellowships

The National Science Foundation has granted five UC Irvine engineering graduate students a research fellowship, and another three honorable mentions. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. 

As the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the GRFP has a long history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers. Fellows receive a three-year annual stipend, opportunities for international research and professional development. Here are the Samueli School’s 2013 NSF fellowship program awardees:

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G.P. Li Jun 3, 2013
Collaborator in Chief

Don’t let the piles of paperwork fool you – G.P. Li has a systematic strategy for pursuing innovation

G.P. Li learned how to make an elevator pitch early in his career. His first corporate gig was with IBM, an innovative company that holds the top spot for number of U.S. patents granted. Today, the UC Irvine engineering professor and director of the campus’s California Institute for Telecommunications & Information Technology makes it his mission to teach students this valuable skill.

“My goal is to train them to be future leaders – CEOs and CTOs,” says Li, who has founded four companies based on his inventions.

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