University of Wisconsin Madison College of Engineering
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Research specializations in engineering and technology

 

Biomedical engineering research combines engineering expertise with medical needs for the advancement and enhancement of health care. It is a multidisciplinary branch of engineering in which knowledge in biology and skills in engineering are combined for resolving fundamental problems in medicine, and for inspiring new diagnostic instruments, medical devices and therapies. Today biomedical engineering research is pushing the frontiers of science and technology by developing new tools and techniques that harness life to solve some of our most challenging problems in biology and medicine.

 

Biomedical engineering faculty members at the University of Wisconsin-Madison conduct research in the following specialty areas:

 

Biomechanics

Biomechanics

 

Biomechanics applies engineering mechanics for understanding biological processes and for solving medical problems at systemic, organ, tissue, cellular, and molecular levels. Research efforts in biomechanics include the mechanics of connective tissues (ligament tendon, cartilage and bone) as well as orthopedic devices (fracture fixation hardware and joint prostheses), vascular remodeling (normal and pathological mechanics of pulmonary hypertension), muscle mechanics with injury and healing, human motor control, neuromuscular adaptation (with age, injury, and disease), microfluidics for cellular and subcellular applications, cellular motility and adhesion. Biomedical engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison use biomechanics for applications as diverse as studying the fundamental viscoelastic behavior of connective tissues preventing repetitive motion disorders in manual work, and understanding and preventing mechanical compromise in tissues in response to healing, changes in loading (from exercise, bed rest, etc.), aging, disease, and biochemical factors.

 

FACULTY

 

Naomi Chesler, Wendy Crone, Frank Fronczak, Kreg Gruben, Susan Hagness, Bryan Heiderscheit, Jack Jiang, Rod Lakes, Michael Murrell, Heidi Ploeg, Robert Radwin, Mary Sesto, Darryl Thelen, Ray Vanderby, Gregg Vanderheiden

 

LABORATORIES

 

Bioinstrumentation and Micro-electromechanical Systems (BioMEMS)

Bioinstrumentation and Micro-electromechanical Systems (BioMEMS)

 

Bioinstrumentation and Micro-electromechanical Systems (BioMEMS) is the application of electronics and measurement principles and techniques to develop devices used in diagnosis and treatment of disease. Examples include medical instruments and devices such as the electrocardiogram cardiac pacemaker, blood pressure measurement, hemoglobin oxygen saturation, kidney dialysis, and ventilators. Microtechnology and micro scale phenomena is an emerging area of research in biomedical engineering. Many of life's fundamental processes take place on the micro and nano scale. The ability to engineer systems at the cellular scale enables the creation of new tools, instruments and methods for the quantitative study of cell biology. Understanding cell function and behavior is essential for the development of new treatments and therapies.

 

FACULTY

 

David Beebe, Christopher Brace, Paul Campagnola, Kevin Eliceiri, Nicola Ferrier, Susan Hagness, Rock Mackie, M. Elizabeth Meyerand, Michael Murrell, Bruce Thomadsen, Willis Tompkins, Daniel van der Weide, John Webster, Justin Williams

 

LABORATORIES

 

Biomaterials

Biomaterials

 

Biomaterials are synthetic or biological materials used for the permanent augmentation or replacement of tissues, as well as for applications that require a relative short duration. A wide range of different materials are employed in the construction of biomedical devices such as artificial blood vessels mechanical heart valves, breast implants, orthopedic joints, dental fillings, and devices such as intravenous catheters and drug delivery vehicles. Understanding the properties of the material is vital in the design of implant materials. The selection of an appropriate material to place in the human body may be one of the most difficult tasks faced by the biomedical engineer.

 

FACULTY

 

Randolph Ashton, Paul Campagnola, Shaoqin "Sarah" Gong, W. John Kao, Wan-Ju Li, Kristyn Masters, Regina Murphy, William Murphy, Michael Murrell, Brenda Ogle

 

LABORATORIES

 

Biomedical Imaging

Biomedical Imaging

 

Biomedical imaging designs and enhances systems for non-invasive human imaging by measuring the body's response to physical phenomena. Though the field has traditionally concentrated on anatomical imaging for diagnostic information, it is expanding into functional and therapeutic applications. Advanced capabilities result when fundamentals of engineering, physics, and computer technology are applied in conjunction with the expertise of clinical collaborators.

 

FACULTY

 

Walter Block, Christopher Brace, Paul Campagnola, Kevin Eliceiri, Sean Fain, Aaron Field, Shaoqin "Sarah" Gong, Thomas Grist, Susan Hagness, Rock Mackie, Elizabeth Meyerand, Charles Mistretta, Scott Reeder, Daniel van der Weide, Tomy Varghese

 

LABORATORIES

 

Cellular Engineering

Cellular Engineering

 

Cellular engineering is an interdisciplinary field in which the principles of engineering and life sciences are used to study or manipulate biological processes at a cellular or even molecular level. Cellular engineering also includes adoption of biological processes and mechanisms as templates to develop novel molecules and artificial materials (biomimetics), and the regeneration of biological substitutes aimed at the creation, preservation or restoration of lost organ function with cellular technologies. Stem cell engineering is an area of emphasis. Cellular engineering also includes a broad, systems approach to study how cells respond to surrounding information and use it to make decisions.

 

FACULTY

 

David Beebe, Paul Campagnola, Naomi Chesler, W. John Kao, Patricia Keely, Pamela Kreeger, Kristyn Masters, Regina Murphy, William Murphy, Brenda Ogle, Sean Palecek, Eric Shusta, Daniel van der Weide, Ray Vanderby, John Yin

 

LABORATORIES

 

Neuroengineering

Neuroengineering

 

Neuroengineering is a multidisciplinary field that involves the use of engineering technology to study the function of various neural systems. Alternatively, emergent neuroscience principles are also used to help develop new technology. Faculty in clinical neuroengineering collaborate across the disciplines of engineering, neuroscience, and medicine to address clinically relevant medical problems. Research at UW-Madison is primarily focused on interfacing with the nervous system in one of two ways: Neuroimaging research involves the development of novel non-invasive imaging methods for studying or diagnosing neurological injury and disease. Neural interface research involves the development of implantable technology and materials for neuroprosthetic and rehabilitation applications or basic neuroscience studies.

 

FACULTY

Randolph Ashton, Walter Block, Aaron Field, Elizabeth Meyerand, Daniel van der Weide, Justin Williams, Tom Yin

 

LABORATORIES

 

 

TRAINING PROGRAM

 

Rehabilitation and Human Performance

Rehabilitation and Human Performance

 

Rehabilitation and Human Performance focuses on quantifying, adapting and restoring function for individuals who have lost abilities due to a condition at birth, accident, illness or aging. Functional restoration can be biomimetic or involve technical augmentation that restores and/or enhances human function using novel biological, medical, mechanical, electronic and information technologies devices and interventions. The goal is to expand the capabilities and improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities of all types.

 

FACULTY

 

Yuri Danilov, Nicola Ferrier, Frank Fronczak, Kreg Gruben, Kurt Kaczmarek, Jay Martin, Robert Radwin, Mary Sesto, Darryl Thelen, Mitchell Tyler, Willis Tompkins, Gregg Vanderheiden, Tom C. T. Yin

 

LABORATORIES

 

Systems Biology

Systems Biology

 

Systems biology is an interdisciplinary field that seeks to understand how the relationships between the molecular processes of cells (such as genes and proteins) determine higher level behaviors (proliferation or migration, for example). In essence, a systems biologist wants to understand how a cell makes a decision. Since each cell has multiple components that interact, analyzing these relationships to understand behavior can become quite complex very quickly. Therefore, systems biologists rely on both quantitative experiments and computational modeling of these experiments in their research. Ultimately, systems biology can be used to identify drug targets, develop personalized therapies, develop design principles to control cellular behavior, or optimize production.

 

FACULTY

 

Pamela Kreeger, Kristyn Masters, Michael Murrell, John Yin, Jennifer Reed

 

LABORATORIES

 

Tissue Engineering

Tissue Engineering

 

Tissue engineering at UW-Madison is broadly defined. It can encompass “engineering” cellular behavior to alter tissues with targeted delivery of growth factors, or it can regenerate tissues artificially with cells (especially, stem cells), scaffolds for extracellular matrix, and an incubator to grow the new tissue. Tissue engineering is creating “bio-inspired” tissues by application of engineering and biological sciences. The goal is to develop biological substitutes to restore, maintain, or improve function.

 

FACULTY

 

Randolph Ashton, Paul Campagnola, Shaoqin "Sarah" Gong, W. John Kao, Pamela Kreeger, Wan-Ju Li, Kristyn Masters, William MurphyRay Vanderby

 

LABORATORIES