Current Projects

A Dual Method for Blood Glucose Measurement

We are developing a dual-detection system for the accurate measurement of blood glucose levels. Technology under development in this project leverages the microfluidics approach used in other related projects.

A Microfluidics-based System for Optical and Electrochemical Detection of Electrolytes

Researchers are developing a microfluidics-based system for measuring electrolytes in physiological fluids by potentiometric, impedance, and optical fluorescence methods with the goal of developing a self-calibrating sensor array with considerable fault tolerance.

A Mirofluidics-Based Handheld Blood Sensor

This project involves the development of a microfluidics platform for the simultaneous electrochemical and optical detection and measurement of blood analytes including electrolytes, glucose, urea, blood gases, and enzymes. This device will be wirelessly enabled to allow remote evaluation of data acquired.

An Implantable, RFID-Enabled Blood Sensor System

A microfluidics-based technology for an RFID-enabled implantable system capable of measuring blood analytes such as potassium, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), glucose, and blood gases is under development. When combined with wireless communications solutions, the system will allow regular monitoring of physiological status from a remote location. Home healthcare and military markets will be served by this device.

Atherosclerotic Plaque Classification by Means of Ultrasound

The goal is the development of a method for determining the constituents of carotid artery plaque based on absolute backscatter properties of the plaque material. This information can in turn be used to identifying plaques that are likely to lead to a stroke—the so called vulnerable plaque. The incentive for this work has been to explore whether a screening technique for stroke risk can be developed based on non-invasive ultrasound measurements. The challenge is to overcome the aberrating effect of the inhomogeneous soft tissue layers between the transducer and the vessel, which can be minimized by using the IBS from arterial blood (measured along the same scan line) as a normalizing parameter.

Bacterial Adhesion, Bacterial Interaction Forces, and Biopolymers

The center measures bacterial interaction forces with atomic force microscopy and relates the measurements to bacterial adhesion. The role of polysaccharides in adhesion is also being studied, and the conformation of biopolymers is being probed using single-molecule force microscopy and statistical analysis. Bacterial adhesion is important in environmental engineering and a variety of biomedical applications.

Cell-mediated remodeling of 3-D matrices

We are studying cell-mediated tissue remodeling in response to biomechanical (cyclic stretch) and biochemical stimulation (growth factors) by using model systems including fibrin and collagen gels.

Chemical Surface Modification for Prevention of Microbial Biofilm Formation

The formation of microbial biofilms on implanted surgical devices, including central venous catheters, results in catheter-related blood stream infections (CRBSI). CRBSI's occur in 6-10 percent of all catheterized patients and lead to increased morbidity and mortality, longer hospitalization, and more than $10 billion per year in additional healthcare costs. This project applies novel chemical surface modification techniques to prevent the formation of bioftlms and associated problems, including thrombosis.

Complex Tissue Regeneration

We are defining the factors that have the potential to de-differentiate human wound fibroblasts into stem-like cells. These cells may be able to skew healing outcome from scar formation to regeneration of functional tissue.

Designing Biomaterials to Direct Keratinocyte Function: A Multi-Scale Approach

We developed methods to create basal lamina analogs with precise topographical features that facilitate the formation of an epidermal layer on the surface of a dermal analog.  We are investigating methods to modify the surface biochemistries, in order to provide cell-signaling cues.

Endogenous Myocardial Regeneration

We have developed an in vitro system to induce adult myocytes to express cell cycle markers.  We are investigating the mechanism responsible for inducing adult myocytes to proliferate.

Fracture Fixation

Boney healing is optimized when proper fixation between bone segments is achieved. We are currently investigating rigid fixation devices for sternal closure and self-tightening devices for joint fusion.

Freehand 3D Ultrasound Imaging With Registration

Three-dimensional ultrasound is emerging as an important adjunct to conventional 2D scanning, in particular in obstetrics and cardiology. The motivation for the 3D registration system is to develop a portable ultrasound system with better visualization capabilities for trauma injuries. This development deals with a position and angle registration system, which is integrated into the transducer handle. The position sensing is performed with optical tracking on the skin surface, while the angle tracking will use a form of micro-gyro or MEMS device. The angle and position sensing hardware is integrated with the ultrasound imaging system, adaptive boundary detection algorithms, and 3D reconstruction software.

Microtextured Basal Lamina Analogs to Control Keratinocyte Function

Prolonged healing times and mechanically induced graft failure remain persistent problems with bioengineered skin substitutes used to treat injuries, such as burns. Working to improve these tissue analogs, the center seeks to understand the mechanisms by which the three-dimensional microarchitecture and the biochemical composition of tissue scaffolds modulate keratinocyte adhesion, proliferation, and differentiation, as well as the morphogenesis of cells into functional skin analogs.

Myofibroblast differentiation

Myofibroblasts are important for tissue healing and wound closure. We are studying the effects of mechanical and biochemical environments on fibroblast-to-myofibroblast differentiation.

Optimal Performance of Ultrasound Systems for Object Recognition

This project involves developing custom-designed acoustic fields to create enhanced images of specific types on injuries. It is accomplished by determining which type of customized ultrasound field in combination with customized receiver characteristics can optimally discriminate between different surface topologies.

Photomedical Technologies

Building on more than 20 years of research at WPI, researchers are developing small, lightweight, and cost-effective noninvasive optical sensors for measuring physiological parameters such as oxygenation of tissue and blood, breathing rate, and hemoglobin content using various spectrophotometric techniques.

Real-Time Troop Physiological Status Monitoring System Using a Common Wireless Network

This project will investigate and initiate the development of key components of a real-time wireless system for locating, monitoring, and assessing the status of troops anywhere within the system coverage area. Such a system would facilitate remote triage and improved casualty status assessment, among other benefits.

Reconfigurable Portable Ultrasound Systems

The goal is the development of fully wearable or portable, ruggedized ultrasound equipment for military, rural, emergency, and disaster applications. The system uses voice commands and a wearable display, thus eliminating the need for keyboard and conventional displays. One configuration has all the medical ultrasound components (ultrasound transducer, beam forming and front end circuits, embedded computer, batteries, microphone, etc.) integrated into a vest, while another configuration has these same components integrated into a compartmentalized equipment bag. Another aspect is the development of wireless transfer of ultrasound images to a central facility, allowing improved emergency decision making.

Selective Detection of Chemical Weapons

The detection of nerve agents (V-series, G-Series, etc.) presents a difficult problem due to the high frequency of false positives from most current sensor systems used. We are applying our experience in the design of highly selective molecules for blood detection sensors to the area of chemical weapons detection with the goal of creating a wearable or implanted sensor system that has a lower number of false positives and increased sensitivity.

Ultrasound-based Evaluation of Osteoporosis and Fracture Risk

This research aims to develop ultrasound-based parameters that provide information about changes in bone mass and in the micro-arcitecture of the trabecular bone (inner part of long bones). It will also provide an in vitro model that can mimic the gradual, age-related changes in trabecular bone.

Wireless Integration of Portable Ultrasound Systems

The center is working to develop fully portable, hands-free ultrasound systems by integrating lightweight imaging equipment with man-machine interface technology and wearable display technology. The project also includes wireless transfer of images to a central facility, allowing improved emergency decision making.