BioFluid Dynamics Laboratory
The BioFluid Dynamics Laboratory's research involves the dynamics of drops and bubbles in microfluidics and porous media, hemodynamics and hemopathology in the microcirculation, dynamics of synthetic and biological polymers, and the development of novel computational methodologies for the accurate and efficient study of these physical systems. The lab's recent projects have included computational studies on drop dynamics; the development of interfacial spectral boundary methods for deformable particles such as droplets, capsules, red blood cells and vesicles; the behavior and deformation of artificial capsules and erythrocytes in high flow-rate environments; the effects of paraproteinemia and malaria on the motion of the erythrocytes in the microcirculation; and the development of a computationally efficient cytoskeleton-based continuum erythrocyte algorithm.
Complex Fluids and Nanomaterials Group
The Complex Fluids and Nanomaterials Group seeks to engineer matter at the nano and micro scales using the strategies of self-assembly and directed assembly. The lab's interest is primarily in soft matter (e.g., hydrogels) and in biomolecular and biomimetic structures. Moreover, the lab seeks to develop rules for the design of new classes of "smart" fluids and materials that could be useful in drug delivery, wound healing, oil recovery, and energy storage. Examples of active projects include: (1) the design of hemostatic biomaterials that can rapidly stop bleeding from serious injuries; (2) the development of hybrid jellyfish-like hydrogels that alter their shape in response to changes in temperature and pH; (3) the design of biomimetic microcapsule-based assemblies that exhibit self-propelled motion; and (4) the synthesis of photoresponsive containers that open up and release their contents when irradiated with UV light.
Drug Delivery and Biomaterials Engineering Laboratory
The Drug Delivery and Biomaterials Engineering Laboratory works on enabling technologies for personalized drug delivery and force-sensitive nano-netwroks for non-invasive in vivo force measurement.
Ear Lab, The
With grant support from the Department of Defense, The Ear Lab measures the changes, at the level of the activity of single neurons over many weeks, that are correlated with the induction of tinnitus (ringing in the ears) following noise trauma. Specifically, the research uses behavioral measures to verify the emergence of tinnitus post-trauma, chronic electrode arrays to measure the activity of large populations of neurons before and after induction of tinnitus, and post-mortem immunocytochemical methods to uncover permanent changes in the brain. The Ear Lab wants to explore new drug delivery methods that might prevent the induction of or provide relief from tinnitus, a common affliction that has received very little scientific attention until recently.
Professor Amy Karlsson’s research group uses the tools of protein and peptide engineering to study pathogenic microorganisms, particularly fungal pathogens, with a goal of improving diagnosis and treatment. The group's current work is primarily focused on studying the most prevalent fungal pathogen in humans, Candida albicans. Members use both rational design and directed evolution to engineer proteins and peptides, including antibody fragments and antimicrobial peptides, that can be used in antifungal drug target validation, detection and identification of fungal pathogens, and improved specificity of antifungal agents. The group's experimental tools include molecular biology techniques, microscopy, and protein chromatography.
Laboratory for MicroTechnologies
The Laboratory for MicroTechnologies focuses on developing new technologies at the micro-scale that combine conventional inorganic materials and devices with organic, polymeric, and biological materials or living cells. Group members work in the area of cell-based sensing, in close collaboration with Professor Abshire, in which cells are cultured onto CMOS/MEMS devices and monitored using a range of sensing modalities. One application is an olfactory sensory neuron based bionose-on-a-chip. Associated technologies include microfluidics and dielectrophoresis (DEP). The group also has extensive experience with polymeric "artificial muscles," including microfabricated conjugated polymer actuators, dielectric elastomer actuators, and a new type of hydraulic "nastic" actuator. In addition, lab members are developing compliant electrodes for use with these actuators and flexible electronics. The lab features equipment for driving and characterizing actuators, for characterizing thin films, and for handling cells.
Maryland MEMS & Microfluidics Laboratory
Maryland MEMS & Microfluidics Laboratory researchers investigate microfluidic and lab-on-a-chip systems for improving human health. Major research thrusts include multidimensional biomolecular separation platform for high throughput biomarker and drug target discovery, interfaces coupling microfluidics to mass spectrometry, integrated ion channel sensing systems, multi-scale systems enabling new modes of nanoparticle drug encapsulation and delivery, and novel polymer micro/nanofluidic fabrication technologies. MML research also encompasses silicon MEMS, with an emphasis on piezoelectric microsystems, as well as the integration of silicon MEMS with microfluidic systems.
MEMS Sensors and Actuators Laboratory (MSAL)
The MEMS Sensors and Actuators Laboratory (MSAL) focuses on the design, fabrication, and testing of self-sustaining adaptive integrated bio-microsystems for chemical and biological sensing. The devices are designed using a variety of both in-house and commercial simulation software packages and developed utilizing state-of-the-art micro and nano fabrication and characterization techniques. Current projects include microfluidic-based opto-mechanical platforms for monitoring bacterial quorum sensing, next generation battery and fuel cell devices using the tobacco mosaic virus (TMV), and integrated III-V optical microsystems for chemical vapor sensing.
Metabolic Engineering Laboratory
The Metabolic Engineering Laboratory works in the areas of metabolic engineering and systems biology, especially of eukaryotes. Its specialties are metabolic flux analysis and gene regulatory network analysis. Toward performing such analyses, the Sriram Group combines experimental methods such as isotope labeling, two-dimensional (2-D) NMR, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), DNA microarray analysis and quantitative RT-PCR (qPCR) together with computational methods. Many potential applications of this work focus on plants, the source of commodities such as food, fiber, biofuels, therapeutics, and renewable chemical industry feedstocks. The group's quantitative studies open up the prospect of smartly engineering plants' metabolic networks for beneficial purposes, and therefore hold promise for a sustainable future.
Molecular Mechanics and Self-Assembly Laboratory
The Molecular Mechanics Laboratory focuses on investigating molecular level interactions using high resolution force microscopy. Atomic force microscopy and optical tweezers are utilized to understand protein-protein interactions, the nanomechanics of macromolecules, and the structure-function relationship of biological molecules. Current research projects are focused on understanding molecular mechanism of protein aggregation disease, DNA-biomaterial interaction, and self-assembling peptides. Understanding the nature of these interactions will allow us to design novel biomaterials with well-defined nanostructural properties that will be useful for biomedical and nanobiotechnology applications.
The P2OWDER (Pursuing Particulate Opportunities with Dedicated Engineering Research) Group studies particles and particle-based materials, developing processes to make materials with tailored properties. The group partners or has partnered with others, such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Army Research Laboratory, to test the performance of some of these materials. Applications include catalysts for energy conversion, nanoscale size standards, solar cells and biomedical imaging.
Soil and Water Engineering Laboratory/Water Quality Laboratory
The Soil and Water Engineering Laboratory and the Water Quality Laboratory use modeling as a tool to predict movement of pesticides and nutrients from watersheds in response to hydrological events, predict ground water pollution, and prevent nutrient movement into ground and surface water systems. Field and watershed scale monitoring is used to develop and to validate mathematical models for identifying best management practices. Other research conducted in the labs includes interfacing nonpoint source pollution models with geographic information systems (GIS) for pollution identification and management. Both physical and empirical based transport modeling is used to identify transport pathway and quantify chemical transport. Dr. Shrimohammadi’s group is also using ANN (Artificial Neural Network) modeling to forecast regional groundwater fluctuations. They are involved in quantification of watershed scale mathematical model’s output uncertainty due to uncertainty in input parameter values using Latin Hypercube Sampling (LHS) with Constrained Monte Carlo stochastic approach. Their watershed scale modeling has extended to establish the relationship between the groundwater quality and childhood cancer (e.g., luekimia, bone, lymphoma, and brain). The overall goal of these labs is to create healthy ecosystem as a preventive measure for human health.