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Awarded Seed Grants - 2017

3D Bioengineered Corneal Constructs


The main objective of this project is to bioprint viable and optimized 3D bioengineered corneal endothelial constructs, consisting of Immortalized Human Corneal Endothelial Cells (IHCE), embedded on top of a cornea-like extracellular matrix (ECM). Bioprinting is an advanced type of 3D printing whereby cells are printed to create a living biomaterial. The ultimate goal of this project is the development of patient-specific bioprinted constructs for personalized treatments. Constructs may furthermore elucidate novel mechanisms of corneal endothelium growth and facilitate the identification of new therapeutic targets. Learn more.

Nanowire Embedded Wireless Pressure Sensors for Monitoring Burn Skin Recovery


The research aims to study the development of a high-precise, wearable and wireless pressure sensor. This proposed project is motivated by the medical and engineering challenge of controlling the efficacy of pressure garment therapy for hypertrophic burn scars treatment. The proposed approach could help to realize precise real-time monitoring of local pressure the garment applies to scars, and requires no electric-wired connections for powering the sensor and collecting the feedback data. The success of this study will enable the fundamental understanding of the pathophysiology of hypertrophic scarring, extend to the further development of a novel pressure mapping system that can collect high resolution pressure distribution data on burn scars; and stimulate broad interdisciplinary research collaborations with experts in bio-medical, electrical engineering and computer science fields. Learn more.

Role of IGF-1 Deficiency in Age-related Impairment of Neurovascular Coupling


Several aspects of brain function are known to be impaired with increasing age including, learning and memory. By 2050, the number of Americans aged 65 and older is projected to be 88.5 million, more than double its current number of 40.2 million. Foremost among factors that determine quality of life is the ability to live independently, and preserved cognitive function is particularly important in this regard. Evidence from both the clinical literature and animal models has shown that vascular factors have a critical role in age-related cognitive decline by altering cerebral blood flow and thus the availability of oxygen and nutrients for active neurons. Despite its importance in basic and clinical studies, the age-related cellular mechanism(s) underlying neurovascular uncoupling remain unclear. Learn more.

Photoacoustic Cystoscopy for Targeted Prostate Biopsy Guidance


Current prostate cancer imaging modalities are insufficient
It is estimated that greater than 180,890 new cases of PCa will be diagnosed and up to 26,120 men will die in the United States in 2016. The current PCa diagnostic strategy which combines digital rectal examination and serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening followed by transrectal guided biopsies may reduce specific mortality, but this comes at the cost of false-positives in men without cance and overtreatment of men with indolent tumors. Approximately 30-40% of men undergoing PCa treatment have slow-growing tumors that will never threaten their lifespan. The development of new specific molecular imaging strategies is required to accurately identify clinically significant prostatic tumors. Learn more.