Faculty Scholars

Faculty Scholar Melinda Harman, Ph.D. at  Clemson University, Clemson South Carolina

Melinda K. Harman, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Bioengineering
Clemson University

Contact: harman2@clemson.edu  

Who is Professor Harman?

Melinda Harman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering at Clemson University. She began her biomedical career in 1989 and has spent the subsequent years collaborating with healthcare and industry leaders to translate medical device innovations to clinical practice. Melinda’s research and teaching areas involve medical device performance assessments, evaluation of implantable biomaterials, and the reprocessing of reusable surgical instruments. She has led over 20 national and international collaborative research projects involving innovations in surgical techniques, the analysis of explanted prostheses used for joint replacement, surgical mesh used for hernia repair, and medical device testing by means of biomechanical simulations and computational models. Her research has been widely disseminated through the publication of four book chapters and more than 45 original research papers in international, peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals. Melinda is the recipient of several prestigious awards: the Page Morton Hunter Distinguished Lecturer Award from Clemson University (2010); the Engineering in Medicine & Health Presentation Prize from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (2010); and the Marie Curie International Fellow Award from the European Community (2008). She is an active member of various biomedical professional groups. Prior to joining Clemson University, Melinda completed an international fellowship at the Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute in Bologna, Italy and worked for 14 years conducting biomedical research in a hospital-based setting. She has PhD (Clemson University) and MS (University of Utah) degrees in bioengineering and BS degrees (Ball State University) in physics and in athletic training (sports medicine).

How Professor Harman's research is transforming health care

The RE-MED lab, directed by Melinda, is located at the Clemson University Biomedical Engineering Innovation Campus (CUBEInC) in Greenville, South Carolina. The mission of RE-MED is to improve the safety and effectiveness of medical device technology, focusing on systematic assessments that foster biomedical innovation. RE-MED helps to extend Clemson’s healthcare impact by strengthening translational research activities and by engaging clinical professionals and industrial partners at this recognized biotechnology hub in the Upstate. Melinda’s research aims to evaluate medical device technology in various stages of development and under end-use diagnostic and treatment conditions. She seeks to transform healthcare treatments by challenging the existing paradigm that the properties of medical devices remain constant after long-term exposure to the human physiological environment. Her most enduring scientific achievements have been attained by establishing post-marketing surveillance of implanted medical devices and implementing experimental protocols to explore failure mechanisms, material properties and biocompatibility. The research outputs inform the development of pre-clinical bench tests that are capable of differentiating the performance of medical devices under clinically relevant conditions. This approach compliments strategic areas of regulatory science, as identified by the US Food and Drug Administration, to: 1) modernize biocompatibility/biological risk evaluation of device materials; 2) advance methods to predict clinical performance of medical devices; and 3) refine computer models and simulations to enhance the effectiveness of clinical studies.

Health Research Expertise Keywords

Orthopaedics, Joint Replacement, Hernia; Pelvic Organ Prolapse, Surgical Mesh, Biomechanics, Biomaterials, Pre-clinical Testing, Post-marketing Surveillance, Implant Retrieval Analysis, Failure Analysis, Medical Device Design, Medical Device Reprocessing