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Creative Inquiry Current Projects

Image-Guided Drug Delivery To the Brain

Advances in nanotechnology have led to the development of nanoparticles that can deliver therapeutics into specific cells for the treatment of many cancers, including gliomas. Clinical translation of these therapies to patients has been limited due to inefficient efficacy in vivo.  Image-guided drug delivery may help overcome barriers to translation providing quantitative analysis of biodistribution and pharmacokinetics through real-time visual monitoring of the therapeutic within the body,. Computed tomography (CT) is a desirable imaging method for brain disease diagnosis, as it can provide information on the location of bones, muscles, fat, and organs. However, CT can require long-term exposure to radiative contrast agents in order to obtain high quality image information. The high doses required are not currently approved by the FDA. Because of this, we are proposing the creation of a nanoparticle system capable of delivering FDA approved contrast agents directly to the site of interest, limiting toxicity associated with whole body exposure and off-targeting. Due to their small size, nanoparticles have the ability to load a high concentration of drug while simultaneously being targeted to specific areas of the brain, which would provide a dramatic improvement to current CT capabilities.

Team Leaders
Angela Alexander Bioengineering
Jessica Kelly Chemical & Biomolecular Eng

Clemson University Retrieval of Explants Program and Registry in Orthopaedics: CU- REPRO

Medical implant devices (MID) have been used widely for more than 40 years, and it is estimated that 8 percent 10 percent of Americans (20-25 million people) currently have such a device. Although implant devices have produced great benefits, it must be recognized that sometimes MID must be removed or replaced. Bioengineers contribute to their continual state of development to increase their performance and extend their useful lifespan. Long-term data on the behavior of implanted devices and host response are essential inputs to the development process, yet there are few systematic programs for the retrieval and analysis of implants in the USA. Independent and international data banks do exist however. The contributions to implant design provided by retrieval and analysis will benefit patients through improvements in implant performance. We can consider implants to be defined as having a minimum lifespan of 3 months, as penetrating living tissue, as having a physiologic interaction and as being retrievable. A number of barriers exist to the establishment of an implant retrieval program. Major impediments are the costs associated with such a program and fear of litigation affecting manufacturers, hospitals, physicians, and investigators. The long term goal of this creative inquiry group is to discuss, investigate, develop, establish, promote and grow a viable Clemson University Implant Retrieval Program. The aim of such a program is to provide a working repository for retrieved implants, and to develop the tools and techniques for the systematic evaluation of implant designs, materials, surfaces and function.

Team Leaders
Melinda Harman Bioengineering
John D DesJardins Bioengineering

Designing Medical Technology for the Developing World

Developing countries face healthcare challenges every day, whether it is lack of supplies or a shortage of healthcare professionals. Medical devices and equipment that are considered standard in hospitals in the United States can be hard to find and very expensive in developing countries, such as Tanzania. Tanzania has recently made significant advances with the quality of their healthcare; however, the infant mortality rate is still ten times greater than that of the United States. This is due to the lack of technology available and untrained healthcare professionals to use these medical devices. The goal of this Creative Inquiry team is to design and develop medical instrumentation and monitors that are robust, user-friendly, and low-cost for developing countries. The students on this team will be expected to work on electronics and instrument design. The first project will focus on developing a neonatal temperature sensing and control system for the prevention of hyperthermia in premature babies for Tanzanian health centers. The next projects will focus on development and design of cheap pulse oximeter and electrocardiography systems to monitor the blood oxygen levels and heart rates in these babies. These types of projects not only have the ability to improve the lives of young infants and families, but they can also impact the medical field in developing nations worldwide. Applications for the team are typically due at the end of the semester. Please see the department of Bioengineering website for details: http://www.clemson.edu/ces/bioe/creative-inquiry.html

Team Leaders
Delphine Dean Bioengineering
John D DesJardins Bioengineering
Jorge Rodriguez Bioengineering
Melissa McCullough Bioengineering
William Richardson Bioengineering

MacroAFM

This project is aimed at reconstructing a working Atomic Force Microscope at the Macro Scale for research and education purposes. We first start with an introduction to a real, working AFM machine (our recently received Asylum Research BioMFP-3D) – how it works and what it can do. We also will run some samples to better understand the principles of AFM. After that the team will study the existing designs of AFM models or build their own scheme. The team then uses their AFM to collect data to reveal the contours of a prepared macro-roughened surface – models of different molecules and biological systems – proteins, viruses. This model will be a very good demonstration object for education of summer undergraduate and high-school students.

Team Leaders
Vladimir Reukov Bioengineering

Exploration into Soft Tissue Sports Injuries: Diagnosis and Prevention

The goal of our project is to understand the forces and stresses incurred at the elbow during baseball pitching and eventually develop new tools to assess ligament and tendon issues for baseball players. We completed a small pilot study to investigate the forces and stresses incurred to the elbow during a baseball pitch. However, we were left with questions about maximum stress capacity before failure of the ligament, and if there were identifiable indicators of impending failure. This semester, our CI aims to investigate the microstructure of ligaments and tendons, as well as their ability to withstand mechanical stresses. We will then apply our findings to a sports medicine setting to look for early warning signs of ligament failure, to prevent injury. This research is still in the initial phase of research. We are looking at the biomechanical properties of porcine tissues obtained from the a local abatoire. Following this, we will be submitting an IRB protocol to use Ultrasound technology to take images of the joints of Clemson athletes, as well as Clemson students. We plan to compare the density the density data we found in ligaments with and without microtearing. 

Team Leaders
Delphine Dean Bioengineering

Development of NIR camera for early detection of diabetic wounds

Clinical applications for infrared (IR) cameras and thermometers have emerged in health care to detect and manage inflammation of tissue at risk of ulceration. Recent study findings in wound care suggest that IR technology is beneficial in targeting lower extremity skin temperature, including diabetic, pressure, neuropathic foot and venous leg ulcers, to predict, prevent, and treat these ulcers. However, portable IR cameras are expensive, and must be used in a clinical setting. The purpose of this Creative Inquiry is to manufacture a cheap near-IR camera and application for use with smart phones to test whether the device can detect areas of skin at risk for ulceration. Near IR cameras are much cheaper and are readily compatible with smartphones. Near IR technology has previously been used to monitor wound healing in a hospital setting. However, a technology that enables patients to take images of their legs at home on a daily basis and transmit them to a clinician’s office over a cellular network is lacking. Such technology would allow early detection of nascent diabetic wounds, even before the patient can visually detect them. Students will be assembling and test prototype portable near IR cameras that could revolutionize prevention and treatment approaches to leg ulcers, specifically venous ulcers because they are expected to be readily detectable in near-IR range, and account for 80% of all lower extremity ulcers.

Team Leaders
Vladimir Reukov Bioengineering
Anastasia Frank Kamenetskii Bioengineering
Aleksey Shaporev Bioengineering

Hands on Tissue Engineering

Interested in working with cell and tissues for future clinical breakthroughs? Then this CI will give you hands-on experience in laboratory set up. During the past semesters students had work on various projects involving the culture of  novel three dimensional cancer models for screening purposes, creating cartilage tissues from chondrocyte cultures isolated from pig joints, development of a novel high throughput culture device base on the photoelectric effect of photovoltaic devices and more projects to come including cardiovascular tissues. This CI will provide you with the insights of bioengineering to better assess the propensity to continue towards a more formal research environment at graduate school. Students are expected to be enrolled in this CI at least two consecutive semesters.

Team Leaders
Jorge Rodriguez Bioengineering
Delphine Dean Bioengineering

mHealth devices and cell phone applications

According to Wikipedia, mHealth is a term used for the practice of medicine and public health, supported by mobile devices. mHealth applications include the use of mobile devices in collecting community and clinical health data, delivery of healthcare information to practitioners, researchers, and patients, real-time monitoring of patient vital signs, and direct provision of care (via mobile telemedicine). mHealth is a new and exciting technology that will bring doctor-patient communications to a new level within the next 5 years. The purpose of this Creative Inquiry is to design and manufacture a series of mHealth devices and phone apps to monitor numerous physiological parameters for patients and transfer those collected data to the researcher’s office via secured connection.

Team Leaders
Vladimir Reukov Bioengineering
Aleksey Shaporev Bioengineering
Ilya Safro School of Computing

Engineering the Intervertebral Disc

Low back pain associated with intervertebral disc degeneration places major economic burdens on society here in the U.S. and around the world. The multi-factor degenerative process results in the degradation of the shock-absorbing cartilage discs in your spinal column and can result in pinched nerves and reduced mobility. Many patients must have their spines fused with metallic hardware or have a synthetic disc composed of metal and plastic implanted. The goal of this creative inquiry project is to develop an approach to creating a novel engineered total disc replacement that will ultimately consist of living cells and tissues. The participating students will be responsible for idea generation, hands-on experimentation, collaboration in a team environment, and presentation of their technical findings.

Team Leaders
Jeremy Mercuri Bioengineering
Dan Simionescu Bioengineering

Engineering for Modern Healthcare

This Creative Inquiry collaborates with Centra hospital in Lynchburg, VA. Our contacts there have proposed several projects for us to help them with including process engineering and medical device design.

Team Leaders
Hannah Cash Bioengineering
Delphine Dean Bioengineering

Generation and Characterization of Radiation for Biomedical Applications

In recent years there has been a strong growth in the number of medical devices that use different wavelength radiation for treatment and imaging applications. There is also a growing interest in different fields ( e.g. medicine, biology, space research, electronics) to understand and utilize the effects of different forms of radiation. The effectiveness of radiation technology depends on the understanding of the interaction with the materials in question ranging from surfaces of solids to biological soft tissues. The present research project lies on the borderline of physics and biology. The elementary physical processes of the interaction are well known, but their expressions in biological samples depend on the complex response of the system and its environment. Students in this project will explore different techniques to generate, detect, and characterize electromagnetic radiation, their uses in specialized medical devices, and their applications in research. Radiation sources that can be used in this program range from simple x-ray sources to the new CUEBIT facility of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Biological response measurements will be designed based on the advanced techniques developed at the Department of Bioengineering.

Team Leaders
Endre Takacs Physics and Astronomy
Delphine Dean Bioengineering

The DEN (Design Entrepreneurship Network)

The DEN (Design Entrepreneurship Network)Are you entrepreneurially minded? Do you have an idea, design or technology that you would like to move to the next stage? This CI allows student teams to be mentored by leaders in device design, development, marketing, patenting and small business development to forward student-led technology and ideas. Initially, this CI will focus on mentoring technologies that are being generated by other CI groups, as well as from other Capstone Design programs, but other “independent” teams and technical areas will be sought after the CI structure is established. Teams can include undergraduates and graduates, and preference is given to groups that have already formed around a topic or technology of interest. Mentors and guest speakers from industry, patent law, marketing and start-up businesses will work with student teams to take technology beyond the university development level. The format will be very student driven, with small student teams presenting each week on some aspect of their technology development and business plans. These presentations will be the focal point for discussions, mentoring and advice. Key concepts to be covered are: 1. Predicting Technology Trends/Market Mapping 2. Opportunity Assessment/Intellectual Property/Licensing 3. Corporate Law/Contracts 4. Project Management 5. Product Development/Device Lifecycle Management 6. Operations/GMP/Logistics/Quality 7. Business Models/Start-Up Funding/Attracting Investment 8. Start-Up Finance 9. Regulatory/FDA/International 10. Clinical Trial Design & Management The goal of this CI is to take ideas and technologies forward using student-teams with the hopes of generating new start-ups, technology licenses and a greater network of design and entrepreneurship at Clemson and in Creative Inquiry.

Team Leaders
John D DesJardins Bioengineering
Nancy K Meehan School of Nursing
D. Matthew Boyer Education & Human Dev
Kristen Lawson Dean of Health,Educ,HumanDev
Erica Black Graphic Communications
Sarah Grigg General Engineering
Suzanne H Edlein Graphic Communications

Bionic Arm

This project is inspired by the eNABLE community whose projects are providing motion controlled prosthetics for children.  Our goal is to use their open source designs to 3D print a prosthetic arm and embed electronics for motion control via electromyography (EMG) and electroencephalogram (EEG). 

Team Leaders
Melissa McCullough Bioengineering
Jorge Rodriguez Bioengineering
Tyler Harvey Housing: Summer Programs
Delphine Dean Bioengineering

Innovations in Bioinstrumentation

Bioinstrumentation is an interdisciplinary subject of applying physical principles and mechanical, electronic and chemical engineering technologies to acquire, analysis and display information from cells, tissues, organs and entire organisms including the human body. This CI was created to allow students to design and build their own bioinstrumentation and/or wearable biomedical technology projects. (Instrumentation class/experience is a pre-requisite for this team)

Team Leaders
Delphine Dean Bioengineering
Melissa McCullough Bioengineering
Tyler Harvey Housing: Summer Programs
Vipul Pai Raikar Bioengineering
Hetal Maharaja Bioengineering
Lucas Schmidt General Engineering

Novel Materials for Additive Manufacturing

The booming market for additive manufacturing (three-dimensional (3D) printing) is estimated to be $3.5 billion in 2015. Today, additive manufacturing describes a family of processes in which consecutive layers of material are arranged under computer control. Current industrial applications include resilient prototypes and parts for automotive engineering, tools and parts for aerospace manufacturing. Companies and researchers are looking for new materials for 3D printing; these range from starch-derived PLA plastic to squid ring-teeth proteins. The major trend is to sustainably replace oil and coal plastics with plant-derived and recycled materials. This project is directed to the development of sustainable materials for additive manufacturing, which will promote resource recycling and decrease industrial production of CO2.

Team Leaders
Vladimir Reukov Bioengineering

Inorganic Biomaterials

Inorganic biomaterials are being used for dental restorations,  orthopedic implants and bioactive materials like bioresorbable glass. Moreover, inorganic biomaterials can be also developed for applications like tissue regeneration.This project is devoted to design and synthesis of inorganic biomaterials and their characterization in cell culture environment.

Team Leaders
Vladimir Reukov Bioengineering
Dmitry Gil Bioengineering

A.R.C.H.E.R. (Accessible Recreational Creations to Highlight Educational Reach) Design Works

Design targeted solutions with the ARCHER (Accessible Recreational Creations to Highlight Educational Reach) Design Works creative inquiry! Archery has been integrated into the physical education curriculum in K-12 schools across the state of South Carolina. However, students with disabilities can’t always participate fully. Through the ARCHER creative inquiry, Clemson students can design and develop engineering solutions to help these students experience the excitement that comes with hitting the bullseye. Clemson students will be paired with a K-12 student with a disability and will spend the semesters enrolled getting to know the K-12 student, learning about the PE archery program and current adaptive sports techniques, and designing and developing a prototype device to assist the K-12 student in archery competition.  Students wishing to participate should expect to enroll for a minimum of two semesters. Future semesters will expand into other sports.

Team Leaders
Meredith Owen Bioengineering
John D DesJardins Bioengineering

Animal Model Tissue Biopsy Device Design

The focus of this creative inquiry is to design and develop a fine needle aspirate biopsy (FNAB) device that is semi-automated and allows for tactile ease of use and consistent sampling in animal models.  Resultant samples will be used to study human disease development, initiation and progression of abnormal mammary cells.   

Team Leaders
Jeremy Mercuri Bioengineering
Heather Dunn Animal & Veterinary Sciences

Exploring engineering solutions to improve dialysis care

Patients on dialysis typically receive three blood-purification treatments a week. One of the most difficult— and potentially traumatic—experiences of a patient relying on dialysis is the experience of being “stuck” with a relatively large needle to draw blood. The primary goal of this project is to use engineering approaches to improve patient health outcomes and experience by enhancing the skill of nurses and healthcare technicians who perform these tasks. Students will work in a fast-paced, highly inter-disciplinary environment to communicate with clinicians, create novel materials to simulate anatomical structures, interface sensors with computers, and analyze human skill data. Students with previous experience in sensor interfacing are strongly encouraged to apply. To apply for the Spring 2017 cohort, please send Dr. Joseph Singapogu (joseph@clemson.edu) the following information: latest resume/CV, major and GPA, brief statement regarding why student is interested in project, any previous project experience.

Team Leaders
Ravikiran Singapogu Inst Biological Interfaces Eng

Designing With Docs

In bioengineering, the opportunity to collaborate with clinicians in the design of biomedical devices is considered the highlight of any design experience, but usually these design experiences are limited to senior year, if at all. Clinicians are an essential contributor to the design process, in that they are both the users of biomedical devices, and often the first point of contact for problems that occur in their use. Typically, students explore design related issues, and recruit clinicians to support their work. In this new CI, clinical collaborators that have the support of their clinical innovation departments will work with students to create the next generation of biomedical devices.  This CI will be open to all undergraduates, and projects will be multi-semester, to support the development of long-term innovations in healthcare.

Team Leaders
Jordon Gilmore Bioengineering
John D DesJardins Bioengineering

Horse Play

Hippotherapy, also known as equine assisted therapy, is the use of a horse as a moving platform for rehabilitation treatment for a range of disabilities. Literature has shown positive improvements in patients with spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and many other disabilities when partaking in hippotherapy. This information will be used to create saddles for effective use in hippotherapy. Adaptive saddles will be created to provide assistance to those of specific disabilities whom normally cannot ride without assistance or minimal intervention. The saddle will be suited with pressure sensor feedback in order to obtain rider patterns within the saddle. Further modifications to gather rider actions while mounted on the horse can also be explored.

Team Leaders
Anne Marie Holter Bioengineering
John D DesJardins Bioengineering
Kristine Vernon Animal & Veterinary Sciences

Precise gene editing in mammalian cells

  Gene therapy has been proposed for inherited and acquired diseases yielding promising results in animal studies and human clinical trials. The advent of gene-editing tools, such as CRISPR/Cas9 nucleases have unleashed new possibilities for curing diseases at the genetic level. In this creative inquiry, we will investigate the application of genome editing tools for achieving precise gene modification in target cells for therapeutic applications.

Team Leaders
Renee Cottle Bioengineering
Lawrence Fernando Bioengineering

Informing Medical Device Design and Reprocessing through Human Factors Engineering and User Validation

Human factors engineering focuses on understanding how people interact with technology and studying how user interface design affects the interactions people have with technology. U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines identify human factors engineering as essential for maximizing the likelihood that new medical devices will be safe and effective for the intended users, uses and use environments. Therefore, incorporating human factors engineering into medical device design and product development can be a key factor for meeting regulatory standards and launching a successful product. The long-term goal of this Creative Inquiry is to introduce the tools and techniques used in human factors engineering and to apply those skills to medical device design. Students enrolled in this CI will interact with industry professionals and student team members to use human factors and usability testing to inform medical design decisions with a focus on how devices are used in their clinical settings and during their reprocessing. Students will conduct the testing on commonly used medical devices and medical device prototypes and use hypothesis-driven research for improving upon medical device designs. Undergraduate students looking to join this team should expect to be involved for 2-4 semesters.

Team Leaders
Zachary Hargett Bioengineering
Melinda Harman Bioengineering
John D DesJardins Bioengineering
David Neyens Industrial Engineering
Delphine Dean Bioengineering

Infant Cranial Remodeling

Infant cranial helmets are used when children, under the age of 1, are diagnosed with a cranial deformity. The helmets help to direct the growth of the infant’s head, in order to restore proper head shape. Students involved with the Head Start! project will work to improve the current helmet designs by using pressure mapping technology to identify proper pressure values within the helmet. All testing will be done on head molds, so no human subjects will be used.

Team Leaders
Kyle Walker Bioengineering
John D DesJardins Bioengineering