>> Zhang Lab: Biological/biomedical Micro/nanosystem (homepage)

Project Example 1: Impedance-Enabled Microfluidic Renal Proximal Tubule Biochip Platform: In order to study the negative effects of drugs or other therapeutics on human kidneys, screening methods have been developed to evaluate potential toxicity during preclinical testing. Despite current methods for preclinical screening, the occurrence of kidney injury due to drug toxicity in clinical practice remains unacceptably high, accounting for nearly 20% of all episodes of acute kidney injury. To date, a major limitation in the early determination of the toxicity of drugs is the reliance on experiments in animals whose responses to drugs often cannot predict human responses. In collaboration with Dr. Joseph Charest at Draper Lab, this project aims to develop innovative devices and methods that combine the culturing of human kidney cells and impedance (a complex form of resistance)-based sensing techniques in a microfluidic system. These microfluidic systems will be developed to replicate the physiological behavior needed for studying the toxicity of drugs upon the human kidney, thus serving as an advanced drug screening method with the potential for increased accuracy and lower cost.

Project Example 2: Engineering Novel MRI Contrast Agents for Biomedical Sensing/Imaging: The objective of this research is to develop a biocompatible, fabricated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent platform with novel properties, including sensory capability, and potential for wide application to biomedical research. The approach is to employ both top-down and self assembly approaches, incorporating environmentally responsive materials, to develop a class of contrast agents which address major limitations of currently available agents. In collaboration with Dr. Stephan Anderson at BU Radiology, this project addresses the development of next generation MRI contrast agents using micro- and nanofabrication techniques incorporating biocompatible magnetic materials to develop a series of geometrically precise, particulate contrast agents yielding distinct spectral signatures with multiplexing capability. In addition, the incorporation of biocompatible hydrogels, tunable to respond to myriad environmental stimuli, into the fabrication process will yield in vivo biological sensing capability.

More Project Examples (Listed based on Ph.D. dissertations)
Miniaturized biomechanosensors for cardiomechanical studies
Flexible fabrication of 3D multi-layered microstructures using a scanning laser system
Impedance sensing for cellular response studies
Microsystem based opto-mechano platform for cardiovascular cell contraction study
Viscoelastic characterization of PDMS micropillars for cell force measurement applications
Microphysiological in vitro model of the renal proximal tubule reabsorptive barrier
Size and shape specific particles toward biomedical imaging: design, fabrication, and characterization
Water infused surface protection mechanism to reduce fibrin adhesion on central venous catheters

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