Summer Research

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Make your summers count

The Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering (SURE) program provides summer research opportunities for U-M undergraduates; the Rackham Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP) serves undergraduates from outside U-M.

Apply for a Summer Research program

Upcoming BME projects will be listed starting in November; the application period runs through late January. Accepted applicants rank their top three projects in order of preference, and an internal committee matches applicants with projects.

Projects are added as they become available. Please check back for updated listings.

BME Project 1: Radiological Health Engineering

Faculty mentor: Kim Kearfott, Ph.D.
Required skills: Varies depending upon specific project.
Work in the radiological health engineering laboratory focuses on the design and application of measurement and imaging systems to determine various physiological, anatomical, or environmental quantities of concern for human health. While much work is directed at improving radiation to diagnosis disease and treat cancers, most worker has broader applications such as protection of the public from radiation health risks and homeland security.

BME Project 2: Tissue Engineering Muscle

Faculty mentor: Lisa Larkin
Required skills: No prior skills required, cell culture skills would be helpful.
Dr. Larkin directs a laboratory the Skeletal Tissue Engineering Laboratory (STEL) at the University of Michigan that has developed a scaffold-less method to engineer three-dimensional (3D) muscle, nerve conduit, tendon, bone and ligament constructs from primary, bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) and adipose stem cells (ASCs). The research aims of STEL are to fabricate 3D musculoskeletal tissues, interface the tissues and evaluate the structural and histological characteristics, implant the tissues in vivo to expose them to the actual mechanical and biochemical environments of a hindlimb, evaluate alterations in the structural, functional and histological characteristics of the tissues in response to strain-shielded and unshielded mechanical environments, and utilize the engineered tissues for tissue repair and replacement. As a student in the lab, you will assist other graduate students and research staff on ongoing tissue engineering projects.

BME Project 3: Cardiac Optics and Mapping

Faculty mentor: Omer Berenfeld, Ph.D.
Required skills: Varies depending upon specific project.
Our research in Cardiac Optics and Mapping involves developing and applying methods of optical science and engineering to probe the heart structure and electrical function. Our goal is to improve the understanding and therapies of lethal cardiac arrhythmias such as ventricular and atrial fibrillation through novel technological and basic science approaches. Research projects are available involving: (1) Hyperspectral Imaging; (2) Fluorescence Biosensing; (3) Computational Modeling.

BME Project 4: Reconstituting thrombin generation on lipid vesicles

Faculty mentor: Allen Liu, Ph.D.
Required skills: Experience working with proteins is helpful.
This is part of a larger project on bottom up assembly of artificial platelets with a goal to using lipid bilayer vesicles that can process information from the microenvironment of injured vasculature to initiate blood clotting process. Our idea is based on the presentation of phosphatidylserine on vesicle surface, which is an important signature of activated platelets. The student will experiment with purified blot clotting proteins and test the composition of lipids that will support thrombin generation.

BME Project 5: Engineering Education

Faculty mentor: Aileen Huang-Saad, Ph.D., MBA
Required skills: Varies depending upon specific project.
Our research program in Engineering Education looks at various aspects of engineering education and how it influences the professional formation of future engineers. Engineering Education research projects are available examining: 1) engineering entrepreneurship education assessment, 2) the influence of entrepreneurship engineering education environment on student engagement and 3) student perceptions of biomedical engineering education today, and 3) examining the impact of biomedical engineering education on future career paths.

BME Project 6: Biomaterials / Regenerative Medicine / Biotechnology

Faculty mentor: Lonnie D Shea, Ph.D.
Required skills: Varies depending upon specific project.
Our research program involves developing biotechnologies using biomaterials, and applying these technologies to the development of novel therapies. Research projects are available involving: (1) cell therapies for type 1 Diabetes; (2) nanoparticles for immune tolerance; (3) systems biology and computational modeling in regenerative medicine, (4) early detection systems for metastatic cancer.

BME Project 7: How do human-induced environmental changes affect bone strength in humans and non-human animals?

Faculty mentor: Karl J. Jepsen, Ph.D.
Required skills: Biomedical imaging, engineering.
The skeleton of white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) will be analyzed by testing for differences in bone morphology using nanocomputed tomography of mice caught in Southeast Michigan circa 1920 with mice caught in the same region in 2015. We will couple this museum study with a field study to examine the overall physical and skeletal health of naïve wild mouse populations experiencing differential exposure to environmental toxins. This will establish if wild animals also exhibit declines in health similar to humans due to cumulative effects of environmental toxins. For the field component of this project, mice will be captured at several different locations throughout Michigan. We will handle them to collect important behavioral and physiological data before releasing them. We will collect soil samples to measure the degree of environmental contaminants. We will carry out laboratory analyses to measure levels of environmental contaminants and hormones in mouse serum and feces.

BME Project 8: Improving neuroprosthetic interfaces with the peripheral nervous system

Faculty mentor: Tim Bruns, Ph.D.
Required skills: Interest in in vivo research. Attention to detail. Lab experience.
We have a goal of developing improved interfaces with the peripheral nervous system. In acute and long-term experiments, we are examining the use of penetrating and non-penetrating electrodes for recording neural activity and driving nerve responses. This project may involve electrode fabrication, implant surgery, data collection and analysis, and review of nerve-implant histology.

BME Project 9: Optoelectrodes for Studying Neuroscience: Assembly Improvements

Faculty mentor: John Seymour, Ph.D.
Required skills: Jr/Senior status, BME 211 or 241, preference for BME 450 or 458.
We are looking for a highly motivated undergraduate to advance biomedical technology and neuroscience. Our project is the development of neurotechnology for studying brain circuitry using optical light stimulation and high-speed electrical recordings. We have fabricated this technology but need to optimize the assembly to make them easier to use by neuroscientists. Good hand-eye coordination and comfort handling small structures is required. Careful experimental planning is also required.

BME Project 10: Optoelectrodes for Studying Neuroscience: Software Improvements

Faculty mentor: John Seymour, Ph.D.
Required skills: Jr/Senior status, BME 211 or 241, preference for BME 450 or 458.
We are looking for a highly motivated undergraduate to advance biomedical technology and neuroscience. Our project is the development of neurotechnology for studying brain circuitry using optical light stimulation and high-speed electrical recordings. We have fabricated this technology but need to optimize the software interface to make them easier to use by neuroscientists. MatLAB or LabVIEW programming experience is required. Careful experimental planning is also required.

BME Project 11: The investigation of cancer stem cell development using single cell microfluidics

Faculty mentor: Euisik Yoon, Ph.D.
Required skills: 1. Patience and carefulness in doing experiments. 2. Good hand skill for doing experiments. 3. Basic skills in using Excel for data analysis. 4. Basic understanding in statistics such as hypothesis testing. 5. The capability to use MATLAB and write simple scripts for automatic data analysis.
Cell heterogeneity is a new challenge in cancer therapy. Each cell in the heterogeneous population has its own unique property, and thus responds differently to the same drug, making cancer treatment difficult and complicated. Therefore, it is important to understand the heterogeneity characteristics of cells in drug assays. Still most assays measure the average behavior over large numbers of cells with an underline assumption that all cells are identical, which can lead to incorrect, imprecise results. To understand the behavior of each cell in heterogeneous groups, we should be able to provide high-throughput assays at single cell resolution, enlightening individual properties of each cell rather than the average behavior of the bulk tumor. In this work, we focus on studying the self-renewal and differentiation of cancer stem cells. Using microfluidic technologies, we can isolate and culture an array of 10k single cancer stem cells for several days, and observe their developments on-chip. The proliferation rate and self-renewal/differentiation can be measured using fluorescent imaging.

BME Project 12: Biophotonic Tissue Diagnostics

Faculty mentor: Mary-Ann Mycek, Ph.D.
Required skills: Varies depending upon specific project.
Our translational research program in Biophotonics develops optical tools and methods to quantitatively probe living biological tissues, with a goal of impacting patient care by creating non- and minimally-invasive optical diagnostic technologies. Translational ("bench to bedside") research projects are available involving: (1) Optical Molecular Imaging; (2) Clinical Optical Diagnostics; (3) Computational Modeling.