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

You are welcome to contact faculty if you have additional, specific questions regarding these projects. After your application is received (in late January), you will be contacted and asked to list your top three projects, in order of preference. You are also welcome to list these preferences on your application.

BME Guidelines:

Successful applicants will be selected by the projects’ listed faculty mentors. There is no requirement to contact the faculty mentor of your desired project(s) prior to being selected, but you may reach out to them with specific questions regarding the project if you desire.  The number of positions awarded is dependent on SURE/SROP program allocations to the BME department (typically 6-8 each year). 

Upcoming BME projects will be listed starting in November; the application period runs through late January.

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

2023 BME Projects:

BME Project #1: Antibiotic resistance & drug combination discovery

Faculty Mentor: Sriram Chandrasekaran, Ph.D., csriram@umich.edu
Prerequisites: Familiarity with MATLAB programming. Basic knowledge of microbiology and genetics. Knowledge of machine learning is a plus.
Project Description: The focus of this project is to understand antibiotic resistance and design novel drug treatments. 100,000 people die and a million others are sickened by antibiotic resistant bacteria in the United States every year. There is an urgent need to develop high-throughput approaches to screen promising drugs to counter antibiotic-resistance. The student will apply computer algorithms developed in our lab to identify potent antibiotic combinations for treating drug resistant microbial infections.
Research Mode: 
Hybrid


BME Project #2: Cancer metabolism & precision medicine

Faculty Mentor: Sriram Chandrasekaran, Ph.D., csriram@umich.edu
Prerequisites: Familiarity with MATLAB or Python. Basic knowledge of biochemistry, molecular biology and genetics. Experience working with big-data (genomics, transcriptomics) is a plus.
Project Description: This project involves the application of computer models to simulate the metabolic properties of tumors. The computer models will be built using genomics, metabolomics and transcriptomics data from various types of cancer cell lines. By understanding the unique metabolic properties of each cell type, we can design drugs that target specific tumors. Further, knowledge of these differences will be used to design synergistic drug combinations tailored to each patient.
Research Mode: 
Hybrid


BME Project #3: Type 1 Diabetes on Bone Architecture

Faculty Mentor: David Kohn, Ph.D., dhkohn@umich.edu
Prerequisites: None.
Project Description: Evaluation of the effect of type 1 diabetes on bone architecture in mice. Analysis of micro-CT images to determine changes in bone volume, bone fraction and bone mineral density. Processing of DICOM images to create CAD files and subsequent 3D analysis of deviation between disease and control models. Design of Finite Element Analysis (FEA) models to evaluate the effect of bone architecture changes on strain distribution and magnitude due to diabetes.
Research Mode: 
In person (in the lab)


BME Project #4: Role of Microenvironment in Cardiac Reprogramming

Faculty Mentor: Andrew Putnam, Ph.D., putnam@umich.edu
Prerequisites: BME students preferred.
Project Description: The Putnam Laboratory conducts both fundamental and applied research in the broad areas of cardiovascular bioengineering and regenerative medicine. Our team is focused on developing strategies to direct vascularization and tissue regeneration, with the goal of developing new therapies for peripheral arterial disease and ischemic cardiomyopathies. Fundamental research in our laboratory seeks to understand how the extracellular matrix (ECM), the body‚Äôs natural scaffolding material, influences both normal and pathological cardiovascular development. We use a multidisciplinary combination of approaches from biomaterials, mechanobiology, stem cell biology, cell/molecular biology, and engineering. For the summer of 2023, we are recruiting for a project related to indirect cardiac reprogramming, in which fibroblasts are transdifferentiated into cardiac myocyctes via viral-mediated gene delivery. The student will work closely with a PhD student to examine how the microenvironment influences the efficiency of reprogramming.
Research Mode: 
In person (in the lab)


BME Project #5: Intraretinal stimulation

Faculty Mentor: James Weiland, Ph.D., weiland@umich.edu
Prerequisites: A circuits class is useful, but not required. Prior work with small animals is also useful.
Project Description: In this project, we will investigate intraretinal electrical stimulation as a possible treatment for some types of blindness. We will use sub-cellular carbon fiber electrodes, coated with platinum iridium alloy to stimulate the retina of a small animal. The retina will be modified to be fluorescent when activated. Several design parameters will be tested including the size of the electrode and the duration and amplitude of stimulation. The experiments will be complemented with computational modeling of stimulation.
Research Mode: 
In person (in the lab)


BME Project #6: Biomimetic Apoptotic Particles for Macrophage-driven Bone Regeneration

Faculty Mentor: Brendon M. Baker, Ph.D., bambren@umich.edu
Prerequisites: general lab experience, lab notebooking, cell and tissue culture, familiarity with MATLAB
Project Description: Improper osseous wound healing due to disease, injury related trauma, and tumor resection, among other causes, can lead to impaired function, pain, reduced quality of life, and substantial costs to individuals. Often overlooked, one of the first steps in bone wound repair is cell death and subsequent apoptotic (dead/dying) cell clearance, called efferocytosis, by macrophages. In this project, a biomaterial-based imitation of efferocytosis will be investigated as a promising strategy to modulate and enhance bone regeneration. Students involved in this project will gain expertise in tissue engineering, including mammalian cell culture, biomaterials, and biological image analysis.
Research Mode: 
In Lab


BME Project #7: Synthetic biomaterials to direct therapeutic angiogenesis

Faculty Mentor: Brendon M. Baker, Ph.D., bambren@umich.edu
Prerequisites: general lab experience, lab notebooking, cell and tissue culture, familiarity with MATLAB
Project Description: Angiogenesis is a complex morphogenetic process that involves intimate interactions between migrating multicellular endothelial structures and their extracellular milieu. To investigate how microenvironmental cues regulate angiogenesis, we develop in vitro organotypic models that reduce the complexity of the native microenvironment and enable mechanistic insight into how soluble and physical extracellular matrix cues regulate this dynamic process. The focus of this project is to build a synthetic material that promotes angiogenesis without the need for exogenous soluble cues or growth factor gradients.  This implantable biomaterial in the longer term will be applied to disease or injury settings to restore vascular function or for the creation of vascularized tissue grafts. Students involved in this project will gain expertise in biomaterials, microphysiologic modeling, and biological image analysis.
Research Mode: 
In Lab


BME Project #8: Biomanufacturing stem-cell derived cardiac grafts with micro-scale vasculature

Faculty Mentor: Brendon M. Baker, Ph.D., bambren@umich.edu
Prerequisites: general lab experience, lab notebooking, cell and tissue culture, familiarity with MATLAB
Project Description: Acute or chronic cardiac injuries, eg. through myocardial infarction or prolonged cardiac overload, cause irreversible damage to the heart. The field of cardiac tissue engineering aims to develop technologies to biomanufacture engineered tissues that could replace injured or diseased native myocardium and restore normal cardiac function for the patient.  The goal of this project is to engineer hydrogel-based 3D tissue grafts containing dense and organized beds of capillaries interspersed between aligned bundles of cardiomyocytes. Students contributing to this project will develop expertise tissue engineering and biomaterials development, in particular melt electro-writing and tissue microfabrication.
Research Mode: 
In Lab


BME Project #9: Engineered microenvironments to study the dynamics of matrix remodeling during fibrosis

Faculty Mentor: Brendon M. Baker, Ph.D., bambren@umich.edu
Prerequisites: general lab experience, lab notebooking, cell and tissue culture, familiarity with MATLAB
Project Description: Fibrosis is a central component of numerous diseases, including liver cirrhosis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, post-infarct cardiac scarring, and cancer; as such, it is implicated in an estimated 45% of all deaths in the developed world.  These diverse pathologies similarly progress toward organ failure through myofibroblast-mediated overproduction of an excessively stiff ECM.  We aim to develop approaches that allow us to study the evolving structure and mechanical properties of fibrous ECM, while monitoring the mechanics that drive myofibroblast signaling.  This work will shine light on biophysical mechanisms common to numerous fibrotic diseases, and could lead to therapies that promote regenerative healing over fibrotic scar formation. Students involved in this project will gain expertise in biomaterials, microphysiologic modeling, and biological image analysis.
Research Mode: 
In Lab


BME Project #10: Segmentation and Zero-Dimensional Computational Modeling of Left Ventricle Assistant Device Patients

Faculty Mentor: David Nordsletten, Ph.D., nordslet@umich.edu
Prerequisites: None
Project Description: Heart failure is the leading cause of death worldwide and is increasing in prevalence. While heart transplantation is seen as the best treatment, not all patients are qualified or survive long enough to receive a transplant. Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) have been used in patients to augment cardiac function, pumping blood from the left ventricle directly to the aorta. LVADs have been shown to improve life expectancy and quality of life. Unfortunately, several complications to LVAD therapy can arise, including right ventricular (RV) failure which remains a serious concern affecting up to 42% of LVAD patients. The pathway to RVF is a complicated process that is caused by many interdependent factors that must be understood. One such feature that is poorly understood in the LVAD setting is mitral regurgitation (MR). Currently, MR treatment is left up to the expert opinion of the surgeon and there is no consensus on whether it should be repaired in LVAD patients. It is necessary to understand the hemodynamic impact that MR has in LVAD patients so more informed decisions can be made for patient treatment.

For this project the student will study how mitral regurgitation and mitral valve repair impacts the right ventricle in LVAD patients. This question will be addressed in two parts. Firstly, the student will use patient CT images to create 3D models of the left ventricle and left atrium for 10 LVAD patients. Generating 3D models of patient’s hearts is a vital first step in patient specific analysis of this disease. Secondly, the student will model the LVAD patient hemodynamics in zero-dimension. This provides an efficient way to model patient hemodynamics under various treatment conditions. The student will vary the MR severity and LVAD pump speed and analyze the impact of the two on the right ventricle. This will provide quantitative data that can help recommend patient treatment.
Research Mode: 
Hybrid


BME Project #11: Engineering the host response to biomaterials

Faculty Mentor: Aaron Morris, Ph.D., aharmorr@umich.edu
Prerequisites: None
Project Description: This project will focus on engineering biomaterials and the host response to them for various in vivo applications.
Research Mode: 
In Lab


BME Project #12: Synthetic biology for disease detection

Faculty Mentor: Aaron Morris, Ph.D., aharmorr@umich.edu
Prerequisites: None
Project Description: This project will focus on engineering receptors on cells to detect disease and produce a detectable signal that disease is occurring. This project will focus predominantly on engineering the receptors and cells in vitro, but may eventually progress to in vivo detection.
Research Mode: 
In Lab


BME Project #13: Neurostimulation for chronic pain management

Faculty Mentor: Scott Lempka, Ph.D., lempka@umich.edu
Prerequisites: Neurostimulation therapies, such as spinal cord stimulation, can provide nonpharmacologic treatment options to the millions of Americans suffering from pain. However, these neurostimulation therapies can fail to provide adequate pain relief in a large number of people. Therefore, this project will combine detailed computational models with measures of pain modulation in patients to investigate therapeutic mechanisms of neurostimulation and provide knowledge necessary to improve its effectiveness for pain management.
Research Mode: 
Hybrid