News

Making the invisible visible: New method opens unexplored realms for liquid biopsies A new approach to RNA sequencing reveals thousands of previously inaccessible RNA fragments in blood plasma that might serve as disease- and organ-specific biomarkers

May 3, 2019

Advancing technology is allowing scientists increasingly to search for tiny signs of cancer and other health issues in samples of patients’ blood and urine. These “liquid biopsies” are less invasive than a traditional biopsy, and can provide information about what’s happening throughout the body instead of just at a single site.

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Crackling and wheezing are more than just a sign of sickness Re-thinking what stethoscopes tell us.

April 17, 2019

Doctors know they’re the sounds of a problem in the lungs, but it turns out they might be more than symptoms—crackling and wheezing could also be the sounds of a disease progressing, according to a University of Michigan researcher.

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Taking shape: New aligned hydrogel tubes guide spinal tissue regeneration New aligned hydrogel tubes guide spinal tissue regeneration

April 8, 2019

Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine hold the promise of new treatment approaches to spinal cord injuries. Since the human body doesn’t naturally regenerate tissues of the spinal cord, new materials and structures that have similar characteristics to native tissue are needed to realize the potential.

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Recovering reproduction: U-M researchers stimulate follicle growth in mice aimed at creating eggs New approach can boost ovarian follicle survival in mice by up to 75 percent.

April 3, 2019

Leukemia treatments often leave girls infertile, but a procedure developed by researchers at the University of Michigan working with mice is a step toward restoring their ability to be biological mothers.

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Speedy “slingshot” cell movement observed for the first time New findings suggest it might one day be possible to direct healthy cells to advance tissue repair therapies.

March 12, 2019

By slingshotting themselves forward, human cells can travel more than five times faster than previously documented, University of Michigan researchers have found.

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A ‘decathlon’ for antibiotics puts them through more realistic testing Surprise findings could upend the current drug discovery approach for treating one of the most dangerous hospital-borne infections.

January 23, 2019

The University of Michigan’s Sriram Chandrasekaran is using advanced computer simulations to study how different environments affect antibiotic performance.

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U-M BME and Shantou University Shaping the biomedical engineering workforce of tomorrow

December 13, 2018

A new international collaboration is underway, forging deeper connections between U-M BME and Shantou University (STU) in China. The two institutions are working side by side to develop a BME program at STU that will shape the biomedical engineering workforce of tomorrow.

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Has the Olympics changed how it measures false-starts in track? A Q&A with a biomechanics expert who has researched reaction times

August 30, 2018

In 2011, James Ashton-Miller, a Michigan Engineer, helped reveal that Olympic starting-line technology created a different experience for male and female sprinters. It did not accurately detect false starts by women. His latest work provides insights into what may, or may not, have happened since.

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Fifty years of Biomedical Engineering and Collaboration New Perspectives on What's Possible

July 3, 2018

The Biomedical Engineering department formally became a joint department of the U-M College of Engineering and the Medical School in 2012, just five years before celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017. But the spirit and impact of the collaboration that spurred its founding five decades ago continue at an ever-increasing pace today. At the heart […]

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Toward a stem cell model of human nervous system development Human cells could one day show us more about why neural tube birth defects occur and how to prevent them.

June 15, 2018

Human embryonic stem cells can be guided to become the precursor tissue of the central nervous system, research led by the University of Michigan has demonstrated. The new study also reveals the important role of mechanical signals in the development of the human nervous system.

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BME-in-Practice: Iterative curriculum design

June 7, 2018

Incubators are common among entrepreneurs to nurture and develop a new product, application, or business idea. Assistant Professor Aileen Huang-Saad is also applying the concept to biomedical engineering practice – and to engineering education – through a novel “instructional incubator” and series of short, experiential courses.

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‘Nightmare bacteria:’ Michigan Engineers discuss how to combat antibiotic resistance Drug-resistant bugs are on the rise and new approaches are needed.

April 20, 2018

Health officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month said they are seeing rising cases of “nightmare bacteria” that show strong resistance to antibiotics. More than 200 cases were reported in the last year alone, and across every state in the U.S. “Unusual resistance germs—which are resistant to all or […]

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No sponge left behind: tags for surgical equipment A simple, easy-to-implement technology could prevent the debilitating injuries that can occur when organs are damaged by surgical tools left in the body.

April 15, 2018

Items left behind in patients after surgery can have an enormous personal cost when organs and tissues are damaged. Surgical sponges are among the worst offenders – difficult to see in post-surgical X-rays and yet capable of causing holes when the intestines grow around them, for example. These rare cases, estimated around one in 3,000 […]

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Carlos Aguilar wins highly competitive 2018 3M Non-tenured Faculty Award

April 6, 2018

Assistant Professor Carlos Aguilar has been selected to receive the 2018 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award from the 3M Corporation. The 3M award recognizes outstanding faculty on the basis of research, experience, teaching and academic leadership. The award was created over twenty-five years ago by 3M’s Technical Community in partnership with the 3Mgives program to invest […]

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A Better Way to Connect Arteries How Coulter’s Newest Licensed Product Is Making Its Way from the Classroom to the Clinic

February 27, 2018

When reconstructive surgeons repair a breast after mastectomy or a severely injured leg after a car accident, they often move tissue harvested from one part of the body to another using microsurgical techniques. A new device developed at U-M and supported by the Coulter Translational Research Partnership Program will make it possible to connect arteries in the transferred tissue to those at the repair site in just minutes with a few easy steps.

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Empowering Neural Engineering

February 16, 2018

Some of the earliest neural engineering work in the field was – pun unintended – conducted at U-M, including the invention of the first silicon neural electrode by Kensall Wise, professor emeritus of BME and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Today a cluster of innovative, accomplished faculty is driving the field forward, working side-by-side with clinicians in the U-M Medical School to focus on translational applications to improve the lives of patients.

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The U-M-Coulter Partnership A pivotal program helps catapult promising biomedical technologies from the lab to the marketplace

January 12, 2018

The 1990s saw the rise of a new term that would reshape biomedical engineering and academic medicine in the years to come — “translational” research.

Driven by funders’ desire to bridge a gap between basic research and clinical application, it encouraged biomedical scientists to more directly impact human health by taking their work “bench to bedside.” In doing so, it suggested that the end-game for academics could just as reasonably be a high-impact journal article as a medical product poised for commercialization.

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Root causes: Bioelectronics to restore organ function

December 15, 2017

The work of Assistant Professor Tim Bruns has been recognized with a highly competitive National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award. The five-year award will fund Bruns’ winning proposal, “Modeling dorsal root ganglia: Electrophysiology of microelectrode recording and stimulation.”

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New funding for high-fidelity nerve mapping research SPARC awarded $1M to a U-M project developing better nerve mapping

December 1, 2017

The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC) program awarded a University of Michigan project $1 million in funding to develop “highly-compliant microneedle arrays for peripheral nerve mapping.” NIH’s SPARC program seeks to research and develop how nerves interact with organs in order to develop treatments and therapies for diseases, […]

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Kevlar-based artificial cartilage mimics the magic of the real thing In spite of being 80 percent water, cartilage is tough stuff. Now, a synthetic material can pack even more H2O without compromising on strength

December 1, 2017

The unparalleled liquid strength of cartilage, which is about 80 percent water, withstands some of the toughest forces on our bodies. Synthetic materials couldn’t match it – until the “Kevlartilage” developed by researchers at the University of Michigan and Jiangnan University. “We know that we consist mostly of water – all life does – and […]

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Closest look yet at killer T-cell activity could yield new approach to tackling antibiotic resistance An in-depth look at the work of T-cells, the body's bacteria killers, could provide a roadmap to effective drug treatments.

October 27, 2017

In a study that could provide a roadmap for combatting the rising threat of drug-resistant pathogens, researchers have discovered the specific mechanism the body’s T-Cells use to kill bacteria.

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Identifying New Targets in Cancer Metabolism and Treatment

October 16, 2017

Progress in cancer research over the past ten years has helped scientists gain a greater understanding of cancer cell metabolism and how cancer cells interact…

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Bionic heart tissue: U-Michigan part of $20M center Scar tissue left over from heart attacks creates dead zones that don’t beat. Bioengineered patches could fix that.

October 10, 2017

The University of Michigan is partnering on an ambitious $20 million project to grow new heart tissue for cardiac patients.

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Reading cancer’s chemical clues A nanoparticle-assisted optical imaging technique could one day read the chemical makeup of a tumor.

September 18, 2017

A tumor’s chemical makeup holds valuable clues about how to fight it. But today, it’s difficult or impossible to examine the chemistry inside a tumor.

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$7.75M for mapping circuits in the brain A new NSF Tech Hub will put tools to rapidly advance our understanding of the brain into the hands of neuroscientists.

August 7, 2017

The technology exists to stimulate and map circuits in the brain, but neuroscientists have yet to tap this potential.

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Lab-grown lung tissue could lead to new cancer, asthma treatments A look at how Michigan Engineers created a biomaterial scaffold to help researchers from the U-M Medical School grow mature human lung tissue.

July 31, 2017

In a breakthrough that could one day lead to new treatments for lung diseases like asthma and lung cancer, researchers have successfully coaxed stem cells—the body’s master cells—to grow into three-dimensional lung tissue.

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Mildred F. Denecke Scholarship Fund endowed The fund will provide need-based support for students in the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME).

July 28, 2017

Mildred F. Denecke (BSE Phys ’49) recently made a gift to endow the Mildred F. Denecke Scholarship Fund. The fund will provide need-based support for students in the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME).

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Bright ideas Master's student research explores concept generation in design

June 29, 2017

Generating ideas during an engineering design process is crucial to developing successful solutions. But teaching – and learning – about idea generation in design is challenging for instructors and students alike.

Anastasia Ostrowski (BSE BME ’16, MSE BME ’17), has been conducting research with the aim of providing insights to improve idea generation, and therefore design education, for BME students.

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M-HEAL + Mentors = Design Progress

June 6, 2017

The student-run organization M-HEAL, Michigan Health Engineered for All Lives, has a laudable, and ambitious, mission: to design healthcare solutions in collaboration with international partners to positively impact global health.

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