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Bioengineering Research at Lehigh

Bioengineering research at Lehigh cuts across departmental and college boundaries and includes faculty from the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, and the College of Arts and Sciences. Focus areas range from the nano-scale to the systems level and projects target the advancement of knowledge of biological systems, the generation of new diagnostic tools, improvement of medical therapies and the innovation of devices. Faculty members work in multiple areas, and actively engage in collaborative projects, sharing expertise and promoting interdisciplinary innovation in bioengineering. Below are brief descriptions of the broad categories of bioengineering research conducted at Lehigh.


BiomaterialsBiomaterials research involves synthesis of novel organic and inorganic materials, preparation of micro- and nanoplatforms, innovations in targeting, control of drug release, and biodegradation. Applications include developing and optimizing drug and gene delivery systems, designing biomedical devices, controlling stem-cell differentiation, treating disease, modulating organ function, and controlling the immune system. Biomaterials research also includes mathematical modeling of nanoparticle targeting, modeling the microenvironments of normal and diseased human tissue, and studying drug uptake and processing.

Related Faculty: B. Berger, X. Cheng, L. Chow, H. Dailey, M. Falk, W. Im, A. Jagota, H. Jain, S. Jedlicka, H.D. Ou-Yang, K. Schultz


BiomechanicsBiomechanics research at Lehigh is primarily focused on biomolecular and cellular mechanics, but also includes whole body mechanics, to a lesser extent. The majority of the multifaceted work is based on understanding the mechanical properties of cells and biomolecules, cellular/molecular force generation during cellular processes such as cell division and cell adhesion, the response of cells to their mechanical microenvironment, and mechanotransduction in response to various physical forces such as fluid shear stress. The larger goal is to apply the knowledge of how cells interact mechanically with their environment to control cell function and to understand disease and repair processes.

Related Faculty: J. Buceta, H. Dailey, A. Jagota, S. Jedlicka, Y. Liu, H.D. Ou-Yang, S. Tatic-Lucic, D. Vezenov, A. Voloshin, X. Zhang


Biomedical ImagingBiomedical Imaging/Analysis Research focuses on the development of new technologies for image acquisition and processing, with the goal of establishing new procedures for clinical diagnosis and therapy response monitoring. Imaging research utilizes ultrasound, total internal reflection (TIRF) microscopy, and optical coherence tomography (OCT) and microscopy (OCM) technologies. Applications range from tracking fluorescently labeled vesicles to lipid bilayers to following individual cytoskeletal filaments to "optical biopsy", 3D in situ images of tissue morphology, function and pathological status in real-time. Image analysis research focuses on developing robust image analysis methods and building working software systems that integrate algorithms with application-specific designs to solve problems in biology and biomedicine.

Related Faculty: X. Huang, D. Lopresti, D. Vavylonis, C. Zhou


BioMEMSBioMEMS/Biosensors/Microfluidics have a wide variety of bioengineering applications including point of care and global health diagnostics, environmental monitoring systems, and high throughput drug screening platforms. Design and implementation of novel microfluidic platforms, fabrication of multiple electrode arrays (MEAs) and generation of bio microelectromechanical systems (BioMEMs) are just a few of the methodologies used by Lehigh Bioengineering faculty to create novel biosensors for in situ and real time detection, to study neural circuit development, and to provide fundamental information about bionoanoparticle trafficking and cellular mechanics.

Related Faculty: F. Bartoli, Y. Berdichevsky, J. Buceta, X. Cheng, J. Hwang, Y. Liu, L. Lowe-Krentz, S. Tatic-Lucic, D. Vezenov


BiophotonicsBiophotonics encompasses work on the development and application of optical techniques to the study of biological molecules, cells and tissue development. At Lehigh, active programs both develop novel nanophotonic systems for fluorescence sensing, and utilize platforms such as optical tweezers, fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) and confocal microscopy in ways that are very promising for biosensing, nanomedicine, drug screening and environmental monitoring applications.

Bioelectronics is the application of electrical engineering principles to biology, medicine, behavior, or health. At Lehigh, bioelectronics research brings together biological systems and micro- and nano-scale electronics to provide the enabling technology for innovative devices, diagnostic platforms, and the advancement of fundamental knowledge of biology from the molecular to systems levels.

Related Faculty: F. Bartoli, H.D. Ou-Yang, S. Tatic-Lucic, D. Vezenov, C. Zhou


BiophysicsBiophysics is the bridge between biology and physics that strives to define and characterize interactions at all levels, from atoms and molecules to cells, organisms and environments. At Lehigh, theoretical and experimental methods are used by multiple research groups to study how nucleic acids behave at bio-nano-interfaces, how protein machines work, how cells communicate, how cells and microorganisms can be modified for therapeutic drug or biofuel production, or how host-pathogen interactions can provide clues to developing alternative approaches to treating infectious diseases.

Related Faculty: B. Berger, A. Brown, J. Buceta, B. Chen, W. Im, A. Jagota, J. Mittal, H.D. Ou-Yang, D. Vavylonis


Cellular & Tissue EngineeringCellular & Tissue Engineering is a broad area and includes research groups studying and directing the manner in which cells transduce the physical and chemical environment around and within the cell, into biological responses. Research in this area focuses on diverse aspects of cell growth, cell differentiation, migration, signal transduction, mechanotransduction, cell-cell interactions and cell-matrix interactions.

Related Faculty: Y. Berdichevsky, A. Brown, L. Chow, M. Falk, H. Jain, S. Jedlicka, K. Schultz


Computational BioengineeringComputational Bioengineering aims to employ concepts from applied mathematics, physics, and chemistry, as well as computer science and engineering principles to gain insight into complex biological systems. Projects involve the study of biological systems across the atomic, molecular, cellular, tissue and system scales.

Related Faculty: J. Buceta, B. Chen, W. Im, A. Jagota, G. Lang, D. Lopresti, J. Mittal, A. Voloshin


Environmental BioengineeringEnvironmental Bioengineering focuses on such topics as the prevention of waterborne disease and understanding the implications of bacterial adhesion to surfaces. Examining the environmental sources, fate, and transport of waterborne pathogens, optimizing and implementing household water treatment technologies, understanding how bacterial attachment affects cellular metabolic activity as it relates to biofilm formation and finding ways to control microbial kinetics for applications in treatment of waste streams are some of the avenues of research being pursued at Lehigh.

Related Faculty: D. Brown, K. Jellison


Modeling of Biological SystemsModeling of Biological Systems applies methods of physical modeling and mathematical analysis to the study of biological and bioengineered systems. These include modeling of biomolecule interactions with surfaces, kinetics of cellular processes, and biological fluid mechanics.

Related Faculty: J. Buceta, T. Hsu, W. Im, A. Jagota, M. Kothare, Y. Liu, J. Mittal, D. Vavylonis, A. Voloshin


Molecular BioengineeringMolecular Bioengineering at Lehigh encompasses research focused on DNA-protein interactions, RNA-protein interactions, protein-protein interactions, receptor-ligand interactions, protein folding and molecular motors to better understand the structure-function relationships that underlie cellular behavior. Understanding the interplay of these components can lead to the design and synthesis of pathways that improve function and/or impair function at the molecular level, with goals that include manipulating cellular behavior, generating molecular tools for monitoring and reporting information about cell processes, and designing improved therapeutics.

Related Faculty: B. Berger, A. Brown, L. Chow, T. Hsu, W. Im, M. Pires, D. Thevenin, X. Zhang


NeuroengineeringNeuroengineering research is focused on using engineering principles and analysis to understand neural function in health, disease, and regeneration. At Lehigh, research includes Computational Neuroengineering, which relies on computer simulation, hardware-based modeling, and mathematical analysis to study neural function, as well as Experimental Neuroengineering, in which research groups focus on understanding the fundamental cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie neurodegenerative diseases and epilepsy, and designing tools to evaluate neuronal networks.

Related Faculty: Y. Berdichevsky, S. Jedlicka, M. Kothare

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