Researchers in this field seel to advance the science and application of photonics and micro/nanoelectronic technologies in biomedicine, addressing major challenges in health science and engineering through cross-disciplinary collaborations and broad integrative research activities.
Lehigh faculty engaged in photonics and micro-/nanoelectronics research for health science and engineering include the following:
Svetlana Tatic-Lucic (ECE) is a leading researcher in the application of micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) to biology and medicine, particularly cell biology and neuroscience. Her group is developing a universal sensing platform employing specialized multi-electrode arrays (MEAs) for extracellular recording from patterned live neural networks, and MEMS arrays for measuring of compliance of biological cells. Her research goals include sensing of neuroactive compounds in the environment, and achieving a better understanding of the processes of thought and memory.
Yevgeny Berdichevsky (ECE) joined Lehigh recently, applying his considerable expertise in bioMEMS and microfluidic technology to the study of neurological disorders and elucidating the relationship between neural circuit architecture and function in brain slices. His group develops brain-slice culture models of traumatic brain injury and epilepsy, and investigates signaling pathways in post-traumatic epilepsy, using high-throughput recording chips and molecular/proteomic approaches.
Sabrina Jedlicka (MSE) is an expert in neuronal cell biology and in functional biomaterial design for use in cell-based therapeutics. Her research seeks to engineer the direct extracellular environment surrounding cells, creating stable biointerfaces that communicate with cells and influence their fate and differentiation path. Her group attempts to direct the fate of stem cells as they progress into fully differentiated neurons, for eventual transplantation and nerve regeneration to treat neurological disorders. This research has important implications in stem cell research, regenerative medicine, cell-based devices and biosensing technology.
Xuanhong Cheng (MSE) is an expert in bioMEMS and microfluidic devices for point-of-care biomedical diagnostics. Her group has engineered nanomaterials-based microfluidic platforms to capture and detect disease-specific cells from blood, such as for AIDS and tuberculosis, with both high specificity and high efficiency. Her research on microfluidic platforms also provides accurate temporal and spatial control of the chemical, mechanical and biological environments around a small population of neural stem cells. Her team seeks to understand how these soluble and insoluble factors influence the differentiation of stem cells and how to guide neural stem cells to desirable differentiation paths for regenerative medicine applications.
Fil Bartoli (ECE), an expert in nanophotonics, plasmonics and biophotonics, investigates surface plasmon resonance (SPR) interactions in metallic nanostructures for optical biosensing and other applications. His pioneering research on plasmonic interferometric sensing dramatically advanced label-free, real-time, multiplexed, and highly sensitive biomolecule detection. His groupís plasmonic Mach Zehnder Interferometer out-performs all current nano-plasmonic biosensors by an order of magnitude. He collaborates with Professors Cheng and Jedlicka to create multiplexed microfluidic chip-based cell culture platforms with integrated nanoplasmonic label-free sensing to detect cell function through their secretome, tailor the culture microenvironment, stimulate neuronal differentiation, and control the cell fate.
John Coulter (MEM) is a world leader in nanoinjection molding, applying this technique to the design of bio-interfacial mechanical cues, and engineering the mechanical compliance of nanotextured biointerfaces to influence cell behavior and fate. As cells feel and respond to the stiffness of their substrate, they adjust adhesion sites, undergo cytoskeletal modifications, and therefore undergo protein translation and modification based on these sensory cues. Since strength of adhesion is a key element in cell differentiation, systematic modulation of the surface stiffness and nanotopography should help to modulate differentiation of pluripotent cells, pushing a stem cell line into full maturation in vitro.
Himanshu Jain (MSE) is pioneering tailored amorphous multiporosity (TAMP) bioactive glass structures for tissue (e.g., bone) regeneration, and as potential platforms for diagnostics and treatment of neurological diseases. Porous scaffolds are studied with pore size distribution ranging from a few nm to 100's of microns. Optical characterization techniques are sought that can perform well despite strong scattering from the pores. Gold nanoparticle laden glass will also be studied as a materials platform for surface plasmon biosensing and bioimaging, and nanoporous gold nanocomposites will be pursued to increase the surface area accessible to analytes by orders of magnitude.
Daniel Ou-Yang (Physics) is an expert in biophotonics with a focus on mechanobiology and optical micromanipulation techniques for biological and soft matter studies. His group pioneered optical tweezer-based microrheology and a new optical bottle technique to manipulate and analyze nanoparticles in optical confinement. He collaborates with Sabrina Jedlicka and Dimitris Vavylonis to induce asymmetric cell division of neuronal stem cells by controlled mechanical rigidity of extracellular matrix and external force, a step toward a controlled neuronal stem cell differentiation. He also collaborates with Xuanhong Cheng on a novel opto-fluidic technique for concentrating and more sensitive detection of whole HIV viral particles for Point-of-Care applications.
Yujie Ding (ECE), an expert in nonlinear optics and terahertz technology, investigates the suppression of scattering of infrared radiation in biological tissue through phase conjugate techniques. This research could significantly impact biomedical sensing in neural and other biological tissues, and enable nondestructive tissue monitoring. His group also investigates polymorph screening and non-invasive 3D chemical mapping of dosage forms of pharmaceutical solids, which can exist in more than one crystalline form with different physicochemical properties (e.g., rates of dissolution, bioavailablility, or stability). His group employs the tunable THz waves with a narrow spectral linewidth to achieve polymorph screening with much greater sensitivity.
Chao Zhou (ECE) recently joined Lehigh, bringing his expertise on novel Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) imaging techniques to probe the cerebral metabolism rate of oxygen supply and consumption. Based on low-coherence interferometry, these OCT techniques can provide structural information of the animal cortex at micron-scale resolution, as well as 3D cerebral hemodynamic information. He conducts research on diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS) as a sensitive probe of the motions of scatterers such as red blood cells, and to extract blood flow information deep beneath the tissue surface. Monitoring cerebral hemodynamics in this way is useful in the detection of traumatic brain injury through.
Mayuresh Kothare (ChE), together with collaborators at Mayo Clinic, investigates brain computer interfaces, deep brain stimulation, computational modeling and control-theoretic tools for enabling a full closed-loop neuroprosthetic technology for low cost, implantable treatments of chronic neurodegenerative diseases. This group models synaptic dynamics and plasticity to characterize neuronal dynamic responses typical of neurodegenerative conditions. They seek to help suppress epileptic seizures, reverse engineer motor intent for actuating neuroprosthetic devices in amputees, and study rehabilitation and motor restoration of motor-impaired subjects through external electric or magnetic stimulation. Targeted applications include ataxia, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and other neurodegenerative diseases.