Micro- and nano-structures have a significant contribution to the physical world in spite of their seemingly insignificant dimensions. Nano-level concentrations of materials have the potential to impact cells and cellular structures. The Biomedical µDevices lab focuses on investigating these microscopic structures and nanoscale concentrations that affect physiology and cell biology. The multidisciplinary research extends to understanding and manipulating the microenvironment to study A) cancer metastasis, B) wound healing, and C) cellular uptake of heavy metals. While metastasis and wound healing share some common traits, there are vast differences that can be explored in detail when the cells are interrogated within microenvironments. Thus, some of the questions being answered by the team members include what is the role of metabolism in driving metastasis? What are the changes in the nutrient environment promoting metastasis? How do the nano- and micro- topographical structures in polymer scaffolds affect cell growth, proliferation and migration? Can these structures be exploited to enhance wound healing? Using a combination of microfluidics, synthetic nanofibers, nanoparticles, and molecular tools, the BµD lab is investigating unique traits based on cell responses enabling a wide range of applications including early detection, treatment, rehabilitation in cancer, and tissue growth and regeneration.
The program combines engineering research with direct community involvement and impact.
Each project will team the students with mentors at Michigan Tech and the Natural Resources Department at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.
Projects include water quality testing for heavy metal contamination, smart adhesives for underwater applications, remote monitoring, and mobile robots, simulating daylight for hatcheries, and in vitro modeling of the impact of heavy metals.
Hands-on laboratory experience and field visits to the beautiful lakeshores of the Keweenaw Bay and Lake Superior.
This program is funded by the National Science Foundation.