Texas MRC Research Projects


The overall goal of this project aims to convert a bulky and high-cost optical sensing system used in a scientific research lab into an ultra-compact portable optical sensing device that can report wound healing in real-life clinical setting. Our central hypothesis is that by integrating state-of-art nanophotonic membrane device technology, robust fluorescent and surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) signals of dye and metal nanoparticles, and smart shape memory polymer materials, the interdisciplinary team can develop a cost-effective and highly flexible non-invasive optical SMART (Sensing, Monitoring, And Release of Therapeutics) bandage system which can monitor and cure diseases in real time. In this project, we will demonstrate an application of this SMART bandage in chemical sensing microenvironment of complex wounds (pH) and quantitatively reports tissue perfusion for optimizing wound healing.

With the proposed SMART bandage system, we can provide caregivers with a continuous, quantitative read-out of treatment response and wound healing. The system developed here should lead to an even broader area of applications, including wearable healthcare networks, Internet of things (IoT), biomedical sensing, and bio-integrated, bio-implantable electronic systems for targeted cell sensing, imaging, and controlled/targeted therapeutic release/curing of vulnerable tissues.

Weidong Zhou, Ph.D. UTA
Professor – Electrical Engineering
Yaowu Hao, Ph.D. UTA
Jie Zheng, Ph.D. UTD
Walter Voit, Ph.D. UTD
F. Jon Senkowsky, MD, FACS, THR

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Diabetes is a metabolic disease characterized by high blood glucose levels and is one of the most challenging global health problems with high human, social, and economic costs. Persistent or frequent hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) leads to serious complications, including cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, eye disease, and nervous system disease. To achieve their target glycemic levels, diabetic patients rely on self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG); they measure the instantaneous levels of blood glucose using a finger-prick glucose meter (typically, 3 to 10 times daily). However, even patients with well-controlled diabetes who measure blood glucose several times daily often experience hyperglycemia after meals and hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) at night. Because the level of blood glucose fluctuates throughout the day, effective management of diabetes requires real-time monitoring of blood glucose (less than 10 minutes per measurement), or continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). Current CGM technologies, however, do not meet the demand. State-of-the-art commercial CGM devices have lifetimes of only 5 to 7 days and require frequent recalibration. Other emerging technologies are in development but still fall short. To overcome this challenge, we propose to develop a fully implantable, completely passive, patient-friendly single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT)-based near-infrared (NIR) optical glucose sensor for long-term continuous glucose monitoring (CGM).

Kyungsuk Yum, Ph.D. UTA
Assistant Professor – Materials Science and Engineering
A. Dean Sherry, Ph.D. UTD


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Navigation around an organ during surgery is not an easy task as the visual view is not always reliable. Visual clarity is often limited due to existence of blood and fat tissues. Also, every case and every organ is unique in terms of size, shape, location and so on. In particular, in 10-20% of the open heart surgery cases, surgeons have difficulty locating the exact blood vessel with the blockage.
Our proposal is to design an imaging system that helps surgeons to navigate easier and more accurately around the heart especially during bypass surgeries. Our twin goals will be to:
(a) find/design a small set of markers (e.g. colored and/or RFID-based) that provide a clear indication of their positions, and
(b) use the markers and a hand-held device to produce the 3D image of the organ with accurate tracing of the markers and device.
Achieving these goals will require design of markers, a navigational hand-held device and the use of image processing techniques to overlay a pre-recorded X-ray (or MRI) image with real-time images from a camera during surgery.

Principal Investigator:
Mehrdad Nourani, Ph.D. UTD
Professor & Associate Department Head – Electrical Engineering

Kambiz Alavi, Ph.D.
James B. Park, Ph.D.

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About 2.7 million individuals are living in the U.S. with Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation (AF), and that number would increase to 15.9 million by 2050 with more than 50% of these numbers accounted for by patients who are more than 80 years old. Identifying AF early on and treating them promptly increases significantly the clinical outcomes. Today, most of the cases of AF are identified when patients come to the clinic complaining of palpitation or accidentally when they undergo routine or other heart checkups. AF is a major cause of stroke. Typically, the prevention of strokes in high-risk patients requires permanent anticoagulation, with a clear risk of life­ threatening bleeding. However, if a patient could be identified as going into AF, immediately then they could start taking anticoagulants and since modern anticoagulants have an immediate effect, the stroke can be prevented without the risk of bleeding. Similarly, antiarrhythmics have serious side effects including arrhythmias and sudden death. If one could identify when AF occurs, a “pill in the pocket” approach could be used and the patient only takes the antiarrhythmic when the arrhythmia develops, saving the patient cost and side effects. This scenario clearly warrants for a device that can warn a patient when going into AF to seek immediate attention.

The proposed research is the design and development of an AF warning system. One of the important components of our proposed work is the development of a model for determining whether there is an abnormality in the heartbeats of the person being monitored, so that the system can provide a warning to the person when the abnormality is observed. We propose to design a hardware device integrated with a software algorithm based on machine learning that uses information from the ECG signal captured by the hardware device to detect AF. The proposed device will have direct impact on the population either by saving their life or by enhancing their quality of life.

Principal Investigator:
Lakshman S. Tamil, Ph.D. UTD
Professor – Electrical Engineering

J-C. Chiao, Ph.D. UTA
Benjamin Levine, M.D. THR


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Existing blood pressure measurement techniques requiring catheterization are not suitable for wearable applications and continuous monitoring. Cuff-based solutions, on the other hand, are uncomfortable and are only suitable for occasional monitoring. Monitoring blood pressure for individuals with hypertension, the elderly in home-care/assisted-living units, or people who are recovering at home following medical treatment requires a simple, inexpensive, non-invasive and comfortable device. The aim of this project is to develop a non-invasive wearable blood pressure monitoring device using pulse transit time (PTT).

Principal Investigator:

Roozbeh Jafari, Ph.D UTD
Electrical Engineering Department
rjafari@utdallas.edu // 972-883-6509 // Biography (more…)

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A novel and powerful method for blood O2 and CO2 exchange in miniaturized membrane oxygenators has been developed. The miniature oxygenator holds the promise of providing extracorporeal life support to patients with cardiovascular disorders that require cardio-pulmonary bypass by providing gas exchange directly to the cardiovascular system, bypassing damaged or blocked alveoli in the natural lung. Rather than a few hours of extracorporeal life support possible with current large oxygenators, the miniature blood oxygentor will provide indefinite support to the natural lungs for patients that suffer from chronic pulmonary obstructive diseases or that are recovering from open heart surgery. The eventual device can revolutionize the management of obstructive pulmonary diseases and provide continuously monitored solution that allows patient mobility and enhanced quality of life.


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