Texas MRC Research Projects


Infectious diseases continue to pose a major threat to worldwide human health and lead to significant morbidity, mortality and healthcare costs. Among them, rotavirus is the leading cause of severe diarrhea disease in newborns and young children worldwide with approximately 300,000 pre-adolescent deaths each year. Rapid diagnosis is critical for early and accurate treatment, as well as initiation and reduction of transmission which eventually reduces hospital stays, antibiotic over-prescription, and taxing limited laboratory resources. Current diagnostic methods are either slow (viral culture, PCR), or lack sufficient sensitivity (e.g. rapid diagnostic tests). The goal of this project is to develop rapid and ultrasensitive diagnostic tests with potential to replace current viral culture and PCR based laboratory tests.

Zhenpeng Qin, Ph.D. UTD
Assistant Professor – Mechanical Engineering
Michael R. Roner, Ph.D. UTA
Diane Frawley, THR

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We propose to employ near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) technology to continually map hemorrhagic contusions on the surface of the brain after traumatic brain injury (TBI). This is a novel approach for monitoring the evolution of contusions, while validating results with computed tomography (CT). In contrast to CT that can only be performed infrequently, NIRS will enable the continual bedside monitoring of contusion evolution that is of critical clinical importance for life saving interventions. In parallel with our clinical goal, we propose to build and test a NIRS imaging instrument prototype that is designed to overcome current commercial technology limitations and have the capacity to alert clinical staff in real time when contusions grow rapidly. This technology is foreseen to be of immediate interest to the military, sports medicine personnel and clinicians across all trauma ICU facilities.

Georgios Alexandrakis, Ph.D. UTA
Associate Professor – Bioengineering

Duncan L. MacFarlane, Ph.D. UTD
David C. Smith, M.D. THR

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We propose to build and test an imaging instrument prototype that uses near‐infrared light to map changes in blood oxygenation on the surface of the brain after traumatic brain injury (TBI) has occurred. This instrument will address the immediate clinical need for a non‐invasive technology capable of alerting the attending clinical staff when a rising intracranial fluid pressure event has occurred after TBI. These events can occur rapidly and unexpectedly at anytime up to a few days post‐trauma. The rising pressure events result in the collapse of blood vessels supplying oxygen to the brain, which often leads to permanent brain damage or death. The current standard of care is a very invasive procedure that involves placing a pressure transducer through a catheter inside the brain, which is very traumatic and has been shown to result in increased morbidity. (more…)

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